Last chance to fish the English waters

Today is the last day to fish on the rivers in England except for the Till and the Tweed, writes Bob Smith.

Scottish rivers such as the Tweed and its tributaries have an extra month, so do not close until the end of November. This means the salmon and sea trout can get on with their spawning and hopefully produce many more migratory fish for the future.

The rain came last week and the Coquet was well over three feet up at one stage.

I was coaching two guys, Michael and Steve on different days. Michael was from Nottingham and was keen to catch a salmon on a double-handed rod. He saw a dark-coloured fish jump, which was about 10lbs, but only caught some out-of-season, good-size brown trout.

The river on that day was still well up but we had an enjoyable day and we saw the kingfisher.

Two days later I was coaching Steve from Harrogate, and the river was dropping nicely with still a hint of colour.

We were on the Caistron beat near Thropton and began Spey casting just below the bridge near the lodge.

Steve picked up the technique quite quickly and rose one salmon around 8lbs.

After lunch we went to the top of the beat where another rod said he had seen a couple of fish jump but he had no takes.

We tried a treble and double fly as we progressed along the beat, but nothing.

I changed the pattern to a single hooked fly and within half a dozen casts the line suddenly began to peel off the reel at a rapid rate of knots. The fish made several good runs and put a very good bend in the rod.

Steve got it into the side under the steep bank and I could just reach it to net the salmon.

It was a cock fish, coloured, but that did not matter to Steve, he was buzzing.

We took a quick photograph and got it back to the river where it recovered and went on about its business, great result.

I spent two days coaching at Chatton this week.

The first day was with Ben and his two sons who had just returned from catching tiger fish in Africa.

We had some fun going through the basics and comparing casting bait rods and fly rods.

It was not an easy day, but everyone thought they had bites, and some even had fish on but lost them before they could be netted.

Bill and Hugh had a session with me a few months ago and wanted a refresher course.

Hugh had not fished since the last time but soon remembered what he was trying to achieve.

His casting improved quickly, while Bill had been out a few times and was casting quite confidently.

Using a damsel fly, he caught a trout fairly quickly and ended up with three fish before I left them.

I had my final day on the North Tyne by myself as my fishing mate could not make it.

The river was at an ideal height with lots of fresh rainwater flowing. I fished with my Hardy Sintrix 12ft 6in double handed rod.

Using the same fly as Steve used to catch his Coquet salmon, I caught a fish which stripped line off the perfect reel making that superb click-check noise.

It was a deep, but coloured, cock fish which weighed about 9lbs. I took a photograph and held it in the water until it swam away strongly to the environment it came from.

Willie Farndale informs me that there have been a lot of fish caught on the Federation water this last week.

Pauperhaugh area has produced a good number of fish, particularly sea trout. One such fish around 5lbs still had sea lice on it.

The heaviest sea trout of the season for the Federation, a fish of 10lbs, was caught in the Felton area.

Many of the private syndicated beats have reported catching good number of fish too.

The Caistron beat has had 27 fish to the net for the week. These fish have ranged from 4lbs to 21lbs.

While fishing at Chatton, I saw lots of anglers who had good trout of between 5 and 8lbs in their bags.

Four anglers this week have caught double-figure fish.

They included a 15-year-old from Durham who managed to land a fish of 14lbs.

The best fish of the week weighed in at 18lbs.

One fisherman caught and returned a tremendous brown trout which tipped the scales around to 12lbs.

As the Tyne and Coquet are now closed, the diary has more sessions booked in for Scotland and the still waters.

As I mentioned last week, my new website is live and many people, friends and anglers have said how impressed they are with it.

I can change the text and photos far more regularly, so keep having a glance especially at the gallery and news pages.