Kevin Shears braves icy weather to secure Ilfracombe Match Group angling win
KEVIN SHEARS overcame an icy wind and frozen margins to the bottom lake at Oaktree Fishery, South Molton, to win Ilfracombe Match Group's latest contest.
Using maggot-fished pole tactics, Shears landed 78lb 11oz of carp.
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The runner-up was Andy Gray with 38lb and third was Andy Bailey on 31lb 2oz.
Pete Slade took the silver-fish bag with 20lb 11oz of roach and skimmers, using pole and pellet.
Spring seems to be here one minute and gone the next. On the warmer days the carp are feeding and several 20-pounders have succumbed to anglers at Furzebray, where Luke Davies enjoyed a great session topped by a stunning ghost carp scaling 21lb.
Stafford Moor's Beatties and Joseph's lakes are also fishing well on warmer days with carp topping 20lb. Pines continues to give good sport with quality perch, bream and tench.
Chris Bell landed a fine mirror of 22lb 14oz while fishing Beatties.
Mac McCarthy fished a mid-river beat of the Taw and was surprised when a gleaming silver sea trout of about 3lb seized his cascade fly.
It gave a spirited few moments on the line, leaping clear of the water before being brought to the bank and carefully released.
The sea trout season starts tomorrow and to catch one so early is a promising sign for the coming season.
Several salmon have been sighted from mid-river beats but I have not received reports of any landed.
A salmon was lost on the lower Torridge after a very short skirmish when the hook hold gave.
At the sheltered waters of Bratton trout fishery, Kyle Bishop and Dan Spearman enjoyed a super day's sport fishing hare's ear nymphs beneath floating lines and long leaders.
The top fish of the day was a superb brown of 10lb to Bishop, who also had browns of 7lb and 5lb.
Spearman caught a fine brown of 7lb and rainbows to 5lb.
Simpson Valley lakes are fishing well, with Keith Hill catching a rainbow trout of 9lb 3oz using an olive damsel nymph pattern.
Mallard and Skylark catch-and-release lakes gave Simon Steel, of Bridport, a catch of 14 rainbows and six brown trout.
Anglers have also enjoyed some exciting pike and perch fishing on Upper and Lower Fuzzy Lakes.
Fifteen anglers fished in Ian Barr's World Bank Masters competition at Exe Valley Fishery, catching 167 trout to double figures.
Garry Stephens took first place with 20 fish and was presented with a pair of Costa sunglasses worth £250. In second place was Alan Riddel with 18 fish and in third Duncan Haller with 17.
Seven anglers had a hectic day on board Ilfracombe charter boat Bluefin, skippered by John Barbeary.
At a mid-channel mark, with an easterly wind rocking the boat, ravenous packs of spurdog attacked their baits with close to 80 caught, the best topping 16lb to the rod of Dave Shapland.
Two conger and ten bull huss were also caught.
Anthony Smith won for Bideford and District Angling Club in last week's North Devon League match.
He brought to the scales the only fish caught – a fine rockling of 1lb 7½oz.
With one heat remaining, Barnstaple Rod 'n' Reelers, with 59 points, have a commanding lead over Combe Martin Sea Angling Club on 44. Appledore are third with 26 points and Bideford fourth on 25.
Combe Martin member Adrian Gove landed an early-season grey mullet of 4lb 10oz and club-mate John Avery caught a specimen mullet of 4lb½oz.
At the club's annual presentation night, at the Royal Marine Hotel, Simon Silvester received the merit award for outstanding angling throughout the year. Guy Spriggs received the cup for the best specimen of the year – a new club record smoothound that scaled 21lb 10½oz.
Tomorrow: trout fishing starts on local rivers.
Tomorrow: opening day at Wistlandpound Reservoir.
Sunday: Wistlandpound Fly-Fishing Club D&D Cup, Wistlandpound, fishing 10am to 4pm.
Sunday: Ilfracombe Match Group, Legge Farm.