ANGLING COLUMN: Weather-beaten but not bowed in pursuit of fish

My first 2015 lesson and Jean with her first ever trout
My first 2015 lesson and Jean with her first ever trout

Fishing this week has been dominated by the weather, particularly the latter part of the week.

My trip on the Till was very difficult work as heavy rain overnight saw the river rising as we arrived. Jimmy and I did stay for a couple of hours, but with the water rising and a cold, easterly wind increasing in intensity we decided to call it a day.

Wednesday found me at Chatton coaching Jean and Mark from Lancashire. They were staying in a cottage over the New Year and had always wanted to try fly-fishing. The weather was bright and mild but there was a stiff wind blowing.

We went up to Dunnydeer Lake and they both roll-casted well with the help of the wind blowing across their shoulder. Neither buzzers or nymphs brought any pulls from the fish.

We walked across to Ross Lake and the small flies still brought no response from the trout. I tied a very small cat’s whisker fly and I put that on Jean’s line and went to change Mark’s fly. I hardly got to Mark when Jean shouted she had a fish. Her line was tight and there was obviously a trout pulling line from the reel. I got the net, Mark started taking photographs as Jean played the fish.

She let line off when the trout pulled hard and retrieved line when the fish allowed her to. She brought the trout to the bank and I netted it.

The barbless fly came out of the trout’s mouth in the net and after quick photographs, Jean wanted to let the trout go. The fish was returned and immediately disappeared back into the deep water.

They both enjoyed the session despite the wind and intend to return in the summer months for more sessions.

The strong winds have kept many anglers away, but those who have braved the conditions at Chatton have had success, with lures fished slowly and on intermediate lines.

Thrunton Fishery began the week well and then, like everywhere else, the weather deteriorated.

However, some excellent bags of trout came to the net and these bags included some lovely double-figure trout. David Kay had a bag of 16, which included a 15lb trout.

Other double-figure fish were caught by John Williams, Derek Campbell and George Lumsden.

The heat of the Fritz and Fly competition held at Thrunton saw anglers survive rain, sleet, snow and strong winds on Saturday.

The winner was Trevor Wadds with seven trout, one of which weighed 12lbs 9ozs. Second was Robbie Bell with five fish, which also included an 11lb trout. Other qualifiers for the final were Greg Weighman, who had a 12lb 4oz fish, Tommy Stephenson, Dave Mordue and Jacky Maguire.

The second lake at Thrunton, Coe Crag Lake is filling up well and is due to open in the spring of this year.

South Linden fishery has experienced some snow flurries, but brave anglers have landed bags of up to 12 trout.

Successful fly patterns here this week have been white lures, black fritz and buzzer patterns.

At home, I am saying goodbye to my computer fly-tying desk which I am replacing with a smaller version.

The new desk will have drawers so I can store all the odds and ends out of sight.

Some time ago, I decided not to tie every pattern available as the materials required started to take over the whole house, which did not go down well in certain departments, so now I try to keep to about 15 patterns.

The materials required for these patterns can be housed in a much smaller storage area. Anything special or intricate then I get my two professional fly-tiers to whip up what I want, usually in very small sizes.

Next week, my new desk arrives, so it will be a question of organising the materials and trying to remember where everything is.

There is also a meeting of a new Coquet anglers and owners group this week, which I shall attend to see where it is going.

I will report on the outcomes of that meeting in my next report.

Plenty to do and people to see, tight lines.

Contact Bob Smith on 01670 514086 or visit