WORDS ON STRANGE TIMES

These are strange times with our freedoms understandably curtailed. I am very fortunate to live out in the country with a garden and access to open countryside to undertake our daily Boris walk. Nature is all around and is a great source of comfort during these dark days.

For several weeks the wind has been blowing from the North East a cold and uninspiring direction from an angling point of view. The wind has now swung to the South bringing a warmer balmy air that stirs the angler within.

It is difficult as an all round angler to decide what type of fishing I am missing the most. The Fly Fisherman within dreams of drifting a team of buzzers and the moment the line zips tight as a rainbow intercepts. The singing reel and the leaping trout.

Or waiting beside a calm lake absorbing nature as I await the piercing thrill of a bite alarm as a carp bolts after falling for my carefully laid trap.

Wading the river searching for the elusive spring salmon? Flicking dry fly and nymph into a riffle in search of a crimson spotted wild brown trout? Launching a sandeel from the beach in search of spring ray or working a plug for a silver bass.

Frustrating times indeed. In the mean time I have been buying a few flies and have a mission to sort out the chaos of the tackle shed. I really wish I was more organised as I tend to grab fishing time and often return from the water dumping the kit with the intention of sorting in the cold light of day.

Do I really need all of this gear?  An array of lures purchased over many years some of them hosting large barbaric trebles that seem a little excessive. It is perhaps time to declutter.

I am presently reading a book called STRONGHOLD by Tucker Malarkey. The book tells of one man’s quest to save the world’s Wild Salmon – before its too late. Whilst it relates mostly to Pacific salmon there is much to relate to within its pages. Most alarming is perhaps the reference to the demise of the Atlantic Salmon for its clear that what we now have left is a shadow of what we once had. Of this I am very aware following the research I undertook when writing my own book “I Caught A Glimpse”. Which is a good read for the lockdown!

The COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a disaster on many levels but there is perhaps always an upside. Not sure if it’s just my perception but looking up into the night sky the stars seem brighter than ever. Is this a result of the lack of pollution from the many planes that normally leave vapour trails crisscrossing the sky?

The reduction in commercial fishing could give fish stocks a valuable reprieve. Following on from the World Wars fishing often showed a dramatic upturn as fish stocks had recovered. As I said in my previous feature perhaps this is a time to recalibrate.

Our daily walks into the countryside have allowed a time to observe. I have a collection of books by that acclaimed countryside author BB. His prose paints a vivid picture of nature with in depth observation. In some of his writing there lingers a melancholic atmosphere that somehow resounds with me today in these sombre times. Throughout BB’s prose there is a love for nature that gives strength. Most of his books have these simple words in their cover.

‘The Wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades: these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.’

Anglers Paradise

TEN YEAR AGO – North Devon Journal Report – March 28th 2010

With the ongoing lockdown and no fishing I thought I would start digging into my North Devon Journal Archives.

Late March 2010 and salmon fishing is top of the agenda and the debate rages regarding how to safeguard salmon stocks. Ten years later stocks continue to dwindle despite a massive investment in habitat improvements.  It s good to see a few familiar names in the competition results.

ANGLING REPORT

ULTRA have ambitious plan

            Salmon and sea trout of our local rivers provide the pinnacle of angling experience for many attracting game fishers from all over the country. This has been a significant part of the rural economy for many years with prime salmon fishing commanding a high price. A significant drop in salmon and sea trout numbers has lead to a decline in a once thriving rural industry. Many local anglers can recall a bygone era when riverside Inns such as the Rising Sun at Umberleigh would be packed with anglers each evening returning from the river with their bright silver prizes.

It was therefore apt that a new group calling itself ULTRA held an inaugural meeting at the Rising Sun. The Upper & Lower Taw Rivers Alliance is a group of anglers and riparian owners who have an ambitious plan to restore the spring salmon run using native broodstock to produce smolts for restocking. This is a complex issue that a working party has been set up to explore. The Environment Agency has given early indications that they will be likely to consent to the scheme.Tim Clarke is Chairman of the alliance and Dave Smith secretary; details of the group can be found on their website www.rivertaw.org

The web cam at Umberleigh that proves a valuable window on the river for anglers is temporarily out of action following a fire at Murchs’ Antiques Emporium upon whose building the camera is fixed. Web cams of a dozen West Country Rivers can be viewed by visiting www.therisingsunfc.co.uk

There are rods available on a prime stretch of salmon and sea trout water on the Taw and Little Dart at Tremayne near Chulmleigh. Anyone interested in this opportunity should contact John Smith on 01363 84804.

As spring slowly progresses carp anglers are enjoying action on several of the regions lakes. I fished Furzebray carp lake near South Molton last weekend and found myself fishing a swim between brothers Ally Laird and Ian Laird who had already landed three double figure carp during their weekend session. During Sunday afternoon I was privileged to witness them land a further three carp, two of which were prime mirror carp weighing 16lb 6oz.  Boilies, corn and pellets are all tempting fish on this well landscaped fishery.

At Angler Paradise carp are feeding well with several twenty pound plus fish caught including a 25lb 8oz mirror to the rod of Chris Rainbow and a 21lb 8oz specimen for Tom Cole.

Anglers Paradise

At Highhampton lakes the owners have been working hard preparing their lakes for the coming season. The trout lakes have been drained, refilled and restocked in time for the Easter weekend. The coarse lakes already healthy stock has been added to with double figure carp, quality tench and bream. There are also additional facilities including a new toilet and cooking area.

Ilfracombe Match groups latest match at Legge Farm near Hatherleigh saw Peter Slade take top spot with 34lb 15oz of roach and skimmers on soft pellet hook bait. Andy Gray took runner up spot with 31lb 15oz of skimmers on corn hook baits. John Lisle was a very close third with 31lb 10oz of carp on corn the loss of a carp of around one pound in the margins costing him dear. The silver fish bag went to Peter Slade with his fine bag of roach and skimmers.

Don’t forget its time to renew your rod licence at Local post offices or online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence Remember that finance received from licenses is invested in promoting and protecting angling and the environment. Failure to carry a rod licence can result in prosecution and a substantial fine.

The latest heat of the North Devon League saw Julian Stainer secure the top two spots for Triple Hook Club with dogfish scaling 2lb 7oz and 2lb 6oz.

Tony Gooch won Bideford And District Angling Clubs Mid Week Rover with a dogfish of 2lb 4⅝oz. In runner up spot was Jazza John with a doggie of 1lb 15⅞oz and in third Dick Talbot with a dog of 1lb 12½oz

Dick Talbot won Bideford’s 24 hour rover with a thornback ray of 8lb 2oz. Dick also secured runner up spot with a doggie of 2lb 3oz. Nathan Clements was third with a dogfish of 1lb 15⅝oz.

Triple Hook Clubs Flyfishing match at Wistlandpound saw Steve Ousley victorious with a four fish bag totalling 5lb. In runner up spot Daniel Miles and Ashley Curd with three fish each for 3lb 12oz.

No Fishing –

My friend Mark Everard shared this post vis his Email link. The Angling Trust has stated that we should all refrain from fishing as advised. Whilst fishing itself is low risk we all need to stick together without exception.

LET’S BE CLEAR. THE LOCKDOWN MEANS NO FISHING. WE WILL SEEK CLARIFICATION AS TO WHETHER FISHING IS AN ALLOWED FORM OF EXERCISE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, BUT FOR NOW WE CAN’T LEAVE OUR HOMES FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE REASONS STATED BELOW. STAY SAFE

People in the UK will only be allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home Police will have the powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. To ensure compliance with the instruction to stay at home, the government will:

Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals Parks will remain open for exercise, but gatherings will be dispersed.

NO FISHING !

I had hoped that angling could continue in its solitary form with anglers pursuing their pastime safe in the countryside social distancing with no risk to themselves or others. Sadly the actions of many members of the public ignoring advice will surely lead to a lock down. The majority of the  West countries fishing Waters are now closing their facilities for the foreseeable future. This includes South West Lakes Trust, Wimbleball Lake and Furzebray Carp Lakes. Ammo Tackle are also closing down their operations for the duration of the crisis. Most charter boats are also stopping all trips in compliance with government guidelines.

SNOWBEE Tackle have put out this statement.

Coronavirus update

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, our retail shop will be closed with immediate effect, until further notice.

This action has been taken, in line with government guidelines and with a view to protecting both our staff and customers.

If local customers wish to collect items from our retail shop, please ring the office on 01752-334933 and we will have your order ready for collection, adhering to recommended safe distancing guidelines.

In the meantime, the business will remain open, as long as possible or until we are advised otherwise, by the government, but to help our customers, we are offering all mail-order deliveries with free carriage, until further notice.

Russell Weston
Managing Director
Snowbee (UK) Ltd.

There will obviously be limited angling news over the coming weeks so I will not be posting as regular. I will try to keep things ticking over with a few articles and news as I get it. When this is all over I will ensure normal service is resumed. In the mean time there is plenty of archive articles and reports to sift through whist our away from the waters edge. I have a few ideas for the site in the future so keep an eye on it. In the mean time if you can get out fishing enjoy the isolation.

These are very difficult times for us all but if we work together we will hopefully be back at the waters edge at some point.

Best regards,

Wayne

North Devon Fisheries Introduce no contact policy to keep anglers safe from Coronavirus

Angling is one of the few activities that has a very low risk from Coronavirus being an outdoor pursuit it gives participants the opportunity to get away from the stress of the current situation and enjoy the countryside and fresh air. Anglers can ensure their day is completely safe by purchasing permits prior to fishing. Stafford Moor and Anglers Paradise have both introduced contactless policy for obtaining permits. South West Lakes Trust have also got facilities to purchase permits online.

Anglers Paradise – No Contact Policy

Anglers Paradise is continuing to operate as normal at this time. We have an operational plan in place for our customers and staff due to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are running a ‘No Contact Policy’. Below are the guidelines we are working to, please adhere to these guidelines. These actions have been taken to protect our customers, guests, staff and business.

  1. Villas will be deep cleaned and sanitised before your arrival.
  2. Villa bookings must check-in by phone the day before arrival between 09:00 and 17:00.
  3. At check-in you must pay for your fishing by card. You will be asked for your vehicle registration number.
  4. Specimen Lakes, Night Fishing and Day Ticket lakes must be booked over the phone and paid for in advance by card. (There will be no toilet or washing facilities available for day ticket anglers).
  5. On your arrival your Villa will be unlocked and your key will be left inside. Your complimentary bottle of wine will be waiting for you.
  6. Supermarket deliveries (and all other customer deliveries) must be met in the forest car park. (Sign posted).
  7. Bar, Bistro will be closed but orders can still be delivered to the Villa. Details on how to use this service will be provided in the Villa.
  8. The Laundrette will also be closed.
  9. Tackle shop will also be closed however purchases can be phoned through and delivered to the Villa within 1 hour.
  10. During this high risk time the swimming pool facilities will be CLOSED.
  11. Please bring with you anti-bacterial soap/sanitiser and bleach based spray for handles and surfaces
  12. As there has been panic purchasing of toilet tissue we can only supply a limited amount to each Villa so it may be advisable to bring extra.
  13. If you or any of your party feels unwell as described by the government guidelines, it must be reported to reception by phone so we can set the necessary procedures in action.
  14. Please only mingle between your own booking party and use common sense when socialising around villas and lakes.
  15. Urgent villa maintenance will be carried out by our staff, please respect the guidelines regarding contact and cleanliness; ideally vacate the villa whilst our operatives are in attendance. Non-urgent maintenance will be attended to following your departure. To report villa maintenance please ring the office on 01409 221559 between the hours 9am & 5pm.
  16. We reserve the right to change your accommodation with no notice given. If this occurs it will be in the best interest of our customers.
  17. In the event of you not being able to fulfil your holiday directly due to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you should contact your insurer for greater clarification, we have recommended that everyone take out holiday insurance please refer to Clause 6 of the terms and conditions of booking.
  18. Day ticket anglers must book in advance by phone and pay by card.

If the Government Response changes then we will react accordingly.

Anglers Paradise

Stafford Moor – No Contact Policy

At Stafford Moor they are also implementing a no contact policy regarding the Coronavirus. We are not currently closed we are open as usual but have a couple of extra precautions in place.

We as you know are quiet hot with general hygiene here in the toilets /showers but we are cleaning/sanitising more than normal plus door handles /counter ect.

Specimen / pleasure anglers you can pre pay for your ticket by calling the shop on 01805804360 then you can arrive /dip your equipment then go to the bank. If you need any tackle and don’t wish to visit the shop you can again call me and pay over the phone and Paul will deliver your items for you to your peg/swim.

Lodge guests can arrive as usual, again if you wish to not enter the shop on arrival your key will be in your lodge door for you once we have arranged your arrival time , you can then enjoy your holiday as usual , please bring enough food for your stay then you can still go for walks on site /fish as normal.

Our matches here start at Easter so I will keep you updated with any changes here.

The South West Angling Show

There is an exciting date for South West Anglers to add to their Diaries. The South West Angling Show is to be held on Saturday May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd at Newton Abbot Race Course.

I asked host Zenia Gregorek to send me a few words on the event:-

I am so excited and honoured to be asked to be the host and presenter of the 1st ever South West Angling Show which will take place at Newton Abbot Racecourse on Saturday 2nd May and Sunday 3rd May.

We will be fronting some of the biggest brands from across the country offering great deals and offers on great tackle at the show and also showcasing some fantastic talks on the main stage of influential Anglers interviewed by myself.

We are very excited about bringing an Angling Show to the South West and hope to see everyone join us to celebrate it and make it a success to continue in the future.

Anglers Paradise

PERSONAL BEST FOR 9 YEAR OLD JACK AND LOTS OF OTHER ELDORADO BEAUTIES FOR THE PAINTER FAMILY!

PERSONAL BEST FOR 9 YEAR OLD JACK AND LOTS OF OTHER ELDORADO BEAUTIES FOR THE PAINTER FAMILY!

Paul Painter and his sons Harry 16 and Jack 9 decided to brave the weather and have a weekend fishing at Anglers Eldorado – and it certainly paid off seeing the youngest of them Jack catch his personal best at 27lbs 8oz!

Paul shared – “Myself, Harry, and Jack, had a good 48hrs on the Eldorado complex even though the weather was very rough!! We had quite a few Carp out of the bottom lake and had a few hours float fishing on the top lake which produced some lovely carp including Koi. Jack had a really memorable session when he smashed his Carp PB by 7 and a half pounds when he caught a 27lb 8oz Mirror on Saturday morning!!! He also managed to stalk out some Koi on floating crust from the Koi pond.”

MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS JACK – TO CATCH A FISH OF THAT SIZE SO YOUNG IS PRETTY AWESOME!! GREAT TO SEE YOU HAVING QUALITY FAMILY TIME ON THE BANK!

Anglers Paradise

Carp from stormy waters

Alan Clarke fished from the Dam Wall on Lodge to tempt this beauty weighing in at 27lb 12oz caught using DT baits blend white pop up.

(Below)  Mike Hardy caught pleasing brace from swim 14 on lodge lake caught on Nash coconut cream boilies.

(Below) Oliver Kind  had 2 fish out from the Dam Wall on lodge lake up to 27lb caught on Pineapple & almond goo over Sticky Baits krill pop ups.

( Below) Tom Downing popped out to Stafford Moor on  with Antony Grigorjevs to shoot a where to fish feature to go in the March edition of Improve Your Coarse Fishing. Was a good day even though storm Ciara tried putting a halt on things!

BIDEFORD & DISTRICT ANGLING CLUB PRESENTATION NIGHT

It was a pleasure once again for Pauline and I to attend Bideford & District Angling Clubs presentation night and to be made so welcome. Such events are vitally important to the social fibre of angling clubs enabling members and families to join together to enjoy a little fun and banter whilst reflecting on the achievements made by members throughout the year. It is not just about the fish caught but also about recognising the huge amount of effort invested by club members. BIdeford Club is a long established club that has its own waters for coarse anglers, a thriving sea section and a game section that travels across the South West to target trout on the fly.

There were some outstanding fish caught throughout 2019 including a bass of 15lb 6oz to the rod of Tarrant Wotton, a club record couch’s bream of 15oz to the rod of Nathan Clements and a rainbow trout of 14lb 11oz to Matt Sander. John McCullum won the Clubs Game Fishing Trophy with 49 points. Martin Turner secured the clubs Match Mans Cup with 108 points and young Tyler Scott won the club Sam Vaughan Cup for most Match points by a Junior with 42 points. Dick Talbot won the clubs sea league with 49 points. There were a huge number of certificates awarded and trophies congratulations to all of the winners. Let’s hope 2020 is just as productive for club members.

A winner takes all raffle was won by Reg Sutton who kindly donated the proceeds to the RNLI in memory of local angler Cameron Atkinson who sadly lost his life late in 2019.