Bob Smith: Anglers get ready for the start of salmon season

Next Monday, February 1st, sees the start of the 2021 salmon season on our local rivers.
An angler salmon fishing on the Coquet.An angler salmon fishing on the Coquet.
An angler salmon fishing on the Coquet.

Keen salmon anglers will probably be out casting a line. However we are living in strange times and the advice to stay local may well reduce the number of anglers on the rivers.The first day usually attracts a good group of salmon anglers with Northumbrian Federation permits to the streamfoot / Whitepost stretch of the Coquet just upstream from Warkworth. This is a very popular area from which the first fresh spring salmon of the season is often caught. The angler who catches the first spring fish is presented with the Coquet trophy. Since it was first presented in 1957, the first salmon has been caught nineteen times on the first day. However depending on the conditions sometimes it takes a few days, or a few weeks,or in 2009 the first salmon was not caught until the 4th May.I understand that because of the present restrictions on travelling and no fishing competitions allowed, anglers can still fish for salmon on February 1st, but the Coquet trophy will not be fished for until the present government restrictions are lifted. Anyone with any questions about fishing the Federation beats should contact the Head Bailiff, Willie Farndale to clarify any points they have, his telephone numbers are, 07974111230 or 01669620984.The Northumbrian Federation of Anglers goes way back until 1894 when it was first founded. Now the Federation present a number of trophies to permit holders. There is a Centenary Cup for Salmon, and another for trout. These cups are presented to the anglers who catch the heaviest salmon and trout from any of the Federation waters. From 2013 a new cup, The Jim Hardy Cup, was presented to the angler who caught the heaviest Sea Trout.My understanding is the heaviest salmon was thirty two and a half pounds, which was caught in 2001. The heaviest trout was caught in 2008 and that weighed six pounds two ounces. The heaviest sea trout so far was caught in 2017, and that fish was fourteen and a half pounds.The Federation have stretches of water for members to fish on the Coquet, Tyne and the Till. The permit prices for this year are, £175 full salmon, £100 for a Concessionary permit. A full trout licence will cost £65 and a concessionary £45. Other visitor permits are available for seven, three or a single day. These prices can be found on the Federation website.Tight lines for those anglers who can cast a line and stay local.

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