August Result!

Salmon fishing is funny…August has been a barren month for me fishing-wise. Work and DIY have meant I only managed to get out a couple of times.

Sometimes I’m lazy and opt for Sea Trouting when the rivers are a little low. My second visit to one of the Lune tributaries was an off chance opportunity to wet a fly – or an aluminium tube in this case!

Arriving at the river, it was high, just below the spinning mark. The water was starting to colour up but you could just make out the bottom (it’s a shallow river)

Tackled up, waders on and off we go. I tend to fish fast streamy water on this particular river as I’ve had most of my success in daylight in the faster runs – I also think it works the tube better.

Started off with a very small brownie and then moved to the next fast stream of water which is probably my favourite part of this beat. You cast to almost dead water and let the faster water bring your fly round. This probably goes against most principles of mending your line and being in direct contact with your fly but on this run it the best way to get result.

Second cast and the fly stopped and then bang!

The fish then decided to go on a long run upstream – uncharacteristic of the sea trout on this river. I turned the fish immediately for it to run downstream past me!

After a spirited scrap and a couple more runs I got the fish in the net. Up the bank, unhooked, couple of pictures and back it went. When I hit it I knew it wasn’t a sea trout. My first grilse and quite a rarity for this river.

The drive home was me basically smiling for 20 miles!

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I had the usual ribbing from my pals about it being a sea trout so I sent the pic over to the Lune Rivers Trust where Andy Hurst kindly confirmed.

 

June July 2017

Had a few sessions out an about on the rivers, namely the Tyne, Lune and Wenning, along with a few Seat Trout and a lively Brownie on a tube I’ve been trying.

Lune Brownie circa 2LB

My success on the Lune and Wenning has been great for Sea Trout, landing a number of fish over the past few weeks. All of them coming to a needle tube fished quickly on a downstream mend.

The Salmon have been much harder and a couple of sessions on the South and Main Tyne have bared no fruit at all – I’m not a fan of spinning which may reduce my chances on the Tyne.

Now we are almost in August my focus will be more on the Salmon than Sea trout so I’m booking the anger management sessions in, just in case!

 

 

 

2017 Catch Up

Due to work pressure and general laziness I’ve not updated my blog for months so I thought I would summarize the last 6 months!

Fly Tying

I decided, given that my mate had provided me with all the gear, to try and tie my own flies. I started out with simple patterns such as Stoat’s Tail and Park Shrimps – I thought they were simple until I actually got a fly in the vice!

My first efforts were appalling – big, bushy and completely out of proportion so I got on the web and started watching many of Davey McPhails videos. Although they helped in the process of constructing the fly, they didn’t explain how easy he makes it look!

So in my desperation I asked for some assistance on the Salmon Fishing Forum – a wonderful place for all manner of information. Within minutes of asking for help the guys on the forum gave me all manner of tips and advice.

Once I started to apply the advice the flies started looking like something that would catch a fish or two

First Attempt – A slightly stumpy Willie Gunn

Improving a little – Stoats

Improved GBWG

GBWG Tube

Cascade

I doubt that I will tie flies that are aesthetically good, but I’m confident that I can now create flies that will catch. I’ve managed a few Sea Trout on my Stoats so far.

 

First Session of 2017

A combination of work and problematic river levels have put back my first session of the season.

Having a precious few hours this afternoon (2 April 2017) meant it was time to wet a line and get back into the swing of things.

An what better place to my out my home made flies (I’ve started to try and tie my own!) than my local River Lune.

Arriving at the beat I was confronted with a swathe of dog walkers, sheep botherers and rubber dinghies (the water was very cold!).

Regardless I pushed on to the top of the beat where the tourists thinned out and got into the river.

The Lune was running at around 1.5 feet which is about perfect for this beat. My tactics for such a height are small singles (silver stoats tail) tied onto a 10′ leader and attached to a 5′ intermediate polyleader.

I like to fish light so I armed myself with my Oracle switch 7/8# coupled with the superb Barrio switch line.

I hung around at the top of the beat for a couple of reasons: any fish tend to show themselves here; the tourists start to dissipate once it gets colder.

The combination of no takes and HMS Rubber Dinghy’s recall meant I would start to move down the beat. The beat has some deep holes which means in and out a few times.

Towards the bottom of the beat I was taken by surprise by a vicious take first cast – a small Sea Trout that spat the hook at my hands!

I continued to fish for the next half hour without further success.

It’s great to be back out and even better that my fly tying efforts are paying dividends!

The Lune is a fantastic river and it’s such a shame that the focus is Sea Trout rather than Salmon…..here’s hoping

 

2016 Season Summary

Having caught only one fish this season you would normally think that a summary of the season would be both brief and uneventful but that is not really the case for me.

Admittedly I has been a season of highs and lows, but there is more to highs than fish on the bank, and more to lows than blanking!

Early Season

My season didn’t really start until March.

It was a mixture of discovering beats on the club that I had recently joined and a few sessions on some of those beats. Early sessions were mainly confined to the Eden and the Whiteadder in search of a first Springer. The Whiteadder held the most promise and we did see a number of springers running the beats. The Eden on the other hand seemed dead- I am yet to actually see a Salmon on the Eden!

Some of the Tyne beats around Wylam and Byewell also looked good although we were told that spinning is the best method and the fly doesn’t really produce. I don’t spin…not because I think it’s a non-purist approach or lacks skill, it just doesn’t float my boat as they say!

We continued our trips to the borders and Cumbria without success. Our approach was a little haphazard in terms of location but this was mainly dues to work pressure and the promise of sea trout on the horizon in May

Mid Season

The end of April usually signals the start of the Sea trout season on my local river Lune. The Lune is a fantastic river and some of the loveliest water you could imagine, especially with the fly. it’s such a shame that the Salmon stocks have dramatically collapsed – but that is for another ‘rant’ article!

The only gap in the Sea Trouting was a trip up to the border Esk. We fished in ideal conditions and did a very taxing 2 mile wade from top to bottom of the beat without seeing a single fish (of any type).

My intention was wholly concentrate on Salmon this season but a mixture of long journeys and blanks meant that the prospect of a few Sea Trout to put a bend in the rod was very appealing. Much of the mid season was spent catching Sea Trout on the middle and upper reaches of the Lune. However as the season progressed the Seat Trout reduce in size and thoughts turn again to Salmon….and the Tyne!

Late Season

Traditionally this is the time of year when the Salmon are most abundant in our rivers. However, this season has been a fairly dry one again. With less than high hopes we set off to the South Tyne at Alston and I managed to catch my one and only fish of the season.

I do love the Tyne even though it hasn’t been kind to me considering the number of hours I put in on the river. Some parts of the South Tyne are small river fishing, which I really do enjoy. Seeing near 30Lb fish splashing around in a river no more than 10 yards wide really does inspire you to put the hours in.

Most of my time was spent on the South Tyne, Whiteadder and Ettrick with the latter rivers having absolutely no water in them.

It was during this time that I met a few of the other members of the club and it was great to get some more experienced views on our beats and how to fish them.

Even though I still have access to fishing in November I’ve decided to hang the rods up for the season. Not due to lack of success, more attributed to letting the fish do their thing in peace.

Lessons?

It’s been a good season in many respects for me. Catching a fish is obviously up there but there are some other aspects that I’m happy with.

  • My casting has come on leaps and bounds and I’m confident I can handle almost any challenging beat
  • I’ve finally settled on a tippet material that I’m happy with – Kryston (still a carp fisherman at heart!)
  • I’m reading that water much better and where I think there are fish has often been correct

There are quite a few things I have learned this season and I imagine they will form the basis of my approach next season.

  • Fish for Salmon and not Sea Trout!
  • The rivers seem to be changing and much more time should be spent May-September on the rivers
  • Long drives are not conducive to good angling, staying over, having a few beers and a meal makes more sense!
  • Don’t rely on heresay and check out beats for yourself. What someone thinks is a crap beat may well be a winner
  • Just because fish aren’t showing doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

So that’s it really. To many this will represent a very poor season (1 fish). Indeed I would expect to have caught more given the effort. But it is a wonderful sport and THE hardest angling there is.

I’m already looking forward to next season….

Tight lines

Dave

 

 

 

The Upturn : Noun – chaos or extreme disorder

What can I say. After the recent dark days and futility, all is well with the world.

It’s amazing how a fish on the bank can suddenly turn things around!

Last Sunday while fishing the South Tyne I finally managed my second Salmon.

After a rather unproductive first couple of hours I landed on a deep pool with an horrendous back eddy. So remarkably I actually applied some thought before casting and watched where the water slowed to a speed that I thought a Salmon would lay up in. It also had to be shaded and away from any noise or disturbance.

So basically that was the far bank, inches off the stones and with as much line as possible off the water….with an 11′ 7 weight switch rod!

So first cast, into the tree..great

Second cast just too short

Third cast just bounced off the rocks …no mend ..instead hold the rod high and towards the far bank….bang!

Initially I thought it was a Sea Trout as it hit the fly with some venom. But within seconds a voice behind said ‘that’s a Salmon’. My fishing pal Dave had joined me from lower down the beat.

The Upturn : Noun – chaos or extreme disorder – that is what my head felt like and I can say the emotion of being in contact with a Salmon during the fight isn’t exactly what you would call fun. It’s more stark terror, awe and a hint of giddyness!

Now there was one thing that really was worrying me…7lb tippet line!

I had dropped to a lighter line as I thought Sea Trout would be the target species as we hadn’t seen a Salmon up to that point.

I have to say that I did remain calm (ish) and despite a couple of crazy runs, the fish was well behaved. I suspect that the depth of the pool stopped it from trying to escape the pool.

For most of the fight it tended to dive depp or simply skulk around the pool. I keep a tight line to it and the relief when Dave slipped the net under it was immense.

Dave reckoned 7-9LB…I didn’t care. It was a fish, that had fallen to some thoughtfulness, finally.

We took a quick pick and held it in the head of the pool to recover, which it did very quickly.

I had a couple more casts once the shaking had subsided and managed a small sea trout!

I feel like I can really enjoy the rest of the season now and perhaps I get too frustrated when I think I’m doing everything right but not catching.

One thing I wont be doing for the rest of the season is dropping my line strength if I don’t see any fish.

Supremely happy

Tight Lines

Dave

 

Cross Border Raids

Me and Dave decided on a day off work and a cross border raid up to the lovely Border Esk.

We stopped at Longtown bridge to see the state of the river and it looked good at 2’6″. We hung around for a while but nothing showed.

After a hearty butty from the local shop we headed up to Langholm to fish the beat below Skippers bridge.

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On arrival the river looked superb – we had only ever seen it on it’s bones – we were eager to get in and have a go!

The river was running nicely and we both opted for heavier rods and shrimp patterns (tubes and doubles)

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The beat is around 1Km from the bridge down to Broomholm so off we went. The idea was to wade down the length – carefully as we had never fished here before.

We waded from pool to pool although it was difficult to make out the pools in the higher flow.

Things looked good and we were full of anticipation and hope.

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Our flies were working well and we were covering every inch of the water from the far bank to the near bank.

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We continued all the way down the beat in a mixture of angry cloud and very strong sunshine.

The river was in superb condition for enticing running fish

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After a couple of hours we were nearing the end of the beat. Soaked in sweat from the sun and nervous tension from ‘blind’ wading.

Sadly neither of us got a fish or indeed a pluck!

After a couple of swigs of coffee and more butties we headed downstream to Longtown.

We weren’t sure of the upper limit of our beat so we went in above the island and below the flat pool at the top (it later materialised that we are able to fish the bottom part of the flat pool).

This was the first time we saw a fish during the whole day – a small grilse at the neck of the pool.

We fished down the beat towards the bridge through a changing mixture of slow and fast runs. At around 5pm we started to see fish moving but not in any numbers.

We met a couple of local rods who were very helpful with information which will be invaluable when we return.

 

So my personal drought continues, perhaps not as angry as previous posts but nonetheless frustrating.

Tight lines

Dave

 

Famine, no feast

Despite an upturn in the weather conditions my season just hasn’t got going on the Salmon front.

The rivers that I tend to fish (Lune, Tyne, Whiteadder) have all had lifts in recent days, especially the Tyne.

For the past few days all I’ve seen on Facebook and numerous sites are ‘red letter days’ on various beats due to a lift in water.

I even managed to get over to the south Tyne during the lift and still I haven’t had a single bump from a fish.

It’s really starting to piss me off and I can feel anger management therapy on the horizon.

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I would normally be fishing today (Sunday) but I just haven’t got the motivation to get out there.

I’m beginning to think that Salmon fishing is all down to luck and no reward for commitment or hard work.

I even took the time earlier this season to take a step back (see Time to Start Again) and think about my approach.

I’ve stuck to this for the past few months and still not a single fish on the bank (not even a bump, lost fish or take).

Maybe a new approach is needed – just pick any fly, chuck it to the far bank and wait for lady luck to kick in?

Apologies that this is more of a whinge than an informative article but I guess it’s part of my Salmon fishing journey.

I’m spectacularly fucked off. It’s fucking July and not a sniff.

 

Tight fucking lines

Dave

 

 

 

Muggy Methods

With the continued lack of water I’m concentrating my efforts on Sea Trout, specifically on the Lune.

Following a very slight rise in the week we decided to fish one of our middle beats near Killington.

The weather was very humid with brooding storm clouds and light drizzle.

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I aimed for a stretch of water that had a reasonable oxygen level, working a Silver Stoat between the riffles.

As the light began to fade I had two takes, one from above the riffle and one from below.

After very brief tussles I lost both fish. Encouraging and annoying!

I joined my pal Dave further up stream who had started to fish a surface lure. After around 10 minutes he managed a lovely Sea trout of around 2Lb.

We fished another couple of pools without success but we did see some very large fish moving into the pools as the rain continued.

Looking forwards to another session this week. The methods working but the fish on the bank is proving a tad challenging.

 

Tight lines

Dave

 

Bones – again!

Despite the huge floods this year, the Lune is back to being on it’s bones.

Hot weather, no rain and a river that is in desperate need of a flush out are not the ideal conditions but in the true spirit of futility me and my pal Dave decided to have a session in search of the Sea Trout.

We arrived just below Killington at around 7pm and were pleased to see a number of fish in the main pools although they were very very timid.

Rather than frightening the life out of them we moved further downstream where it became obvious how low the river was

We spent half an hour on the lower part of the beat but it was obvious that we were flogging a dead horse. So we moved back up river and perched ourselves and the entrance to one of the pools and waited for dusk.

It soon became obvious that the Sea Trout were moving up river and watching them navigate the low water was a wonderful sight.

The fish were moving up the far bank in around a foot of oxygenated water and then pushing over a ledge that was only 6 inches deep and entering the main pool.

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Now usually Sea Trout will sit at the bottom of the pool for a short spell before moving into the main part of the pool. But due to the low conditions the fish were only holding for a minute or so and then moving up into the deeper water.

We watched around a dozen fish between 2 and 4Lb move into the pool.

Two things affected our decision not to fish into darkness for them:

  1. The temperature was dropping rapidly due to an increasing cool Northerly breeze.
  2. No fish were showing in any length of the pool.

Normally we would fish with surface lures and be confident in success but the dropping temperature and lack of movement made our minds up.

Still, it is encouraging to see them moving up in good numbers.

This week will be a mixture of hope and rain dancing….we really need some water in all the rivers in the north.

 

Tight lines

Dave