Joy of fishing with friends

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

I spent Saturday and Sunday this week at Thrunton Long Crag fishery. One day I was coaching Mark and the other day I met up with my good friend Ian.

Ian comes from Teesside, but now works and lives in Germany. He migrates back here a couple of times each year to holiday and fish with his school chum Grant. I first met Ian when I worked in the shop at Hardy’s as he always bought the best of tackle. Ian also fishes for trout regularly in France and Slovenia.

It was super to meet up with the pair of them again and Grant was fishing with a Hardy Zenith rod, which Ian had bought him as a present for one of his BIG birthdays last year. I met Grant first and he had already landed one trout and dropped another off using a Bibio fly.Grant thought his new rod was absolutely terrific to cast and to play fish with.

Ian was further along the bank and told me he had put a small black buzzer on. As we talked, the line went tight and he eventually landed a fully-finned, two-and-a-half-pound rainbow.

Next cast, another trout took the buzzer, but this fish was bigger as it stayed deep in the lake and made a good few powerful runs.

When Ian got the trout into the net, it was a good four pounds, broad and deep-bodied. I left Ian to get on with it and went away to fish into the stiffish breeze.

I fished with pheasant tails, but nothing showed any interest! I switched tactics and put on a small floating beetle pattern. Before lunch, I hooked four fish, some got off almost immediately, while others jumped out the water or shook their heads and became detached.

After lunch, I went down to see Ian again, but he had not had any more takes. The breeze was getting stronger and the temperature had dropped. However, there were still some fish rising, not a lot but some. I suggested he tried a floating daddylonglegs, which he attached to the end of his tippet. On the second cast, a trout came up and gobbled the fly.

Another good fight ensued and another fish was netted.

I left Ian and Grant so I could take my patient dog for a long run on my favourite stretch of beach.

Back at Thrunton, Mark had a coaching session with me. It was cold that day, with the wind coming from the east. We concentrated on his casting as he had not fly-fished for a number of years.

Mark had a lovely Hardy Delux rod, which was made a good few years ago. I love the colour scheme of the rod.

The blank is burgundy, with the rings tied with a reddish coloured thread.

Anyway, we got two decent trout, which Mark learnt how to play to the net. One fish was a good four pounds.

Still on the Thrunton theme, their second lake, Coe Crag, began to flow over the spillway on Saturday.

So the official opening was that evening when the Thrunton Juniors met. The youngsters had a superb session catching many trout.

The fish had never seen a fly before so what a good idea letting the juniors have first bash! Everyone caught a lot of fish and one member landed a fish which was over 10lbs! The winner of Guess the Date competition for the second lake being full was Peter McEwan, who gave all the takings to charity, which was £120.

Thrunton’s first Sharp Start Saturday is this weekend, when the fishery will be open from 6am until 6pm.

Caistron Fishery is bending rods both on the lakes and the river. Reports say the rod average this week has been an impressive 6.8 fish.

Trout have been caught on the surface at times and then when the wind changed and the temperatures dropped, they have been at various levels below the surface. F-fly, bloodworm and damsels have been the main attractors. On their river stretch, sea trout are reported, with one guy landing two 4lb fish.One was caught in Neil’s Pool, while the other was landed from the Post Office Pool.

I was supposed to fish the Eden last week, but the heavy rain resulted in the river being high and heavily coloured so the day was cancelled. Instead, I popped up to Chatton where I met my friend Jimmy. It was the first day I saw the hawthorn flies in the air.

I fished nymphs on my floating line and had seven to the net and another on a black dry-fly. Jimmy got to the top of the Dunnydeer arm into where the wind was blowing. He was casting out his dry flies, letting the wind blow them about, and he ended up with nine fish.

Some rods had well into double figures of fish. A regular angler was casting out his intermediate line, counting it down and retrieving his flies with a quick, very short retrieve. His rod was bent into trout very regularly. Other guys were catching using sinking lines and lures.

When the trout came up, it was like a chip pan with the water appearing to boil for some minutes before someone mysteriously flicked the switch and down the fish disappeared.

Lots of anglers at Chatton this week have had full quotas of 18 trout, which is excellent.

I was coaching on a private stretch of the Coquet last Friday. The river was perfect, the level was dropping and there was a bit of colour in the water. Guy has been a reservoir angler to date, but wished to try to learn how to river fish for trout. His wife bought him one of my vouchers for Christmas.

Guy could get a line out when there was plenty space for a back cast. As soon as he moved to where he was surrounded by trees, major problem!

However, I showed him how to roll cast and do a simple Spey cast with his trout rod and away he went.

Hooking the trout was the next new technique. When he got a take, he struck into the fish that hard I expected to see a flying trout pass my head.

The next fish was hooked and played to the net although it was only six inches. Guy landed a beauty later in the afternoon which was nearer the pound mark.

As well as the fishing, a pair of Kingfishers were zooming up and down the stretch where we were. It is great the way they fly along the river, se you and dart into the trees, and then zoom back out onto their original course. Their colour is just amazing and Guy had only ever seen one once before. Of course, there were the constant sightings of the dippers as they went about their business too. There is so much more to fishing than catching as many fish, or as heavy a fish as possible, in my humble opinion.

Travelling the miles next week, roll on!