Grayling (Thymallus thymallus)
4lb 3oz (1.899kg), SR Lanigan, River Frome, Dorset, 1989
3lb 13oz, S Thomson, River Clyde, 2012
Grayling are arguably one of the most handsome fish in our rivers and are easily identifiable by their large, sail like, dorsal fin. They are a member of the Salmon family and have an adipose fin and black spot on their flanks.
Grayling are a shoal fish and can be found throughout the UK. They prefer fast flowing water and clean gravel over which to feed and thrive the upper reaches of smaller salmon and brown trout rivers and streams.
A 1.000kg grayling is a quality fish and anything over 1.500kg is considered a specimen.
Fishing for Grayling
Grayling are a very streamlined and agile fish. They are an opportunistic feeder and will intercept food at all levels, readily hunting for cadis fly larvae or nymphs amongst the rocks on the river bed, intercepting worms or other items of food being washed downstream in the current or delicately sipping in hatching flies off the surface.
The best baits to try are either maggots (reds seem to be most productive) or worms trotted down at the pace of the current beneath a dumpy stick float or all balsa chubber or avon style float.
Grayling will fight very hard for their size when hooked and have a very characteristic backing off style of fight using their large dorsal fin against the current to increase pressure on the tackle and change direction from side to side.
Due to the fact that they expend so much energy in the fight, is it essential to hold them head first into the current until they recover their strength before releasing them.