Combe Martin SAC member Kyle Bishop made the long trek to Scotland in search of the huge skate that reside in the deep waters. He enjoyed success from the rocky shoreline bring two huge specimens to the shore estimated at 189lb and 187lb.
Globe trotting North Devon angler Jon Patten made the long trek to Western Scotland to target the huge common skate that dwell in the deep-waters. Jon was fishing aboard top Charter boat ‘Size Matters” skippered by Kevin Mckie and sponsored by Shimano. The team are working on a feature for Sea Angler Magazine due for publication later this year. The fish Jon is playing in the picture was brought to the boat and was estimated at 202lb and was subdued using 20lb class tackle and was hooked in 500ft of water.
It is fascinating and rather sad to note that huge giant skate like this were once tempted from the waters off Lynmouth. Over fishing wiped these magnificent fish out in our area. The populations in Scotland and Ireland are now protected and angling is strictly catch and release with the fish photographed after measuring before disappearing back into the mysterious depths. The anglers fishing for these magnificent fish bring a huge benefit to the local economy and help with important research into the species. The fish have no commercial value as a food fish and are very slow growing.
Another salmon season has drawn to an end as I walked out to fish on the Middle Torridge. On arrival I realize I had arrived too late as the river was up and coloured with flotillas of leaves floating down stream.
As I am there I decide to fish anyway but have little confidence as I work my way down casting across favorite lies with little hope of a salmon locating the fly. Time has run out on this season all too quickly. Leaves collected in riverside eddies a rich variation of browns, gold’s and yellows those green shoots of spring have long gone. Summers gone yet I wish it could linger longer for I had so much more to do.
As I walked back to the car I listened to mournful mewing of young buzzards high above. I had one more trip to the river. and it proved to be my second season without a salmon. I look for no excuses as plenty have been caught just not on my watch.
We had just returned from a week in Scotland. Not a fishing holiday though a rod did get taken along. One afternoon Pauline and I walked up to a small dam within the glen. The mountains towered high above and stags bellowed their war cry across the brown livery of the glen. I cast across the dark water and was thrilled at the tug from a small trout. I caught four perfect wild browns of just a few inches more than enough reward for a miles walk in such splendid surroundings.
This was the only fishing I did yet fishing was never too far from my thoughts. I spoke with a local angler who painted a grim portrayal of salmon and sea trout fishing in the local rivers. He doubted if the species would exist in these local rivers in ten years time.
Whilst I knew that the sea lochs had great potential I did not see anyone fishing throughout our weeks stay. It seemed strange to have harbors that had no mullet. I was told of Pollock and coalfish from the rocky shoreline and wished I had light spinning rod or LRF set up to find out what was there. In the sound of Mull I peered into the deep and clear waters. At Tobermory I talked of common skate within deep waters off shore. Perhaps I need to return one day to answer some of my questions.
Back in North Devon my thoughts turn to autumn sea angling. Grey mullet, bass, conger and tope. As the nights draw in I know where I will be heading and look forward to the excitement of dark mysterious waters.
This angling game brings its frustrations and an awareness of the passing seasons; a brief spell of melancholy is soon replaced by optimism as the next chapter unfolds.