After a huge crash in numbers of running fish in August, a scary 7000 less than previous years, we were fearful of the impact that the 2015 floods had on hour rivers, this didn’t, however, affect the number of fish being caught in august as my guests managed a staggering 19 fish in 20 days guiding. Unfortunately, the September numbers continued to spiral out of control with a shocking 4000 fish less than the previous year, all was not lost tho as we managed some great catches including numerous first-time fish for my guests, here’s a review of a pretty hectic fish-filled month.

A great silver September start.

What a great way to kick off Septembers guiding with this stunning fish caught by guest and great friend Duncan Jack 👊🏻! Unfortunately the second fish hooked was lost at the net, but we still have one happy guest and guide! Fish fell to a size 14 @fulling_mill RS cascade

Duncan with his prize

David works his magic.

Heres today guest and professional magician David Readfearn with an incredible fish that gave him one hell of a battle that I’m sure he’ll never forget! After hooking the fish, during the fight it somehow managed the wrap itself in the line making it nearly impossible to get the fish to the net, but working as a team we succeeded, and what a fish it was (measured and estimated at around 22lb.

David with my biggest guests fish of the season

First salmon smiles for Sam.

Well, that’s an end to a fantastic 2 day hosted salmon fishing course with @marinagibsonfishing and some great clients who I’m now glad to call friends! Over the 2 days the guys not only learnt and mastered various casts, the Importance of watercraft, they managed to get amongst some silver. Here’s Sam with his first salmon caught on his second day ever fly fishing, unfortunately, we also lost another fish that managed to shake the hook but what a great achievement from the team!

Myself and marina will be running more 2 day hosted courses next year over a few different months, please keep an eye out for future dates. 

Sam with his first-ever fly caught fish

A huge congratulations to my great friends Damon and Francesca on today’s incredible effort, the guys finished on 2 beautiful fly caught sea trout, with the largest at around 7 pounds and the smaller at 4lb, Damon has still got his 100 percent catch record with myself. Killer combo was a @fulling_mill crathie and Calvin shrimp.

The dream team with a cracking sea trout

The salmon squad strike silver.

Well, day one of our yearly trip finished with an incredible 8 fish hooked but sadly only managed to land 3, still an incredible team effort by Phil, Robson, and Zoila. Here’s the biggest of day caught at the death and a fight to remember, taking me way into the backing twice. Bring on day 2 tomorrow.

Our biggest of the day
Robson managed to get amongst the action

Here’s my second fish from Monday’s session with the squad, not the cleanest of sea trout but still put on one hell of a show! 

A feisty Tyne sea trout

Day 2 and the silver streak has continued for the squad. Bright and intense sunshine made it a tough day for the team, but as always we fished hard and were rewarded with 2 fish from 4 hook up’s, including my biggest so far, weighing around 15lb. Unfortunately she was a little camera shy and decided to do a disappearing act before getting a mug shot, this is becoming an occurring theme 🙈🎣! @fulling_mill Bann special doing the damage today

A shot before she disappeared

Carl gets a last-minute winner.

After fishing solid over 2 days with nothing but a lost salmon to show for it, both Carl and Jason were ready to call it a day! As always we decided to give it one last try, the resulting photo is Carl’s first fly caught migratory fish, and what a sea trout it was.

Stunning Tyne sea trout

What an incredible way to end a special week with some great friends than with this stunning fish! As a team, we managed to finish on a healthy 13 fish with at least 10 more lost, as for me the salmon gods were looking down on me as I finished on 5 fish in 4 days fished. Now it’s time to celebrate our week and this incredible river.

The last salmon of our week
Robson with another beautiful Tyne fish

Some serious salmon celebrations for Andy’s first Tyne fish! What a great effort by both Andy and Adrian today, fishing amongst 4 others, they were the only ones to get any hook up’s, hooking 4 very good fish and landing 2 while I was present, they also managed another stunning hen fish after I left.

Salmon celebrations
Adrian with his first ever sea trout

As you can see, even with a crash in the numbers of fish running, we managed some incredible sport up and down the river including a few first time fish caught. I’ve got a great feeling about October, so fingers crossed my salmon sixth sense is right…..

After a slow July with a few fish landed for guests the rain couldn’t come soon enough to bring the river back to life with some water and most importantly, some fish.

Jack with a fresh run sea trout
Keith with the biggest of 2 sea trout caught on size 14’s
My only salmon in July

Eventually, our prayers were answered, and it turned out to be one of the greatest Augusts for guests, here are a few of the lucky anglers I had on the water last month.

August 3rd

Here’s today’s guest Barry Ward with one of two sea trout he landed today, keeping his 100 percent migratory fish intact on his third visit! I also have to congratulate his partner Alexis for putting in one hell of a session considering we walked over 10km in search of silver today!

A nice Tyne sea trout

August 7th

Tyne Salmon can’t resist a Stokoe

After finally getting a day off myself and having major fishing withdrawal symptoms, I decided to have a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle and busy beats where there might be a fish or two that hadn’t seen a fly yet.

Literally 10 minutes of fishing this stunning bronze Beast absolutely nailed my Stokoe shrimp tube and gave me the greatest fight I’ve had this season (a very well rested fish), as always a quick pick and back he went to finish his journey.

A stunning tyne salmon around 14lb

August 15th

Double salmon hook up’s and a record days guiding (14 fish hooked)!

Today will personally go down in history as one of the greatest days guiding I’ve been involved in.

Good friends and guests Barry Ward and his wife Alexis came back over the border to try and keep there 100 percent Tyne record going with me for the 4th time, to keep things simple, they absolutely cleaned up.

Out of a total of 14 hookups, including a double one, the dream team managed to finish on an incredible 8 migratory fish, how the hell we’re going to top this one, I’ll never know 🙌🏻🎣🔥!

Barry’s first fish of the day during a double hook up
Alexis wasnt far behind with this sea trout
Barry with a cracking sea trout
Barry with his 6th fish of the day
Alexis with another Tyne sea trout

August 17th

A special fish he will remember for the rest of his life.

Today I experienced one of the highlights of my fishing career to date and something myself and my salmon fishing partner in crime will never forget. My good friend and 11 year old junior England international travelled up north to try his luck with the mighty salmon.

Unfortunately due to relentless rain, we had horrendous water conditions from the start and were constantly on the move battling against a rising river, but as always we persevered and at 4pm he got his salmon, his first but I’m sure it won’t be his last! The best part about this incredible catch was that he couldn’t wait to return the fish to finish off its journey.

August 21st

Swimming with salmon.

It’s amazing how many people want to give up at the end of the day, but those who battle to the end often find success. My good buddy and today’s guest Josh headed up to the Tyne from Brighton to achieve a boyhood dream of catching the king of fish, an Atlantic salmon.

After a hard 12 hour shift yesterday with no silver, and a good 8 hours today, he wasn’t going to give in and was determined to battle on for his prize. At 5pm tonight his dream came true, he managed to land this stunning fish, and what better way to celebrate, than going for a swim 🙈💦

Josh with his first salmon
Josh celebrating his catch

August 22nd

First salmon smiles of the season for today’s guest Bret. What an effort this guy put in today in rising river conditions, he not only managed to land his first salmon of the season, he managed a stunning sea trout. Unfortunately his brother was a bit worse for wear after some birthday celebrations so slept in the car most the day 😂🙌🏻

Bret with his first salmon of the season
A stunning Tyne sea trout

Double migratory firsts 👊🏻💥.

A huge congratulations to my good mates and today’s guests Craig and David on both landing their first ever migratory fish. Here’s both the lads with their stunning Tyne prizes, in which Craig managed to land in only 10 minutes of fishing. David also chipped in with his first-ever sea trout caught later in the day that gave him one hell of a battle.

The smile says it all

August 24th

A silver birthday present on his first-ever days salmon fishing.

When Aaron and James headed up for their first-ever days salmon fishing with me, I bet they never expected a birthday present like this.

Here’s birthday boy Aaron with both his fish, including his first-ever salmon which turned out to be an absolute beast of a fish, topping the scales at 16lb. He also managed to chip in with a cracking sea tout, thank you again, boys, for putting in such a phenomenal shift.

How about this for a first salmon
Another fiesty Tyne sea trout

August 28th

A huge congratulations to guests and good friends David and John for putting in a monumental 2 days graft! Their resulting hard work gifted David this stunning fly caught hen Fish weighing around 14lb (his first English salmon), unfortunately for John the 2 he hooked managed to do a Houdini and slip the hook, but what a team effort.

Davids first English salmon

Again, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that came and fished their hearts out with me, you guys should be proud of what you’ve achieved. No doubt il be seeing some of these faces again next year…..

After a really tough April and May with no salmon to show but lost fish at the net, I couldn’t wait for June to kick off with guiding and some actual rain due. My self and Good friend nick warren did manage some stunning small sea trout up to about 3lb from a little road trip we took to the Dee, I did, however, have the pleasure of netting the Green’s first fish of the year, let’s just say he was a little excited as it hit the net.

Nick Warren with a fresh run sea trout
Robson Green off the mark

The month literally started with a bang, as with great water conditions and the full salmon squad together we went out on the 1st in search of some silver.

Here are some small Blog posts from a pretty hectic June!

June 2nd – What an incredible weekend I’ve had with the salmon squad, even tho we collectively put some serious man-hours in this weekend we finished on a massive high.

I’ve just literally netted an incredible conditioned fish for my good buddy Andy (First photo)!

Andy Blyth with a stunning fish

I managed one of most perfect sea liced fish I’ve ever caught estimated around 14/15lb yesterday, unfortunately, when we went to get the photo the fish had other ideas (last photo) 🙈😂, along with my fish Phil AKA the master chipped in with another fish around 10lb!

Phil with my fish before it decided to dissapear

So the total for our weekend finished on – 3 landed and 2 lost between us, bring on this week 👊🏻🎣!

June 3rd – Sweet silver on a sixteen 🐋…

Well after a crazy weekend of smashing silver in left right and centre, I seriously couldn’t of imagined that the luck would continue.

After netting a stunning fish for my buddy Adam this morning (pics to follow over next few days), I decided to have 20 minutes fishing myself, as always with the water falling the deadly size 16 Fulling Mill crathie was placed on the dropper matched with a stokoe on the point.

Adam with a fish I netted for him

After about 10 casts I hooked what I thought was a small sea trout, after a few seconds the fish woke up and went ballistic taking me 100 yards downstream to a different pool, knowing he’d taken the dropper and constantly worrying where the point fly was I played him hard but still careful enough not to pull the small hook. Ten minutes later he was mine, and he was an absolute belter, who knows what tomorrow may bring 👀😬🎣.

I managed to christen my new rod

June 11th – Here’s a stunning fish I had the pleasure of netting for Zoila (Robson’s partner) on Monday morning, she played the fish like an absolute superstar and I think the smile says it all! The fish was caught on Calvin shrimp matched with an intermediate tip, to make things even better she was the last person to fish the pool through.

Zoila and her prize Tyne salmon

June 18th – Sensational sea trout and 100 percent record!

Well that’s an end to an incredible 2 days guiding with Jason and Carl, both lads fished their hearts out and Carl came close to his first fly caught salmon on 3 occasions today but they just didn’t stick.

All was not lost tho, as Jason caught this fish of a lifetime, an incredible sea trout weighing around 12lb, caught on a size 14 Fulling Mill Rs silver stoat on the dropper. Along with this incredible sea trout, Jason managed a stunning salmon around 10lb, along with Jason, Carl also managed to keep his 100 percent record up with a perfect sea trout giving the boys numbers of 3 fish landed and 4 lost.

Jason with a huge Tyne sea trout
No stopping Jason on this day, another stunning Tyne salmon
Carl with his sea trout

June 19th – Silver saves the day.

After the heartbreak of my guests loosing 3 good fish yesterday, I decided to chance my luck and have a few casts after collecting my rods off them. Small fly’s on the dropper doing the damage again, even in big water, this stunning fish couldn’t resist a size 14 Fulling Mill double fished on the dropper and as fast as possible 👊🏻🔥

Another Tyne salmon

June 23rd – This incredible river keeps on producing some colossal Sea trout, here’s Ian with his first fly caught sea trout from today’s guiding session. A massive shout out to his son James who fished like an absolute pro today but unfortunately lost the fish he connected with. We will get them next time buddy….

Another fish of a lifetime for Ian

June 25th – Silver at 7 PM.

Fishing is such an incredible sport and nothing is ever Guaranteed, especially when salmon are the target. We often laugh and joke about that one last cast at the end of the day, the majority of the time nothing happens but today it did.

Here’s today’s guest John Radford with his biggest salmon to date caught on one of his last casts before he headed home, I’m so proud of you for sticking at it buddy 👊🏻🎣

John with his largest salmon to date

June 26th – Scuba, snorkelling and sea trout.

A huge congratulation to my buddy and today’s guest Marina on her PB and first Tyne sea trout she caught today, both you and Ed grated your arse off for your team prize, and it was a pleasure guiding you.

Also a huge thank you to Beneath British Waters for coming to capture some unreal underwater footage for our The Untamed Anglers series that will be released later this year.

Gibson gets amongst the silver
Mark getting the underwater shots we need for our series

June 29th – Sunny sea trout success.

Well that’s the end to a great two days guiding farther and son team Alex and John. Even with low water and intense heat the boys grafted so hard, and as always their incredible efforts paid off. John managed to land not only his first but second ever sea trout on the fly, I think that grin says it all… see you soon boys!

The killer combo was a size 10 Fulling Mill RS cascade and my AtomSix Fly Rods, A huge thank you again to Phil Adams for having us this afternoon.

John with the first of his Two sea trout

This June turned out to be a bit special, mainly due to the water we were fortunate with, I’ve always said that if we get the rain this can be a hard month to beat. In a total of 12 days guiding my guests finished on 8 fish landed and 7 lost, lets hope that the July weather is kind to us all.

Tight lines guys….

Well September was always going to be a hard one to follow, mainly due to the fact of water temperatures dropping, unsettled weather patterns and the fish having tendencies to switch off later in the month due to spawning time getting closer, but as always changing your tactics to suit the water will always give you a greater chance of silver.

The month started with a great lift of water which was perfect for my first guests, absolute fishing fanatical couple Gay and Lucinda as they went in search of Gary’s first fly caught salmon.  The days location of choice was Lambley, situated way up the south Tyne, I knew we had one hell of a chance connecting with a fish I just didn’t realise it would happen so quickly, 10 minutes to be precise.  After putting Gary in the lower section of the pool I walked Lucinda up to the head of it to get her in place and spent a few minutes changing poly tips and making sure she was happy with her casting (which was epic), we literally hadn’t got going and we heard a cry of “Fish on”, he’d only gone and hooked straight into fish that went ballistic, charging round the pool like a fish possessed.  After running down to him like a mad man, a good 8 minute battle I slipped the net under his prize, his first ever fly caught salmon on belive it or not a Red Stokoe shrimp. Lucinda also managed to connect with a nice grilse but unfortunately lost it at the rim of the net, she did however catch an incredible wild brown in the best condition I’ve seen on our river.  

 

Gary with his prize

Lucina with the nicest Wild Tyne brown trout i’ve ever seen

The salmon squad strikes again!!

It was Great to finally get out for a cast with the Boys (Phil and Robson) after a busy start to the month for us all, as always we decided to fish slightly different tactics, density tip’s and fly’s to maximise our chances of striking silver.  I let the lads go through first seeing that I fish the river way more than them, or in my words let them stir the pools up first.  It just so happened my tactics paid off and i scored first, connecting with a nice hen fish that fell to a quarter inch cone head francis fished on and intermediate tip and small paused short strip retrieves.  After putting up a great fight Phil netted her for me, she was not only a beautiful hen fish but an important one for me – my 20th fish of the season.  I knew for a fact that the lads wouldn’t be far behind me with the conditions looking right, it was the Green machine that hit the jackpot next again fishing down behind phil, i actually joked on when he hooked the fish and started playing it that was it just a trout due to the lack of fight it was giving, Id eat my words seconds later as the fish woke up charging around the pool being a proper head banger shaking its head as if it was at a rock concert, minutes later after playing the fish perfect I safely netted it and the green went into meltdown mode as he does dancing around like and excited kid at Christmas.  There was only the master left to connect with a fish, but he’d have to wait until the next day to strike silver, and what a fish it was another cracking hen fish and the biggest of the 2 days weighing 15.5lb.

The francis does the damage

Robson wasn’t far behind

Phil with the biggest of the 2 day’s

After the great 2 day’s me and the boys had i decided to stick it out and try and add to my tally for the season as condition were pretty banging, after having good success days earlier with a small francis, the pool was absolutely rammed with fish, probably the most id seen this year, but for love nor money i could not get a reaction from them to save my life.  The decision was made to change tactic’s, I decided to put a fast tip on and literally dredge the bottom with the biggest francis in my box.  The francis is always a good reaction fly to use especially when all else fails but especially fished with a draw and stop (5 seconds pause), the salmon will often take on the pause, again it was the right decision to change tactics but the fish actually took on my last cast and while i was winding in, to my amazement the fish cart wheeling around the pool like a lunatic wasn’t a salmon but turned out to be a big sea trout.  After a short but very active battle i had a bruit of a cock fish nestled safely by my side, a couple of quick photos and back he went to finish of his journey, i did also manage to hit a hat-trick for the week a day later with another hen salmon around 8lb in horrendous weather conditions that Robson kindly netted for me.

The Francis does the job

Letting the big man rest before his return

Another day another hen

One thing I really love is introducing people from different areas of angling to salmon fishing and I think I may have turned carp fishing England international Ryan from the dark side as i had him back for another 2 days in search of silver.  It was always going to be hard to top his previous visit last season,  due to the fact he landed the biggest guest fish of the year, weighing in at a staggering 22.5lb on his first day ever salmon fishing.  It literally took him 5 minutes to start spey casting again even after a year, to the point of casting off his left shoulder – what a bloke!  It was getting late in the day and I was gutted for him that he hadn’t connected yet as he was fishing his socks off, I shouldn’t of worried however, as minutes later that high pitched scream of fish on and a rod bent was the sight and sound i was waiting for, although the fish wasn’t a shade of last years capture it was still an absolute stunner and kept his 100 percent record in tact.

Cap fishing England international Ryan with another salmon

The season seemed to come to an end faster than I’ve ever experienced but collectively we still managed a cracking last week, landing 6 fish including 2 fish for Phil, 2 for my guests one being a first uk sea trout for Barry.  One of my guest’s Adams landed his second ever salmon, christening his rod he had received 17 years ago as a birthday present that he had promised to take the plastic off once he had caught a salmon on it.  Both myself Robson and Gibson had a hectic last 2 day’s hooking 5 fish but only managing to land 2 between us but it was still an epic team effort and I managed my 25th fish of the season on the 31st on the that killer fly again – The Stokoe shrimp.

Adam christens his rod

Adam and his Prize

The dream team Barry and the Green

Robson and a chunky hen fish

This sea trout couldn’t resist a Stokoe shrimp

Last day fish for the team

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me but also to all guests and friends who have fished with me, I couldn’t do this without you all!  Bring on 2019……..!

Well the water eventually arrived in August along with a colossal run of both sea trout and salmon, this was only going to mean one thing – Absolute carnage!

Duncan fished to the death and gets his prize!

Early August I had the pleasure of guiding my good friend Duncan that came back for revenge after an unfortunate 2 days last year loosing an incredible 3 fish, 2 being right at the net.  He literally fished his heart out solid all day through horrendous winds and rain, his hard work however paid off with this belter of a sea trout, but it could of ended so differently – After fighting the fish on the dropper for a good 5 minutes that horrendous sensation of a slack line happened, we were absolutely devastated, it was so close and the end of the day, however it wasn’t over yet, as 10 seconds later we noticed the line moving through the water, we literally couldn’t work out what was going on.  To cut a long story short, the fish had taken the dropper and the fly pulled from it mouth as it came to the net, as the dropper pulled the point fly caught the fish in the side of the head and hooked itself, unbelievably we still had the same fish on and a minute later we had his prize in the net – Crazy!

 

Duncan and his lucky prize

Duncan playing his big sea trout

Well after the recent drought during June and July and worst run of loosing fish I’ve ever experienced (landing 5 from 15 hook up’s), i was starting to loose faith but i new eventually luck had to change and I eventually struck and landed some substantial silver, well maybe bronze!  As always the killer fly was a Fulling Mill Stokoe shrimp fished on a fast figure of eight!

My first double of the season

A sensational silver week at warden!

After the ridiculous months of hot and dry weather it was great to see a substantial lift of water throughout the Tyne system.  Any water that came was always going to get the fish excited and finally get them started on their final stage of their incredible adventure up to the same spawning grounds they were born in.

We had one memorable week at Warden in August totalling 30 fish, including a great number of grilse being caught that haven’t been present for quite a few years but are starting to make an appearance.  Here’s a few photos from an incredible day my guests Martyn and Tim on their first day’s salmon fishing during that crazy week, they only went and smashed in a Hat trick of sea trout in an actioned packed day.

Martyn with his first ever sea trout

Tim with his second of the day

Tim with his first ever sea trout

The Stokoe shrimp is always my first port of call when ever i fish the Tyne, the fly is actually a pattern I first tied about 17 years ago but now an improved pattern tied in both red and orange and also in tube form to accommodate all types of water conditions, it has had an incredible success rate for not only me but for anglers around the country.  Here’s one of the fish that literally couldn’t resist an original Stokoe, fished with a fast figure of eight on an intermediate line.

This fish couldn’t resist a Stokoe fished fast

Another Atlantic Tyne salmon

The fantastic 4!

It’s not often these days you get a real red letter day, but these 3 legends absolutely smashed one out the park.  Not knowing he was going salmon fishing, David was told last minute as a birthday present he’d be joining myself along with brother Tom and friend Brody for a days guided fishing. Even tho all 3 had never fished for salmon or sea trout at all, they absolutely cleaned up, each landing fish totalling 5 for the day.  This wouldn’t however turn out to be the most action packed day of the season…… 

5 incredible fish for the boys

Brody with a fish after 5 minutes

It was nice to eventually get some fishing done with the boy’s or as i like to call us – the salmon squad , due to us all having different jobs and life styles we don’t get to fish as much together as we would like, we did however manage to squeeze a few days in at the end of the month.  Fishing down behind the guys on 3 separate occasions one day I managed to hook 3 fish, 1 unfortunately slipped the hook that was the biggest of the day but the others thankfully stuck giving us a nice duo of grilse.  Even tho i caught the fish I always look at it s team effort, as everyone fished their hearts out using different flies and lines, it was my choice of fly and fast paced retrieve that the fish decided to take a liking to but we still caught them as a collective.

My second Salmon of the day

Robson holding our first of the day

 

After an incredible August and September we had high hopes for October but we had no clue of what lay in sore for us.  The 1st of October couldn’t of started any better with both myself and phil getting into fish within the first 30 minutes, Phil managed a nice 8lb hen fish and i chipped in with a hard fighting 13lb hen fish caught on you guessed it, a red Stokoe shrimp.  Unfortunately i missed half the day as had to fly off to play football but i managed to get back to the water just in time to see phil land 2 fish in succession and complete his first Tyne treble.  The next day followed suit with Phil absolutely kicking my arse, not only  did he mange a fish within 5 minutes he smashed another hat-trick of fish in, including a 20lb cock salmon and a brute of a sea trout.  Day 3 seemed to come around far to quick as it always seems to do when fishing and having fun, it was our last day fishing together and i was determined to get on the score board, as the previous days within 30 minutes i had a fish in the net, not just any fish tho, an absolute monster of a cock fish tipping the scales at 23lb, my biggest of the season and second biggest i’ve ever landed.  Once the adrenaline, screaming and hugging had finished we took a a few seconds to marvel at the king of fish as he lay calmly in the water beside us, as always we got our photos and set him on his way shortly after.  That was our day made and anything else would be a bonus, we were on an incredible 8 fish between us in 3 days, it didn’t finish there tho as we both managed a fish each later that day bring us to the grand total of 10 fish in 3 days fishing, even tho phil totally cleaned up we always agree its a team effort.

 

Salmon number 1

My first fish of the 3 days

The king of fish and my second biggest salmon

Phil’s 20lb beast of a tyne salmon

Phil makes it 10 fish with this stunning 16lb hen fish

My other Big fish buddy Ripon decided to venture up north to try his luck again after successful trip last season, of course the inevitable happened again and we got far to drunk the evening before the fishing, we woke up late and only managed to fish 2 or 3 hours but when he’s on a mission theres nothing stopping Rip.   Even tho other anglers had fished the pool through with no luck i still decided to put rip straight in the hot zone, it literally took him 30 minutes and he was into a fish, even tho he was as ceased and solid as an old engine playing the fish, he got it to the net like a pro.  As always a few quick photos and he released her to carry on her journey to carry on her legacy.

Ripon with his prize

As my last blog i had the great pleasure of meeting and becoming great friends with the one and only Robson green, as all of us alike his passion and love for fishing is true and second to none, after having some great success with Neil lobban ( a spectacular fly casting instructor) not only catching fish but becoming a master caster i had the joy of taking Robson onto some of my local stretches with Phil.  Unfortunately the fish we managed to connect with managed to do a Houdini on us and throw the hook after 5 minutes, a funny thing was myself and Phil were more disappointed than Robson, although i can imagine it hit home later on and he shed a tear.  We did however mange to score a steak dinner from him on the day so not all was lost – Cheers buddy!

The dream team (part2)

IMG_1780

My next guest and great friend was Damon AKA the London fly fisher, i only met Damon this year at the London Fly Fishing Fair where we hit it off immediately and became good friends and fellow ambassadors for fishing organisations.  After his long journey up north and being washed of 2 separate rivers it was my turn to get him on the mighty Tyne, as soon as he saw the water his eyes lit up like a kid at christmas, id always told him we had incredible fly water but its always hard to believe until you see it with your own eyes.  The morning we must have seen 30/40 fish on 1 of the beats but they literally wouldn’t look at a thing, this tends to happen a lot in October as the fish have other things on their mind.  In the afternoon we rotated to the other beat we had booked, the first run through the pool he hooked a fish which had its mind set on going back to sea, he played it like an absolute boss and 10 minutes later Damon had his prize, a PB salmon safely in the net which fell as always to a red Stokoe shrimp.  After both calming down we got carefully took her from the net got our photos and returned her, this is one of the highlights for me as it helps to secure the future of this incredible species.

Damon with his PB salmon

I managed a few days myself to get out the second half of October as the beats were fully booked so i couldn’t get guests on, i did manage to get amongst some nice fish tho, it doesn’t pay the bills but it’s a great feeling to land these exceptional creatures.  One day that stands out is when we experienced horrendous wind and rain to the point that we had a severe weather warning, this was never going to stop me and phil tho, we managed to find a few spots that were sort of sheltered now when i say sort of i mean the wind was only hitting us at 40 not 80mph ha ha.  The whole day we never saw a soul well apart from the 2 stunners i managed to land, one a sea trout about 4lb and the other my last salmon of the season that we estimated around 12lb, this just shows you that no matter the conditions theres always a chance especially if you fish a Stokoe shrimp.

Sea trout caught in shocking conditions

My last salmon of an incredible season

The last few days of the season for me didn’t produce much but for Robson it proved to be the perfect ending to a great season for him, well when i say season i mean 3 months.  Not only did he manage his biggest Tyne salmon from Lambley a fish of around 16lb, the last day of the season on what he said was his last couple of casts he accomplished something most of us can only dream of, the biggest sea trout i’ve seen or heard of from the Tyne, a monster fish estimated at around 15lb.  Unfortunately i wasn’t present to witness the fish mostly to see his reaction but to be in the presence of the create (the fish) itself.

 

Robson with his biggest Tyne salmon

The fish of a lifetime

I just wanted to personally thank each and everyone of you that i’ve not only guided or fished with but who’s helped me to get to where i am today, i cant wait to see some new faces by the water next year and hopefully get some bucket list fish.  In the mean time tight lines guys!

As with any type of fishing the most important factor is understanding your quarry, and due to the salmon’s life cycle being very complex there is a lot to learn about these magnificent fish. In the last issue I gave a brief description of what these fish actually go through, and this time I’ll explain it in a bit more detail which will then help us to choose the correct and suitable equipment and locations to catch these silver tourists.

Once hatched from an egg high up the river system in the spawning grounds the salmon go through numerous stages of change before heading back to sea. Initially hatching as an alevin they gradually turn to a fry, then after a year into a salmon parr which resembles a small brown trout but can be identified by what looks like 4 finger prints on the side of them. After another 2-3 years of aggressively feeding a dramatic change of colour occurs turning them bright silver and into a salmon smolt, still very small fish of around 6 inches long. Something tells these smolt to go back to sea and a phenomenal migration towards the oceans and the rich feeding grounds of the Atlantic waters near Greenland begins.

After being at sea for between 1-3 years gorging on prawns, shrimps and small fish, instinct and an incredibly strong urge to return to their spawning grounds take hold and the incredible journey starts again – not only do the fish return to the same country and river of birth, but the same stream they were actually born in. It’s as if they have a built in sat nav, that allows them to actually smell their way back to water that they came from.

After migrating thousands of miles back to their river of birth they start a treacherous journey upstream avoiding seals, otters, cormorants and other threats whilst battling strong currents, rapids and weirs. During this time the salmon enter a fasted state by not feeding at all once in fresh water. The run of fish on most rivers is greater in the months ranging from June – October, and these months also see the greatest increase of anglers targeting these fish. The salmon fishing season varies thought different rivers within the UK, with some opening in January and finishing in November but the majority staring February 1st running until the October 31st. Once the season ends, the break over the winter is very important as it allows the fish to spawn in peace high up the river system, before heading back out to sea for the cycle to start all over again.

Now that we understand these fish, their lifestyle and their habits a little bit more it will hopefully help us towards our prize trophy, a stunning Atlantic salmon.

Before jumping in with two feet and buying any equipment it’s always important to do your homework and decide where you’re going to be fishing, particularly on which river as they differ so much in the size, colour and the runs of fish they see. Local knowledge is key to any river fishing and even after 20 years of salmon angling I still learn something new every time by reading the river as the water conditions and fish are never the same twice.

The equipment needed for salmon fishing can just about be covered by 2 set ups, first (and my favourite) a double handed salmon rod ranging from 13’-15’ depending on the river you’re looking to fish. A 14’ foot would cover most situations and my preference for this would be Grey’s, any of the GR models because you get fantastic build quality with a great action for reasonable money anywhere from £250 – £400 for a good quality rod. Second, you may think the reel is the most important part of the set up but it’s actually the line, and this is a mistake made by many as Spey casting involves no weights or heavy lures just the weight of the head of the fly line, so matching the weight of the line (#8,#9,#10 etc) is critical. For lines I personally use either a Cortland Spey or Rio outbound which vary between £50-£100, and for Spring time and back end fishing I also add a Rio sinking poly tip to help me get down to the fish, and this also saves on buying a whole new line. As for reels, as long as they have a good smooth drag and enough room for a few hundred yards of backing line you’re sorted and you definitely won’t break the bank with one. Lure fishing is also a very popular way of targeting these fish, especially when the water is high or fishing deep slow-running water, and for that I personally use a Rovex lure pro with a 22-50g casting rating matched with a medium sized fixed spool reel and 30lb braid. Again you don’t need to break the bank with spinning gear, I think mine totals £100 for the lot, light or medium pike rods would suffice.

One of the biggest decisions a salmon angler has to make by the river is what to put on at the business end, and the biggest problem we face is the characteristics of these fish, as they don’t feed in fresh water we have to get a reaction from them in some other way. I personally think there are a few reasons why the fish take a fly or lure, the first being that when you’re using an imitation shrimp/prawn fly or fish lure it reminds them of what they were feeding on at sea, and as their instinct takes over for a split second and they grab it. Another is annoyance and agitation – imagine travelling all those thousands of miles then finding a nice lye (resting spot) and all of a sudden your personal space is being invaded, they may even see it as competition and their natural aggression is triggered and in a instant they snatch at the fly. Last is that they are just inquisitive and being that they don’t have hands they use their mouth, which happens a lot of the time. Sometimes the slightest of tweaks, literally the lightest of pulls on a fly is salmon just mouthing it, how they don’t get hooked I will never know.

My preference for flies are always shrimp imitations, it’s advisable to have a good range of patterns and colours as like trout fishing one day it could be orange the next red and so on. Certain colours do fish better at different times of the year with greens and yellows working in Spring, oranges throughout most the year and red is a must in the back end as studies suggest that salmon can actually see red easier when it’s close to their spawning time. As for lures I love to use Rapalas, mainly floating ones ranging from 7cm – 11cm in bright colours as it’s only when the waters high and coloured, and age old favourites like Flying C’s and Toby’s still have their place and can be deadly.

Now that we are ready and set to target these fish we need to find them, and to do so it’s important to search out and find characteristics in the river like rapids, obstructions, rocks, pools and water seems. Fish will always have their favourite lies, holding pools and runs and in different heights of water these will change – in the Summer when oxygen and water is low they will sit high up in pools near the white water, and in higher water they will sit just off the fast water looking for the easiest route possible up stream. Always remember that local knowledge is key, you could spend hours and even days trying to find these fish so always get as much info as possible when fishing new water and always take advantage of a guide, it’s these guys’ jobs to know the water like the back of their hands and put you on silver.

Lastly. be patient and enjoy your fishing, it will happen and when it does you will never look back.

Tight lines.