Return to the River

It was good to once again wander the river bank and swing a fly in the hope of a spring run salmon. The seasons come and go so quickly and it is hard to believe that twelve months have flashed past. Once again the wild daffodils are decorating the banks as natures calendar turns its pages.

The water is cold and fairly clear  running at a perfect height. Several years ago on March 7th I netted a fresh run Springer of around 9lb so I am optimistic that success could come with any cast. I drift the Fly across familiar water and on one cast there is a brief tightening of the line followed a second later by a heaviness. Too gentle to be trout it could be a snag in the river. Repeated casts over the same spot rule this out so I change my Fly and cover the lie again. There is a brief tug and a flurry of spray as what was a good sized trout shakes the hook free. Im not convinced that it was the trout that intercepted the fly first drift. Salmon takes can be so subtle at times feeling like a drifting leaf has brushed the hook. I contemplate what might have been and fish on content that I have a full season ahead.

SEA ANGLERS ENJOY SPRING SPORT

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Spring is often a difficult time for sea angling but as the warm sun breaks through optimism rises and in these changing times its worthwhile getting out and seeing whats about. Toby Bassett fished Ilfracombe Pier and was rewarded with a plump codling. There are also a few whiting showing and some dabs from those sandy marks.

Grey mullet are also starting to show at their old haunts taunting angler’s as they boost their reputation as elusive wily grey ghosts of the coast. If you want to learn more about mullet I suggest you seek out the excellent book “Fishing For Ghosts” – Successful Mullet Angling by Mike Ladle and David Rigden.

Combe Martin SAC member Ali Laird headed up-Channel and was rewarded with a  brace of ray including a spotted ray of 3lb 3oz and stunning specimen small eyed ray of 11lb 2oz.

Spring Time

Its seems that spring is slow to arrive and just as we think its getting milder another cold snap is forecast. But any day now we will get that first real day of spring when warmth prevails and balmy air descends.

There are of course signs that spring is here as daffodils, primroses and celandine’s line the hedgerows and roadside verges. Frogs spawned a couple of months ago now and their spawn is already transforming into tadpoles. It will be soon be the turn of the toads to converge onto lakes and ponds their birdlike croak echoing around. Any time now we could glimpse that first sand martin and then that true harbinger of spring and summer the swallows.

As anglers we are of course very aware of nature that is around us and this is all part of what fishing is all about. I am always filled with optimism as the days grow longer and the chance to fish evening sessions in daylight arrives. Of course many plans are made and time is as ever less plentiful than desired. In just a couple of weeks the clocks spring forward.

There will be the chance to cast a fly across the river for spring salmon. Flick a dry fly upstream for wild brown trout or fish a buzzer on a Stillwater for hard fighting rainbows.

Carp anglers will relish the warming water knowing that carp will become more active and as a result will search for food maybe even coming onto the surface where a chum mixer will be slurped down with that delightful sound of summer evenings.

If you’re a sea angler your thoughts will be turning to bass, smoothound and ray. It will of course depend upon your favourite angling style what you seek. The bait angler will enjoy sitting back waiting for the nodding rod and screaming reel. The lure fisher will be more mobile searching for fish casting here and there searching for that electric tug on the line.

I could ramble on but I am sure you get the vibes that I am trying to convey that excitement at the arrival of new a season and fresh piscatorial adventures. I hope to report on your catches over these coming months, not just the fish but also an appreciation of all that angling means. So please feel free to send me your successes, stories and any images of the angling world you enjoy.

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