With fishing off the agenda there is little to report on North Devon Angling news but with everyone at home I wondered if anyone would like to take on a challenge. Several who have read my book, “I Caught A Glimpse” have commented on how it brought back memories of early days at the waters edge and how our paths have been similar.
Its not easy staying at home away from the waters edge so I thought it would be good if a few readers could take half an hour to recall your earliest angling memories from North Devon. If you could send me your contributions via email or messenger ideally with an image I will have a read through and publish. [email protected]
Of course if your at a loose end you could always settle down in garden and read a good book!
I have been privileged to enjoy over forty years fishing North Devon’s varied waters enjoying both success and failure. The places and the many people I have met along the way have greatly enriched the journey and as the years pass I realise that all we ever get is a fleeting glimpse of a period in angling history.
In this book I tell a few of my own stories of North Devon angling along with recollections from others; some from an earlier generation who enjoyed fishing in those good old days.
I have no favourite species of fish just the one I am fishing for at the time and this book reflects this with every discipline of angling represented. From the small crimson spotted trout of tumbling streams to the huge shark that roam the Atlantic Ocean.
Angling is in essence an attempt to reach into a different dimension. Its fascination has for me never ceased and I always believe that the next cast will be the one that connects, that marvellous moment of completed deception. The anglers I have interviewed in writing this book reflect upon past times when they too glimpsed piscatorial events that they enjoyed recalling. Stories of lost fisheries, big fish, record fish of angler’s their attitudes and love of fishing.
I hope that I manage to share and convey the joys of angling in North Devon and provide a glimpse into a century of marvellous fishing.
Just a fleeting glimpse,
Of Memories gone,
A hopeful glimpse of what may come,
When its bitter cold outside its often good to settle down by the fire to read a good book. ” I Caught A Glimpse” has an array of fishing stories from North Devon with all disciplines catered for if your interested check out this review from Dominic Garnett and the comments from my friend Paul French.
I received this email from my friend Paul French who took the book on a cruise.
“We’ve recently returned from a cruise to Norway which provided me with ample time to read your book and what a thoroughly good read it was too! The passion you undoubtably have for this pastime of ours is embodied in the words on each and every page. The part mix of autobiographical and part historical is I believe a unique blende and certainly not something I’ve seen attempted elsewhere. It couldn’t have been an easy project to undertake and metaphorically reading between the lines the reader may understandably not appreciate the hours and days of research you have put into it. You’ve smashed it, all round my kind of book.
In 1986 I remember eagerly collecting my copy of the book ‘Casting at the Sun’ by Christopher Yates. I read the book enthralled from cover to cover as it described angling adventures on mystical lakes where great carp glided through mysterious waters. In my view the book is the best piece of angling literature ever written encompassing much of anglings true essence.
Thirty odd years later Pauline and I set off to listen to a talk by Chris at Pentridge Village hall in Wiltshire.
We left our farmhouse B & B on a wet and misty evening in late November driving through tree lined rural village lanes. On such an evening the sat nav was a welcome guide to our destination. As we entered the village of Pentridge we were guided by signs to Chris Yates that eventually brought us to a chaotic assembly of randomly parked cars.
We entered the village hall that was packed with an audience predominated by men. It was pleasing to see a wide mix of ages with several younger faces smiling enthusiastically as they chatted, swapping tales of a predominantly piscatorial nature. The hall proved the perfect venue with its high ceiling and timeless décor that would I imagine have changed little in recent decades unlike many village halls that have been modernised and sanitised.
This was the third evening talk featuring Chris with each event selling out and raising substantial funds to assist in cancer research. Anglers had travelled from far and wide to listen to the talk with visitors from the Netherlands, South Wales and North Yorkshire to name a few. What entices people to travel so far on a cold wet November night?
Chris arrived receiving a warm welcome from the packed hall and chatted warmly to all signing books and other paraphernalia. Winners of an auction to spend a day fishing with Chris were given special certificates and raffle prizes were announced as those present dug deep into their wallets in the hope of winning a valuable prize.
The event organiser Neil Martin introduced Chris to the audience who immediately adopted a hushed tone of anticipation. And so, the talk began with Chris announcing that he was not sure where the talk would lead. Starting off with his latest passion for marsh harriers Chris delivered a mesmerising talk that flowed easily reminiscing about fishing in rivers and lakes whilst weaving in fascinating stories of ghosts, lost friends and other adventures. The core essence of Chris’s delivery was one of fun, humour and a connection with the natural world.
After a lengthy break with more book signing it was time for the raffle draw with some stunning and memorable prizes on offer. I was delighted to win a Lucky Crucian carp float donated by Chris. A treasured memento of a special night.
The raffle was followed by a fascinating question and answer session between Chris and the audience covering more fishy tales, tactics and ghostly goings on.
And so, the evening drew to a close and we set off into the night our minds swimming with fish and countryside visions. Mr Yates is certainly an antidote to the negativity of this modern world.
Below – My recent book ” I Caught A Glimpse” Is available from – https://thelittleegretpress.co.uk
After what seems like a long journey my book ” I Caught A Glimpse” has finally been published and I am delighted with the end result. The launch day at Blakewell Fishery proved to be an enjoyable event with a good number of local anglers attending to meet with publisher Wayne Cryer from the Little Egret Press and myself. The lush water gardens, pools of swirling trout and tea rooms bathed in bright sunshine proved the perfect setting. There was a steady stream of anglers arriving throughout the event and it was pleasing to see generations of North Devon Anglers mingling and reminiscing with several old friends reunited.
The book will be judged by its readers so I await feed back confident that I have produced a worthwhile tome. There is of course far more that I could have written about and this becomes increasingly obvious as I talk further with the anglers of North Devon.
A big thank you to all of those who attended the book launch from both Wayne Cryer and I.
On a hectic day Pauline and I then attended the Annual River Torridge Dinner at the Half Moon Inn. After a wonderful meal with members of the Association I was pleased to sign a few more copies of “I Caught A Glimpse”. Special thanks must go to Charles Inniss who wrote a foreword to the book and promoted the book enthusiastically to the Torridge Fishery members.
I must of course give a very big thanks to all who assisted me in writing the book for it was by no means a solo effort and those who helped are acknowledged within the book. Though I have to say I have undoubtedly missed a few.
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
River Reads are a specialist angling book shop operating out of Torrington well worth a visit as they carry a vast range of angling books on all disciplines. Here is their latest Newsletter penned by owner Keith Armishaw.
Well, it’s been a while since we wrote the last newsletter, but as the weather is too windy for sea fishing and the local rivers are running like soup and fly only, it seemed the ideal time to sit down and pen a few things that have been happening of late.
I have been continuing to add photographs of books to the site as I think it will aid decision making to be able to see exactly what the book you are after looks like and in what condition it is in. I have just completed the fly tying, fly casting and tackle catalogues having done the fly fishing, coarse fishing (carp, pike etc as well) earlier in the year. I hope you find it of use, and if you have any other ideas that would help, please feel free to e mail us.
Whilst we are on the subject of books, Dominic Garnett who writes a weekly column for Angling Times called in for a chat. He is probably best known for his Fly Fishing for Coarse Fish book, but also promotes the fishing in Devon and Somerset. He dropped off some of his other books – Crooked Lines and Tangles with Pike – which he signed whilst we talked fishing, had a cuppa, and recorded him talking for the Angling Heritage archive which you can now hear on line. We had an interesting time which just flew by.
We have also recently acquired quite a lot of our “Vintage Tackle”. Whilst several cane Hardy rods and reels have been added, we have also now got a great selection of nearly new – in many cases unused – high quality modern tackle too including carbon rods from Sage, Orvis, Sharp, Hardy, Greys etc so if you aren’t an old timer stuck in the mud like me, now is the time to buy your fantastic new tackle at great prices. Also acquired with the rods are reels from Orvis, Bruce & Walker, Hardy, ABU, Snowbee and many more.
If you are looking for any new or antique items, now is the time to peruse the antique tackle section.
Finally, I’m looking forward to our shark fishing sessions in Looe next month followed by what we hope will be an annual trip to British Columbia to fish the Frazer, then on to Vancouver Island after salmon. I went with Hugh Miles last year and we loved every moment so have booked the same again this year. If you fancy an overseas trip with the comfort of home where you can stay in spa hotels for your family, this is THE place to go. You can keep up with all my escapades in the “Diary” section of the website, or get a brief overview on our Facebook page.
Autumn is nearly here and I think this is the best time of year to fish, so get out there and good luck.