Thoughts From A Heatwave…

John Bailey

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Mid-July, down here in Devon, on the Exe where temperatures hit 30 degrees plus most of yesterday afternoon. The whole country, we know, is wilting under a cloudless sky, and though it might have been so-called ‘freedom day’, there was no respite from the sun.

Of course, there was barely any water, James in Dulverton’s great tackle shop told me that it had barely rained on Exmoor for six weeks. Most of my beat was shin-deep, and the trout were invisible under rocks and tree roots. And as for salmon, well, one sad creature had been spotted on Friday last I was told, but but by now he must be as pickled as we are.


I knew it was absurd to be fishing. I was only there for “work”, as a recce, and my heart wasn’t in it at all. Two things. I’d fished the Barle extensively back in the summers of the Eighties, and I knew all about hot weather trout. Or, rather, nothing about how to catch hot weather trout, in the daytime at least. Then I’d picked off odd nice fish on dries under dense tree canopies, fishing them on the dangle an inch above the water, so there was no line to break the surface film. But, for various reasons, this would not be practicable here on the Exe in 2021.

And, secondly, should I be fishing at all? Last night I noted that back in Herefordshire/Wales, the Wye & Usk Foundation has suspended fishing for the duration of the heat in order to protect the fish, game and coarse both. Of course, Exe water isn’t made up largely of chicken excreta like the Wye, and there might be more oxygen down here as a result, but I’d still be anxious if I thought there was any chance of a catch.


Spot the trout!

We are back down there again today. A very long, spider’s web leader? A French leader, or even a Euro one? A tiny nymph? I couldn’t imagine even a pint of maggots being much use, but at least we’ll have peace, and in a world of floods, droughts and economic, pandemic, and political chaos, that’s more than enough.

Andrew B

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Beautiful pics from Exmoor, one of the nicest places on earth imo? Funny how I just presumed Devon had a load of rain of late? Having chosen North Wales as a sea trout holiday months in advance, couldn’t help wondering if I should of chose the River Dart near Buckfast.
It’s like the five day test match against India to be played at Hampshire’s ground, and yet was washed out for four days? Ok so that was a while ago but the weather forecast showed rain down in the West Country on a regular basis since that test match.
Crazy how the U.K. gets so much of this regional showers and even heavy floods.


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Very nice post.

While I sit here in Alaska I can only lament the devastation occurring once again in Oregon (among other places in the west of the North American continent. I honestly loved the place when I was able to spend a couple weeks there some years ago. My wife and I even spoke of relocating to there because it was so beautiful. Now the very places we went and admired so greatly are charred. The temperate rainforest so moist, draped with mosses, the most lush place I have ever seen charred. First desiccated for 5 straight years then up in flames like the dry tinder it had become.

It's been a good life, almost 67 years now but I fear change is coming and coming rapidly whether some deny it or not it comes.


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Paisley strathclyde.
It's been a good life, almost 67 years now but I fear change is coming and coming rapidly whether some deny it or not it comes.
The fishing has changed and the modern fishers that i see just want to pay there money, fish and then forget it until next time. The birds / wild flowers /countryside /just being out in a lovely countryside are it seams seldom noticed.