Catfish in Paradise

Congratulations to Charlie Grant, 12, who whilst on his annual Family holiday with us at Anglers Paradise caught his biggest ever fish, a personal best 29lb Wels Catfish!!

Charlie caught the Catfish on Luncheon Meat soaked in spotted fin smokey jack over spray from the Easy Access Lake.

**Take note ‘all’ on how he is presenting the Catfish – Superb pictures Charlie, showing us how not to hold Catfish!!**

Anglers Paradise

Changing times – Time to worry?

Changing times – Time to worry?

When I started sea fishing over forty years ago many of fish we caught were killed to be weighed in at competitions, eaten or buried in the garden. Looking back what anglers did was wrong but we knew no different it was different times and there was little perception that fish stocks were dwindling. There was perhaps still a belief that god provides and that there would always be plenty more fish in the sea.

These are fortunately more enlightened times and most sea anglers practice catch and release keeping just the occasional fish for the table. It is vital that those fish we return to the water have a good chance of survival and I see more and more guidance on how to handle fish. The basics are to treat all fish with respect. Handle as little as possible and support the fish when posing for photos. Consider using circle hooks or barbless when appropriate and consider replacing trebles with singles. When weighing fish always use a purpose made weigh sling or carrier bag for smaller species. Do not dangle fish on the scales.

Coarse anglers have been returning fish to the water for the best part of a century and are in many ways ahead of the game. Weigh slings, unhooking matts and antiseptic ointments are now part of carp anglers standard kit. Rigs used are carefully designed to reduce the risk of tethering any fish that are lost.

Salmon anglers who once retained virtually every fish they caught now have to return close to 100% of the fish they catch. Salmon runs are generally on an alarming downward spiral for a multitude of reasons and it is anglers who are at the forefront of campaigns to protect the future of the species.

Please follow the following guide to good practice when releasing fish:

  • Use barbless hooks. 
  • Use a fine knotless net.
  • Use strong tackle so fish can be played out and netted as quickly as possible.
  • Always net the fish: avoid handling fish and certainly do not pick them up by the tail to weigh or photograph. 
  • Keep the fish in the water all the time: If you want to know the weight, measure the fish in the water and calculate accordingly. If you want to take a photo, do it while the fish is in the water.

Whilst there are those who seek to criticise or even ban angling on morale grounds it is frequently the anglers who are desperately trying to protect fish stocks from over fishing and habitat destruction. Perhaps it is because anglers have a direct interaction with nature by participating that they have a deep passion and love for the environment and the creatures that dwell within. I know that I am perhaps skating on thin ice here but many anglers I know have very a deep love of the countryside and the waters edge. There are of course those who leave litter, mistreat fish and show no respect for the countryside. These are unfortunately a significant minority within society as a whole.

As an angler I feel that I have a close connection with the environment both marine and countryside. Sometimes I question my deep passion for angling but it is this quest for fish that has taken me to some beautiful locations and I have seen many wonders of nature that many only see from their arm chairs on HD screens.

I have witnessed an alarming decline in our countryside in the half a century I have fished and I often fear that I am amongst a generation that has seen the tale end of anglings golden age. And perhaps if we are to believe the climate change protestors earths golden age as well?

Big cats and carp in Paradise

Congratulations to Richard Mason who caught a 58lb 5oz Catfish and also 4 Carp from Day Ticket Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake!

Richard shared –

“Caught in peg 3 next to the drain, using pallatrax jungle squabs and glugs and stonze free running rig
Took be round the drain and snagged me solid!! The original run was at 5.30 am but after over 2 hours of being snagged she was still on so had to go for a wade/swim to free the line –
Epic battle!!”


Well done to Josh Bartley, 27 from Plymouth who joined us for a session on the popular Day Ticket Venue Anglers Eldorado and caught a personal best 18lb 5oz Catfish and then caught another smashing that with a 36lb 5oz Cat both from the Bottom Cat and Carp Lake 2!

Josh shared –

“I arrived on the Carp/Cat Lake 2 at Anglers Eldorado early Friday morning, at about 9am, I caught a new pb cat of 18lb 5oz but unfortunately my camera decided to not work!

But fortunately later that day around 7pm I caught another new pb of 36lb 5oz, also followed up with one around 10lb early Saturday morning, they were all caught using simple hair rigs, fished with 2-3 21mm halibut pellets.
Thank you!”


(Above) Jacob Johnson with a 36lb Mirror Carp from Nirvana’s Day Ticket Lake – The Kracking Carp

Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise – Fish of the week


Ross Godridge 30, from St Stephen in Cornwall, who caught a beautiful personal best 26lb 7oz Common from the Specimen Carp Lake.

Ross’s story –

“I’ve been wanting to come to AP for many years, and my partner made it happen for my 30th birthday treat! I caught this beautiful 26lb 7oz Common Carp from the Specimen Carp Lake, beating my personal best, using a bit of pop up sweetcorn surrounded by hemp and sweetcorn it went roaring off into the reeds an put up a brilliant fight before landing it on the bank!

I’m truly over the moon with it! My stay at AP has been incredible to say the least, it would be such a personal achievement to me to win fish of the week I’ve put in so much effort, and certainly reaping the rewards with this one, thank you to everyone at AP. Will definitely be back again!”


Here he is with his winning Fish and being presented his prizes by Zyggy and Zenia with special thanks to PB PRODUCTS UK.


Anglers Paradise

Brace of two pound roach in Red Letter hour!!!

posted in: Coarse Fishing, Sidebar | 0

The below report from Ben Smeeth has to be one of the most spectacular I have reported on since starting North Devon Angling News three years ago. Two pound plus roach are few and far between in Devon now and many would see the capture of one as the fish of lifetime. It makes you wonder what else this large body of water on the Devon boarder has to offer? I believe he venue has the potential to produce a record perch, eel or even roach not mention those big brown trout.

Red Letter “hour”……..Milo & Bait-Tech sponsored angler Simon Poynter pleasure fished Lower Tamar recently, using it as practice for up and coming feeder matches.

“Lower Tamar Lake takes me back to my childhood, where the anticipation of the bite & what could be on the end, fills me with excitement and causes sleepless night’s before each visit” Simon added.

Simon fished a cage feeder at 72mtrs & a 60g window feeder at 92mtrs, targeting the lakes big bream.

Groundbait of choice was the new Bait-tech Pro Natural Bream Dark…… lovely smell & great mix.

Simon commented that as a match angler he feels that he does not approach Lower Tamar in the correct way for the specimen sized bream, feeling that most fish have gone nocturnal, possibly with a dawn and dusk approach being better than his usual 10am till 3pm sessions!

After 3 hours Simon had one 2lb brown trout to show for his efforts, his travelling partner had two trout at this point.

At 2pm Simon’s tip slammed around & after a very spirited fight he landed his first roach, it was a stunning fish of 2lb 3oz, “I could not believe it the size of it when it broke the surface” really chunky and scale perfect.

This started a crazy 50 minutes with Simon catching seven fish in as many casts, one 3lb brown trout and six other roach between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 6oz graced his net….. the roach were beautiful, indeed four of the seven roach were over 2lb.Even though one of the lakes massive bream failed to put in an appearance, the roach were a catch of a lifetime, caught in lovely surroundings.

Kind regards

Ben Smeeth

Head of Angling

Cats on the prowl at Paradise

posted in: Coarse Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Congratulations to Tony Trenerry who caught a 55lb 3oz Catfish from  Day Ticket  Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake. The fish was tempted using good old luncheon meat.

Zenia at Anglers Paradise advises anglers that they should avoid holding the fish off the ground. “There’s no need to hold Cats but much better to position them like this or lying beside them on a unhooking mat.”

Anglers Paradise

A Visit to the Tackle Shop

I called into Summerlands Tackle at Westward-Ho! to pick up my Sponsorship Form for Neilsen Jeffery’s charity Match later in the year. ( More on that later) I also took along a bundle of old line keen to make use of the line recycling scheme I helped promote earlier this month. Line is the vital link between  angler and fish. It is prone to damage and degradation over time and for this reason it is prudent to change it on a regular basis. Line both mono and braid is particularly hazardous to wildlife and should be discarded with care. In the past I have cut it into short lengths or burnt it. This new scheme is a great idea and should be embraced by all anglers. North Devons premier tackle shops are all participating in the scheme.

Line recycling

Heather at Summerlands places my old line in the recycle bin.

Summerlands have just updated their impressive stock of carp tackle with an impressive range from Korum and Guru.

Line recycling

Line is probably the most harmful material anglers use and experienced anglers change their line on a regular basis as it is the vital link between them and the fish they hope to persuade to the waters edge. Discarded line has long been an issue that causes concern even when put out with the rubbish it can get onto landfill where it can entangle birdlife. I have in the past cut my line into short lengths or burnt it on the fire. Now there is a scheme to recycle old mono and braid and the good news is that North Devons tackle shops are participating in the scheme so please bag up your old line and take it to your local tackle shop and place in the designated receptacle. For more information on the scheme please click on the below link.