The Tyne rivals the ASR !

A Fabulous few days early September 2018 14 Salmon 1 Grilse and alongside this 11 Sea Trout !

Predictions for a successful Autumn may just be right if recent events carry on.

Ok lets stay calm its not the Kola Peninsula rather its lovely Northumberland(at a tiny fraction of the cost and none of the journey aggro  !) September fired into life with  a great push of water coming through from the South Tyne and probably somewhere in the Caribbean a few days previously. Lets finish the story ‘Its September and… three days with John M and his friends who it seemed were having some tremendous luck. The team hit the river on Monday last week were admittedly expert Tyne anglers (and understand getting up early is a good idea hint.. hint !) ,  one runs a beat on the Tyne for the owners the others have years of know how and tactical savvy. The conditions were excellent nets off at the weekend and a lovely height and colour along with a Spring Tide.

Autumn Bounty

My hopes were high that the there were a substantial amount of Salmon in the Estuary that with any good fresh water could be freed from their plight and make their lives most important journey upriver. I’d been to Wylam a few times a week earlier and witnessed fish jumping at the bridge but not a lot heading upstream and its very likely these would have slipped back into the tidal reaches to wait for fresher water.

Then it happened a big run  !! Texts just kept pinging and arriving in London with pictures of their captures and excitement abounding. Tuesday they hit the river again very early and were rewarded until a few hours passed and a large spate washed away any more fishing. I hear although I cannot confirm that there were celebrations afoot on Tuesday and they enjoyed Newcastle and all it offers! Wednesday was a repeat of Monday plenty of pulls and fish on, the fishy texts flying around , breakfast a good one in the Angel in Corbridge then back to the mayhem!! Here are some of the boys captures with only one small grilse taken all the rest were returned to fight another day and help the stocks recover well done indeed!

Carefully returned !

Well done and yes your welcome back again in 2019 to Farnley Estate Corbridge.

The huge haul was a up to 16lb estimated weight ( all credit to John Mumsey, Glyn Hall and Graham Lawson )

 

Its September and …..

Please sing along ….’I’ve lost one tooth or more and walk a little lame, especially in these lumpy wading boots . haven’t got time for the waiting game..and now as fishing days grow pitifully few…the salmon more golden …hopefully on the line for  you.’

Kurt Weill’s September masterpiece (thanks Robb Lawton of the Piano Shop in Bath) .https://youtu.be/lGeOxlEHp_k

Yes interlude over its that time of year folks, wistful as we are to search our memory banks of those Autumns in times passed when it all seemed so easy and the fish always obliging. The question on all of our lips is will this Autumn be bountiful and after our fruitless exertions ? I remember many happy trips to the Annan , Tweed , Tyne and lesser rivers where the fish were hurling themselves about ! Things are tricky in the salmon world and lets hope all the conservation efforts will start to pay dividends.

The situation Tyneside  is certainly rosier here at Farnley Estate Corbridge ! Our past few weeks have switched between some very good water and very low but generally very good runs flying in. Fish are moving and catches reasonable. Lets hope this is a sign of a significant and welcome run that will fill the redds and allow the humble salmon fly angler a little sport to light up their faces. Or current gang are regulars headed by John M and its been arm achingly successful !! I will keep quiet about the full score because they are still at it even though yesterday the 11th it was a complete brown out.

John M’s team in action !

Chris B brought his friends and family across to Farnley with sumptuous lunches prepared by Vicky. Barry Mitchell did the guiding and certainly fish were hooked! It took until day 3 when Chris landed a lovely grilse to round off the trip. Good feedback on the Lodge improvements the new steps riverside and other things we are trying to make the Farnley trip better!

Regular twice yearly Keith J and his merry men hit the river and found it ok and dropping. Fish were hooked pulls had and the interest was there. The team really enjoyed their time so much so have booked 2019 already along with other rods so get in touch soon please. The trip finally paid dividends when team leader Keith caught a lovely grilse!! Picture may be forthcoming … he said 30 yes 30 days up and down Scotland and England to get this fish so at last it happened well done indeed Keith.

Barry Mitchells gang had a lovely time but the river suddenly dropped (Northumbrian water pumping again ??) fishing was tricky and once again hope and some interest ! Eventually Jamie hit into one a lovely grilse of 6lb. .

 

Roger’s Return

Two great teams of highly experienced salmon fishers hit the river to round of the summer. Roger N , Stephen and Hugh followed by Keith J (retiree of SportsFish fame in Theale) and his pals. Roger and gang plus the dogs were treated to a river in fine order there had been recent rain and the weather was cooler and distinctly more ‘fishy’. The lodge proved a hit and the new comforts appreciated.

The whole of day 1 proved a struggle sadly and when all seemed lost Hugh waved the net at Stephen asking if he needed help for his imaginary salmon ….seconds later ‘fish on’!. After some excitement and net waving the fish was caught a lovely grilse! The team were in a mood to celebrate , fish and chips or perhaps a Curry at the Station in Corbridge?!

Day 2 and 3 did not result in any more landings yet there were good pulls fish seen and a tremendous fish go for a fly in Pump. Hugh is someone who has fished all over the world and estimated it to be in excess of 40lb WOW !! Will this be caught someone on the upper Tyne’s !

Keith J and his friends had a great time the river had dropped and some pulls here and there. So by day three they were thinking perhaps this was not their turn. Keith had a little chat with one of our resident experts Barry N and hey presto a little later a lovely grilse! Keith mentioned he has had a very poor season so in many respects deserved his prize. Hope to see both teams again in 2019!

Summer Comes To An End In Northumberland

A busy time for the Estate battling with the effects of a drought and hot weather meant a team had to be employed to start weeding the Spring Lake. Sadly the weed has taken hold and on the main lakes and lagoon some fish have inevitably given up we are just hoping as we are that the river gets an injection of clean oxygenated water soon and the temperatures fall off We also witnessed a family of cormorants  harvesting the lake and river which seems slightly unfair competition given the fishes sluggish state due to conditions.

I read an interesting article in the Fishing News online: https://fishingnews.co.uk/news/salmon-closure-fears-salmon-netsmen-fight-for-their-futures/

As they have stated their arguments clearly then perhaps its only fair to respond equally clearly. Firstly its all fair and well talking about jobs and 150 years of history but the article fails to define what exactly is truly going on today in 2018 the modern world of sea fishing. The technology used in fishing in our modern world means that sonar is available allowing a more accurate culling of fish to the point of knowing their size, direction and quantity, the nets used (yes gillnets) 150 years ago and more recently were hemp or other fibrous plant materials not made of virtually see through plastics which kill any marine creature swimming into them. So not only are modern nets highly effective they are capable of more fish killing when they are accidently lost ‘ghost netting’. Added to this the fishing bodies (correct me here if I’m wrong) don’t help the water courses environment that are fundamental in the lifecycle allowing the migratory fish to spawn and start their lives. As regards jobs that this is at best a part-time activity. Oh and finally are they unaware that the rivers are experiencing a severe decline in runs, no one is saying this is their fault but given this fact its odd the government is allowing netting of endangered migratory species anyway?

They Bagged Up !

George U organised his friends trip for a second time this year. Weeks before correspondence sallied back and forth. Questions over tactics what patterns? Fish seen and caught. Eventually the party assembled and plans were hatched to search out their quarry. They were seen at various times at different locations surveying the river lines, fly boxes and head scratching.

ConfusedSalmonFishers.com at Farnley

They kindly requested I enjoy their now famous BANJO breakfast bap ‘Dead Farmyard’ style. Will normally supplies Wiltshire fare and in particular his amazing eggs, regrettably between car and hand these failed Will’s juggling skills and were no more.

Will Preparing The ‘Banjo’


Some excellent secret flies were tied by George some on single hooks. They covered the water well and day 1 some fish taking and properly on but not landed. James started proceedings and was delighted with his grilse!

Jammy James


Its possible that day 1 the successes hoped for were dulled by a great selection of highland spirit in the lodge the previous evening?
Day 2 the river was a little up a bit coloured but very fishy looking. We saw runs and the chaps redoubled their efforts. James got straight in early on to a fish estimated to be 17lb on one of his specials!

James bags one early doors! Farnley where dreams can come true ….

Will had a cracking take in Hut but fractions of a second separated this with a salmon annoyingly we watched in horror as the fish just dashed away. Day two he decided that enough was enough and hooked a fierce cock fish. It fought one heck of a battle and even leaped out of the net, it swam off hopefully to successfully spawn.

Will gets a Farnley Tyne Tiger

The day just got better as fish were about all hopes high and excitement in every cast. George got another in the afternoon much to everyones delight :

Fresh off the Tyne she escaped the Seals but not George

We had a good chat about conditions given the river was holding more colour and not much seen later on. They decided to keep at it and some fish showed interest, persistence paid off and James got his hattrick! It was a great fight the temperature had dropped and for a period it seemed they were back ‘On’ ! The other love of George’s life is also a Missy Salmon …

Has he the right to hold her ? The other Salmon …. ; )

They decided to call it a day and following a day where on and off heavy showers occurred no one knew if the river would be fishable on Saturday.

Day 3 and one fish lost !! James once again dear me . Everyone got after them but the river was definitely up and coloured. Hours passed not much seen rests were taken the river hut stocked with provisions and so the search continued without any success. When it seemed their last day would be fishless a girly shout could be heard way down in Dead Tree, James was into one! The trip was a great success and much was learnt about the beat in higher conditions, we look forward to seeing Will James and George in 2019.

James cradling his Tyne Cock !

A change for the better !

We were fortunate to have some wonderful parties on the river in August. It was a delight to have their company and at last the weather and river started to behave! Robert W and Mr Stott enjoyed a terrifc week with different guests each day culminating in a full on family party day for his son Richard’s 40th. Twin daughters his lovely wife Julia and two son in laws Al and Richard keen to learn the art of fishing! Two salmon caught that day biggest 10lb to Al the man in crocodile shoes ( Peter’s son in law ) who a few days earlier lost one to the net! (familiar story this year ) The children and dogs had a great time exploring the estate, ate a fabulous lunch, wines and cake were a fitting repast to the birthday. Barry Nichol guided very successfully and the rods were delighted to see their casting come on leaps and bounds. We have now two more courses fully booked now in October (contact us on john@farnleyestate.co.uk for your special treat A 2018 Spring salmon course) ! Its a testament to the simple tips we can provide added to local know how in terms of tactics and we enjoy just watching and helping our current rods extend their skills and hopefully become more successful on the Tyne and other fine salmon rivers.

Following this group we had the return of one the most loyal and long standing friends of Farnley the Turner party, with Big John and Sally, the mad keen Hooper brothers John and Paul. Barry Mitchell had a lovely time guiding the party and all sorts of new techniques with rods and associated lines were tried. John Hooper had a tremendous tussle on day one with a 16lb beauty which was returned, well done John. After that the river looked superb, fish were running in flurries most days,but sadly nothing else to report. Many thanks Anthony for organising his party and they had a great time in Blanchland staying at the Lord Crewe Arms they said ‘highly recommended’.
Here is John Hooper’s beauty cradled by Barry Mitchell:

John Hooper’s 16lb Tyne Salmon August 2018 Farnley Estate Corbridge

Grilse a welcome sight

Its been a curious summer so far in respect of the enduring heatwave and the abundance of sea-trout. Many years ago I used to watch them feeding off Alnmouth and I’m guessing that the good weather has meant sandeels, prawns and crabs in abundance. Perhaps its easier for them to ambush the sandeels with their body buried and heads keeping watch at the low tide marks?
I’ve a theory that the fish pass is a barrier to larger fish coming through during low conditions. This might be why we’ve has a lot of grilse coming through and lots of sea trout above the Riding Mill pass. Salmon just don’t like their backs to be uncovered,someone with a great deal more know how that me has measured water heights needed on a certain weir in the Tyne and found that a minimum of 8″ is needed to let the salmon to make their spectacular moves across and above Wylam. With this in mind perhaps some modifications are needed in future to ensure that upper beats get a fair share of the runs when they are happening?

Our very latest friends are on the water as I write Danny, Eddie and Decca. Their first day was exhausting a very early start and nothing doing, however Danny managed a lovely 4lb bar of silver sea trout.They kindly let Barry N have a few hours in the evening and he was rewarded with a super 10lb salmon! Today they had perhaps cooler conditions and the important colder night which resulted in a lovely Grilse for Eddie, he was delighted and shared his fish with us here :

Sterling Silver 8lb well done Eddie


At the beginning of the week Neil W and his pals started really well with a lovely grilse 4-5Lb and despite really trying everything that was it sadly. They enjoyed the trip and as experienced Tyne rods are back in October to make amends!
Finally our trusty gang lead by Mark B, Robert W and John started with intent and 2 Grilse were landed ! I don’t have the sizes but well done indeed. It was a change of tactics following some intel from Bywell that brought the success. Robert W wrapped it up with a lovely sea trout destined for a fine meal with his friends:

Its true ! Autumn or late summer could be amazing !

Its early August and the Dee has had some pretty incredible fishing, the Tweed is looking much more fishy and here on the Tyne the rods report seeing decent numbers of running fish with Bywell doing very nicely thank you,

A handsome fishy !

There are fish holding below the fish pass thankfully its raining today and this could mean these fish will be spreading throughout our lovely river.
Admittedly in recent weeks the river temperature is poor for fish and the lack of oxygen not conducive to much activity. I’ve decided on the Farnley Lakes Syndicate to suspend fishing until its felt the waters cool because the fish are very much on the bottom in survival mode. This main factor has meant our rods have really struggled although at times people have done reasonably well. Our current team is Mark B and Robert W so at day two nothing to report only that lots are going through but hardly any appear to be settling..Mark had a sea trout on and off Grrrr! We have some good intelligence on what might work so perhaps a change in tactics today may produce its due reward?

Earlier the last few days of July saw the return of our intrepid regular trio Danny J, Decca and Eddie Mc. The first day ended in a very despondent note following the loss of a well hooked fish in Dead Tree by Decca that got off just as one would expect it to give up. Always really gutting and the next few days only one proper take. The previous gang led by Luke O had a better time of it and managed a fair bag of two salmon and one belter of a sea trout.

Took in pump ran down Hut ! Well done Chris

Their biggest definitely had to run the seal gauntlet luckily its now in the river and has a good chance to top up the next generations brood. Again well done Chris …I bet you were popular ! NOT

A great fight two times over the seal 0 Chris 1


A week before Kenny tried to fish his 3 days but work and other commitments meant that Dave fished the beat and his guests notably Big Eugene. Lots of laughs and enjoyment all round. One or two snatches the occasional chub! What was truly amazing for Dave and Eugene was the spectacular late evening viewing they had of the epic sea trout in the pools. The river burst into life with all different year classes of sea trout feeding. One particular beast in its mid teens harrowing fry in the shallowest of water. Sadly before they got in and after them it was too late the temperature dropped and it all went quiet.

Conditions Due For A Change – Early July Reporting

Just watching the RAF Centenary here in London per ardua ad astra (through adversity to the stars)  searching for evidence of the impending flypast,bit waiting for the salmon. No relatives sadly flew for the amazing RAF, my father operated in the last war in a newly formed Army Air Corps as a glider pilot and parachutist. It’s probably as well he was not allowed to fly powered aircraft (his AAC powered training mysteriously cut short) my brother and I used to chortle with great merriment at the seat gripping prospect of old dad  flying. We also think he only learnt to drive in a tank in North Africa !

Up north July began as June ended the relentless heat if dad had  been still around (he loved the sun! large cigar and Daily Telegraph and face of a cooked lobster) reminding him of 4 years roasting his whatsits in North Africa. Not ideal weather reminded me of fruitless trips up to Kildrummy Castle in June on the Don. We still had great holidays early and late fishing , golf and exploring old churches and Castles. You just got to get on with it nothing can be done when high pressure unusually refuses to budge over this usually chilly island in the North Atlantic.

Our first gang in July David E , Boz and Co stoically gave it a bash but the heat, sunshine and only Kielder water just about wrecked their chances. I hear some good food fine wines and laughter softened the misery of near impossible fishing. Farnley is such a lovely place to be its a chance to relax talk rubbish and listen to nature and think sod the fish its not their fault.

Typically the day after Robert W got up at sparrows art and sensed with a few plucks possible opportunities so it was that he landed a lovely 5lb sea-trout.

New potatoes and asparagus anyone ?

Dr Phil A has taken the beat with Grey Court this week and the water temperature is dropping ! The weather much cooler and possible showers coming hip hooray. Fish have been on and off Monday and Tuesday ! Its evident that Sea Trout are definitely in but very few of their bigger cousins. Latest from Phil is 3 sea-trout for the week to 5lb very few salmon seen though.

Small bit of tech advice from Barry Mitchell this AM whilst talking polyleaders he suggested that perhaps abandon the clear hover polyleaders, there is growing evidence from the elite instructors that they may scare fish reflecting too much light. So maybe revert to say 10-12ft fluorocarbon which reflects little light and should help especially in low waters.

Thanks Barry !

Poor returns in a magnificent Summer !

No one expects the amazing contrast of Spring and Summer in the UK so I suppose we have to be thankful. I thought you might enjoy this stunning picture, what is the dog seeing perhaps the ghosts of Roman soldiers, Scots Invading armies? This view from Farnley Scar would have been an ideal look out point for Border peoples? (many thanks Roger N for your lovely picture of Sandy looking up North towards Corbridge)

Many thanks from the Estate to our lovely guests over the past month.   Next up  our lovely course participant Grahame Armitage who thoroughly enjoyed Barry Mitchell’s casting tuition. Grahame took the key elements on board and showed some great skill as the 3 day course progressed. In helping Barry I saw how clearly he breaks down and simplifies the modern Salmon Spey casting technique. Certainly I learnt that we need to watch out for bottom hand creep, get the bottom hand working (easier said than done at times), make the rod ‘work’ watch our anchor point and learn not to kill the cast by overhitting the delivery stroke. Listening to how our cast sounds its possible to detect faults and learning to use our rods power rather than speed and aggression!  Barry Mitchell is GAIA and now soon to be announced has another amazing qualification! Many thanks Grahame we are looking to welcome you back here. Our nest course will be in a few months where we welcome Neil C and his son in September on our second inaugural Salmon Fishing Course! Please contact us if you are interested in a 3 day course which ensures ample fishing time balanced with world class instruction.

Peter T arrived with Martin both new to the beat and keen to get stuck in ! Another very tricky situation but for once some fish were showing a level of interest and Martin managed to hold onto a lovely 10lb salmon as May. Delighted for him and again my apologies for unhelpful weather and river out of sorts. Robson G arrived and was blessed with poor luck, he fished very hard and his companion both gave it a decent go. What to do its been a pretty disastrous season thus far with many things conspiring against the sport we all love.

Starting with Kenny, Davey and Graeme who did their very best early May but only touched a fish or two. To say Davey and Graeme were relaxed is an understatement but very much undispersed with expert covering of the water in the hardest possible of fishing conditions.

Lets think how to change our tactics with water so low and fish not easy to catch.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Keep as far away from your quarry as possible and move with stealth (think heron !)
  • Think lighter / tapered longer monofilament 10ft plus and slimmer smaller patterns. Salmon will take size 16 lures/flies as they have terrific eyesight,  salmon parr feeds on exactly the food as  trout (In Scotland frequently salmon are caught in low conditions on trout fly simulations for many decades for salmon and I’ve managed to succeed in the past tying such patterns when all hope seemed lost)
  • If you have a lighter outfit such as a rod suited to a lower grain or weight  fly line or even decent single handed combination perhaps use this( I’ve had salmon 20lb plus at Farnley on small flies on 7 weight rods its just a battle once you hook them!)
  • Try to not create a large sloshy water anchor cast ( double Spey (!))so perhaps (and think wind direction) a snake roll but don’t use in an upstream wind, also the gentle single Spey and obviously overhead where no backcast obstructions occur. Airborne anchor is the key to quieter casts.
  • Think wet fly tactics for trout the old traditional ways for north country rivers, there is a fair element of skill in fishing a fly(S) to ensure they are ‘lively’ and attractive in the current and where flow is poor we need to keep the fly active do some homework or ask one of local experts (Barry Mitchell and Barry Nichol) to spend some time with you on honing presentation skills
  • We are it seems all pretty well versed in slow and low tactics for high water and the spring but need to adjust when water is slow and low!
  • Dawn and dusk, take a late breakfast, read a book, relax enjoy the nature around the estate and focus on the taking times early in the morning and say 5pm onward to dusk.
  • Finally and very importantly rest the water, salmon if disturbed will find a tree root or rock and rest well away from our endeavours

With all this in mind lets finally think of our rivers and the migratory fish we all cherish that are daily running a gauntlet of natures perils and in yet still in 2018 no end yet in sight of manmade predation on the seas. Given these conditions and all the effort that we are taking perhaps the Government should end netting where the life blood of their catch namely our rivers are in trouble? It cannot be sustainable to harvest sea trout or salmon when the rivers are low for long periods. If these so called farmers of the seas provide no answers to sustainability they are in dire need of reform or their own extinction because a joined up system is one that is fair to all and rightly needed to maintain a healthy run of fish? Anyway its all been said before I’m a member of the STA and Phil Knight does a fine job but we all need to support his organisation and influence the public.

We implore you to join and make a difference!