Grayling Flies by Steve Skuce
Coch-y-Bonddu Books, H/B 207pp full colour illustrations. £19.95 from www.anglebooks.com
Members may well have heard of this new book, as it was launched at the 2016 Symposium with a certain amount of fanfare from the author!
I can't be wholly objective about Grayling Flies - Steve is a good friend, and I have followed the gestation and delivery of the book with great interest.
Objectivity aside, I will say that the book is a very good one, and it has claimed a niche in the angling literature. There are many books about salmon flies, trout flies and all kinds of regional variations and traditions, but no serious wide-ranging book, up to now, about flies intended for grayling.
Steve has aimed for completeness and the book begins with well-researched summaries of the grayling's distribution and natural history, and of the wide range of fly-fishing techniques that may be employed to catch them. There are fishing tips and anecdotes - a personal touch that adds to the overall appeal of the book.
But the "meat" of the book is the flies themselves, and the people and stories behind them. Each fly has been tied, either by Steve himself, or sometimes by the fly's originator, and meticulously photographed. There is a full description of the tying procedure and a materials list for each fly, with respect for the correct materials and techniques specified, so far as they can be determined. Seventy patterns are included, all well worth their place and covering most, if not all, of the traditions of grayling fishing. There are hackled dries, North Country spiders and modern "plastics", weighted nymphs and delicate CDC creations.
A very good overview of the field, I think, and reflecting much thought and careful research by the author.
The presentation and overall quality of the book is excellent. Coch-y-Bonddu have, once again, produced a proper, substantial book on fine matt paper, with clear well set text and excellent printing. Increasingly, as I need better light and stronger glasses to read comfortably, I am inclined to praise the books that pay attention to such issues; small pale text on coloured backgrounds may look smart, but it is hell to decipher.
Grayling Flies is a reference volume, but a good read too, as Steve is not afraid to put in his opinions, and to regale us with some stories (look out for the one about Pearsall's orange silk - you couldn't make it up). All in all a very good book indeed, to be kept and revisited many times; and it would make an excellent Christmas gift too.
Freshwater Fishes of Britain by Jack Perks
Published by Reed New Holland
As it is going to be some time till the Spring Journal is published we've decided to publish this book review online.
The thing that first struck me about this book was the quality of the photography, almost all of which is shot underwater. But I guess I should have expected this given Jack Perk's reputation. Jack has a passion for wildlife and in particular freshwater fish. A few years back he challenged himself to photograph and film all the British freshwater species. An impressive challenge given Jack's other work writing and photographically illustrating articles, contributing to a number of television series, running photographic workshops and short courses, organising the recent vote for Britian's National Fish (Jack was hoping the Grayling would win) and lecturing at the University of Nottingham. Busy guy.
The book is more of a reference book rather than a field guide. It covers 56 species with each superb photograph supplemented with a general description, maximum length and weight, distinguishing features, breeding and habitat information. It is also peppered with interesting facts, such as why the Tench is sometimes called the 'doctor fish'. You'll have the read it to find out. In the introduction Jack sets out that there maybe some contention over the species included, some not being British and some being sea fish. You can argue these things till the cows come home but drawing a line can often be adifficult task. I think Jack has made an appropriate choice of species and that the book is a useful reference for both naturalists and anglers alike.
This isn't the sort of book you're likely to sit down and read cover to cover, more a coffee table work for dipping into as and when. Jack's writing style is informal and informative and alongside the species guides there are a number of useful pages on such things as 'Fish Twitching', fish terminology, collective terms for fish plus insight into the background to the book. You'll be pleased to know the Grayling features large in the book reflecting Jack's love for the ladies.
More information can be found on Jack's website:
River Annan Grayling Fishing Events - Winter 2016/2017
For the past 9 years the River Annan has been working with anglers to monitor the status of Grayling stocks on the river. This is has created an important data set that can inform fishery management on the river. To help is simple, join them on one of the dates below with either a fly rod or a float rod and enjoy a days fishing on one of the fisheries they allocate you.
They meet at Lockerbie Lorry Park, DG11 2SL, between 8am and 9am. Have a chat and a cup of coffee while anglers receive their beat allocation and then it is off to the river. All they ask is that the length of every fish (whatever species) is recorded and if people have accurate scales for the weight to be recorded. They request that anglers submit their catch returns to RAT within 48 hours of fishing to allow data to be collected promptly.
The cost of fishing is just £10 per angler with all proceeds going to the River Annan Trust.
This year's dates are as follows:
Sunday November 20th 2016
Sunday December 11th 2016
Sunday January 15th 2017
Sunday February 12th 2017
Sunday March 12th 2017
For more information about fishing or accommodation contact Tony or Michael on 01576 470600 or visit www.facebook.com/fishannan for updates.
If you are planning to attend one of the Grayling days please let them know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
New President and Chairman
Following Saturday's AGM the Grayling Society would like to announce that Robin Mulholland is replacing Alan Ayre as President and that Rob Hartley is taking over as Chairman from Steve Skuce.
We would like to thank Alan and Steve for their long and dedicated service to the Society and wish them all the best on the back benches.
Rob Hartley presents Alan Ayre with a set of Salmon Bookends.
Rob Hartley presents Steve Skuce with a Charles Jardine picture.
River Annan Trust Winter Grayling Days
The River Annan grayling days have been announced for this winter with the first date in November.
Sun 20th Nov 2016
Sun 11th Dec 2016
Sun 15th Jan 2017
Sun 12th Feb 2017
Sun 12th Mar 2017
There is a new meeting place for this year at:
TLockerbie Lorry Park, DG11 2SL
Between 8am and 9am.
Lockerbie Lorry park is just south of Johnstonbridge just off the A74 at junction 16.
For more info on fishing and accommodation contact Tony or Michael on 01576 470600.
New Area 11 Secretary
We would like to welcome Stuart Wardle as Secretary for Area 11 (County Durham, Tyne & Wear & Northumberland). Stuart's contact details are as follows:
Home: 01429 836793
Mobile: 07904 278889
Membership Secretary required
After 20 years or so, Mike Tebbs our Membership Secretary is retiring from the post due to increasing family commitments.
We would like to thank Mike, who many of you will know or have had dealings with, for all his hard work in creating and running successfully the system which we now have in place.
The Membership Secretary is a member of the Society's managing Committee and is responsible for managing the data for all members. This involves:-
a) maintaining the Society's master database; and keeping it up to date;
b) responding to new member applications; and
c) answering member's queries.
If you feel that you would like to join the team running the Grayling Society in this role, contact Rod Calbrade, our General Secretary on 01706 842890 or email: email@example.com or if you would like to speak to Mike to gain more insight into the role contact him on 01985 841192 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles for next edition of Grayling: The Journal of the Grayling Society
We are looking for contributions for the next edition of Grayling: The Journal of the Grayling Society.
Perhaps there have been improvements made to your local river, some notable or not so notable catches or just a good days fishing that you would like to share. Words and/or pictures are welcome - places fished, flies tied and used, tales of anglers from the past, or your own observations on Grayling and Grayling fishing.
Deadline for the next edition Monday 7th November. Please contact the Editor Bob Male at email@example.com
All contributions gratefully received.
Video by Jack Perks of Grayling spawning on the Derbyshire Wye.
Fish stocks boost for the River Rother in Chesterfield
This week, for the second year running, the Environment Agency has introduced grayling into the River Rother in Chesterfield.
Arctic grayling spawning video
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game has posted a short video of Arctic grayling spawning in Alaska. It can be viewed at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game Facebook page:
They affixed an underwater camera to the substrate in an area where the grayling were spawning and let it record for over an hour. They ended up with 59 minutes 30 seconds of completely useless footage, and 30 seconds of sheer brilliance.
Further information can be obtained from:
Erik Anderson, Alaska Department of Fish & Game
1300 College Road
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
Riverfly Monitoring Workshop or Friday 13th....A Good Day after all!
By Paul Deaville, Grayling Society Area 5 Secretary
Well, I must admit there were times when I wondered if this plan would ever come to fruition, contact had been made with various conservation bodies over the preceding 24 months only for emails to be either ignored, or answered in a manner that did not inspire. Then I heard that a local conservation scheme had run 2 or 3 'Riverfly Monitoring Workshops' that I hadn't heard about (so much for the grapevine...). But they had sadly come to the end of their funding stream.
As Stuart Crofts has supported me up from the start with this idea, I contacted him once more and although reluctant at first due to it being 'out of his area', I informed him that this was a personal invite to Staffordshire both from me as a friend, and as Grayling Society Area 5 Secretary, how could he refuse!
Now I needed to consider finance, I approached JCB Angling Club of which I am a life member. The committee immediately agreed to support me and suggested that if I needed a venue for the workshop, why not enquire at the JCB Lakeside Club. Were things really starting to fall into place? On making my enquiry the Lakeside reaction was "if the JCB AC are supporting you, there will be no charge for the room.....but we will have to charge you for lunchtime refreshments".
So, with many thanks to JCB Angling Club and JCB Lakeside Club the plan was in place.
As Friday 13th May approached the level of the river Dove had continued to drop and it was on a dry bright morning that several members of the Grayling Society gathered at the Rocester venue. Rod Calbrade our Gen Sec attended in his official capacity of photographer, James Rowlinson represented the Environment Agency, as did Mick Buxton our local EA Fisheries Officer, although sadly Mick was called away early to a reported fish kill. Nick Mott from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was also in attendance.
Following the obligatory Health and Safety section, which I believe we all need a reminder about occasionally, Stuart proceeded in his own inimitable style through the Introduction to monitoring, The target groups - Life History & Ecology were covered in that order, before we all proceeded to the river Dove where we were instructed on how to take samples correctly.
A very nice lunch was laid out for us on our return to the Lakeside Club, during which we were able to chat with people whom some had not met before, and generally weigh up the course so far. We then came to the most interesting section, sorting and recording the samples. Stuart had provided two microscopes which gave us all a much closer look at the invertebrates that live in the rivers we fish. (And we never saw anything that resembled UV Orange Fritz, or a 4mm Tungsten bead!)
Following a data overview and guidance in establishing a monitoring programme on our own river where we fish, there was a far from usual Q & A session. The presence of Nick Mott and James Rowlinson was invaluable, as along with Stuart there was an extremely good interchange of information.
Without exception each participant went away fully enthused about 'Riverfly Monitoring', and that cannot be a bad thing! Thank you to all involved in making this day happen.
I view this day as having been a very successful pilot for what could easily be rolled out to other Grayling Society members in all areas. Stuart Crofts has stated that he would be honoured to be asked to carry out any future workshop's for the GS.
Participants on the day: Rod Calbrade, Iain Baddeley, Chris Salmon, Neil Chandler, Karl Humphries, John Green and myself Paul Deaville Grayling Society Area 5 Secretary.
New report on riverflies - many rivers 'poor'
A landmark report, published 13 May, highlights the work of S&TCUK and Dr. Nick Everall of Aquascience Consultancy Ltd, looking at the diversity and abundance of aquatic invertebrates in 120 sites on 12 English rivers; 14 sites are described as 'pristine'. Phosphate enrichment and sedimentation in combination seem especially problematical. Some iconic rivers such as the Itchen, Lambourn, Test and Wensum, rank “poorly” in the census. Shrimp (Gammarus) numbers were very low across many of the sampled rivers relative to historic, Environment Agency records.
S&TCUK plan further research, including water quality testing to zero-in on the causes of water quality problems. S&TCUK stress that the “message is that action, not talk, is now urgently needed”.
The full report, Riverfly Census 2015, is available through the S&TCUK website:
New Area 2 Secretary
The Committee would like to welcome Alex Adams as secretary for Area 2 and thank him for his support.
His contact details are as follows:
62 Cressex Road,
Mob: 07730 203382
Tel: 01494 521801
Wild Trout Trust Auction
There are some fantastic Grayling fishing opportunities available through the Wild Trout Trust auction with the monies raised going to improve habitat for Grayling as well as Trout.
Area 8 March Newsletter
All the latest news from Area 8, click here to download. (2.1MB)
New Trade Member
BFFI success again
The British Fly Fair International was held, as usual, at the Staffordshire County Showground over the weekend of 13th & 14th February.
It was as spectacular as always with a host of highly skilled international fly tyers, some well known others less so, demonstrating their prowess with everything from a massive saltwater creation to the most microscopic - to me at least - nymphs and dry flies.
There seemed to be a bigger than normal number of exhibitors this year and it has become, without a doubt, the place to go if you want to buy any fly tying materials or tools as well as rods, reels etc. There was even a stand selling sweets and fudge this year!
Our members were well represented on stands with Rodney Dibble making furled leaders for the Luke Bannister stand; Bob Lomax tying some exquisite flies on the Hemingway stand; Keith Passant working hard as always on the Casting for Recovery stand; Richard Ellis tying on the Fly Dresser's Guild stand; Louis Noble purposefully manning the GAIA stand; Pat Stevens buried in customers, as usual, at Flytek and Paul Morgan, similarly, up to his eyes selling books with both Peter Hayes and Phil White busy signing their new books on the Coch y Bonddu stand. And our own John Green was the resident fly tyer for the Society stand. I am sure there were other members who I have missed and, if so, then I offer my apologies guys and I'll catch up with you next time round!
The weather was reasonably kind in terms of being sunny and dry but there was a bitterly cold wind both days. On the first morning as we assembled just before opening time it was arctic inside the halls. Fortunately the heating was switched on and, from then on, conditions were pretty comfortable. Steve Cooper, the show's organiser and all-round nice man even if he does try to hide that fact, did confess that the low price of heating oil was a possible contributing factor in switching on the heating!
Is is difficult to go to the BFFI without a few pounds in your pocket and even more difficult to leave with them still there! I know I reached a desperate state by the end with just a couple of bob left in my own pocket. I even had to raid the car where I always keep a few pounds emergency money. The location does not lend itself easily to the processing of credit and debit cards because of the poor mobile signal and several retailers, wise old men that they are, brought along the old fashioned paper slips to swipe your card details onto. However, I noticed that Phil Holding at Fly Tying Boutique had a great system involving an iPad and PayPal. It worked magically and pretty well instantly for my purchase of a battery powered vice mounted lamp.
I always urge my students at the Fly Dressers Guild branch to ensure they can look at and feel any cape or saddle they buy and this show is a great place to do that. I wanted a saddle grizzle and had a great choice to pick from with all the relevant retailers quite happy for me to open the pack and feel the hackles.
The visitor numbers were pretty good I guess and Saturday was really buzzing. It was a bit quieter on Sunday, probably because, being Valentine's Day, some guys were under a three line whip to be at home or the local restaurant or pub. However it never seemed empty until the last hour on Sunday.
On the Society stand we had a consistent stream of visitors and signed up 5 new members on the day plus 2 subsequently as well as taking a couple of subscriptions. Veniard joined at the show as trade members and this is a most welcome addition to our membership. Sales of Society items went well and we ended up with another £XXX to add to our funds.
Brian Clarke, the Sales Officer, was a trojan as normal, setting up on the Friday and being present on the stand virtually all the time, except for the occasional little spending trip to other stands - just like the rest of us.
We didn't have our usual 'crew' this year but Brian, John and myself were supported by our wives, Janet and Honor, and Geoff Bevan and Steven Kavanagh helped look after the stand on the Sunday.
Next years' show promises to be even larger and Steve Cooper showed us the plans which clearly indicated that there will be 3 halls instead of the usual 2. It promises to be yet another spectacular show.
Grayling Society 40th Symposium and AGM
When Ron Broughton, Rig Righyni, Norman Roose and the other founding members formed The Grayling Society 40 years ago, they must have merely hoped that it would still be around and working for the grayling all these years later.
To help us to celebrate the fact that it is still a thriving organisation we are holding this year's Symposium at the Marwell Hotel near Winchester in the South of England, based on their famous chalkstreams, on the weekend of 29th and 30th of October.
We last visited the Marwell in 2003. Members who were there will remember seeing badgers wandering through the undergrowth, very close to the windows of the hotel corridors and, as it is adjacent to Marwell Zoo, there were strange animal sounds of far away places as you go about your business at the Hotel. A fascinating venue and one which looked after us very well on our last visit.
The speakers on the Saturday will include Neil Patterson who has been a regular contributor to fly-fishing magazines for over 30 years. Along with being awarded "Angling Writer of the Year" and "Travel Writer of the Year" by the Angling Writers' Association, he was nominated "Columnist of the Year" in the Scottish Magazine Awards for his column, "The Wild Trout's wish List". His first book, Chalkstream Chronicle was acclaimed as a modern classic by The Field Magazine. His most recent book Flyfisher's Chronicle - In Search of Trout and Other Fishes is a later companion book and covers Neil's flyfishing exploits and over 70 flies which he has used around the world for a variety of species. Neil lives on the banks of the Kennet in Berkshire, and the Rio Carrileufu in Central Patagonia, Argentina.
We will be joined by two leading young anglers; Alex Jardine and Lewis Hendrie. They will be delighted to discuss all things graylingius and show you some of their secret patterns and methods that they have worked on over years of friendship and fishing together.
Alex is well known on the chalkstreams having actively guided on them for the past 10 years for both trout and grayling. He has worked for notable fishing establishments such as Partridge of Redditch and Robjents in Stockbridge, and is now at Aardvark McLeod offering fishing trips to wonderful locations both home and abroad. Even after fishing many great rivers around the world Alex still takes huge enjoyment chasing grayling in the clear waters of his local streams and rivers.
Lewis is one of the most technical young anglers in the country, he is a member of both the English home international and European fly fishing teams. When he is not on international duty he can be found teaching and guiding on his local streams and rivers in Devon for the Devon School of Flyfishing. Lewis' main passion is targeting grayling and his focus and dedication has spurred him to land many notable fish including several over 4 lbs, and one even tipping the scales at 4 lbs 5 oz. A potential British record, but without a witness Lewis was happy to admire the special lady of the stream before slipping it back quickly to be found another day - he is said to have recovered now.
Dr Mark Everard is a scientist, author and broadcaster with interests in water systems in both the developed and developing world. Fish are a particular passion. Mark is well known as an all-round specimen angler - from roach and dace to grayling and pike, salmon, mahseer and fly-fishing for bass - as well as a regular contributor to angling media. Ten of Mark's published books deal with fish, ranging from a focus on specific species to guides on general identification and on habitat management for the benefit of fish as well as other aquatic wildlife. Much of Mark's other work relates to the relationship between humans and the aquatic ecosystems that sustain us, and with which we need so urgently to develop a more symbiotic relationship. Our relationship with fish - environmentally, economically and culturally - is part of this bigger picture.
Stephen Gregory has recently taken over the running of the Wylye Project and he will be updating us on its progress.
Trade stands will include our trade members FlyTek, Cookshill Flytying and Fishing Matters, plus Coch y Bonddu Books. Returning this year will be the outstanding artist David Miller who enthralled us with his use of the brush. New on the Trade Stands this year, is master cane rod builder Luke Bannister.
Fishing on the Sunday will be exclusively on the chalkstreams and will include the Wilton Club's stretch of the River Wylye, the Piscatorial Society's water on the Avon and the Portsmouth Services Itchen beats amongst several others. Provision will be made for trotting but, to really benefit from superb clarity and stalking possibilities of the chalkstreams, it is recommended that you fly fish.
For those coming down but not attending the event Winchester and all its history, including Izaak Walton's grave in the cathedral, is very close at hand, as are other attractions such as Stonehenge and the glorious Wiltshire countryside in the autumn.
Rod Calbrade, General Secretary
A River of Two Halves
Grayling Society Area 5 Day, Sunday 17th Jan 2016
Well, after my first ever Area 5 day coming together reasonably easily, getting the second area day under starters orders was definitely more challenging. Originally the day was scheduled for November 13th 2015, but due to numerous cancellations, which were all controlled by the rain gods who had caused more high waters than the Dove had seen for at least 12 months or more, Sunday 17th January was to be the day.
During the days preceding the Dove steadily recovered from the last high water 1 week before and was looking good, if a touch above normal winter level. On the Saturday evening we received about two and a half inches of snow (just for a little added travelling excitement).
Travelling to Ashbourne on the Sunday was fairly safe, as the councils had been out and done their bit. Following a chat from the river keeper on the Royal Oak car park 13 members, one of which had travelled 2+ hours from Cambridgeshire to be with us, and another member who had a two and a half hour drive back to North Wales after the day, set off onto various sectors of the 'Birdsgrove FFC' beat's of the river Dove. That's a measure of what not being able to get out fishing does for us.
The day was cold but it was good to be out fishing after 8 or so weeks, and apart from a snow flurry in the afternoon the weather was kind to us. Walking the 'Birdsgrove' waters to ensure everyone was safe and enjoying their day, it started to become apparent that it was a river of two halves.
Below 'Hanging Bridge' most members struggled to find the fish with all but one reporting one's and two's, there always has to be one to stand out (Gary). Above the bridge was a very different story with most members catching a few nice fish and again, some catching more than others...ahem, no names etc., etc.
The day ended with all members happy with their day on this exceptional beat of the dove.
Below are the figures for the day:
49 Grayling, the majority 12"to 16", and 8 OOS spotties, best 21"
On behalf of the Grayling Society and especially the members on the day, a very big thankyou to Mr Peter Hilliard and the Birdsgrove FFC.
Paul Deaville, Area 5 Secretary
Area 8 February Newsletter
New Overseas Secretary for Germany and Austria
We would like to welcome Andreas Schumacher as the new Overseas Secretary for Germany and Austria.
His contact details are as follows:
Spieß Schumacher Schmieg & Partner
Märkisches Ufer 34
Tel: +49 (0)30 440 133 00
Andreas takes over the role from Christian Mohr. We would like to thank Christian for all his help and support during his tenure and we wish all the very best for the future.
Andreas has provided the following introduction:
It is a great honor for me to have been chosen as the Grayling Society´s secretary for Germany.
To introduce myself to you, I would like to share the following with you:
I am 50 years old, married and a father of 3.
I am a lawyer by profession and have founded a law firm in 2000 that is specialized on intellectual property.
Since I picked up fishing in my home town Hamburg at the age of 8 I have been hooked on the sport. I discovered fly fishing quite late – coincidently just around the time when I met my wife and started my firm. All good things come in threes (my wife and partners of dissenting opinion…).
Soon after I found a group of soulmates in the Berlin flyfisher´s club Fario eV. – a club that is very active in conservation - I became a member of their board. I have been the club´s vice chairman for over 10 years now. The club manages a nice little trout stream located between Berlin and Hamburg. We run our own hatchery, mainly for seatrout and salmon and helped to reintroduce these migratory fish to the river Stepenitz, also located in the Prignitz area. We also breed brown trout. Unfortunately previous attempts to reintroduce grayling to our river had failed. Under the special direction of our incumbent riverkeeper, who grew up with grayling fishing in Thuringia, the current program which started about 5 years ago has been a great success so far.
I have fished quite a few places in Europe and abroad. I love the great grayling rivers of Austria and have also found many good waters holding grayling all over Germany. Apart from my home rivers I particularly fell for the wonderful chalk streams of Southern England to which I was introduced by hospitable and generous members of the Grayling Society.
Over the years my general fondness for the magnificent grayling became a passionate love affair and I would feel honored if I could continue the good work of Christian Mohr as secretary of the German section of the Grayling Society.
I would like to intensify and deepen contacts between UK and German/Austrian members. I know that it is said to be difficult to fish in my country due to bureaucracy and obscure rules and regulations. I would enjoy to convince foreign grayling anglers that in reality it actually is quite easy to pursue our common passion over here and invite them to come fish with me and with other German members of the Grayling Society.
With the very best wishes for the coming year and fishing season.
New Marketing Officer joins the Committee
The Grayling Society Committee would like to welcome Karl Humphries who is joining the committee as Marketing Officer. We thank him for his support and look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.
Trout and Grayling Newsletter
Area 8 January Newsletter
The Grayling Society is pleased to announce that Steven Kavanagh has taken on the role of Treasurer. We wish Steven all the best in his new role and thank him for his support.
His contact details are:
Tel: 01446 771326
Area 8 Newsletter
Winter Grayling Fishing packages on the River Tees at Wodencroft Holiday Cottages & B&B.
Grayling Fishing breaks on the River Tees at Wodencroft Holiday Cottages, December 2015 to March 14th 2016.
Stay on a B&B basis, £65pppn including a hearty farmhouse breakfast. Three rooms all with en-suite bathrooms. Second guest sharing a room £35pn including breakfast. Minimum 2 night stay, maximum 6.
My First Grayling Society Area Day
On the days running up to Sunday November 1st, I must admit that I was a little apprehensive having never organised anything of this nature before. With grateful thanks to Norbury FFC we were able to fish their excellent beat of the (real) river Dove.
During the Thursday/Friday prior to the weekend we had our first rainfall for quite some time, so that didn't help my run-up nerves. Checking the river on the Saturday morning the level had dropped back and was clearing, so no need to text everyone as it was all systems go.
Sunday morning arrived with quite patchy fog in places, but having said that 12 GS members were at the meeting point at 09:00 and raring to go. Following the usual formalities some members ventured down to the Rocester end of the beat, while the rest decided to start at the top and progress down. Soon the sun started to burn off the fog and blue skies were on the menu (for most of us).
After a slow start, most anglers chose to fish the nymphs and were soon finding the ladies here and there. It wasn't easy, but as the day progressed the fly life started to increase and one or two ventured with a little success on to the dries. When I drove down to Rocester the sun had not burnt though, but the 5 anglers at the lower end of the beat were reporting quite nice numbers, with the majority caught on nymphs, but also a few coming to the dries... which was nice for November. On my return to the top of the beat a few members were reporting better numbers, but here the nymphs were the catchers.
At 4 O'clock (ish) everyone I spoke to was very happy with their day and their catch and was ready to head home. Many compliments were paid and I have passed them all on via Mr Jeff Body to Norbury FFC.
On behalf of Grayling Society Members, thank you NORBURY FFC.
Total for the day: 147 fish to 12 rods, incl o.o.s. spotties.
The remaining Area 5 GS days for 2015 are:
Sunday November 15th at Birdsgrove on the river Dove. (Full)
Sunday December 13th at Norbury on the river Dove. (Full)
Area 4 Fishing day - Saturday 14 November 2015 Report
Ten Area 4 Members of the Society assembled at the café of Morrison's in Leominster between 9.00am - 9.30am. The weather forecast was not great for the day with a cold front due to cross the region by mid- morning bringing with it some heavy and persistent rain!
After completing the customary routine of reading and signing the Risk Assessment members dispersed to their allocated beats - five rods on three beats on each of the two rivers, the Lugg and the Arrow.
At the start of the day both rivers were running at surprisingly modest levels despite the recent rainfall and the weather did exactly as predicted even with a little bit of sun before some very heavy and prolonged rain, and people got very wet indeed!
About twenty grayling, and a few trout, were caught on all but one beat in pretty challenging conditions, especially towards the end of the day.
It was so wet that some went home to dry out and so missed meeting up again at the Morrison's cafe. Despite the adverse weather conditions an enjoyable day was had by all and our thanks go to the Wye & Usk Foundation for enabling us to fish the beats.
Party members at the Morrison's Cafe in Leominster
Glyn Williams netting a 16” grayling on the Lugg at Mortimer’s Cross
Steve Moore with an offering from the Arrow
Area 4 Fishing Day
Date: Saturday 23 January 2016
Venue: Caer Beris Manor Hotel with beats on the river Wye and Irfon
Any member of the Society wishing to take part in this event (either fly-fishing or trotting) should contact Area 4 Secretary: Roger Smith by email:
There are places for about thirty rods and the cost will be in the region of £20 - £25. Full details of time, place and cost, will be given to those who apply for a place.
Fishing data from Grayling Society fishing day on 11th October 2015
River Annan Trust report that 168 fish were recorded in the returns showing a good average weight of grayling. Of the 8 fish caught over 40cm four weighed 2lb plus. The majority of the fish were caught on dries during some excellent afternoon hatches of olives.
Thank you to the River Annan Trust and all the riparian owners for allowing us to fish the wonderful Annan.
Grayling Society awards Righyni-Roose Trophy to Roger Smith
Each year The Grayling Society runs a national competition on a topic which changes from year to year. This year it was for the written word.
This years winner was Roger Smith for his poem An ode to the Lady of the Stream.
Roger received the trophy, a bronze sculpture of a Grayling created by David Hughes, from Steve Skuce at the annual Symposium and AGM held at the Dryfesdale Hotel near Lockerbie.
River Annan Grayling Days
Interested in grayling fishing on the River Annan? For the past 8 years the River Annan has been working with anglers to monitor the status of Grayling stocks on the river. This has created an important data set that can inform fishery management on the river. To help is simple, join them on one of the dates below with either a fly rod or a float rod and go and fish on one of the fisheries they allocate you.
The dates are:
- Sunday November 29th 2015
- Sunday December 13th 2015
- Sunday January 10th 2016
- Sunday February 7th 2016
- Sunday March 6th 2016
They meet at Café 91, Lockerbie High Street for between 8am and 9am.
For more information visit:
Last minute availability at Dryfesdale Hotel
Due to late cancellations the Dryfesdale Hotel has rooms available for the Grayling Society Symposium.
Tel: 01576 202427
Area 14 Fishing Day
Geoff Bevan, Area 14 Secretary, has organised a fishing day for Grayling Society members on the River Ewenny in South Wales on Saturday 14th November. Grayling Society members from other areas are very welcome.
For details contact Geoff:
Tel: 01446 774223
Cheshire Game and Angling Fair
Despite earlier forecasts of rain, August 16 dawned bright and sunny ready for the re-invigorated Fair. Known colloquially as the Peover show, there was a wide range of stands covering most country sports. The Angling Fair Marquee was home to the Grayling Society, Prince albert A.S., Fly dressers' guild, Marton Heath Trout Pools and Stockport Angling Association plus several others.
Manned by Barrie Davidson, our Cheshire Area Secretary, Vice Chairman Rob Hartley and General Secretary Rod Calbrade, there was a good amount of interest at the stand, meeting some members and angling friends as well as selling several of our floats and other tackle plus hopefully gaining a few new members in the future. One potential members subsequently signed up - result!
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Grayling Society Area 11 Fishing Days
Paul Firmin, Area 11 Secretary, is organising fishing days in the North East of England on the following dates:
- October 4th and 25th
- November 22nd
- December 6th
- January 17th and 31st
- February 20th
- and March 12th
Contact Paul for further details.
Mobile: 0796 9733508
2015 Symposium and AGM
Preparations are almost ready for this year's Symposium. The speakers this year will be Ronnie Glass, Dr. Steven Weiss, Kenny Galt and Fin Wilson.
Ronnie Glass is 60 years old (young), has lived in, or around, Kelso all his life. In younger years he mainly fished the River Teviot until moving to a house overlooking the Tweed in 1986. He remembers having his leg pulled on many occasions as he preferred to fish for Grayling rather than the freely available Salmon fishing back in the 1970's. Currently he is Chairman of Kelso Angling Association and Vice Chair of The Tweed Commission. For the last 8 years he has been the Fishing Manager of the Orvis shop in Kelso. He has tied all his own flies from age 14 and paints landscapes in watercolours as well as modelling replica fish. When time allows !!!??? - he also carves fish that have been returned to the river, either from the UK or abroad. He now also contributes the “Trout Surgery” to Trout and Salmon magazine. At 29, he entered his first competition and has now represented Scotland in 13 Lochstyle Internationals and 3 Rivers Internationals, captaining 2 Lochstyle teams and one on the Rivers. “Top Scottish rod” 4 times and he is the only Scotsman to have won both the National and the Rivers National Championships. We are also pleased to welcome Dr. Steven Weiss from Austria who gave an excellent presentation at the GRT's York Symposium some years ago and who has recently become a GRT Trustee. His talk will encompass Grayling of the World.
Kenny Galt is employed as a Trout & Grayling Biologist by the Tweed Foundation. He has been with the Foundation for just over 10 years and his job is to work with the local Trout and Grayling fishing Associations to get them to help him to gather the information needed to sustainably manage the Brown Trout and Grayling fisheries on the Tweed. They are about to start a study into post spawning recovery in Tweed Grayling using scale samples and condition factor.
Fin Wilson began fishing as a young boy on the Mill and Castle lochs in Lochmaben where he grew up. His passion for fly-fishing began on the River Annan fishing for trout, grayling and particularly sea trout at night. He now lives on the Upper Tweed at Stobo where he runs three miles of river. He is a professional guide/instructor and a regular contributor to Trout & Salmon magazine.
The excellent “Fisherman's Guide to the River Annan” available on the Annan Fisheries website will give invaluable information for the fishing day: http://www.riverannan.org/#!fishermansguide/c24d6
The Trade stands will include Coch y Bonddu Books, FlyTek flytying materials.
The Lunchtime raffle will be run as ever by Greg Payne and the evening's Gala Dinner will be finished off by Pat Stevens running the Auction, so if you have any suitable items for the Auction, bring them along.
We have deliberately held the Symposium a little early this year so that, hopefully, we can get some good river levels beautiful early Autumn weather, with golden hues on the trees and maybe even some dry fly fishing for the grayling.
NOTE that as you are driving to and into Lockerbie, you may see signs for the Dryfesdale Lodge this is NOT the Symposium hotel, which is the Dryfesdale Hotel.
The Essential Fly
We would like to welcome The Essential Fly as a trade member.
They offer Grayling Society members a 15% discount when using discount code graylingsoc in the voucher box at the checkout.
The discount applies to any flies (all species) plus Semperfli fly tying materials.
Two recent stories regarding the stocking of Grayling into English rivers by the Environment Agency.
On the 25th of June the Environment Agency stocked 3000 0 to 1 year class Grayling in the River Rother at Chesterfield. This is the first of three stockings planned (3000 Grayling in 2016 and 3000 more in 2017).
For several years Grayling have been caught by local angler in small numbers but this stocking program by the Environment Agency will add to the existing small population but also shows the EA's confidence in the improving quality of the river.
Grayling Boost for the North East:
Rivers in the north east are being stocked with grayling this week in a bid to boost natural populations of the species.
The Environment Agency will stock the Clow Beck near Darlington and the Rivers Blyth and Pont in Northumberland with 3,000 grayling - 6,000 in total.
These rivers have suffered from poor water quality and habitat degradation in the past, but efforts by the Environment Agency is helping to turn them around. The Clow Beck, which flows into the River Tees near Darlington, was hit by pollution incidents last year and again this year and it is thought that these new grayling will start to put the stream back on course for recovery.
The stocking on the Rivers Blyth and Pont will start near Matfen and are aimed at boosting fish stocks following previous pollution incidents and as part of ongoing work to improve habitat.
Environment Agency Fisheries Officers Paul Frear and Robbie Stevenson will be introducing the grayling to their new homes. Robbie said:
“We're pleased we can help with the restoration of these watercourses and it's now time to help fish stocks recover. It is good news for local anglers and conservation alike as there should be a wider variety of healthy adult fish in our rivers.”
The grayling being introduced are one-year-old fish, sourced from the EA's Calverton Fish Farm, and the first of them should begin to spawn in the spring of 2017 - hopefully helping to return the population of grayling in these rivers and streams will to healthy numbers.http://www.flyfishing.co.uk/news/news/6966-grayling-boost-for-the-north-east.html
Events for your diary
The Grayling Society will be attending the following events during 2015 and 2016. We look forward to seeing members at these events. If you aren't already a member why not come along and join.
The Bakewell Show, Bakewell, Derbyshire - 5th & 6th August 2015
Cheshire Game and Angling Fair, Peover, Cheshire - 16th August 2015 http://www.cheshiregameandanglingfair.co.uk
iFish, Ardingley, West Sussex - 22nd November 2015 http://www.ifish.org.uk
Burton 5th Game fishing and Fly Tying Festival, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire - 18th October 2015 http://www.burton-on-trentgamefishingandflytyingfestival.co.uk
British Fly Fair International, Staffordshire County Showground - 13th & 14th February 2016 http://www.bffi.co.uk
Sportfish Show, Reading, Berkshire - dates tbc, May 2016 http://www.sportfish.co.uk/visit-our-fly-fishing-stores/reading-fly-fishing-store
Trade membership fee reduced
The Grayling Society has reduced the cost of Trade Membership from £112 to £56 with immediate effect.
Trade Members receive one set of publications posted to one address. One member of the Trade organisation may attend the Symposium and Annual General Meeting, or any Extraordinary General Meeting which may be called. Each Trade member has just one vote at any AGM or EGM. A Full Page B&W or Colour advertisement may be placed in one issue of 'Grayling' free of charge (artwork to be supplied) and the names of all Trade Members are included in the Friends of the Society section of Grayling and on the Society website.
For details on how to join as a Trade Member go to:
Area 4 Fishing Days
Sat 26 September 2015
Venue: River Severn at Caersws
Meeting at The Red Lion Inn, Caersws SY17 5EL between 9.00am and 10.00am at which point the Grayling Society Risk Assessment for the fishing day will be signed by those participating.Day tickets (£13) are available from the Spar Shop in Caersws or from Bradley's Garage in Caersws, both close to The Red Lion. Fishing - principally will be with fly but there is some water where trotting a worm is possible on parts of the river. There are places for TWELVE RODS on this occasion and if you wish to take part in this event please contact (first come - first served!) Roger Smith by email: firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the method of fishing you propose to use.
Sat 14 November 2015
Venue: Rivers Lugg and Arrow beats close to Leominster
We will meet at the cafe in Morrisons store Barons' Cross Rd, Leominster, HR6 8RN between 9.00am and 10.00am at which point the Grayling Society Risk Assessment for the fishing day will be signed by those participating. Fee £15.00 to be paid in advance to Roger Smith Area 4 secretary. Fishing - principally will be with fly but there is some water where trotting a maggot or corn is possible on parts of the river. There are places for TEN RODS on this occasion and if you wish to take part in this event please contact (first come - first served!) Roger Smith by email: email@example.com indicating the method of fishing you propose to use.
Sat 23 January 2016
Venue: Rivers Wye, Irfon and Ithon beats
We will meet at The Caer Beris Manor Hotel, Garth Rd, Builth Wells, Powys LD2 3NP between 9.00am and 10.00am at which point the Grayling Society Risk Assessment for the fishing day will be signed by those participating. Fishing - principally will be with fly but there is some water where trotting is possible - will be on WUF beats. Fee approx. £25 to be pid in advance (precise details later to those who apply) There are places for TWELVE RODS on this occasion and if you wish to take part in this event please contact (first come - first served!) Roger Smith by email: firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the method of fishing you propose to use.
Grayling Competition on the Teviot
Jedburgh Rotary Club is resurrecting the competition they ran every winter on the Teviot until a few years ago. It will be on 5th December 2015 and the entry fee will be £10. See attachments for further details.
Area 8 Newsletter
Maria Gonzales has finally finished her watercolour painting of a Grayling. Signed prints will be available for sale from next week. Contact Maria for your nearest stockist - email@example.com
Area 11 Fishing Days
Area 11 Secretary Paul Firmin arranged three fishing days for his area members this winter, with more to be arranged.
January was the best attended day with fifteen members fishing and forty-two fish caught and released.
If you are interested in attending you need to be a member of the Grayling Society, to join go to:
You can contact Paul Firmin at:
101 Edge Moor Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 4QE
Mobile: 0796 9733508
39th Grayling Society Symposium and AGM
The annual symposium and AGM will be held on the weekend of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October 2015 at The Dryfesdale Hotel just outside Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire.
We are very much looking forward to seeing members for the Symposium, AGM and Gala Dinner on the Saturday and fishing on the River Annan on the Sunday.
Full details and booking form are included with the Spring edition of Grayling News.
The event is only open to members. If you would like to join go to: www.graylingsociety.net/join/
Meon Springs Country Experience Day
Greg Payne will be flying the flag for the Grayling Society at The Meon Springs Country Experience Day on Sunday 19th April.
See their website for more details on the event: http://meonsprings.com/country-day
Grayling Fishing Opportunities in the Wild Trout Trust Auction
The Wild Trout Trust auction has some superb grayling fishing lots.
If you are keen on grayling fishing then these lots I know are worth a look:
- Dorset Allen (lots 238 and 233)
- Derbyshire Dove (lot 188)
- Hampshire River Anton (lot 173)
- Dorset Frome at Casterbridge (lot 172)
- Welsh Wye (lots 103 and 85)
- Welsh Dee (lot 92)
- Tweed (lot 60)
- Annan (lot 50).
Find these lots easily using the search facility on the PDF versions of the catalogue.
Start here: http://www.wildtrout.org/content/auction-0
New range of floats
Brian Clarke has been working hard to update the range of floats available through the Grayling Society Shop. They look fantastic.
To order go to the shop page and download the Equipment Order Form.
New Czech Republic Overseas Secretary
We would like to welcome Jitka Rutkayova as Overseas Secretary for the Czech Republic.
Jitka is a professional ichthyologist, university teaching assistant and keen angler. We wish her the best of luck in her new role and thank her for her support.
Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in becoming and Area or Overseas Secretary for The Grayling Society please contact the General Secretary - email@example.com
Dates for the Diary
Greg Payne, Area 2 Secretary (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex & Wiltshire), has organised the following events for 2015.
- Area Fishing Day - Wherwell - Saturday 31st October
- Area Fishing Day - Wherwell - Sunday 27th December
He will also be at:
- iFish, The South of England Show Ground, Ardingly on Sunday 22nd November 2015. www.ifish.org.uk
- West Country Game Fair, Royal Bath Showground, Shepton Mallet on 21st & 22nd March 2015
Drop by and say hello.
Contact Greg for further information.
Tel: 01985 213023
The Angling Trust Team England Fly Fishing Auction 2015
The TEFF Auction is now 'live' and appears on the TEFF website and the Angling Trust website. This is a significant part of the TEFF fund raising effort so dig deep and get bidding.
British Fly Fair International 2015
The Grayling Society will have a stand at this years British Fly Fair International, 7th and 8th February. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Venue: Staffordshire County Showground, Weston Road, Stafford, ST18 0BD
Opening times: 9.30am - 4.30pm
For full details go to the BFFI website: http://www.bffi.co.uk
Area 14 Grayling Day
Geoff Bevan, Secretary for Area 14 - Dyfed, Gwent, West, Mid & South Glamorgan, reschedules his area Grayling day on the River Ewenny in South Wales for Sunday 18th January.
If you are interested in attending please contact Geoff:
Tel: 01446 774223
Malcolm Greenhalgh blog report
Malcolm Greenhalgh reports on October's fishing conditions and The Grayling Society Symposium in his blog on the Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Magazine website.
Symposium Fishing Returns
Could members who attended the Symposium & AGM and fished on the Sunday please remember to email their returns to either Rob Hartley or Paul Deaville.
Rob - firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul - email@example.com
Fine artist Rob Olsen (www.thefineartoffishing.com) has launched a range of fishing t-shirts including some of Grayling.
The shirts depict his illustration works and are available either through the Togsbox website or via Amazon UK by typeing rob olsen fishing t shirts into the browser.
Leek & District Fly Fishing Association have places available.
Leek & District Fly Fishing Association have places available for the 2015/16 season.
Their fishing includes the gin clear streams of the Bentley Brook and River Hamps, the stuff of angling folklore in the majestic Dovedale, the spectacular scenery of the Churney valley and the stunning natural beauty of the upper Dove.
Contact LADFFA for more details: http://www.ladffa.com.
River Annan Trust Grayling Days
Every winter the River Annan Trust runs a number a number of Grayling fishing days. This years dates have now been finalized and they are as follows: Sat Dec 13th; Sun Jan 11th; Sun Jan 25th; Sat Feb 7th; Sun Mar 1st; and Sun Mar 22nd.
As ever they will be meeting in the Cafe 91 at 8 am to hand out instructions but for a change of evening venue they have teamed up with The Townhead Hotel at the North of Lockerbie. If anyone is traveling a distance the hotel has offered a fantastic deal of just £70 for a twin room and £45 for a single, both including breakfast. The owner has advised us though that you should book early as he may fill up with other clients.
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in Grayling and there conservation.
Grayling Research Trust Questionnaire
Do you fish for Grayling? Please complete the Grayling Research Trust online questionnaire.
The Grayling Society will be at iFish, the South England's only fly fishing whow, in West Sussex on Saturday 22nd November 2014.
We look forward to seeing you there.
New Secretary for Area 7 - Wirral & Cheshire
We would like to thank Barrie Davidson for volunteering to once more take on the mantle of Secretary for Area 7 - Wirral & Cheshire.
Grayling Research Trust website
The Grayling Research Trust have updated their website. The website provides access to a wealth of information on the Trust's work with links to the Trust's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Area 14 Grayling Day
Geoff Bevan, Secretary for Area 14 - Dyfed, Gwent, West, Mid & South Glamorgan, is organising an area Grayling day on the River Ewenny in South Wales for Sunday 9th November.
If you are interested in attending please contact Geoff:
Tel: 01446 774223
Christmas is coming
Looking for a gift for an angler. Look no further than the Grayling Society shop.
The Society sells a small range of high quality accessories including badges, car stickers, clothing and literature binders as well as furled leaders, floats and other angling necessities.
And all the profits go to the Grayling Society.
Ole Bjerke Returns
We would like to welcome back Ole Bjerke as Overseas Secretary for Norway. Ole takes over from Geir Kjensmo. We would also like to thank Geir for his hard work and support and wish him well for the future.
Ole's contact details are as follows:
Ole A. Bjerke
Johan Bojersveg 8
Mobile +47 40 43 61 76
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Area 2 Grayling Days
Due to the popularity of last years Grayling day Greg Payne has organised two Grayling fishing days for this year, both of which will take place on the River Test carriers at the Wherwell Estate Fishery.
The dates are:
Wednesday, 15th October and Sunday, 28th December
The maximum number of rods per day is 15, Grayling Society members only. The cost is £40 per head.
Because of one 'no show' last year, which had to be paid for, Greg will require a 50% deposit before the day. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
For details contact:
Greg Payne, Area Secretary - Area 2
T: 01985 213023 M:07807 748712 E: email@example.com
Secretary for Area 5
We would like to welcome Paul Deaville as Secretary for Area 5. Paul will take over from Rob Hartley after the Grayling Society Symposium and AGM at the end of October.
Paul's contact details are as follows:
Tel - 07805 823488 firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also like to thank Rob Hartley for his hard work as Area 5 Secretary and his support on the Committee. Rob has done sterling duty organising this years Grayling Society Symposium and AGM. We wish him well for the future.
Working together makes Sence: angler's joy as Grayling return to Leicestershire river
Anglers on the River Sence, near Ibstock in Leicestershire, are really excited after catching a species of fish which disappeared from the area over 40 years ago.
Grayling are now returning to the River Sence thanks to a series of improvement projects carried out by the Environment Agency, Gopsall Fishing Club, the Wild Trout Trust, the Grayling Society and other partner organisations in the local area. These works have significantly improved the quality of the water in the River Sence and improved the fish's natural habitat - encouraging them to migrate and spawn.
The improvement works involved creating fish spawning areas and designing new channels to enable fish to migrate around impassable weirs. Large woody debris was also added to help prevent silt from building up in the river - by varying the river flow and keeping the gravel clean to encourage fish to spawn. 3km of fencing was erected to prevent livestock from entering the river and prevent over grazing on the river banks.
From 2006 to 2010 the Environment Agency worked alongside Gopsall Fishing Club and the Grayling Society to kick start the grayling population by stocking over 8500 grayling - reared at the Environment Agency’s fish farm at Calverton.
Tom Astley, Environment Agency, said:
“We're delighted to see that the fish we stocked with Gopsall Fishing Club, the Wild Trout Trust and the Grayling Society have reached maturity and are now spawning in the river. We hope that over time the grayling population in this area will go from strength to strength. This is a great example of one of the many projects we deliver as a result of rod license fee funding. It is part of our nationwide aim to conserve and improve wild stocks of trout, sea trout, char and grayling - whilst also enhancing the environment for all types of fisheries.”
Peter Owen, Chairman of Gopsall Fishing Club, said:
“This season our members have reported the capture of the first naturally spawned wild grayling in the river. This is fantastic news as it demonstrates that all the hard work put in by the club and its partners has restored the habitat that can once again support a self-sustaining grayling population. It also provides us with some winter fishing beyond the end of the trout season.”
In addition to the work delivered by the Environment Agency, Gopsall Angling Club have also continued to improve the area with other partners organisations such as the Wild Trout Trust, the Grayling Society, Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, Bardon Aggregates, the Crown Estate and farmers.
Emerald Waters - The River Soča, story of a life-time enchantment
Dr. Vincenzo Penteriani, Grayling Society Overseas Secretary for Spain, has published a photographic portfolio on the upper part of the River Soca, the wonderful Slovenian river well-known for the emerald colour of the water and high quality fly fishing. You can preview and buy the book online at:
New Vice Chairman
For some time now the Society has been without a Vice Chairman. At the April Committee Meeting it was felt that this situation should prevail no longer and I am pleased to advise members that Rob Hartley, who is currently Area Secretary for Area 5, volunteered to take up that role. Since this role is that of a Society Officer and has been, in effect, co-opted it will be ratified at the next AGM in accordance with the rules of the Society. Rob has my personal thanks for taking up this position and I am sure he will carry out any duties associated with it with his usual efficiency, thoughtfulness and wicked sense of humour.
Steve Skuce, Chairman
Grayling Genetics and Conservation
Hopefully many of you will recall that in 2008/09, anglers collected over 1,100 grayling adipose fin clip samples from 27 catchments in England, Scotland and Wales. The samples were used to extract DNA and for the first time, help us understand the genetic make up and diversity of grayling across the UK. This information was later used to influence stocking of UK grayling. I attach a copy of the published paper as a reminder for those of you who participated, and for those who didn't, you can get a flavour of how angling participantion has influenced the management and conservation of this species.
The reason for me contacting you now is that another genetic study is underway and needs samples for analysis. Vanessa Huml has started her PhD and I enclose an introductory letter, giving details of the aims of her research. I should also highlight that this study is being supported by the Grayling Research Trust and The Grayling Society. The angler sampling methodology is slightly different this time around in that we will not be taking fin clips but using swabs (cotton buds) to collect DNA from the mouth and gill cavity. I personally undertook some sampling in March this year and so I know what this involves. Swabbing will slow your fishing day down a little but shouldn't ruin your pleasure too much. Unusually, fish capture is to be undertaken in the summer months (starting June 16th) rather than Autumn / winter. I appreciate that this is more problematic with grayling but I'm sure that you'll rise to the challenge - we need a minimum of 30 samples per catchment.
If you are willing to collect samples from the required catchments (see Vanessa's list in the letter), then please can you contact her directly via e-mail indicating the catchments that you fish. She will then send you the appropriate sampling gear. If you can't help, you will know people in your area who fish for grayling (or trout where grayling will be a likely by-catch). Please make the effort to involve them in the project.
Get involved by contacting Vanessa and if you have any further questions, contact her or myself and we'll do our best to answer them.
Please support Vanessa, kind regards,
Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales
Grayling Society Conseravtion Projects Officer
New secretary for Area 1
We would like to Welcome Mark Hamnett as Secretary for Area 1 (Devon, Cornwall, Dorset & Somerset). Mark can be contacted at:
+44 7917 543392
Dates for the Diary
Greg Payne, Area 2 Secretary (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex & Wiltshire), will be at the following events in 2014. Drop by, say hello and if you're not already a member join.
- West Country Game Fair, Shepton Mallet: 22 - 23rd March 2014
- Meon Springs Country Sports Day: 13th April 2014
- Bath & West Show, Shepton Mallet: 28 - 31st May... 2014
- Frome Show : 13th September 2014
Grayling Sculpture by Paul Dady
Sculptor Paul Dady is very kindly offering Grayling Society the opportunity to buy a Grayling sculpture at a very special price whilst also benefiting the Grayling Society.
Finely cast in Bronze, Paul's sculptures of Trout, Salmon and Grayling portray not merely a highly detailed likeness but moreover a living creature caught in an instance of time.
Grayling Society members get a 10% discount off the normal retail price of a Grayling sculpture with a further 10% going to the Grayling Society.
For further details contact Paul through his website.
New Secretary for Area 9
The Grayling Society would like to welcome back Steve Rhodes as Secretary for Area 9. Steve takes over from Ade Bristow. We would like to thank Ade for his hard work and efforts as Area Secrerary and wish him all the best.
We still have vacancies for Area Secretaries in Area 1 (Devon, Cornwall, Dorset & Somerset) and Area 7 (Wirral & Cheshire) and for Overseas secretaries in Canada and Italy following the death of Dr. Antonio Sabbadini.
If you would be interested in any of these roles please contact the General Secretary Rod Calbrade (email@example.com).
New Grayling Research Trust PhD study
Assessing adaptive genetic variation for effective management and conservation of European Grayling. Go to the GRT Website for further details - http://www.graylingresearch.org/projects/phd-project
The Grayling Society needs you
The Society currently has vacancies for Area Secretaries in UK areas 1 (Devon, Cornwall, Dorset & Somerset) and 7 (Wirral & Cheshire) and for Overseas secretaries in Canada and Italy following the death of Dr. Antonio Sabbadini.
The Grayling Society is a truly international organisation with Overseas Secretaries in Belgium, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Germany and Austria, Poland and the United States of America. But not all the countries where Grayling are found and fished for are represented, Bosnia or Slovenia for instance. Would you be interested in setting up a new Overseas outpost of The Grayling Society?
If you would be interested in any of these roles or in setting up a new outpost please contact the General Secretary Rod Calbrade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New Area Secretary for Area 14
Geoff Bevan is taking over from Tony Protheroe as Area Secretary for Area 14 (Dyfed, Gwent, West, Mid & South Glamorgan).
Geoff can be contacted at email@example.com.
Grayling Society Facebook page
You can follow the Grayling Society on Facebook at our new page: facebook.com/thegraylingsociety.
Following the Grayling Society Annual General Meeting we have pleasure in announcing that Steve Skuce will succeed Steve Rhodes as Chairman of the Society and that Rod Calbrade has volunteered to take on the role of General Secretary. We thank them for their support and wish them the best of luck in their roles.
Farmers, anglers and landowners unite behind sustainable access campaign in Wales
A broad-based coalition has been launched today with a website at www.accesscymru.org to campaign for locally-managed access to the Welsh countryside and rivers to ensure that it is sustainable and does not impact on legitimate and economically-important activities such as farming and angling.
The coalition is responding to an on-going consultation on access to the countryside by the Welsh Government, led by the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM, who refused to rule out the possibility of opening up access to all land and water without restrictions at a recent meeting with coalition members, which has incensed a wide range of people who make a living in the countryside.
The Grayling Society 37th Symposium and AGM
Steve Rhodes welcomed members to the Forest & Vale hotel in Pickering for the 37th Symposium and AGM. After a moment to remember those members who were no longer with us Steve thanked Ade Bristow and Steve Skuce for arranging the event. Thanks were also extended to the hotel, all those who had donated fishing for the Sunday, the exhibitors (Cookshill Fly Tying, Coch-y-Bonddu Books, Fly Tek and Chris Lythe) and those who donated prizes for the raffle, including the Wold Top Brewery.
As retiring Chairman Steve made an impassioned call to members to step up to the plate and volunteer to take on those committee roles that need to be filled. Steve then introduced the first presenter Stuart Crofts.
Stuart kicked things off with a brief insight into the importance of bio-security for anglers and the need to check all gear before leaving the fishery, thoroughly cleaning all gear with either Virkon or hot water and drying gear before it is used again. (A video made by Stuart on the subject can be found on further down this page. Stuart grabbed the audience's attention by then going to talk about sex. Unfortunately, the sex lives of insects, those particularly important to fly fishers - the midge, stonefly, caddis, dance fly and upwings. As always Stuart was entertaining, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. He left the audience with lots to think about.
Tony Walsh of the Pickering Fishery Association then introduced John Shannon.
John previously worked for the EA and now heads up the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust and has a deep knowledge of the local catchment. John talked about the Costa Beck, its past, present and future. Through maps and articles John shared the history of the Beck and how it came to be in its current, rather poor state. He explained how the introduction of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) had helped to focus attention on the 90% of watercourses in the Humber District that were failing WFD, including the Costa and Oxfold Becks. John then shared how recent projects with the EA were helping to reverse the Becks decline. These involved the use of 'dig and dump', channel narrowing and de-straightening, woody debris and creating self cleaning gravel flows. The underpinning principle being to the use the river itself and the materials at hand to improve the habitat.
Before lunch Ade Bristow gave a brief but extremely useful insight into the rivers to be fished on Sunday, should the weather hold. Fingers crossed.
The author John Roberts introduced the third presenter, Chris McCully and his interestingly titled ‘Grayling and Mammoths’.
Chris's entertaining, amusing and thought provoking presentation set about trying to change out preconceptions of cavemen, the origins of Grayling in the UK and the representation of Grayling in human culture.
The final session of the day saw Dr Ryan Taylor provide an update on the Grayling Research Trust, their projects and activities. This included the new website, Twitter and Facebook pages (http://www.graylingresearch.org/, https://twitter.com/GRT_Updates, https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grayling-Research-Trust/497626203606758), genetic testing, spawning surveys, the forthcoming special anniversary edition of the Grayling Journal and the aspiration to create a new Grayling Conservation Guide.
Steve Rhodes and Steve Skuce hosted their final Annual General Meeting (AGM) as Chairman and General Secretary. Steve Rhodes announced that Alan Ayre succeeds John Brennan as President. He then gave his final passionate and at times heart felt Chairman's update on the year including; the proposal to end the process of application for charitable status; the increase in conservation funding; the relatively stable membership level; area activities and the need to appoint new area secretaries in some parts of the country. Keith Mason provided a summary of the accounts, which were approved. Steve Rhodes then handed over the mantle of Chairman to Steve Skuce along with the Chairman's book. All other Committee members were re-elected. The motion to end the process of application for charitable status was passed. Steve Skuce advised that the 38th Symposium and AGM will be at The Menzies Hotel at Mickleover in Derbyshire on the 25th and 26th October 2014.
In recognition of Steve Rhodes contribution as Chairman Alan Ayre presented him with a copy of William Nelson's book Fishing in Eden.
Steve was also awarded the Broughton Trophy alongside Keith Mason and Brian Clark for over 20 years service on the Committee. The Righyni Roose Trophy was awarded for the 'written word' to Dylan Morris in his absence.
Finally the raffle was drawn. The raffle raised £337.
The evening Gala Dinner was a huge success.
After a wonderful three course meal Pat Stevens, aided by Steve Skuce and Rod Calbrade, took the role of auctioneer. Bidding was brisk and raised over £1,400 for the Grayling Society and Grayling Research Trust.
As everyone enjoyed the evening the weather threatened to derail Sunday's fishing. Heavy rain, thunder, lightning and hailstones. The 'Kent curse' strikes again. But Sunday dawned bright and breezy with a chill in the air. Some of the further flung fishing was washed out but the becks in and around Pickering held up. David Southall ran a Tenkara 'Teach In' on the Derwent whilst Chris Lythe demonstrated his approach to trotting small streams on the Pickering Beck. Both proved highly informative and were well received.
Once again a wonderful opportunity to meet up and catch up with friends, supporters and members. Well done to Ade Bristow for organising the event and see you all in Derbyshire in 2014.
Driffield Beck Long Trotting
Andrew Dixon the owner of the Mulberry Whin chalkstream fishing on the Driffield West Beck is to allow Grayling Society members only for a trial period to long trot with worm or maggot for the large grayling that reside in his length of the beck. The trial period will run through December and January and is exclusive to Grayling Society members.
The Mulberry Whin beat extends for more than a mile and holds some truly huge grayling with fish running to well in excess of 3 lbs. The fishing is limited to 4 rods per day and will cost £20 per rod, Andrew can also offer on site self catering and Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Details can be found on the Mulberry Whin website: www.mulberry-whin.com.
It's hoped that if the trial is a success it may be extended this season and will be continued in future seasons so members are asked to support this initiative.
To reserve a rod/s or for further information contact Andrew Dixon on 01377 254073/07727 189423 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grayling Society 2014 Symposium and AGM
The 38th Symposium and AGM will be at The Menzies Hotel at Mickleover in Derbsyshire on the 25th and 26th October 2014.
Further to Stuart Croft's presentation at the Symposium on Bio Security the guidelines referred to can be found here.
Have you ever seen grayling spawning? If so the Grayling Research Trust would like to hear from you. See the following link for details:
General Secretary of the Society
Members will know by now that Steve Skuce will stand down from the position of Honorary General Secretary at the AGM in November, after 17 years of dedicated service. The Society would welcome applications from members to take on this important role.
The Secretary's role is one of coordination and organisation. It includes liaison with the Society's officers, the Area Secretaries and the Grayling Trust, and day-to-day communication with organisations and individuals, in pursuit of the Society's aims and goals. It also involves the organising and calling of Committee meetings at approximately quarterly intervals, taking and distributing the minutes of those meetings, and assisting local officers in the organisation of the AGM and Symposium each year. Steve has also assisted at most shows where the Society exhibits over the years.
If you are interested in taking on this role, please contact Steve Skuce, or the Chairman, Steve Rhodes, and discuss it with them. The position is open to any Member, whether or not they already hold positions at local or national level. Enthusiasm, good attitude and a sense of organisation are at least as important as experience.
Retirement of Chairman and General Secretary
After many years of dedicated service to the Grayling Society our Chairman, Steve Rhodes, and General Secretary, Steve Skuce, have advised the Committee of their intention to retire at the next Annual General Meeting in Pickering on the 2nd November.
If you would like to express an interest in the post of Chairman or General Secretary of The Grayling Society could you please contact Steve Skuce - email@example.com / 01985 248134
A reminder regarding your subscriptions. We still have members who are paying their subscriptions at the old rates.
Could I ask that you check your subscription payment with your bank to make sure you are paying the correct amount. If you are still paying the incorrect amount or have any queries about your subscriptions please contact your Area Secretary or the Membership Secretary.
Remember The Grayling Society subscriptions are due on the 1st of January unless agreed otherwise.
Subscriptions are as follows:
£22.00 Senior (over 70 years)
£5.00 Junior (16 or under)
Grayling Underwater Footage
Click on the links below to watch some stunning underwater video footage of Grayling courtesy of Jack Perks, Underwater & Wildlife Photographer.
Grayling in Peak District rivers
The Grayling Society 37th Symposium and AGM - 2nd & 3rd November 2013
This year our Symposium and AGM returns to Area 9. It will be held at The Forest & Vale Hotel in the delightful market town of Pickering in North Yorkshire. The hotel has limited accommodation so it is wise to book early. Ample alternative accommodation is available in and around the town. For the more adventurous, who might fancy a winter paddle or 'proper' fish, chips and mushy peas, Scarborough and Whitby are not too far away. See booking form for further details.
Speakers booked are Stuart Crofts (the representative of the Independent Republic of South Yorkshire) who, in his unique and wonderful style, will talk to us about Bio Security; Alan Mullinger/John Shannon talking about the future of the Costa & Oxfolds Becks and long standing Society member Chris McCully who will, no doubt, entertain us thoroughly with some amusing and interesting anecdotes from his long and varied fishing experiences. We may also have a trotting demonstration from Chris Lythe.
Trade Stands should include several of the usual suspects from Coch-y-Bonddu Books, Flytek, Cookshill, Chris Lythe etc. There may be other stands and, of course, our own Society stand will be present.
The Annual General Meeting will be held in the afternoon followed by the Raffle Draw and presentation of the Righyni/Roose Trophy and Broughton Trophy.
In the evening our traditional Gala Dinner will be held followed by the ever popular Fishing Tackle Auction.
Sunday's fishing will principally be on the Pickering Beck, Derwent, Dove, Driffield Beck and, hopefully, other rivers in the area, all provided as a result of the generosity of local clubs and fishery owners. Fly or trotting methods will be accommodated so please make sure you advise us now which method you intend to use.
Visit The Grayling Society stand at the following Events
British Fly Fair International - 22nd and 23rd June, The Staffordshire County Showground is located 2 miles from junction 14 of the M6 motorway just outside Stafford.
Bakewell Show - Bakewell Showground 7th and 8th August. One of the oldest agricultural shows in the UK with nearly 200 years of history, Bakewell Show has evolved from a purely agricultural display to the diverse event it is today with something for everybody!
Burton on Trent Game Fishing and Fly Tying Festival - 6th October, Burton Town Hall.
Grayling Society Area 2 Events
The Grayling Society will be attending the following events this spring and summer. Why not come along and meet the society.
Any Area 2 members who would be willing to help out on the day please contact the Area 2 Secretary Greg Payne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meon Springs Country Day - 14th April (http://www.meonsprings.com/country-day/).
The Royal Bath & West Show - 29th May to 1st June (http://www.bathandwest.com/royal-bath-west/97/).
Frome Show - 14th Sept (http://www.fromecheeseshow.co.uk/).
Bio security for anglers
Don Stazicker and Stuart Crofts have made a short video on Bio security for anglers.
Grayling Research Trust
River Dove Catchment Consultation Event
Tuesday 26th February 2013 at Ashbourne Town Hall 10.00 am until 3.00 pm. This consultation event forms part of a catchment planning process that the Trent Rivers Trust is leading so that it can develop a catchment plan for the River Dove incorporating the ideas and aspirations of all those people and organisations with an interest in the river.
We hope to talk with local residents, landowners and tenant farmers, anglers, ramblers, wildlife conservationists, Government agencies, elected representatives and council officers and other recreational user groups.
Grayling Society 2013 Symposium and AGM
The 37th Annual General Meeting of The Grayling Society will be held on Saturday 2nd November 2012 in Pickering, North Yorkshire.
The Society's AGM and Symposium, 2012.
This year the Society gathered in Wales, at the charming town of Llandrindod Wells. Roger Smith and the Area 4 team organised the Symposium and the fishing day superbly, and things ran smoothly from the start.
The Metropole Hotel was the HQ; a spacious and comfortable place where our exhibitors could spread their wares and the presentations and business meetings could be held in large comfortable rooms.
On the Saturday morning an exceptionally well-organised registration process gave us all the papers and information needed for the day's proceedings and our fishing beats for the Sunday. After a slightly lustful gaze over the books, pictures and tackle on display, we assembled for the first session. Society Chairman Steve Rhodes formally opened the 2012 Symposium and welcomed delegates and guests. After some essential housekeeping information, we moved on to the first presentation, “The work of the Wye and Usk Foundation”.
The Wye and Usk Foundation, or WUF for short, is too well-known to need much introduction, so Foundation Director Simon Evans took us straight into a full and comprehensive overview of its historical context and its work up to the present time. WUF is clear about basing its actions on the best available evidence, and Simon's presentation was a splendid example of how good science and a passionate and committed team of people can come together to make a real difference. Simon's presentation was backed up by a comprehensive display, and informative booklets for all delegates. The Wye and Usk catchment is vast, and issues such as diffuse pollution and land management are still, in Simon's words, another Everest for the WUF team to climb. I would certainly not bet against them. At the conclusion of the presentation, after Simon had taken questions, Steve Rhodes presented him with a cheque for £500, a contribution to the magnificent conservation work of the Foundation.
After coffee, it was my pleasant task to introduce Dr Cyril Bennett. Any angler who has even a passing interest in entomology and the conservation of our river flies will know of Cyril and his extraordinary work. His presentation on the theme of “Riverflies, Monitoring, Conservation and Restoration” was fascinating, and suggested how diffuse pollution, habitat loss and fluctuating water levels may be acting to reduce our river fly populations. Cyril, practical as always, accepted the serious limitations on our knowledge of river invertebrates, but still encouraged us to be proactive and to do what we can to restore good populations of key flies. His account of “farming” blue-winged Olives and Mayflies to restore failing populations will certainly inspire debate, and perhaps action, from those who heard it.
To close the morning session, a panel of local anglers, including organisers Roger Smith and Glyn Williams, very sportingly agreed to take questions about the local fishing, and the tactics that might work well on Sunday. Questions were fielded adroitly, and any matters of “housekeeping” were made clear.
A very pleasant buffet lunch and a chance to look again at the trade stands and exhibitions brought us into the final presentation. We had a serious dose of facts and figures in the morning, with more to come in the AGM proper, so author and journalist Jon Beer was a welcome contrast. His theme was “Long walks for small fish” and in his informal conversational style, he took us all on such a walk through the memories and experiences that have shaped his attitude to fishing and to much more. Jon described himself as a permanent optimist, always seeing something better in the next pool or over the next hill; he succeeded in infecting me, and I hope many others, with this happy condition.
Before tea and the AGM proper, Roger Hughes presented the Annual Report of the Grayling Research Trust. Having chaired GRT for 5 years, Roger felt that it was time to let someone else have a go and introduced his successor, Ryan Taylor. Ryan is a fisheries biologist at the Hull International Fisheries Institute, University of Hull, and is in an excellent position to spot promising areas in grayling research that could be promoted effectively through grants from GRT.
Afternoon tea fortified us and, on our return, Steve Rhodes, Steve Skuce and Keith Mason conducted the formal business of the AGM, with their usual skill and brevity. All the relevant reports and minutes are to be found in the Journal this year, rather than as a separate document. After the compulsory business it fell to Steve Rhodes to present the President's Reel, now called the Broughton Trophy, awarded to someone who has made a significant long-term contribution to the conservation of the grayling. This year the Trophy went to Dr Cyril Bennett, who was, of course, able to receive it in person, to general acclaim. Steve then formally closed the 2012 Symposium.
After a break and another shopping session, we assembled for the Symposium Gala Dinner, organised by Roger and the Metropole with groups at tables named for the local rivers. A very pleasant meal, smartly served, with President John Brennand proposing the toasts. Well-filled and content, we were ready for the annual Auction. Greg Payne was the very capable auctioneer, and there were plenty of lots to bid for, from serious memorabilia and collector's items to more everyday books and tackle. Tackle and books belonging to the late John Barkaway had been kindly donated by his family, with the proceeds from their sale committed to the Society. As always, members bid generously, and the Auction raised £1213 for the Grayling Research Trust, and a further £171 from the separate auction of John Barkaway's equipment.
Sunday, for those who chose to remain, meant fishing, and with the weather looking fine and dry, and the rivers falling steadilty after the earlier spates, we set out with hopes high. There cannot be many places where a good day's fishing can be found for over eighty rods, but Roger Smith and his team managed the feat, and we were placed on some lovely waters in the Wye catchment. Many thanks go to all those Clubs, Associations and riparian owners who gave their permission for us to fish. I found myself on the delightful (but challenging) River Irfon at Llancammarch, and, in spite of all the positive signs, I blanked! I spoke to others who had similar experiences, and can only conclude that even Roger and the team can't influence Grayling! As John Geirach says, the fishing was good, but the catching was a bit shaky.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Symposium weekend, and many members have agreed with me. Such occasions are always a happy mixture of planned formal events and the unplanned meetings, conversations and general “craic” that happens when a number of like-minded people are together. Next year we shall gather in Yorkshire; if you have not yet attended a Symposium, try to join us in 2013 - you will not regret it.
N.B. The Minutes, Chairman's report and Accounts, together with the GRT Report appear in the centre pages of the Journal, instead of as a separate document.
Many apologies to members for the lateness of the Autumn Journal and the revised Grayling Anglers' Guide. There been problems with printing, but we expect the new editions to be going out very soon, and I hope that you will be patient, and enjoy them when they do reach you.