The youngsters’ session at Chatton this week was terrific, writes Bob Smith.
Lottie, aged 11, and her brother Tom, aged nine were using my 8ft 4in weight Hardy rods.
They both got the technique of roll-casting fairly quickly and were fishing in the Dunnydeer Lake under the baking sun.
We tried different sized buzzers and different coloured ones, but no trout were interested.
There were some daddies flying about, so we tried floating daddy flies, which also failed to attract fish.
I replaced the daddies with small CDC dry flies and almost immediately, Lottie hooked a fish. I explained how to play the fish and she did really well bringing it to the net, which brother Tom handled like a professional.
Within five minutes, Lottie caught another trout, but kindly let Tom play the fish for her to net. Not many anglers were catching because of the conditions, so the youngsters did really well.
The concentration on their faces when they were casting, retrieving and playing the trout was brilliant to see.
Their dad had a big smile on his face when he arrived to pick them up and he saw their fish.
A perfect morning and I gather tea was fantastic that afternoon, trout top of the menu of course.
Four other coaching sessions, all at Chatton, resulted in several fish being caught and returned to the lakes.
Another first this week, I was coaching Geoff, an OBE. What a nice guy, who really took to the sport.
He hooked four fish, played but lost three and got one to the net, success.
All four beginners left with the intention of buying their own tackle and returning for more tuition.
A day on the Whiteadder was another hot one. We started with a 12ft double-handed rod in my favourite pool. The river was still low, but there had been about a foot of water in a few days prior to our visit.
Halfway down the pool, a salmon, around 9lbs, jumped near the tail of the pool.
The fish was dark, not a fresh bar of silver, but still great to see. We returned to the pool a few hours later but never got a pull on the fly or saw the fish again.
I called in to see Ricky at Caistron Fishery too and saw some significant improvements to the facilities.
A new permanent toilet block has replaced the portable ones and new coffee tables with matching chairs have improved the lodge too.
Walking around the main lake, I saw more platforms had been built and they were much better designed and stronger than the previous ones.
Talking to Ricky, there are more plans to improve different aspects of the fishery, which will obviously take time. When everything has been completed, it will definitely be a much-improved facility than that Ricky took on.
A late-night session at Chatton with Eric, an experienced angler, was fun.
Eric wanted to improve his dry-fly technique and asked many questions. It was super showing and explaining why I fish a certain way and why things work.
We covered a wide range of subjects from favourite flies, how to hook trout on dry flies and how to stop the flies sinking.
As a matter of interest, the nights are getting darker sooner unfortunately, so tomorrow will be the last late-night opening at Chatton fishery.
Finally, my taster day at Langley Dam Fishery, which was through the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, was another interesting day.
Again, the weather was red hot and the sun shone all day. The water temperature was high, so I knew it was going to be another testing day.
A good group of keen adults turned up for both the morning and afternoon sessions. Everybody had a lot of laughs and Michael actually landed a lovely trout using a dry fly.
People had lots of pulls, swirls at their flies, played fish and lost fish, exciting moments.
My thanks must go to the Hadrian’s Wall trust for inviting me to do the coaching and to them for securing the sponsorship which made participation on the course so very cheap.
Langley Dam has organised a youth competition at the fishery on Monday. All details are available from the fishery, please ring 01434 688846.