Phil Ratcliffe’s Top 6 Grayling Flies for the River Severn
Fishing and guiding on the River Severn throughout the season requires a good armoury of grayling flies in your box. The variety of water on offer in its upper reaches coupled with its abundance of Grayling certainly make for an enjoyable, and at times, a challenging day on the water. Having fished this river for near on thirty years, the flies I’ve used have certainly changed due to modern materials being available and adopting more “modern” methods to target my quarry… but not all.
Assessing the water as always is a priority before you set up stall, depending on the time of year, Grayling can be targeted at a variety of depths. There is nothing better than a rising Grayling on a spring or summer evening. It’s been a tuff choice in selecting just half a dozen Grayling flies for the river Severn, but I’ve selected patterns that will cover your fishing throughout the year;
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The Pink Grayling Bomb will most certainly be on my leader throughout the winter months. It’s the perfect point fly when the temperatures start to drop. Fishing the deep holes in higher water, particularly when the water is coloured and you need to get down, this pattern will come up trumps. When the Grayling are hard on the bottom you really can’t be without a Bomb in your Grayling flies selection.
The Flashback Pink Shrimp is a great dropper pattern. As all river anglers will know, Grayling LOVE pink and this pattern with its flashback gives that added attraction and has accounted for many a fish when others patterns fail to produce. I use it in multiple sizes all throughout the year.
The Barbless Black Magic Klinkhammer is a great all-round pattern, not just for the Severn. The Klink is by far my favourite emerger pattern for any fly hatch, it has the ability to raise the Grayling from the depths in almost any conditions. The bright pink post enables you to spot the fly and take in the most turbulent of runs. It’s also ideal for a “sighter” if adopting the Klink and dink method. Using High Glide and a touch of Fulling Mill Dry Sauce on the hackle and post the Black Magic Klink will sit nicely in the meniscus.
The McPhail Olive Quill has been designed by renowned fly tyer Davie Mcpahil, and it has been a complete winner for me so far. Available in 16s & 18s it’s lifelike olive representation will give you the edge when targeting the olive feeders late autumn, early spring and mid-summer months. Keeping the CDC plumes floating is no problem when using the Fulling Mill High Glide.
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The JL Mole Barbless F Fly is clearly one of my go-to Grayling flies for any Welsh rivers, especially the Severn. This is an F Fly variant and is ideal for targeting Grayling that are locked on to small sedge or midges. Available in sizes 17s, 19s and 21s the fly has paid dividends during the latter part of the summer evenings.
The Partridge & Orange Spider is one pattern I wouldn’t be without, having had success with the Partridge and Orange over many years on the Severn. As with all spider patterns it’s not really a representative of one particular fly but it does represent an abundance of all the Graylings diet. It’s an ideal searching pattern particularly when you’re unsure of what the fish are feeding on and at what level to target them at. I usually fish this with a team of three or four other spider patterns or as a top dropper when nymphing.