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Freezing on the Frome - 03/02/12

This was the coldest day so far this year. As I travelled over the moors in the morning, the temperature gauge on the car showed -10. Whilst my quest, grayling seem impervious to the cold, I wondered if these extremes would even put grayling off the feed.

Trevor and I met up and travelled to the river. The sky was blue and the sun shone, but the temperature was bitter. I had on four T shirts, a thermal vest, a thick shirt, wolly jumper and angling overjacket. Coupled with thermal long johns, jeans and padded angling overtrousers, I was quite warm as we trudged off to the first recommended spot. On this stretch of river, trotting is allowed between the start of November and the end of February. Steeing up with a 2 swan chubber and a size 14, I started trotting with sweetcorn. The first problem was that the line froze in the rings. Having read Bickerdyke, I remembered that the best way to thaw this was to get your man to warm them in his mouth. Sadly, my man wasn't with me and Trevor, although acting as a gillie, was a little reticent so I did it myself and managed to get about three runs through before the process had to be repeated. During the day, I was able to keep the tip ring thawed by making sure it was in the direct sunlight, although the landing net froze solid onto the bank.

Frome graylingAfter dribbling in a trickle of corn, I got my first bite - a trout! I then carried on and got the second bite - another trout!! Whilst these fish were beautiful, they weren't what I was after and eventually a grayling of about 1.25lb came to the net, followed by another one of 1.75lb and, you guessed it, another trout!! This was actually the second trout of the morning that I had caught again. I know why you have to fish with flies for trout as you would empty the water using bait as they appear so stupid. (I guess I'll never be invited to join the Flyfishers Club now). I finally had another grayling of dead on two pounds but sport slowed and so we tried a few other places.

It was noticeable that bites came quickly but then tailed off as though only a few fish were feeding which wasn't suprising. I also kept losing fish on my barbless rig. Trevor showed me his set up and put me to shame quickly catching a couple of fish, before I resumed.

Frome grayling braceAs the light started ot fall, we tried the bottom swim with maggots, and after a few runs and light loosefeeding I struck into a good fish which immediately turned with the current and took a while to be moved. As Trevor netted it, he said mission accomplished, as this was clearly a bigger fish which pulled the scales down to 2lb 9oz, my personal best as Trevor had promised. As we let the fish recover in the net, I tried for another. The first problem was water had splashed onto the centre pin reel and frozen it. I has to warm it with my hands before it could be freed up. The next trot resulted in another grayling, this time it was 2lb 8oz and as the other fish had recovered in the net, we were able to take a picture of the two together. What a great picture and a superb day out, but without Trevor's help, I don't think I would have had such a successful day, his knowledge of the water made a huge difference.

FromeBy now the light was falling and the temperature plummetting again, so it seems the perfect time to call it a day and head home. A day that had started viewing with such trepidation in very low temperatures turned into a real red-letter day. You never can tell with fishing.