With winter yet to exert its full wrath we are now at one of my favourite times of year, where duo fishing for grayling is essential, and the occasional day on dries… The leaves are pretty much gone, and the weather is still relatively pleasant. Overall it’s a great time to get out and enjoy some grayling fishing.
With moderate flows and gentle weather there is simply no need to break out the Euro nymphing gear and heavy bugs. In fact, throughout the early part of winter, there are still great hatches of upwing flies, midges and some terrestrial insects to contend with, which will bring the grayling to the surface to feed.
Catching grayling on dries is an alien experience to some, but personally, I love it and I like to make the most of any surface activity before the long, cold winter months set in. When looking for grayling activity it pays to concentrate your efforts in the middle of the day when it is warmest and insect life is likely to be at its peak. Walk the water patiently watching for the tell-tale dimples and bubbles created by rising grayling. Once a surface feeding shoal is located some superb sport can then be experienced.
Fulling Mill stock a full range of dry flies suitable for grayling; the well-known Klinkhammer special in various sizes and colour configurations are my ‘go to’ favourites – the design of the Klinkhammer family of flies can be simply irresistible to grayling.
Sometimes it can be hard to hook grayling on dry flies, perhaps due to their underslung mouths and habit of taking the fly whilst following the fly downstream. I find Klinkhammers often produce a more reliable hook-up rate than standard patterns, probably due to the shape and angle of the curved hook, which also suspends enticingly beneath the surface film suggesting a plethora of insect life.
Top 3 Klinkhammers to try for Grayling
Klink Adams –Size 14
A variation on the classic dry pattern, the Adams klink is a brilliant searching fly that you can fish blind with real confidence. It also works very well during hatches of large dark olives.
Klink Rust – size 16
There is something about a rusty klink that grayling simply love, being strongly attracted to hues of red and orange. The rust orange colour is perhaps also reminiscent of a hatching sedge. The bright orange post makes spotting it amongst the foam lines a breeze.
Klink Grey Emerger –Size 18
This klink has proved invaluable during hatches of small upwing fly species and also when the grayling are feeding hard on midges. If they are being picky then make sure you give this one a go.
No rise? Put a dink on it!
Of course, in winter, you cannot always count on finding rising grayling. So prospecting the water with nymphs will come into its own. Rather than pull out the French leader and heavy jigs, fishing the duo is an enjoyable and effective approach in the low water regimes of autumn.
The ‘duo’ method (aka NZ style, Klink & dink) is well documented. It involves the use of a very buoyant dry fly such as a size 12 Indicator klinkhammer special with a trailing nymph suspended beneath it. As previously mentioned klinks have a curved hook, which lends itself nicely to having a length of tippet attached directly to it. The length of this can be easily adjusted whilst on the river. I like to add quite a long drop, usually around a foot over depth, so the nymph can trundle and bounce over the bottom in a life-like fashion with the minimum of drag. Fulling Mill Indicator klinks have very bright multi-coloured wing posts, which allow you to spot where your fly is drifting whatever the light conditions are. Should that fly stop, twitch or dip under at any point set the hook immediately!
To turn the combined klink/nymph rig over nicely in breezy conditions I prefer to use a 5 foot Airflo floating polyleader teamed up with about 6 foot of Fulling Mill co-polymer tippet in 4lb going onto the klink. The length of tippet from the hook bend to the trailing nymph can be anything from 18 inches to 4 feet, depending upon the depth of the stretch I am fishing. Rod wise, for a medium to large river a 9 foot 3 or 4 weight fly rod will fit the bill perfectly.
An indicator Klinkhammmer can usually support nymphs with tungsten beads of between 1.5mm to 2.5mm in size comfortably for duo fishing for grayling. While these don’t sink like stones in the very deep fast runs, you have the advantage of being able to make long, drag free drifts through the flats and back ends of pools where current is quite slack, allowing you to get down to the fishes level with a more natural presentation than a real bottom dredging bug would. It’s also a great method for shallow riffle water and allows for the use of much smaller unweighted micro patterns or even spiders if required. Another bonus is that It can help you avoid hooking up with leaves and other debris that can be a real nuisance if you euro nymph with a team of 3 flies at this time of year.
Above all, duo fishing for grayling is simply a very enjoyable method, because it involves actual casting – which for me is far more engaging than the repetitive flick and track of a French leader that I will be using out of necessity later in the winter when the rivers are pushing through. Whenever that klink magically dips under and you strike into a fish it’s a hard buzz to beat.
Keep them afloat
Whether you are using a dry fly or duo fishing for grayling, keeping your fly buoyant is key. A quality floatant such as Fulling Mill Dry Sauce should be applied to your flies. I like to treat my whole fly box before I head out, so whenever I tie on a new fly it is ready to float like a cork. Unlike some brands, Dry sauce is a floatant that does not leave a residue or slick, making it a good choice for picky fish. Once on the water I use Fulling Mill High glide powder to suck all the moisture out of the fly, should it begin to sink or become waterlogged with slime after capturing a fish. The tub is cleverly designed to allow you to treat the fly whilst still attached to your leader line.