I have had a varied seven days fishing and coaching on our rivers and still waters, writes Bob Smith
The hotter weather is warming the waters and fishing is definitely becoming more challenging, particularly during the day. Early in the morning and later in the evening are producing the best results. One angler recently had a beautiful salmon on the bank by 5.20am.
I had a four-hour session at Langley Dam near Hexham, fishing with my mate Alan.
It was very hot and very bright with the temperature reaching 23 degrees.
I tried lots of different flies only to hook two perch, which then came off. Alan hooked two trout and they too came off. His successful flies were a Dawson’s and a balloon caddis.
The boats caught the odd fish, but they were fishing in the deeper, cooler water. It was an enjoyable morning which made you think and was a challenge.
I spent two coaching sessions at Chatton fishery this week.
The first was with two guys, one from London and his mate from Teesside.
First-time visitors to Chatton, they were seriously impressed with the facilities and the fish. They both had a good session and will be returning.
One guy caught on nymphs while the other caught his fish on gold-ribbed hare’s ear.
One trout, a blue, took over 15 minutes to land, it put up a tremendous battle and it weighed 6lbs.
Three days later, I was back at Chatton and it was a very different place.
It was still very bright, but the wind had increased considerably. I coached through the hottest part of the day, but the guy said he had learnt a lot and he managed to catch and land a fish. He has booked another session for this coming week, so it looks like he is ‘hooked’.
Although conditions are proving challenging, other anglers have recorded bags of 17 trout.
All types of flies have been successful at different times during the week.
Lines with a sink tip or intermediate lines, have got the flies down when the fish have gone deeper.
I walked along a stretch of the Coquet with an angler whom I coached last year, the river is still very low and clear. One particular field by the river was almost half-red, covered with flowering poppies, spectacular.
The fish lies could be easily identified with the river level being so low. The birds were very active too, sand martins, dippers and wagtails all there in numbers.
You can learn a lot about the river and fishing just by observing the river in all its different moods. I really enjoyed the walk, it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be there.
I also had a session at Whinney Loch which was bathed in sunshine. Fish were rising, but not in the numbers seen on my previous visit. The water had definitely warmed up, although there were two aerators working flat out.
I tried quite a few flies which did not attract any response from the fish. The only fly that caught a good number of trout was a size-18 F fly.
I fished there with Jimmy who refers to me as his consultant, as he asks my advice on almost everything.
Jimmy too is improving his techniques and his catch returns. He surprisingly bought me a membership of an angling club on the Tweed. He took me to a lovely stretch of the club water one evening and we had a terrific time, having the river to ourselves and catching (and returning) several trout.
As I explained to Jimmy, it was not necessary to get me the membership, I enjoy his company and his enthusiasm. He has a thirst for knowledge and wants to enjoy the sport, and that’s what I want to do is help him.
The final session of the week was helping someone on the Coquet with a different technique that they had not used before.
We had a super time catching lots of small brown trout. However, they also caught a beautifully-spotted bigger brown trout which must have been well over a pound. Catching such a fish on the fly in very hot, bright conditions was quite a feat.
On the fishery scene, Sweethope played host to two clubs this week, the Ashington Kingfishers and the Berwick Bears.
Both clubs averaged three trout per rod, with the best bag being eight fish.
Fish of the week was a four-pounder from the lower lake. Best flies have been cormorants, muddlers, damsels and buzzers.
On the Federation stretch of the Coquet in the Pauperhaugh area, a member caught a magnificent brown trout.
Trotting a worm down the river, the fish took the bait and put up a very spirited fight. It was verified and weighted in at four-and-three-quarter lb. This fish will obviously be a strong contender to win the Coquet Trophy for the largest brown trout caught on the Federation waters in the 2013 season.
With the weather forecast predicting more dry and hot conditions, fishing will be a challenge, however, our sport is called fishing not catching. It is all about being there and if anyone does catch a fish then it is a bonus. Enjoy.