April 6th, 1998

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories. . .

The Grayling


By Jukka Engblom

The following contribution came to us from the Jukka Engblom, who emailed us saying,"I would like to contribute with a little story that took place in Sweden, just below the arctic circle, when I was dryfly fishing for Grayling." We are delighted to have it and hope you enjoy Jukka's article as much as we did. Our thanks for use permission.

An episode in my life as a flyfisherman:

There is one moment of my life as a flyfisherman that I have to share with other flyfishermen. It is an episode which took place during the last week of July 1996. The episode took place in the Pite river, a river located in the northern parts of Sweden. This particular place was situated just below the Arctic Circle. I, together with a few friends, were there just for the magnificent Grayling fishing.

The awareness:

I had been there for a few days when it happened. I waded out in the stream, just above a bend in the river. I was dry fly fishing, and I caught and released some Grayling in the sizes 35 - 45 cm. The sun was shining, and the little wind, which had been blowing, disappeared. All of a sudden, through the corner of my eye, I saw a wake in the inner side of the bend, just where the river is almost still. I quickly threw out a gentle cast. The conditions were perfect I saw all the way down to the bottom and it was about 3 - 4 meters deep! While I was concentrated on my fly a shadow began to rise from the bottom. When the shadow was approximately 50 cm from the surface it turned into the most beautiful Grayling I have ever seen. The sun and the reflections from the water made it sparkle and glow. The Grayling kept on rising until it was a few centimeters from my fly. Just beneath it the Grayling hesitated for a second, my heart began to pound harder and harder and I felt the adrenaline flow through my body. I had a hard time to keep my arm still. Then! After a time that felt like an eternity the Grayling took my fly.

The fight:

The fight was marvelous. During the first part of the fight the Grayling tried to get rid of the hook by swimming down for the stones in the bottom. Luckily, it had no success. After a while the Grayling changed strategy, it began to spend more time above the surface than below and each time the fish shook and shaked his head. Finally it was tired enough to land. The whole fight must have taken somewhere between 10 - 15 minutes, even though it felt like an hour.

The landing:

Since my friend, Stefan, and I had left the camp without our nets, I had to grab the Grayling by the neck. So! When I thought the fish was tired enough to land I went down on my knees and grabbed the Grayling by the neck, but! It was to broad, I did not get any good grip so I lost it. The Grayling got new strengths so I had to play it for a few more minutes before I got it close enough to grab it by the gills and safely land it.

The Grayling:

It was not the biggest Grayling, but it measured 45.5 cm and it weighed almost 2 pounds. It had a magnificent colouring, with a few small black spots on its grey and purple body. Even though I returned there last year and I most certainly will return there during the coming years, this specific incident will be one of the most memorable. ~ Jukka Engblom

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