Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Instow - Weatherphiles and Wondermongers

It's always a lottery holidaying in the UK but to be fair we've always been fairly lucky weather wise.

The journey down to North Devon can also be hit and miss the best of times but to be fair we managed it in less than 5 hours and just over 3 hours back.

My brother lives in this neck of the woods so its always good to catch up with his kids and after his initial purge in all things sea fishing, I'm sure I've spent more time fishing in this area than he has.

We were staying in Instow and despite booking last minute we managed a lovely little property overlooking the characterful Appledore.

The tide times can also make and break a holiday but to be fair the first few days before the storm rolled in was perfect.

The fish just didn't seem up for it though....

Some lure fishing morning and evening I had one rise from a bass that was it. One of the sessions the estuary was like a mill pond and there was some bait fish milling around so I though it would be perfect but no, nothing doing.

The only anglers I saw all week were fishing rag worm over the sand on beachcasters and were picking up the odd schoolie and flattie but they were struggling too.

Sam and I tried at high tide near the harbour wall where I'd seen a couple of mullet appear whilst I was enjoying a pint from the Instow Arms and a steak pasty from Johns.

Some bread mash fed in handfuls brought gulls but no fish so after an hour or two we gave up.

Then then storm hit big time 60 mph winds and a huge tide and swell. The sea going from a lovely clear blue to chocolate brown with a few hours, the estuary  defences taking a battering, the wind whipping up the sand off the beach to leg hurting territory.

That basically put the kibosh on the fishing for the rest of the holiday but during the storm I did get to see the Royal Marines carrying out some exercises.

I've never seen a Landrover Defender wade so deep, the water was literally halfway up the windscreen with a spotter sticking his head out of the window to guide the driver.

Still it was a holiday and change of scenery. Lots of walking, in-fact exceeded 10k steps quite considerably every single day, 3 days were double that and we managed a couple of afternoons on Instow Beach bathed in glorious sunshine.

We love it down here though and it never really feels that busy despite more people coming to this part of the world because of COVID-19

The weather forecasters still cannot seem to predict the weather so a walk to Peppercombe Valley Far away from the crowds, this beautiful valley near Horns Cross is rich in wildlife.

The secluded woodland runs down to an attractive rocky beach backed by striking red sandstone cliffs the perfect place for peaceful picnics, rockpooling, walking and wildlife spotting.

Only accessible by foot, and is a truly magical place to stumble upon. It runs down to an attractive beach backed by striking red cliffs of 280-million-year-old mud and sandstone, found nowhere else locally. 

The combe is a mixture of woods, marsh and grassland, rich in wildlife, including dingy skipper and pearl bordered fritillaries, early purple and southern marsh orchids.

The walk down was horrendous though and oddly we were the only ones to brave the conditions.

The rain was meant to last all day so after managing to get down to the deserted beach we were worried the track already a bit dicey may well get worse.

So a quick whistle-stop we were heading back up the track already to be fair fairly drenched. Almost back at the top the rain stops and the sky changed to some of the bluest we'd seen. 

It stayed like that for the rest of the day too so if we had set out an hour later it would have been prefect and would have spent much longer there. 

To cheer myself up I treated myself to some Oysters and a Crab roll from the Glorious Oyster shack and then later in the day a Lobster and a tempura soft shell crab. 

I forgot just how much I like Oysters, proper fresh they really are something else. Bait fishing may well need to be added to my sea fishing armoury, I cannot do any worse.


  1. A lovely part of the world, we had some great holidays down there with the kids. Your photographs do it justice. September next and predator fishing starts next week. No doubt a few blanks too. ATB, John

  2. I feel at home down North Devon John, always have done. Tight lines John it definitely feels colder in the mornings they could well be ready for a feed.


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