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Newsletter - October 2016

This month our newsletter features Ian Storey's 32lb fish and Laura Harcourt's 30lber which are both FishPal Malloch Trophy and Bemersyde Award contenders.

Tom Leslie from Fin & Game in Kelso recommends clothing to keep you warm whilst on the river this Autumn. Luke Comins from the award winning Tweed Forum explains the impact of diffuse pollution, which has become an increasing concern for those with an interest in the health of the river.

Tom Carter has been out and about on Tweed and shares with us the latest beats and angling clubs he has visited.

This week we have seen businesses based in the borders featured on various BBC channels. Lucy and Anthony Carroll of Tiptoe Fishing on Radio 4 and FishPal on BBC1 in Have I Got News For You.

Remember to enter the 2016 FishPal Malloch Trophy, where your entry will automatically be entered into the Bemersyde Award for the River Tweed and its tributaries.

Please give Tom a call on 01573 470612 if you would like the latest news on where to fish in October and November. You can also keep up to date by checking the latest Tweed river report updated by Tim Pilcher of Tweedside Tackle and the catches pages.

Tight lines
Anne Woodcock



FishPal Announcement

IT specialist Joe Early joins FishPal.

We are pleased to announce that Joe Early will be joining the FishPal IT Department later this month. He brings with him a wealth of expertise in IT systems from the large scale financial/insurance segment, delivering high quality products which create great customer experiences.

Joe is an avid angler who has fished all over the world for salmon, and loves fishing for the "silver torpedoes".


32 Pound Salmon

Ian Storey fishing Middle Mertoun on Wednesday 5th October, hooked and landed a 32lb coloured cock fish in the House Stream. He played the fish for 35 minutes and commented that the fish looked superb.

Sadly there are no photographs of the fish as it was very coloured and it was released to continue its journey. The fish has been entered into this years FishPal Malloch Trophy and Bemersyde Trophy.


Diffuse Pollution


In 1875 John Ruskin, when looking at the Teviot, said it was ‘oozing, not flowing between its wooded banks, a mere sluggish injection amongst pools of scum'. This was a reflection of the amount of contaminated fluids that the manufacturing industries of the day discharged directly into the river. We've come a long way since then and water quality is better now that has been for a long time - read more.

If anglers see evidence of pollution they should contact SEPA on 01896 754797 immediately.


Tom's Report

Many of you during the course of the season, will have spoken at some stage with our office manager Tom Carter in Kelso. This month we asked Tom to share with you the vibe from anglers contacting FishTweed.

Customers are saying "We are fishing for and catching coloured fish" and "No fresh fish in the system".
We hoped the lift in water Tweed had, coupled with higher than normal tides this week, would bring in more like the one Stephen Bolton had at Ladykirk on Tuesday.

Stephen Bolton 15lb sea licer from Ladykirk 18th October.

On a positive note, I was fishing last night and have heard that a few clean fish have been caught during this week, the river is holding a good number of fish, which bodes well for a positive breeding season. It's also holding some big fish as todays newsletter reports.

Now that we are seeing more resident fish in the river, we would like to remind you of good practice: Fish should be handled with extreme care, especially those that have been injured or become exhausted whilst being played.

  • Use a knotless net.
  • Do not take the fish out of the water if at all possible; if photographing a fish, anglers should kneel with the fish also still in the water, held gently by the tail and under the chin.
  • Do not hold a fish up by its tail or hold close to your body under any circumstances.
  • Handle the fish as little as possible and as gently as possible: fresh scales come away from the skin very easily and allow infection and disease into the fish.
  • Fish should be supported gently and upright in the water until such time as they swim away on their own.
  • Anglers must allow the fish time to recover before letting it loose in the River; this may take a long time (up to 30 minutes).

There are still six weeks left of the season, and only time will tell if and when the rain and Autumn run arrives. I, like many of you who fish Tweed, are thinking the same thoughts daily, checking weather forecasts and wishing/praying/dancing for some of the wet stuff! Isn't Mother Nature wonderful?"



Angling Club Support


Clubs wishing to register an interest in how we might help, are being encouraged to complete a registration form on our site, so we can then contact them. The link to this page can be found here.


Heritage Potatoes

Most of us would be hard pushed to name more than three or four different types of potato, but Anthony and Lucy Carroll from Tiptoe Farm, near Cornhill on Tweed in Northumbria would argue that we're missing out. They grow around twenty specialist heritage varieties, many of which fell out of fashion decades ago because, despite boasting distinctive flavours, colours and textures, they're much harder to grow and sell than large white round potatoes - read more.

We would recommend Tiptoe Fishing as a beat to try this month.


Festive Break

Plan your Christmas break with FishTweed.

The festive season may not yet be upon us, but with only 65 days left to Christmas, we know many of you will be planning to escape the mayhem of a formal family Christmas with a relaxing getaway to the Scottish Borders.

The team at Crabtree & Crabtree boast an organised bunch of guests staying at their properties with over half of their holiday homes and cottages now booked for Christmas and/or the New Year - read more.

For those of us who can't face cooking and look forward to someone else doing all the hard work. FishTweed Hotels are offering their guests some excellent seasonal breaks during the festive period. This months recommendations are the award winning Tontine Hotel Peebles. Macdonald Cardrona, near Innerleithen and Scottish Inn of the Year Buccleuch Arms at St Boswells.


Water Quality

During the last 12 months we have heard that some works on the river have disrupted anglers fishing and as a result we have been corresponding with both the Tweed Forum and SEPA.

SEPA understand that FishTweed and anglers fishing Tweed and its tributaries are the eyes and ears on the river.

If you see or hear of water quality issues they would be keen to hear about it just so they can check who is doing what (and if they have a license), please contact SEPA on 01896 754797


Keep Up To Date

If you would like to receive regular updates on catches, river levels and fishing reports please follow this link to subscribe.




Lower Makerstoun 30lber

Laura with her 30lb salmon.

Every year, conditions permitting, my mother Mrs. Wildgoose and I go to Lower Makerstoun for three days in September. We started our trip with enthusiasm, glad to be back on the river and enjoying catching up with boatmen Colin Pringle, Colin Nichol and Ollie, I even mentioned that a 30lb salmon was a long term dream of mine.

A travel rod saved Laura money on her flight to Scotland.

However the weather had different thoughts and a downstream wind made casting and presentation of our lines rather tricky. By Friday evening with no fish to our rods, we felt deflated and considered leaving early, but, as we had made the effort to travel to Scotland to fish, we decided to cast our lines on the last day.

The river was in fine fettle, clearing and running at 10” on the gauge. Mrs. Wildgoose was not feeling 100%, so Colin Pringle suggested we fished the Doors Pool from the boat as it was our best chance of a fish. This pool offers anglers some excellent taking spots with deep shelves in the middle giving much needed rest for running fish.

To fish this pool effectively, the skill of a good oarsman is required to gently ease the boat down through the pool to cover the hot spots. Sure enough it wasn't long before Mrs. Wildgoose got a take and a hook up with an 8 pounder - read more.


BBC Have I Got News For You

Guest publication FishPal newsletters.

If you missed "Have I Got News For You" on BBC1 last Friday, which featured the FishPal newsletter as their guest publication, you can now watch the extended version of Have I Go A Bit More News For You with all the fishing puns and jokes here.


Visiting Beats On Tweed

These last few weeks Tom Carter has been taking time out on a Wednesday to get onto the river to meet the boatmen and ghillies, in order to get a better understanding of their beats, the river and the men who look after you when you come fishing.

Popular Upper Tweed fishery Ashiestiel beat.

Last week Tom visited Ashiestiel Beat where head ghillie Dave Prentice showed him around this traditional Autumn beat, that is picking up fish from summer onwards in the right conditions.

This is a popular beat amongst Upper Tweed fishers, who return year after year to fish its variety of pools, runs and glides along the 2 mile stretch. The beat has a selection of water, some that is easy to wade with small stones and gravel underfoot to some that needs more cautious wading. The beat offers excellent facilities with good parking and fully operational, spacious, fishing hut - read more.

This week Tom met up with Dave Cowan at Berwick and District Angling Association which has some six beats, offering a total of 5 miles of single and double bank fishing on the River Whiteadder.

Affordable association water on the Whiteadder.

The association water starts just above Allanton Bridge near Chirnside and runs over limestone ridges, through meadows and wooded valleys before meeting the Tweed about half a mile above Berwick upon Tweed. The river has many fast streams and deep holes holding the bigger fish.

Famed for its wild brown trout and seatrout, the Whiteadder is also returning good numbers of salmon during the season. This classic small river is ideal for anglers who enjoy casting a line using switch rods and 9 foot single and 12 foot double handed rods. Light equipment and thigh or waist waders are all that are required. A days salmon fishing costs £30 - read more.


Places To Stay

Allanton Inn on the River Whiteadder.

Whether you are looking for a B&B, hotel, inn or self catering accommodation, the Where To Stay section on FishTweed has some of the best places to stay in the Borders.

The Allanton Inn is only a 2 minute walk to the Whiteadder and a 10 minute drive to the Tweed. It's a family run inn with an excellent restaurant and cosy bar stocked with a great selection of gin.

Hamilton House, Milne Graden is perfect for parties of up to 6 anglers fishing beats below Coldstream. During October and November they have reduced their remaining full weeks to £725 per week.

Hotels with swimming pools overlooking Tweed are the award winning Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and Macdonald Cardrona which also boasts a salmon beat and an 18 hole championship golf course.

Anglers travelling to the borders on the new railway link from Edinburgh should consider staying at the Kingsknowes Hotel.


Autumn Clothing

Simms Downstream jacket at Fin and Game.

As the nights draw in and the temperatures start to drop, it is important to make the most of your time on the water. Autumn weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you are prepared for what ever Mother Nature throws at you.

A layering system is the best option as it allows you to add or take off items as you please.

Here at Fin and Game, we have come up with our 5 favorite items to keep you warm, dry and most importantly fishing this Autumn - read more.


Last Minute Availability

We have some last minute rods added to the system as re-let's for customers who are unable to make their days fishing. Availability has been added for Dryburgh Lower, Ashiestiel, Fairnilee, Tweedswood, and Glenormiston.

If you are unable to make your fishing, booked through FishTweed, we offer a relet service. Please contact the office on 01573 470612 for more information.



Finally 36.4lb Salmon

Bill Hughes fishing Junction this morning (21st October), at 11.30am caught and released a 36.4lber off Hawthorne Bank. Fly used was a Cascade tube tied by Gavin Brown.

The coloured male fish was quickly landed and released to continue its journey - more news about this fish in the next FishPal newsletter.

Have you checked your equipment, FishTweed permit, accommodation booking and insured your fishing? Remember if you want to insure your fishing, you can do so no later than 14 days prior to your fishing commencing.