FUN IN THE ESTUARY

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.

Significant Fish Kill on the The River Mole

There has been a significant pollution incident on a section of the River Mole and Molland Yeo with large numbers of fish killed including salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout. This devastating news come after significant investment over the last decade to improve the habitat with the River Taw Fishery Association, West Country Rivers Trust all working with the Environment Agency. The situation is magnified by the current low river levels that do not dilute any pollutants.
As soon as I get more information I will update.
“The incident is a Cat 1 Pollution incident involving a significant fish kill resulting from some form of slurry run off. Some 3 kms (min) of the Upper Mole from the junction of the Mole and Molland Yeo upstream have been very seriously affected. There may have been a total fish kill on this stretch of river.”
Salmon and sea trout fishing in North Devons Rivers has declined considerably over the past thirty years and I give illustrations of this in my book “I Caught a Glimpse” due for release later this month.

Club Record Gilthead bream

Combe Martin SAC member Robin  Bond fished a mark in the lower Taw estuary and landed a new club record gilt head bream scaling 5lb. These hard fighting fish are being caught on a far more regular basis in recent seasons a possible result of climate change? During the eighties these fish were tempted from South Devon marks and seemed to begin to populate Cornish marks as the seasons progressed. They are now caught a across the South West, South Wales and from Southern Ireland and beyond.

Bideford Evening Coarse Match

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Bideford Angling Clubs Evening [email protected] Tarka Swims Results

1st Kevin Shears 9lb 4oz

2nd Martin Turner 6lb 5oz

3rd lan Owen 1lb 15 oz

4th Pete Slade 1lb 10oz

Junior winner Thomas Scott  1lb 1oz

19 fished.

Conditions were cool and overcast for this, the 5th match in the series. Kevin fished the pole at 9 metres with maggot over groundbait for a nice net of roach and bream on peg O for victory. Martin’s 2nd place net was also taken on the pole on the nextdoor peg to the winner, lan landed a single skimmer and a couple of small fish for 3rd. Pete lost a large carp but his net of silvers has kept him in the points.

Huss wins spring rover – Club record turbot

Kevin Legge took top spot in Combe Martin SAC’s Spring Rover landing a specimen bull huss of 10lb 15oz. Mark Jones took the runner up spot with a new club shore record turbot scaling 4lb 4oz.Mark also took third place with a bass of 5lb 2oz. Members also landed numerous dogfish and several pollock fishing on a boat off Ilfracombe.

(Above) Combe Martin Club Record – Shore Caught turbot 4lb 4oz

Good Friday Trout Fishing

April has to be one of my favourite months to target reservoir trout with that vibrancy of new life all around. Having enjoyed a good day at Wimbleball a few weeks ago I was keen to return and hopeful that with warm temperatures forecast there would be the chance of catching fish on the floating line.

This was to be a short session during the middle of the day with a catch and release ticket. Pauline would enjoy a well deserved rest with a good book whilst I waded out into the cool water. The drive across Exmoor proved to be an enjoyable experience with a stop off at Wheddon Cross to enjoy a Croissant and a hot coffee.

On arrival at Wimbleball it was clear that the holiday season had kicked off with families enjoying the warn sunshine, picnicking, floating about on the lake and generally having fun.

After checking into the ticket office and gleaning information from the catch returns it was time to head off and find a peaceful area of the lake away from the crowds. There is plenty of space at Wimbleball for everyone to do their thing. The information board in the ticket office indicated that some very good trout had been coming out to a variety of flies but that when the sun was out the fish tended to go down and become difficult to tempt.

We parked up past Bessoms Bridge and headed for the shallows where Jeff Pearce and I had enjoyed good sport a couple of weeks back.

I put down the tackle and surveyed the scenery. The lake stretched out before us sunlight twinkling on the ripples whilst a few swallows, swooped past and a butterfly fluttered in the light breeze. It was an idyllic spring day and with a warm sun and light breeze I was confident that the trout would be up in the water despite no signs of fish rising.

I waded out in to the crystal clear water and worked out a length of line to place a team of three flies. On the point a Montana, a buzzer and a Zulu on the droppers. I soon settled into that rhythmic routine of casting and retrieving. Birdsong, the call of toads and the sounds of people enjoying the day drifted across the water. My eyes searched the lake for feeding fish, my chilled fingers retrieving the line in slowly with the expectancy of that pleasing tug through the line.

After ten minutes or so the line pulled delightfully tight and a trout cartwheeled on a tight line before shedding the hook. That connection however brief always gives faith that the tactics will work and allows fishing to continue with conviction. It wasn’t too long before another trout was deceived and this time the barbless hook held firm. The trout was not to be easily subdued and threatened to strip line to the backing on several strong runs. After a couple of minutes the fish was ready for the net. A fin perfect rainbow of between four and five pounds.

As the afternoon approached I was pleased to hear the pleasing sound of trout rising. Several fish could be seen breaking the surface just out of casting range. After losing a couple of fish I eventually connected again and another stunning battle a rainbow of over four pounds was admired.

Pauline was called upon to briefly put down her book and capture the moments.

As the afternoon grew late it was unfortunately time to leave with other engagements looming away from the pleasing shores of this splendid lake. As other anglers passed by we chatted and exchanged notes. Several anglers had also enjoyed success and carried nets of weighty looking rainbows. As we walked back towards the car two anglers were fishing in the bay and one of them had hooked into a fine rainbow and was netting it as we approached. Yet another pristine full tailed rainbow of exactly 5lb was held up for the camera by captor Steve Essery who later informed me that he had finished his day with four fine trout scaling 2lb 4oz, 3lb 8oz and 3lb 10oz. His fishing companion had also enjoyed success ending with his five fish limit bag. He commented that it was great to see the fishery turned around under Mark Underhill’s management.

Wimbleball offers a superb trout fishing experience its not always easy but the fish are full tailed and hard fighting with the catch and release option working well. As the summer approaches it may well be worthwhile taking the option of a boat to cover more water. Summer evenings will I am sure provide some exciting sport from both bank and shore with free rising trout.

South West Fly Fair 2019

South West Lakes Trust once again hosted the Annual South West Fly Fair at Roadford Lake. This popular fixture in the Fly Fishers Calendar is sponsored by Turrall and Cortland and attracted a good number of Fly Fishing Enthusiast’s despite gale force winds and an unfortunate clash with the Six nations Rugby.

Casting, cooking and Fly Tying demonstrations entertained the audience with numerous trade stands offering an array of flies, clothing, tackle and art. Conservation was high on the agenda with Westcountry Rivers Trust, Wild Trout Trust and South West lakes highlighting the issue of Invasive species. Fixtures like this are vital in bringing anglers together to share in enthusiasm for the coming months. A poster declared that; “Time is Precious Spend it Fishing”; wise advice in these turbulent times.

(Below) Charles Jardine always puts on a great demonstration of Fly Casting manipulating the fly Line effortlessly even when faced with gale force winds that would ensure certain tangles for the average angler.

( Below) In the warmth of the Fly Tying lounge a wide range of flies and lures were tied up to trick the wariest of fish.

In the Main Hall anglers mingled rekindling friendships and waxing lyrical about days at the waters edge both close to home and far away. Stands included Second Hand Tackle, Dry Fly Powder, Arundel Arms,  Homeleigh Angling Centre, Invasive Species, Turrall and Cortland, Snowbee UK, West Country Rivers Trust, Luke Bannister Split Cane Rods, Rawson Fly Rods, Robin Armstrong, Wild Trout Trust, Upper Teign Fishing Club, Crediton Fishing Club, SWLT, Virtual Nymph and Milemead Trout Farm were amongst those in attendance.

(below) Raising awareness of Invasive species.

(Below) Robin Armstrong with some of his works of art.

(Below) Ben Smeeth observes as Gary Champion gives a fascinating cooking demonstration explaining the method of marinating trout in lime with garlic and ginger – Ceviche is I believe the term. The resulting trout tasted delicious ; an ideal starter to try on friends.

(Below) West Country Based Snowbee UK

(Below) An array of flies from West Country Fly Firm Turrall

http://www.swlakesfishing.co.uk