Heartening to see kids catching the fishing bug

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There is something special when you coach youngsters, seeing them being successful and enjoying their sport.

I spent time with the young Hirst Park Trout Ticklers at Chatton Fishery where they held their annual competition to compete for the Chatton Cup.

I founded the Trout Ticklers Club 15 years ago when I was teaching. My idea was to get the middle-school pupils out into the countryside to fish with their parents.

The club started with six pupils and their parents; now the Ticklers have had around 800 pupils and adults fishing with them throughout the years.

The day was decidedly overcast with showers and, as the competition ended, the thunder started, superb timing. Fishing was not easy on the Ross Lake, but the youngsters’ enthusiasm was great.

As they fished, three level-two coaches helped to improve the young anglers’ casting and fishing techniques.

The winner of the Chatton Cup with the heaviest trout was Alfie Coomber and his sister Anna won a fishing voucher for catching the best bag. Anna caught four fish, which included a stunning four-pound fish.

Congratulations to all the youngsters who took part and I hope the coaching they received helps them to improve their catches in the future.

I visited Bill Bewick, the well-known talented artist and angler this week. A friend wanted to buy some of his remarkable prints of the North Tyne river.

We met at his house and had a bit of a chat, catching up and exchanging stories of recent fishing outings at Hallington Reservoir and the Tyne river system. Bill is a generous guy and invited me to fish with him at Hallington one day, which I shall definitely be taking up.

Jimmy, from Etal, and I had a day at Whinney Loch where the sun shone brightly. Fish were rising early before 11am and dries were the flies to use.

As the temperature rose, the trout went down and from lunch-time small wets did the business.

One fly that caught regularly for me was a small Diawl Bach with a red head and jungle cock cheeks. Jimmy and I both had our fair share of fish and really enjoyed the four hours.

The next day, I was coaching Rob from London. He was staying at the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge.

Being a hotel guest, Rob fished the house water for free. We had a tremendous afternoon, with Rob learning different casts and playing brown trout on his small lightweight rod.

The next morning, I was looking at the Coquet from Felton Bridge and chatting to a friend and well-known local angler. We were commenting on various issues concerning the Coquet and fishing in general.

While we stood there, a Kingfisher flew through one of the bridge arches and away upstream. That flash of colour never ceases to amaze me and it is heartening to know that these beautiful birds are still populating our local rivers.

South Linden has fished well this week. More than 100 trout have been caught on the fly. Bags of 10 fish have been caught by anglers and the heaviest trout caught was 17 pounds. Black buzzers and various lures have been the successful flies.

Caistron fishery near Thropton is doing well too.

Some anglers have had bags of nearly 20 fish and the heaviest trout was over 10 pounds.

A date for the diary: July 7. Caistron is holding a charity event for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Contact the fishery website for further details.

The rain gods did send some rain in the last few days, but not enough to make any significant difference to the river levels for anglers. I understand the forecast is for a dry week, so some anglers who love their river fishing will have to be patient. Remember our sport is called fishing, not catching! Enjoy!