Santa visits fishery

Christmas and the school holidays are fast approaching and time is running out to get all the preparations complete, writes Bob Smith.

Santa is busy too, he seems to be everywhere, even calling into Chatton fishery during the ladies’ day.

I had to go as he wanted to know what flies were catching at the moment.

Seriously, it was good to see the youngsters there, fly-tying and fishing.

Our sport needs to encourage far more youngsters and ensure they find it fun and enjoyable.

Lunch was terrific with lots of hot turkey sandwiches, stuffing, roast potatoes and a selection of cakes to finish off with.

These Chatton ladies do know how to look after their club members and youngsters.

Christmas always reminds me to give some attention to all my fishing rods. It is because there are so many lovely candles on display.

Rod joints get dry and if nothing is done, they come apart when casting.

This usually results in one section of the rod splitting and the owner has to buy a new section.

This situation can be easily avoided by rubbing a little candle wax on the male section of each joint of the rod, that’s the bit that goes into the other section.

By doing this, it stops the sections from wearing and prevents the rod coming apart when casting.

This attention to the joints should be done fairly regularly and not just at Christmas.

I was coaching at Chatton with Geoff early in the week.

Geoff had a couple of lessons with me earlier in the summer and now fishes regularly by himself.

However, he had tried using a sinking line and had discovered casting the denser line completely different to casting the floating line that he was used to.

I soon explained how things were different and how to cast the line without ending up with all sorts of problems.

Geoff went on to play and land a super 3lb trout on the sinking line using a Nomad fly.

On another day, I had a meeting at Berwick in the afternoon to discuss some ideas I wanted to incorporate into my website.

I thought I could fish Whinney Loch in the morning so I called my friend at Etal and we got ourselves booked in for four hours.

There was a good breeze blowing and a few fish showing on the surface. I fished dry flies and landed three hard-fighting trout, all around 2½lbs. Jimmy fished under the surface and caught four fish using small pheasant-tail nymphs.

Others guys were catching using sight bobs, little floats, and suspending white-buzzer patterns below the sight bob.

This is a very good technique to catch trout, but I must say it is not my idea of fly-fishing.

We are all different and as long as we can fish the way we want to, within the rules, and enjoy ourselves, then that is what sport is all about.

Midweek found me back at Chatton coaching Steve.

He had always wanted to try fly-fishing and now he was retired, he was determined to give it a go.

He had no tackle so used my Hardy rod and reel.

It was a mild day with a slight breeze as we approached Dunnydeer lake.

Steve started well and picked up the basics fairly quickly. He had a super session, landing one fish before lunch and another two in the afternoon.

Steve has emailed me since saying how much he enjoyed the coaching and wants me to help him buy his own tackle, which will be a pleasure. He also wants more sessions in the new year, happy days.

Returning to Christmas, I now have more secrets of what wives are buying husbands for the big day as surprises.

I have sold a lot of fishing vouchers as Christmas presents and have sent them all over the UK.

There are many visitors coming to Northumberland for Christmas and the new year.

They are staying in holiday cottages or with family, consequently I have a number of days coaching booked.

I do hope the weather remains mild so guests can enjoy the days they are looking forward to.

One last bit of advice, before setting out on a fishing trip at this time of the year, contact the fishery or check their website to ensure that they will be open, as some close over the winter months.

Some may be iced up and unfishable and make sure there will be a space for you when you arrive.

In case you are jetting off to warmer climes or travelling to other parts of the country, can I say have a most enjoyable Christmas and, if you are not back for December 31, a great New Year.