Variety’s the spice of fishing life

It was a really enjoyable week for the half-term holiday with a variety of weather to make it interesting, writes Bob Smith.

I fished Whinney Loch with Terry and Malcolm. The barometer was high and the loch was flat calm and very few fish were caught before lunch. I did not have a take on my small flies for four hours.

After lunch, I changed to using very small buzzers, size 18, and the takes started. I got four trout reasonably quickly, the best was about 4lbs.

It was super to see a young girl called Maggie casting a nice line and landing two fish. Terry and Malcolm landed eight fish between them using various lures and buzzers.

The next day, I was coaching at Chatton, where the sun was shining and you could feel some heat in it. The guy I was coaching was using an intermediate line and caught three fish using a black dancer in the eastern bay of the Dunnydeer Lake.

The next day, I was back at the ‘Whinney’ helping young Tom, a mad-keen angler from Derbyshire. He was on his half-term and enjoying his fishing. I have helped Tom before as he and his family are regular visitors to Northumberland.

Tom casts a tight loop and used a small brightly tied buzzer with a hot spot. He had five trout in the net before lunch.

He loves his fishing and has a superb attitude, he just wants to learn.

The following day was kept empty so I could fish the Junction beat on the Tweed. This was an invitation of a good friend and it was an excellent day. There was hardly a breath of wind and the bright but cold periods were interrupted by short, light snow flurries.

Before lunch, I fished just below the old bridge and caught a kelt on the fly and on the spinner. After lunch, I was with another ghilley and he advised me to spin the water below the new bridge.

Obviously good advice as I hooked and landed four more fish, all unfortunately kelts.

All six fish went back safely but they did give me some good fun. The best fish would weight about 7lbs.

Other guests caught a few kelts, but one guy landed a beautiful 12lb fresh-run spring salmon. As I was told, ‘kelts do not count’.

The next day saw me walking along the Coquet from Felton Bridge to the Thirston Burn. The river was running low and clear. There has been a lot of bank erosion over the winter months and whole trees are blocking some of the pools. The head bailiff of the Federation waters said that these trees would be removed as soon as possible.

I also popped down to the tidal stretch to see if there had been any action. Nothing had been caught and the anglers were praying for rain to raise the water level. As I write this, the first spring fish on Federation waters has still to be caught.

On Saturday afternoon, I called into Chatton to see how the final of the winter competition was going.

When I arrived, the anglers were back on the water after having their lunch. They were fishing with the snow driving in from the Cheviots. However, as I tucked in to the pie and peas, the weather improved but it was still cold.

The 48 anglers landed 313 trout, which gave a rod average of six-and-a-half trout each.

Top rod on the day was Simon Robinson from Newcastle, who landed 13 trout.

Congratulations to everyone involved over a number of months, but especially to Jimmy Tuck who organised the competition and ensured it all went very smoothly.

During the week, all the lakes at Chatton have fished really well with anglers recording bags of 15 and 16 fish.

Two double-figure fish were landed too, one in the competition (15 lbs) and another which was 12lbs.

Successful fly patterns this week have been viva, dancers, diawl bachs and black spiders.

At South Linden, the lakes are almost clear and bags of 10 trout have been caught.

Rainbows to 11lbs have been landed, trout here have taken egg flies, black fritz, ace of spades and black buzzers. The fishery is planning to hold a Big Fish weekend over Easter (March 29-31).

I am coaching four days this coming week and I shall report on them next week. If you do manage to cast a line this week I do hope you get a fish or two and enjoy yourself at the same time.

Can I invite anyone with success stories or news on fishing issues, or who is interested in learning to fly fish, please contact me through my website or ring 01670 514086. Tight lines.