A 68-year-old woman was involved in a battle with a monster almost the same size as her in the River Coquet this week.
Luckily for the local residents, her nemesis was a salmon, a 18¼-pound salmon to be precise, and it was landed by fisherwoman Gladys Nicholson at Caistron Fishery near Rothbury on Tuesday.
Mrs Nicholson, who is only five-feet-tall, has been fishing at Caistron for about four years and has been fly-fishing for about 10 years, having been involved in sea angling prior to that.
And although she needed a little help from fishery manager Ricky Chatterton, Mrs Nicholson did bring the salmon in on the fly.
The keen fishing fan lives at Springwell in Gateshead but travels up to Caistron and the Coquet Valley about two or three times a week.
She had only just arrived on Tuesday morning when the giant salmon reared its head.
“To tell you the truth, it was a shock,” said Mrs Nicholson.
“I went on the river and was there for about ten minutes before the salmon appeared.
“It was 18¼ pounds and it took some getting in.
“I was with Ricky Chatterton, who’s the manager here, and when it took he came down and talked me through it.
“It was big and it was running!
“I’m not very tall – I’m only five-foot – and being a woman it’s not very easy to get it in.”
To put it into some perspective, the salmon weighed more than twice the weight of many newborn babies, but salmon can swim at up to 6kph.
Mrs Nicholson said: “I’m absolutely thrilled, it’s the biggest I have ever caught.
“I have caught 10 or 11-pound salmon but this was much bigger.”
Manager Ricky Chatterton said that while he did give her a hand, it was only the same as he does for all customers to make sure they are ok.
“It’s probably the biggest salmon I have ever seen on this river and I have been fishing it for 20 years,” he said.
“I do take a lot of fish myself but I have never taken one that size.
“It’s been a very exciting day, and there’s plenty of salmon in the river.
“It’s the biggest-ever salmon caught at Caistron, it’s a cracking fish.”
And while she had already plenty of salmon for her supper, Mrs Nicholson was back in the water before long, trying to land another whopper, and she sang the praises of Caistron.
“I have been fishing here for about four years,” she said.
“It’s got everything – river, a lake – and there’s always plenty of people around.”
With a two-mile stretch of the River Coquet and a large lake within its boundaries, Caistron Fishery is a famous spot for sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and salmon fishing in the North East.
Since the start of September this year, it has been under new management and as part of this development, they have ‘implemented a new stocking policy along with a number of other exciting initiatives that will enable them to realise their vision for the future of fishing at the river and lakes’.
For more information regarding the changes, contact Ricky Chatterton on 07792 759401 (9am-7pm) or 01669 640328 (7.30pm onwards) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The fishery’s website – www.caistronfisheryriverandlakes.co.uk – also features information on what it offers.