My earliest memory of fishing was angling with my late Dad from the age of six or seven at Teignmouth. I started sea angling in earnest from the age of ten and this continued until I left school, on leaving school and home, I pursued other interests as a student apprentice with a major car manufacturer. On becoming married and returning to Devon in the early seventies, it became my main hobby because it enabled to spend quality time with my dad, family and friends. I was inspired to get into fishing because of my Dad’s lifetimes interest in it.
Nowadays I fish wherever and whenever I can, but mostly in Devon and Somerset. My favourite species to fish for in Devon are flounder, plaice, bass, smoothhound, and rays and my favourite locations are Teignmouth Estuary, Slapton Sands/Salcombe Estuary/ Minehead/ Weymouth, Chesil beach.
Devon, the Bristol Channel, and Severn Estuary provide a wealth of opportunity for sea angling, the coastline is so varied and the many estuaries provide sheltered angling opportunities. The mid channel wrecks are readily reached from the southern ports.
Devon is rich in many species and continues to change as new species become available due to the effects of global warming, the iconic species would be pollock, ling, cod and conger from the wrecks, the plaice, mullet, bass, bream and flounder, mackerel, garfish are important as a relatively easy species to catch for juniors and newcomers to the sport. The Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary is famous for its Ray and Smoothhound and Cod in winter.
The species available to us are many and varied and it is important that this resource is shared by all and only exploited at a sustainable level. The responsibility to ensure this rests on the Devon & Severn IFCA.
My advice to visiting anglers would be:
1/ Always seek local advice from an angling club, charter skipper, or local tackle shop and there is good
information available on the internet.
2/ Always be aware of safety issues and take the appropriate measures to ensure your safety. Always be
aware of the tides and pending weather forecast and wear suitable clothing including a safety jacket.
3/ Make sure you are aware of the local fisheries byelaws and any DEFRA restrictions
Sea Angling is very important to me . It has made me aware of marine life and its surroundings and has always given me so much pleasure. I have been privileged to meet so many likeminded people and the prospect of an angling session excites me as much today as it did when I started many years ago. My best memory of sea angling is catching a turbot of 24lbs 4oz on the Skerries Bank, South Devon with my dad in 1984. Another is of managing the first British World Championship team to win the gold medal.
Angling has had a huge impact in my life, as a hobby it became my livelihood. I started as a angling club member and progressed to its chairman, I later became a member of the Wyvern Regional Committee of the National Governing Body the NFSA and its chairman in 1986. On his retirement in 1998 of the General Secretary I became the first Sports Council Development Officer for the Sport. During my time with the Federation we developed the angling coaching scheme and serviced and managed the National Teams for the sport at home international and World Championship Level. My interest in conservation issures were developed through the NFSA conservation group and in 2005 became a vice president of the world Governing body CIPS with its sea section FIPS-M. During this time I was invited to became a founder member of the European Angling Alliance whose sole purpose was to represent angling and its conservation issues at the European Commission in Brussels.
I retired in 2009 at the age of 67 as the CEO of the National Federation when the three governing bodies for the sport joined together as the Angling Trust and I did this after many years of intense, and hard but rewarding work on behalf of sea angling.
I became the MAFF sea angling appointee to the old Devon Sea Fisheries Committee in 1996 and have continued as a DEFRA appointee with its successor the Devon and Severn IFCA , a post that I find very rewarding. Yes indeed sea angling has had a big impact on my life !
I want to see sustainable fisheries and marine environment, enjoyed by all and hope that the Devon & Severn IFCA will be able to secure the necessary funding and tools to carry out that responsibility. I want to do all that I can to ensure this happens.
Now in retirement, I aim to continue sea angling as long as I am able, I may have to change my methods of angling as I become older and the long 12 to 14 hour, mid channel wreck fishing for pollock, cod and other such species may have to be avoided.
In respect of representing and promoting angling on the various committees, I again aim to carry on as long as I can provide useful input, once I decide that is no longer the case or someone kindly tells me so, I will stand aside and I hope to do so gracefully.