I am a very proud member of the Ellem Fishing Club.
The oldest Fishing Club in the World.
So last Thursday was our Annual Competition.
This is held on the third Thursday in May on the River Whiteadder and by special dispensation from the Berwick and Duns Angling Associations we are allowed to keep four trout.
Most of these end up with the Tweed Trout and Grayling Biologist Kenny Galt for autopsy and analysis. This year there were 10 fish presented at the weigh in which is the most for a number of years. Like most River Fishing Clubs these day we struggle to get members to fish although we do get over thirty at the Annual Dinner held on the same evening.
Anyway shortly after I started I had a cracking Trout that was nudging one and a half pounds.
A great start and I managed another two trout before the end of the session.
This was enough to win the Gold Medal but the outstanding element of the day was the Grayling I caught.
I probably hooked around 12 Grayling and netted 8 or 9 of them.
These ranged in size from over a pound to well above two pounds.
Fantastic fishing in normal circumstances but today I wanted Trout!
I caught my first grayling on the Whiteadder about five seasons ago and it was very much to my surprise as they had been unknown in the river at least by the vast majority of people up until then.
During my 26 years in the Tackle Shop I had only ever heard of two unconfirmed reports of Grayling in the River.
That first one was my only one that season. The next season I had 3 and the following year I managed to catch 5.
Always substantial fish and never any small ones.
The next couple of years the number fluctuated but never over double figures.
Remember this is for a season.
So far this season I have had a day of 3 and then 2 Grayling. All those were over 40 cm by the way.
So to hook over 12 in a day was reasonably amazing.
I was also catching these fish where I would expect the Trout at this time of year.
Now I don’t know about you but I would say it has been a pretty cold spring this year.
Indeed I purposely sought out one of the Farmers at the Dinner that evening and he confirmed that the soil temperature was well behind the normal for this time of year.
Another member who is a keen gardener also confirmed that things were behind this year.
After our Dinner that evening and the presentation of Medals we had a talk from Kenny Galt the Biologist on the river Whiteadder and its Trout.
In a Question and Answer session after I asked him if he thought my catches had been influenced by the water temperature. His response was that you could never be certain of these things but the balance of probability was certainly well up there.
So interesting times and I am out there again tomorrow so we will see how that goes.