last year may have been the second wettest on record, but for at least four fishing beats along the Tweed it was still a season of significant catches.
And according to Robert Pardoe, of Sale & Partners, which is involved with the letting of the prime beats of Dryburgh North, Upper North Wark, Pedwell and Tweedhill, 2013 will see a season of both challenges and very worthwhile opportunities.
Speaking to TheSouthern, Mr Pardoe explained how these beats fared in such wet conditions and why they continue to offer excellent fishing for the year ahead.
He told us: “While the Upper and Lower Tweed struggled with continually fluctuating river levels, the Middle Tweed beats, while not breaking records, performed very well.
“Full catch return figures have yet to be compiled, but are expected to reflect these conditions – although fishermen and women have had to work hard at their sport, significant rewards have been reported.”
Situated on the Middle Tweed, Dryburgh North has continued to show itself as a beat producing a huge variety of fish at all heights of water.
Unlike other beats in the area, it consistently showed fish on the catch returns throughout the season.
And in a year when few records were broken in the Tweed catchment, this beat increased its five-year average for five of the 10 months of the season.
The small beat of Upper North Wark, meanwhile, saw a slow start, but once again proved itself to be a real gem.
Coming into its own in the high water conditions towards the middle and end of the season, this beat, with only two fishing rods, was the top fishery on the Tweed on numerous days during the autumn.
Mr Pardoe explained: “Historically, spring and early summer at Upper North Wark has been lightly fished, but with neighbouring beats producing fish, there is no reason that Upper North Wark should not do likewise.
“As a result, the owners have kindly agreed to give a discount to those booking both autumn and spring fishing in the 2013 season, which we are sure will prove to be popular.”
In common with all Lower Tweed beats, Pedwell and Tweedhill both suffered from continued high water. However, when conditions did drop to near summer levels they proved why they are such popular fisheries.
March was a case in point when both beats exceeded their five-year average due to the exceedingly dry early spring.
Throughout the rest of the river there continued to be good sport with an 18lb sea trout caught at Tillmouth in high water conditions, the largest of the season for the Tweed catchment.
Bemersyde on the Middle Tweed produced the biggest salmon of the season and although it was estimated at 37lbs after consultation with scientists at the River Tweed Commission it is now thought that it might have been in the region of 47lbs.
Mr Pardoe added: “We are hugely optimistic for the 2013 season – the Tweed Foundation continues to provide leading research and their advice along with good management by fishery proprietors continues to improve conditions and habitats on the river and its tributaries, which can only bode well for the Tweed.”
For updates throughout the season, Mr Pardoe’s posts can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.