As I write this rain is beating down and I am optimistic that the long summer drought is well and truly over. Whilst many will be grumbling about the wet summer we have not in truth had much rain so far certainly not enough to bring the rivers up and encourage good numbers of salmon and sea trout into the rivers. Sea trout wise it has not been as bad as last year and a few salmon have trickled in. Bob Lewington fished on the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw and was rewarded with fine salmon of 9lb. A few salmon have also been tempted on the River East Lyn.
( Below) Chay Bloggis has landed a 7lb fresh run salmon from the middle Taw on a Stoats Tail, variant.
The cooler weather is also welcomed by Stillwater Trout Fisheries where the trout do not react well do extra hot conditions.
Pete Tyjas was rewarded whilst searching for silver on the river catching a superb brown trout.
Pete Tyjas “We’ve been hitting the river pretty hard hoping that any small lift might bring some salmon up. Despite our efforts nothing has materialised as yet.
Emma and I popped down this morning just in case and while she fished a pool for salmon I rigged up a single handed rod and decided I’d pull a streamer. At first I thought I’d hooked a grilse but it turned out to be a trout, the sort that I have only really dreamt about catching in Devon. I’m pleased Emma had a salmon net!
I’d love to say that it were perfect conditions for a heavy hatch and rising fish but it wasn’t and I just used what I had to hand.
Blakewell Fishery is due to reopen on Saturday after a short closure to eradicate weed growth for the lake. After restocking with a good head of quality trout sport is likely to be excellent.
Don’t forget here is also the Fun Fishing Lake for the younger anglers and the chance to visit the otter via prearrange appointment. Hope to see as many as possible on August 31st for my book signing event see details at bottom of page.
North Devon’s anglers are shocked, angry and dismayed following news of a major fish kill on the River Mole one of the River Taws main tributaries. Various reports indicate that up 10,000 fish have perished over a 5km stretch including salmon, sea trout and brown trout. Early indications are that the pollution was anaerobic digestate. It is vital that the perpetrators are apprehended and a substantial response is imposed by the Environment Agency. A vast amount of time, effort and energy has been invested in improving the habitat of the Taw and its tributaries and it is heart-breaking that this has been impacted upon so severely by this tragic event. With river levels very low at the time of the pollution impact is likely to be severe with no dilution. Anglers are very often first on the scene and should report any incidents immediately to the Environment Agency via their hotline number 0800 807060. Whilst I seldom comment politically, I do feel saddened that the EA’s funding has been cut over recent years as focus is directed elsewhere. As voters’ anglers should give serious consideration to environmental issues when casting their votes.
I have very fond memories of fishing on the Mole and encounters with sea trout and otters. It is to be hoped that the river recovers from this tragic event. Lessons must be learnt from this to prevent future incidents and it is hoped that the penalty imposed will go some way towards highlighting the need for vigilance.
The rate of decline in West Country Rivers is truly alarming. In the forty years that I have visited the rivers I have seen a dramatic collapse in stocks. Remember that in natural terms forty or fifty years are short spans when you consider the long term evolution of salmon and sea trout. Each generation of anglers relates to their own life beside the water and as a result often fail to comprehend the longer term decline in stocks.
The interviews I conducted in research for my soon to be published book , “I Caught A Glimpse” have brought this home to me. Whilst it would be nice to think that salmon will be running our rivers for future generations; I have my doubts. It is likely that without a huge effort salmon will be non-existent within many West Country Rivers within decades. That this should happen during our watch is shameful.
Jeremy Wade attended the Plough Arts Centre and delivered a fascinating talk about his fishing exploits around the world and the filming of River Monsters, Mighty Rivers, his latest documentary programme Dark Waters and his new book “How to Think Like a Fish”
He enlightened and inspired the captivated audience explaining the structure of the programmes and how the audience are drawn into the mystery and environment of the natural world. The River Monsters series was to a large extent built around a plot of a murder mystery with Jeremy acting as the detective in search of the perpetrator.
He outlined the importance of big predatory fish as apex predators that live at the top of the food chain. The presence of these fish is an indicator of the general health of the underwater environment. In many areas these apex predators are decreasing in numbers a fact that raises deep concern for the future.
His knowledge as a fishery biologist certainly shone through with his deep knowledge of fish behaviour.
Observation to detail is certainly a major factor in being a successful angler and television presenter. He conceded that planning is essential in making successful angling film shows but often proves totally useless on the day as plans unravel due to the un-expected.
He discussed the wider value of angling in society and the invaluable work of the Angling Trust in working for conservation.
Jeremy followed the talk answering a range of questions from the audience with an in depth and considered response that demonstrated a deep understanding of his subject.
The event was hosted by Angling Heritage and River Reads both of which are based in Torrington.
(Below) Jeremy signed copies of his new book for the sixty or so attendees.
After an interval for lunch there was a screening of an episode of Dark-waters that is presently being aired on Sky TV’s Animal Planet.
Note my own book ” I Caught A Glimpse” Is available to Pre-Order at https://thelittleegretpress.co.uk/pre-orders/
With the warm summer weather Stillwater trout fishing is suffering the summer doldrums with trout tending to lurk in the deeper water reluctant to chase anglers flies except perhaps in the early morning or late evening. The rivers are in serious need of a good flush of freshwater so where to take the trout rod?
I had a report from two members of the River Torridge Fishery Association who had visited the lower estuary to enjoy a hectic session with school bass catching a large number on small barbless lures. With warm sunshine forecast a trip to the beach seemed a good plan. Pauline could sit and read a book on the sands whilst I waded out into the warm waters of the lower estuary. In addition to the bass I also had golden grey mullet on my mind and just wondered if I could strike gold after several previous failed attempts?
I after arrived at the waters edge just as the tide started to flood. I had intended to get there a little earlier but had to work out how to put together Paulines beach shelter, the brisk Southerly wind did not help!
The water was surprisingly warm as I walked out and stretched a line across the water. A couple of casts later brought the pleasing tug of a school bass. Several more followed as the tide surged in with the fish seen swirling all around. As the tide pushed in the takes eased off and I decided on a change of tactics fishing two small flies intended for mullet.
Despite the huge numbers of fish present I retrieved my flies without success. I changed tack slightly casting my flies into the shallows and retrieving as slowly as possible. Suddenly the line zipped tight and a fish darted to and fro on the line giving a scrap far out of proportion to its size. I was delighted to see the golden mark that helped identify the fish as a golden grey mullet my first of the species. The next cast and I connected again and the rod bent over with line zipping out as a good fish powered away before the hook pulled! I big golden grey ? I will never know but I will be back. I then discovered that if I dapped the flies lightly on a short line I could catch a bass on every cast. Twenty- five or thirty bass later I walked back up the beach as rain began to fall. Time to watch a bit of cricket to end a fun summers day.
Apologies for the poor pictures it not easy trying to get a pic without dropping phone or fish.
After several years of hard work my book I Caught a Glimpse is available to pre-order from the Little Egret Press. Details of book launch to follow. To place an order please press link below :-
Wayne Thomas has been privileged to enjoy over forty years fishing North Devon’s varied waters enjoying both success and failure. The places and the many people he has met along the way have greatly enriched his journey. In this book he tells stories of North Devon angling along with recollections from others; some from an earlier generation who enjoyed fishing in those good old days.
He has no favourite species of fish and this book reflects this with every discipline of angling represented. From the small crimson spotted trout of tumbling streams and the story of a five pound perch to the huge shark that roam the Atlantic Ocean. AVAILABLE IN THE FOLLOWING EDITIONS
Limited Edition of only 300 copies
Special Edition Hardback of only 30 copies
Quarter Leather Edition of only 10 copies
Luxury Leather Edition of only 5 copies