Bank holiday weekends are made for fishing! And with a Sunday boat trip booked, this weekend was no exception. Despite being out on the boat on Sunday, good weather on the Saturday was just too tempting to resist so I managed to persuade the family that a visit to the Waie Inn near Crediton would be nice. The kids could play on the outdoor play area while the wife and I had a beer or two. A little pond attached to the Inn that provided the opportunity to fish was just an added bonus….
The Waie Inn’s small pond is generously stocked with small carp making it the ideal venue for a guaranteed good days fishing for the kids. At £3.50 it’s about as cheap as you can find as well.
We set up a short 4m whip and float fished double maggot over a steady trickle of loose fed offerings. At the extent of the little pole’s reach the water was only 2 and a half feet deep and the bites came straight away and then continuously throughout the rest of the session. The fish were generally between 4 and 12 inches long and suitably easy to catch which maintained the interest of an 8 and a 10 year old along with their friends. Can’t ask for much more than that for a fun afternoon’s family fishing. Just hoping for a bit more challenge / excitement on the boat tomorrow.
Sunday morning and after an early morning bike ride we headed out to Luccombes Fishery on the outskirts of Exeter. Today was family time, so a picnic and more stuff than anyone could possibly need for a fishing trip, accompanied me to the lakes. How I managed to make space to fit any fishing gear in the car is beyond me!
The weather was sunny and breezy, but it was still quite nice to sit around on the grass watching other people catching fish… We did have a few fish ourselves but it was hard going. We fished with Rhianna’s little 4m whip, pole float and maggot / luncheon meat and in hindsight this may not have been the best tactic. The lakes were pretty packed with fishermen so moving to another swim was pretty much out of the question so we had to make the best of where we were.
We had a few nice sized roach and skimmers, along with a smattering of small rudd and perch. Rhianna was quickly bored, and I couldn’t blame her considering how much slower bites were to come by when compared to last weekend’s fish-fest.. Isobel however did really persevere when she had a turn with the pole, and was happy with a little rudd. Along the way she insisted on holding and then returning most of the fish caught proving she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
The highlight of my day was watching a chap on the next lake catching carp on the fly rod. He was fishing with a pellet fly on the surface and feeding dog biscuits and pellets out into a patch of reeds. He had a couple of fish including one particularly large carp, despite losing a few fish along the way.
This is far from the first time I’ve fished here and every time except for the first visit several years ago, I’ve struggled for fish. There’s obviously fish here, but I’m doing something wrong. Think I’m going to rename this place ‘no-luckumbes’.
I’d promised to take Rhianna fishing on Sunday, so we decided to explore new waters, or new to us at least, so we headed up to Kia Ora ponds near Cullompton, just a short drive up the M5 from Exeter. The Kia Ora fishery consists of two ponds on the Exeter & District Angling Association’s ticket, so being members the trip wouldn’t cost us anything. The ponds are by all accounts heavily stocked with the ‘Silver Pond’ being mainly silver fish and the larger ‘Gold Pond’ featuring the bigger carp.
With neither of us being particularly patient anglers we hit the silver pond and started off on pole with maggots. Rhianna’s short 4m whip meant we were only fishing in 2 foot of water, just out past the reeds, but the bites were instantaneous. We swiftly settled into a routine of me bait up, her swing the rig out and within seconds swing a small rudd back in to me, for me to unhook. After an hour of this she’d clocked up 60 or so rudd, roach and perch, without me managing to really get in on the action. Most of the fish were small but with the occasional slightly larger specimen in amongst them. The rumoured crucians, tench and skimmers didn’t make an appearance.
In addition to double maggot, we tried luncheon meat which usually sorts out a few carp on most waters. Today however it just didn’t happen, although the spam did bring a better stamp of roach.
Eventually with a short window of opportunity to wet a line myself, I rigged up the #4 fly rod with a floating line and a bead headed worm type fly. The worm fly was simply made by threading a bead followed by a length of the Veniards ‘Squirmy Worm Body’ onto a barbless size 14 hook. The resulting fly sank slowly and seemed pretty irresistible to the rudd (although to be fair I think they would of attacked pretty much anything!’. With the hordes of ravenous rudd around I didn’t seem to be able to get through the tiddlers to get to anything bigger. Still – fun all the same.
Next time I try this ‘fly’ I think I’ll make the worm body considerably longer to really get it wiggling.
Early April is often a time when the big blonde Rays come inshore to breed along the Bristol Channel but isn’t a part of the season that’s renowned for the other species of Rays particularly. This last weekend’s trip however did see a good variety of Rays all the same.
The weather forecast was for a southerly wind, which being offshore for Minehead would of made for calm conditions – the reality on the day was more like an easterly which resulted in a more bitingly cold wind and a slightly choppy sea. Mike and myself settled into our familiar routine – two upside rods apiece cast out with a variety of herring, squid and Sandeels baits. Mike gave fresh peeler crab a thorough testing as well, in the hope of some early smoothound.
As expected the dogfish were out in numbers and we were pretty much constantly busy unhooking doggies all day long. At a guess I probably had 50 doggies alone. The joys of boat fishing off of Minehead… Unfortunately there’s little you can do to avoid the dogfish here no matter what bait or size of bait you use – they’ll happily devour a whole fillet of herring or a large calamari without any problem. In fact fishing with a pennell rig (where there’s two hooks in the same bait) often results in pulling up two dogfish at a time. The only thing to do is to fish on through them in the hope something else will find its way to the bait before they do..
In amongst the steady stream of doggies I did pull up two thornback Rays and a small-eyed Ray along with a good blonde Ray of 12 lb. the thornbacks both gave cracking rod thumping bites that threatened to pull the rod over the side, whereas the larger blonde Ray gave a contrastingly delicate nibble. A three-bearded rocking , small whiting and tiny conger also added to the species count. Mike never did see his smoothound, although not for want of perseverance.
Next months boat trip will definitely be one where I’ll look to take along a couple of dozen fresh crab for the hounds though.