Sixty Pound Plus Catfish

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Matthew Colegate joined us for his annual holiday and decided to have a session on the Specimen Cat Lake at our day ticket venue Nirvana. As he was not having much luck on the main complex, he spoke to our head baliff Ashley Bunning who told him where best to fish for a bite and he ended up with a massive bite!! His move definitely paid off, as he only went and caught his personal best at a whopping 60lb 8oz!

Matthew caught the Wels Catfish on a A2 baits 16mm fruity fish wafter topped with a bit of pink fake corn, attached a small pva bag of boilie crumb and another small bag of boilie halves and cast it into where Ashley said the bowl was.

Matthew shared –

“20 minutes in I had a savage liner which I almost hit but didn’t, then another 20 minutes past and the rod rattled off! And what can only be described as a tense 20 minutes I finally got her in the net, which was a struggle by myself. Zeroed the sling etc and she tipped the scales round to 60lb 8oz, beating my original UK PB by 15lb 8oz! I’ve been lucky enough to have cats to almost 120lb in France but to get one that big in England and even better at anglers paradise is ace! Can safely say I won’t catch a cat that big for a long time! and it just goes to show, if the bailiffs are willing to give you advice then make the most of it!”

**For future big Cats all, we’re trying to encourage Anglers to lie beside/have the tail between your legs on an unhooking mat with the head at the fore front of the camera  better for the fish, makes it look bigger. 

Anglers Paradise

Zenia lands a starring role with Shakespeares fishing heroes

(Above) Zenia with Matt Hayes -Then and Now

Shakespeare Fishing Heroes is a show to celebrate and thank the unsung heroes of the sport that bring so much back into fishing but are also the ones that don’t get the recognition they deserve. When I was asked to be the Presenter of this inspiring show – I couldn’t believe it, to get to meet these Fishing Heroes and tell their powerful stories is an honour I don’t take lightly! We ask all on facebook if they know a Fishing Hero that they want to nominate – to get in touch and share your story! You can contact me via Zenia’s Fishing Adventures Page. We will be airing the next Fishing Heroes video on Matt Hayes Page in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for it! Time to celebrate fishing and the amazing people we have in this great sport.

Anglers Paradise

Multi Species haul from Lower Tamar

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There is far more to Upper and Lower Tamar Lake than carp with a vast range of other coarse fish swimming within these waters.  A concerted effort could I am sure bring some huge rewards with potential record breakers. Both lakes contain huge perch and eels. There are also specimen roach, bream and some large wild brown trout. The lower lake once held populations of specimen rudd and tench.

A superb multi species capture from Lower Tamar:

Between Aaron Bunning and his friend Dan they had 5 bream ranging from 6lb 8oz and 9lb, a huge hybrid of around 5lb, two carp of mid doubles and 23lb 12oz, a single perch of around 1lb 8oz, three eels to 2lb and a single trout. All fish fell to a large bed of pellets and particles,  hookbaits consisted of maggots, fake corn and 12mm nashbait pop-ups. Aaron commented ‘Made a pleasant change to put the carp rods away and have a fun session with the lighter gear’.

Anglers Paradise – Beautiful Koi

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Steve Self who caught a beautiful 8lb 6oz Koi and a rare two tone Koi from our famous Koi Lake.

Steve’s story –

“I had been fishing with Zenia and the boys during the afternoon, and caught some lovely little koi from the Koi Lake with them. But after they returned home, my mind turned to the large red and black Koi Carp I had seen cruising the surface during the morning before they arrived to join me. I didn’t have any trouble finding it. It seemed confident in itself, knowing that it was clever enough by now not to get caught.

I stalked the fish around the margins with a rod/line/hook simple surface set up. The bait of choice was a chunk of bread crust. But no matter how hard I tried, the Koi evaded me at every step. Eyeing the free offering with a concealed look with suspicion, before turning it down flatly. Mouthing the bread to inspect it, then spitting it out in disgust at my poor attempt to trick it. 2 hours passed in the hot sun, with me slowly and stealthily stalking the margins, only to either miss a take from it, or it spook at the dodgy crust and swim off.

I must have missed hooking it a good dozen times and I became more frustrated and dismayed as the time progressed, stalking my rod in the air and cursing my bad luck. It was indeed a clever fish! Then, when I couldn’t find the Koi to follow anymore, he appeared right beneath my feet, supping up some other morsel. Seeing the opportunity at last, I rolled the hook bait bread on the backside and allowed it to plop into the water right on its nose as if something had just fallen in from the side – and it took it straight away!

Red and black colour filled the air as it leapt and dove down into the lake. My pulse of sheer relief, excitement and joy on hooking the large koi, was soon swapped with a teeth clenching 5 minutes deftly playing and dodging the fish from one snag to another, hiding places it seemed to know all too well were there to lose me in. Soon enough though it was tired enough to be netted and photographed, a wide shouldered 8lb 6oz, with magnificent colouring as to be expected of an Anglers Paradise Koi. The fish stood as a testament to what can be achieved with a LOT of patience and persistence. A fine reward for two hours on tiptoe!”


Here he is with his winning Fish and being presented his prizes with special thanks to PB PRODUCTS UK.

Anglers Paradise

Catfish in Paradise

Congratulations to Charlie Grant, 12, who whilst on his annual Family holiday with us at Anglers Paradise caught his biggest ever fish, a personal best 29lb Wels Catfish!!

Charlie caught the Catfish on Luncheon Meat soaked in spotted fin smokey jack over spray from the Easy Access Lake.

**Take note ‘all’ on how he is presenting the Catfish – Superb pictures Charlie, showing us how not to hold Catfish!!**

Anglers Paradise

Changing times – Time to worry?

Changing times – Time to worry?

When I started sea fishing over forty years ago many of fish we caught were killed to be weighed in at competitions, eaten or buried in the garden. Looking back what anglers did was wrong but we knew no different it was different times and there was little perception that fish stocks were dwindling. There was perhaps still a belief that god provides and that there would always be plenty more fish in the sea.

These are fortunately more enlightened times and most sea anglers practice catch and release keeping just the occasional fish for the table. It is vital that those fish we return to the water have a good chance of survival and I see more and more guidance on how to handle fish. The basics are to treat all fish with respect. Handle as little as possible and support the fish when posing for photos. Consider using circle hooks or barbless when appropriate and consider replacing trebles with singles. When weighing fish always use a purpose made weigh sling or carrier bag for smaller species. Do not dangle fish on the scales.

Coarse anglers have been returning fish to the water for the best part of a century and are in many ways ahead of the game. Weigh slings, unhooking matts and antiseptic ointments are now part of carp anglers standard kit. Rigs used are carefully designed to reduce the risk of tethering any fish that are lost.

Salmon anglers who once retained virtually every fish they caught now have to return close to 100% of the fish they catch. Salmon runs are generally on an alarming downward spiral for a multitude of reasons and it is anglers who are at the forefront of campaigns to protect the future of the species.

Please follow the following guide to good practice when releasing fish:

  • Use barbless hooks. 
  • Use a fine knotless net.
  • Use strong tackle so fish can be played out and netted as quickly as possible.
  • Always net the fish: avoid handling fish and certainly do not pick them up by the tail to weigh or photograph. 
  • Keep the fish in the water all the time: If you want to know the weight, measure the fish in the water and calculate accordingly. If you want to take a photo, do it while the fish is in the water.

Whilst there are those who seek to criticise or even ban angling on morale grounds it is frequently the anglers who are desperately trying to protect fish stocks from over fishing and habitat destruction. Perhaps it is because anglers have a direct interaction with nature by participating that they have a deep passion and love for the environment and the creatures that dwell within. I know that I am perhaps skating on thin ice here but many anglers I know have very a deep love of the countryside and the waters edge. There are of course those who leave litter, mistreat fish and show no respect for the countryside. These are unfortunately a significant minority within society as a whole.

As an angler I feel that I have a close connection with the environment both marine and countryside. Sometimes I question my deep passion for angling but it is this quest for fish that has taken me to some beautiful locations and I have seen many wonders of nature that many only see from their arm chairs on HD screens.

I have witnessed an alarming decline in our countryside in the half a century I have fished and I often fear that I am amongst a generation that has seen the tale end of anglings golden age. And perhaps if we are to believe the climate change protestors earths golden age as well?

Big cats and carp in Paradise

Congratulations to Richard Mason who caught a 58lb 5oz Catfish and also 4 Carp from Day Ticket Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake!

Richard shared –

“Caught in peg 3 next to the drain, using pallatrax jungle squabs and glugs and stonze free running rig
Took be round the drain and snagged me solid!! The original run was at 5.30 am but after over 2 hours of being snagged she was still on so had to go for a wade/swim to free the line –
Epic battle!!”


Well done to Josh Bartley, 27 from Plymouth who joined us for a session on the popular Day Ticket Venue Anglers Eldorado and caught a personal best 18lb 5oz Catfish and then caught another smashing that with a 36lb 5oz Cat both from the Bottom Cat and Carp Lake 2!

Josh shared –

“I arrived on the Carp/Cat Lake 2 at Anglers Eldorado early Friday morning, at about 9am, I caught a new pb cat of 18lb 5oz but unfortunately my camera decided to not work!

But fortunately later that day around 7pm I caught another new pb of 36lb 5oz, also followed up with one around 10lb early Saturday morning, they were all caught using simple hair rigs, fished with 2-3 21mm halibut pellets.
Thank you!”


(Above) Jacob Johnson with a 36lb Mirror Carp from Nirvana’s Day Ticket Lake – The Kracking Carp

Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise – Fish of the week


Ross Godridge 30, from St Stephen in Cornwall, who caught a beautiful personal best 26lb 7oz Common from the Specimen Carp Lake.

Ross’s story –

“I’ve been wanting to come to AP for many years, and my partner made it happen for my 30th birthday treat! I caught this beautiful 26lb 7oz Common Carp from the Specimen Carp Lake, beating my personal best, using a bit of pop up sweetcorn surrounded by hemp and sweetcorn it went roaring off into the reeds an put up a brilliant fight before landing it on the bank!

I’m truly over the moon with it! My stay at AP has been incredible to say the least, it would be such a personal achievement to me to win fish of the week I’ve put in so much effort, and certainly reaping the rewards with this one, thank you to everyone at AP. Will definitely be back again!”


Here he is with his winning Fish and being presented his prizes by Zyggy and Zenia with special thanks to PB PRODUCTS UK.


Anglers Paradise

Brace of two pound roach in Red Letter hour!!!

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The below report from Ben Smeeth has to be one of the most spectacular I have reported on since starting North Devon Angling News three years ago. Two pound plus roach are few and far between in Devon now and many would see the capture of one as the fish of lifetime. It makes you wonder what else this large body of water on the Devon boarder has to offer? I believe he venue has the potential to produce a record perch, eel or even roach not mention those big brown trout.

Red Letter “hour”……..Milo & Bait-Tech sponsored angler Simon Poynter pleasure fished Lower Tamar recently, using it as practice for up and coming feeder matches.

“Lower Tamar Lake takes me back to my childhood, where the anticipation of the bite & what could be on the end, fills me with excitement and causes sleepless night’s before each visit” Simon added.

Simon fished a cage feeder at 72mtrs & a 60g window feeder at 92mtrs, targeting the lakes big bream.

Groundbait of choice was the new Bait-tech Pro Natural Bream Dark…… lovely smell & great mix.

Simon commented that as a match angler he feels that he does not approach Lower Tamar in the correct way for the specimen sized bream, feeling that most fish have gone nocturnal, possibly with a dawn and dusk approach being better than his usual 10am till 3pm sessions!

After 3 hours Simon had one 2lb brown trout to show for his efforts, his travelling partner had two trout at this point.

At 2pm Simon’s tip slammed around & after a very spirited fight he landed his first roach, it was a stunning fish of 2lb 3oz, “I could not believe it the size of it when it broke the surface” really chunky and scale perfect.

This started a crazy 50 minutes with Simon catching seven fish in as many casts, one 3lb brown trout and six other roach between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 6oz graced his net….. the roach were beautiful, indeed four of the seven roach were over 2lb.Even though one of the lakes massive bream failed to put in an appearance, the roach were a catch of a lifetime, caught in lovely surroundings.

Kind regards

Ben Smeeth

Head of Angling