Daddy is the fly for the trout

A good place for fishing, Whinney Loch.
A good place for fishing, Whinney Loch.

This last seven days has been the shortest fishing week for a long time.

I only managed to fish on three days because months ago my eldest, Neil, gave me his wedding dates with the instructions, ‘block off these days before and after the actual wedding day as you will be required’.

So I have written this report from a superb room in Doxford Hall following the wedding. It was a terrific day at a first class venue, with red squirrels running around.

Anyway, back to the fishing. I had another day with my friend from Germany, Ian, and his school chum from Teesside, Grant. They had a trip to Hallington, Westwater Angling Club’s home water, at my suggestion.

When I arrived Grant was already fishing the West Lake and Ian met me in the car park.

Tackling up in the car park was a good friend who was a regular customer when I worked at Hardy and Greys in Alnwick, John.

We had a quick chat and off I went to catch up with Ian and Grant.

I fished nymphs to begin with, but after 20 minutes and several different nymphs I did not have one offer from any trout.

I thought for a while before putting on a dry fly. I don’t know why I did it as there were very few fish rising. By the way, the weather was very bright with virtually no wind.

I left the Daddy Longlegs fly static on the surface and that did not attract any attention either. I started to retrieve the fly with the intention of changing it when the line suddenly stopped. Fish on, as they say.

It was not a big trout, but it fought way above its weight. In the next 15 minutes another four trout came to the net, one of which was a beautiful 4lb brown trout.

I caught up with my two friends and both had caught fish.

Grant had two and Ian landed one just as I got to his side. They said it was not easy and they had caught their fish on a black sedge type pattern. I told them of my success with the Daddy so they both changed their fly to a Daddy.

Yes, it definitely was the fly as they both had trout on at the same time.

They were both really absorbed in their fishing, getting swirls at their fly, having pulls, playing trout and losing them, but also landing a good number.

I fished for half an hour after lunch, but left when I had returned 10 fish.

It was great to see Ian and Grant again, and good to see them enjoying first class fly fishing at Hallington. It really is a special place, with very good facilities.

We fished from the bank, but there are boats there should you wish to use them.

I believe the next day the two of them were aiming to fish at Whitton Castle fishery in Durham. There were another six venues already booked for the next six days after Whitton, but I had commitments.

Gus, a friend from Eyemouth, is going to fish the River Tay in Scotland for salmon.

A number of friends had won a day’s fishing on one of the best beats on the river.

Gus had never used a double-handed rod before so when I was fishing at Whinney Loch recently he asked if I could give him a lesson. Date and venue were sorted.

We met on a private beat on the Coquet to practice. It was a lovely morning, but there was a coolish breeze from a northerly arc, which kept the temperatures down.

Gus really enjoyed the session and we had a good laugh and chat about fishing matters. The fresh dressed crab he had done the previous evening was absolutely delicious. Being an Amble lad, crab has always been one of my favourite foods.

The final coaching session of the week was with Tim, who lives in Australia. He was visiting family and his aunt bought him one of my vouchers to try something different.

It was a horrible morning, with constant steady rain and a cold wind from the North. Tim and Auntie Barbara turned up and it was decided to give it a go. Both aunt and nephew did rather well actually, and never once complained of the conditions.

We decided to call time and as auntie was pulling her line in, it stopped. A trout came jumping out the water and pure panic was the order of the day. Once the line was being reeled in, because the trout peeled yards of fly line from the reel, some sort of normality was evident.

When the trout decided to make a second run, that’s when disaster struck. The fly line suddenly went slack and the trout was off. One disappointed aunt, but she was still trembling from the shock of actually hooking a fish. I explained about barbless hooks and keeping a steady pressure on the line, but the reply was: “How are you supposed to keep calm and remember everything when a fish takes like that without any warning?”

The three of us had a good laugh and continued. One thing is, both want an other session in the near future.