RIVERS IN DECLINE – Who Cares ?

See Below message from Alex Gibson of the River Taw Fisheries Association. I have repeatedly stressed the need to report incidents and concerns to the relevant bodies. It is sadly true that they may do nothing but at least our concerns are registered and if there is enough concern shown then just maybe something will be done.

The River and the Estuary; the EA and IFCA

While the cat’s away the mice will play.

As you all know our EA Enforcement Officer, Paul Carter, retired earlier this year. As things stand it is not clear when or indeed if he will be replaced. This presents us with a major problem not just for the river, but also for the estuary. Paul was cross-warranted to IFCA.

It is therefore even more important than ever for members to report pollution, poaching, illegal abstraction and other untoward events on the river as well as suspicious fishing activity including fixed long lines on the estuary where no netting is permitted except for sand eels. By putting reports into the EA we will demonstrate the importance of having an EA enforcement officer on our river. IFCA which is Brixham based with no North Devon presence or cross-warranting currently will send officers to the estuary to look into illegal fishing activities if there is appropriate intelligence information.

EA Hotline 0800 80 70 60

Devon & Severn IFCA (Brixham) 07740 175479

Alex Gibson

DIRTY WATERS – My Personal view – Wayne Thomas

I was wading down through the River Torridge a few weeks ago with a good height following heavy rain. I enjoyed my couple of hours swinging the fly across well known lies but I was down hearted by the lack of response in near perfect conditions. As I walked the river I struggled to get a grip on the slippery stones. It was as if the river bed had been coated in a layer of grease and eventually I lost my footing and fell heavily onto the stones. Fortunately my pride took the biggest blow and I fished on with a wet arm vowing to buy a new set of studs for my waders.

Last night I was wading the foreshore casting for bass waring the same waders and I reflect now that the rocks were not slippery. They were not coated in a film of slime like those in the river. Reading the article in the Guardian below I can relate to how our rivers are sadly being allowed to decline. It is a sad story and we must do all we can to stem this sad decline born of neglect and lack of focus. We must put this higher on the political agenda for surely the health of our river and environment is priceless?

I grew up in the village of Combe Martin and fished the River Umber that is the heart of the long valley that I once called home. Precious childhood memories abound of a stream full of life, crimson spotted brown trout with bellys of buttercup yellow hues. Elvers ascended the river in early summer and could be found under every stone close to the rivers mouth. I was chatting with a fellow villager  a few weeks ago and he related to the river of our youth. “Don’t see any trout in the river these days, not since the sewage works was built up river”. The sewage works was of course built to end the disgusting practice of discharging effluent directly into the sea. I can well remember the turds floating in the sea at Camels Eye close to the outfall. Whilst this was not an ideal situation and not acceptable I sometimes wonder if we have just hidden the problem shifting the issues. Investment is of course the answer but who pays?

In a corrupted world it is the environment that pays the price. But eventually we will create a vast cesspit and from what I have seen with the litter left strewn around there are those who would not mind this.

See below link to an article that recently appeared in the Guardian.

Wayne Thomas

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/12/government-britains-rivers-uk-waterways-farming-water-companies?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

LITTER – A BIG PROBLEM

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I used to fish with Tim Tanton on a frequent basis years ago when he was a keen sea angler and member of the Combe Martin SAC and have kept in touch from time to time via Facebook. I know that Tim like myself has strong views on the importance of the environment so when I saw  a post regarding  litter and in particular angling related litter I asked Tim if he would write an article for North Devon Angling News and I hoped his words would carry more weight than mine. I have had previous rants about litter and have joined in with beach cleans and inspired angling clubs to organise their own. I do not believe that anglers are worse than others in society but I know that a significant number of anglers seem to have little or no respect for the beautiful coastline they visit. I cannot understand how anyone can find it acceptable to intentionally leave litter. The occasional loss of tackle to snags is inevitable and I am sure we have all had that moment when the wind catches a bait wrapper or something and blows it out of reach into the sea. The litter we see on the coastline on a regular basis is not accidental its just pure ignorance and a selfish disregard for the coastline its wildlife and those of us who want to visit and fish a pristine and wild landscape.
Many thanks to Tim for writing and providing images to illustrate his view of the litter that blights our coast. The litter issue is indefensible and it loses fishing and give angling a very bad name.
Most of the images below were taken in the vicinity of one popular North Devon Rock Mark!

Tim Tanton – Litter 

There has always been a rubbish problem during the summer months in our beautiful part of the world ….. the South West! It’s a tourist area, and attracts people from all over the world. Not that it can be all blamed on tourists, as to be honest, we all know there are local elements that have total disregard for their surroundings. The area has many attractions that are linked to the Ocean. My interests lying with surfing, sea fishing, kayaking, rock climbing, and general walking and coasteering, along the rugged North Devon and North Cornwall coast line.
Alas our infrastructure doesn’t grow, but it does have a massive spike in population through the summer, that now extends into the weekends through the winter.
Not sure if it’s ever been that bad though. The lockdown! Covid-19?
A recent trip out for a walk, along a part of the coast that I have fished, surfed, swam, snorkelled, climbed etc, saw me kneel down and weep. For at the bottom of a rope, down a cliff face, that to be honest, we never used a rope on ourselves, when younger, I found carnage! Smashed bottles scattered across the rocks, empty beer cans, used towels, a pair of trainers, used cutlery and bbq trays. The worst of it though was the molten plastic, the burnt tent that was half buried.
One may possibly think it was due to the fact that nightclubs and pubs were closed. People are having their own parties, and it seems they are using the tucked away beauty spots. Actually unsure as to whether it’s a party, or a group of anglers camping out! They were good tides and conditions for fishing for sure.
These culprits were surely obviously old enough to drive, park up, and walk down over the cliff, and to set up a tent, have a bbq, drink, smoke and then smash the bottles over the rocks and make a fire to burn the tent, and then cover a lot of the remains! A deliberate act. No way should excuses be made. A young child knows the dangers of broken glass. This isn’t in-depth environmental education, or health and safety, this is basic risk to others. Basic right and wrong. This is downright lazy selfish behaviour. There are no reasons to make excuses for their actions. Blatant disregard. Visitors or locals, it doesn’t matter. It should be policed, and they should be punished. For some punishment works, for others education and punishment. Generally I found that through the summer months the fishing spots were dumping grounds of human faeces and rubbish. Cheap fishing tackle and junk food wrappers. No common sense …… we’ve become too soft and liberal. So easy to make excuses for them
The burning of disposable tents etc is new for me, and a blight on our oceans and planet.
Mass production of cheap items that are used at the beach are a huge problem, as seen with bodyboards.
And this new trend of burning and burying is such a risk to wildlife and children, and also adults.
I’m a tad old, and there was neither the disposable income, or the actual products to cause such a mess. Everything was made to last, and people and children, had to look after their things, as there wasn’t the money to buy again.
Society has surely changed. We no longer are a country of design, manufacture and production like before, but of importing cheap toxic goods from China, and similar countries of mass production. Plastic everywhere, not wood and metal that could be repaired easily, or treated with linseed oil, or repainted, or basically just washed clean of salt water.
So many more small plastic items . . . . Gimmicks of angling! Traces are like Blackpool illuminations or Christmas trees! On rugged ground, where do they end up?
I grew up in tune with respect for Mother Nature, as did so many of my friends. We were always outside embracing what it had to offer. We were taught to bring our rubbish home. A different world for sure. I believe we were very fortunate. We definitely had less, so there was less packaging, and less to throw away! True, not all those of my generation were the same.
Covid-19 has created a different mentality. One we hoped would change people to understand the importance of love, care and kindness to our fellow man, and to the planet as a whole. Alas, it appears for many, it’s gone the opposite way. Selfish, entitled, lazy, disrespectful etc
The lockdown for sure saw so many benefits. Think of all the wildlife that were venturing into the villages, and to places they probably existed hugely, before man built more and more second and third homes for holidays!!!!!!!!
All have an impact on how some now see the south west and other beauty spots. It’s a throw away. Been there, trashed that……. next place and so on. It’s world wide on rubbish but when one visits some other countries, it is way less so. Yes, facilities are both better and cheaper, and rubbish less …….. but then looking around, quite often the density of people is way less.
I’m seriously tempted to remove the rope at Saunton, as it only encourages this wanted destruction and pollution of our seas. The metal stake has rusted through, and now someone has tied the rope to a rotten wooden post. The farmer must be sick of the damage by anglers. They’re also doing the same at the last layby at Downend. I met two anglers whilst there, as they climbed down over. One had never been there, the other only twice. They came at the wrong state of tide, no bait, no idea, and didn’t offer to help clean up. The selfish entitled cover all walks of life. I don’t have the heart to ignore the damage and destruction. So many anglers are ignorant. I’m finding more and more elastic thread. This stuff is a nightmare. A full spool is endless as it wraps in weed, debris, rocks, and then wildlife! It’s not ocean friendly and is a killer to marine life. I don’t have the heart to fish much these days, due to what I am seeing. Anglers focus catch and release, but obviously don’t highlight the lost line, and tackle that litters the seabed, or the bottom of lakes and rivers. Things need to change.
I spend my life cleaning up after others, rather than fishing and walking.
Saunton carpark on the first day of opening was rammed. And, no toilets! Hundreds of cars equate to a lot of people, and a lot of human waste, along with their general waste
Just a note! People were parking up, and camping out everywhere. Way before they were officially allowed to. Campervans and van rental places are not apparently concerned about renting out at this time. With no camp sites open, and minimal rubbish facilities, including recycling centres, that are closed to vans! I guess people just saw it as a free for all
The mentality is obviously not focused on our planet. And I’m seeing numerous middle and older ages couples parking up! Whilst many younger adults are in smaller cars with tents parking up and camping in any green space or sand they can find 🙄
Oh for sure, it’s not just anglers. Much of it is young people. There is the vanlife element too. Cheap imported throw away tents etc. Where to you start and finish. And also without any element of racism, Eastern European and Asian. It’s is also locals and visitors. Poorly educated or middle class, it’s across the board. It’s all too easy now.
Way too much plastic involved in fishing rigs. 
Apologies for any intrusion but the masses appear to think they are entitled to visit, and if services and resources not provided, tough ……. not their problem. Many won’t return to see the damage they cause. I could go on, but I would get very non pc ………
An example in Sri Lanka, more people arrested for breaking curfew than people testing positive for Covid-19
The reaction of some to my recent Instagram post, was of making excuses for those that smashed and burnt the items
Quotes like, they probably haven’t been taught at school that it’s wrong. That they’ve not been educated. Unbelievable some people. I had another prospective sponsor but I’m feeling I’ve lost him, through his belief that it’s not their fault! Ffs!
Alas we are now having generations of entitled that pass it down, and then the good start feeling oppressed by it all, and then say ‘feck it’, I’m done with clearing up after others
I never not come back with rubbish. If I park and there is rubbish near my van, I pick it up. If I fish, and see discarded line, bait wrappers, trace packets and food packaging, I pick it up. If I surf, and walk back up the beach, and see something, I have a spare hand, and pick it up. If I walk a friends dog, I carry the poo the whole distance and also pick up rubbish. Most walkers and dog walkers do not pick up rubbish. Fact! I watch them. It takes just the two minutes to make a difference 😢
I organised beach cleans in the past at Saunton, as part of the charity, Paddle4Relief, I founded back in 2005. Didn’t get any official help back then. Only other organisations sending me their flyers etc
Only during lockdown did we actually get to enjoy the clean beach for less than a hour, but it was good, and each trip a little more rubbish was collected and at the end, there was no rubbish …….. and now it’s back again 😭
It scares me that my first thought is to kill them. That this world does not need these selfish ignorant lazy disrespectful entitled idiots. A quick 9mm and the planet is spared their toxic attitude. Alas the nanny state find excuses for their behaviour and wrap them upon cotton wool, and protect them, so as to create another generation of idiots 😤😢😩
I hope that this opportunity for Tim to speak out will make a difference. It is my view that we all need to speak up and make it known that this is not acceptable. If enough people make it known their disgust then just maybe we can shame these members of society into keeping the countryside clear.
There are a few things we can all do;-
Don’t leave litter .
Pick it up and take it away – The Angling Trust had a take 5 campaign.
Think about the rigs we use and how we can reduce tackle loss.
Use the national line recycling scheme.
(Above) Heather at Summerlands Tackle Westward Ho! Binning fishing line for recycling.

Summer Fishing at Wimbleball

WIMBLEBALL

As we enter July trout fishing tends get harder going as the water temperature rises and the fish go deeper. I was eager to get out onto Wimbleball before the summer doldrums set in and had arranged to meet with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce for a day afloat.

I met up with Jeff at the boat launching bay just before 9.00am and my spirits were immediately lifted by the enthusiastic banter that was flowing amongst the anglers gathering for a day on the water. I have found that angling has been a great antidote to the widespread doom and gloom of the COVID pandemic.

We were all greeted cheerfully by Trevor the fisheries resident guide and bailiff who is always willing to offer valuable advice on where to fish and what tactics to employ.

It seemed the perfect day for trout fishing with a moderate westerly breeze and broken cloud cover. If this had been a month earlier teams of buzzers would have been the way to go I am sure but general consensus was now for deeper water and lures.

During the more difficult days of mid to late summer a boat gives a significant advantage allowing a larger area of the lake to be explored.

Jeff and I decided on a few casts in the sailing club bay just to get warmed up so to speak. As we drifted slowly Jeff caught a glimpse of a good sized rainbow estimated at 6lb + and put his olive damsel into the area. The fish immediately seized the offering and erupted from the water in a flurry of spray. I grabbed for the camera to no avail as Jeff pulled in a slack line to reveal that the hook had partially opened out. Testament to Wimbleball’s hard fighting fish or a dodgy hook?

I had one trout follow my lure in the bay but after this early success we decided to head out onto the lake proper. The deeper water up near the dam seemed a good idea so it was off to there that we headed powered by the petrol outboard.

Drifting the margins Jeff had the first chance as a trout likened to a tuna chased a damsel nymph to the side of the boat. A few more glimpses of trout brought excited comments from Jeff as we explored the lakes margins that dropped off into deep-water within just yards of the bank.

After a few tentative plucks the first fish of the day was secured. A small handsome rudd of just over 8oz!

The Upton Arm has a reputation for producing some superb wild brown trout. And so we headed up into this delightfully wooded bay. Drifting with the strong breeze proved a little too fast even with the drogue so we decided to drop anchor at a promising looking spot not too far off the shoreline. I often ponder upon this for when we fish from boats we often strive to get close to shore whilst when we shore fish we aim to put our flies as far out as possible. In truth the margin of the lake is its biggest and most often productive zone.

This area soon proved a good call as Jeff hooked a fine rainbow of close to 5lb that used its broad tail to good effect. Over the next couple of hours Jeff added another three rainbows to the tally. I couldn’t get a pull and started to question what I was doing wrong. I was on a sinking line and fishing a damsel nymph whilst Jeff was on a sink tip with using various large nymphs on the point a yellow and red buzzer on a dropper.

As the fishing eased we decided perhaps unwisely to try elsewhere and headed for the deep water of the Narrows close to some old boat launching steps. Sticking with  the sinking line and a damsel nymph I searched the deep water. Suddenly the line zipped tight and a rainbow of a couple of pounds graced the net. Over the next couple of hour’s we drifted around anchored  for periods and it was me that started to enjoy success adding a couple more to the days total.

As afternoon drifted into evening we decided on a last half an hour back in the sailing club bay. After a few casts another rainbow hit my black zulu on the dropper. With four trout each it seemed a good time to head for home.

As we packed away the gear the lake looked superb in the early evening light. We reflected upon an enjoyable day of two halves. A morning when Jeff seemed to charm the trout and an afternoon when I somehow found the key to success. These long hard summer days though challenging are often just as rewarding as those easier days of plenty in the early season.

We will be back in search of those broad backed tuna shaped rainbows with full tails before too long!

Angling Heritage – Sturgeon update

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A little while ago Keith at AH wrote a short feature for North Devon Angling News relating to sturgeon I have added to story with Angling Heritages up to date list of sturgeon catches in the UK. Wales was undoubtedly the hotspot for these magnificent fish. Its so sad that we have allowed out waters to become devoid of these mighty fish.

Sturgeon in North Devon – Can you help?

I am sure many of you will see that we are compiling a list of sturgeon “captures” by whatever method, caught in UK waters.  This seems to have aroused a lot of interest so we have set up one of the “Articles” on the webpage to show an up-to -date listing of the data we have found so far. The link is http://www.anglingheritage.org/p-27672-list-of-sturgeon-catches-in-uk-waters.aspx for those who have problems finding it.

There are also plenty of other articles which make fascinating reading there too.

REPORTING POLLUTION INCIDENTS TO THE EA – 0800 807060

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REPORTING POLLUTION INCIDENTS TO THE EA
Our rivers are in my view the arteries of the land and it is our responsibility to do all that we can to safeguard them. As anglers we spend many hours both beside and in the water and have the opportunity to spot signs of pollution or activities that could have a negative impact. The Environment Agency are the main body responsible for dealing with issues and it is to them that we must report our concerns. The more we report the more chance of issues being addressed. I have heard comment from some that there is no point reporting things as nothing gets done. This attitude has no benefit for it just reinforces the belief. Speak up raise awareness of issues and then if its not dealt with raise the fact with your local MP or other body. We have a voice they are our rivers and deserve to be cherished.
Anglers are reminded that reporting incidents to the EA is an individual responsibility. It is particularly important in times of drought or low flows.
If you come across an incident that includes any of the following:
  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • pollution to water or land
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • flooding from any river, stream, canal, natural spring or the sea
  • illegal removals from watercourses
  • unusual changes in river flow
  • collapsed or badly damaged river or canal banks
 
You should call the EA Incident Hotline on: 0800 807060 – without delay. Time may be of the essence. 
 
Your report will be made in complete confidence. Save the number into your mobile phone and pass it on to others.
 
If you make a call to this number it is recorded and the EA are duty bound to act on it. Do not hesitate or prevaricate.

Bideford Angling Club – A warm Tribute to (Art) Arthur

posted in: Articles, Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Bideford Angling Club members are saddened at the death of Arthur Johns aged 71 who had been a keen member since joining as a junior in the early sixties.  He was a keen sea angler and specialised in catching the wily grey mullet. He was the secretary of the North Devon Sea Angling League for over twenty years and I enjoyed my regular chats with him when collating reports for the NDJ.

Many thanks to Bideford Angling Clubs Pete Skinner who sent me this warm tribute to Arthur.

(Above) Michael Squires (Left) and Arthur Johns – Two greatly missed members of Bideford Angling Club.

Arthur (Art) Johns 1949 – 2020 (71) Arthur first joined the club in the 1960s as a junior before joining the merchant navy, he rejoined in the mid 70s and has remained a member ever since. He was a hard worker for the club and held many posts in his time including junior cup organiser, Xmas comp and festival organiser, fish recorder and cup custodian, Chairman , president and Vice President the post he held when he passed away, he also worked hard for the club when we had our clubhouse behind the bar and various other jobs. He was secretary of the North Devon Sea Angling league for over 20 years, a job he was very proud of. Arthur was a keen sea angler, fishing a lot with his great friend Mike Squires, another Angling club stalwart who sadly passed away a short time ago, after which Arthur stopped fishing, he told me once that it wasn’t the same anymore, Arthur liked all types of fishing but he particularly enjoyed the intricacies if mullet fishing at which he excelled, winning many club competitions with specimens of the species. He was a great member of the club, with a keen interest in encouraging youngsters into our sport, he will be sorely missed.

SOUTH WEST LAKES TRUST – OPENING STATEMENT

See below statement regarding the opening of South West Lakes Trust Waters. At present there is no night fishing in line with the government guidance that states no staying away from home. It is to be hoped that this will be reviewed at some point to allow 24 hours angling.

Please find below the link to our website which has the amended rules for the re-opening of fisheries and guidance around social distancing and measures to protect everyone. Its ESSENTIAL you read this information as it also includes a new update on night fishing which will not be permitted at this stage.

Fishing will be dawn to dusk with the exception of tomorrow 13 May when the fisheries re-open at 10am.

https://coarse.swlakesfishing.co.uk/coarse-angling-coronavirus-information/

This statement applies to both coarse and trout fishing.

Thankyou for your patience and understanding at this time.

Ben Smeeth

Coarse Angling: Coronavirus Information – SW Lakes Coarse Fishing
Issue date: 12 May 2020 15:45 Prior to every fishing trip, it is essential that you check the information on this page to ensure that you are up to date with relevant site information, rules and regulations. In line with government guidance to continue to stay home but enjoy more time outdoors we ar…
coarse.swlakesfishing.co.uk

The Return of Angling

I have copied the relevant section that relates to angling for clear guidance. I have read a lot of speculation regarding regulations but from what I can see its fairly clear. You can go fishing providing social distance is maintained. Competitive angling and charter boat fishing is not presently on the agenda and suspect it will be July at the earliest before this returns. It would be good if tackle shops could open but my interpretation is that it will be June before this happens.

I confess that I have not read all fifty pages of the report that can reviewed via the below link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

Public spaces

SAGE advise that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so the Government is updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can also now spend time outdoors subject to: not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household; continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household; good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces; and those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 secure guidance.

People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces. You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.

People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UKwhere it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.

These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.

Snowbee NHS Fly Rod Giveaway

West Country tackle company have produced a special rod to help raise money for the NHS visit their giving page for the chance to win a superb rod and support the NHS.

Snowbee NHS Fly Rod Giveaway

We are giving a Special edition “NHS” fly rod away for NHS Charities Together because our NHS workers are super heroes…

NHS Charities Together

We raise money for nhs charities to enhance patient care

Charity Registration No. 1186569

Story

Thanks for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page.

Snowbee in collaboration with Paul Davison have produced a bespoke NHS fly rod in aid of the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. The rod a 10′ #7wt Spectre, will be given to one of the kind contributors to our fundraising page. We also give thanks to the Angling Trust for helping to promote & raise awareness of our fundraising efforts for the brilliant NHS.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO DONATE

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/snowbee-nhs-rod?fbclid=IwAR1uCVO9S7vxBUVKJ0BlcYy6E-XDNF6583xJJckrH_Xbe-HfCtUV3eYK5v0

THOUGHTS ON FISHING

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Life seems to have paused in this strange era of lockdown and this gives time to reflect and assess where we are on life’s journey. Much of my life has revolved around angling and pursuing various goals. I like to think that I have reached a point where I have realised that it is not the catching that really matters but the memories that are made during the chase.

It is perhaps a disadvantage to be afflicted by a wide fascination with all types of angling. I have tended to flit from one fish to another never really devoting all my energies into one species for any length of time. I have dabbled with competitive angling with some success but it’s not really my thing. For a while I thought I was a bit of a specimen hunter but in truth I just love fishing. Big fish set the heart racing and need to be there lurking in the shadows but they don’t necessarily need to be caught.

Beside me I have a vast library of angling books many dating back into bygone eras many decades before my birth. Delving into the pages of these tomes it is clear that the principles or joys of angling have changed little. An angler at the water’s edge shares those same feelings and emotions. The glimpse of a good fish, the thrill of the take and the devastation of loss when a big fish breaks free or sheds the hook.

I am fortunate to have written two books myself ensuring that my own fishing journey is to a degree recorded for years to come. I have been reading a book on eel fishing by Barry McConnell; The Eel Angler tells of one angler’s obsession with catching big eels. I can relate to the journey the passion and the excitement within the pages. The jaunts, humour and adventure enjoyed during the quest for an outsize eel.

I have never caught a big eel, my biggest weighed a little over 2lb though I have seen eels that have been trapped on the outlet pipes of local reservoirs one of which I estimated at close to ten pounds. A big eel is perhaps a new goal to chase but have I the time to chase yet another mystery?

Non anglers would struggle to understand the motivation to fish the desire to deceive and cradle a creature from a different world in a dimension we can only glimpse into. My favourite book was written by Chris Yates and is entitled ‘Casting At The Sun’. It records the adventures of Chris and his young friends as they seek carp in enchanting lakes hidden at the end of winding country lanes in wooded vales. The book somehow captures the freedom of youth, summer days and nights beside water.

Our son James once commented that he relished those days fishing when you wake in the morning and have nothing more important than the days fishing ahead. Those days are very special for sure and I am often thankful that I have thoughts of fishing to occupy my mind.

When this lockdown is over it will be difficult to know where to cast first. I guess much will depend upon when it is and what the conditions are. If we have had heavy rain salmon and sea trout will be waiting. If it’s hot and dry then perhaps it will a carp or that eel. If there is moderate breeze and the tide is right then I could well take the plugging rod and wander a rocky shoreline. Maybe drift a team of buzzers at Wimbleball. Or maybe……….