They keep coming back for more!

Bob Smith's angling column (
Bob Smith's angling column (

After giving Paul an introductory session a few weeks ago, he contacted me again recently.

Having enjoyed his first fly-fishing experience, and caught trout, Paul wanted to invest in his own tackle.

Being an absolute beginner, he asked if I could accompany him to a shop to buy the gear.

We met at The Compleat Angler, Hardy & Greys’ shop in Alnwick, where Paul could not believe the wide selection of fly rods on show.

Once we looked at the new rods, those which had a sale price on them and the ex-demonstrator rods, Paul decided on the budget.

That narrowed the choice down, a little. After deciding what Paul was going to use the rod for, we ended up selecting a lovely one which was actually half-price, saving well over £100. A reel and line that both made up a well-balanced outfit completed the main aim of the visit. Like always, the backing and fly-line were put onto the reel free of charge. Paul left the shop very happy and planned to book more coaching with me in the future.

One evening during the week, I gave a talk to a group of anglers who are planning to form a new fly-fishing club at Longframlington.

It was a really enjoyable night and if the light-hearted atmosphere was anything to go by, it will be very successful. They are all very keen and when I left them, names for the club were being considered as well as a date and venue for their first outing.

As many of the members are just starting to fly-fish, I shall go along to coach, help and offer general advice. I am looking forward to following and helping the club as it develops.

I have fished with a variety of friends this week just for fun. I fished Chatton on a couple of days which were very different weather-wise.

One afternoon was nice and warm and overcast, and the trout were rising steadily. Using dry-flies and small buzzers, I landed nine fish in just over two hours. The second day was totally different, bright, but with the wind coming from the northerly arc. The fishery was well attended, but for some reason not one rod was fishing Dunnydeer Lake.

Ross Lake had a dozen anglers on it, and Chatton Lake had even more fishing from its banks. I cast an Okey Dokey buzzer – a simple white buzzer with a coloured head, this one was green – across the wind.

The buzzer went down so far and the line went tight.

The trout was obviously a good one as the guys fishing on Ross Lake turned to look as my Hardy Bougle reel was singing as all the fly-line and at least 20 yards of backing line disappeared across the lake. Each strong run by the trout made my reel sing and the other guys became more interested as the fight continued.

Eventually, I managed to net a beautifully-finned rainbow which was very nearly 10lbs. Removing the fly, the big one moved its enormous tail and disappeared to the depths of Dunnydeer.

Some anglers are almost obsessed with catching big trout, but for me size is not what fishing is all about. It is all about the challenge of catching fish, working out what fly to use, what depth to fish my fly and what is the best way to retrieve the fly through the water so that it moves in the same way as the naturals.

If you are concentrating on these points, plus your casting and presentation, then I find I am completely switched-off, complete relaxation! Brilliant!

Another day was spent with my mate Jimmy at Thrunton Fishery. In the middle of the day, there was bright sunshine and it was hot, not ideal for fishing but it was better than doing lots of other things.

I kept using dry-flies as trout were rising, mostly along the margins. I had lots of offers and inquiries but only landed two. One fish took a small ether foam black beetle and the other trout was tempted with a pheasant tail nymph.

I left early, Jimmy stayed longer. He texted me later to say that he finished with six fish and had great fun.

Reports from the fisheries suggest that anglers everywhere are catching well.

Caistron Fishery was stocked recently and big bags of trout are being recorded. Black and peacock flies are particularly successful.

The Caistron Coquet beat was in super condition last week, with regular rise due to the heavy showers. Another salmon was netted in the last few days, a six-pound bar of silver. With more rain forecast, the migratory fish will be encouraged to enter the river and progress throughout the system.

Sweethope Loughs had 60 rods fishing last week. In total, they landed 207 trout, the majority being returned to the water. Heaviest trout was three-and-three-quarter pounds. Successful patterns here were GRHE, Bibio and various emerger patterns.

South Linden produced a 15lb fish this week and the biggest bag recorded was 15 trout. This fishery, too, was restocked in the last few days and the trout have fallen to black buzzers and bloodworm patterns.

Chatton Fishery stocked 80 lovely brown trout this week. These brownies averaged three-and-three-quarter pounds. Consequently, a few of them have come to the net, the best so far tipped the scales at seven pounds.

Generally, the vast majority of the trout at Chatton have been caught on dry-fly, top-of-the-water angling.

The football World Cup starts today, so perhaps this may have an effect on angler numbers in the next couple of weeks, but somehow I have my doubts!

Enjoy your week.