The Heart of Devon

The Heart of Devon

Game Fishing

The River Torridge starts its journey at Meddon near Hartland surprisingly close to the source of the Tamar that in contrast journeys to Devon’s South Coast flowing into the English Channel at Plymouth. The Torridge flows through the heart of Devon’s rural interior. Rolling hills, lush green fields and abundant woodland it is famed for its association with Tarka the Otter. Otters are fortunately still a common site for anglers as they cast their lines for salmon and sea trout on the many miles of water that are available to fish.

The Torridge is a smaller river than its sister river the Taw and is perhaps less daunting to fish with plenty of excellent fly water. Day Tickets for salmon, sea trout and brown trout are available from the Half Moon Inn at Sheepwash that boasts a rich fishing pedigree with several beats available throughout the river. The Little Warham Fishery also offers excellent fishing opportunities for salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout.

LITTLE WARHAM FISHERY

Whilst many focus on the Torridge as a salmon and sea trout river its dry fly fishing for brown trout can be superb with great sport to be enjoyed on both the main river and its many tributaries.

The West-Country Angling passport scheme offers a wealth of opportunities.

Coarse Fishing

There are plenty of opportunities for the coarse and carp angler in this heart of rural Devon with a variety of waters. The famous Anglers Paradise complex owned by the notorious Zyg Gregorek and family offers a vast range of opportunity with everything from gudgeon to huge carp, catfish, pike and trout. Whilst renowned for its holiday complex the venue also boasts some superb day ticket fishing with Anglers Nirvana and Eldorado home to catfish over 60lb and carp in excess of fifty pounds.

Close to Holsworthy are Thornbury Fishing Lakes that offer carp to double figures along with tench, bream and other coarse fish. Day tickets are available for the two lakes that are set in a tranquil rural setting.

Stafford Moor Fishery close to Dolton has a well deserved reputation for its prolific carp fishing and match fishing. The lakes are well established and run by the Combe family who have invested much time, effort and money to build upon the sound foundations laid by the previous owner Andy Seery. The Match lakes regularly produce ton up bags of carp with Open events held on a regular basis throughout the year.

Carp anglers have the choice of two lakes Beatties and Lodge Lake both of which contain carp to over thirty pounds with twenty pound fish frequently gracing the bank.

The lakes also hold a variety of other species to specimen size including perch, eels and a few surprises.

Reservoirs

Melbury, Jennets, Darracott, Upper and Lower Tamar are all controlled by South West Lakes Trust and all hold some impressive stocks of coarse fish. Specimen Carp are caught in all of the venues with multiple catches of double figure fish common. These waters tend to offer more of a challenge than the heavily stocked commercial venues and are often less crowded as a result. Though this is not always the case at weekends when news has spread regarding good catches.

Carp are not the only specimens to dwell within these waters with some huge perch to over five-pound present in several of the lakes. These long-established waters are also home to some huge eels that offer a serious target for the dedicated eel angler.

Lower Tamar also holds a good head of bream to double figures.

Match fishing on the reservoirs brings bulging nets of silver fish with Upper Tamar considered one of the best venues for silver fish in the West Country.

EASTER FISHING FOR ALL THE FAMILY

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Easter is an ideal time to take the family to the waters edge and Agapi Fruit and Fishing Lake is an ideal location to catch a few fish in tranquil surroundings. Situated close to Torrington the lake has a healthy population of crimson finned golden rudd and numerous carp that are growing well. As the waters warms the venues carp should be tempted with that traditional of carp baits the floating crust.

A pleasing brace from Agapi Fruit and Fishing

(Above) Peter Knight and Agapi Fishing owner Sandra Hood

Peter Knight visited the tranquil waters at Agapi Fruit Farm and Fishing to land a pleasing brace of carp that are amongst the first to be caught at the water that I visited just a week ago. Peter a local angler visited the water with his partner after reading the review on North Devon Angling News.

Agapi is a delightful lake teaming with rudd and a healthy stock of carp that make the venue an ideal pleasure fishing venue for family’s and anyone wanting to escape for few hours by the water. This is not yet a water for the specimen hunter but is ideal for those who love fishing.

A UNIQUE FISHERY – AGAPI FRUIT AND FISHING

Agapi Fruit and Fishing is a unique venue nestled in a tranquil valley near Torrington that offers a fine family fishing experience. The owner Sandra Hood invited Pauline, James and I to sample the fishing and write a short review on the complex.

We  followed an intriguing country lane at the end of which we came upon a pleasing lake stretching before us reflecting a blue sky and wispy white clouds.

Glancing into the water I immediately saw dimples on the water as small rudd broke the surface. At the far end of the lake a few carp could be seen cruising slowly, fish of up to around 4lb that would give a pleasing tussle on light tackle.

Sandra greeted us warmly and told us about the fishery and its facilities that include a spacious ready made up bell tent and a two birth caravan where guests can stay over at a modest cost.

James and I were eager to get fishing as late August evenings pass by all too quickly and it was already past 6.00pm. I had brought along a bait box full of Jolly Green Giant sweetcorn and half a loaf of white sliced bread. No need for modern fancy baits here just simple basics.

James started off float fishing with a single grain of corn and was soon swinging in small golden rudd the float disappearing with pleasing regularity within seconds of it sitting upright in the still water.

I was already focusing on the chance of a carp and tied a size 10 barbless hook to the end of my 3lb line that was loaded on my old Avon Royal Centre Pin. I tossed a few crusts out onto the water and expected the carp to devour them but shoals of rudd were on the bait within seconds. I wondered along the bank rod in hand to a shady corner where several carp were visible. I pinched a generous piece of flake onto the hook and swung it out in front of a cruising carp. The bait disappeared and the line slowly tightened. I felt a pleasing resistance as I set the hook, the carp made a dash for the weedy  margin beneath the tree branch’s and after a tense struggle came adrift.

Sandra arrived shortly after with a tasty plateful of ham sandwiches, homemade chutney and a flask of hot water with tea, coffee and cakes.

Pauline chatted at length with Sandra whilst James and I became immersed in the tense and frustrating game of stalking carp. James found a group of carp on the far bank and was soon calling for me to rush over with the net. I got there to find the carp battling beneath the rod tip partially tangling in trailing grass and brambles. My attempt to net the carp resulted in the fish shedding the hook.

I had one further chance in the shady corner as I watched a carp suck in my bread flake just few inches from the bank. I lifted the rod expecting to feel a solid resistance; I instead felt the deflating thin air. Its been a while since I stalked carp and but after this exciting session it will not be long before I am creeping the banks again. I had forgotten just how addictive, and exciting this close up fishing is!

Sandra’s vision is to offer a unique fishing experience the emphasis being on fun. This is not at present a specimen fishing lake though I am sure the carp will soon pack on weight and in two or there years there will be carp present topping ten pounds. The fishing on offer is perfect for a fun family day out in beautiful surroundings. A cosy summerhouse offers shelter with a wooden platform that gives access to the centre of the lake.

Float fishing with sweetcorn bread or maggot will bring constant action ensuring newcomers to the sport get plenty of bites and beautiful golden scaled rudd.

We caught several rudd up to 8oz and there are undoubtedly a few bigger ones. The carp are plentiful and at present range from a couple of pounds up to perhaps 5lb.

The lake is available for exclusive use with adults paying just £5 for a day ticket and children fishing for free. Only one booking per day is taken with groups of up to six around the maximum for the venue. The lake has a very pleasing atmosphere and intimacy that is lost at many crowded commercial fisheries. To get away from it all and escape into the countryside with a bit of fishing I can highly recommend the venue.

In addition to the fishing Sandra is pleased to provide tasty food including Devon Cream teas and cooked breakfasts. In addition to fishing there is also the opportunity to pick your own Fruit in season.

For more details contact – Sandra Hood

Email – agapi405@btinternet.com

Tel – 07776315696

Lower Cranford

St Giles In the Wood

Gt Torrington

Devon

EX38 7LA

RIVER READS – NEWSLETTER

Keith Armishaw fishing the Torridge

River Reads are a specialist angling book shop operating out of Torrington well worth a visit as they carry a vast range of angling books on all disciplines. Here is their latest Newsletter penned by owner Keith Armishaw.

Well, it’s been a while since we wrote the last newsletter, but as the weather is too windy for sea fishing and the local rivers are running like soup and fly only, it seemed the ideal time to sit down and pen a few things that have been happening of late.

I have been continuing to add photographs of books to the site as I think it will aid decision making to be able to see exactly what the book you are after looks like and in what condition it is in. I have just completed the fly tying, fly casting and tackle catalogues having done the fly fishing, coarse fishing (carp, pike etc as well) earlier in the year. I hope you find it of use, and if you have any other ideas that would help, please feel free to e mail us.

Whilst we are on the subject of books, Dominic Garnett who writes a weekly column for Angling Times called in for a chat. He is probably best known for his Fly Fishing for Coarse Fish book, but also promotes the fishing in Devon and Somerset. He dropped off some of his other books – Crooked Lines and Tangles with Pike – which he signed whilst we talked fishing, had a cuppa, and recorded him talking for the Angling Heritage archive which you can now hear on line. We had an interesting time which just flew by.

We have also recently acquired quite a lot of our “Vintage Tackle”. Whilst several cane Hardy rods and reels have been added, we have also now got a great selection of nearly new – in many cases unused – high quality modern tackle too including carbon rods from Sage, Orvis, Sharp, Hardy, Greys etc so if you aren’t an old timer stuck in the mud like me, now is the time to buy your fantastic new tackle at great prices. Also acquired with the rods are reels from Orvis, Bruce & Walker, Hardy, ABU, Snowbee and many more.

If you are looking for any new or antique items, now is the time to peruse the antique tackle section.

Finally, I’m looking forward to our shark fishing sessions in Looe next month followed by what we hope will be an annual trip to British Columbia to fish the Frazer, then on to Vancouver Island after salmon. I went with Hugh Miles last year and we loved every moment so have booked the same again this year. If you fancy an overseas trip with the comfort of home where you can stay in spa hotels for your family, this is THE place to go. You can keep up with all my escapades in the “Diary” section of the website, or get a brief overview on our Facebook page.

Autumn is nearly here and I think this is the best time of year to fish, so get out there and good luck.

ANGLING HERITAGE – NEWS

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ANGLING HERITAGE NEWS FROM Keith Armishaw

The mailing systems between and Angling Heritage and River Reads have now been separated so we can now focus on AH individually, rather than on the back of the River Reads newsletter necessary to minimize the costs as we get established. The archive now generates sufficient funds required to move the Trust on to the next level.

Over the last month we have received a written piece by Hugh Miles about ‘Filming the Great and the Good’ which is free to view in the “Articles” section, together with a selection of photographs of him filming Peter Stone which can be seen in the ‘Photographs’ archive.
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If you read Hugh’s notes, you will see that the series of films that he made whilst at college have sadly been disposed of. This is a tragedy for Hugh and for angling losing the film of these famous anglers. We don’t know if copies were ever made, and I have spoken to Barrie Welham and David Carl Forbes’ family without success, so if you know of it surviving anywhere, please let me know so that both Hugh and AH can get a copy.

This shows how badly needed the angling archive is to preserve any film for the future, and we are grateful for the donation of an old 8m cine film that is currently being digitised for the archive (and the donor gets DVD too). If you have any such film of footage, please loan them to us for preservation. We are not looking to keep it, merely to try to preserve it and return it to the owner (whose name is credited with the donation on the website too).

We have also added a video of over an hour in length of the interviews we made when supporting Hereford Museum on their River Life Project in 2013 which is accompanied by a series of photographs appropriate to the text. This shows how our work can be galvanised when working with other organisations; something we are looking to expand on in the future.

As ever, the Trust relies on you, in donations (financial and of material), archive loans, and also in paying to view the archive or becoming members, and we thank you for your growing support.

Keith has just returned from a fishing trip to Canada with renowned wildlife photographer Hugh Miles.

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