I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE – A Great Winter Read

I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE – Fishing In North Devon

            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.

https://dgfishing.co.uk/winter-coarse-fishing-and-new-angling-books-reviewed/?fbclid=IwAR1STJpBKb5FDftACxckmT4Gjl9zb5UknO9M0eyvbEQuhmITPgH2TQLF5As

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. 

All we need now is a Glimpse of the next one”.

https://thelittleegretpress.co.uk/product-category/author/wayne-thomas/

Available from The Little Egret Press or drop me a PM via my Facebook Page or North Devon Angling News.

The fish are out there – Go get em!

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

There are some good fish out there to be caught with several bass showing from coast and estuary. A few codling too. Its very much of taking advantage of any window of opportunity with the late autumn weather or just dressing up and getting out there!

Josh Atkinson landed this stunning silver flanked bass of 7lb 10.25oz whilst flounder fishing on the Taw estuary. I asked him if he was targeting bass ?

“Would love to say that I was targeting it but yeah I was targeting flounder. But as we know it is part of the wonderful by-catch that we can have whilst flounder fishing on the Taw.”

(Above) Chay Boggis tempted this 7lb 14oz bass on a mackerel tail fished in a rocky gulley at short range.

Cod for tea – Kevin Kirby landed this pleasing 3lb 12oz codling from a North Devon Shore Mark.

Hounds are still about !!

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Late October but summer species are still about. Kevin Kirby sent me this report of smoothound caught from a North Devon shore mark. The hounds scaling 10lb 6oz and 8lb 9oz were tempted using whole squid baits. I have noticed that each autumn the hounds are staying later with some specimens showing light up until Christmas they also seem more inclined to take squid baits at this time of year.

SEASONS and CHANGING TIMES – A few thought from the waters edge.

Autumn seems to be setting in early this year with the salmon fishing seasons end almost upon us and no prospect of wetting a line with heavy rain bringing a big spate that has come too late to save what has been a lacklustre season as a result of low flows for much of the year. On the plus side the swollen rivers will enable salmon and sea trout to forge upriver and with no anglers or nets to impede their progress they will hopefully successfully spawn ensuring fish for future seasons.

Autumn colours are already showing on many trees on higher ground; martins and swallows are glimpsed as they head south battling the autumn gales as they start their epic journey. In a few weeks they will be swooping over a different landscape in Africa with elephants, lion and wildebeest instead of red deer, foxes and badgers. Each year these natural migrations take place and to some extent we take it all for granted expecting it all to continue year on year. Sadly things don’t always go on and we should watch with concern as nature faces troubled times. I read today of a threat to the Horse Chestnut trees and a shortage of conkers. Ash die back threatens to decimate our woodland.

As I drive around North Devon I am dismayed at the number of houses being built. Have we the infrastructure to cope? How will all of this impact upon the natural landscape and wildlife of North Devon? My recently published book “I Caught A Glimpse” reflects upon a North Devon I grew up in. Each year the stories within its pages seem far removed from the present day.

The coming months are often the best of the year for many anglers with carp already showing from our local lakes at impressive weights their bronze flanks reflecting autumns hues. Stillwater trout are likely to bring exciting sport. On the coast sea anglers will be relishing the chance to catch tope, bass, conger, Huss and grey mullet. In the estuary flounder anglers will enjoy simple fishing as rod tips rattle as bunches of ragworm are engulfed.

These autumn storms will of course pass and warm sunshine will bring reminders of summer warmth. November generally gives those first chill days but even then garfish and mackerel can bring a pleasant surprise on the coast. Part of the joy of angling is not knowing what will happen next and being out there by the water is a constant adventure. What better place to watch the drama of life on earth unfold?

Great off-shore sport on Bluefin

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Many thanks to Pete Gregory and Toby Bassett for allowing me to use their pictures and words following a successful trip on Bluefin out of Ilfracombe.

Fishing Ilfracombe aboard John Barbearys boat ” Bluefin ” and what a fish packed day it was . Lots of Dogfish as you would expect but in the morning when your hooking and landing more Bull Huss than dogs , you know its going to be a good day . Its always good to fish with Troy and Toby and as well as loads off fish between us , great laughs and banter all day long . We moved out to deep water to get amongst the Spurdogs and conger and ended up with forty to fifty spurs and a couple of half decent conger . Unfortunately with a spring tide and a little swell we had to head back in , but thanks john and the lads for a good day!

Christmas day – Smoothound an Xmas Eve huss and a few thoughts.

Kyle Blackmore took advantage of the quiet shores on Christmas Day to tempt this smoothound. Not a large specimen but a thought provoking fish at this time of year. Catching fish outside of their recognised seasons has always happened but my gut feeling is that it is happening far more these days. There are many factors that impact upon fish and fish migration  climate is just one of these and as anglers we play our game on natures chess board casting our lines into ever changing waters.

At Christmas and the New Year we often indulge in looking back and forth in time and social media has introduced an instant world that undoubtedly has its up and down sides. It is a fact that social media reflects good and bad in people so rather than condemn it as the new evil best to accept it as it is; taking the good with the bad as we always have in life.

On North Devon Angling News I try to report in a positive way to promote angling and the enjoyment of angling. I started the website back in 2016 when I saw that traditional papers were in decline ( The North Devon Journal stopped rewarding their angling columnist), I still write the column in the Journal because I want angling to have its place in North Devon News but feel that most people get their news on line these days. I hope readers enjoy what I try to do on this site and I welcome any features on local angling that you may be inspired to write. Please keep sending the news and images I do not reveal marks unless they are large easy access ones as I know this is a contentious area for sea anglers.

Fish conservation and habitat are all factors that impact upon anglers and I try to promote good practice within my pages on this site. In many instances anglers are at the forefront of conservation efforts espeicially on our rivers with grace concerns regarding salmon and sea trout stocks.

As I type this a latest report has just come in from Ian Laird ( Below) who landed this 9lb 8oz bull huss from a North Devon Rock Mark. One observation on recent months is that I am getting good numbers of qaulity pictures from anglers fishing the shore line during day light hours. I have fished plenty of after dark sessions to be plaged by small dogfish and strap eels.

If you would like to advertise/sponsor North Devon Angling News please get in touch. I try to give good value to all my sponsors. In the next few weeks my Intention is to add a few new features to the site giving more information on venues and whats on offer to anglers visiting North Devon.

Christmas Gifts for the North Devon Angler

These are difficult times on the High Street with many shops struggling as many shop online to secure the best deals. This is understandable but we must not forget the local tackle shop for they provide us with an invaluable service. Fresh bait, tubs of maggots, the chance to pick up and look at the product and that social benefit of meeting fellow anglers. Tackle shops have always been at the hub of the angling world a place to learn and become motivated by fellow anglers. If your thinking of what to buy the angler for Christmas   why not head to your local tackle shop of which we have a great choice in North Devon.

Danny Watson runs High Street Tackle in Ilfracombe with his partner Pauline and has a passion for lure fishing that is reflected in the huge range of lures on offer in the shop. They also stock qaulity Ammo frozen bait along with sea angling tackle and essential items for the coarse angler.

Jamie Miller (Below) runs North Devon Tackle in Queens Walk, Barnstaple (in the arcade adjacent to Queens Street and Bear Street Car Parks). They specialise in carp, Coarse and Sea Fishing with Gift Vouchers available to ensure the angler gets to choose the perfect gift.

Summerlands Tackle are North Devons longest established tackle shop. A family run business that has traded for over thirty years. They carry a range of tackle covering all three disciplines and are actively promoting safety at sea this year with Crewsaver Life jackets on offer at a very reasonable price. What better present for the angler you care about?

Chillcheaters in Braunton offer a range of qaulity garnets for combating extreme weather conditions. See link below.

Chillcheater Keeping out the cold as winter sets in!

Blakewell Fishery boasts a well stocked tackle shop with Fly Fishing Tackle, clothing and a range of flies from West Country company Snowbee. Whilst there you can enjoy a coffee in their tea room and even choose a Christmas Tree.

Choose a good book for those cold winter nights from River Reads book shop near Torrington.

Spectacular Shark Fishing off North Devon

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Dan Hawkin’s has been taking anglers to fishing grounds far off the North Devon coast on his boat Reel Deal where they have made some spectacular catches of shark not seen off North Devon since the 1970’s. The party of anglers set a boat record of 28 blue shark up to 97lb on the first day. On the second day of their charter  Jason Heenan boated a superb blue shark of 133lb.

The anglers boated 38 shark over the two days with Ammo Baits Chum attracting the fish and Penn Rods and reels from High Street tackle taming the fish.

The fishing is strictly catch and release with circle hooks ensuring that the majority of shark are hooked in the jaws where hooks can be easily removed. Fortunately the days of slaughtering these beautiful fish has been consigned to the history books where such practices belong.

Dan has enjoyed considerable success over past couple of years with anglers boating huge porbeagle shark, a thresher shark and blue shark with catches unheard of in recent years. The success has come on the back of significant investment and effort with the will to travel long distances with no guarantee of success. The future is exciting and expect Dan’s diary to be filling already with booking for next year.