Cooler and wetter, now that’s better

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Last week, we got some rain, real heavy rain, for a change, writes Bob Smith.

The Coquet and the region’s still waters all benefited. The river level rose and the temperature of the still waters began to fall.

Both factors resulted in better fishing conditions and improved the fishing.

I had a day coaching on the Anglers Arms beat on the Coquet and spent two sessions at Chatton fishery.

I had time to take two guests on the Federation water of the Coquet and spent part of my ‘day off’ fishing at Langley Dam near Hexham with my mate Alan.

Never been to Langley with so little wind blowing, but the water was a lovely blue with a slight ripple.

We began fishing from the dam wall, but this was unproductive. Alan moved around and began wading on the far side where he picked up two fish fairly quickly.

His successful fly was a gold-headed appertiser.

This made me move and I went down and waded into the east bay where I saw fish rising. I tried several flies unsuccessfully before casting a tiny size-18 winged wet, a gold ribbed hare’s ear. The fly caught nothing until I cast it at rising trout, then I started getting takes. I lost the first fish just before netting it, but the next two solid takes saw rainbows being netted and returned. The fishing was not easy, but a real challenge and most enjoyable.

It was Michael’s first experience of river fishing, so casting a lighter four-weight rod and line with trees all around resulted in a bundle of laughs. But as the session progressed, Michael began to judge distances better and he caught quite a few small brown trout. He was amazed at how sensitive the lighter rod was and how the small trout could put a good bend in the rod.

Both Craig and Jimmy, my guests on the Coquet had a super day too. Not only did they catch fish, they had never seen the stretches we fished before and they both commented on the beauty of the river. The surrounding unspoilt environment and the bird life, kingfishers, heron, dippers and a sparrow hawk were all seen.

Fishing is not all about catching fish and it is a pleasure to take people fishing who also appreciate what a fantastic countryside we have on our doorstep.

The sessions at Chatton were quite difficult with a cool strong wind blowing. Not easy for beginners learning to fish, but with the correct clothing to provide protection from the elements, fishing is always enjoyable. Geoff was back for his second coaching session and what a difference, his skill level and confidence has improved tremendously.Ken (on his first lesson) just wanted to know how to fly-fish. Once I explained how a rod worked, he slowly improved the distance and presentation of his casting.

We progressed nice and slowly, as often teachers and coaches tend to do so much too quickly and a lot of the essentials are forgotten.

Other anglers at Chatton have recorded bags up to 17 fish this week, with two double-figure fish coming to the net too. The successful flies that temped the bigger trout were bloodworm, damsel and a gypsy nymph. For information, Chatton is closing at 8pm this week, and 5pm on Saturdays as usual.

This fishery is hosting the prestigious final of the Greys National Bank Fishing Competition on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6. The fishery will be closed to the public both days.

I spent a super afternoon with the Trout Ticklers Club at South Linden fishery.

It was a fishing day, bbq, annual presentation ceremony and AGM all wrapped into one. The fly lake was coloured after the heavy rain, but that did not stop every youngster catching at least one trout on the fly.

The club champion was Louis Robertson and the heaviest fish award went to Harley Dixey. Congratulations to all club members.

This club can really develop the skills so that youngsters and parents alike can enjoy this sport for life.

The Coquet level came up around 15 inches with the heavy rain. This produced some good sport for the salmon and sea trout anglers, particularly at the bottom end of the river.

Saying that, one guy got a nice eight-pounder above Pauperhaugh and another was lost. A number of fish were caught below Felton, the best was 12lbs. A much bigger fish was hooked in the same area, but it was lost when it snapped the line.

Sea trout have also been caught recently, but nothing of any size. They have all been in the 3lb range, and with the new sea trout trophy this year somebody can claim it with a reasonable fish.

Lucy Bowden has organised a fancy-dress fishing competition at Chatton on Sunday, from 9am to 1pm, to raise funds for HospiceCare North Northumberland.

Details and contact numbers are on the Chatton fishery website.