Massive congratulations to Riley John who caught a huge new personal best 62lb 5oz Catfish from Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake!!
Riley’s Dad shared –
“Riley has been coming to anglers paradise for 5 years now, normally in August with his family but this year was treated with his dad and uncles. We arrived Friday to fish the specimen catfish lake.
It was a quiet night for Riley with his dad having a 2 during the night, and Riley woke up feeling disheartened not to have had a beep.
Then all of a sudden after breakfast, his rod beeped into action & after a long hard battle & a little help from his dad, he landed a monster!! Hopefully beating his 33lb from last year….it weighed 62lb 5oz!! A fish that was as long as himself & an attitude to match what a great start to the week!!”
Wow! Well done Riley, a fish that many adult Anglers still dream of catching and you have at such a young age!!


Anglers Paradise
Massive congratulations to 5C’s member Joe Dietrich who fished Nirvana’s day ticket Xanadu Lake for a quick 24 hour session and only goes and catches the biggest Common of the Lake at 30lbs 2oz!!


A new chapter for North Devon’s anglers.

Quay Sports closed on June 14th after trading for close to three years it has been a valuable stop off point for North Devon’s Anglers providing a wide range of tackle for all disciplines. Fortunately the shop manager Chris Connougton is opening a new tackle shop  that will ensure that Barnstaple still has that vital ingredient to enable a social hub and source of those essential items of tackle and bait. It is essential that local anglers support this new venture and all other local tackle shops. We are very fortunate to have a range of tackle shops across North Devon a fact that I will promote in the coming weeks.

Last day of the shop today. Come and grab yourself some last min bargains. We would also like to say a huge thank you to you all for your support over the last 3 years, we have made some great relationships and friends. We wish Chris all the best for the future with Barnstaple Bait & Tackle and sure will see some of you on the bank.
Quay Sports

( Above) Mark Potter and Chris Connaughton on their last day at Quay Sports

“I am proud to announce that I will be opening a fresh new bait and tackle store at 6 Queens House, Barnstaple, EX32 8HJ. I am hoping to be open by the 1st of July but more will follow on this.
There will be all the usual sea and freshwater baits available along with a vast range of tackle from leading brands.
My aim is to create a local social hub where like-minded people of all ages can meet, shop and chat about all things fishing!
It hasn’t been easy so come show some support when open and keep a tackle shop in Barnstaple for many years to come.
Watch this space for further details, a new facebook page, deals and events.
I look forward to welcoming you through the door
(I would also like to say a massive thank you to Mr Pinn of Pinndart for all his help with the logo etc).”


As the year races past it is essential to ensure that plans discussed at the start of the season get acted upon. At the Roadford Fly Fair at the end of February I chatted with Luke Bannister about a trip to the river that was discussed further when we met up at the Orvis Outlet Opening at the Arundell Sporting Hotel in March.

After a few messages back and forth Luke and I set a day to meet up and fish the Arundell’s water in early June. We arranged to meet at the Arundell at 9:30am where we could meet up with David Pilkington who would allocate a beat for the day and give valuable advice.
The Arundell has over twenty miles of fishing on the Tamar and its tributaries with an abundance of wild brown trout fishing along with salmon, sea trout and grayling. It was the wild browns that Luke and I would be targeting and with a few mayfly still showing we hoped for success on the dry fly.
It was very busy when we met up with David Pilkington who had allocated us beat 4 on the River Thrushel a beat I had glimpsed briefly during the visit to in March.
Enjoyment of the day was undoubtedly top of the agenda and Luke and I retreated to the Arundell Deli for a fresh coffee before venturing to the river. There was of course plenty to discuss and Luke didn’t expect the trout to start rising until late morning.

The Arundell is undoubtedly in good hands with the present owners well versed in what their fishing and shooting clientele require to ensure an enjoyable stay. Luke and I both appreciate the value of such sporting hotels to the rural economy and of course to the future of fly fishing. Key to the survival of this is the health of the regions rivers. The declining salmon and sea trout stocks are of concern as is the decline of insect life brought about by the use of insecticides. These issues and others of the wider world were dissected over coffee before setting off for the beat.
The day was bright and sunny with a cool westerly breeze. It is always exciting to explore a new venue and I was fortunate to have Luke’s company as he had fished the beat on previous occasions.
Luke is renowned for his exquisite hand built split cane fly rods, fly boxes and leaders.

I had intended to discuss rods with Luke but in our keenness to get fishing such discussions didn’t materialise. Luke put together a very pleasing looking 7ft 4 Wt cane wand whilst I took out my 7ft Snowbee Classic Carbon 4wt. Armed with this suitably matched reels, lines and a few flies we set out to the river after looking over the old stone bridge to assess the state of the river.

The river was running low with just a tinge of colour reminding me of beats I have fished on the Upper Torridge a river that shares many characteristics with the Tamar.
The Thrushel as described on the Arundell’s website: –
The Thrushel and its own tributary, the Wolf, is a pretty, lowland river which affords excellent trout fishing. The Thrushel itself is a small to medium sized river with a good number of open pools for the novice fisherman to target some excellent wild brown trout. Its tributary the Wolf is slightly smaller and trickier, requiring more fishing experience. Both rivers are characterised by short gravelly runs with trout holding pockets that flow into rock formed pools. To get the best from your day, the ability to cast from both shoulders is preferable as many of the runs and pots require working your way up the river from side to side and between access points. A short rod of 7ft or so is recommended. It should also be noted that the water levels on the Wolf are controlled by output from Roadford reservoir ensuring that it is often fishable when all other rivers are running too high after rainfall.
Species – Brown Trout, Grayling
Size of River – Medium/small
Wading difficulty – Medium
Ease of access and Fishability – Medium
Trout Equipment – 7’6”- 8’6” #3/4 weight rods

Whilst I very much enjoy fishing alone there is undoubtedly great value in sharing a day with a fellow angler and it was a privilege to explore this delightful river on this early summer day.
Tactics were discussed with Luke opting for a single bead headed nymph. We discussed the merits of New Zealand style tactics that are often used to explore the water giving the best of both worlds in many anglers opinion. Whilst Luke agreed with the effectiveness he prefers to focus on either dry fly or nymph tactics believing this a more rewarding and enjoyable way to fish

We entered the tranquil and shaded riverside and paused to take in the surroundings. A chiff chaff’s song reverberated through the air. The trees were in full leaf offering areas of shade as the river flowed tranquilly between rocky banks that were interspersed with tree roots. A river that could easily be the setting for the author BB’s delightful tome ‘The Little Grey Men’, a book that tells of the adventures of four gnomes as they travel down a stream. In all its full summer beauty: throughout the story runs the secret music of the stream, the songs of the water birds, the whisper of the sedges.
We watched carefully for signs of rising fish.

Luke demonstrated an extensive in depth knowledge of entomology talking of the flies he expected to see throughout the season and which patterns are best used as imitation’s.
Luke’s approach was calm and measured and I felt totally at ease in his presence. Sometimes there can be a degree of pressure when sharing a day as you don’t want to show incompetence by tangling in the trees or scaring the wily trout.

We took it in turns to fish the pools and glides. Discussing where we thought the fish would lie and delighting in dropping the fly into the sweet spot. Reading the water is a skill gleaned over many days even years beside the water. And whilst every river is different there are similarities that are common to all rivers from tiny brooks to the majestic lower reaches.

As we fished we talked of past fishing forays in waters both at home and abroad. We both caught a few small crimson spotted wild browns that were a delight to briefly admire before slipping back into the river.
After reaching the top of the beat we headed back down river to revisit promising lies. I waded into a deep run to search with a weighted nymph whilst Luke watched on. As I turned to wade back I slipped into a deep pocket and lost my balance momentarily slipping forwards into the deep water. Cool water surged over my wader top and I felt a moment of panic and then embarrassment at my clumsiness.

It proved costly as my phone though never totally submerged later packed up requiring a costly repair. I really should make sure I keep it within an aqua-pack.
After this brief moment of angst we continued on and headed for a stretch we had been advised to fish at the Lower end of the beat below the road bridge.
We entered a new stretch through a padlocked gate. A deep and shady pool was at the very bottom of the beat. Luke suggested I start at the bottom of the pool whilst he fished the run above.
I made my way carefully through head high undergrowth of water hemlock and nettles. A trout rose under the overhanging branches. I crept into position and flicked a grey duster delicately where the rings had shown. A shadow appeared and a trout sipped in the fly. A pleasing wild brown of perhaps 8” was brought to the waiting net.

I dried the fly and cast again and was thrilled to see a good sized trout of perhaps 1lb approach the fly before turning away with disdain.

I fished carefully up the pool and hooked another similar sized trout at the head of the pool. Luke and I compared notes and I suggested he try for the big fish at the shady tail of the pool. I fished slowly up the promising looking run above. I saw a fish rise and put my offering onto the spot. This is surely the most satisfying of moments in angling as the trout again rose and I felt that delightful harmony of deception and connection. The fish was the best of the day a pleasing brown of perhaps 10” its flanks olive and bronze decorated in crimson and black spots.

Luke captured the moment on camera and we walked up river having a few casts here and there before converging at the bridge.
It was late afternoon and we had shared a great day at the waters edge. Catching close to a dozen trout between us.
I cannot cast off without mentioning those hand crafted split cane rods. I would draw a parallel to classic sports cars that get you from A to B no quicker but do so in a manner that is undoubtedly pleasing to the soul.

Last casts made its time to head off home.


Early Morning Trout Sport at Bulldog

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

Lez had an amazing morning on the fly lake! The choice to get on the bank early in an attempt to beat the heat of the day definitely paid off!

2 Spartics landed, one being 4lb+!

A party of visiting anglers certainly enjoyed some great sport on the well stocked fly Lake
The lads decided to get to the fishery early in order to beat the heat ☀️ and what a result they had! All four reached their 6 fish limit with the biggest of the day being 6.8lb! Alongside this slab was another 6lber and 5 fish over 5lb!


Chris Connaughton is well known and respected across North Devon as the manager at Quay Sports. Quay Sports has been the hub for anglers across the region since it opened a few years ago. Many were very saddened to hear of its closure as tackle shops are vital for angling to flourish.  It is great news for the North Devon Angling community that Chris is opening a new store in Queen Street, Barnstaple. It is essential that local anglers support the shop as there is no substitute for having a shop where you actually pop in and buy bait and tackle.

Quay sports retail shop will now be closed from this coming Friday 14.6.24. The reasoning behind this is Chris (Shop Manager) is actually starting his own new venture (Completly seperate from Quay Sports) in Barnstaple called Barnstaple Bait & Tackle and an agreement has been made for our stock. We wish Chris all the best for the future, he is looking to be open around the 1st July so show him as much support as possible to keep a shop in Barnstaple.

One week left of our sale and we are now offering 20% discount.

UK Shark tagging in 2024 and beyond with NOAA and the Pat Smith Database

posted in: Articles, Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

UK Shark tagging in 2024 and beyond with
NOAA and the Pat Smith Database

Meet Kate Zewinski and the NOAA tagging team on Wednesday 10th July at Looe Heritage Centre. Doors open at 6pm – get there early and get a pastie
Wednesday evening 10th July where she will deliver a brief presentation on:
Why we tag and what recaptures tell us.
How can we better achieve consistency in measuring and collecting the other data elements on the tag record card.
How you can join the programme.
Two other members of the NOAA team, Michelle Passerotti and John Carlson will also be available along with Kate to answer any questions you may have.
All are welcome but to help track numbers please let John McMaster at [email protected] know if you are coming along.


Stafford Moor’s over 50’s Festival 2024

posted in: Match Fishing, Sidebar | 0
Stafford Moor’s over 50’s Festival 2024 and the worthy winner was…Doug Richardson with a total of 5 points and a total weight 901lb 4oz!
In 2nd place was Nigel Rhodes with 5 points and a total weight of 834lb 14oz.
In 3rd place was Lee Werrett with 5 points and a total weight of 762lb 5oz .
The winner of the largest bag of the week was Nigel Rhodes with 311lb 10oz on day 4 from peg 20 in Tanners lake.
The winner of the largest silvers bag was Dave Stockton with 68lb 4oz on day 5 from peg 1 on Woodpecker lake.
Jo says “Wow been another fab week, hope everyone enjoyed the week 🙏 thank you for your support as always ❤️
A huge shout out to all the guys who helped weigh in all week who were:
Mark layzell
Lee Werrett
Nick Jones
Nigel Rhodes
And also everyone who helped with the boards your help is soooooooooo appreciated !”

Stafford Moor Carp Catches

posted in: Carp Fishing, Sidebar | 0
Andrew Levett banked  8 carp up to 32lb 5oz from the inlet swim in a 48 hour session on Beatties lake this is Andy’s new PB.
Andy was using Krill pellets , single krill wafters over a handful of krill boiles
(Below) Darren Palmer  had 8 fish out up to 32lb 3oz from lodge lake

Reed – Providing Vital Protection from the elements for Twenty Five Years

The Reed Storm Jacket on a cold December day back in 2016

Being an all-round angler and fishing throughout the year coping with what the elements throw at me is an important part of my fishing preparation. An adage that is often thrown around is that there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothing. Well there is perhaps some truth in that though generally I prefer a warm sunny day to a cold wet one!

I enjoy my fishing excursions throughout the year and keeping warm and dry undoubtedly makes the experience both more enjoyable and productive. You will not fish well if you are cold wet and miserable.

Playing a hard fighting trout during a heavy downpour

I have worn a vast range of weather proof garments over the past fifty years some good some not so good. Several years ago I was introduced to Reed Chillcheater clothing by my good friend and fellow angler Kevin Legge. Kev extolled the virtues of Reed Chillcheater products and in 2016  I invested in an Aquatherm Fleece Storm Jacket.

North Devon sea angler Kevin Legge embraces the elements in his Reed Storm Jacket

I was immediately impressed by the comfort and resistance to the winter weather the Aquatherm Fleece provided. The inner fleece provides warmth and the outer fabric provides a waterproof barrier.

I also combine the wearing of Transpire Fleece base layers during the colder months and find this ensures I can endure the coldest of days. I occasionally wear the double thickness transpire under top and trousers but generally find that I get too warm unless its static fishing.

The true test of clothing is undoubtedly its endurance overtime and whilst most waterproofs I have used in the past start leaking after a couple of seasons my Aquatherm Fleece Storm Jacket is still doing its job over eight years later.

(Above and Below) Keeping out the chill Arctic air in Norway

After speaking with company owner Chris Reed I put the jacket into the washing machine. It now smells far better and with the slightly fishy aroma removed it still repels the rain. The pockets have ripped and it’s getting a bit jaded but it still keeps out the rain. I will be investing in a new jacket for this coming winter.

At home in both fresh and salt water.

I visited Reed premises a few weeks ago to discuss their ongoing support of North Devon Angling News and enjoyed a tour of the premises. I have been pleased to help promote their excellent products since 2016 when I launched NDANs. The products are manufactured In Braunton by a small team of skilled workers. Reeds have been producing products aimed primarily at the Kayaking, Canoeing and outdoor adventure fraternity for twenty five years. Local anglers have discovered the benefits of Reed products with the clothing stocked at Braunton Bait Box and at Veal’s Mail Order and of course direct from Reeds at Braunton.


Chris Reed shows me around their well stocked storeroom

The work place


Bideford and District Angling Club Monthly competition

posted in: Match Fishing, Sidebar | 0
Bideford and District Angling Club
Monthly competition
1st John Lisle 45lb 13oz
2nd Craig Lamey  40lb 13oz
3rd Les Polden 39 lb 14oz
4th Steve Johnson 37lb 4oz
5th Darren Polden   37lb 4oz
6th Roger Ackroyd 29lb 5oz
16 members fished.
John has drawn peg 16 and fished worm over micros on a long pole for victory in this, the halfway match of our year long league.
Craig , opposite,on peg 12 has fished sweetcorn with a short pole for second place.
Birthday ” boy” Les has had a cracking mixed bag also on corn on the pole for third spot.
Steve on peg 6 has finished fourth using hard pellets.
A cold North Westerly took the edge of, an otherwise bright dry day, despite this, almost 450lb of fish were brought to the scales.
Bideford and District Angling Club
Evening Competition No. 4
1st Nathan Underwood 38lb 1oz
2nd Kevin Shears 33lb
3rd Thomas Scott 22lb 5oz
4th Ian Croxton20lb 8oz
5th Les Polden  19lb 9oz
18 members fished
Pleasant conditions, warm but a sneaky North Westerly breeze,for this the fourth in the series.
That man Nathan on peg 9 has made it 3 on the bounce, with another victory, paste on the pole the winning technique.
Kevin on peg 1 has fished towards peg 26 again on pole and paste for second on the night.
Youngster, Thomas has made a welcome return and managed third spot on peg 13.
The Cornish Brummie settled for fourth.