Posts Tagged ‘Exeter Angling’

The River Exe winds it’s way across Devon and Somerset for more than 50 miles before reaching the Sea at the substantial Exe Estuary ria in Exmouth. This large body of flowing water is home to a large number of coarse, game and sea fishing species making it a challenge to anglers all year round. The River Exe always has been, and still is, a favourite among those who fish it – not really surprising when it contains legendary fish like the 64lb Salmon Richard Voysey caught in 1924!

As mentioned previously I have an Exeter Angling Association annual permit granting me access to a great number of fisheries in and around the Exeter area. The Countess Wear Fishery is 1 of 4 fish-able stretches on the River Exe included on said permit. Located a couple of miles up stream from the Exe Esutary it is influenced by the tides in terms of fish species and water levels. Changing conditions make the fishing a little more challenging and often requires a change of tactics upon each visit.

Within the short stretch of the River exe from the Countess wier bridge up to the first bend it contains a real mixed bag of species. You can expect to catch Bream, Mullet, Carp, Chub, Dace, Brown Trout, Eel, Par Salmon and Roach offering you a better than average chance of catching a lot of fish.

This particular fishery is less than a mile away from where I live, an ideal place to fish in the evening after work or whenever I have only a few hours to spare. I set up around 5pm, 100metres up stream from the bridge. Please be aware of the overhead power cables, they are a lot lower than you think. I have witnessed someone cast right over the top of the cables without realising until they saw a swim feeder swinging 7ft above the water surface.

I decided to take my two Chub Outkast Twin Tip rods fitted with the 5oz quiver tips and Shimano Exage 4000FA reels. The flow of water between low and high tide can be somewhat rapid, using a heavier tip and feeder allows me to fish through the periods of strong flow. The end tackle is very simple, A Drennen Oval 2oz feeder that can run freely up and down the mainline on a Korum Feeder Bead. The main line is attached to a swivel with the knot protected by a Drennen swivel stop bead. To finish a size 12 Drennen Super Specialist hook is tied to a 2ft long fluorocarbon 3lb hook link.

I started with 2 maggots on the hook, clipped up my reel and began to feed the swim by recasting every 5minutes for the first 4-5 casts. The tide was on it’s way in and the action was instantaneous, as soon as the bait hit the water the rod tip would start to twitch. During the first 20 minutes I had to resort to using one rod as I simply couldn’t keep up with the bites! Brown Trout, Chub, Par Salmon and Dace made up the majority of the catch. A hard fighting brownie of 1lb and a Chub of 1.5lb made an appearance along with some decent size Dace. The par salmon looked wonderful in the setting sun, each spot on their flanks glistening like a ruby.

River Exe - Brown Trout

River Exe - Brown Trout

River Exe - Par Salmon, beautiful

River Exe - Par Salmon, beautiful

As the tide reached it’s highest point fewer bites gave me the opportunity to change one of my rods over to a large chunk of luncheon meat and 1oz lead. I cast this out with the hope of catching something larger and allow me to keep up with all those bites when the tide started to turn. If you are going to fish the River Exe when the tides are large you will need to wear waders, the entrance to the field gets submerged under a few feet of water cutting off  access to the car park.

River Exe - Entrance to field floods when tides are high

River Exe - Entrance to field floods when tides are high

The tide began to turn and once again the bites came thick and fast. After landing another Brown trout the tip of the rod baited with luncheon meat slammed round. Frantically picking up the rod and reeling into the fish I felt two very powerful lunges before the line went slack. Probably a 30000000lb mako shark, oh well better luck next time.With the sun well below the horizon darkness closed in rapidly, I packed up and went home wondering what took that luncheon meat in such a hurry.

For more information take a look at the Exeter Angling Association Website.


View River Exe – Countess Wear Fishery in a larger map

River Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Chub Outkast Twin Tip

RIver Exe - Countess Wear

RIver Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Countess Wear

This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited on board the Anne Clare of Torquay with Mark and James from Exeter Angling. Leaving the harbor at around 7.30 we were on our way to the first of many wrecks. The Anne Clare is capable of a cruising speed in excess of 20knots and being a catamaran it certainly felt stable in the choppy conditions. Skipper Kevin Tate offers the best angling he can possibly provide off the coast of the UK so it is not unusual to find yourself surround by ocean 50 miles from shore.

After 3 hours of sailing we arrived at the first mark, a wreck that had recently been fishing spectacularly producing large numbers of specimen cod and pollack. There was a definite buzz aboard the Anne Clare, anglers keen to be given the nod from the skipper releasing a spectrum of coloured shads down into the depths.

The rigs could not be simpler, a 14ft 40lb Amnesia mono leader is tied to the braid using an Albright knot (amazing knot). A plastic boom (with snap link) is threaded on followed by a black plastic bead, the leader is then tied to a swivel. Because I was using braid reducing the influence of the tide dragging the line I could get away with using a small 10oz cannon ball lead. To finish the rig I tied around 6ft of 30lb Amnesia mono to the swivel and then attached a weighted white 6inch shad. A top tip to keep the skipper happy is to be extremely careful when you are lowering your rig over the side, you can do some serious damage to the side of the boat with your lead.

Kevin gave us the all clear and we started to send our rigs to the rough ground around the wreck. It is an eerie feeling setting the reel into free spool and watching the line peel off silently for what seemed an age. I was impressed by how much feel braid gives you, the lead touching bottom is so positive, you really can feel every little tap, knock and pull. The boat drifted slowly over the wreck as everyone slowly retrieved their shads between 10-15 turns before sending them back down and repeating the process. The first drift was unproductive apart from a foul hooked pouting and after a few more drifts conditions looked like they were stacked against us.

We moved on to another location and again the conditions were proving to be other than ideal. Wrecks attract and hold huge numbers of fish so you expect an instant reaction when you are dangling a delicious looking luminous orange shad within gulping distance. However when you pass over the wreck and 10 anglers don’t even get a bite you know something isn’t quite right. The skipper was becoming increasingly frustrated for all of us, he could see the fish on the echo sounder but they weren’t playing ball. After some more smallish Pollack someone landed a Ling. With tides turning and the appearance of Ling we moved to an area of rough ground around a wreck.

Ling have an awesome set of teeth inside a particularly enormous head so 100lb mono and size 6/0 or 8/0 hooks are a must. Mackerel were caught for bait using feathers and we baited up using a fillet / head section gettingt ready for the first drift.

I felt my lead touch down and made 3 turns leaving the bait as near to the snags as I dared. Towards the end of the first drift I felt a few plucks before everything went solid, having snagged the wreck previously I started to wind down and got ready to hang on and pull the rig free. The rod tip then started to violently jerk, this wasn’t the wreck, it was a fish. Line started to peel off, I placed my thumb gently onto the spool in an attempt to put the brakes on but whatever was hooked had other ideas.

For every yard I gained the fish took two, it was making every attempt to get back to the wreck. After a couple of minutes I managed to gain line significantly enough so the fish was no longer in reach of the wreck, but I was presented with the new problem of my arms potentially falling off. The skipper gave me some words of encourgement, “You’re making a meal of that”. I laughed nervously, what if this fish was a 3lb pouting? After several shoulder aching minutes something very large emerged from the depths, a 22.5lb Ling.

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare - 22.5lb Ling

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare - 22.5lb Ling

The Shimano forcemaster boat pack I purchased for this trip exceeded my expectations. The 12-20lb Shimano Forcemaster rod and Shimano TR200G reel loaded with Power Pro 44lb braid gave me all the feel and control needed for wreck fishing. As well as the Ling I caught a Conger eel, every little shake of it’s head could be felt and I was extremely comfortable with how the set up was performing.

The trip was excellent regardless of the tough conditions. Kevin Tate is a credit to the fishing charter boat industry, he genuinely wants you to catch fish and will do his best to make your trip a memorable one. I can’t wait for my next trip in September. Click here for more information about the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare - 14lb Pollack

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare - Two Ling just shy of 22lb

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare - James with a nice Ling

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Wreck fishing aboard the Anne Clare

Coarse fishing in and around Exeter

0, August 5, 2009
Posted by james

Having made a post in every other category on my blog the coarse fishing section is looking rather neglected so this is going to be a place holder of things to come. Exeter and the surrounding area has a large number of coarse fishing venues, each of which can provide the keen angler with a wide range of species and opportunities to catch them using different techniques.

I first cut my teeth on the Exeter Canal, a free permit can be obtained from the council (here) allowing you to fish from the Basin to the Double Locks. This large stretch of water contains pike, perch, carp, tench, roach, eels and bream. Carp (up to 40lb) and pike (up to 30lb) have been caught in the past making it a stretch of water extremely rewarding to those willing to put in the time, or a shock to those hooking into a fish of that size without realising what the canal contains. I started off by catching roach and perch, progressing to pike of varying sizes. Although I don’t really fish the canal very often I do like to catch perch on the fly when I have a few hours to spare in the evening.

After rekindling my passion for angling I started to research and explore other locations. I eased myself back into carp fishing at Darts Farm which although quite small in size still holds some very big carp (30lb+). On one occasion after becoming frustrated with catching eels and being rained on  I landed a 20lb common carp in perfect condition. I had great fun fishing Luccombes Ponds in the summer months, catching fish after fish off the surface on light tackle. Luccombes again is not very big in size but the 5 ponds are well stocked with some nice carp to 20lb. Over the period of about 2 months I targeted a number of different fish from each pond, including Koi, ghosties, commons over 10lb and mirrors to 14lb.

During the Autumn I decided to purchase an Exeter & District Angling Association permit for the insanely cheap price of £36 (for 1 year). The permit allows you to fish the entire stretch of the Exeter canal,various parts of the river Exe, a large section of the river Culm and a number of ponds. I really recommend this to anyone in the Exeter area, it would take you the best part of a year before you had even scratched the surface of the fishing potential.

Using the Exeter Angling Association permit I found that I had a particular soft spot for the river Culm, and spent a good few months exploring the Killerton stretch. Containing a good head of pike, perch, chub, roach, trout, and the occasional Barbel. One sunday I was fishing for Perch  when I spotted an exceptionally large salmon making it’s way up the shallow part of the river, the Culm is full of suprises. Again even though the Culm is small in size it contains a lot of pike from tiny jacks up to 20lb’ers. Fishing is best when the water level starts to drop after a flood, in one day I caught 6 pike in around 3 hours, the largest of which being 17lb.

Over the next 2 years I visited most of the fisheries and stretches of river, spending a great deal of time trying to catch all the different species each location had to offer. I plan to revisit a lot of these and share my findings both new and old. It is also a good time to thank Exeter Angling and the staff for all their expert advice which has always been offered so enthusiastically.

River Culm Pike

River Culm Pike

12lb Luccombe Pond Carp

12lb Luccombe Pond Carp