The half-term holiday is being enjoyed by many and spring is in the air, writes Bob Smith.
The first lambs are in the fields, the birds are all mated up and the gorse and snowdrops are well out. The nights are much lighter for longer and hopefully the recent storms are behind us.
I wanted to get myself a new fly-reel, but was not sure which one to buy. I have always liked a click-checked reel, those with a ratchet that makes a lovely noise when a fish peels the line from the reel. Many anglers prefer the modern disc-type reels that are quiet.
The choice for me was between a Hardy Perfect or the Hardy Bougle.
I like the Perfect with the Agate ring, but the latest model has a wider spool, which takes more line, but it has no Agate ring.
I have several Bougle reels and like them. I looked at them both and decided on the Mark VII Bougle with hand reel and rod logo on. Having Made In England engraved on the front also helped with my decision.
Knowing that the reel was made in Alnwick also gives me a little extra satisfaction of knowing that this reel was designed and made by the guys I used to work alongside.
I took the Bougle out the following day to try and Christen it.
The weather was very wet and windy, not ideal conditions, but fishing should always be a challenge.
Using small traditional flies brought no results, so I changed tactics and tried a small Appertiser fly.
Immediate response and two trout were landed in half a dozen casts. One fish was around 5lbs and it was strong. I smiled as it tore the line from the new reel and made it ‘sing’ for the first time. Money well spent I thought to myself.
I am really going to enjoy using my new reel, and with proper due care and attention, it will last me the rest of my lifetime.
The Wansbeck Angling Association, which has various stretches of fishing on the River Wansbeck between Sheepwash Bridge and Morpeth Rugby Club as well as a tidal section, is holding its AGM and presentation of trophies at Guide Post Social Club. The event is on Saturday and starts at 1pm. All members are welcome.
Chatton Trout Fishery is holding the final of the Fritz and Fly Competition this Saturday.
There are going to be almost 50 competitors so all three lakes will be used. This means the fishery will be closed to the public for that day only.
After the heavy rain, Chatton and Ross Lakes are carrying some coloured water, while Dunnydeer remains the clearest.
I tried fishing all three lakes but only managed to catch several trout in Chatton Lake.
I think lots of anglers are put off when the water is coloured.
If the right fly is retrieved in the right way, and it is the right depth in the water, then I find the line will go tight and fish will take the fly.
The day I visited, the ladies club was there. They were all enjoying tying flies and fishing. One woman who was fishing near me caught and landed three trout. She was using a bloodworm pattern to catch two fish and a bunny leech fly to land her third trout.
I rang the head bailiff for the Federation this morning to get the latest on the Coquet fishing.
The first salmon has still not been caught, but while we were chatting there was a shout from the river. A guy fly fishing was into a fish on the fly. I got a full commentary while the fish was being played. It was a beautiful silver salmon of around 5lbs, but unfortunately it was a kelt making its way back to the sea.
Excitement over, the fish was released and swam off at a rapid rate of knots.
The first spring fresh salmon is still waiting to be caught and the Coquet is in perfect condition today for fishing.
The Fishing for Everyone club had a recent meeting at Whinney Loch and the day was enjoyed by all.
The ladies had a good laugh and caught quite a few trout too.
Sounds like a perfect way to spend a day and the club is always looking for new members to come along, join in and learn how to fly fish.
Fishing For Everyone is a well-organised club, most welcoming and has a full calendar of regular events. If you are interested, just check out their website.
I fished Whinney Loch this week with my friend Jimmy.
The water in the loch was almost perfectly clear, which was not the case when I last visited.
The weather was reasonable and there was a nice ripple on the loch. Fishing was not the easiest but fishing is not about catching as many trout as possible, it is about just being there and switching off.
Jimmy is improving steadily and was delighted to catch and play his trout from his reel.
Lots of fish were coming to the net from around the lake to guys using bloodworm patterns. I was successful using buzzer patterns and slightly weighted Pheasant Tail nymphs.
Once the temperature started to drop in the afternoon, fishing became a real challenge and it was time to head home in time for a club meeting.
This coming week looks busy with fishing and coaching booked in at Hexham, Chatton, Whinney Loch and on the Coquet. Bring it all on, cannot wait.