Since the last blog the calendar tells us we have officially made the transition from summer into autumn but someone needs the tell Mother Nature, as she’s continuing to give both in the field and on the river. Whilst the final week of August was far from summery, treating us to 75 mm of rain on the Golf Course in two days. Fortunately this was quickly absorbed, benefiting the Course, kicking the grass back into full growth and also proved a blessing for the fishermen and migratory fish.
This resulted in The River Mole spending three days chocolate brown and high, which meant that getting out on the river was off the cards. However this didn’t last long, as the colour and height was back by the 29th a few Salmon and Sea Trout were being caught up and down the Mole and Taw.
By Sunday, conditions were perfect. Many fishermen made the most of the conditions, total tally of 7 salmon to about 14 lbs and 4 Sea trout. A remarkable day for any English river, let alone our river. Bank Holiday Monday, and the following Tuesday the water was still in great condition despite dropping out, meaning we saw more success – a highlight being an early evening, sparkling silver Sea Trout of around 5 lbs.
The raw northerly winds made fishing difficult over the past couple of weeks. But thankfully, the daytime air temperature has rocketed up into the high teens and twenties, over the last few days and it feels like summer has returned, although the fish are still playing hard to get. Does that really matter after such an exhilarating few days on the river? No way! The lack of fish has been made up by 3 separate sightings of Otters. The last was peacefully making his way up stream, only given away by the advancing bow wave, by standing stock still he came within 4 metres of me. Another evening saw an animal wonder of a different kind, a herd of 25 red deer grazing in the field on the opposite bank.
These encounters, at such close quarters, are not rare, but never cease to excite.
Also in this last week, clear blue skies has made for excellent bird spotting opportunities – Spotted Fly Catchers are easily ‘spotted’ at Forresters and the prolific House Martins nesting under the Manor House eaves are all busy feeding their young. If it wasn’t for the beech leaves starting to change colour one could easily believe it was still summer!
We have also reached the best time to spot migrating Wheatears and their easily distinguished white rump on the Golf Course. Early autumn is a great season for birdwatching – you might even catch a Pied Flycatcher or Redstart on Exmoor if you’re lucky. And if you’re coming down to Higbullen soon, the Red Deer rut is just weeks away, which can be heard from the hotel estate or on Exmoor, the latter will require booking and a lot of walking, but will ultimately be rewarding. Don’t hesitate to ask at reception for assistance with experiencing any of autumn’s natural wonders.