2014 season was a real let-down

Another happy successful angler
Another happy successful angler

The Tyne and Coquet fish are going about their business without any anglers interrupting their journey to their spawning grounds, writes Bob Smith.

It has been what feels like a long season because of the very dry conditions we have experienced this year.

The lack of rain resulted in the migratory fish not moving very far and consequently they were rarely in a taking mood, especially for the fly anglers.

As the chief bailiff for the Federation Water said, ‘It has been a very disappointing year’ and that really sums it up without going into all the factors that combined to 2014 being a season that will be not be remembered for long.

The final week on the Coquet saw a number of salmon and sea trout landed, but the vast majority were coloured.

A couple of sea trout caught in the Pauperhaugh area were clean fish and reports of a reasonable salmon was landed at Rothbury. Not much for the final week of the season.

Fish on the Tweed have tended to be the same, mostly coloured.

Talking to one ghillie, he was telling me that his beat was more than 100 salmon down on last season.

On the still-water scene, the water temperatures are dropping and more of the larger trout are starting to show in the catch returns.

Thrunton Long Crag has recorded more trout and larger ones too from their water.

Trout are still rising and dry flies have provided anglers with some fun. The majority of the bigger fish have taken a variety of wet flies and lures.

Trout of 14 and 15lbs were caught here this week. Anglers recorded bags well into double figures, with the best being 15 trout.

The most successful patterns at Thrunton this last week have been buzzers, bloodworm and black pennell. The second lake at Thrunton is filling nicely and should be ready next year.

Sweethope Loughs is quieter, but the trout are fighting hard when caught.

One angler had his line peeled off the reel to the backing line by a trout less than 2½lbs. Fish here are taking damsel flies, cat’s whiskers and black dancers.

The recent qualifying heat of the Fritz and Flies competition held at Chatton saw almost 30 competitors fishing on Chatton Lake.

Six anglers qualified for the final and they were Mark Howard, who won the competition, then the other qualifiers were Steve Cochrane, Scott Nellins, Jim Tuck, Lee Cartmell and Robbie Bell. Congratulations to all.

Ladies Fishing NE Club are meeting at Chatton fishery on Saturday, November 15, at 9.30am. Any ladies interested in joining are most welcome, just come along and give it a go.

Considering the amount and quality of the anglers that have fished at Chatton in two competitions recently, the lakes are still fishing well.

There are a good number of trout in the 6-8lbs range coming to the net. I have coached there twice this week and both Ken and Peter caught fish.

Peter was using a voucher his wife bought him for a birthday present recently.

Never having cast a fly rod in his life, Peter did not know what to expect.

As I said to him, it is people like him who are great to coach because they have no bad habits to try to undo.

Anyway, Peter managed very well and in four hours could cast overhead and shoot line.

He did get a big surprise when the first trout pulled on the fly. It was on and off quickly, but it did stop the retrieve and Peter smiled.

The second trout was on and pulled line from the reel before jumping clear from the water before becoming detached because it got some slack line.

However, Peter was keeping the line tighter and managed to play and land the next two trout perfectly. They were kept and taken home for tea.

Peter only fished for four hours so kept the extra two hours on his voucher for another lesson soon, great.

Ken wanted to improve his casting and general technique, so we had a very productive session one afternoon.

I watched how he normally cast and fished.

It was obvious that he was self taught and was using far to much effort to get the fly line out.

Ken listened carefully and soon changed his casting style to improve the distance and the presentation of his flies on the water.

With this improvement Ken was soon into trout, catching, playing them and landing the fish.

There was a massive improvement in a short period of time and Ken said he wished he had invested in some coaching when he first began fly-fishing.

My revised website, with new photographs, venues, and sliding shots, (where photos change from one to another every few seconds), is up and running. Have a look, all the photographs were taken on my iPhone, and I do hope you like what you see.