QUAY SPORTS – OPENS ITS DOORS

QUAY SPORTS  – Opened on Saturday, June,26th with its staff greeting over 100 customers.

Chris Connaughton & Nick Cole at Quay Sports

I called into the newly opened Quay Sports conveniently located on the Roundswell Industrial Estate close to Lidl’s and Sainsbury’s. To find an extensive range of tackle to cater for all disciplines and levels of expertise. The company has already established a strong online presence with its Roddarch Tackle label and is expanding to offer an over the counter service for local anglers. Owner Mark Potter is supported by store manager Chris Connaughton who is well known on the local carp scene. Nick Cole is a keen sea angler. Local companies like Lakebed Leads are well represented along with many mainstream brands. One of the benefits of a tackle shop is the increased interaction between anglers with rigs, tactics and locations often hot topics. There is also the advantage of being able to see and handle the available tackle before purchasing.

The shop offers a discount to all blue light emergency service workers. They also produce a guide to fishing for beginners at a cost of 50p with all proceeds going to the Children’s Hospice.

New Fishing Tackle Store for Barnstaple – Quay Sports

North Devons anglers have a new tackle store opening on Saturday, June 26th. Located at Roundswell near Sainsburys it will be a convenient stop off for local anglers. I look forward to visiting in the near future. The recent upsurge in angling participation following the COVID outbreak will hopefully ensure that this and other local angling outlets prosper.

I spoke with Chris Connaughton (Above) Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity. Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity.( Above) a well known local carp angler who works at the store and is excited by this exciting new development that caters for all disciplines.

Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity.

Fishing Amidst Summers Splendour at Wimbleball

It was always likely to be a challenging days fishing with a hot sunny day forecast requiring the packing of sun cream and plenty of water. The drive to Wimbleball was a delight with Exmoor in full summer splendour. Bright yellow buttercups and the delicate white flowers of cow parsley lined the roadside and the trees were close to being in full leaf.

I met up with Matt Kingdon at Wimbleball’s  boat jetty at 9.00am, we were fishing in South Molton Angling Clubs annual visit to the fishery where members hoped to catch a fish that could win the Mac Trophy.

Matt had fished the venue a few days earlier and enjoyed good sport using sinking lines and brightly coloured blobs and boobies. With warm sunshine we hoped that the fish might start to feast upon the brown beetles that were present in good numbers.

During early season I am happy to fish Wimbleball from the bank where fish can generally be tempted using buzzer tactics or lures on long leaders. As summer progresses access to deeper water can be beneficial and the ability to search the vast acreage becomes a distinct advantage.

We headed to Cowmoor for our first drifts searching previously productive areas with bright blobs and boobies. The first half an hour brought no action despite covering plenty of water as we set up different drifts.

We moved to the far end of the bay and found a few fish rising prompting a change to floating lines. Half an hour casting beetle patterns at rising fish resulted in a handsome wild brown trout of around 1lb.

With fish hard to find and less fish rising we decided to head for the tree shrouded Upton Arm. We pushed up into the far end of the Upton Arm with its steep wooded banks giving an almost Amazon jungle atmosphere as a hot sun beat down and thousands of small roach massed in amongst the tree branches.

We worked our way out through the Upton Arm at times frustrated by the cyclonic wind that dropped away and veered frequently in direction. Matt was first to succeed hooking a rainbow of around 3lb that as always gave a spirited tussle.

We persevered in the Upton Arm and Matt had a few follows and added another rainbow to his tally. My flies remained untouched as I fished hard and expectantly, a rainbow did follow my flies to the surface actually leaving the water as I lifted and taking a nip at the point fly as it dived back into the depths.

Perhaps we should have stayed in the Upton Arm instead of moving on? But move we did, back to Cowmoor and then to search Rugg’s and Bessom’s for a while before returning to Cowmoor for the Final effort.

We found fellow club members Ed Rands and Steve Bendle anchored up and reporting that they had found a few fish including a stunning 6lb 8oz rainbow to Steve’s rod.

We commenced a search close by and once again Matt was in action with hard fighting rainbows and a beautiful wild brown trout.

Suddenly my line zipped delightfully tight as a 3lb rainbow hit my yellow blob to give a hard battle before succumbing.

We fished on for a while having several last drifts before eventually deciding we had had enough.

It had been a hard day’s fishing beneath a cloudless sky. Sunseekers and water-sports enthusiasts were present in large numbers but there is room for all on Wimbleballs vast acreage.

We observed how natures calendar seems to be running slightly late with may blossom still in full flower in mid-June as foxgloves bloom. Sometimes a hard day’s fishing such as this is just as enjoyable as an action filled day when the fish come easy. Is there a better place to be than bobbing about in a boat beneath a blue sky amidst Exmoor’s pristine summer landscape?

Double figure Taw sea trout

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Richard Nickell co-owner of Blakewell Fishery followed up recent successes with salmon and Twaite Shad tempting this stunning sea trout estimated at 10lb 8oz.

As the rivers drop back after the recent summer spate sea trout will provide exciting fishing for the nocturnal fly fisher.

Salmon numbers after the big summer spate have been disappointing with around half a dozen reported from both Taw and Torridge. This could be as a result of reduced fishing effort from the ongoing COVID crisis or possibly as a result of the salmon run being well spread after the prolonged spate.

Moments

A gentle South Westerly breeze and broken cloud are perfect conditions for fishing. With Low water at 7.00am I headed for the coast armed with the trusty lure rod. The sea was calm with a moderate swell caressing the shoreline. Water clarity was good with minimal amounts of weed present in the shallow rocky water. I felt confident from the first cast expecting a take at any moment. I watched the lure intently upon each retrieve hoping to see that shadow intercepting my pulsing soft plastic. The tide pushed in and my favourite taking places passed over. A slight knock at the lure gave encouragement to persist.

The sea air, calm conditions and a pleasing backdrop made the whole experience enjoyable as I followed the edge of the incoming tide. I changed to a bright green Mega bass lure and second cast there came that pleasing jolt as a bass hit the lure hard. A brief tussle in water less than a foot deep followed and a silver flanked bass was briefly admired before being carefully released. That moment of success is etched upon the mind and encourages future casts.

Later in the day I get an offer to fish a mid Torridge beat. With the river still at a good height and colour how can I resist this kind offer? I fish the beat with care covering each known lie in expectation. A wild brown trout of just over a pound seizes my fly and gives a brief tussle.

I walk to the top of the beat and wade out into the river working a line out across the river and searching one of my favourite runs.

Shafts of evening sunlight penetrate the tree canopy illuminating a world populated by thousands of flies dancing and darting above the water including a few mayflies. I glimpse a movement on the far and bank watch mesmerised as a stoat scurries quickly along the top of the bank totally unaware of me watching from my position waist deep in the cool river. I pause briefly until the stoat disappears and then resume with a swish of the rod watching the line unfurl, the fly alighting inches from the far bank. A kingfisher flashes past iridescent blue.

The line draws tight and there is life pulsating at its end. I keep it tight as a fish surges up river before erupting from the water. It’s a sea trout of perhaps a pound and a half. I draw it towards me and it flips free, I reckon it still counts as a catch and release prize!

Such moments accumulate in an anglers life painting a picture that is etched upon the mind.  These memories draw you back to the waters edge time and time again and perhaps they even give a place to retreat to when things in life are not how we would wish.

Rare Twaite Shad caught on the Mole

Richard Nickell co owner of Blakewell Fishery kindly sent North Devon Angling News a picture of a twaite shad caught whilst fishing for salmon on the River Mole a tributary of the River Taw. The twaite shad is a migratory fish that resembles a herring and run freshwater rivers to breed during late spring. The fish have declined greatly over recent decades with ever decreasing reports of captures in the West Country. The River Wye and Severn still have good runs each year that run into top of the the Bristol Channel.

(Below) Twaite shad caught from the River Wye

James Thomas with a shad from the Wye

It is to be hoped that Richards catch is evidence that a population are still hanging on in the River Taw.

Another migratory fish that enters North Devons river is the sea lamprey an eel like fish that can grow to almost a metre in length. The fish excavate pits amongst stones where they spawn the adults dying shortly afterwards.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

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May 2021

All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid-19 restrictions, in line with the Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing, the on-site permit huts are still not yet open, so day tickets, season tickets, and boats should be pre-booked online (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing).

Fishing:

Kennick – The water continues to warm up, although strong, cold winds and one of the wettest Mays on record have meant that this is a slow process, and fishing on some days has been challenging. In spite of this, anglers from both bank and boat have enjoyed some excellent sport, averaging just over three fish per rod (mainly rainbows, along with a few browns). There have been plenty of buzzer hatches, and when these occur, the fish tend to lie in shallow water taking buzzer patterns just under the surface; otherwise, fish tend to be feeding 10-12’ below the surface. In addition to buzzer patterns, other successful flies included Diawl Bachs, Damsel Nymphs, or deeper fished lures (such as Orange Blobs, Cormorants, and Cats Whiskers). Fish were well spread out, with anglers catching well at Clampitts Bay, Oak Tree Point, and off the Lawns, with boats also picking up fish in Boat Bay. Plenty of decent bags were caught, including a bag of ten fish caught by Geoff V, nine rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Matt B, ten rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Malcome Ure, and nine fish to 3lb caught by James H. David B caught the best fish early in the month – a 4lb rainbow.

Siblyback – Stocky Bay, Crylla, and Two Meadows proved to be the best locations, with rods averaging 3.3 fish per rod. Floating lines with a slow retrieve proved to be the most effective method, with fish often taking just below the surface. Successful patterns included Montanas, Black Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, and Damsels, with the occasional fish coming up to take a Beetle, Sedge, or Black Gnat; otherwise pulled lures (Green Baby Doll, Viva, or Appetiser) caught fish in deeper water. George H caught five rainbows to 4lb in an evening session using Back Sedges and Bibios, while Al L caught a bag of 8 rainbows.

Burrator – Another great month’s fishing at Burrator in spite of the weather, with anglers averaging 4.5 fish per rod. The best locations were Longstone, Pines Bay, Pig Trough, and Sheepstor. Fish have been well distributed throughout the water column, with anglers catching on floating, intermediate, and sinking lines, usually with a slow retrieve. With occasional fish moving on the surface, dry patterns (including Foam-backed Beetles and Sedges) have met with some success, although nymphs (Diawl Back, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damsel, and Montana nymphs) and deeper fished lures (Cormorant, Cats Whisker, and Kennick Killer) have proved the most effective. Better bags included nine rainbows, caught by Alan J; six rainbows to 4lb; and Simon Jeffries catching a ‘full house’ of five rainbows, three browns, and a blue in one session.

Stithians – With plenty of surface activity (especially in the evenings) and terrestrials being blown onto the water, floating lines and dry patterns (Foam-Head Hoppers and Hawthornes in particular) have been producing some exciting sport, with some decent bags of fish up to 2lb 4oz. Nymph patterns (Hares Ear, Montana, Diawl Bach, and Buzzer) and Lures (Viva, Cormorant, Kennick Killer) have both worked well with the deeper feeding fish. Fish are well spread out around the water, with anglers reporting a variety of successful locations (including Yellowort, Pipe Bay, Mossops, and Carnmenellis).

Colliford – Weather conditions have played a crucial part in the sport at Colliford this month, when a sudden change (such as a change of wind direction, cloud cover, or rain) has killed off what had started as a promising day’s sport of feeding fish and surface activity. Nevertheless, slow retrieved nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, and Crunchers) on floating lines worked well for roving anglers, and when conditions permitted, a Dry Sedge or Bob’s Bits brought fish up to the surface. Successful locations included Hut Bay, the Dam area, and Browngelly Bay.

Fernworthy – In spite of the challenging weather conditions, anglers averaged three fish per rod in May, on either sub-surface nymph patterns (Damsels, Black and Peacock Spider, and Hares Ear) or, as there have been good hatches, with plenty of fish moving on the surface, small dries (Black Gnats in particular) fished on the surface letting the wind take the fly naturally; fish have also been rising to take a twitched sedge pattern. The most popular and successful location has been the bank near the permit hut, with anglers finding fish while fishing the margins. The better bags included eleven fish caught by Andrew G, and eight fish caught by Stuart M.

Roadford – Rods averaged around four fish per rod over the month, and while fish are well spread out around the lake, Big Oaks, Grinnacombe, and Goodacre Bay are worth a mention, with both boat and bank anglers catching fish. The trout are present throughout the water column, and are being caught on floating, intermediate, and sinking lines with a wide variety of patterns, from dry Hawthornes to a selection of nymphs (Pheasant Tails, Orange Buzzers, Montanas, and Damsels), and deeper-fished lures (Tadpoles and Woolly Buggers) – all with a slow pull retrieve. Notable bags included eight browns to 12” caught by Ian S, seven fish to 1lb 8oz caught by Duncan Kier, and five browns caught by Gary Stickland.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) for the latest Covid-19 updates, as well as details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

Chris Hall (May 2021)

 

FINE SILVER SPRINGER

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Richard Nickell took a break from Blakewell fishery duties and tempted a superb fresh run springer estimated at 13lb+ from a River Taw beat. Both the Taw and Torridge are fining down nicely and as the fish settle into their familiar lies anglers will hope to tempt a few salmon and sea trout.

Salmon and Trout Conservation are running a campaign for a Parliamentary Petition;  “Give the Environment Agency the funds and freedom to protect English rivers”

Freshwater habitats- rivers, lakes and streams and all their associated wildlife need your help.

We are asking you to sign, and share as widely as you can, Salmon & Trout Conservation’s Parliamentary Petition “Give the Environment Agency the funds and freedom to protect English rivers”.

Please sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/586378

The Environment Agency needs to be shorn of Government directions to put the economy before the environment and it needs the funding to enforce existing legislation without fear or favour. Our report “Doing its Job exposed its lamentable failure to protect our rivers and their wildlife. We want your support to give the EA the mandate and money to stop the decline.

We need 100,000 signatures to get a debate in Parliament and have until 24 November to achieve our target. It is a big ask but with your help we can do it.

Wimbleball Hardest Fighting trout in the West?

Late May is undoubtedly the best time to be in the English Countryside as natures lush greenery takes on that fresh vivid green hue that lasts a few fleeting weeks. The country lanes are lined with delicate white cow parsley and an abundance of late spring and early summer flowers.

Pauline and I were taking a short break on Exmoor. I was indulging in a few hours fishing at Wimbleball whilst Pauline relaxed in the sunshine and wielded the camera to capture a few images.

We arrived at the lake close to midday and set up beneath a bright blue sky as a cool breeze ruffled the lakes surface. I was surprised to see very little surface activity but elected to set up a floating line as I thought the trout would be likely to be in the upper layers.

The lake had risen several feet since my previous visit a fortnight ago as a result of persistent rainfall. I fished a team of three flies on a 12ft leader using a Montana on the point and two buzzers on the droppers. After twenty minutes without a pull, I changed to an olive damsel on the point and speeded up the retrieve. This brought an immediate response with a small wild brownie coming adrift after a brief tussle.

After a short  coffee break I again changed tactics extending the leader around four feet and tying a bead headed buzzer to the point, a diawl bach to the middle dropper and a bright yellow blob to the top dropper. I cast this out and fished a very slow retrieve just keeping the line tight and watching the tip for movement.

After five minutes the line zipped tight and a rainbow erupted from the surface in a flurry of spray the reel singing as line evaporated through the rings. A handsome full tailed rainbow was eventually netted and admired.

The next three hours saw me bank five more trout to over five pounds all of them giving thrilling battles in the clear water. It was satisfying to have once again found the right tactics for the day which is after all what this wonderful game is all about.

We packed up late afternoon and headed to the George Inn at Brompton Regis that is now in the capable hands of Trudi and Mark Underhill. This delightful historical country Inn oozes history and has been carefully renovated to retain its character. Our large room looked out over a splendid Exmoor landscape as swifts and swallows swooped around this peaceful quintessential English village.

Several other anglers were enjoying an ale in the beer garden when we arrived and chatted enthusiastically about rainbow trout that took them to the backing as they drifted the lake on one of the  Wimbleball fleet of boats.

We finished our day with a delicious meal in the busy bar relishing the sounds of laughter and chat after months of pandemic induced silence.

The combination of stunning fishing for some of the hardest fighting rainbows in the West and superb accommodation close by will I am sure prove very popular over the coming seasons.