Heading south for a fun day of fishing

Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)
Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)

Saturday took me south to Sharpley Springs for a change. It seems ages since my last visit to Simon and Carol’s fishery, writes Bob Smith.

What a development from the days of the two lakes called Sharpley Waters. Now there is the full-size golf course, paintballing and six fly-fishing trout lakes.

It was overcast with bright periods and the occasional light shower during my visit.

The biggest lake, the Doxford, was almost full so I went to the Hangman’s Lake, which is for anglers using only dry-flies or nymphs.

The breeze was blowing onto one bank so I decided to cast my floating line parallel to the bank and about five yards out.

My dry-flies were then blown into the bank where several trout were rising. I had some tremendous fun as the fly got close to the bank – the fish were rising, taking my fly and proceeded to strip line from my reel.

I stayed about three hours and released nine fish.

I did try the smaller Noose Lake and, although I hooked a good blue trout, it became detached before I got it to the net.

As my fishing buddy Alan would say, that is the practice of distance release and that is only done by lazy anglers who can not be bothered to bend down and release the trout.

One day, I thought I would try taking Millie, my dog, to Whinney Loch to see if she could cope with the journey.

She just lay in the back of the car and went to sleep.

It was good to see Ted, Tina and Margaret again as I have not been there for several weeks.

I fished for an hour, let Millie out for a walk and fished for another hour-and-a-half. It was not bright and hot but the trout were rising everywhere. The surface of the loch was covered with a variety of flies so my F Fly and Shipman’s Buzzers proved to be very tempting to the trout.

Twelve fish in two-and-a-half hours was pleasing.

The Whinney must be carpeted with flies near dusk, so I will try to return for an evening session in the near future.

I did have a coaching session at Chatton this week with a complete beginner called Paul from Stocksfield.

It was a lovely day and the warmth brought on a tremendous hatch of flies.

So, after showing him how to set up the tackle and some basic knots, we headed up to Dunnydeer Lake.

As you can imagine, there were rings in the water everywhere as the fish gorged themselves on the endless supply of flies on the surface. I put a dry-fly on for Paul as he roll-casted out the fly-line onto the water.

He did well and soon had a decent line going out and landing very gently onto the water. It did not take long for the first take and I don’t know who got the biggest shock, Paul or the trout.

Anyway, the fish took off peeling line from the reel and after a few heart-stopping moments, I managed to net the fish.

Paul wanted to keep a couple of trout so that one was put into the bag for tea.

Altogether, Paul hooked five fish and successfully got three to the net, which was not bad considering it was his first time with a fly rod.

Two trout were taken home and a telephone call later that evening said how much he had enjoyed the session and his wife really enjoyed eating the trout.

Chatton has been visited by a number of clubs this week and all anglers had enjoyed their visit, some catching five fish in their first hour.

One angler returned a beautiful brown trout from Ross Lake – it weighed over 10lbs. Buzzers, sedges and black gnats have been successful patterns.

Caistron Lake has seen good hatches of flies this week. Trout have been rising freely and have fallen to several Emergers patterns.

When the fish have gone deeper at times then a Montana pattern has proved to be tempting.

The river beat has not had any fresh migratory fish yet but lots of reasonable brown trout have been caught and released.

With all the fresh water recently, it should not be long before the first sea trout and salmon arrive.

Thrunton Long Crag continues to attract anglers who are visiting the fishery for the first time.

The week has been a good one with prolific buzzer hatches at various times. One angler caught a blue trout, which was over 10lbs. I bet he knew he had that attached.

That trout fell to a black and green buzzer. Many of the successful patterns here have been dry-flies, which included daddy longlegs, small beetle patterns and klinkhammer variants.

The Coquet Federation stretches were stocked recently with brown trout. The stretches from Ladies Bridge downstream to the Jack Rock saw 1,000, 11 to 13inch, brownies put into the river. This should boost the sport on the river for the trout anglers. There is nothing like catching brown trout in moving water, according to many fishermen.

This week sees me back into Scotland, meeting my fly-tying mate Paul from Glasgow and a couple of sessions are booked in for Chatton. Hopefully, the fly hatches continue and we can all enjoy casting a dry-fly then watching the trout rise and take our offering. Nothing better when fishing. Tight lines.