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!
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
This statement applies to both coarse and trout fishing.
Thankyou for your patience and understanding at this time.
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.
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.
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…
We raise money for nhs charities to enhance patient care
Charity Registration No. 1186569
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.
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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……….
Many thanks to Ross Stanway who produced this enchanting piece for North Devon Angling News. I know that there are many who will read this and recall their own days beside childhood streams. The West Country is criss-crossed by these fascinating streams that have seen many hundreds of anglers born. The piece is illustrated with more of Ross’s stunning illustrations available via his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RossStanwayMarineArt/