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A Wealth of Fishing for the All-Rounder

December 9 2008

Editors Note: This editorial was submitted by Mike and the following is an extract from the accompanying letter. I feel it encapsulates the principles of Get Hooked - anglers working together, putting something into the sport for other anglers to enjoy.

.... First I want to congratulate you on the Get Hooked Angling Guide. I have a copy of every edition and it has gone from strength to strength, it is as invaluable to me as my fishing Diary. Now I want to put something back into it and enclose a small piece for your consideration' ....;

Born, bred and living as I do in East Devon there is a breadth and width of fishing so great that it is often difficult to decide where to go and what to fish for.

In the 'good old days' of Carp fishing back in the late fifties and sixties I was a founder member of the original 'Devon Carp Catchers Club' and seldom fished for anything else. Carp waters were few and far between here in those days. That was until I spent several weekends fishing the Upper Great Ouse at the invitation of Richard Walker at his fishing hut on its banks at Beachampton. Those experiences and his influence broadened my outlook and I've never spent a whole season fishing for just one or two species again.

In January I now spend my 'angling time' fishing for flatties in the Exe and Teign estuaries and for Pike in the Exeter and Tiverton canals. During January and the first half of March I spend as much time as possible fishing the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour for Chub, Pike and Roach. As a biologist I voluntarily observe the old coarse fish close season on all freshwaters. The latter half of March and April is devoted to trout fishing on Dartmoor streams, chalkstreams and small stillwaters. These I fish with the dry fly and nymphs, some of my home tied 'killers' being the Dark Blue Upright, Kite's Imperial and, on the odd trip later in the summer, Tup's Indispensable, Blue Winged Olive and Caperer. Also Crowherl, Green Damsel, Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear and Mayfly nymphs work well for me.

By May and early June the Mackerel and Bass are usually back inshore at Sidmouth, Branscombe, Beer and Seaton. Fishing for these from the shore and a small dinghy gradually takes over from sport with the Trout.

From 'the glorious 16th' of June until the middle of August I mostly fish for Carp, Tench, Bream, Eels, Crucians and Chub - interspersed with some Trout and sea fishing as the freezer empties! I love 'Chub chasing' with freelined slugs and lobworms, hiding in the lush bankside growth of summer, as much as watching the needle bubbles burst around my Tench float on a muggy, overcast dawn. I fish for Carp in the 'primitive' ways, with floating baits and with float tackle and centre-pin reel, scouring the margins.

Come late August I return to the rivers to fish for Barbel interspersed with some time on stillwaters. This style of fishing continues into November, if the weather is right, with the addition of sport with Perch and the first of the year's Pike fishing. Autumn is also the time for big Bass and I manage to squeeze in a night or two on East Devon beaches when the tides are right.

During December the Pike fishing starts in earnest along with days after Chub and Roach. By the end of December the flatfish in the estuaries get some attention and the year has come full circle.

For me variety is the spice of fishing and I enjoy every moment of it, whether it be by a hurrying Dartmoor stream, a lush Carp pool, a silkily furling chalk stream, wading in storm beach surf or bobbing in the dinghy.

Good fish are just the icing on this already rich cake for there is so much more to enjoy in fishing in South West England than just catching fish!