THE NEW ANGLERS PARADISE COMPLEX CAT RECORD HAS BEEN CAUGHT!!!
Massive Congratulations to Stacey Mulqueen who has caught a massive 94lb Wels Catfish from the Main Carp Lake making her the new ‘Catfish Complex Record Holder’!!
(Below) Zenia Gregorek has also been getting in on the catfish action banking a fine fish of 35lb that is a personal best from the Eldorado Day Ticket cat lake. As always Zenia shared the joyful experience with her young family.
Matt Thomas decided that the hot weather would be good for catching catfish and headed for the West Country top cat venue to try is luck. He struck lucky on his first foray after the species banking a beauty of 33lb 6oz.
Matt commented :-
“Have well and truly got the bug now! Such an amazing fight with these powerful fish! As always, had an amazing time away from reality with my hot little side-kick! We even managed to stalk a few carp off the surface and Beth got her first one!! Good times..already can’t wait to return!”
Wistlandpound Reservoir was created in an enduring feat of engineering by building a clay core dam across Bratton Stream during the late 1950’s. It supplies water to a large area of North Devon and has become a popular area for walkers and is used by the Calvert Trust to provide adventure holidays for disabled adults and children. The lake is managed by The South West Lakes Trust who also control angling at the venue which has a long history as a trout fishery.
My good friend Steve Dawe is a keen eel angler and member of the National Anguilla Club and we got talking about waters that contain eels and in particular large eels. I recalled how twenty or more years ago eels had become trapped in the inlet of the local water works and that these eels were of a good size.
Wistlandpound had never to our knowledge been fished for eels and it is a well-known fact amongst eel anglers that venues that have not been fished and have limited access for eels can hold the eels of dreams. The European eel has been known to live to over 100 years so it is possible that any eels trapped within Wistlandpound when the dam was constructed could still be present.
Steve and I spoke with Ben Smeeth who is head of angling at SWLT and after due consideration Ben agreed to an exploratory session to investigate the lakes eel potential.
Steves credentials as an eel angler are well documented so it was a welcome opportunity for me to join Steve and learn more about how to catch specimen eels. Whilst I have caught many eels over the years I have never caught a specimen of over 3lb and this target is now firmly in my sights.
Eventually in mid-June I met up with Steve and struggled to the banks of a depleted Wistlandpound with an array of tackle, bivvies’ and provisions. The weather forecast was a little ominous with a weather warning in place for thunderstorms and possible flash floods! This did little to dent our enthusiasm as eels are reported to become more active during thunderstorms.
With the reservoir at around 60% capacity we had a good choice of accessible bank and selected a swim that gave access to deep water.
Steve gave me useful advice on the rigs to use and how to mount the small dead-baits to give a good chance of hooking an eel. Fortunately, we arrived before the rain and managed to get set up before it arrived in spectacular fashion accompanied by a very long resounding rumble of thunder.
The rain beat down on our shelters and I looked out the rods hoping that a run would not come at this time. After a couple of hour’s, the rain eventually eased and we brewed a hot drink and began chatting about fish and fishing.
Suddenly Steve’s alarm burst into life and he was at his rod in expectation. To our disappointment he failed to connect and reeled in to find that his bait was gone.
We didn’t have long to wait though for within minutes my alarm sounded and I hoked into the culprit. It was no eel but a stunning wild brown trout of around 1lb 8oz.
Within half an hour Steve was in action again and connected this time to bring to the net a stunning wild brown trout that must have been over 3lb. I wondered just how big these wild browns grow to within the lake. I suspect there are a few surprises as there is now an abundance of silvery rudd residing in the lake perfect prey the lakes wild browns to grow to a large size.
Recent seasons have unfortunately been blighted by an abundance of thick green algae making fly Fishing difficult at times. Whilst trout are no longer stocked into the reservoir there is a good head of wild brown trout present and I am sure that Fly Fishing during the autumn could produce the goods as these large browns feed on the lakes abundant fry.
As the evening descended Steve and I talked extensively about our fishing lives and the many places that we have visited and plan to perhaps visit in the future.
As we chatted we frequently cast our eyes upon the rods perched beside the lake their tips pointing into the green water. As the light faded expectation grew as this was surely the eels meal time?
After last hot drinks we both retired to our shelters to catch some sleep. Occasionally an alarm would give a single bleep and I would tense in anticipation. On one occasion I looked out to see a shadow flit away from the rods, an inquisitive fox I believe.
Just before light some type of bird gave a repeated cry that echoed around the lake in a strange almost stereo like mode. I spoke to Steve later who thought it could have been a type of hawk. Thinking back, I should have recorded it on my phone.
I snoozed intermittently as a grey and misty day dawned. I took a look at the weather forecast that told of heavy rain from 8.00am. The rods remained poised at the waters edge but by now our expectations of catching the mysterious eel had faded. After a rushed brew and breakfast we packed away our gear to escape before the rain. The question remains unanswered for now. The problem is that life is short and big eels can take time to find.
Fortunately there are plenty of other SWLT waters that have proven big eel potential. Upper Tamar lake, Lower Tamar, Melbury and Jennets all hold eels of over 4lb with far bigger eels likely to be lurking in the mysterious depths.
At 35 acres in size Lower Tamar is a day ticket only water. But if great fishing and beautiful surroundings is what you’re looking for it could be the place for you. With carp to 40lb, bream to 14lb, Tench to 7lb, perch to 4lb and roach to 3lb it offers excellent sport for everyone. Bags of 50lb+ are common to pole, feeder or float tactics. There are multiple bream over 10lbs.
Species: Carp, Bream, Rudd, Roach, Tench, Perch and Eels
Fishing Times: Open all year, 24 hours a day
Day Permits: Available at Upper Tamar Lake or online at www.coarse.swlakesfishing.co.uk
Contact: 01566 771930
Aiden Prouse age 7 from Barnstaple fished Anglers Paradise with his dad mark and caught his first catfish 20lb 10oz He was delighted to have tempted a fish of such a size; it will hopefully be the first of many big fish he catches.
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.
This statement applies to both coarse and trout fishing.
Thankyou for your patience and understanding at this time.
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…
The Angling Trust has given a warm welcome to the announcement today (May 10th) by Prime Minster Boris Johnson that recreational fishing looks set to resume in England on Wednesday, May 13th.
The Prime Minister announced the resumption of ‘unlimited outdoor sports’ from Wednesday providing they are conducted alone or with members of the same household and that social distancing rules are followed at all times.
A government source confirmed that “outdoor exercise includes angling, golf, water sports and tennis providing social distanced from Wednesday.”
The decision to include outdoor activities such as angling in the first wave of newly permitted activities followed weeks of intense advocacy and lobbying by the Angling Trust which unified the angling community like never before and saw over 8,000 individual emails sent to MPs and dozens of articles in the regional and national press in support of a safe return for angling.
The Prime Minister is making a full statement to the House of Commons tomorrow and the Angling Trust will be seeking clarification about the reopening of tackle shops and confirmation of any restrictions on how angling should be practised during the next phase.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP tweeted:
“In the least risky outdoor environments we can imminently allow sports like golf, basketball, tennis and fishing.”
Last month, a report from the Angling Trust entitled ‘When We Fish Again’ was submitted to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the Fisheries and Sports Ministers arguing for recreational fishing to be designated as one of the first permitted outdoor sports when ministers begin to relax the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. It was backed by national angling and fisheries groups including the Canal & River Trust, Salmon & Trout Conservation, the Institute of Fisheries Management and representatives of the angling trade which is estimated to be worth a total of £4bn to the UK economy.
The report recommended a phased resumption in line with the government’s own criteria and identified a number of good reasons why angling should be an early candidate for consideration including:
being a largely solitary sport where self isolation occurs naturally
proven benefits for mental health and social well-being
a reduction in pressure on other public open spaces
evidence that non-contact outdoor activities will not increase infection rates
angling appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds and engages able-bodied and disabled participants alike
the majority of the population live close to a waterway minimising the need for significant travel.
The Angling Trust’s proposal attracted the support of MPs of all parties and from prominent figures within the angling community.
Reacting to the news, Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook said:
“I couldn’t be more pleased to see the hard work of the Angling Trust and our supporters delivering such an outstanding result for everyone who loves to go fishing. We have demonstrated to the satisfaction of government that angling can be permitted as a safe, healthy, beneficial outdoor activity and why it can take its rightful position at the front of the queue as restrictions are relaxed.
“Our effective and professional campaign was in support of a carefully thought through set of phased guidelines under which angling could be safely permitted without increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmissions. Without these guidelines we would have got nowhere and it is now incumbent upon every angler to respect them and demonstrate that we are still playing our part in the nationwide battle against the coronavirus.”
Angling Trust Policy Chief Martin Salter said:
“There is still work to do to get the tackle shops open and to provide good advice to fisheries, angling guides and coaches but it looks like we are there and it’s no longer a question of When We Fish Again but ‘where are we going fishing on Wednesday?’ We have run a fabulous campaign but we couldn’t have done it without the support of thousands of anglers who wrote to their MPs and of some of the top names in our sport who gave us their time and expertise.”
Korda and Guru Marketing boss Ali Hamidi added:
“This is incredible news for Angling. Fishing can commence from Wednesday. The excellent work of the Angling Trust has made a distant dream a reality. I’m going to name my next 100 carp after Martin Salter and Jamie Cook.”
There is plenty of reminiscing going on at present and I guess that’s inevitable in these strange times when our freedom has been taken away. Looking at a wide range of pictures on social media has prompted me to put together this short article highlighting a few of the wonderful places that angling has taken me to. I will add that North Devon and my home waters are far higher on the list than these notes indicate. The reason for this is that on trips away there is perhaps a fuller emersion in the angling dimension.
You may notice that each section contains a photo of the expedition party as we all know its not just about fish and places its also very much about friendship!
Arrival to this Island situated out in the English Channel takes one to a world apart where life runs slower. There are no cars, no street lights and few shops. Steep cliffs descend to clear waters where huge grey mullet were our target. Sadly, the numbers have declined since our early visits when we often glimpsed double figure specimens. We also caught black bream to over 4lb on float-fished bread-flake. On our early visits we took the ferry from Weymouth and carried huge packs of gear. We fished all day for mullet then retired to our accommodation for tea before heading out to fish for the huge conger that lurked at the base of the harbour jetty. It was then the then hike back up the harbour hill the autumn leaves smelling of decay as they collected on the path. It was then time to dine on cheese on toast, enjoy a last brew and crawl into bed for 1.00am.
Up at 7.00am, fry up and back out on the push bike for another day watching floats bob upon the water disappearing from time to time followed by a bent rod and screaming reel.
There were of course the occasional visit to the Islands two pubs. The Belle-air ( The Tourist Pub) or the Mermaid Tavern that was like stepping back into the 1970’s. Sadly modern times had started to catch up when we last visited but I remember fondly the smoky haze and nicotine stained décor that reminded me of my youth.
I have been to Ireland on three or four fishing excursions. A week plugging for bass on the Copper Coast. A week fishing for grey mullet on the Copper Coast around Dungarvan and a week on the West Coast with the Combe Martin SAC. Ireland is a beautiful land to cast a line an angler’s dream. In a week long bass fishing trip I managed to blank! But I loved every minute.
When I went back a year later I caught a PB mullet of 6lb 15oz and glimpsed several mullet that would have crashed the scales to over ten pounds. I really must return!
There is a wonderful valley where the River Tay meets the sea at Stradbally Cove. As the tide floods into this tranquil sheltered cove grey mullet drift like grey ghosts into the river mouth. I remember seeing a large sea trout sadly languishing with disease and wondered what treasures this river had once held as it ran through the green and pleasant land on its journey from high in the mountains that the sun set behind each evening as we relaxed after a hard day on the coast.
This wooded valley hidden on the Copper Coast is a place I often wander to in my minds eye. A boat moored upon the bank and mullet browsing as they move in on the flooding tide. The quiver tips poised expectantly as we wait in the peaceful valley far from the troubles of the world.
The land of the midnight sun. Clear cold waters, big fish, snow-capped mountains, glaciers. Almost too much for words to describe or to do justice for as I write I realise there is so much to say and so little time.
So many highlights from our two journeys to this spectacular land. Our fishing was largely divided into day time fishing with lures for cod and coalfish searching the mighty Fjords with deep and mysterious waters that teamed with life. Or drifting the shallows in the long evenings for the mighty halibut with fresh dead-baits bounced over the sand.
On one memorable night we fished through a windless night on glassy tranquil waters catching huge numbers of hard fighting cod the best falling to Rob Scoines a mighty fish of over 40lb on a light bass rod. I will never forget that night with mist hanging in the air as we savoured a twilight of delight to the sound of sheep bells drifting in the cool clean air.
Another highlight had to be climbing a mountain to gaze across a vast vista of mountains and fjords.
A fish every cast I was told by our hosts! To my disbelief this was not too far from the truth for at most marks the rod tip bounced within moments of the bait hitting the sea bed. Codling two at a time, plump dab most over a pound. I also witnessed a shore caught plaice of over 7lb.
The many highlights of this trip included a whale watching excursion where we found several pods of humpback whales getting so close the spray from their blow spume drifted on us in the arctic air.
We fished a competition on a beach and as darkness fell the Northern Lights danced mesmerizingly above the mountains. We bounced back across a rugged road to the hotel and the presentation night as Motorhead blasted out on the car radio; “Born to Raise Hell”. A truly memorable fishing trip and I came second in the competition catching 52 fish if my memory serves me right.
In total contrast to the cold lands of Norway and Iceland in 1997 Nick Phillips and I ventured to the vast Lake Nasser in search of Nile perch. We enjoyed a week long adventure camping each night in the desert and fishing in temperatures that at times exceeded 100 Degrees Fahrenheit. At the time the comet Hale Bop was traversing the night sky. It was strange to think that the last time this had been seen from earth the ancient Egyptians were building pyramids.
I guess one highlight had to be catching a Nile perch of 83lb whilst casting from a rocky shoreline. The huge fish smashed into my Rapala lure its body erupting from the water as it shook its head violently before diving deep into the lake. Twenty minutes later I struggled to hold the mighty fish aloft for a photo!
Then there were scorpions, crocodiles and feasts under the midday sun. The Nubian guides were great people and showed great warmth and friendship. I remember clearly an Island we fished one day where snake skins littered the boulders upon which we stood. Cobras we were told; get bitten by one of those and it’s probably the kiss of death!
Scariest moment had to be when I was unhooking a Nile perch of around thirty pounds. The loose treble found the middle of my finger going right through! The perch was still on the other treble and thrashed around in the boat. A big 3/0 treble and thick gauged wire with a big barb was not good. I have to admit I felt a little dizzy as the blood oozed. A pair of pliers came to the rescue, an oily rag stemmed the blood flow. A hospital was far away; at least six hours and there were fish to catch. Amazingly by the end of the week my finger had healed and all I have is a scary memory.
The first night of our stay was in a luxury hotel I remember the heat and buzzing of a mosquito in our room. Music seemed to drone on in the distance until the early hours. We got to bed at midnight and were on our way into the desert to begin our adventure shortly after 4.00am in the morning. We stayed on safari boats camping at a different location each night as we fished our way along the vast Lake Nasser. I loved the remote desert but I cannot say I relished the craziness of Aswan and Luxor. Dining on a boat moored up beside the Nile was however a memorable experience.