Tom Wade’s Anglers Heaven is situated close to Bideford’s Pannier Market with convenient free parking close by. Tom is a keen sea angler who has been at Anglers Heaven for nine years working closely with local angling clubs including Bideford and District Angling Club providing a valuable location for obtaining club membership allowing access to the clubs fishing lakes at Tarka Swims. He sells fresh bait for both Coarse and sea angling.
The shop carries an extensive range of tackle including Pure-fishing and other popular brands. He is a stockist for Century Rods with a good number of beach rods available to examine in the shop. Toms main focus is sea angling with an impressive display of images pinned upon the shop wall.
It is vital that local tackle shops are supported as they are a valuable meeting place for anglers giving a service that cannot be replicated on-line. With local advice on where, when to fish and what tackle is required.
In addition the shop carries a wide range of air rifles.
Persistence paid off for Gerald Gough who fished Jennets reservoir to bank a fine brace of common carp weighing 26lb 8oz and 18lb 12oz. The fish were taken after six blank sessions so far this year. The fish were tempted on boilies fished in conjunction with a PVA stringer and no groundbait.
Steve Pinn recently joined the Barrs Angling consultant team and on his first trip out using Barr products he managed his first Devon forty. Here is what Steve had to say;
“I found myself amongst some perfect conditions for a bite so decided to stay on at Furzebray’s Island lake for an extra night……a move I will never regret!
I had already had a 28Ib fish early doors, which I was happy with, but it was on the final morning when what I thought were liners from swans turned into meltdown from this chunk.
After a bit of a battle in the weed this “A-team” fish was in the net, a fish known as ‘Dropscale’ at 41Ib 12oz”.
Steve went for full on attraction for this session with his white 10mm Toffee Creme pop up surrounded by nothing but liquids. A thick mix of the Barrs Angling Active CSL and CR Nutmino was topped up regularly with the spoon and certainly did the job in tempting the fish to the area.
A New Year dawns and an old year passes a time that we all tend to both reflect and look to the future. Hopefully anglers will have managed to get to the water’s edge over the Christmas holiday and in the days that have followed. If all goes well I will be out boat fishing when this goes to print hoping for a cod in the murky waters off Minehead.
(Trip was cancelled due to strong winds and swell)
The winter cod season has been producing some excellent cod with fish to over twenty pounds boated already this season along with ray, huss and good sized conger. Archie Porter is taking anglers out from Ilfracombe on Reel Deals Sister boat “Predator 2”. Spurdog, conger and huss dominate catches in this part of the Bristol Channel with cod surprisingly scarce in recent seasons. The reason for this is open to speculation as there was a seemingly healthy cod population off the North Devon coast during the 1970s, 80’s and 90’s.
The dynamics of angling have certainly changed over the past twenty years or so as society changes. Boxing Day used to be a busy day in North Devon’s angling clubs fixture programme yet this tradition seems to have lost its popularity. I remember well when Bideford Angling Club always held a Boxing day fixture and Ilfracombe & District Angling Club held a match on Ilfracombe Pier. This decline in participation does not reflect a decline in the numbers going fishing for some disciplines of angling are in the healthiest state for many years. The COVID pandemic has perhaps encouraged many more to discover angling or rediscover its pleasures and benefits.
The angling clubs of North Devon have to some extent not seen the full benefit of this resurgence in angling participation as societies habits change. The ever changing workplace with many working throughout the seven day week has impacted upon weekend fixtures. Solitary angling such as carp fishing and sea angling is thriving whilst the social aspects are to some extent ebbing.
Commercial Fisheries such as Stafford Moor and Anglers Paradise offer superb fishing for a wide range of species. Match anglers fishing bespoke match venues can regularly put together nets of fish well in excess of 100lb. Such huge bags of fish would have been rare a couple of decades ago yet today it has become the expected normal.
Carp fishing has boomed in recent decades with North Devon waters reflecting the countrywide increase in carp weights. When I started writing this column over two decades ago a twenty pound carp would have been noteworthy. I now report on thirty pound plus carp most weeks with forty and fifty pound plus fish included. I have mixed feelings about this as I remember with nostalgia a time when carp were viewed as almost uncatchable mysterious creatures that drifted through lakes where they were seldom caught except by the dedicated specimen hunter. In today’s carp angling World the long stay angler dominates bivvied up beside lake’s traps set waiting to hook carp that have been given names. The mystery has to a large extent been lost, a reflection that perhaps mirrors the wider world where the knowledge we gain in life sometimes subtracts from its richness.
Whilst the artificially created angling world booms the wild salmon and sea trout that once surged into our rivers have declined at an alarming rate. If the salmon and sea trout numbers continue to decline at the same rate since I started fishing for them back in the early eighties they could be all but extinct within fifty years. This is a sad indictment of how mankind has squandered the wealth of the natural world. The reasons for the decline in wild fish populations is complex though overfishing, climate change and pollution are all contributory factors driven by an ever increasing population that demands evermore from natures dwindling store cupboard.
I took my fly rod the Wimbleball Reservoir a couple of days before Christmas and experienced exciting fishing for the rainbow trout that have been stocked in this extensive reservoir high on Exmoor. This reservoir completed in 1979 is a fine example of how mankind can create a rich and diverse almost natural environment. The trout within this lake are hard fighting and fin perfect. Standing waist deep in the clear cold water looking out over a vast sheet of water as the light constantly changes it felt refreshingly wild.
I look forward to reporting on North Devon’s angling news in 2022 and would like to wish readers tight lines for 2022. Special thanks to all the sponsors of North Devon Angling News.
The local tackle shop is an integral part of the angling scene and we are very fortunate in North Devon to have a network of excellent shops offering anglers a wide range of the latest tackle and bait. Recent years have been very difficult for the tackle trade with tackle shops like many other High Street outlets suffering from on-line competition.
Many shops have adapted to this and have successfully combined the at front shop outlet with an online presence combining the best of both worlds.
The tackle shop has always been an important meeting place for anglers where social intercourse leads to more fishing trips as a result of enthusiasm generated from fishy chats. There is nothing to beat face to face conversations even if it is behind a mask in these strange times.
Angling is fortunately booming in many areas as a result of COVID impacting upon many other activities. The joys and benefits of outdoor pursuits have been brought to the fore and it is to be hoped that this has a long lasting impact on angling participation.
I would like to thank the local tackle shops and the wider tackle trade who support North Devon Angling News via sponsoring the site. As Christmas looms ever closer perhaps the ideal gift for a loved one is a gift voucher for your local tackle shop.
QUAY SPORTS is North Devon’s latest tackle outlet conveniently situated on the Roundswell Industrial estate near Sainsburys. The team offer up to date friendly advice on all aspects of angling with an extensive range of tackle and bait in stock.
SUMMERLANDS TACKLE North Devon’s long established family run tackle shop in Westward Ho! Always has an extensive stock of the latest tackle with a friendly greeting to all.
BRAUNTON BAIT BOX Craig Mc Cloughlin runs this tackle and bait outlet in Braunton and offers a flexible service for anglers unable to visit a shop during normal office hours. Focusing on sea angling Craig is a friendly and knowledgable point of contact for advice on where to fish and what is being caught. He also provides rod repairs and reel servicing.
HIGH STREET TACKLE Danny Watson and Pauline Chard run Ilfracombe’s tackle shop specialises in lure fishing stocking a very impressive selection of all the latest lures to tempt the bass that lurk along the North Devon Coast. They also stock quality live and frozen bait for the sea angler. They have an extensive selection of sea angling rods and accessories working closely with the Ilfracombe Charter Boat fleet.