A magical but wet March

08/04/2019 by James

After the way February finished I was determined to hit March hard and carry on my silver success. The only problem we have to deal with mid-system on the Tyne, is that being situated where we are is the volume of fish we have to target, for example, this Feb, a total of 26 fish passed through the fish pass at Riding mill, so trying to find one of these fish in a 12 mile stretch above is near enough impossible, but it can be done as I found out on the last day of the previous month. Not only do we have to deal with the lack of fish, but we also have to deal with winter conditions that include a lot of rain and snow and a constantly changing river.

March started with unsettled weather and a lot of rain that meant we couldn’t actually get onto the river to cast a line, but also it would stop any fish trying to run the fish pass further downstream due to the temperature and height, all was not lost tho. After what felt like a lifetime but was actually only a week, I got a call and offered some fishing from a good friend of mine Eugene, who is very well traveled and absolute fly fishing fanatic, incredibly he had only gone and booked 3 days fishing on the river Tyne’s prime spring beat – Bywell estate. This was an offer myself and Robson couldn’t refuse, but we would have task to decide between ourselves who would fish what day, unfortunately, this wouldn’t even matter, as again the rain gods decided to play foul and the river rose to an unfishable colour and height, Eugene being the absolute gentleman he is offered up his rod for the day so myself and the Green can both fish together. We arrived to conditions that we wouldn’t usually think about even wetting a fly in, with the river running at 3 foot and a good amount of colour, this wasn’t going to stop us trying our luck tho especially having the chance to fish the famous fish pass pool. We both fished the morning really hard, covering some incredible looking water with different flies and density tips, to no avail, but that element of hope was always there, especially the fact of where we were fishing. After Lunch, we changed locations with another group of anglers to cover some new water, this always gives me a new sense of optimism and if anything puts me back into proper fishing mode. Again we fished some great water, and fished it well, both covering the pools differently to give us the best chance, a few hours passed and Gary the ghillie decided to take us to the last chance saloon – The fish pass pool. Now the fish pass pool is a phenomenal place to fish, due to its placement below the actual fish pass, it creates a great holding area while fish decide to run, for a rest and also a temperature barrier, this was definitely going to give us the best chance of a fish. As always, I let the Green fish the pool first, mainly due to the fact he’s always away galavanting around the world, once he had worked his way through it, I hopped in the water behind him and started fishing, I was just working my way down to a likely looking lie off the current, with some huge boils from some serious structure when my line went tight, it was such a gentle take, almost as if it was a small trout or parr, I gave it a couple of seconds then lifted into it slowly, instantly I knew this was no small trout and the battle began. As soon as the fish realised it was hooked he woke up and went ballistic, headbanging like it was at a rock concert, but never moving too far into the fast current, the fist came to the surface on a couple of occasions to show us his stunning mirrored chrome flanks before heading back to the depths to try all manner of tricks to try and throw my hook, after a good 10 minutes of fighting I could feel we were winning, one last show of his silver side and Gary slipped the net under him, we went absolutely crazy, screaming like kids, I was shaking like never before, I knew we had something special in the net. Once lifted from the net I couldn’t believe the size of the fish, but not just his size, how perfect he was, like an absolute slab of silver perfection, covered in sea lice and smelling of the sea, this was by far my greatest salmon of all time. After a few quick photos and some time to recover I sent him on his way, along with thanking him for giving me a feeling that only a salmon of his stature can give.

Absolute perfection of a spring salmon
They don’t get much fresher

Unfortunately, the rest of March was an absolute washout, we managed to get out on the water a couple of times but conditions were far from good, this matched with the fact only 18 salmon had ran through the fish pass at Riding mill in March meant that we would have more luck playing the lottery. Let’s all hope that April brings some more settled weather and plenty silver – Tight lines guys…