Summer angling dilemmas

Although the coarse fishing on our rivers is closed until June 16, many stillwaters stay open, writes Mike Winter.

I wrote a little last month about trout fishing in rivers and lakes as a fascinating alternative to coarse fishing. Once you have got into trout fishing, pottering in entomology and tying your own flies as I have, there may come inner conflicts on summer evenings! Should I go coarse or trout fishing after work? When it was a good evening for both I often used to toss a coin. Heads for coarse and tails for trout!

The other alternative is to forget freshwaters and to go sea fishing for which there is plenty of opportunity around our local coastlines for shore fishing during April, May and June.

Fish to be caught include flounder, plaice, bass, conger and mackerel. Any 10-11 ft rod that will throw a 3oz lead on 15lb line with a stronger shot leader using a fixed spool reel will do for the fish I have listed except conger.

The terminal tackle can be a single hook flowing trace or a home tied two hook nylon paternoster.

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Size 2 hooks are about right for smaller species like flounder. A tide table booklet helps with planning trips. Flood tides usually fish better than the ebb.

Baited with fresh peeler crab (including shelled legs and claws) could be cast from the back (estuary side) of Dawlish Warren, the Clock Tower Beach or off Maer Rocks at Exmouth giving the chance of flounder, plaice and bass (but return all undersized ones unharmed).

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From our local steep shingle beaches, Sidmouth, Jacob’s Ladder and Budleigh Salterton (where I once caught a 3.5lb flounder) and are casting out onto hard flat sand using fresh peeler crab for bait, bass and flat fish can be caught when the beaches are not crowded with squealing tourists!

When the mackerel are in, a good catch can be made with a two hook feather trace from Sidmouth beach. During autumn Jacob’s Ladder beach can produce big bass.

Very early on summer mornings before the town wakes up and you can avoid showing yourself and clattering the pebbles, good bass can be caught from parts of Sidmouth beach on plugs. But these fish are quite wary.

During the winter legering mackerel strip after dark will catch whiting, dog fish and the occasional surprise.

For fishing for bass, mackerel, whiting and the difficult-to-tempt grey mullet in Exmouth Harbour you can use some of your heavier coarse tackle. But beware, sea water is very corrosive. So, after EVERY trip, rinse your rod and reel with warm soapy water and then wipe it over with an oily cloth (on a split cane rod use linseed oil). Look after your tackle carefully and it won’t be harmed.

Even if you go coarse fishing all the year round it pays to spend a wet, cold weekend checking, cleaning and servicing all your tackle including the breaking strain of your lines and stocks of small items.

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