3rd February 2016
This week fishing has been determined by storm force conditions on several days. Travelling to Wooler, north along the A697 the road was awash with rain water especially on the north carriageway. The river at Powburn was powering down, and the Till came up eight feet in as many hours on the same day. Obviously these conditions had a detrimental effect on the number of rods fishing the still waters. However, when the weather improved, catching rainbow trout was challenging to say the least.
Last Monday saw the start of the 2016 salmon season and around a dozen rods were out at the white post and stream foot areas of the Coquet. River conditions were fairly good according to head bailiff Willie Farndale. Although no fresh spring salmon were caught, a good fish was seen to head and tail and that always gives some encouragement. Other anglers were fishing a little higher up river because of the recent rises in the river levels. Obviously they thought, with some justification, that fresh salmon may have managed to progress further upstream,but no catches were reported.
On the first day, the Tweed was seven and a half feet up and the Tyne at Bywell was five and a half feet up. Not good conditions for the keen rods who were probably disappointed for their first day, but they will have a few more days to get their rods bent!!
Last week I wrote about Marc and his success on his first fly fishing coaching session with me. That first trout was immediately cooked and eaten as soon as he got home. Marc emailed me straight away for another lesson as soon as possible. Marc has his own company and said it was a great way to switch off, and he could not believe how fast the time passed. Anyway we went back to Thrunton Long Crag, and I could tell he was very keen to get back on the water with his rod by the enthusiasm in his voice. I explained that fly fishermen did not catch every time they went fishing. He did not care, Marc just wanted to try again, improve his casting technique and if possible feel that pull on the fly line when a fish took his fly!
As we walked around Coe Crag Lake we saw Michael, I began coaching Michael a couple of seasons ago and he is now an enthusiastic angler on still waters and rivers. Michael caught a beautiful rainbow of five pounds the time we were talking to him. Marc and I recapped what we covered the previous week and then made a slight adjustment to his casting.. Marc thought he caught the bottom wIth his fly but when the line started to move he knew he had a trout on. He played the trout well and I netted it. This second trout he caught was definitely heavier than his first. Last weeks weighted two pounds thirteen ounces , this one was three pounds nine and a half ounces! Marc said the half ounce was very important and I had to include it if it got mentioned in my report!!
After lunch we tried a cast in Long Crag Lake. I told him lots of anglers hate weed but it is a good place to find fish. I could see a patch of weed close by, so I cast the line just to one side of the patch. Without moving or retrieving the line, a fish took the pearly pheasant tail fly. I handed the rod to Marc and he play, what turned out to be a lovely spotted brown trout. That fish was netted and Marc took a quick photograph before it was returned to the water.
Two lessons, one trout the first session and more fish the second session, brilliant. Now Marc wants to learn how to tie his own flies. We have arranged for him to come to my place for a coffee so I can show him the basics. Another casting lesson is also planned, terrific.
More coaching and fishing this week with people cashing in their vouchers they received from friends and family for Christmas. Two more vouchers sold this week for Valentine presents!! Nights are getting lighter, birds are paired up and hopefully Spring sunshine and temperatures are not so far away.