Martin Cox enjoys Christmas carp action at Furzebray Lakes
MILD conditions have led to some great carp action at Furzebray Lakes where several 20lb specimens have been caught.
Martin Cox fished the lake in solitude over Christmas and was rewarded with two fish, one on Christmas morning weighing 20lb 4oz – the angler's perfect present.
Several other carp have succumbed over the festive period, including a brace to Adam Seymour, one a mirror weighing 19lb 14oz the other a fine winter common of 23lb 12oz.
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Luke Davis had a brace that included a 20lb mirror, while Chris Hutchings caught fish weighing 24lb 6oz and 21lb 8oz, both tempted using zig rigs, and Simon Springell landed a fine mirror of 26lb 12oz.
Graham Wray fished Lower Slade Reservoir and was rewarded with a fine brace of common carp weighing 24lb 14oz and 19lb. He also landed a mirror carp of 8lb.
Double-figure cod continue to be caught from Somerset rock marks and beaches. A few should show from North Devon within a month.
Bideford Angling Club members Dick Cutland and Dick Talbot travelled to a Somerset shore mark in search of cod.
On the last cast of their session, a specimen cod scaling 14lb 9½oz seized Cutland's bait.
The club's members will be hoping fish of this calibre are brought to the scales in this month's Cod Festival.
Jazza John won Bideford's Boxing Day rover with a dogfish of 2lb 8¾oz.
Anglers will be hoping for better weather in the new year.
Many sea anglers blame the recent downturn in sport on an influx of freshwater into the Bristol Channel.
Salmon anglers will be concerned the massive spates have swept away thousands of salmon and sea trout eggs buried within the gravel.
I wrote recently that winter floods would have little impact upon the salmon redds but I would have to reconsider now, as the spates have been exceptional.
Local stillwater trout fisheries have been flooded and some valuable stocks have undoubtedly been lost.
Bideford Angling Club's latest game section match was held at Bratton Water where all competitors caught quality bags of trout.
The first two fish caught count for the competition and the winner was Matt Saunders with 5lb 12oz, beating Terry Dymond's 5lb 8oz and Bob Langmead's 4lb 8oz.
Simpson Valley is fishing well for pike, with several to low doubles taken on dead baits, and the Jenny Wren Lake is in fine form with rainbow trout to over 10lb.
John Gardiner, of Bude, landed a fine fish of 10lb 4oz and Philip Brown a rainbow of 10lb 2oz.
I expect to see an increasing interest in ultra-light lure fishing for sea fish, with an increasing number of species being targeted.
Some of the latest artificial lures are impregnated with scent to make them even more effective.
A few years ago I would have been sceptical about claims artificial baits could compete with natural baits, but modern developments are revolutionising angling and look set to move at an ever-increasing pace.
Sunday: Bideford Angling Club monthly rover.
Sunday: Appledore Shipbuilders monthly rover.
Sunday: Combe Martin Sea Angling Club monthly meeting, Braunton Cricket Club, 7pm.