Spring into Fishing – Get into fishing this April, May and June with FREE fishing from the Angling Trust

The Angling Trust’s Spring into Fishing campaign returns for a fourth year with FREE fishing sessions  to re-awaken your love of the outdoors

Come and Spring into Fishing at free, fun, outdoor activity events for families around the country that are the perfect way to discover the wonderful world of angling. Everybody is welcome, to come and try fishing – whatever your age, ability or experience level.

Never been fishing before? No problem – tackle, bait, instruction and info on fishing clubs and places to go are all included for everyone at Spring into Fishing events.

Already a beginner? Great – come back and continue your introduction to angling, refresh your basic fishing skills this spring and discover some new fishing tips to help progress your angling to the next-level!

Spring into Fishing beginner sessions are quality assured by the Angling Trust to give the best possible experience of fishing to children, families and anybody who wants to find out what you need and where to go fishing. Funded by the Environment Agency and Sport England, Spring into Fishing gives everyone the chance to get outside, try fishing and learn new skills.

Free fishing events like this let you experience first-hand how fun, inexpensive and accessible fishing is, and how it’s good for your wellbeing to get outside next to water and simply tune-in to the peace and quiet of nature.

Spring into Fishing events are happening all over the country from April right through to June at fishing clubs and venues in partnership with friendly, helpful coaches and volunteers who will show you and your children what fishing is all about.

I arrived at Anglers Paradise’s Eldorado Day Ticket complex shortly after the start of the morning session of the 2023 Spring into fishing event. It was a perfect late Spring morning with warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. Wispy white high clouds drifted across the blue sky with the water of the  mixed general lake reflecting the lush green surrounds of the flag Iris and bankside trees.

The vibrancy of the Devon countryside in late May and early June is certainly to be savoured. The lake was surrounded by families sharing in an introduction to the joys and tribulations of fishing. The coaches were certainly in for a busy day as they explained the setting up of tackle to the eager pupils. The brightly coloured wriggling maggots always fascinate children who are often eager to touch and feel the writhing mass within the bait tub.

The coaches set up a selection of tackles some putting out self-hooking leger rigs whilst most opted for the simplicity of pole tackles and float. I always think that the simplicity of float fishing is perfect for beginners. A float offers a point of focus; giving delight in its disappearance and buoyant optimism whilst watched.

I wandered around the lake with my camera chatting with coaches and pupils whilst trying to capture the essence of the day. It is always a joy to witness success as the fish were lifted from the water their jewelled flanks glistening in the sunshine. Beaming smiles abounded as floats dipped frequently during the morning session.

Nick Pack is delighted with a golden rudd

The coaches were kept busy carefully unhooking the fish and explaining the importance of correct handling procedures. The use of unhooking matts, wet hands and correct unhooking tools was explained.

A variety of species were caught including golden rudd, perch, carp and a stunning koi carp of close to 10lb caught by Lewis Jones.

The coaches talked about each fish and pointed out its characteristics, the golden flanks of rudd with scarlet fins, the stripy flanks of perch with their spiky bristling fins and the bronze chain mail flanks of carp.

During my walks around the Lake I caught sight of a bent rod on the cat and carp lake below. I dashed down to witness Paul Hockam land a pleasing catfish. Later in the day his fishing partner Tasha Caunter banked a stunning common carp of 17lb.

The pupils ranged from families who travelled from across the South West to individual anglers rediscovering the joys of angling. I hoped that some of the young would become hooked by the fascination of angling and follow a journey through life enhanced by days in nature that can nurture mental health. It was also good to share the rediscovery of angling with a man who recalled fishing with his Grandad as a child.

Malcolm Saunders

Angling is a passion that can be enjoyed in many different ways. I have commented before how an angling journey can often be plotted with beginners wanting to catch fish, they then wish to catch more fish, bigger fish or maybe more than their fellow angler. At some point they perhaps rediscover the simple of joy of just going fishing.

By the end of the morning session most pupils had caught a fish and hopefully most will want to return to the  water’s edge again.

During the short dinner break between the two session’s I chatted with Dean Asplin Angling Development Manager for the Angling Trust. Dean works with the trust and its volunteer coaches to organise these valuable events at participating fisheries across the country.

The Coaches – Alex Green, Mark Thormycroft, Joe Dietrich, Dan Smedley, Michael Head, Roly Palmer, John Thompson and Zenia Gregorek

Dean told me that they are very busy at present with many eager to sample fishing. Zenia Gregorek of the Anglers Paradise complex is a passionate supporter of the Angling Trust and thanked Dynamite baits and Shakespeare Tackle for their generous support. Anglers Paradise continues to grow and there are many exciting plans for the future that I will continue to share here on North Devon Angling News

Before the afternoon session commenced I called for a quick group photo as another group of budding anglers converged on the water. After the busy morning the fish seemed less inclined to dine and action was less frantic. With coaches having to explain why it is called fishing and not catching.

Despite the slower fishing there were plenty of smiling faces as I departed for home with a camera full of  the days images.


Jack and Joe Cantillon share the joy of catching a fine perch


Lucy Hook with a lovely mirror carp
Jasper Pack with a fine perch
Olivia Nuttall with a golden rudd


Alistair Nuttall with golden rudd

Edward Steward with a fine common carp


Zackery Gibson with a golden rudd
Zenia explains the principles of angling to Scarlet Richards


Ollie Richards with his first fish
Noah and Jacob Carpenter

Anglers Paradise

Angling Trust – Marine – Wyvern Region Open Shore Slapton, South Devon,

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

On the 2nd Jan 2022.

The South West’s first major event in 2022 attracted 111 anglers to the South Hams to fish the annual Angling Trust Wyvern Open Festival, with some competitors traveling from South Wales & the Isle of White, the weather conditions on the day saw a strong, west / south westerly wind with occasional heavy showers for the five hour event.  Whiting, Dogfish, Pouting, flounder, dab, spotted ray & an excellent Small Eyed Ray were caught during the event, 64 competitors returned to the scales with fish to record. The results were announced within half an hour of the close of scales at the Festival Headquarters at the Stokeley Farm Shop.

The main sponsor was Julian Shambrook of Anyfish Anywhere Ltd, a major fishing tackle manufacturer, based in Torquay.  All of the sponsors for the day were thanked for their continuing support each year, also a big thank you to Stokeley for their hospitality & providing an excellent venue.

The worthy winner, was the main sponsor Julian, Julian apart from being our sponsor for the event had fished it for over 30 years but had never won the competition before, he recorded a specimen Whiting of 1.775lb & a  L.S.D. of 2.220lb (207.14%),he was presented with the top prize of £200 cash and the Brixham Bowl. The other tackle prizes were valued at over £800 and were awarded down to 12th place, these were announced by the Chairman of the Wyvern Region Alex Parker, and presented by Julian Shambrook.

The Region promotes the Angling Trust “Take Five” anti litter campaign and encourages all anglers to leave the beaches cleaner than they found them.

The first Twelve Places are as follows:-

First :                              £200                            Brixham Bowl

Julian Shambrook            Torquay                      Whiting           1.775 lb


L.S.D.            2.220 lb                Total: 207.14%


Second                             Pick of the Prize table   & Bideford Cup Cup

Claire Loder                     Newport                      S E Ray           11.245 lb


Whiting           0.965 lb“             Total: 204.91%


Third                               Pick of the Prize table &   Appledore Cup

Tony Honeywell                                                L.S.D.     1.605 lb

Whiting  1.96 lb                           Total:  194.87%


Fourth                             Pick of the Prize table & Sidmouth Cup

Mike Rose                       3 counties                  Whiting   1.37 lb


L.S.D.    2.415lb                           Total:  187.94 %


Fifth                                Pick of the Prize table

Ben Bradstock                 Honiton S.A.C.           Whiting           1.68 lb


L.S.D.            1.85 lb                  Total:  186.00%


Sixth                                Pick of the Prize table

Paul Rohrabaugh             Sidmouth S.A.C.         Whiting           1.705 lb


L.S.D.            1.575lb                     Total:  176.67%


Seventh                           Pick of the Prize table

Dave Lane                       Weymouth AC                                     Whiting          1.485 lb


L.S.D.            1.925lb                     Total:  176.00%


Eighth                             Pick of the Prize table

Marcus Ward                   T&B A.S.A                 Whiting           1.375 lb


L.S.D.            2.045lb                     Total:  173.47%


Ninth                               Pick of the Prize table

Dave Reed                       S.W.A.F.S.A.C           Whiting           1.39 lb


L.S.D.            1.965 lb                   Total:  171.27%


Tenth                               Pick of the Prize table

Mark Barnett                   Kingsbridge S.A.C.    Whiting           1.33 lb


L.S.D.            1.965lb                     Total:  167.27%


Eleventh                          Pick of the Prize table

Darren Newland              Isle of White               Whiting           1.505 lb


L.S.D.            1.67 lb                        Total:  167.14%


Twelfth                            Pick of the Prize table

Nick Snow                                                           Whiting           1.535 lb


L.S.D.             1.60 lb                      Total:  166.34%


Best Team           Team Shield:  ( Team of four anglers, Best fish by each angler)

Team:   Anyfish Anywhere


Rob Marshall

Julian Shambrook

Marcus Ward

Ben Bradstock


Total    394.01%.

 Pool  (best individual species) 


1/   50%   Claire Loder 140.57% Newport

2/   30%   Tony Honeywell 130.67%

3/   20%   Julian Shambrook 118.34% Torquay



Thanks to extensive efforts by the  Angling Trust angling can continue throughout lock-down as an outdoor recreational activity providing anglers only meet up with one other person. This is a common sense approach as individual angling is COVID safe and is recognized as having valuable benefits for participants mental well being. Individual fisheries will continue to implement all relevant guidelines to ensure anglers safety. Match Fishing is unfortunately the inevitable casualty of lockdown but hopefully this can resume next month enabling a little festive cheer.

For full details please visit the Angling Trust Website:- https://anglingtrust.net/covid-19/

Morning at Wimbleballfishery, a great photo capture of the morning mist, thanks to David Hocking…


Looking Good stay Safe and follow the rules.

Winter Trout – Blakewell

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

On a stormy winter day small still-waters can offer the chance of excellent sport with hard fighting winter rainbows. Jeff Pearce and I met up with Dominic Garnett from the Angling Trust and his father John at Blakewell fishery where we hoped to connect with one of the recently stocked specimen brown trout.  Our arrival coinciding with strong winds and heavy showers a full English breakfast in the cafe beside a glowing woodburner was a welcome option and enabled us to chat at length about blogging, photography and the intricacies of fishing. We discussed the most important aspects of a fly. Dominic stressed the importance of a quality hook and its trout attracting features. Whilst I agreed with these vital ingredients I stressed that the most important aspect is that the angler has confidence in the fly or lure.  This generally leads to the angler fishing well keeping the fly in the water instead of constantly searching the fly box for inspiration. Dominic had also brought along his angling mascot the General who often features in Dominic’s musings in the acclaimed Fallon’s Angler magazine.

(Above) Dominic Garnett and the General with Turrall flies!

Eventually the call of the great outdoors became too strong and we ventured out to the lake. To our relief the water was still clear and had not been adversely affected by the torrential rain that turned the nearby river into a raging torrent.

The instant action we had all anticipated did not immediately occur and it was half an hour before Jeff hooked the first trout of the day. A pleasing rainbow a fish that thrives in the cold waters of winter.

Dominic and I had both expected the trout to respond to larger lures with perhaps a touch of colour. The trout had not read the script however and my first two fish and Jeffs were all tempted on small black flies or buzzers.

Many consider winter days to be drab and colourless but this is often far from true as winter sunshine and rainbows illuminated our day bringing pleasing winter vistas.

This was not one of those days when the trout attacked our offerings with gusto this was one of those days when persistance was essential. As the hours passed all too quickly the tally of trout slowly grew with the four of us eventually banking a dozen trout to just over 2lb.

(Above) Dominic Garnett nets a hard fighting Blakewell rainbow


North Devon’s Jon Patten selected to fish for Team GB in World Gig Game Championship

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0
(Above) Jon Patten with a huge 64KG GT caught in Africa

Globe Trotting North Devon angler Jon Patten has been selected by the Angling Trust to represent Team GB within a team of four anglers fishing in the World Big Game Championship’s. They will be fishing in Frontignan, Southern France against 28 teams from around the globe targeting Bluefin tuna and broadbill. Shimano, Sea-Power UK Costa, Reeds Chill-Cheaters, Jims Lures and Veal’s Mail Order sponsor Jon who fishes worldwide. Jon’s wide experience of angling for big game fish will be be a valuable asset for the team. The competitors will be fishing using a technique known as chunking using sardine and herring baits.




Angling Trust Wyvern Region Fisheries and Conservation Report

Angling Trust Wyvern Region Fisheries and Conservation Report

by David Rowe.

The report has been compiled from information obtained where I have a personal involvement and from the various information issued by DEFRA, the Devon & Severn IFCA and the Angling Trust

Devon & Severn IFCA: – The Netting Byelaw Review has been completed and the proposed Byelaw is now in the hands of DEFRA and the Minister for a final decision. The time this part of the process has taken is unacceptable and to date, over nine months has passed between the submission of the completed review and a decision on its introduction. We understand that the lack of DEFRA staff and the Brexit negotiations have been cited as the cause for the delay it does not encourage the IFCA Staff and the voluntary members of the IFCA, who have worked very hard over eighteen months to get to this point.


The next activity to be reviewed is to be hand gathering, which covers some very diverse methods, from removing cockles, mussels etc, and spear fishing to bait gathering. The Marine Bill dictated that we have a fully managed fishery where it is inappropriate to remove large quantities of any species from the sea shore, such as the huge effort placed on the mussel beds in the Exe some years ago without consideration of its effects, we have, to consider every activity within and outside the Protected Areas.


Please do not run away with the idea that the sea anglers or the general public will have draconian measures to contend with, for that is not the aim, but rather to examine the need to introduce measures to protect the whole marine environment from large scale exploitation.


Sea Angling Zones: The three angling zones, two local to us, the Skerries Bank, and the Emerson Wreck in Torbay and in the Bristol Channel at Burnham, Berrow and Brean Beaches continue to be monitored. Since their introduction over two and a half years ago, many checks have been made and anglers interviewed by the IFCA Officers and a review is underway and we await the report which should be available middle 2018. It is expected that the report will show positive results for the angling community and I encourage all who use these areas to cooperate with the IFCA Officers and provide useful information to enable them to record a true picture of the activity within those areas.


You will be aware that the Angling Zones are operated under Codes of Conduct and whilst some have been sceptical about such codes, it is a DEFRA dictate to use codes of conduct wherever possible when management issues are being considered. However, when Codes of Conduct are unsuccessful or unsuitable, for managing an area or fishery, then further legislation may be necessary.

This could happen when the conditions of the codes are not being met, and as I have mentioned in earlier reports, pictures in the press or on social media of huge numbers of plaice caught by anglers from the Skerries Angling Zone, which includes the shoreline, when there is 10 place bag limit per angler per day will invite tougher legislation.

Emerging Live Wrasse Fishery:

At the last Wyvern meeting I reported on the Emerging Wrasse Fishery and the proposals to change the potting permit conditions passed by the IFCA in April, well! the measures are now in place. The wrasse is a very important species for the sea angler and up to now has had little or no value to the commercial sector other than for pot bait in some areas.

The changes to the potting permits to regulate the fishery are: –

A Fully Documented Fishery has been introduced whereby those potting permit holders who wish to engage in the live wrasse pot fishery are required to provide relevant fishery information to the Authority. This information must be provided in two formats and permit holders have to provide fisheries data through daily logbooks, to include the following information:

  1. Date and time of deployment and recovery of each string
  2. Start and end latitude and longitude of each string of pots hauled c. Number of strings fished d. Number of pots per string e. Number of times per day pots are hauled f. Number of each species of wrasse retained on board g. Number of live wrasse supplied direct to Salmon Farm Industry/Agent

This information from each fisherman has already enabled the IFCA to understand the location and level of effort and to provide more detail on the removal of the different species of wrasse and numbers retained. The D&S IFCA officers are undertaking on board catch surveys on a regular basis to observe the total catches and the fishermen are assisting to collect this data collection by allowing D&S IFCA officer on board their vessels.

  1. Pot Limitations A limit on the number of pots per vessel should is set at 120 pots, per permit holder, this would allow a viable fishery to continue at this level and provide greater opportunity for diversification amongst members of the fishing industry.
  2. Marking of Gear: Every pot used for the capture of live wrasse must be marked with a tag, that is issued by D&S IFCA, to allow for identification of the wrasse pots and aid compliance of the effort restrictions.

All strings of wrasse pots to be used to capture live wrasse must be marked with a buoy or dahn, and each buoy or dahn must be marked the letter ‘W’ together with the vessels PLN. To enable the wrasse pots to be identified. And the c. the Strings of pots used for the capture of live wrasse must be used solely for that purpose.

  1. Closed Season:

The period between 1st April and 31st June is closed to the live wrasse pot fishery because the Authority believes that a closed season will protect the spawning stock of each species of wrasse and allow for the sustainability of the stock of each species. A closed season, as a measure of management of the fishery, has been introduced in other live wrasse pot fisheries. From previous studies and research, the dates proposed reflect the main part of the spawning season for all five species and will support the continued sustainability of the fishery.

  1. Minimum and Maximum Conservation Reference Sizes

From information gathered on the biology of the five-wrasse species found in our district and to meet the demands of the Salmon farms, the Authority has introduced the following minimum and maximum conservation reference sizes for each species.

Min and Maximum Conservation Reference Size Rock Cook 120 230mm Goldsinney 120 230mm Corkwing 120 230mm Ballan 150 230mm Cuckoo 150 230mm

The fishery is being fully documented, and the 2017 fishery is well under way and comprises of four boats, all based in Plymouth all small boats some under 25ft, who are prosecuting the fishery catching the smaller wrasse. The Ballan wrasse is being supplied by the Weymouth and Cornish Boats although I suspect some of the Plymouth Sound Ballan’s may be landed in Cornwall, but to date there is no evidence of this. The monitoring is ongoing and in the Spring of next year the IFCA will consider the findings of the officers via their report and decide whether further controls are necessary to manage this new wrasse fishery.

The AT Marine Conservation Group and Devon Wildlife Trust have both launched a campaign to stop all commercial exploitation of the Wrasse, and this may be an admirable ambition supported no doubt by all. However how admirable these incentives are, and however popular with members, a total ban cannot be possible without consideration of the whole available evidence and that is exactly what the D&S IFCA has set out to obtain. If that evidence is strong enough it may well be possible that a total ban could be introduced.

Why introduce a Byelaw and not code of conduct for the management of the Emerging Wrasse Fishery?  I have been asked why the Devon and Severn IFCA decided to go down the road of a byelaw when other IFCA’s elected to introduce a Code of Conduct for the Wrasse fishery. I can answer this by saying that the “Southern IFCA who manage the Weymouth Wrasse Fishery and the Cornish IFCA, both who have had a wrasse fishery within their Districts for at least two years, have not felt it necessary to introduce stronger measures. They do not have the flexible legislative powers to do so because they prefer full byelaws to manage their fisheries.

They could bring in an emergency byelaw, but that only lasts, for I believe six months, when adequate evidence must be produced to warrant such action and collecting evidence of the impact on the fish stocks and the eco system would take time and much longer than 6 months to establish.

The Devon and Severn IFCA, very early in their Byelaw Review which was a direction of the Marine Bill on the creation the IFCAS’s, elected to go down the Permitting Byelaw route to manage fisheries within its District. It was felt that a single byelaw based on each activity, Trawling, Potting, Netting, etc, managed by permit conditions was a flexible, innovative and more effective way of managing its fisheries. The benefits are that whilst it takes forever to introduce a byelaw, ie. it must go through many processes before it is signed off by the Minister as experienced by the netting bylaw mentioned earlier, permit conditions do not. They can be varied provided that pre- laid down conditions are met which include a Risk Assessment of the consequences and full and inclusive consultations with interested parties. Once this has been done as with the case of the Emerging Wrasse Fishery, the permit conditions can be changed and the measures introduced within two months, three as a maximum.

Bass:- In December the EU will consider the BASS management measures for 2018 and already there are calls by the scientists for further measures, and here I am pleased to report that the AT Marine Conservation Committee along with the BASS Society have been very proactive taking the argument to DEFRA and the EU through the European angles Alliance, for tougher controls on the commercial sector whilst insisting that the recreational sector has a fair access to the Bass fishery. However, it is likely that the one bass per angler per day will continue to be a measure used to manage the recreational sector.


Sea Angling 2017

I again encourage sea anglers within the Region to take time to participate in the online study at

www.seaangling.org which runs for the rest of the year and to continue to cooperate with the studies, because if not our lack of participation will be interpreted as being that we are not interested and therefore unimportant. The old saying, you should be in it to win it, comes to mind and if what we have been saying for 25 years and more is correct, “that the recreational Sector deserves better recognition in the management of fisheries”, we must continue to cooperate.