James and his mate Richard were off fishing over high water. “What do you think father?” “Yeah worth a try”, I replied. Why don’t you join them said Pauline invitingly. Just a bit of fun float fishing then!
An hour later we pulled up at our chosen mark to find someone else fishing there. Where can we go now James and Richard asked? Sadly many marks along our coast are now Private with restricted access; my mind raced. I thought of one mark I had not visited for over thirty years might be a bit tricky to find the way but should still be there and I knew it had been fished during the past winter.
The path became very overgrown as we got closer and I lead the way trying to recall the way after thirty odd years. There was only a faint track through the brambles and bracken and at times it was quiet close to the cliff edge.DSCF2623
The final few yards lead down a steep grassy slope before opening up onto the sloping rock I remembered. Little had changed and conditions looked good. Several boats were working the tide race; a sure sign that there were a few mackerel about.
We cast out our orange and yellow slender sea floats to bob upon the constantly moving sea. It was a joy to be perched there taking in the views of wild coast’ cattle grazing on fields that ran down to a rocky headland. Seagulls mewed upon the cliff ledges a place they belonged far from the bustle of harbors and tourists where they are derided for attacking tourists as they munch on their lunch.
Fortunately some things never seem to change and I watched the floats with the same wonderment I had enjoyed as teenager many years before. The fresh smell of the sea and the water caressing the rocky shore.
It was James float that delighted in disappearance first plunging beneath the waves. The light carp rod bent as the pulsing vibrations of the mackerel registered through the line. The fish was swung ashore its flanks decorated with sharp lines and a multitude of marine hues of green, silver and blue.

As the evening drifted past and high water came and went the mackerel came sporadically pulling floats beneath the surface on a regular basis. Surely the disappearance of a float has to be one of angling greatest joys?

An hour after trudging up the cliff path our eight grilled mackerel were being devoured with slices of fresh bread and a liberal helping of pepper and vinegar.


Twelve hours later the fly swung around in the current and a thrilling thump was transmitted down the line. The salmon appeared in the water shaking its head before boring deep into pool hanging sullenly before taking off  and setting the reel singing. After five or so minutes the constant spring of the rod brought the prize to the net. Ten pounds of Torridge salmon, flanks showing the autumnal hues of late summer. I eased the small cascade fly from the scissors, captured a quick image and supported the fish in the cool water before watching it swim slowly away to continue its Journey.


About piscator2

An all-round angler I fish for fun and enjoy sharing my experiences and adventures at the waters edge. Each week I write a column for the North Devon Journal and occasional articles for various publications.
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