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

SOUTH MOLTON ANGLERS – Do their bit planting a few trees

Members of South Molton Angling Club enjoyed a day planting trees close to one of their sections of fishing on the River Bray. In total they planted around 700 trees including oak, willow, birch, alder, hawthorn and holly. The conservation minded gesture was in exchange for increased access to a section of the river following a change in land ownership.

Early Season thoughts beside the river

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Today I cast a line for salmon on the middle Torridge with the river running high and at a good colour there should be a few salmon about and I have read reports of a couple of fish hooked and lost. Catching really did not matter today it was just good to be beside the river and feel the waters flow and cool air. In these worrying times its a great comfort to be beside the river as spring flowers bring a splash of colour and a feeling of normality.

After a winter away from the beat its always interesting to note the changes that have occurred after winter spates tear down the valley. The odd tree has succumbed but overall little has changed. The present situation in the wider world has made me focus on the present far more and today I walked slowly along the bank savouring the familiar spring flowers and birdsong. The pheasants, strutting across the fields, the cooing wood pigeons in the woods, a grey squirrel flitting from branch to branch.

I have been a keen collector of the books of BB and I recalled somewhere in his writings a dark tale of the Village of Faxton abandoned as the  spectre of the Black Death reaped its curse in 1665. “The Country Mans Bedside Book” was published in 1941 during the dark days of World War 2. At the end of the introduction I found this fitting prose.

One day this dark dream will be over, the iron of winter will pass, the village bells ring out again over tranquil meadows and we shall have peace again. When that hour comes let us help to build a saner, simpler world on the one true foundation.

Nature is master of all, there will be wild violets blooming along the sheltered bank whatever we may do, the joyous bird will sing, grass will cover the old scars. In this I find quiet comfort and a pointer to man’s folly. 

‘BB’

Northants, April 1941

It is comforting to look back into history and see that previous generations have been through dark days and that they have passed as these will do. We as anglers are very fortunate to have this connection with nature that can give assurance that all will be well in time.

I leave you with a few images from the waters edge.

( Below)The winter floods have washed away several freshwater pearl mussels. These can live upwards of 100 years and have not bred in the Torridge for many years. It is sad to see these casualties beside the river. https://www.northdevonanglingnews.co.uk/2017/04/28/saving-freshwater-mussels-torridge/

The above pearl mussel shell undoubtedly belonged to a mollusc that started its life somewhere around the time of World War 1 just a couple of years before the last flu pandemic to inflict death and misery across the world. It is sobering to think of this grim history but also perhaps comforting to reflect on all the good times that have happened in this century since this old timer was born in the ever-flowing waters of the Torridge.

River Torridge Postpone AGM as a result of Covid-19

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The River Torridge Fisheries Association have reluctantly had to cancel their AGM that was due to be held at the Half Moon Inn at Sheepwash on April 3rd. The Covid-19 outbreak is causing widespread anguish and will leave a long lasting legacy as it spreads to cause ill health and both social and financial hardship. It is to be hoped that anglers can at least access the waters edge and enjoy a reprieve from the concerning news from around the world.

The latest news from the association can be found on their website –http://www.rivertorridge.org.uk

RIVER TAW FISHERIES ASSOCIATION AGM POSTPONED

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The River Taw Fisheries Association have made the decision to postpone this years AGM that was due to take place at Highbullen Hotel on March 27th  due to ongoing concerns regarding the Coronavirus.

Angling on the whole is not severely impacted upon by the Coronavirus.  Waterside activities in the fresh air are undoubtedly amongst the safest place to be when it comes to Coronavirus. After one of the wettest winters for several decades Devon’s rivers are brimful with water and whilst the first two weeks of the season have been a washout the rivers levels bode well for the coming season. With dryer weather forecast for next week I expect a few anglers to get out and wet a line.

Alistair Blundell ventured onto the lower Torridge and spotted a salmon showing at the tail of the pool. He used his double handed rod to drift a fly across the spot and was rewarded with that delightful connection with a double figure spring salmon. After a few exciting moments the fish managed to shake the hook free in the strong current. The hooking of the fish is a great sign that salmon are in the rivers and as the water level drop there is every project of that most prized spring run salmon.

Wimbleball in fine Spring Form

Mark Jones and his brother enjoyed a cracking day at Wimbleball where Mark boated a personal best rainbow of 8lb and and another fine rainbow of 5lb 10oz.  Marks fish plus another four over 4lb were tempted using dial bach’s and buzzers. Marks brother boated a 5lb rainbow first cast! The venue is certainly providing some superb sport despite the inclement early spring weather.