Waters teeming with fish

Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)
Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)

It has been a super week for fishing both the still waters and the river.

I have coached three people on the Coquet and spent four days on the still waters.

Eric just wanted to brush up his casting on the river one evening but could not help catching a few, small brown trout at the same time. Fishing at dusk is a special time, when the whole river and the wildlife seems to come alive.

Pauline and Paul were on holiday from Essex and had never fly-fished before. They were staying at Seahouses so we met at Chatton fishery.

It was a lovely day, so we started with a small dry-fly on each of their lines. It was good because they could see the fly floating on the surface.

The gentle breeze blew their flies around and by not retrieving the flies, it meant that they were travelling at the same speed and in the same direction as the natural insects.

Trout came and swirled at their flies several times before one took the bait and the line tightened. Then the fun started, when do I pull the line? And when do I let the line go? Both Paul and Pauline got a trout each to the net and released them before lunch.

After lunch, the trout went deeper as the breeze strengthened and the temperature dropped a little. I changed the flies and they both fished size 16 buzzers.

Paul lost his first trout after lunch when it jumped well clear of the water. However, both Pauline and Paul caught, played and netted a fish each before the session ended. Two happy anglers who are going to take up the sport and are determined to return to Northumberland too, great!

Tony was staying at the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge with his wife, who arranged the lesson with me.

Not having fished before, and on a river being surrounded by trees was going to be a challenge.

Tony did really well with the casting and never lost a single fly in the foliage!

I showed him the simplest way to cover the water and he caught several small, brown trout and salmon parr. All these small wild fish put a good bend in the soft action four-weight Hardy rod.

I had some free time one day so popped up to Chatton for three hours.

The water at the fishery had the slightest of ripples and trout were rising freely to take small olives which were being blown onto the water.

Consequently, the fish were close in the margins and small CDC flies were attracting them with little effort. I kept changing my fly but I had into the teens of fish from all three lakes.

At the same time as I was fishing dries, other anglers preferred to fish various lures and zonkers, and they were catching too.

It did not seem to matter what fly was being offered, or at what depth it was being fished, the trout were feeding hard.

Father’s Day approaches and already a number of people have contacted me and bought gift vouchers. It surprises me how organised some people are, I am not quite at that level yet!

Barry and his wife returned to Northumberland last week and we had an early evening session at Thrunton Long Crag. This was the third session I have had with Barry, who lives in London.

Sadly, there is usually several months between sessions but Barry has a good memory and soon got back into his casting. It was a lovely early evening and, in two hours, he caught four trout.

He was fishing Coe Crag Lake as it was the first time it has been open during one of his visits. Two trout were brown, which are very silvery and nicely spotted, while the other two were rainbows.

The browns took pheasant tail nymphs close to the margins, while both rainbows fell to a small foam beetle fished on the surface.

The next day, I was back on the Coquet with Andrew who had a gift voucher which his wife had bought him.

Andrew was just starting to fly-fish but had little knowledge. We soon improved his casting and I explained a little about fishing a river. It was very bright and the temperature was high.

The river was low and clear so I explained not to expect too much. So we worked our way along the section of river, picking up the occasional small, brown trout.

As we approached a large underwater stone, I said it was a likely place to find a fish. As Andrew’s fly came past the stone, the river erupted and a good fish had taken his fly.

This was a much bigger fish and it fought very hard taking the fly-line up and down the river. Andrew managed to bring the trout over the net and I lifted the fish from the river.

I carefully removed the size 14 snipe and purple spider fly and we just admired the beautifully spotted 2lb brown trout.

Two quick photographs, a last look at the super trout and it was returned to the Coquet. A surprise, but tremendous way to finish a terrific session.

Finally, I had another session at Chatton with a father and two grown-up sons. They were fishing on a voucher and none of them had fly-fished before.

Overcast and relatively warm, we concentrated on casting technique before lunch. Fully refreshed, we tried again and, within an hour, all three anglers had played trout and landed them. All the fish were taken and earmarked for a meal in the not to distant future! It was good fun and we had a laugh too, which is the way it should be!

This is the start of half-term week, I am booked up every day, eight sessions actually, so plenty to report for you next week! Tight lines.