My Two Most Memorable ‘One-Eyed’ Fish!

Now then, I’ll bet you £10 that you’ve never witnessed a blog post with the above as the title?

It’s a strange one granted, but one that I thought may well be worth telling as they are both very interesting stories and just go to show that at times you need to think about things a little more before you proceed in the normal manner.

Fish 1. ( Sky TV Grayling )

I had been asked by the SKY TV fishing show, Tightlines, to present a little piece about targeting big winter grayling, and so I had agreed.

The venue was the top end of the River Dove, a place called Wolfscote Dale. I’d secured the fishing through a mate, Glen Pointon, through him I had managed to get access to this special little river. This far up the river it’s only 10 to 12ft across, less in places places and gin clear and quite shallow. A hard place to catch fish at the best of times! But the scenery was / is stunning!

Glen ( he’d volunteered to help out ) and I waited at the little parking spot near the ford at the top of the beat for the SKY boys to turn up. I’d done some filming with them before and so knew that there’s be shed loads of gear to be humphed around.  But jees it was cold while we waited!

We ended up waiting ages too, as the boys were late, it’s a hard place to find right enough and there’s no phone signal, so they could call us or us call them!

Anyway, eventually, they made it, I introduced everyone and the SKY boys started to get ready… which was fine, until they both started to put on their final layer, each of them had a bright red, and I mean BRIGHT red jacket with them. Now, did I mention that the water was low and gin clear?

When these guys are filing you they can’t do it from miles away they are literally on top of you, it was a worry to say the least!!

Okay I could go on, but back to the fish.

So, it was tough but I was catching, but it was all about BIG graying remember, so numbers was no good size was important ( as it is in other areas).

Glen had scouted down stream form us and came back to tell us he’s spotted a huge one…. game on!

We kept the camera boys -in their day-glo jackets -well back, and Glen and I checked the fish out. It was a good one, over two pounds, some going for this little river, it was catchable but it was tough as it was a afoor or so off the far bank and add to that there was a tree branch over hanging the water a few feet above the fish, I’d have to cast well upstream and let the tippet sag under the tree branches, watching the fish for any movement.

I did a little piece to camera, ” we’ve spotted a big grayling but it’s in a  tough position, here’s whet I’m using to catch it and how I’m going to try and present it…”

The boys kept well back and filmed me form about 2o yards away up stream.

As the fish was so close to the far bank, I cast in such a way that my fly tracked on my side of the fish.

My red beaded nymph ( used so I could sight it) was ignored, four drifts the fish never moved. I changed flies, a shrimp this time… nothing. So I rigged up with thinner tippet, 0.08mm a smaller fly, a natural looking nymph, PTN. Again nothing, and weirdly the fish despite being cast at about 12 times never budged?

Bugger it I thought, let’s go shock tactics, a big pink EGG! As I was tying this Tungsten beaded egg on the fish moved, not much, but enough. It dropped back down stream a touch and moved closer to me, this meant that I could get the fly to drift right in front of it, rather to it’s inside line, it wouldn’t have to move in order to take the fly.

The change in the grayling’s behavior was immediate, as soon as my egg hit the water and started to sink, the grayling moved toward it and with utter conviction and inhaled the fly!

The result, a great sequence of me playing and landing a big grayling for the cameras!

Admiring the fish it became obvious why it had ignored so many flies drifted down it’s inside line, the fish’s right eye totally white and milky, it was BLIND on that side. It had never seen the fly! Basically, if it never moved I’d never have caught it as I couldn’t present a fly ( due to it’s closeness to the far bank and the overhanging branches) in such a way as it cold see it!

Nuts but true!

Cheeky wee egg hoovering session…..











Once upon a time, there was a real rarity, it was called the land-locked salmon, it’s more prevelant now, but my story is form the mists of time, 2006!

The fishery was called Woodhouse, up by Manchester, it had these mythical beasts, and we’d heard some real monsters too!

A pal and I rocked up, the place looked scary, as if some gangster had hastily dug a big pit and filled it with water then fish and then charged people to visit, using it as a tax dodge or somewhere to rinse dirty cash. To be fair it had not long been created and it’s now stunning apparently.

The fishing however as amazing, loads of fish and good ones to, my mate had a salmon about 7lb, brutally strong and great fun on his 5-weight! It had taken a pink rabbit lure!

I was having no luck with the salmon, so decided to walk around trying different spots.

As I slowly walked out onto one platform looking into the clear water as I went, I saw, just in front of the platform something that resembled a baby seal a foot below the surface!

It was  salmon, big about 3 feet long and dark coloured and about 6-inches across it’s back!

The way it was sitting, its left side nearly under the platform, I could only drop my fly down in front of it’s right side. I had on the same weighted pink rabbit that my friend had caught his fish on and no matter how much jigging I did with this in front of the fish the damned salmon never budged.

It’s at times like this that weird thoughts go through your brain, mines was ‘is it sleeping’ daft I know but hey it happens, we all space out every now and again.

So I banged my foot down on the platform, BANG! The fish sh*t itself and shot out into to open water. It was about 20 feet away, but again it’s left side toward me, slowly it turned , but not quite head on and made slowly heading back to it’s platform. I flicked the fly at it, it hit the water with a plop to the right handside if the fish and started to sink down.#

The HUGE salmon, locked on and ever so slowly edged to it, the fly vanished and I lifted into the biggest small water salmon I’ve ever had. It thrashed like mad thing turning the water all foamy, but as I had hooked it so close to the platform I managed to get it’s head up very fast and with it the rest of the fish came willingly to the net.

The hook was secured firmly in the right hand side of it’s jaw, just under a bright shiny and very visible eye! The complete opposite to the other side, eyeless, weird and creepy…. The biggest, blackest and certainly the most ugly stillwater salmon I’m ever likely to see..

I used my masterful skills to fill in the manky eye for your own safety..


Feel free to share with me your own one-eyed fish captures, I look forward to it!

EURGH!!! & EURGH!! And sweet photo-shopping skills!



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