"I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint you" said the man behind the counter of the tackle shop when he glanced at the bait tub in my hand, "we haven't got any maggots".
He went on to explain that the course fishing season opened on the first of November and he'd sold out, we weren't the first fishermen he'd disappointed! "It's the same every year" - ummm - OK!
Me and James looked at each other - how could it not have occurred to him to double his maggot order and make more money this week? Bit of an error there...
Options were limited, he had worms... but you're not allowed to use worms... red sweetcorn it was then. I really don't like using sweetcorn for grayling, a difficult task just got harder.
The red corn smells lovely, looks great and the trout love it - but I lack faith, and grayling fishing without faith in your bait isn't ideal - especially in bright, warm conditions.
James has faith - his PB fell to a grain of sweetcorn, the yellow variety, but sweetcorn was a banker to him. Which is probably part of the reason he did so much better than me.
It was a lot of hard work - I only landed one grayling, the 1lb 7oz fish above, best of the season so far, but I'm hoping to better it soon. Wonder what I'll be using for bait next time?
I had a back-up plan to add a new river double pike to the list, and a friend of James' was getting bugged by one downstream. James was first to try and tempt her - but soon went back to grayling...
I took over but despite watching a mid-double try and nail one of Neil's grayling I couldn't talk her into hitting a deadbait. But when I launched a smelt into the tail of the swim it was hit almost instantly.
Brilliant fight (athlete pike in that fast water) before she was ready for the net - James had the pike net - so a couple of attempts getting her in the small net before resulting to chinning her out...
And my hand managed to find the treble inside her mouth - but it was barbless and a bit of blood signals the start of pike time for me. An 11lb 10oz Frome double to save the day! Brilliant!!
The trip ended with me and James finding a beautiful stretch of river as the sun was setting, something to explore next time - but next time will be with faith - and maggots!