First catch for young Marcus

Bob Smith's angling column (
Bob Smith's angling column (

I have had six fishing sessions this week, writes Bob Smith. Young Marcus put the biggest smile on my face when he played and landed his first-ever fly-caught trout while having a lesson with me at Chatton.

There was a cold, steady breeze coming across the fishery from the east which never makes fishing easy no matter which fishery you are on.

However, Marcus was very keen and listened well.

His dad Simon also wanted to try to cast a line too. Both of them landed trout before the end of the session and their smiles were as wide as the Tyne.

I am holding a drop-in session for youngsters during the half-term holiday at Chatton. Anyone interested should book with the fishery to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

The morning and afternoon sessions will be next Thursday. All the details can be found on the Chatton Fishery website.

Barry and his wife returned to see their family in Durham and were staying with friends in mid-Northumberland, so he booked me for two days – the first at Chatton and the second at Thrunton.

This was Barry’s second session with me and what an improvement in his casting over the two days.

During the first day at Chatton, he was a little rusty to begin with, but after lunch his whorl technique was much smoother. Using one of my home-tied black buzzers with a touch of red in it, Barry caught three trout. He kept two for his friends and returned the third trout to the water.

The second day with Barry at Thrunton Fishery saw him fishing two flies on his cast for the first time. I tied them on, New Zealand-style.

This means instead of having a dropper dangling from the main leader, the second fly is tied directly to the bend in the hook of the first fly. This results in a straight through cast which usually results in less tangles.

Many anglers think that the first fly never catches fish, but it is surprising how many trout are caught on that fly.

Barry had a black shuttlecock buzzer for the first fly and a pheasant tail nymph as the point fly.

His first trout took the shuttlecock and the second fish was tempted by the pheasant tail.

Barry had another two trout on, one jumped out of the water four times before it became detached.

The second fish took a fly and just sped across the lake peeling line from the reel well into the backing.

Suddenly, the line went slack and the fish was gone.

Why it suddenly came off and what size it was, we will never know, but it really made Barry’s heart beat rapidly.

I coached a lady who was holidaying from Wigan for a couple of hours one afternoon. She had started fly-fishing two years ago and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, she had an accident and broke her elbow and this was her first visit back to the water to try to cast.

Considering the situation, she did terribly well as she was very apprehensive at the start.

We took it very slowly and did not try to cast too far. We concentrated on the casting, recapping knots and different strategies.

It was good fun and she was very complimentary about my coaching style and the pace we progressed.

Another session was booked with Jim on the river, but conditions were very poor so we decided to pop into nearby Thrunton as Jim had never fished there.

He was keen to see the lodge and the lake and, like everybody else, Jim was really impressed with the facilities.

We fished the lake with a floating line and a single fly with no luck. I changed the set-up to duplicate what Barry used earlier in the week and that resulted in two nice trout.

One fish was caught right in the margin in what must have been only 12 inches of water, brilliant.

Chris and I fished Thrunton on Friday afternoon for a couple of hours.

He is my fly-tying friend from Northampton. We had a super time as trout were rising regularly in numbers.

Chris caught on Shipman’s buzzers, while I had seven on the New Zealand-style set-up.

The trout were fighting well and one was 8lb while another was at least six.

The following day we fished the Till, but did not catch anything.

The river was 10 inches up and running with some colour. It was a bit breezy and blowing against the flow of the river. We would have stood a better chance if we had been spinning but we both much prefer to fly-fish whenever possible.

Fishery reports – Thrunton: I thought I had done well with the big trout I caught, but other anglers boasted trout much bigger than mine.

One guy had three fish all around the 12lb mark and another two trout tipped the scales to 14lb.

Bags of 13 trout were recorded and some excellent brown trout of 4lb were caught and returned.

The junior group are improving and are steadily catching more fish, which is really encouraging.

Caistron: The river beat is producing salmon every day, with the best being 10lb. Two beautiful sea trout have also been caught.

There are still rods available on the river should anyone be interested.

Caistron Lake is also fishing well and anglers who find the right depth are being successful.

Some days the trout are high in the water and other days they are deeper. Minnie’s and Montana flies are catching more fish as the water temperature continues to cool.

Sweethope Loughs: With the cooler conditions, cat’s whiskers and Dawson’s olive lures are taking most trout.

The fishery held a competition between Northumbria and Fife Police teams. The visitors won, catching 15 trout, two more than Northumbria.

Seven coaching sessions are booked in for this week and no free full-days during half-term week so busy, busy, busy, great. Tight lines.