19th January 2016
This last week saw a drop in temperatures and a bit of the white stuff landing in the region. I suppose it had to be expected after the prolonged stretch of mild weather we have experienced recently.
The 2016 salmon season starts in less than two weeks and once again the race will be on to catch the first spring salmon from the Coquet from Federation waters. Fishing is all about anticipation and a new season always gets the heart beating a little stronger especially after such a poor season last year. Even the mighty Tweed was thousands of rod caught salmon down on previous years. Hopefully our rivers get a little more rain and more frequent rain to encourage the migratory fish into our river systems.
I understand the Federation stretches have been increased this year with the acquisition of new water on the River Till and Wooler Water. The Federation members will be able to fish for salmon and sea trout on the Turvelaws stretch of the river from the 1st of February to the end of November. This will give members an extra month of fishing as the Till being a Scottish water has its season until the last day of November. There is over a mile of water for member to fish, but anglers MUST book the day they want beforehand through the Federation Head Bailiff Willie Farndale as the number of rods is limited. During December and January during the close season for migratory fish I understand that members can continue to book through the head bailiff to fish for Grayling. The new stretch of water comes under the control of the Tweed Commissioners which have a very strict set of rules, and anyone fishing the Till should make themselves aware of their powers before fishing.
Last Saturday I visited Thrunton Long Crag to see how a friendly competition was going. The aim of the competition was to raise funds to send an England fly fishing team to compete in Ireland later this year. The fishery had the aerators on twenty four hours a day to keep the lakes ice free. The competitors were fishing Long Crag and the lake had over twenty four anglers fishing the whole perimeter. It was a chilly day with little or no breeze and the fishing was a real challenge. The winner,from Scotland landed six fish,while second and third places were taken by local rods. I fished Coe Crag with other rods who were just fishing for pleasure. I only stopped about an hour as my son was moving house and I was involved in that!! The water was still a little cloudy and cold which gave me little chance of catching with my small buzzers and pheasant tails. It was bright enough and I did enjoy casting a line but in the short time I fished I did not tempt anything. Other rods during the week caught bags of up to six fish with some heavy weights coming to the net. As well as four rainbows over ten pounds, a beautiful brown trout of fourteen pounds was netted and released.
I had one coaching session booked this last week, but the birth of a grandchild meant he had to cancel, which is understandable. Although disappointed, the guy was happy with the news of the new arrival and is rebooking his session.
What else have I done this week? Well it was a good opportunity to service the tackle especially the reels. It is not until reels are opened up that we realise the amount of mud, grit and dirt that can accumulate inside your reels. Taking them to pieces regularly, cleaning them and giving them a bit of lubricant can prolong their life and make them such a smooth running tool.
Stripping the fly line from the reel and washing it shows you how much dirt clings to your line too. Looking after your line and ensuring it is clean makes casting easier and increases the distance of the cast without using any more effort. I am sure the majority of anglers could look after their fishing tackle much better than they do. Looking at the state of the rods, reels and lines that are left outside lodges while fishermen are having lunch, or a break, is shameful! It is in the anglers own interests to spend a little bit of time looking after their fishing tackle so it can function properly!
Fishing and coaching three times this week so hopefully the weather will be milder, with Chatton fishery due to reopen this weekend and the nights are getting lighter, the feel good factor is gaining momentum!!