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 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…

After an incredible 2015 being part of and winning The Big Fish this year had a lot to live up to, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Over the years the Tyne has changed as a lot of rivers do, most noticeably after the record floods last year which left devastation all along the Tyne river system, with people’s houses being flooded along with cars, businesses and livestock lost.  No one knew what effect this would have on our fish species and due to the complex cycle of our salmon and sea trout we won’t have a true answer for another 4 or 5 years, although I did manage to catch an awful lot of fat salmon parr and smolts this year while fishing for wild brownies, which themselves didn’t seem to be there in great numbers. As well as this there has been bad reports from course anglers that this was one of the worst years on record.

So after going down to the river on the opening day of the season and being asked the raise a toast to the river, whilst asking it to be forgiving and generous to all anglers in 2016, it would be a few months before I ventured out myself in search of the incredible Atlantic salmon. I have an absolute fascination with this fish and the upmost respect for it and for what it goes through in it’s life cycle, which is the reason I return all my catches (my trophy is a picture and a memory rather than a dead fish on the bank) – but this is my personal choice and I do not hold it against anyone for keeping fish to eat.

It was apparent early on in the season that the floods had totally changed a large percentage of the pools and runs, mainly by shifting gravel, which isn’t always a bad thing. Yes we lost some good pools but with time and experimenting I managed to find some amazing productive spots away from the most popular areas, which I happily shared with others.  Due to the fact I only really fish further up the Tyne system it wouldn’t be until April that I started fishing for salmon properly, and I would actually have to wait until the second last day in May before I connected with what was both my first of the year and also the first salmon caught on the South Tyne, which I would have never caught if it wasn’t for my neighbour Jim telling me where the fish was!  So a last minute change from chasing brownies to silver resulted in an absolutely beautiful fresh fish of around 12lb, which was quickly returned amidst the shouting and jumping about like a lunatic – I’m sure any angler can relate to this as once your off the mark for the season the pressure seems to ease and you can hopefully relax and enjoy it all.

My first fish of the season

After getting off the mark things just got better and better, including a memorable catch on the the 1st June where not only did I catch the first sea trout on the South Tyne, but it was caught on an 8 foot 5 weight, 4lb leader and size 14 gold head hares ear whilst fishing for brownies, which 10 minutes and 2 pools later with no net I managed to lift from the water and marvel at it’s bright silver flanks.

A shock sea trout on my 5 weight

As the months passed we were blessed with good rises of water throughout the summer which is something we missed in 2015. Not only does this motivate the salmon and sea trout to enter the river system and keep them moving up stream, it also keeps the water well oxygenated and more likely to take the fly or lure. I managed some incredible sport through out June to August, personally landing a good mix of salmon and sea trout and finally breaking the what seemed impossible 20lb mark, which after 20 years of searching was starting to feel like it was never going to happen! It’s amazing how things can change in an instant – while guiding my good friend Ripon for the day, who was needing a break after catching his first ever sea trout (especially after the late night boozing the night before), he was worn out and made the mistake of telling me to have a few casts, and 4 casts later there I was attached to a brute of a salmon! After a hectic battle it was ours and what a fish it was (sorry Rip).

My first ever 20lb plus Tyne Salmon

Guiding people on the Tyne is something I turned my hand to this year and I absolutely love it. There’s something very special about introducing new anglers to the joys of salmon fishing and for me guiding them to their first Tyne salmon is the closest feeling you can get to landing one yourself. One of my favourite occasions was having 2 young Angling Trust ambassadors and avid film makers Carl and Alex, who are carp fishing fanatics, come in search of their first Atlantic salmon with the added pressure of everything being filmed. The lads were absolutely fantastic and took to it like a duck to water, having an unbelievable first 3 hours both landing one each, including a belter of a cock fish around 15lb which gave Carl an epic fight, and a beautiful grilse for Alex. The day seemed to fly by as it always does and just before we called it a day the lads incredibly managed another salmon each to finish on an absolute high and give them and myself a day to remember (the video can be viewed at the bottom of the page).

My guest Mark with his first salmon! He then went on to complete a hat-trick of fish in the same day

One thing I always look forward to is my Big Fish buddy Phil coming up to fish, as there’s always a little bit friendly competition between us but most importantly we have great laugh along the way, which is how it should be. This season we had some incredible days down the river with Phil landing a total of 10 fish in only 13 days, which is a phenomenal catch ratio and included a beast of a 22lb fish that he hooked when I was fighting with a bush on the far side trying to get my fly back! (Typical of Phil’s luck!).

Phil with his 22lb salmon

I’m sure you’ve all heard stories about the one that got away, I personally have a few but while fishing with Phil this year I experienced something that wipes the floor with the rest. Fishing the same pool that Phil had caught his monster cock fish in the day before I got a take that felt different to any other salmon I’d hooked before, with it’s weight and power feeling something similar to the sturgeon we were catching in British Columbia last year.  In all my years fishing for these magnificent fish I’ve never had a salmon bully me up and down the river so much, using short powerful runs while unfortunately taking me into 2 different snags which I somehow managed to free the line from.  By now the rain was torrential and I was stood 250 yards down stream from Phil up to my chest in water, wearing leaking waders feeling like I’d been fighting the fish for hours, and it turned out I had been – it was well over an hour and there was still no sight of the leviathan on the end of my line but I knew eventually that something had to give, and eventually I started gaining ground inch by inch, slowly walking the fish 100 yards back towards Phil and the net but still not managing to get it’s head up to the surface.  Another 30 minutes passed and the fish was about 5 yards away from both of us, and most importantly the net, when disaster struck – the heartbreaking moment when the line goes slack and the rod pings up. The leader (25lb) had snapped, not at the knot or lure but right in the middle where at some point must have rubbed against one of the snags. The most soul destroying feeling wasn’t just the fact that after 90 minutes the fish came off, but that I never got to see the fish and will never know it’s true size.

Before I knew it the season was drawing to an end but unlike a few weeks before and the one that got away it finished on a massive high, as after guiding a couple of guests to their separate unbelievable hat-tricks of fish, I landed my biggest fly caught salmon to date – an absolute beast of around 22-23lb, which as always after a few quick photos was released to carry on his journey.  The last few days literally went by as if they were hours and it was time to say an emotional goodbye and thank this amazing river for such a sensational season, which personally totalled 28 fish. With the next season just around the corner who knows what 2017 and the mighty Tyne holds for us.

An October monster