Sand martins signal start of summer

Summer seems to have arrived this week with the swallows back at the lodge at Chatton and dozens of sand martins swooping along the Coquet, writes Bob Smith.

Five coaching sessions, a day on the Tweed and the Game Anglers Instructors Association weekend for the public kept me busy.

Unfortunately, Ralph’s kind invitation to fish the Tweed was cancelled due to the high water level, water colour and the gale force winds. That is salmon fishing.

Still-water fishing is improving considerably as the temperature rises, more insect life is evident and the trout become active.

All clients caught fish on floating lines and using small flies as the trout are much higher in the water.

One day, after coaching, I had an hour-and-a-half on Dunnydeer.

There was a strong breeze blowing and a good angler had half the lake to himself because he was able to cast into the wind.

He was pulling trout out every other cast using a bloodworm and damsel nymph.

The fish were taking the flies just three rod-lengths out from the bank.

I went around the other side of the bay and cast across the wind and let my pheasant tail just drift slowly into the bank.

The trout took my fly very confidently every two or three casts.

Another day, I decided to try the Coquet for the first time this season.

When I arrived, it was up two feet and coloured, so I made a short detour to South Linden. I only had my river scoop net with me.

It was ok for the first four fish which were all between 2lbs and 3lbs. Unfortunately, my next fish was about 7lbs and there was no way it was going into my net.

However, Ray Smith from Alnwick was only 30 yards away and he kindly brought his bigger net over so I could get the fish in quicker and release it back to the water.

Five fish later, I played a trout which must have been around 12lbs, but just before I was able to use Ray’s net again, it became detached.

That is what we call practising the art of distance release.

I did manage a couple of hours on the Coquet early one morning. It was very enjoyable and I caught at least one brown trout in each pool I fished.

Successful flies that I used were black pennell, a redthroat and a prince fly.

There is an introductory day planned at Hallington Reservoir this Saturday starting at 10am.

Many aspects of fly fishing will be covered and to book a place, please ring the fishery manager on 01434 681405.

Reports say that the Felton Park stretch on the Coquet have had fresh fish this week but I do not have any details. It is good to hear that spring fish are making their way steadily up the system.

Word is getting around that Sweethope Lochs are open again and early visitors are having an excellent time.

All rods are catching from the boats, bank and while wading. Some catch returns are recording dozens of trout. Successful flies have mainly been lures with cat’s whisker and fritz variants doing the business.

The ladies club that met at Chatton last week had an excellent day.

Everybody caught trout, there was some fly tying, a filleting demonstration and a number of new members were welcomed. A successful and enjoyable day.

The Game Anglers Instructors Association weekend held at South Linden was well worth a visit.

More anglers attended on the Saturday than the Sunday. The lucky people who did go were helped with their casting, fishing techniques and fly-tying.

Next week sees me coaching in the Borders, Chatton and a session on the river.

One day off for a birthday bash for my eldest – should be a super week.

On Saturday, the Ross and Chatton lakes will be closed from 1pm to 5pm for a Help the Heroes competition. The fishery will remain open until 8.30am from next week, but still closes early on Saturdays at 5.30pm.

Should anyone need advice or coaching, please contact me through my website or ring 01670 514086. If I am fishing I shall return your call as soon as possible.