I have had several anglers message me regarding fishing in lockdown and what the position is. The Angling Trust have successfully lobbied Government resulting in angling being allowed within the lockdown guidelines. See updated guidelines below from the Angling Trust.
The problem with the guidelines is that it leaves a certain amount of freedom to interpret for example what is local. Local is within your town or village, though you can drive a short distance to access an open space. I have reluctantly decided to hang up my rods until after lockdown as I live ten miles from the coast. Could I justify travelling ten miles to go fishing? Is it essential travel? Everyones circumstances are of course different and angling could be a lifeline to many giving valuable exercise for both body and soul. The sooner we can get on top of this COVID nightmare the better and staying home for a few weeks is surely worth the long term result.
In the mean time I will be enjoying a couple of books I received at Christmas that will hopefully inspire me in the coming spring and summer.
I will also be sorting through my fishing gear putting new hooks on old lures, tying rigs and having a general tidy. Might even stock up on a few flies, lures and bits and pieces. In the mean time I will try and write a few features on North Devon Angling plus report on any catches reported to me from those fortunate enough to live close to fish filled waters.
2020 ! Well what a year; a year that will remembered for the global pandemic that changed the way we live. I am sure that in the future we will reflect upon those pre-pandemic years with a certain yearning for what we will perceive as a golden age.
It has certainly been a scary year in many ways but life will move on and a new normal will eventually prevail. There are positives in that we have perhaps been forced to realise the value of the great outdoors and how nature is a reassuring constant in our lives a fact that we as anglers have been able to savour.
When the year began who could have imagined the restrictions that would be imposed upon us. But apart from the three months of tight lock down fishing continued and we all had to focus on what is on our own doorstep.
The promise of early casts
An early session on the rocks and I meet a hungry bird.
Winter mullet have become a common catch in winter
Winter pike fishing – The true essence of winter fishing the bright glow of optimism upon cool dark waters.
And of course there are also winter carp!
In the middle of February we headed for Dorset for a short break beside the River Frome. The river was out of sorts but it was still good to be beside the water.
At this time we had no idea that times were about to change!
Little did we know that fishings social aspect would be banned under strict COVID restrictions! Tiers, bubbles and face masks were not on the agenda!
The salmon season was underway but with swollen rivers there would be no silver spring bars.
The Wimbleball Trout were obliging and put a pleasing bed in the rod as a coid wind swept across Exmoor.
Into lockdown and April and May we walked the country lanes and glimpsed wild brown trout in clear waters.
As lockdown was lifted what a joy to once again smell the salty sea air. Breathe in and enjoy a new found freedom.
It was a joy to once again ponder upon those important matters like what fly to use?
Carp are very much a fish of the summer though I don’t always catch! Its fun waiting though….
A boat on Wimbleball brings hard fighting rainbows and summer Rudd
In mid June I join Steve Dawe on a one off trip to catch the mysterious eel from a water that has never been fished for eels before! We prove that there are some big trout present!
Summer bass on the lure
Summer salmon fishing on the Taw & Torridge its not just about the catching its good to just drift a fly across the river.
A trip to Cornwall and the delights of mackerel on light tackle…
Followed by bent rods and aching arms far off Lands End
And summer drifts into autumn
Success is sweet when it comes my first salmon for several seasons after many hundreds of casts comes that delightful tug and well bent rod..belief is restored!
Autumn is a time for mullet but sometimes they’re not there or are rather small!
It was a good year on the lure…I just love it when they hit that lure. Sublime!
A carp fishing interlude at Hacche Moor Carp Fishery
And then shark adventure number two with Jason Barrow and others
The trout seasons ends with the rivers low. I enjoy a last day nymphing on the Lyn. A week later the river is a raging torrent.
A good time to hit the beach as the sunsets earlier.
As winter approaches grayling are a fish that spring to mind and once again the Dorset Frome beckons..
(Above) And when the seasons over there is always time for a riverside walk.
A last trip to Wimbleball
Winter Trout and Christmas at Blakewell
And as the years ends those familiar home waters call…..
I would like to wish all the readers of North Devon Angling News a Merry Christmas and fish filled New Year. Hopefully 2021 will bring a little more freedom. Special thanks to this who have supported North Devon Angling News since I started the website back in 2016.
All rounder Aaron Bunning had a cracking session on Lower Tamar this week with his targets being a 2lb roach and 10lb bream! Amazingly he caught both!! here’s his report: ‘Decided to target the roach and bream for a change, awesome fun on the light gear. had 15-20 roach to 2lb 4oz, 3 bream including 2 doubles of 11lb 6oz and 10lb 4oz as well as a few trout and perch. all fish were caught on 12mm Scopex Squid boilie or maggot hookbaits over quite a lot of maggot, caster, hemp, pellet and groundbait’.
A late Autumn day and pike seemed to be the perfect match so with a light South-East wind forecast I decided to head for Lower Slade Reservoir. I set up in the bay that was filled with large amounts of Canadian pond weed a mixed blessing as it makes fishing difficult but holds plenty of food for the fish.
I tend to keep on the move when pike fishing giving it an hour or so in each swim. As I reeled in the baits to move a pike emerged from the margin to seize my small herring, a shake of its head and it was off.
I posted recently about the new rules that prohibit the use of treble hooks. Below is my new pike rig ensuring the size 4 single unimpeded.
I moved to the roadside and replaced the baits. The day drifted past as fishing days do and it was exceedingly mild for early November.
Mid afternoon and I baited up with the only smelt I had brought along having found it tucked away in the freezer as I grabbed my baits this morning. Was it coincidence that the float bobbed immediately after casting this out resulting a pleasing jack of around 4lb.
The rest of the afternoon passed by with clouds and reflections upon calm waters.
As the light faded I was reluctant to pack away the rods and left them out until the last minute dismantling bite alarms, packing bags etc until just the rods were left.
Late autumn is a time when many coarse anglers start to target pike a species that has always been associated with the colder months. North Devon has only a handful of waters that contain pike so it is essential that anglers take every possible precaution to ensure that valuable stocks are not impacted upon by careless handling or use of inappropriate tackle. Pike are not the most robust of species and it is often quoted that they thrive in waters with limited angling pressure.
Pike have a formidable set of teeth so it is essential that a wire trace is used to prevent the fish severing the line leaving hooks within the fish. South West Lakes Trust has introduced a ruling banning the use of treble hooks on waters within their control. A size 2/0 single hook is the maximum sized hook allowed. Anglers fishing for pike should have a suitable sized landing net, long handled forceps, long- wire cutters and a large unhooking matt. Anglers unhooking pike should ensure that they hold the fish carefully and firmly and may find specialist gloves beneficial to reduce the risk of cuts. Many anglers find unhooking a large pike an unnerving experience and should ideally seek advice from a regular pike angler before fishing for the species alone.
Richard Ball caught this fine pike of 14lb 4oz using a sardine ” it was hooked in the scissors it was my first pike on a single hook so I was happy to gain confidence in the rig.”
Thanks to extensive efforts by the Angling Trust angling can continue throughout lock-down as an outdoor recreational activity providing anglers only meet up with one other person. This is a common sense approach as individual angling is COVID safe and is recognized as having valuable benefits for participants mental well being. Individual fisheries will continue to implement all relevant guidelines to ensure anglers safety. Match Fishing is unfortunately the inevitable casualty of lockdown but hopefully this can resume next month enabling a little festive cheer.
The Angling Trust and many other conservation minded bodies are urging those who care to write to their MP expressing the need to back this bill to end sewage discharge into inland waters.
Below is a letter from the West Country Rivers Trust
As you may know, the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill is currently passing through parliament. Ahead of the parliamentary debate on the 13th of November, we are encouraging people to ask their MPs to support the Bill.
Working in collaboration with Surfers Against Sewage and the End Sewage Pollution Coalition, we have developed an online tool which enables people to easily and quickly contact their MP. With a postcode, first name and email, the tool generates an email to the individual’s local MP; all they have to do is click send.
If each of our local Trusts could share this with their audience, we could see a real growth in support of the Bill. Click the button below to view the online tool and please don’t hesitate to share this with whoever you think might find it valuable.
Its over twelve months since the publication of my book “I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE” and I am pleased to say I have had plenty of positive feedback and appreciate this and the healthy sales the book has earned since publication back in September 2019. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book it can be obtained on line via The Little Egret Press. https://thelittleegretpress.co.uk/product/i-caught-a-glimpse-ltd-edition-hardback/
I only have a few copies left with me so if you want to purchase one for collection or delivery please PM me via Facebook or email.
Since publication I have had many interesting conversations with North Devons anglers and have enjoyed sharing their memories. One thing I have learnt is that many fishermen paths are similar though they often fail to converge.