On the march for cod
Two stalwarts of the North Yorkshire sea angling scene, Paul Medd and his dad Dave, head out along Filey Brigg as the tide ebbs. The walk is worth it at this famous shore mark, particularly if your quest is for cod. Picture by
Autumn has begun with its usual mix of warmth, combined with wind, rain and earlymorning fog. As the chill begins to set in, most shore and boat anglers will turn their thoughts to cod, the nation’s favourite fish.
The good news is that a fresh flush of cod is already showing in parts of the country. Indeed, late September produced shorecaught cod at Chesil Beach in Dorset, along with plenty of non-resident fish in the Filey to Whitby area, and, of course, in Scotland. If the season is anything like last year, we should see them from all parts of our coastline.
That fish at Chesil was caught by Paul Munday (right) on his first cast, and proved to be a personal best weighing 9lb 4oz 8dr. It was taken on freshly gutted black lug at Abbotsbury, Dorset, on September 28. The Kilmington, Somerset angler fished with a Pennell pulley rig in rough conditions during a south-west wind. Up in Scotland, after losing a fish early in his session, Peter Dilks (below, left), of Durham, caught an 8lb 8oz cod, also a personal best, on a peeler crab bait while fishing at Auchmithie, Angus. He told Sea Angler: “I hooked a good fish an hour earlier but lost it on the retrieve, but when I got this one I was surprised to find my snapped hook snood was in its mouth.” Stories like that can only encourage anglers to get out there and sample the delights of cod fishing. Away from the subject of cod, I was interested to see the local press reports of a 7ft-long bluefin tuna being found dead in the River Severn near Gloucester. Three paddle boarders spotted the fish at the side of the river estuary at Minsterworth, Glos. With blue-fins being seen or caught in the sharking grounds in and close to the Bristol Channel, particularly off south-west Wales, the theory seems to be that the dead fish was carried in by the big tides in the area. I’m sure the story captured the imagination of many anglers in South Wales.
They can also ponder the fact that the Angling Trust is extending its role to Wales to deal with issues linked to its ongoing campaigns. This will include commercial overexploitation of bass, salmon netting, agricultural pollution, unlawful canoe access, tidal lagoons, cormorant and goosander predation, abstraction licensing and barriers to migration.
Yes, it makes sense to have one organisation dealing with such campaigns. However, the Trust may take on a full representative role, as it does in England, campaigning on scores of other issues, and has offered to work closely with the various Welsh federations looking after sea, game and coarse angling. Only time will tell if that happens or is a popular move.
Finally, congratulations to Ross Stewart, who won the 38th National Small Boat Angling Championships at Salcombe, Devon. Fished on a specimen percentage basis for two fish, it was a 2lb 4oz 8dr three-bearded rockling (92%) and 11lb 10oz 5dr small-eyed ray (105.966%), for a total of 197.996%, that secured victory for the angler from Teignmouth, Devon.
Enjoy this issue of Sea Angler.