Its time for specimen mullet

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Grey mullet fishing can be excellent from now right through into the winter months. Those prepared to adopt a little finesse can enjoy some battles with these hard fighting fish.

James Gugg Fradgley tempted this fine specimen of 5lb 1oz whilst fishing a popular North Devon mark. Dan Welch also enjoyed success with the species catching two fish from different marks on consecutive evenings the biggest scaling 3lb 13oz.

Another picture on the wall

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Stuart Taylor  caught a fine 10lb 2oz bass from a North Devon shore mark and registered the fish at  Summerlands Tackle shop, Westward Ho ! . Stuart had already had a photo on the shop wall with a bass caught in his whilst in his twenties. Heather at Summerlands said “it was nice to have another photo to put up… If you are keeping a bass to eat and it is photo worthy we would love to see it and photo you with it…”

Bass on the lure

With a boat trip off Ilfracombe cancelled due to a brisk wind I decided upon a short session with the lure rod in the hope of a bass. I timed my arrival at the mark two hours after low water as the flooding tide pushed over the shallow boulder strewn shoreline. The shallow water was a little murky with more suspended weed than I would like but if the lure can be presented I felt sure bass would be there. I had a Megabass spindle worm clipped the end of my line from the previous trip in similar conditions. This lure is weedless and can be fished nice and slowly in the snaggiest of water without fear of losing tackle.

5lb bass

I started searching the water close in where weed was not so prevalent and after a couple of casts there was a  swirl and knock as a bass snatched at the lure. The next ten minutes were non eventful as I peached the mark carefully. A cast to an area of slightly clearer water brought a big swirl and an all too brief encounter.

My confidence was now high and as the tide pushed in my confidence grew. I followed the edge of the tide up and was rewarded as a bass hit the lure with thump. Line was ripped from the reel and the thin braid burnt my finger as I applied heavy pressure as the fish thrashed about in the weed. After a spirited tussle the bass was secured and at around 5lb despatched to take home for tea. I only take the occasional fish for the table returning any fish over 7lb and any under 4lb. Pan fried bass fillets are delicious!

5lb bass

I continued to search the shallow water and  enjoyed another spited tussle with another bass of identical size that was slipped back into the shallow water. The fish swam strongly away and  I hope to encounter the fish again in ten years time when it will perhaps be a double.

LITTER – A BIG PROBLEM

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I used to fish with Tim Tanton on a frequent basis years ago when he was a keen sea angler and member of the Combe Martin SAC and have kept in touch from time to time via Facebook. I know that Tim like myself has strong views on the importance of the environment so when I saw  a post regarding  litter and in particular angling related litter I asked Tim if he would write an article for North Devon Angling News and I hoped his words would carry more weight than mine. I have had previous rants about litter and have joined in with beach cleans and inspired angling clubs to organise their own. I do not believe that anglers are worse than others in society but I know that a significant number of anglers seem to have little or no respect for the beautiful coastline they visit. I cannot understand how anyone can find it acceptable to intentionally leave litter. The occasional loss of tackle to snags is inevitable and I am sure we have all had that moment when the wind catches a bait wrapper or something and blows it out of reach into the sea. The litter we see on the coastline on a regular basis is not accidental its just pure ignorance and a selfish disregard for the coastline its wildlife and those of us who want to visit and fish a pristine and wild landscape.
Many thanks to Tim for writing and providing images to illustrate his view of the litter that blights our coast. The litter issue is indefensible and it loses fishing and give angling a very bad name.
Most of the images below were taken in the vicinity of one popular North Devon Rock Mark!

Tim Tanton – Litter 

There has always been a rubbish problem during the summer months in our beautiful part of the world ….. the South West! It’s a tourist area, and attracts people from all over the world. Not that it can be all blamed on tourists, as to be honest, we all know there are local elements that have total disregard for their surroundings. The area has many attractions that are linked to the Ocean. My interests lying with surfing, sea fishing, kayaking, rock climbing, and general walking and coasteering, along the rugged North Devon and North Cornwall coast line.
Alas our infrastructure doesn’t grow, but it does have a massive spike in population through the summer, that now extends into the weekends through the winter.
Not sure if it’s ever been that bad though. The lockdown! Covid-19?
A recent trip out for a walk, along a part of the coast that I have fished, surfed, swam, snorkelled, climbed etc, saw me kneel down and weep. For at the bottom of a rope, down a cliff face, that to be honest, we never used a rope on ourselves, when younger, I found carnage! Smashed bottles scattered across the rocks, empty beer cans, used towels, a pair of trainers, used cutlery and bbq trays. The worst of it though was the molten plastic, the burnt tent that was half buried.
One may possibly think it was due to the fact that nightclubs and pubs were closed. People are having their own parties, and it seems they are using the tucked away beauty spots. Actually unsure as to whether it’s a party, or a group of anglers camping out! They were good tides and conditions for fishing for sure.
These culprits were surely obviously old enough to drive, park up, and walk down over the cliff, and to set up a tent, have a bbq, drink, smoke and then smash the bottles over the rocks and make a fire to burn the tent, and then cover a lot of the remains! A deliberate act. No way should excuses be made. A young child knows the dangers of broken glass. This isn’t in-depth environmental education, or health and safety, this is basic risk to others. Basic right and wrong. This is downright lazy selfish behaviour. There are no reasons to make excuses for their actions. Blatant disregard. Visitors or locals, it doesn’t matter. It should be policed, and they should be punished. For some punishment works, for others education and punishment. Generally I found that through the summer months the fishing spots were dumping grounds of human faeces and rubbish. Cheap fishing tackle and junk food wrappers. No common sense …… we’ve become too soft and liberal. So easy to make excuses for them
The burning of disposable tents etc is new for me, and a blight on our oceans and planet.
Mass production of cheap items that are used at the beach are a huge problem, as seen with bodyboards.
And this new trend of burning and burying is such a risk to wildlife and children, and also adults.
I’m a tad old, and there was neither the disposable income, or the actual products to cause such a mess. Everything was made to last, and people and children, had to look after their things, as there wasn’t the money to buy again.
Society has surely changed. We no longer are a country of design, manufacture and production like before, but of importing cheap toxic goods from China, and similar countries of mass production. Plastic everywhere, not wood and metal that could be repaired easily, or treated with linseed oil, or repainted, or basically just washed clean of salt water.
So many more small plastic items . . . . Gimmicks of angling! Traces are like Blackpool illuminations or Christmas trees! On rugged ground, where do they end up?
I grew up in tune with respect for Mother Nature, as did so many of my friends. We were always outside embracing what it had to offer. We were taught to bring our rubbish home. A different world for sure. I believe we were very fortunate. We definitely had less, so there was less packaging, and less to throw away! True, not all those of my generation were the same.
Covid-19 has created a different mentality. One we hoped would change people to understand the importance of love, care and kindness to our fellow man, and to the planet as a whole. Alas, it appears for many, it’s gone the opposite way. Selfish, entitled, lazy, disrespectful etc
The lockdown for sure saw so many benefits. Think of all the wildlife that were venturing into the villages, and to places they probably existed hugely, before man built more and more second and third homes for holidays!!!!!!!!
All have an impact on how some now see the south west and other beauty spots. It’s a throw away. Been there, trashed that……. next place and so on. It’s world wide on rubbish but when one visits some other countries, it is way less so. Yes, facilities are both better and cheaper, and rubbish less …….. but then looking around, quite often the density of people is way less.
I’m seriously tempted to remove the rope at Saunton, as it only encourages this wanted destruction and pollution of our seas. The metal stake has rusted through, and now someone has tied the rope to a rotten wooden post. The farmer must be sick of the damage by anglers. They’re also doing the same at the last layby at Downend. I met two anglers whilst there, as they climbed down over. One had never been there, the other only twice. They came at the wrong state of tide, no bait, no idea, and didn’t offer to help clean up. The selfish entitled cover all walks of life. I don’t have the heart to ignore the damage and destruction. So many anglers are ignorant. I’m finding more and more elastic thread. This stuff is a nightmare. A full spool is endless as it wraps in weed, debris, rocks, and then wildlife! It’s not ocean friendly and is a killer to marine life. I don’t have the heart to fish much these days, due to what I am seeing. Anglers focus catch and release, but obviously don’t highlight the lost line, and tackle that litters the seabed, or the bottom of lakes and rivers. Things need to change.
I spend my life cleaning up after others, rather than fishing and walking.
Saunton carpark on the first day of opening was rammed. And, no toilets! Hundreds of cars equate to a lot of people, and a lot of human waste, along with their general waste
Just a note! People were parking up, and camping out everywhere. Way before they were officially allowed to. Campervans and van rental places are not apparently concerned about renting out at this time. With no camp sites open, and minimal rubbish facilities, including recycling centres, that are closed to vans! I guess people just saw it as a free for all
The mentality is obviously not focused on our planet. And I’m seeing numerous middle and older ages couples parking up! Whilst many younger adults are in smaller cars with tents parking up and camping in any green space or sand they can find 🙄
Oh for sure, it’s not just anglers. Much of it is young people. There is the vanlife element too. Cheap imported throw away tents etc. Where to you start and finish. And also without any element of racism, Eastern European and Asian. It’s is also locals and visitors. Poorly educated or middle class, it’s across the board. It’s all too easy now.
Way too much plastic involved in fishing rigs. 
Apologies for any intrusion but the masses appear to think they are entitled to visit, and if services and resources not provided, tough ……. not their problem. Many won’t return to see the damage they cause. I could go on, but I would get very non pc ………
An example in Sri Lanka, more people arrested for breaking curfew than people testing positive for Covid-19
The reaction of some to my recent Instagram post, was of making excuses for those that smashed and burnt the items
Quotes like, they probably haven’t been taught at school that it’s wrong. That they’ve not been educated. Unbelievable some people. I had another prospective sponsor but I’m feeling I’ve lost him, through his belief that it’s not their fault! Ffs!
Alas we are now having generations of entitled that pass it down, and then the good start feeling oppressed by it all, and then say ‘feck it’, I’m done with clearing up after others
I never not come back with rubbish. If I park and there is rubbish near my van, I pick it up. If I fish, and see discarded line, bait wrappers, trace packets and food packaging, I pick it up. If I surf, and walk back up the beach, and see something, I have a spare hand, and pick it up. If I walk a friends dog, I carry the poo the whole distance and also pick up rubbish. Most walkers and dog walkers do not pick up rubbish. Fact! I watch them. It takes just the two minutes to make a difference 😢
I organised beach cleans in the past at Saunton, as part of the charity, Paddle4Relief, I founded back in 2005. Didn’t get any official help back then. Only other organisations sending me their flyers etc
Only during lockdown did we actually get to enjoy the clean beach for less than a hour, but it was good, and each trip a little more rubbish was collected and at the end, there was no rubbish …….. and now it’s back again 😭
It scares me that my first thought is to kill them. That this world does not need these selfish ignorant lazy disrespectful entitled idiots. A quick 9mm and the planet is spared their toxic attitude. Alas the nanny state find excuses for their behaviour and wrap them upon cotton wool, and protect them, so as to create another generation of idiots 😤😢😩
I hope that this opportunity for Tim to speak out will make a difference. It is my view that we all need to speak up and make it known that this is not acceptable. If enough people make it known their disgust then just maybe we can shame these members of society into keeping the countryside clear.
There are a few things we can all do;-
Don’t leave litter .
Pick it up and take it away – The Angling Trust had a take 5 campaign.
Think about the rigs we use and how we can reduce tackle loss.
Use the national line recycling scheme.
(Above) Heather at Summerlands Tackle Westward Ho! Binning fishing line for recycling.

Massive tope brace off North Devon Coast

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Kevin Pike – 70lb tope

Kevin Pike has set a new Appledore Shipbuilders Angling Club record boating a huge tope of 70lb  whilst fishing off the North Devon Coast. Kevin was fishing from his own private boat with fellow club member Mike Toogood who also enjoyed success boating another huge tope of 68lb 8oz. The capture of two tope of this size in one session is an amazing feat that will be remembered for years to come as a red letter day proving the oft said saying that it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

Mick Toogood – 68lb 8oz tope

WORDS ON STRANGE TIMES

These are strange times with our freedoms understandably curtailed. I am very fortunate to live out in the country with a garden and access to open countryside to undertake our daily Boris walk. Nature is all around and is a great source of comfort during these dark days.

For several weeks the wind has been blowing from the North East a cold and uninspiring direction from an angling point of view. The wind has now swung to the South bringing a warmer balmy air that stirs the angler within.

It is difficult as an all round angler to decide what type of fishing I am missing the most. The Fly Fisherman within dreams of drifting a team of buzzers and the moment the line zips tight as a rainbow intercepts. The singing reel and the leaping trout.

Or waiting beside a calm lake absorbing nature as I await the piercing thrill of a bite alarm as a carp bolts after falling for my carefully laid trap.

Wading the river searching for the elusive spring salmon? Flicking dry fly and nymph into a riffle in search of a crimson spotted wild brown trout? Launching a sandeel from the beach in search of spring ray or working a plug for a silver bass.

Frustrating times indeed. In the mean time I have been buying a few flies and have a mission to sort out the chaos of the tackle shed. I really wish I was more organised as I tend to grab fishing time and often return from the water dumping the kit with the intention of sorting in the cold light of day.

Do I really need all of this gear?  An array of lures purchased over many years some of them hosting large barbaric trebles that seem a little excessive. It is perhaps time to declutter.

I am presently reading a book called STRONGHOLD by Tucker Malarkey. The book tells of one man’s quest to save the world’s Wild Salmon – before its too late. Whilst it relates mostly to Pacific salmon there is much to relate to within its pages. Most alarming is perhaps the reference to the demise of the Atlantic Salmon for its clear that what we now have left is a shadow of what we once had. Of this I am very aware following the research I undertook when writing my own book “I Caught A Glimpse”. Which is a good read for the lockdown!

The COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a disaster on many levels but there is perhaps always an upside. Not sure if it’s just my perception but looking up into the night sky the stars seem brighter than ever. Is this a result of the lack of pollution from the many planes that normally leave vapour trails crisscrossing the sky?

The reduction in commercial fishing could give fish stocks a valuable reprieve. Following on from the World Wars fishing often showed a dramatic upturn as fish stocks had recovered. As I said in my previous feature perhaps this is a time to recalibrate.

Our daily walks into the countryside have allowed a time to observe. I have a collection of books by that acclaimed countryside author BB. His prose paints a vivid picture of nature with in depth observation. In some of his writing there lingers a melancholic atmosphere that somehow resounds with me today in these sombre times. Throughout BB’s prose there is a love for nature that gives strength. Most of his books have these simple words in their cover.

‘The Wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades: these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.’

Anglers Paradise

Looking for stories?

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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!