Combe Martin SAC members Kody Chugg and Dan Spearman have enjoyed early spring success with small eyed ray. Kody beaching fine a specimen 11lb 5oz and Dan Spearman a specimen of 10lb 5oz.
Turning off the busy main road I follow a narrow lane flanked with primroses and fresh green growth. Several old farmsteads are nestled in the valley and it is exciting to be exploring new ground even though it is less than 10 miles from home. I park close to the bridge and walk up to take a look at the clear waters below as the sun shines into the deep clear water.
As I set up a light-weight nymphing outfit buzzards circle high above silhouetted against a blue sky with high white clouds drifting in the brisk westerly wind. I walk slowly up river searching the deeper runs and riffles with a pair of weighted nymphs. It is a delight to be out wading in the cool water and I am sure I will hook at least a couple of small wild browns before the morning is out.
I flick my flies searching the water exploring each run and riffle. Dippers flit up and down the river, pheasants take off in alarm as I push up through the valley. A sudden movement catches my eye as two deer gallop across the field opposite entering the river fifty yards above where I am fishing. For a moment they stand transfixed in mid river before dashing away in a flurry of spray to disappear into the woods.
The tree fish steal a couple of flies whilst the trout are elusive, the morning evaporates all too quickly and I send a text to say I will be an hour late home. I catch a fleeting glimpse of electric blue as a kingfisher flashes past. The occasional fly hatches from the river. Its’ going to be good here in the late spring and early summer. The clocks spring forward tonight and lighter evenings beckon.
As I return to the van a skien of Canada geese fly-overhead their distinctive call echoing across the valley. Half a dozen buzzards are riding the thermals.
Fishing covers a wide spectrum and its always good to hear of anglers successes and experiences. Ilfracombe angler Toby Bassett is an allrounder who catches pike from the local reservoir, sharks off the coast and also enjoys scaling right down to experience the wonders of multi species fishing with LRF tackle. Many thanks to Toby for his account below.
Every year i try and catch as many species as I can and this this year like everyone else I have been limited to just the Bristol Channel due to travel restrictions which has given me plenty of time to focus on local marks and where better then the pier to rack up my tally? I have always heard of weird and wonderful fish coming on out on the LRF gear so thats been my main goal and the clingfish always in the back of my mind as one of the more prized mini species, so when i actually caught one i was stunned, such an awesome slimy little morsal and a big tick off the list! That brings my tally to 20 species so far this year, i still have a few trickier fish to target as the year goes on such as the illusive tadpole fish and the dragonette but this cornish sucker has made me one happy focker lol! Toby Bassett
If lockdown has taught us anything it is to savour each moment. As I searched the river for that elusive springer I was content to just be there flicking the fly across the river letting it swing over the known lies as the birdsong filled the air and spring flowers added a splash of colour to the banks.
Many thanks to Simon Francis who sent me this inspiring feature on the tumbling waters of the East Lyn.
Wild Brown Trout on the East Lyn
Dan Spearman and Kyle Bishop fished a North Devon Mark and enjoyed action with bull huss scaling 11lb and 9lb
Fellow Combe Martin SAC member Kody Chugg also annoyed success with bull huss landing a fine looking fish of 10lb 5oz as the sun began to set.
Good Practice Guide
Catching the fish
Use appropriate tackle. Rod and line should be strong enough to bring the fish to net swiftly and without playing it to exhaustion. Move the fish out of fast water as soon as possible. The use of barbless single or double hooks is recommended. Barbed hooks can be rendered barbless by pinching with pliers.
Catch and Release
RTFA strongly recommends that you practise catch and release whenever possible.
Playing the fish
When playing a fish try not to play it to exhaustion but land it as quickly as is possible.
Landing the fish
Use a fine knotless meshed landing net. No gaffs or tailers may be used. Ensure the fish remains in the water at all times.
Do not beach or tail a fish.
Handling the fish
Ensure that hands are wet and avoid squeezing the fish.
Removing the hook
Remove the hook gently, using forceps or a hook disgorger.
Should the fish be deep-hooked cut the line as near to the hook as possible.
Recording the fish
Do not weigh the fish, but calculate its length and subsequently use a length/weight conversion chart (see below) to find the weight. Suitable length marks on rod or wading-stick can be helpful. Photographs of the fish should only be taken while the fish is in the water.
Reviving and releasing the fish
Support the fish with both hands in a gentle current and facing upstream.
Allow time for the fish to regain its strength and be able to swim away on its own.
To guard against disease that can damage our fish stocks fishermen are directed to the Environment Agency’s website for “Guidance on Disinfecting Fishing Tackle”.
The Environment Agency Incident Hotline
For reporting any serious environmental incident such as pollution, poaching or fish in distress is
0800 807 060
the Taw why not join the Association to support our efforts.