8th January 2016
Twice every year myself, along with four or five mates fish Whinney Loch together. I book us in once for a winter session and once near the longest day in the summer. We all look forward to these excursions with great anticipation. Last week we had the 29th and 30th booked,with Paul travelling down from Glasgow. I woke up on the 28th to a voice message from Paul which said that he was on his way but the traffic was bad and that he would be a little late. I immediately thought I had got the dates wrong so checked with John , another member of the team! I was right, Paul was a day early and john and I had a good laugh. I phoned Paul and explained! He just laugh ted and mentioned something about being enthusiastic!! I told him to keep on coming and he could stay with me overnight,which he did. When we met up at The Running Fox in Felton we burst out laughing and Paul said he was sure he would never live this incident down! I assured him that would be the case, and that will certainly be the case. Especially with the memory and sense of humour of this merry band of friends /fishermen.
We eventually arrived at Whinney Loch on the appointed day and had an interesting chat with Ted Wise, the fishery owner. The weather had been very wet the previous few days, but it was now dry, heavily overcast and with a stiff breeze blowing down the length of the loch. A few fish were rising, but not many.i set up my Hardy six weight rod and only floating lines are allowed at the Whinney. The other rule at this particular water is that anglers can only fish with one fly, where as other fisheries allow two, three or sometimes four flies in a team at the same time. These rules suit me as very very rarely do I fish with anything else than one fly on a floating line.
Paul asked me what fly I was starting with? So I told him one that I had tied up and never used before. It was a black and peacock spider pattern that brings me a lot of success in the warmer months when it floats on or very close to the surface. This particular fly was tied the same but had a smallish tungsten bead at the head to make the fly sink deeper in the water.
First cast I led it sink ten seconds and retrieved, but nothing. Second cast I let the fly sink for fifteen seconds and on the retrieve the line tightened and my first fish was on its way to my net. The next four takes all tightened the fly line but none of them were hooked properly as they all were on and off I a second. However the next two fish fought hard and were netted. After releasing the second I changed my fly. No point keeping the same fly on just to catch fish after fish. If other flies do not produce takes then I could always go back to the successful pattern!
I replaced the weighted fly with an unweighted buzzer pattern, to see if I could get the trout to come up near the surface. I cast the buzzer across the wind and let the floating line and fly drift with the breeze. It was not that long before another trout straightened my line and another battle ensued. This tactic of using the breeze and letting the fly drift around got me another couple of fish before lunch.
After lunch, during which Paul took a lot humorous criticism for his enthusiastic approach to fly fishing, I tried the olive bug type fly that proved to be successful during my last visit to Whinney Loch. The temperature was starting to drop and the numbers of trout coming to the nets from all around the loch was decreasing. That little bug with a bit of ultra violet in it proved its worth again. I tried several flies in the afternoon but that little bug was the only fly that caught me another four fish. Time to call it a day,after nine trout, and have a hot cup of coffee!! We all left The Whinney smiling and checking Paul had the correct date for the next excursion! We agreed that he would phone to check the night before setting off on ANY future fishing engagements with the team!!
I called into Chatton and Thrunton yesterday to see friends and wish them a happy New Year. What a day! The rain was heavy and bleaching down, yet there were still anglers out there catching trout at both venues. One father and son had taken a SIX hour ticket!The previous day the weather conditions were very similar and a number of anglers had netted bags into double figures. Well done to everyone who ventured out in such conditions.
The Aln Angling Association are now working on a two year stock reduction policy with the Wild Trout Trust. The aim is to enhance the wild brown trout fishing on the Association waters. The Aln is regularly producing one to two pound brown trout and now wild brown trout conservation is a main priority. Permits for fishing the Aln Angling Association waters can be bought from Hardys/Pure Fishing in Alnwick.