Down West for the Annual blues trip

Penzance situated at the far West of the UK offers a gateway to the rich waters of the Atlantic and the small fleet of charter boats that depart from the port put anglers onto some of the best blue shark fishing available off the UK.

I arrived at Penzance on the eve of what has become an annual trip. The sun was shining on arrival with the bright blue agapanthus and palm trees swaying in a warm summer breeze. Timing a trip with the break of the school holidays was probably not the wisest of moves as the resort was teaming with visitors. I am not a lover of driving longish distances before and after fishing so I had booked a room at a sea front guest house.

First priority was to have a short session after the grey mullet that thrive in the local harbours. Newlyn with its busy fishing harbour always holds a certain appeal with the hustle and bustle of a working port. Float fished cod flesh soon brought plenty of bites that proved frustratingly difficult to connect with. Several good sized mullet were observed swimming close into the harbourside. Positioning my bait close in I was able to watch as they nudged the bait suspiciously. After a couple of hours of enjoyable and frustrating fishing the float sank for the umpteenth time and I felt that delightful connection. A small mullet of around 1lb 8oz was safely netted.

The shark fishing day started early at 4.55am on a sour note. A whats-App ping on the phone brings news that the trip organisers car had gone into limp mode and he would not be joining us.

At 6:45am I arrived at the harbourside ready for the 7.00 am departure. Bruce, Dan and John were all ready and eager for the day ahead. Kieran gave us all a cheery greeting. I asked how the previous days fishing had been and was told it had been a chilled day with seven shark to the boat. The result of a combination of recent weather conditions and big spring tides.

The boat set out bouncing over a calm sea. Pods of dolphins entertained us throughout the trip to the shark grounds leaping from the water often seemingly in synchronized formation. On this occasion my efforts to capture an image failed miserably.

We chatted of fish and fishing as the land slowly faded into obscurity. Far off the land gannets and other sea birds glided as they hunted the ocean.

Eventually the engine note changed as Kieran eased the boat to a halt somewhere far out in the deep blue yonder.  Bruce, Dan and I were keen to see the baits go out beneath the optimistically bobbing floats. A glance at John told  the story of that the age old curse of the sea. Pale and drained of life it was not to be a good day as mal de mer took its toll on John who had a miserable day.

The aroma of rubby-dubby probably didn’t help as the sacks were filled with a fishy cocktail of fish, bran and oils. Within minutes an oily slick appeared in the wake of the boat. The bright pop bottle floats suspending fresh whiting at varying depths.

Bruce Elston keeps the bait coming

We drew the customary straws and I was pleased to get number 1. John had declined an offer of first shark. Baited feathers were sent down the sea bed to catch a steady supply of fresh whiting for bait. After half an hour a shark took the distant bait and I tightened into the first shark of the day. A few minutes later a blue of around 60lb was at the side of the boat the circle hook neatly in the scissors.

Enjoying the battle

A pleasing blue to start the day

A day’s sharking is always exciting with a constant suspense awaiting the scream of  a reel or disappearance of a float. In the vast rolling ocean, the mystery of what lurks beneath the surface entrances. As the day unfolds there are short bursts of activity and on two occasions we have double hook ups that give a few anxious moments.

Dan Miles Redmore takes the strain

A quick picture in the water

Bruce sets the circle hook

75lb of blues power

In Penzance terms today was a slow day with eleven blues to around 75lb brought to the side of the boat. The days of bringing these fish on board has passed with all fish unhooked quickly at the side of the boat. These beautiful fish look awesome in the clear water and its great to see them swim strongly away after unhooking to disappear into the aqua blue water of the Atlantic.

We lingered for a while hoping for one more shark but as always eventually it’s time to call it a day. We motor back to Penzance glimpsing dolphins once again in the wake of the boat. Gannet’s dive into the water undoubtedly feasting upon mackerel. I always find the vast sky and rolling waters fascinating and so alive.

As we approach the harbour Bite Adventures bounces across the waves on its twin hull and a party of anglers give us a cheery wave.

Penzance is bustling with summer tourists as staycations boom. Were already plotting next year’s voyages to the deeps.

River Taw Fisheries & Conservation Association – Respond to Mole Pollution Incident

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Mole Pollution Incident July 2019 – EA Prosecution

In the recent prosecution brought by the Environment Agency the guilty pleas were appropriate and not unexpected. The fines however, appear derisory – £2,000 and £667 against a fish kill of around 16,400. These fines don’t reflect the severity of the incident, the damage done to our fish stocks and the ecology of the Mole. Where is the deterrent message to the farming community at a time of poor water quality in our rivers which remain under continuing threat from unsafe farming practices?

See link to EA press release below

We are pleased that the EA carried out a successful prosecution, but extremely disappointed with the final outcome.

Andy Gray, Chairman, RTFCA

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/north-devon-company-fined-for-pollution-that-devastated-fish-population

Red Skin Disease in wild salmon

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This year we have received a number of reports of wild Atlantic salmon exhibiting ventral haemorrhaging consistent with Red Skin Disease (RSD). We are monitoring the situation on all our major salmon rivers and working with partners across the UK to better understand its cause and impact.

We have been collating reports of skin lesions in wild salmonids from across England and have issued regular guidance to our staff, anglers and stakeholders on what to look out for, what to do if disease is suspected, and the need to report any cases to us promptly. We are also working closely with colleagues in Natural Resources Wales to monitor and collate reports.

We have had no reported cases of mortality associated with ventral haemorrhaging in wild salmonids in England, but have received reports of a small number of fish caught by anglers showing changes consistent with RSD. Our staff who operate salmon traps as part of our national index monitoring programme have also observed a small number of cases.

We are asking anglers to be vigilant but not to remove or handle any fish in distress. Also for anglers to carefully take photographs of fish exhibiting any unusual marks if safe to do so, to practice good biosecurity, and to adhere to our guidance on disinfection or to ‘Clean, Check, Dry’ equipment after fishing and before moving to other waters.

To report dead or dying fish, please contact our incident hotline immediately: 0800 80 70 60. For further information on RSD please contact our National Fisheries Laboratory: 02084 745244 or 07825 111723 / [email protected]

North Devon company fined for pollution that devastated fish population

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The North Devon company that caused a pollution incident leading to a devastating fish kill on the River Mole near South Molton has been fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £9,836 in costs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/north-devon-company-fined-for-pollution-that-devastated-fish-population

The charges:

A J Sing and Son Ltd pleaded guilty to the following offence:

Between 29 July 2019 and 1 August 2019 on land at Gortonhill Moors, South Molton you caused a water discharge activity not under or to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, namely by the deposit of organic matter derived from an anaerobic digestion plant on to said land, which subsequently entered the river Mole. Contrary to Regulations 12(1)(b) and 38(1) (a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

Ryan Adams pleaded guilty to the following offence:

Between 29 July 2019 and 1 August 2019 on land at Gortonhill Moors, South Molton A J Sing and Son Limited caused a water discharge activity not under or to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, namely by the deposit of organic matter derived from an anaerobic digestion plant onto said land, which subsequently entered the river Mole and said water discharge activity was caused by an act or default on your part. Contrary to regulations 12(1)(b) and 38(6) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

COMMENT – North Devon Angling News

Many anglers and conservationists are appalled at the paltry fine issued following a court case relating to a devastating fish kill on the River Mole. The EA estimated that 15,600 fish were killed.

The River Mole is one of North Devon’s premier game fishing rivers a major tributary of the River Taw. Over recent seasons the River Taw Fisheries & Conservation Association have invested and assisted in major schemes to improve the river habitat and improve upstream migration. This destruction of a pristine river environment will impact upon the river for years to come.

After a long and protracted court case and extensive work by the EA the outcome is appalling. The rivers are vital arteries that flow through our countryside and this generation owes it to those who follow us to ensure a healthy environment. Salmon and sea trout are iconic species that are a barometer to the health of our world. The destruction of habitat should in my view be severely punished to deter any future negligence in agricultural practice.

For more information on the River Taw Fisheries & Conservation Association click on below link.

Zenia banks new personal best catfish

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Zenia Gregorek posted this on her social media page.
My buddy “Scar Face” the Catfish! A few pounds bigger than last year making her my new personal best Catfish at 37lbs.
“As always she gave me a great fight and it was great to see her again, I definitely have a special bond with this fish, she’s a precious one to me that’s for sure!!

East Lyn Brown Trout Report.

Many thanks to Simon Francis for this excellent report on the East Lyn.
Having been away for a few months I was excited to see how the East Lyn would fish.
On Saturday and Sunday there had been good hatches and rises to ephemerids, but jobs to do around the house had kept me from fishing. The river levels were very good for this time of year, and a bit of wild swimming confirmed the water was pretty cool! Monday 26th July was a little cooler and I waited until 2pm to head off, upstream on the Watersmeet & Glenside fisheries water from our Primrose Cottage at Rockford, Brendon. (https://primrosecottageexmoor.co.uk/)
I fished my (now vintage) 7 foot Orvis HLS 1 ounce #4wt with an old Rimfly reel, a 9ft leader and 4ft 2.5lb fluorocarbon tippet. The rod was a gift to myself when I qualified as a STANIC game fishing instructor 21 years ago. It is easier under the trees in the height of summer than the 9 ft #3wt that offers a bit more line control. I fished a size 14 elk hair and CDC caddis all day as it worked all day, and has the advantage I can see it even in the gloom in the shady spots!
Whilst there wasn’t much of a hatch fish were moving, and came freely to the Elk Hair Caddis. Rises varied from a full on “smash and grab”, to the most discerning of sips.
I caught a couple of fish in every pool, and picked up the odd fish in the lovely little runs and pots between pools. It is a shame that so many people overlook these little holes where you get short drifts and instant takes, it’s the best fun!
I also love fishing the back currents that wash food back upstream, often close under the banks, or alongside big boulders. Whilst it challenges casting and mending to get a good presentation, it’s a great reward when an often better sized fish sips down your fly.
As usual I was accompanied by dippers, wrens, wagtails, martins, and swallows but was especially pleased to see the Pied Flycatcher back outside the cottage, as I sat with a cold beer, contemplating another great day on the East Lyn. All for £5.
See also  Dominick Garnetts  excellent write up below

Bideford and District Angling Club Junior Competition No.4. :

Bideford Angling Club have done a sterling job in helping to promote angling amongst their Junior membership throughout the summer.
Results :
1st Thomas Scott  15lb 14oz
2nd Mia Bell 10lb 4oz
3rd Tyler Scott  10lb
4th Lilly Bell 9lb 14oz
5th Adam Wheeler  8lb 9oz
6th Charlie Heddon 6lb 5oz .
Lucky, the pessimistic weather forecast proved unfounded , and our Juniors enjoyed another lovely afternoon on Georges lake . Thomas fished the pole on peg 17 with corn for a great net of skimmers to win the last match of the series. Mia fished her first match on peg 16 and added a 3lb carp to her net of tench to finish 2nd. The final points tally resulted in a draw in the over 14’s for first place between the Scott brothers , 56 points apiece.Count back on weigh saw Thomas take the Gold medal. In the under 14’s category Charlie Heddon collected Gold with 42 points.
Huge well done to all competitors and helpers for making this event possible. Thanks to BaitTech, for generous donations of prizes , Mervyn Beal for sponsoring the medals also to Summerlands for their support.