Earlier this month angler and writer Matthew Will fished for four rivers in search of four species with just four days to achieve his goal.
After the last couple years planning trips and being cancelled I finally managed to pull a trip together down to the Till, Tees, Tyne and Wear. High hopes to manage 4 species off 4 rivers in 4 days. Brown trout, grayling, salmon and sea trout.
Started by meeting Leigh Final to fish the river Till around 9pm on friday night, water was low and clear which is never easy. Fishing a pair of small doubles in the wee pockets i was soon hooked into my first fish about 5-6lb and as quick as it was on it was off. After a change of plan we moved further down the beat and was told between two markers the fish would be and sure enough 10ft above the second marker bang! My first fish from an english river and first sea trout from the Till. 1 species down 3 more to go.
Few hours sleep and down to Durham to me Garry and Lucinda Ewin for some early morning trout and grayling action on the river Tees. As i had never done river trout fishing or fished for grayling Garry and Lucinda showed me the way with both hooking up into browns within minutes. So i went in and then managed to miss 8 fish on the bounce which kept Garry and Lucinda very amused. We went up further and they said that if you dont get a grayling up here theres something wrong. First cast and fish on! After a good fight on the light rod the fish was in the net, my first ever grayling of around 1lb. Over the moon was an understatement, 2 down and 2 to go. We went back out in the dark for the sea trout and Garry was straight into a fish which came straight off. Fish Bishop Auckland Angling Club.
Onto the Tyne with James Jamesy Stokoe for my long overdue trip. Shortly after starting we had a lucky break as one of the guests on the best beat had to go home and we were allowed on for the day. Fished down through several pools up to lunch and not a touch. Change of fly and beat and into a wee deep run that looked fishy, half way down James said he had to go to the car to get something and turned to say “I’m just going to initiate a take” boom! Straight into a sea trout of around 2.5lbs on a wee double. My first fish off the Tyne. Few quick photos and it went straight back into the run. It must have went and told every fish there though because we didnt get another touch until darkness!
James had never fished for sea trout in the dark and on the first run down he hooked what i though was “a wee broon troot” but it turned out to be a cracking 4lb sea trout and his first in the dark. I managed to get a couple browns around the 1lb mark in the dark and hooked into a good sized fish that we never saw but sadly we parted ways.
Day 2 on the Tyne, was dull and overcast, ideal conditions. First pool we fished was moving with salmon and sea trout and we tried several tactics fo no avail. Pitstop at starbucks for a coffee and create a plan for the afternoon. Came to a wee glassy run that produced a cracked of around 4lb for me once again on the wee flies. Unfortunately no full “hero” shot as it went away before we could get hold of it but we got a quick snap in the net. So no salmon for my two days whh was disapointing but as James said we hammered every pool and tried every fly in the box they just didnt want to know.
Tuesday morning i had plans to go back to the river Wear but that fell through so i booked myself a rod on the lambley beat on the south tyne. Beautiful beat but water was at -4″. Fished all the wee deep holes and pockets and was met by an 8b salmon in the home pool that decided my wee fly was the one it wanted.
So that was the challenge done 4 river, 4 species, 4 days! I got myself the Tyne treble of brown trout, sea trout and salmon. Called James and lucinda up straight away to tell them about it and also found out that she had landed her first ever sea trout in the dark, well she didnt just get one she managed 2 cracked of 4/5lb. Get in!
The trip had all worked out well. I was then thrown a further life line as she asked if i would like to fish with Garry on the Wear that evening. We fished a couple of pools in the evening and had fish after fish chase out flies and not connections, as darkness we decided to walk well upstream to a small deep hole under some overhanging trees that he knew would hold the fish. First run down this tiny pool produced a 5lb sea trout for me, once again my first Wear sea trout. Garry went onto hook 2 sea trout but lost them both just as they took!
So what a great trip it turned out to be. First English salmon and sea trout, the Tyne treble and also my 4 species challenge. So I headed home and as I crossed the south Esk I noticed one of my mates fishing Pert on the north Esk, and after a quick phone call i was on the river for a wee 60 minute cast. Managed to get a good pull off a fish before I continued on my journey home. Before I reached home one of my mates called to say that he had seen fish earlier in the week on the Ugie and was of to fish it. I was on my way!
First run down I caught a sea trout of about 3lb and hooked another. Fish were running and on my second run down it produced a 3 sea trout and 2 more were lost. Finishing on 4 sea trout for my night on the Ugie.
What a week it has been and still a few days left to go. I’m on the Deveron next week – I’m living the fishing dream!
The loop 7x 10ft 7wt match with the 7wt tactical salmon line was all i need for the whole weekend, great wee set up for overhead and also spey casting in tight areas.
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