WHAT A WHOPPER: Robert Smith with his 2.5lb grayling, which earned him the junior anglers’ trophy
WHAT A WHOPPER: Robert Smith with his 2.5lb grayling, which earned him the junior anglers’ trophy

YOUNG angler Robert Smith will always remember the first time he went fishing.
With his very first cast from the bank of the Tees at the Demesnes, the six-year-old landed a 2.5lb grayling.
Robert’s efforts were rewarded at the annual meeting and presentation night of Barnard Castle Angling Club, where he picked up three trophies.
The youngster had gone down to the river with his dad Elliott, a keen fisherman.
“I thought I would give him a go,” said Mr Smith.
While he was out in the river, his son called over to say he thought he had a fish on the line.
“I waded back over – I thought he had snagged the bottom, but lo and behold he hadn’t,” added Mr Smith.
“Hopefully, this will get him hooked.”
Club president John Cartwright bagged the prize for the biggest salmon caught, with a 6lb fish caught on fly at Gent’s Pool.
Gent’s Pool, just above the Silver Bridge on the Startforth side, also proved a fertile fishing ground for Neil Mitchell, who won the trophy for the biggest wild brown trout with a 3lb 7oz fish.
During the club’s annual meeting, the first get-together for two years due to Covid-19, a minute’s silence was held to pay tribute to several members who have passed away, including former chairman Dennis Hinchcliffe.
Secretary Frank Harrison paid tribute to Mr Hinchcliffe, who had been a member of the club for more than 70 years, including 32 as chairman.
“He left a great void in the club,” said Mr Harrison.
“The executive committee decided to keep the chairman’s post in the family through his son Gareth. I think he was the right person for the position.”
Treasurer Maurice Eustace said the club had seen an increase in membership since the last annual meeting.
There are now 72 adult members and 23 juniors.
“This is very encouraging. Everything is really quite healthy and shows the interest is still there.
“This is the largest attendance for an annual meeting since I have been treasurer,” he added.
It was agreed membership for the under 16s would continue to be free, but juniors would still have to register with the club.
Senior membership prices remain the same, ranging from £20 for intermediate members (16-21) to £50 for adults.
Other issues discussed during the meeting included the spread of invasive crayfish, which had now been found in Cow Green.
Mr Hinchcliffe, who is also the club’s head bailiff, noted that while they were invasive, they were being eaten by otters, heron and trout.
One member also highlighted the presence of cormorants on the Tees, near Riverview Caravan Park, noting the number of fish they would be feeding on.