You can get so pre occupied with what worked last time out and over analysis on your favorite river, but how often does simplicity pay off in the end.
A stretch of the Alyn I usually avoid due to the magnetic attraction of coarse anglers is adjacent to Cook's Bridge. There is, empathatically, some nice deep glides here to attract them. Assuming I had first 'dibs' this morning [there were no cars] I dropped into the river upstream of the bridge, actually in amongst many dropped grains of sweetcorn that the previous occupant must have discarded. Gosh! are there tench here?
Anyway, the T was with me today and the trusted duo rig attached to enable 2 dimensional prospecting. Careful negotiation of the next 30yrds upstream bought responses from only a couple of parr and two refused aproaches to the dry from stamp Grayling. MMmmm maybe the fish around here are conditioned to the Jolly Green Giant's produce. Upon hearing a car door slam a 15cm Grayling gorged itself on the dry. So much so that I couldn't retrieve the hook and had to cut the line. I had to support this fish for a good five minutes before it held itself upright. I left the small fella to recover and rounding a slight bend I came face to face with a big black labrador and its owner[car door owner also] settling down to a little swimfeeder session. A quick exchange of courtesies and a careful paddle past their chosen swim led me to the next convenient pool upstream where the droppered dry was removed and re-positioned on the point. The #14 olive emerger resulted in a few small Grayling, but things just didn't feel right. I quickly tried a few small midge patterns in case size, or lack of, mattered but results were still pretty scant. The real fishy looking areas looked quite deep and were generally protected by a low canopy so I initially removed the 10' level leader and reloaced with one of Simon's custom 7' tip indicator furle with the intention to flick a #12 shrimp pattern in to the holes. Whilst changing setup a few fish were rising in a far bank run upstream, so I quickly adapted the setup by doubling the 7' furle with a stepped nylon leader, 5lb, 3lb, 2lb of simliar lengths. A size #20 midge was half blooded onto the end. This cast beautifully, the leader make up flicking effortlesly and the light 7' furle and section of 5lb mono was easliy lifted off the water to leave a small 3' pile of tippet and the fly to act naturally in the flow. Rewards were initially instant with several Grayling and a couple of small trout obliging. However, sport once again slowed with sporadic interest.
I reached another deepish spot and now decided to put the shrimpish pattern on. The pattern is tied classic Czech Nymph style with all body hair brushed out over the entire length. First cast and a trout darted out from its Willow tree refuge and took on the drop. Second cast, the same. Third cast, the shrimp finally cut through the water and on tracking through, the yellow indicator section of the furle paused. A quick lift and the thump thump of a decent Grayling; 30cm. A few paces upstream and another of 15cms.
For the next hour or so I stuck to the single shrimp, losing one or two on submerged traps, and concentrated hard on water over 18" deep. I really felt in the groove here, flicking and tracking the shrimp, carefully negotiating the narrow river as the main flow changed from left bank to right, the tip indicator appearring to detect everything, a succession of Grayling obliging...
Simple and I suppose winter like in setup, but although we love to bring them up to a well presented dry you do get days when you can flog the proverbal. The upwing population is not prolific on the Alyn and much of the summer daytime surface activity appear to be from terrestrials, but there is an abundance of small shrimp. So lets give it to them on occassion.
Btw, in the short stretch of river covered I've never ducked under so many Kingfishers before. I'm assuming most are this seasons young and are usually un disturbed. Once you cover the first 50yrds upstream, access to the coarse fishers becomes a little trickier so I doubt much of the river here has been fished this year.