The River Culm has provided me with many hours of enjoyable fishing and is one of my favorite places to fish in the winter. I hold an Exeter and District Angling Association permit giving me access to 3 stretches of the Culm all of which contain a good head of pike, dace, chub, roach & gudgeon, brown trout, the occasional carp and if you are very very (I am placing an emphasis on very) lucky some barbel. I have had great success fishing for pike during the winter months with my biggest being a little over 17lb. I have had a number of 1lb+ Perch and Roach with some nice chub up to 3lb. This Sunday afternoon I had a few hours to spare so headed out to see what I could catch.
Being an impromtu decision to fish the Culm I didn’t have my favorite baits of Worm and Maggots so settled for some Halibut pellets of varying sizes, luncheon meat and bread flake. The river looked great, not too low with a little colour to the water. Looking below the bridge I could see a few chub and dace, none of which huge but fish I wouldn’t mind catching. I walked down the left side of the River to the first bend. This spot has a large area of deep slack water, plenty of cover, and other features making it ideal for pretty much all species.
Today I would be using a Chub Outkast Twin tip rod along with a Shimano Exage 4000 FA reel. Both are awesome pieces of kit, the Outkast Twin tip I use for 90% of my coarse fishing. As the name suggests the Chub Outkast consists of two tip sections. One a full length Avon top and the other quiver tip carrier section making it extremely versatile and great value for money. It has a great amount of power when needed but also can be very sensitive detecting the smallest of bites. The Shimano Exage 4000 FA is a front drag reel, extremely smooth, robust and reliable. A perfect combination.
When fishing a river for the first time it is a good idea to keep the end tackle as simple as possible. My first visit to the River Culm resulted in losing a great deal of end tackle before I found the areas free of snags. I started with an 8mm halibut pellet and a small PVA mesh bag of smaller pellets.
From the picture above you can see everything is very simple, 1 ounce fox lead that can run freely up the main line, a bead protecting the swivel, a 4lb fluorocarbon hook link and a Korum quick stop size 12 hook. The halibut pellets are pre-drilled and fed onto the quick stop with a small needle that comes supplied with the hooks. I like to use a snap link & swivel so I can quickly change the lead or swap it over to a feeder. I used the carrier section of the rod with a 2 ounce quiver tip.
My first cast was into a tree, the last time I cast a lead was at Morecambe bay and that was a matter of casting it as far as I could so trying to be accurate over a few meters was hard to get back into. The next cast was a lot better, placing the rig nicely under an over hanging tree. I waited for a around 30minutes, a few bites but today it seemed like a change was in order. I pinched some bread onto the hook and cast to a different spot just before a fallen tree hoping that the bait would waft gently just below the branch. As soon as the bait had settled the rod tip started to twtich non-stop, an abundance of small fish had great fun chewing the bread.
After some very small chub and roach I moved a few meters down river so I could cast across into a deep channel with a lot of cover. I also decided to try luncheon meat, although the bread was getting bites it simply wasn’t robust enough to stand up to the 10billion strong gudgeon and minnow assault. I made a few more casts into some trees and bushes but was soon into a decent sized chub. The end of my session was drawing to a close, it felt good to be back on the bank of the River Culm.
The River Culm offers some great fishing to the mobile angler, bating up a few swims with some bread mash and then fishing each spot for a short period of time often is the best tactic. Trotting can be productive but finding a long stretch of river uniform in depth and free from snags can be difficult. I prefer to fish during the autumn and early winter when the water is high and the River banks are not as over-grown. Chucking a big worm into a back eddy when the water is coloured is great fun, pike, perch, chub and roach all seem to love it. For pike dead baits are reliable (sprats, brown trout, roach all work) and preferably I only use one set of trebles striking as soon as I get a run to avoid deep hooking. I even caught a 5lb eel on a sprat while fishing for pike.
Please take a look at the Exeter and District Angling Association website for further information about this stretch of the River Culm.
View River Culm – Killerton Estate Stretch in a larger map