If you follow my writings over several years you will have read my ramblings regarding the Barnstaple & District Angling Clubs hut situated beside the river at Newbridge. During what was perhaps the clubs heyday this fishing hut provided a welcome meeting point where members could meet and socialise as the river glided slowly past. The river then was thriving with salmon and sea trout and the club was also thriving in unison with the healthy river.
As catches dwindled a generation of anglers drifted away from the river and the hut sadly fell into disrepair. In recent seasons the club has seen an influx of enthusiasm and just maybe some sentiment from my writings stirred a will to resurrect the hut. I have spoken with the clubs river keeper Don Hearn on several occasions and was delighted to hear that the hut is to be restored.
It was very sad to recently receive news from Don via an email that vandals have visited the hut setting fire to the old bench and wood saved to help in the restructure.
Don asked if I could highlight the issue in the hope that police could be informed to help with their enquiries.
My initial reaction at hearing this was anger; but as I thought more it was sadness that replaced the anger. The world is sadly full of angry and intolerant people. Anger is contagious hitting out in anger and frustration just extends the problem. I have to ask what is gained by vandalising and inflicting damage to the dreams and efforts of others?
I look forward to enjoying the new club hut with fellow members. There are still a few salmon in the river and we can only hope that efforts to curb pollution and the many other issues that face the river eventually bring rewards. I hope to write a full article on the huts history and its resurrection in due course.
South Molton Angling Club held their AGM at The Coaching Inn South Molton on April 12th. There was a good attendance with the Environment at the forefront of discussions. The local Environment Agency Fisheries Officer Callum Underhill gave a brief outline of the vital work undertaken by the EA across the region. Good news is that two Agricultural EA Officers are being recruited to focus on the issues surrounding agriculture and its impact on the regions rivers. He also reported on a successful operation to target illegal netting last year in the local estuary with cooperation between EA officers, IFCA and the police.
The clubs members have undertaken citizen Science studies in the local rivers including water quality monitoring, River Fly Surveys, gravel washing, redd counts and river clearing.
The clubs trophies were presented with:-
Steve Bendall winning the Mac Trophy for the biggest trout with a fine rainbow from Wimbleball weighing 6lb.
The Tope Cup was won by Matt Brady with a tope of 30lb.
The best specimen was won by Ed Rands with a cuckoo wrasse of 1lb 8oz.
The Bass Trophy was awarded to Wayne Thomas
Mike Moser gave a fascinating presentation on Nature Recovery in the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere.
Mike highlighted the many issues that face the rivers and watercourses within North Devon all of which flow into local coastal waters. He highlighted what we can do as individuals and how local businesses and organisations are collaborating towards a recovery for nature following many years of miss-management.
The decline of salmon and other fish throughout Devon was discussed at length with members sharing many memories of days when fish were more abundant. The loss of habitat for breeding bird populations and mammals was also highlighted.
Mike outlined the many benefits linked to the reintroduction of beavers in South West Rivers.
The clubs chairman Edward Rands would like to thank all those who attended the 53rd AGM last Tuesday at the Coaching Inn who provided us with excellent facilities and food.
Edd opened the meeting at 7.30 pm and gave a very comprehensive re’sume’ of our 2021 season which included all the hard work carried out by members attending bank clearing, redds counting, the Riverfly checks, and the introduction of the Citizen Science program being carried out by himself and the secretary.
The treasurer’s report included the current healthy bank balance but he is concerned about the lowly number of paid-up members for 2022 so far. The resumption of some more normal post covid activities could put pressure on our funds for 2022. The only other expense will be the new website being released shortly.
Our chairman Edd invited Calum Underhill who is our new EA bailiff and gave a short talk and report. This was followed by a very interesting talk given by Mike Moser who is the chairman of the Nature Biosphere Improvement Group.
The meeting closed at 9.45pm.
A CREEPING DEATH
On a personal note I visited the Lower River Taw the morning after the meeting to cast a line in hope of salmon. The river was running low and clear and it was alarming to note how slippery the rocks have become so early in the season. A layer of algae and weed smothers the river bed undoubtedly a result of high nutrient levels in the water. It is sad to observe the decline in the river over the past forty years. I remember fondly how a visit to the river thirty or forty years ago would almost always result in the sighting of a salmon or sea trout leaping from the water.
The decline of salmon and sea trout during my own lifetime has been alarming and if it continues these iconic and once prolific fish could be extinct within twenty years. The reasons for this decline are as I often state complex. Agricultural practices and sewage discharges are undoubtedly a major factor in the decline of the rivers health. Many in the general population fail to appreciate the devastating impacts of intensive dairy farming. Investment is needed to eradicate pollution and improve farming practices. A buffer zone should be implemented beside rivers to create a wildlife corridor boosting biodiversity.
On a positive note it was heartening to catch several silver smolt during my short session and to observe good numbers of fry in the margins. If action is taken rivers can return to health in a relatively short time.
As I walked back from the river I noted the discarded junk lying throughout the river. A Childs buggy, an old piece of carpet and a vast array of other relics illustrating a total lack of respect for the rivers that are at the heart of the land in which we live.
Barnstaple & District Angling Association held their AGM on line consulting the membership via email. The club Chairman John Webber reported on a very successful year with positive developments on the upkeep of the waters on the Lower Taw and at South Aller. The club launched it new website last Tuesday evening that will provide a valuable working link to the membership. http://www.barnstapledistrictangling.co.uk
The B&DAA formed in 1941 is one of North Devon’s longest running clubs and it is good to see that it is thriving thanks to the dedication of its long running committee. The club gave special thanks to Colin Ashby who has been membership secretary for at least 25years. Don Hearn and Alan Jump also deserve credit for the work that they have undertaken on the club waters.
Many Thanks to Martin Turner for an excellent round up of this years Bideford Matches.
Our match calendar was, once again, interrupted by the continuing Covid restrictions. October’s 2020 match was our last competition at Tarka for the year, fortunately we were able to resume running regular monthly matches in May of this year. A fantastic attendance of 23, almost a full house, met up to once again compete on George’s Lake. Paul Elworthy had almost 30lbs to win the day, which reassured us that the measures taken to protect our fish stocks had been successful. With Covid procedures in place we were again in a position to begin our Wednesday evening competitions. Kevin Shears set the early pace winning with a bag of 20lbs mainly Skimmers. After 4 matches new member Steve Johnson and ex-Bude member Nathan Underwood were forging ahead in the league. The matches were mainly dominated by Bream, Tench and smaller Carp, 30lb plus needed to win most weeks. Halfway through the evening league Steve had withdrawn due to family illness, Nathan continued to score well. Mike Snudden using a chopped worm approach managed to put some good bags together and 3 consecutive wins, the best 54lbs 2oz in 3 hours! We averaged 18 attendants which was great, and the weather was fantastic allowing us to weigh in almost all 10 matches without head lamps. 26 different anglers fished throughout the league; the final scores were: first overall Nathan Underwood with 115 points; second Martin Turner 102 points and third Kevin Shears 91 points. Our last evening event was our pairs match drawn top to bottom from the final league. Kevin Shears and Craig Lamey 52lbs 2.5oz were the winners on the night; second were Anthony Bentley and Tyler Scott with 45lb 2oz.
We were once again able to fish our inter-club match against Plymouth and District Coarse Angling Club, our team travelled to their water at Cadover Lakes, a very deep ex-clay pit on Dartmoor. It proved tricky and we came away with a narrow lead 34lb to 29lb. We welcomed the Plymouth lads back for the return leg at Tarka; 2 teams of 12 fished. Led by Kevin Shears, 37lb top individual, we won the day with a whooping 230lb to PDCAC’s 63lb.The other team event was held at Stafford Moor, where we took a battering from North Devon Match Group Pros.
Bideford and District Angling Club’s aims and objectives are (from memory) ‘to promote and foster angling in the area’; with this in mind we ran some Junior events this summer. By running these as small matches I had hoped to be able to introduce new youngsters to our sport and to encourage those that already compete regularly. Saturday afternoons saw some excited youngsters eager to catch some fish, the over 14’s group was a very close-run affair this year with Thomas Scott edging out his older brother on weight count-back over 4 matches. Under 14’s section was won by 8-year-old Charlie Hedden closely followed by Brodie Allin. We must thank Thomas Downing for securing 2 magnificent boxes of goodies from his sponsor Bait-Tech, Summerland tackle for their generous support with prizes and Mervyn Beale for supplying the engraved medals.
As our monthly senior competitions continued to attract 20+ anglers the catches began to be dominated more by Carp, although Skimmers, Bream, Roach, Tench and Crucians always featured in the nets.
Currently, with 2 matches remaining, Kevin Shears and Nathan Underwood are tied for the lead with 77 points. Les Polden third on 59 points and a late run of 2 wins, has pushed Steve Craker up to fourth with 51 points.
As I write the ropes are being placed across the lake to protect our stock from cormorant attack throughout the winter months. Pegs will therefore be limited but I hope to be able to run the remaining matches on Tarka.
In conclusion the lake has fished exceptionally well this year, with great attendances and excellent bags being brought to the scales. All species seem to be thriving, particularly the Tench and Crucians. Hopefully if we can remain vigilant over the winter period we can look forward to a bumper, FULL season next year.
Obviously, I cannot conclude my report without expressing my thanks to Steve Bailey and all those who have made it possible for us to fish at Tarka. Personally, I would like to say how sorry I am to hear that Steve has decided to stand down from the role that he has held for many years. He will be sorely missed.
WIN A £100 GIFT VOUCHER & £100 DONATED TO RNLI APPLEDORE
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WHAT A 18 MONTHS… I think we can all say thank goodness for fishing and friends So it seems only fitting that as we enter the “new normal” it only feels right to recognise how far we have all come and how well we have all done and to also give back to a charity just down the road from the shop that literally didn’t stop at all through the pandemic Thank you for all your support, the shop is jam packed FULL of stock and summer ready for you
Bideford Club was founded in the early sixties and is one of North Devons’s largest and most successful clubs with a multi discipline membership. The club runs two lakes for the use of members and has done a great deal to promote angling for local juniors.
The clubs lakes are disabled friendly, with all platforms being accessible.They are currently in the process of replacing existing platforms, with specific wheelchair friendly ones as recommended by the British disabled Angling association, who have accredited our site.
They run regular Coarse, Sea and Game fishing competitions.
TFFC was formed in 1959 & controls the fishing at Gammaton Reservoirs near Bideford.
The reservoirs are two lakes each being about 4 acres .They are set in a very picturesque location with views stretching to Bideford bay.
The lakes are predominantly stocked with rainbow trout although there are a few resident browns. The fish are fed for a week or so after stocking but then feed naturally on the abundant wild food in the lakes.There are plans to stock some more,
brownies as well as spartics , cheetahs & blues in September to add variety to the fishing.
Annual membership is limited to 40 anglers & costs £175. Members can catch up to six fish a week which can be taken or released.
Day tickets are £20 for 3 fish & are available from Summerlands in Westward Ho! Or Tarka Outdoor Pursuits in Torrington.
Barnstaple & District Angling Club is one of North Devon oldest clubs and has a rich history stretching back to its formation in 1941. The club is now primarily and a Coarse and Game Fishing Club with a beat on the Lower Taw just above the tide and an old quarry lake near South Molton. Details below.
The club owns on the river Taw near three miles of fishing on the left hand bank (looking downstream) ending at the disused Old Iron railway bridge and 500 yards of the right hand bank ending at what is known as Big Pit.
The beat commencing at Newbridge where the road crosses the river on the A 377, a mile or so past the village of Bishop’s Tawton towards Crediton. Post code. EX32 0EW
River is known for it’s game fishing, salmon , sea trout & brown trout although coarse anglers could find roach, dace and eels which have been recorded in the past.
South Aller Pond, is our coarse fishery.
Club has stocked pond over the years and it contains carp, tench, bream, roach, rudd, perch, eels & silver fish.
Membership of club is £50 for seniors and Juniors £15 which allows members to fish both venues.
History of the club
John Webber sent me a few details relating to the clubs long history and some of its founder members.
Details of reforming the club attached July 15th 1941.
I know of two original members
Dr. Harper, the President was a well know GP in Barnstaple. His surgery was opposite which is now the goods entrance into Green Lanes shopping area, Boutport Street.
The Harper Ward at the ND Hospital was named after him.
Dr. Harper had a hut below my house where he came to relax and fish on the Yeo. The family still own the wood and right hand bank fishing here at Snapper. His wife, also an avid dry fly fisher woman, wrote a record of his life in the privately printed book ‘Dr. Richard Harper of Barnstaple’ which records his life story and includes his efforts for the health and well being of the poor of the town.
The Chairman was H.S. Joyce. Author of several fishing books, such as ‘By Field and Stream’, ‘ Holiday Trout Fishing’,
‘By Field & Stream’ and ‘A Trout Anglers Notebook’ plus many articles in periodicals of the day ‘ Game & Gun’, ‘The Fishing Gazette ‘
His son Peter was my next door neighbor here in at Snapper for many years and lent me his father’s notes written on the back of wall paper due to paper shortages in the war years
Harry I understood moved to Dorset and lived in a mill called the ‘White House’, which was left to the National Trust when he died and all his original books were then bound in leather and gifted to them by his late grand-daughter Judith.
Chairman & Competition Secretary & Fish Recorder & Facebook contact
Tel: 01271 850586 Email: [email protected]
Secretary & Treasurer
2 Sharlands Lane
Tel: 01271 814703 Email:[email protected]
2 Sharlands Lane
Tel: 01271 814703 Email: [email protected]
The Combe Martin Sea Angling Club was in 1962. Whilst over the years has never really developed into a large Club, it has always had a hardcore of dedicated anglers who have contributed to the Club in their own individual way. Be it a member who is so enthusiastic for the sport, members who are not really into competition fishing and members who put time and effort into administration necessary to run any organization. Over the years all personal aspects have contributed to a Club well known throughout the south west for it’s solid and reliable longevity.
The Club now holds it’s meetings and weigh-ins at The Cricket Club, Braunton.
Competitions are held every month throughout the year. The Club also organises occasional outings, both shore and boat. Also holds a Presentation Night in February which is very well received and normally a slide show is put together at our AGM. A newsletter is distributed to members two or three times a year with a “news brief” following the Club’s AGM. E-newsletters are now also mailed to members only. These are then available to download with all manner of specimen and minimum size lists, rules, calendar, etc.