Cathy’s Salmon Red Letter Day

Cathy's 12.5 salmon

Do you remember when you caught your first salmon? Can you recall the moment when you realised a fish had taken the fly? A tug, a pull and then a strain on the line followed by the voice in your head saying “Oh! Here we go! This is it! HELP!”. The chance of having that perfect day, conditions just right, overcast skies, falling water, the right fly, and as luck would have it for me, a ghillie at my side giving encouragement to let the fish take the line and keep a bend in the rod tip. The opportunity to play a fish. To put pressure on it to come closer. For it to turn its head into the stream and feel that pull increasing until the reel screams as the line pays out. The line jerking as the fish fights to break free and then the gentle glide up the stream as it yields to your efforts to smoothly reel the line in, closer and closer to your position. And then it is off again. The ghillie grabbing your wader straps and gradually inching you backwards towards the bank. Keeping that bend in the rod. Keeping the pressure on the fish as it tries with waning effort to break free. Keeping calm. The first glimpse of the tail and the swirl of the back and then at last the head. How big is it? Is it a salmon or a sea trout? A fresh run fish? Keeping the

Her lucky Simms Ladies waders

pressure on and the bend in the rod and finally, with the head up, a glide into the net. And I have landed my first salmon. A healthy, sea-liced cock salmon weighing in a 12.5 lbs! What a relief! I had done it.

I am a “townie”. I have never lived in the countryside but I am fortunate to live beside the best salmon river in England, the River Tyne and I had a dream that one day I would catch a salmon on a fly. It has been a journey from that first taster session at Chatton Fishery, Northumberland 3 years ago. Fishing reservoirs and stillwater with a single handed rod, to Haweswater and catching a wild brown trout at the Cumbrian Fishing Festival (great for learning the craft), to the Tay and the Tweed on fishing events in support of Casting for Recovery, the Breast Cancer Charity for which Ladies Fishing raised £6,000 in 2010 to pay for a weekend retreat. Quiet days by the calm River Tyne, watching the kingfishers and otters and glimpsing a beautiful bright blue damselfly ….. wonderful!

Cathy shares her knowledge with a fellow female

On my “journey” I have met people so different from those I have known during my “working life”.  I have benefited from their advice and shared their company and had many laughs along the way. To all those fishing guides (Paul Little, Jim Fearn, Lee Cummings, Glyn Freemen, Paul Proctor) whose patience and encouragement has been much appreciated by all at “Ladies Fishing”, I want to say thank you! To Anne Woodcock who has given ladies in the North (and further away) a focal point and arranged events where we can practise our skills and have the opportunity to meet like minded souls – a big thank you!


Cathy's first salmon trip.

Thanks too 

  – to Cliff Johnston and his campervan – without which we ladies would have struggled in the bushes!
  – to those Beat Owners and Fishing Guides who have supported Ladies Fishing on our charity fund-raising events which gave novices like me an opportunity to experience grown-up fishing!
  – to Rudi and Aidan, for the chance to have lots of casting practice at Eltringham!
  – to Bywell, and the ghillies, Gary and Chris. Especially Chris, who, with patience and good temper, showed me how to fish effectively and successfully – an enormous thankyou!
And not least to my fishing buddy, Sarah, who has shared the coldest, windiest and sometimes, wettest conditions – another day when I didn’t fall in (I know I will one day!).
Now, I can go fishing and enjoy the day whether I catch fish ….. or not!  The pressure is OFF!
Cathy’s day consisted of 12.5lbs and 8lb salmon. 2 sea trout of  5lb and 3lb. Yes she is still smiling!
WELL DONE CATHY. Thank you for your continued support x

2 Comments on “Cathy’s Salmon Red Letter Day

  1. That’s a great description of the heart thumping playing of your first salmon. Very well done Cathy you will not be the same person again. – Henry.


  2. Pingback: First salmon: a true story | Henry's Salmon Adventure Blog

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