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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Roy Vernon Stroud
A day of wind, driving  rain and temperatures which reinforced that Winter was just around the corner. Fishing was tough, very tough but I'd been looking forward to this day, as a guest of my good friend Roy for some weeks. On the journey to Derbyshire, Roy had told me tales of the very large grayling that can be found in this stretch of the Dove but it was with some difficulty that I was pushing the prevailing conditions to the back of my mind in order to focus on the progress of my tungsten headed nymph as it drifted through pools and riffles.

Roy, in his usual unassuming way, came to show me fish as he caught them but by midday I was fishless and cold to the bone. With regret we both decided that you can only take so much of a 'good thing' and started to fish our way back to the car. We began to 'leap frog' each other, quickly fishing through the most likely spots until I came to quite a shallow run under some over hanging trees. My short, flourescent furled leader suddenly stopped, I lifted ... and my 9ft, 2/3wt rod hooped over as a weighty fish surged across the current.

Glimpses of a large and colourful dorsal fin revealed that I was connected to a substantial grayling that eventually crossed the rim of my net. How big? Difficult to say, the image doesn't really do justice to the fish (frozen hands!) but it was around 45cm, the inside of my net is 37cm and I'd put its weight at around 2.5lb - Roy though
it may have been larger but grayling are notoriously difficult to 'guesstimate'.

Sadly, this trip was the last I was to share with Roy.

Roy had been battling cancer with huge bravery and dignity for over a year. We had planned a return visit to the Dove in the second week of December but Roy succumbed to his illness and died shortly before Christmas.

A lovely man, a true gentleman, a skilled angler and wonderful company. I miss him greatly but I'm sure he'll be there, in spirit, on the bank next season.

Copyright P Dunstan 2008. No material, text or images, to be copied or used without prior written permission.