Great turnout for competition

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It was terrific to see 47 anglers supporting the Eddy Brown Memorial Competition held at Chatton Fishery, writes Bob Smith.

Competitors fished at a variety of pegs around the Chatton and Dunnydeer lakes. The final six positions were very close. All six anglers landed the same number of trout – five.

The trophy was awarded to John Williams, from Morpeth, because he landed his first trout quicker than the rest. Congratulations to John and all the other competitors, including six lady anglers.

Marion Matthewman was awarded a prize for being the first lady to land a trout in the competition.

I am sure Eddy would have been pleased to see everyone there, enjoying fishing the lakes that he and his family created.

Recent rain has lifted the level of the Coquet and has brought out far more anglers onto the river.

Good numbers of salmon and sea trout have been caught throughout the system, from Warkworth to Thropton and beyond.

One angler I talked to showed me photographs of six fish he caught on the same day on the Federation beats. The best fish on the Federation water was estimated at 17lbs.

Another visiting angler, who returns to the Coquet every year, landed six fish, all of which were caught on the fly. Salmon have been taking all sorts, small spinners, a variety of flies, rapalas and flying Cs.

Willie Farndale, the head bailiff for the Federation, told me that 90 per cent of all the fish being caught are coloured, but he was pleased to see that the vast majority of anglers were returning these salmon to the river.

Caistron beat anglers above Thropton are catching up to six salmon or sea trout a day. They are reporting coloured fish, but also say that even well up the river they are catching lovely silver fish too. The most successful fly on this stretch has been a cascade in size 10.

During the week, I have had several coaching sessions at Chatton.

One morning, I was coaching Michael, who redeemed one of my vouchers that his wife had bought him as a surprise. He is a sea fisherman, but has wanted to try fly-fishing for a while.

We went up to the Dunnydeer lake and on his third ever cast, the line went tight.

A 3lb trout peeled line from the reel. To be fair, Michael did not panic, but steadily played the fish until I netted it for him. I showed him how to unhook the fish and return it to the lake.

We decided to move to the Ross lake where I changed the fly to a small, black Klinkhammer floating fly.

Michael caught his second trout and we returned that fish too. He really enjoyed the session and wants more coaching soon. It is super to see someone really relaxed and making the most of a new experience.

Earlier in the season, I reported I had been invited to fish at Hallington lakes by three different members.

Terry collared me recently, so I had a day with him and his fishing mate Malcolm at Hallington.

What a lovely private members’ water the two lakes are. The lakes were much lower than the last time I was there, but they offer a terrific fishing venue of around 120 acres.

The members’ lodge is light, spacious and comfortable. It contains all the facilities the angler needs and it is well-looked-after. Hallington is a quiet place were anglers can take their time, enjoy the fishing and relax.

The annual fee is very reasonable for the time members can fish and for the number of trout each member can keep if they wish to. For any angler that likes to fish quite regularly, Hallington offers very good value for money.

My other two sessions at Chatton were with Jimmy and Tim. I have fished with Jimmy a few times now and his casting is definitely improving. He is concentrating on where and how to fish more.

In a two-hour period, Jimmy landed one fish from the Dunnydeer and another six from the Ross lake.

Tim was experiencing his first fly-fishing session. I showed him how to cast and retrieve when a trout took the fly. I handed the rod to Tim, who played a 5lb fish to the net.

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