The River Wear is rightly regarded as the number 2 salmon and sea trout river in England and Wales with over 27,000 salmon and sea trout passing the fish pass at Durham in a bumper year. The smallest of the North East’s three main rivers, and fished mainly by local anglers with news on catches hard to come by. If you read this months Trout & Salmon magazine, Wear reporter David Carrick writes ‘Information on catches is hard to come by, but some excellent fish have been caught”
Bishop Auckland & District Angling Club led by their Chairman Len Hird is leading the way sharing news and success stories and in doing so bucking the trend on the river and increasing the number of anglers fishing their water, 17 miles of prime salmon and sea trout fishing on the River’s Wear and Tees.
The club are encouraging anglers to go fishing, including prospective members to try their water with day tickets now available to purchase on FishWear. I joined membership secretary Keith Robson last week on a sea trout evening he hosts regulary during the season for existing club members and those new to river fishing.
Heavy overnight rains at the start of the week had improved anglers success on the river, with upwards of 30 sea trout caught from a number of BADAC beats. Last night one angler caught a 6lb and 8lb sea trout on a size 13 Mercenary and the other a Yellow Nailer tube fly. With quite a few fish about and the water in fine fettle lets hope the fish will co-operate I thought.
Waiting outside the locked car park at Vinovium I thought about the feature Trout & Salmon magazine published a few years ago about this water – anglers queuing ten deep to fish one of the most successful pools on the river. Luckily this is no longer the norm.
Keith is a wealth of information and happy to share it with you. He’s been a member of the club since 1968 in the days before the advent of Hugh Faulkus book, sea trout fishing. We were fishing pool 29, part of the Auckland Castle Trust, called the Vinovium run. Most of the season until September 31st it’s fly only. “It’s not as prolific as it used to be when members used to get over 70 sea trout a season. The run has changed during the last few years – whether to do with work further up the river course, but it has now shallowed off” says keith.
There was a gentle evening breeze and still quite warm. Keith said “we didn’t want the air temperature to get cooler than the river – as this tends to produce a white mist which seems to put the sea trout off”. River Wear sea trout need clear or clearish water clarity as they will not take on coloured water in the dark. Even when the river is low – fresh fish are coming up all the time – once they get past Durham a sea trout will swim up a ‘wet sponge’. Keith said “you never know if you are going to get a fish, some nights its prolific others nothing”.
Keith’s Top Tips.
Keep your rod at a 45 degrees with a nice curve from the fly line into the water. Ignore anything that feels like a trout nipping away at your fly – if you do react – you will prick the fish and it will make one hell of a splash – wait till the fish makes its mind up, takes the fly, turns and goes back to where it came from, your rod will bend and then lift in to the fish.
Keith’s Favourite Flies.
Start off with a 1″ tube once its dark enough – if there is enough flow in the river put a dropper on a mercenary fly – size 13 or 15. As the night goes on tend lengthen the tube fly – some members like to fish the snake flies. Usually go up to a 2″ plastic tube.
Keith’s Fishing Tackle.
10ft 8″ Hardy Demon fitted with a Greys Platinum long belly fly line. If he had another choice he would go back to an old fashioned double taper. Sea trout fishing in the dark, you want the least number of false casts to get the fly line up off the water and back right across to the fish. Maxima 10lb breaking strain. Flouracarbon takes the fly down too far – these runs are not very deep on the Wear, sometimes you are fishing about a foot above the weed.
What Club Members Say About Bishop Auckland & District Angling Club
Scott Taken joined the club 3 years ago and says “It’s done fantastic things for my fishing. I did the fly tying course with Cliff and Keith during the winter. At the time my flies looked like something the dog chewed and after the course I am now able to tie something that looks presentable”.
Club members at BADAC have been really helpful. I didn’t realise it was going to be as good as this when you join a club, you dont know if people are going to be reserved and don’t tell you where the best spots are.
The first year with the help of club members I caught my first sea trout 3.5lb standard for the Wear and a salmon 5lb, my biggest grayling at 2lb and brownie on the Tees using techniques I had been advised. My success has continued this year with more good advice.
I would recommend anyone thinking about joining a fishing club to look at BADAC. I have spent a lot of time fishing reservoirs and thought I knew how to fish until I switched to rivers.”
John Whitehead says “I’ve been in the club 4 years and enjoyed every minute of it – had quite a lot of help off Keith. Fish this year two sea trout at 8 1/2lb and 7lb.
Anne Woodock FishPal.