18th – 31st August 2014


Those fortunate enough to have been here yesterday (Sunday) witnessed what can only be described as a spectacular rise and feeding frenzy. From about midday and lasting for 2-3 hours Coldingham Loch was boiling with feeding fish and even anglers that fish here very regularly were stirred by what they saw. (We have put a photo on the gallery below but it doesn’t show it off as it looked to the naked eye – our phone camera simply not good enough to pick out all the ripples and rises.) Later on in the evening the same thing happened again but was somewhat masked by a strengthening wind that eventually brought a good shower of rain which will only have improved the freshness of the water which is once again crystal clear and teeming with wildlife.

Only this morning whilst cleaning the boats and getting ready for a much quieter day at the loch I was amazed at the amount of fly life floating on the water and it was easy to see just why the fish were so keen yesterday to take advantage of the massive hatches of insects both in and out of the loch. With a slightly warmer week ahead and with light winds forecasted who knows what this next few days will bring but if I would think that anyone keen on dry fly fishing should seriously think about loading up the tackle and taking full advantage of this late summer salvo.

It’s one thing seeing the fish rising but I guess what most people want to know is “how did it fish”. The weekend saw Pencaitland FFC take to the water on Saturday and with 50 fish for their 17 anglers and the biggest 4 fish bag weighing in at 18 lbs 10ozs few would have gone away disappointed. But more about that in the club news section. Yesterday also fished really well and again it was reported that a good number of large fish were being caught. Alistair Inglis (see photo) fly fishing for the first time in his life caught well and took with him a fine rainbow with a tail that would have graced any salmon. His fish weighed in at 4lbs 7ozs and with that as a first time experience he had no doubt that fly fishing was something that he would be repeating.

On the same day Colin McIssac once again showed his prowess with the dries landing 10 rainbows and two blues to the boat, size 18 black parachute and crippled midge being his patterns of choice. Robert Sloss fishing the bank with his young sons Angus and Freddie had a great short session. Robert had 7 the biggest being around the 5lb mark, Angus had one and lost one and Freddie had a beautifully formed perch fry in his landing net. Well done to all. Mark Straughen had what he described as a day to remember. He started with a brownie of about 2lbs had two blues and a further 13 rainbows with at least three of them between the 4 and 5 lb mark. Unusually Mark was fishing from a boat as bank is his normal preference and the best of his day came late morning fishing in Swing Gate Bay. A range of flies were used but the best of the action was on sedgehog, black gnat and green nymph.

Les Lockey opened his account for the week with 6 rainbows one of which he estimated to be around the 6lb mark. Staying in Lochside Cottage and with another 6 fishing days in front of him there will no doubt be many more to the net before the week’s out. Fishing later into the evening Donald McKeller rounded off a great 4 hour session with 7 to the boat.

One overriding comment from all anglers was just how well the fish were fighting and what great condition they are in. Certainly worth the wait after another long and generally hot summer.

This period was also notable for another reason. Last week we had two days when 4 octogenarians fished the loch. With a combined age of 343 years between them, Bob, Sandy, David and James are an inspiration to us all. Their enthusiasm for fishing is no less than the day they first started and it is always a pleasure to see them at the loch and catching fish ….. long may it continue.

So let’s look at who else deserves a mention this time.

  • G. Sutherland had a fine day with 7 to the boat using dries and viva.
  • Robert Learmonth had a great day with 10 fish to the boat and his regular boat partner Jock Hunter added a further 4. CDC buzzers and a white candy seemed to do the trick for them. Robert also managed 6 on his next visit.
  • Bob Cockburn on one visit had 15 including 3 blues and on the next added a further 8. Various dries, nymphs and buzzers worked for him. It is also worth mentioning his dad James who also had 8 on his last visit and almost out-fished Bob who only managed to even the scores late in the afternoon. Just a further word about Bob – before this period his total for the season at Coldingham was 320 fish for 28 visits. An average of 11.7 per visit. Quite outstanding!
  • Ronnie Hunter using a range of flies had 9 in just over 4 hours and on the same day Dave Kirkland managed 7 using deer hair sedge and black buzzer.
  • James Inkpen had 5 in a four hour session and reported “full of fish …. Great”
  • Neil Keillor had a great boat session with a total of 11 rainbows caught mainly using a home tied poacher.
  • Karl Ferguson and his boat partner P. MacLean managed 10 to the boat including one blue, whilst Mark Straughen fishing from the bank had a great day with 9.
  • Neil McIntyre had 8 and his fishing partner Craig Pennycook had 11 in a memorable boat outing mentioned later in this report.
  • Robert Black fishing with his son Junior, had 12 but his usual partner Graham fishing from another boat with his son faired not so well. How the pendulum swings?

In Club News:

  • Gilmerton Bowling FFC –  all anglers managed to catch bar one for a total of 77 fish. Rod average 7 per angler. Daddies, cormorants, FABs and Muddlers were amongst the most productive flies used.
  • Leith FFA – fished the next day and faired slightly less well. 10 anglers, 4 blanks for a total of 31 fish including 4 browns.
  • Northumbria Police – some of them seemed to struggle a little with a windy day but  they still had 40 fish for 12 anglers giving a rod average of 3.3.
  • Pencaitland FFC – on a windy and bright day had a superb outing. Their 17 anglers had 50 fish and worthy of note are Jimmy Main (eldest angler) caught a 5lb 10oz rainbow on an Ace of Spades earning him the heaviest fish of the day prize. Heaviest 4 fish bag went to Mr Books with 18lbs 10 ozs with Kelvan coming a close second with 17lbs 12ozs.


Robbie’s Corner:

I would take 89 now.

I wouldn’t say that when I was 88 though………………………. 🙂

However to be still fishing and catching at 89 is something we all hope for.

Bob Dalgleish was my regular boat partner up until he was 84 when 5 years ago he moved away.

With his wife Nan being the same age and the both of them not getting any younger they decided it would be best to move away from Berwick to live close to their Daughter and Granddaughter who are both in South Wales.

“Bob’s left the country” I used to say when numerous people asked after him. Ha Ha

So it was great that he was back in Berwick on holiday with his son Bob and raring to go fishing.

Me and Bob have probably fished Coldingham together on 40 or 50 occasions over the years so it really was like old times.

On the Tuesday of his stay we went out on the loch with Bob junior coming along in another boat (see photos). The fishing was not particularly easy with a strong gusty wind and bright sunshine but we managed a respectable 9 fish between us and a few more lost in play.. We fished the full day with no hint of Bob wanting to pack in early.

 In fact I would have probably got a withering look if I had even suggested it!

Cormorants and a Slow Intermediate line was the best set up and most of the fish came with the slowest of retrieves. Static really with the fish taking as the flies dropped through the first few feet.

I had hoped to fish with Bob again on the Thursday but circumstances were against us.

Never mind I have told him to be back up next April/May when the Buzzer fishing is at its peak.

Bob was always good at tying and fishing the Buzzers and it will be great to fish with a 90 year old!

Having seen his fly boxes this time the tying is still as good as ever and he still had the fishing off pat. Playing and releasing his fish with the same confidence of earlier years.

I’d take 89 now…………………………………… 🙂


Robbie Bell         Resident Instructor and Guide



In Other News:

  • As we mentioned earlier Neil McIntyre had an eventful outing last week. Whilst pulling up the anchor in Swing Gate Bay Neil left his fly on the water close to the boat. A fish took the fly and Neils rod reel and line were last seen descending to one of the deepest parts of the loch never to be seen again you might think. However we put the word out and almost unbelievably the next day John Grey whilst fishing with the Northumbria Police managed to false hook Neils line and retrieve the whole outfit – minus the fish! What a stroke of good luck and many thanks to John for handing it in.
  • Lads and Dads places are now fully booked and details of the event will be going out soon to all the entrants.
  • We seem to have inherited an orphan duck from somewhere (see photo). Not sure where it’s from but it is certainly a character. If anyone can shed any light please let us know.
  • We have now replaced all the smaller mud anchors in the boats with bigger, single, sash weight anchors. If used properly they work very well and are a lot more effective than two smaller weights. Anchors should be dropped into the loch, not lowered and once on the bottom pay out a good deal of rope before cleating off. Tying loops in the rope does not work and only shows us that people who are having trouble getting the boats to hold are not using the anchors properly. Please ask if you are unsure on how best to deploy the anchors.
  • For anyone who may be interested we have replaced our trusted old Nissan pick-up truck with a newer version so the blue truck is now for sale and if anyone is looking for a good work horse in good condition then please let us know and you can view it next time you are at the loch.

Visiting Clubs:

During the next two weeks we will host the follow clubs:

  • Newmarket AC
  • Spittal Club
  • Norham and Ladykirk FFC
  • Anchor Inn FFC
  • Kelso British Legion FFC

A warm welcome to you all and let’s hope that you too can hook into some of the bigger fish that now seem to be surfacing.



Holiday Cottage Price List Download Booking Form