Retired, plenty of time to do what you want, it is true, writes Bob Smith.
It’s all about choices and sometimes other people can not make the time which is convenient for you. Pity really ... never mind!
However, fishing last week with friends, I was at Caistron, South Linden, Whinney Loch, Chatton and Langley Dam, which is not bad for a week off from coaching.
I popped up to Caistron to see Ricky and take some photographs in case I need them for my website. There was a strong wind and that made life difficult for those fishing on the lakes. However, one guy I talked to netted a couple of trout which took his Muddlers on the surface. The river level had dropped since the end of the season and it was running clear.
On the way home, I called into South Linden where there were some brave souls trying to cope with that wind. It was difficult, but I saw a nice trout caught on a buzzer, which was fished on a dropper above a bloodworm pattern.
One day was spent at Whinney Loch near Coldingham where I fished with Paul and Jimmy. Paul travelled down from Glasgow and Jimmy is a regular companion and friend. It was a super autumn day with only the slightest of breezes.
We all caught trout with the successful patterns being pheasant tails, bibios and foam beetles. I even caught a nice fish on an old river pattern, a silver march brown! Paul brought some flies that I asked him to tie for me, along with some experimental patterns to try.
Sometimes they work and catch, and sometimes they don’t!
I went to Chatton to see Roger and Ali to discuss an idea I had.
While there I did cast a line for an hour. The lakes were like mill ponds, not a ripple to be seen.
Trout were being caught regularly on both floating and intermediate lines.
One angler was catching steadily using a Diawl Bach on a dropper above a Cat’s Whisker on the point.
I caught using a copper-headed nymph near the top of one of the arms of Chatton lake.
Sunday saw my fishing mate Alan pick me up for a session at Langley Dam near Hexham. There was a heavy frost on the ground and we had the lake to ourselves until two other anglers arrived.
The lake was very clear and where the water was sheltered, the surface was covered with ice.
There was only a small area of ice, but it was the first I have seen this autumn.
We saw a few trout rise, but all my fish were taken with weighted patterns.
The first trout took a glass-beaded bloodworm while the next two fell to a gold-headed nymph. Three nice fish, all around two-and-three-quarter pounds.
There was some heat in the sun, but the frost never gave on the north-facing slopes around the fishery.
The Coquet Federation trophies for the 2013 season have been awarded. Chris Makepiece wins the Centenary Cup for catching and releasing a salmon just heavier than 16lbs.
The new trophy, The Jim Hardy Memorial Trophy for catching the heaviest sea trout, goes to Matthew Bradbeer from Bury St Edmunds. Matthew landed a 10lb sea trout.
The Brown Trout Centenary Cup for the heaviest brown trout was won by Keith Young, who caught a good brown trout of 4lbs 12oz. Congratulations to all three winners.
Sweethope has only had a few hardy anglers, but they caught fish. The heaviest trout here was 5lbs and trout were caught on black buzzers, yellow dancers and black zonkers.
Chatton lakes are fishing well with the best fish weighing 15½lbs. This fish was only one of a huge haul for a very regular rod.
Another guy kept his first four fish, which weighed 19lbs and then released another 10 trout! What a session.
Successful flies this week were nymphs, buzzers and damsels.
A week on Saturday, Chatton hosts the heat for the Fritz Flies Fun Competition, which will be using Chatton Lake.
The Ross and Dunnydeer lakes will be open for others to fish as usual. As the other heats of the Fun Competition are held throughout the winter, the qualifiers from each heat will fish the final at Chatton on February 22, but more about that in the future.