The Half Moon Inn at Sheepwash has long been at the heart of the River Torridge angling community and a meeting place for the River Torridge Fishery Association. Many of the anglers who visit the Torridge to cast a line have been visiting for decades migrating to this old fishing Inn in Spring and Autumn.

 In Springtime the AGM greets a new season, plans are made for the coming months as swallows arrive to swoop over the spring countryside as life springs forth after winters chill. In early Autumn fishers return for the annual dinner as the swallows depart reflecting upon the season just past.

The salmon season of 2022 will go down in history as one of the worst on record with a long drought keeping the river low throughout most of the season. Fortunately, the Torridge angling community is still bound by its traditions and the Half Moon Inn is an integral part of that bond. Fishing Inns are sadly dwindling along with the iconic salmon that face an uncertain future as many factors combine to thwart a heroic drive to survive.

Pauline and I sat down with forty guests to enjoy a delicious meal sharing stories of life, fishing and the Torridge. Joining the association this year was author Mark Wormald whose excellent book ‘The Catch’ I read earlier this year. The book delves back into the life of the late Ted Hughes, poet Laurette who fished many waters with passion the Torridge being one of his favourite haunts. It was good to chat briefly with Mark about his book that is available to buy at the Half Moon where 50% of any purchase will be donated to the River Torridge Fishery Association. Mark pays several visits to the Half Moon throughout the books narrative with Charles Inniss and Adam vital stars of the books strong cast of characters.

Mark Wormald author of “The Catch”

Whilst stories of recent fish were scarce fish from other tributaries of angling provided vital piscatorial content with carp, bass, perch and the occasional trout peppering discussions.

As Pauline and I left on the Sunday morning Autumn sunshine illuminated the village square. I paused to note the plaque that commemorated the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ 1953. It seemed rather poignant to note this just a week after Her Majesty’s Funeral.

Just a few days remain of the 2022 salmon season on the Taw and Torridge and soon it is hoped rain will fall swelling the rivers and bringing salmon forging to the redds that will ensure the future of both salmon and the community that is brought together by their presence in the rivers.