Saturday, 12 December 2020

Hear a pin drop

 Date fished 12/12/2020

8am until 2.30pm

December usually means Ellis and I are chasing ladies. This is not a reference to work Christmas parties, but ladies of the night, I mean Stream!! Ladies of the Stream!! aka Grayling.

For a few years now, Ellis and I have spent hours stood in freezing cold water up to the "important" part of our perfectly chiselled bodies, watching our floats and hoping they would disappear. Today was no exception. We were back on the Tees to do just that. 

On our last trip, Ellis mentioned the other end of the beat we were fishing. It is a drive further along the road and would be a new stretch of water for me to fish, Ellis having fished it before many years ago. We met in the car park and drove to the new area. 

Since our last fishing trip, Ellis had acquired a new centre pin, and very kindly passed onto me his previous one. I too could now be the centre of attention, or create a big birds nest of line?!?

Attaching the new reel to my rod, I struggled as the reel seating was not the right size for the reel. Thinking this would fall off any minute, I took my closed spool reel just in case. I would be fishing for the first time with a centre pin and was exclited to try something new. 

Both armed with centre pins and float trotting gear, we walked towards the river. We waded to an island and started to fish. Ellis was soon into a Trout, first cast no less. He unhooked it in  the water and off it went. Soon I hooked a fish. Ellis was right, striking with a centre pin is easy. Thumb on the drum and a quick flick. It worked and I hooked a fish. As quickly as it was on, it was off!! I carried on regardless. Another chance soon came, I had christened the centre pin and a fancy picture was required! 

Another trot through and I was getting to grips with the spinning drum. A light touch of the thumb causing the bait to flutter in the current. Another quick strike and I was in again. 

Today was all about walking and seeing this new stretch. We actually walked more than fished today, but it was worth it. We walked all the way to the end of the beat. Another day we may walk the upstream section too. 

Leaving this first swim we set off for another likely looking spot . I thought my waders had leaked and I had a wet foot! Fortunately it must have been my imagination as back at the car both socks were bone dry! 

We fished on and I managed to catch a snag three times which took a hooklink each time. Ellis a stone's throw upstream managed some more fish including the Grayling of the day. We were defo playing with the arty shots for this picture! 

A lovely fish to keep us going as the rain started to fall. We carried on downstream and found a non descript swim that we fished just because. 

Ellis started with a Grayling and I jumped in to show Ellis what was happening with the pin. I was explaining to him how I was holding the line guide, when suddenly my rod was nearly pulled from my grasp. A greedy Trout grabbing my bait.

Ellis and I alternated with the rods. Leaving when I had two Trout and Ellis two Grayling.

Eventually we found the swim. It looked perfect. We started to fish. Ellis announcing "I will eat my hat if there is no fish here". 

We fished it for a few minutes, but it was obvious that we needed to leave. It was far too shallow and didn't live up to expectations. How do you want that hat served Ellis?? 

Our last swim on our downstream stroll was another wader.  We stood a third of the way across and cast to the foam line. For about 20 minutes we fed and trotted. The pin was working perfectly and felt so easy to use. My float buried and I struck. I played the Grayling towards me, but he wriggled free before I could net him.  

A quick fish at the end of the beat and it was Ellis who lost a fish and catapult. Dont ask!! We decided to walk back upstream and try in the first swim again before calling it a day. 

On the way we found another great looking run, albeit with a rather steep bank. We did our best cliffhanger impression and managed to fish. Ellis catching a Grayling first cast. 

Back in the first swim, we were feeding and trotting and all was well with the world. My float dipped and I struck. It was a snag, but as I realised there was no pulling on the other end my reel seat decided not to be left out. It spat off the centre pin and it splashed noisily into the shin deep water. It could have been alot worse! 

My first ever fish, a Perch, that was caught on boxing day 1990 was caught as Davey and I tried to untangle a massive birds best. The fish pulling the line we were trying to untie. Today's Trout reminded me of that, pulling as I was explaining to Ellis about the reel. It just shows 30 years on with a new reel and method and I am still learning. I still manage to fluke the odd fish too!! 


  1. Now that's the proper way to catch grayling, with a 'pin. Just ooze skill and class. The only problem, as you discovered, is that the random bit of metal chosen as a reel seat doesn't fit these modern high tech rods.

    1. I have an old float rod. Hopefully that will work!!??!!

  2. Nice one. Two or three trips float fishing with a pin and you’ll wonder how you ever managed with a fixed spool reel.

    1. Yeah. Hopefully get them in over Christmas. Weather dependant!

  3. Pintastic, on its day, and certainly when trotting straight off the rod tip cant be beaten. When fishing from the bank and if trees allow go long on the rod front, 15 foot minimum.

    1. Thanks. Yeah found it hard from the bank. Think I will need to buy a new rod!!

  4. To be fair, I love a centrepin so much I have often left myself short but have seen this as an acceptable trade-off as the joy of using one is not even comparable to fixed spools, the level of instant control is only one of the many positive reasons why you should own at least 5......:)

    1. I need to battle a bigger fish on one. Will see how it fairs then.

    2. Can't speak for barbel or big chub, but mudpigs are great fun on the pin.

    3. Most likely gonna be a chub. Will put it on the list for next year!!