2019 - Fishing for luck


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2019 - A year of fishing. With all the rain, my river is most likely blown for the next few weeks. There will be no Grayling on the fly for a while, so it’s season over for me. Therefore, I thought I would recap my season. In June we returned from 2 years in the United States and I learned a lot - probably too much for the ‘what have you learned' thread. Instead I've decided to put it here. Hopefully you'll find it interesting.

January 2019 - Bassin’

We had been in the states for over a year, just like any place, it takes time to meet like minded people, get into a club and get the most out of fishing. This is especially true when the club scene is focused on boats, trailers, trucks and Bass. Finally in January 2019, the stars aligned. A good friend and colleague moved closer and got me into his club. The members were all great guys and girls, who welcomed me with open arms. Their matches were focussed on Largemouth and Spotted Bass. The Largemouth here are more territorial and can grow bigger, the Spots tend to top-out around 5lbs, they school up and can roam all round the lake after bait fish. For the first time I was able to get out and fish effectively on the big lake near to our house. On the first match, with some expert guidance, I got my first decent Bass, only 2 Oz short of ‘Big Bass’ and a massive confidence boost - thank you Ugly Stik and thank you Rapalla.


February 2019 - Better Bassin & Showtime.

Now I’d been catching ‘Pond Bass’ on the fly outside the house for over a year but I just couldn’t get one over 7” on fly or spinner at the big lake. For guidance, this place is over 250 square kilometers with over 1000 miles of shoreline. In comparison, Rutland Water is only 12 square kilometers and Kielder has 27 miles of shoreline! There's loads of public access beaches, camping spots and recreation areas where you can fish from the shore. We spent a lot of time at the beaches and on the trails with the children, but I just couldn't catch a Bass. They simply weren't responding to anything that previously worked for me. As it turns out Catching Largemouth and Spotted Bass is just like any other fish; learn how they behave on your water and then find out we’re they hang out - or get someone to tell you;). If you’ve got a big water like this, you definitely need a boat, ideally with glitter and a bi-iig engine.

Early starts in the February match:


This time I got 'Big Bass' with a whopper around 4lbs 10m Oz and a $95.00 prize! I’m on my way, I’ll be on ‘Bassmasters’ before the end of the year.


Bass fishing is turbo technical. At this stage I was using nothing but a light spinning outfit and a Rapalla countdown. It was working though.... While the lake is huge and the Bass are numerous, they don't get to the sizes they do in some places and the club's biggest of the year is usually between 5.5 and 7lbs. They do grow big elsewhere, just not here :confused:.

I also went to a Fly fishing show, the scale was impressive. There was a clear focus on Saltwater and local species. The guys from Hardy gave me a hat for being British:thumb:

March Nailed it.

After a trip to a local shop to spend my winnings, I emerged with a very cheap 4-10lb rod, some Plastic ‘Turd Worms’ and 1/8 Oz jig heads. The next day a stroll down to the hotspots we’d hit on the boat and Boom! Bass a go go. The style is called 'finesse', which I suppose is correct, when compared to lobbing a massive 30ft diving plug. Cast your jig head worm at a likely spot, let it fall naturally and strike at any hits. I found it really productive to 'walk' it back accross the bottom and got most takes like that. Find a shore with the wind blowing into it and work that worm. I also got a Bass and Perch on a wee Clouser using the 5 weight! Just call me the Bass legend, not lucky in any way, no sirree.;)



And they kept coming, this was one of 4 good ones on a walk round the shore with the family:


April Cooking on Gas.

More boatin’ and bassin’. Like all the best one-trick ponies, I was hitting them hard on a single method.


I kept this Sopotted Bass (I think it was a Spot) and it tasted pretty good. The lake is big and the fish aren’t too muddy tasting.




I didn't think it would be right to take a rod into the Aquarium:


All around the Midwest, south and across to California those crazy mercan's stock Stripped Bass into their larger (manmade) lakes. These fish behave as if they are in the ocean, they mill around the open water eating stuff, run to the head of the lake every april to spawn (which fails), grow up to 30lbs+ and provide some great fishing. They don't like the water too hot and in the south, the season runs from roughly October through to April. During the late spring & Summer they hunker down in deep water where the temperatures are lower. Fly fishing isn't a big thing but it is growing, I might write a bit of detail about that at some point. In March I managed to pin down a guide, with a boat (essential), got the right weather and managed to get out for my first landlocked Striper trip and caught,,,, a Catfish:wow: My second on the fly. This was the second one I'd had on the fly when after Striper. Catfish are hard fighting and pretty rare on a fly, but definitely- not what I wanted though.


The best fishing was pre-dawn over Dock lights, great great fun. You find the dock light that somebody has switched on for you, approach quietly and watch the bait fish eating the plankton. Soon you see the predator fish like submarines circling the light and every now and then you see the hit the bait. Keep calm, cast into the light and hold on! From a boat casting at powerful fish at night, it's like aggressive Sea Trout fishing.


May Getting short of time

With my departure date approaching I had a trip out with some friends on a bait trip for Striper and Hybrids. We limited out within 2 hours and it was killing me seeing all the fish on the surface, with 8 live bait lines and no other fly fishers on board. This is how effective bait can be when these predators are on the feed:


In case anyone is wondering, these are Hybrid Striped Bass. They are specially bred to survive in warmer water, they don't live more than 3-5 years and they grow no bigger than around 5-7lbs and yes, in case you are wondering, 3 fishermen on the boat and I caught both of the Catfish.


June The best of times, the most frustrating of times

After about 4 hours sleep all month, a transatlantic house move and a long drive up north we had our regular Salmon week. In summary:

- 15-20 ‘contacts’
- 5 on the reel
- 1 landed
- The Salmon Lurgy
- Loads of fish running
- Very little interest from the fish considering the numbers.

It was a good week with the family though.

Here's my brother’s 2nd and the best of the week. A lovely fresh summer hen. Sadly she had the early stages of Salmon Lurgy and interestingly, like others with the disease, no Sea lice. This one should have recovered to Spawn.



My only fish, 10:27 on Saturday night. I just wasn't going to blank and I'd have kept going until 23:59 if I had to. It wasn't big, but it was a fish (no it’s not a smolt I’m holding close to the camera;). Note the lurgy marks on the belly - and the red vent.




No fishing, but saw a fish here. I know a few forum members fish this system. Any guesses on the location?



I'd booked days on Chester’s before we came back from the USA. I fished hard for 3 days in good water from Kielder and rainfall. Hooked 2, lost both. The first I wans't expecting and it was on and off. The second fish, I think I saw it moving up the pool to the lie. The fight was nothing spectacular and it just fell off as I was getting the net out.

There were very few fish showing and only I hooked fish by hammering the running lies. Soul destroying TBH.


Then I struck lucky and with the expert assistance of MCX I managed some oft-mentioned and unexpected success on the Ure. I wasn’t knowingly doing anything different when I hooked or played the fish but, thank the Lord it stuck!

September Back off the wagon

I managed to squeeze in another 2 days on the Ure and was back to form for the season, i.e. good watter, nae fush. The water looked well and felt fishy, before rising about 8” in the afternoon on both occasions. Bizarrely, I managed to slice some OPST running line on river debris and lost a shooting head. On the bright side, I can’t remember hooking so many nice brownies in a day Salmon fishing before though and got 9 over 1.5lbs one day. Here’s one that needed hook removal surgery.


October At the end of the day it gets dark.

I started the month off with 2 days on the Alness. It’s a lovely wee river and the height was ok. I didn’t see many fish but some of them were fresh - which surprised me. I hooked 2 on a monkey type fly moved fast. I got one around 6-7lbs onto the reel before it ran away and didn’t come back. The second (smaller) one never reached the reel before it fell off after darting back and forth a couple of times. Plus ca change

I managed a couple of ST at last light, this wee one and another of about 2lb when it was too dark to get the phone camera working.


I finished the season with 2 more days on the Ure. The result was more brownies and a couple of likely ‘pulls’. I have to say my casting was / is about as good as it has ever been, but that wasn’t buying me a Salmon. Neither was fishing high / low, short / long, big / small and everywhere in between.

I snapped a rod too :doh:

Nice water


The last fish of the season, gave me a real fright at first.


Thanks for reading

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I enjoyed that GK, the pics make it. Nice one for taking the time to put all that together.

happy days

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Brought back great memories of my regular holidays in florida turn of the century, I bought a 5wt fly rod that converted to light spinner by turning the cork handle round in the Bass Pro shop, I spent many happy hours catching large mouths, cats and sunfish in the numerous roadside lakes and channels before the kids got up, poppers and gold heads on the fly, my favourite lure was a rubber frog I would cast onto the lily pads and pull it off to watch the water often explode with a large mouth, great fun have to get back there :)


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Is julys guess the location devils water between hexham and corbridge ?

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Thanks for the comments guys.

Happy Days Those frogs are mental aren’t they? For numbers the TRD worms just can’t be beaten for me. However, the most fun takes were on a ‘Buzz Bait’ check them out on YouTube. The fish go crazy when they’re tuned into them.

Rrr Good guess but no. It’s a Scottish river and a pretty crappy photo too.