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…

If I could sum up September in a few words it would be “life changing”!

There are a few reasons why September will go down as the most incredible month of my life, firstly because i had the opportunity to go on the greatest fishing trip in history to Alaska with the company to match, it was the perfect combination, unfortunately you guys will have to wait a while to see how we faired in my next blog, along with a very special Untamed Anglers video.  Once back home after our mind blowing adventure the fishing ended up being off the scale with some mind blowing numbers of fish caught, heres a few of the most memorable days.

A male Arctic char in his full spawning colours

The weekend back after Alaska I had the pleasure of 2 days guiding a great bunch of Irish boys, John who had previously fished a lot for salmon and first timers, Ciaran, Paul and Tom. The lads collectively smashed it over the 2 days considering only 1 had ever fly fished before, we tactically used day 1 as a cross of learning while chasing silver, which unfortunately ended fruitless. Day 2 however was absolute mayhem with the lads using everything they had learned in the first day, hooking 6 fish and landing 3, this included 3 first salmon for the boys and 1 ecstatic and happy guide.

Paul with his first ever salmon

Ciaran got amongst the fish as well

The salmon squad hits 8 🎣!

After the success of the Irish boys I didn’t think things could get any better, I would however have no idea what was in store for myself and Robson’s fishing party over the next few days!  We woke up on day 1 to perfect conditions, including a cracking height and good water temperature, i just had this feeling that we would have an absolute ball, the plan was to have only 3 rods fishing at a time between 6 people and myself helping the gillie with guiding and ready with the net.  It started at 100 miles an hour with fish being landed instantly including Robson and his Partner Zoila landing fish of 14 and 19lb, followed quickly by James Murray his brother Ted and friend Roddy landed 3 colossal fish probably averaging about 16l, all falling to the deadly Stokoe shrimp.  My salmon fishing P.I.C Phil managed to also get on the score sheet with a nice salmon, followed by another 2 fish for the guys totalling an exceptional 8 with all anglers catching. 

Ted with his biggest salmon to date that took a red Stokoe shrimp

Roddy with his carcking hen fish that fell to a Red stokoe shrimp

The whole salmon squad

The next time I got to join the guys it was my turn to fish and see if I could help keep the run and numbers up for the week, as always the fly of choice to start with was a red Stokoe shrimp, red is by far the most popular colour choice in the back end, this is due to the fact fish seem to react better to it, either from aggression and annoyance.  The day again started 100 miles an hour as I landed a fish around 8lb in minutes, Robson wasn’t far behind doing the same minutes later.  As the day went on I managed to connect and land another 2 salmon also on a red Stokoe with both Robson and Phil landing one a piece to bring the total to 6 for the day and my first hat-trick of the season.  Again the Stokoe shrimp came out on top taking 4 fish in total.

Five minutes of fishing and a fish landed straight away

Fish number 2 on a Stokoe

And the hat-trick was complete

Lucky for some – the salmon squad hits a tremendous 13 in 1 day 👊! (30 for week)

Well our weeks chasing silver had to come to an end at some point, but we could never of imagined it would have ended the way it did.  Having already landed 17 fish in 2.5 days fishing we had the big 20 in sight for our last day, we woke to amazing water and weather conditions so new that 3 more fish was more than doable and we were ready for everything thrown at us.

The day started with myself landing the first salmon on my 4th cast weighing in at a steady 16lb which actually took the fly before I’d even got the shooting head out the tip, I sensed and had a feeling that this was going to be our day.  The great thing about the day is everyone fished as a team catching and netting each other’s fish, at the end of play we totalled an insane 13 fish on the fly. For me it was an extra special day, landing 6 fish all on a Stokoe shrimp, including my best of the week, a fish around 18lb, on what was going to be my last cast of the day.

To some it up, the week was something il never forget, not just because of the insane fishing but the new friends I got to make and fish with, we need to remember that it’s not always about the fish, it’s about the experience.

Fish number 6 and a double hat-trick for me

Robson Green with a huge tartan warrior

Phil with his prize

As the end of the month got closer I had the pleasure of guiding 2 good buddies and last years guests Jason and Karl back on my water i usually guide on.   Even with it being cooler and the back end of September I decided to stick to fishing with droppers and full floating lines, this worked instantly with Jason hooking a very lively fish on a size 12 mirage stoat, 10 minutes later we had his prize safely in the net, a beautiful 10lb hen fish, as always a few quick pics we returned her to finish off her journey.  Karl wasn’t however going to be outdone, a couple of hours later he landed a stunning sea-liced sea trout which was also his first ever.  The boys absolutely smashed it landing a stunning fish a piece and keeping their 100 percent tyne record up over the last 2 seasons.

Jason with a beautiful September salmon

Karl with his sea-liced beauty

Gibson eventually get’s her Tyne prize!

The last fish of September could not of gone to a more deserving person, my good buddy Marina Gibson is in my eyes the number 1 female angler in the country and someone that is not only is at the top of her game but someone that does so much good for this incredible sport.  After having nothing but bad luck on her previous 2 visits to the Tyne and loosing fish at the net it was time to change this and get her that most sought after prize, Gibson put one hell of a shift in fishing hard all morning and when she least expected it connected with a turbo charged salmon, the fish not only smashed a red Stokoe shrimp but gave both her and myself the run around.  Once we got our heads screwed on a I stopped chasing the fish around the river, she expertly drew the fish over the net and I lifted our prize to safety, eventually the bad run was over and we could marvel over this incredible fish!

Gibson with her first Tyne salmon