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I Caught a Glimpse

Author: Wayne Thomas

Publisher: Little Egret Press

Year: 2019

Rating ***


Many books have been written about famous rivers but surprisingly little has been written about North Devon. Wayne Thomas is known throughout the area for his angling columns and latterly his website and is regarded as one of best anglers in the area. Not in just one branch of the sport, he is regarded as a generalist, perhaps a dismissive term for someone who just loves all aspects of the sport and the environment which is so beautiful in North Devon.


This has put him in a unique position to meet people down the years and to fish most of the waters in the area. So when he decided to write “I caught a glimpse” he started from a position of having a wealth of knowledge and experience.


This has enabled him to produce an excellent historical document covering the locations, catches and the anglers who used to fish it.


Sadly, much of it isn’t as good as days long ago, particularly in salmon numbers where his interviews paint a graphic picture of the decline, and even allowing for memories to be rose tinted, he uses catch records to highlight this. However, he also notes that changing practices and declining numbers of anglers have accentuated this and he applauds the efforts of the environmentalist amongst anglers and their work in trying to improve habitat.


Likewise sea fishing has declined as man harvests both the fish and in one case the very sandbank that sustained differing species that are no longer present.


What Wayne does add is his appreciation of the beautiful environment he experience with the flora and fauna included which, to many, is nearly as important as the angling.


My concern for this book is for the sales figures, in that the number of anglers has declined and has become more specialised and some of whom may not fully appreciate the rich history of the not too distant past. I am delighted that Wayne took the time to compile this book recounting the memories of the contributors some of whom are now in their dotage, and this is highlighted by the notes of their passing in the book.


It will undoubtedly retain its place as an historical document on angler’s bookshelves for years to come and is a valuable addition to the angling history of North Devon.