It has been a long, long closed season, it is fair to say I haven't enjoyed it much. Now that the new fishing season approaches I thought I would write a few words about what I have been up to.
Since my last correspondence I am pleased to report that I have become a Westcountry Angling Passport Ambassador, I am proud to be associated with the Westcountry Rivers Trust, a charity close to my heart and over the coming months I will be writing more, helping with some of their excellent habitat work and generally doing all I can to cajole everybody to use the Angling Passport scheme to access some super fishing and support this excellent cause.
A perfect example of the sort of good that can be done through this scheme is the new beat on the River Mole. The Garramarsh Farm Beat of the river Mole has entered the scheme this year. I know the beat well, largely underfished, the stretch had been allowed to become overgrown. To fish the stream in the summer was to fish in almost complete darkness, the stretch was completely overgrown, the river shrouded in a dense cloak of sycamore and hazel, largely impermeable to light or anglers. With no light there was very few insects and without insects there would be very few feeding fish.
And so two weeks ago, with the season approaching, a Westcountry Rivers Trust contractor backed up by a volunteer working party descended on the beat, tooled up with power tools, hand saws and stacks of enthusiasm (not to mention tea and cake). And this is the best bit, everything we needed to do to improve access to the beat for visiting anglers served also to improve the habitat for fish and fauna - let me show you:
Removing trees serves to open up access to the river for visiting anglers and also lets light in to the river to encourage a more diverse population of flora and fauna and hopefully some lovely insects for the trout to feast on. Of course it is important not to get carried away, tempting though it is to trim every possible fly snagging hazard, shade is vital. Current scientific advice is that approximately 60% shading is perfect to protect the river water from becoming too warm and so restraint is important.
And so a days work, some good company with likeminded people, a new beat to fish and the warm, smug satisfaction that you have managed to do some good for the habitat we treasure. Happy days.