ANGLING COLUMN: It’s not all about the fishing

Bob Smith's angling column (
Bob Smith's angling column (

This is the first week since last January I have not coached, but that does not mean I have not been on the water.

Running the business takes a lot of effort, time and planning. Keeping in touch regularly with everyone who helps takes some organising.

I have very few gift vouchers left after the heavy run at Christmas, so it’s time to review the image on the front before taking a trip to my printers. I also need more fliers before the tourists start arriving, so there is something else to keep me busy.

I must admit I enjoy going through the hundreds of photographs I have taken throughout the last 12 months and deciding which ones to use. It gives me a good buzz seeing the proofs and finally receiving the final prints.

Geoff called across one night for a chat and a coffee.

He began fly-fishing with a session from me early last season. He is now catching regularly on the still waters and landed a beautiful 1½lb brown trout from the Coquet last season.

Needless to say, Geoff returned the trout to the river after the fish gave him such a battle.

We had a coffee and he booked me in for a number of lessons on the river. He intends to buy a Federation salmon licence for 2015 so he can have the choice of fishing for salmon, sea trout or brown trout. A couple of sessions are for him, but the final session in July is a present for his son on the completion of his GCSE examinations.

Finally, Geoff wanted to try to tie a fly as his ambition is to catch a fish on his own home-tied fly.

We sat at the fly-tying desk and he had some fun just tying a simple buzzer.

Using the whip-finish tool caused a few laughs, but Geoff got the technique and took his buzzer home. It is all about practice, the more time you try, the better you become.

The following night Michael arrived to solve a problem for me. Michael is heavily into his fly-tying and is producing his own flies which are catching trout regularly.

I decided that my fly-tying desk was a little on the wide side for the room so I am expecting a delivery of a new oak tying-desk to match the one I have already.

Michael came to take the old one away for him to use and make space for my new desk.

The old desk is solid and heavy and moving it from upstairs to his car brought back happy memories. I worked for E Marr and Son removals in Amble from the age of 15 until I left college.

On Saturdays and holidays, I helped people move house or picked up furniture from houses in the area to take to the salerooms in Alnwick. Happy days.

The desk is now gone and I must admit I miss it, but the new desk arrives this week and I am looking forward to getting that in position and organised.

On Wednesday night, the weather was wicked but I made my way to Rothbury for the second meeting of a newly-formed group of caring anglers of Northumbrian rivers.

Considering the conditions, the turnout of some 30 anglers was excellent.

The group is going to get a committee sorted and the forthcoming meetings will probably be held in a more central venue in Morpeth.

The idea is for the group to link with other groups across the north of England to get a coordinated effort organised to get answers from different agencies on issues that concern anglers fishing the rivers of the region.

The next meeting will be about a month’s time, and any angler or club who fishes the rivers of the area, and indeed representatives of still waters are most welcome.

Still-water representatives would add more weight to issues that affect both rivers and still waters, such as predation, for example.

I fished at Thrunton on Sunday. Opening the curtains in Morpeth, everything was white and I questioned the wisdom of venturing forth. However, once on the A697, the white stuff soon disappeared and the road was ok.

Thrunton had some ice on the shallower areas, but the vast majority of the lake was ice-free.

Getting prepared in the lodge I could see trout rising, not in numbers, but fairly regularly the odd one was showing.

I wanted to try some patterns that I had tied, all buzzers. I went down to the first point and progressively lengthened my cast and counted the fly down.

About the fifth cast, the buzzers were sinking for 20 seconds and suddenly my floating line with a nine-foot leader went tight. Trout on.

I played the 3lb fish to the net, unhooked it and it swam off no trouble.

I worked my way around the lake and some of the hardy guys who had been there since opening had landed up to four trout.

Some had taken fish on intermediate line, while others were using floating lines with a sight bob.

Strange how the weather changes. You look at the prediction the night before and when you arrive at the venue it is nothing like it is supposed to be.

However, fishing into that northerly arc wind, my fingers were soon numb and I could not feel the fly when changing patterns.

Fishing across the wind and using my body to protect my hands from the wind, it was a different day.