The Roadford Fly Fair is a very popular event at the Start of Spring coinciding with those first forays to the waters edge in search of wild trout and salmon.
The weekend proved challenging for sea anglers with the first half blighted by a bitter North East wind that chilled to the bone with temperatures overnight rumoured to drop to minus ten.
Shore fishing was generally hard going with deep water less impacted upon by the low temperatures most productive. I will post a full write later on a my trip on Bluefin with South Molton Angling Club.
Kevin Legge took top spot in Combe Martin SAC’s Winter Rover landing specimen spurdog scaling 12lb 7oz. In runner up spot was Wayne Thomas ( Myself) with a boat caught conger of 30lb boated on John Barbeary’s boat bluefin off Ilfracombe. Kevin also secured third place with a spurdog of 9lb 8oz.
Dick Talbot won Bidefords Monthly Rover with a three beard rockling if 1lb 3oz. In runner spot was Dan Walbridge with a rockling of 1lb 2oz and third Dick Talbot with another rockling off 1lb 1.5oz. Terry Dymond took third place with a flounder of 1lb 67/8oz. Fifth was Stephen Found with a dogfish of 2lb 1.25oz.
The end of season result was first and second Dick Talbot with his rockling of 1lb 3oz and 1lb 1.5oz
David John Langbridge took first and second places In Appledore Shipbuilders Rover landing flounder of 1lb 91/8oz and 1lb 71/8oz. Terry Dymond was third with a flounder of 1lb 67/8oz.
Whilst winter has always been synonymous with cod and codling these fish have been scarce on the North Devon Coast with those hoping to catch these fish having to travel to the the North Devon coast for a good chance. Why the cod and codling have become scarce on the North Devon Coast is open to debate!
Combe Martin SAC member Stuart Taylor 5lb 4oz codling caught on a Somerset reef last week. Weather was not very pleasant and very windy and this was the only bite.
Ian Hooper persisted during a recent shore session suffering countless dogfish before a pleasing dab grabbed his bait. These sweet tasting flatfish are a welcome reward during the tail end of winter and far more could be caught from marks along the North Devon coast if anglers scaled down their tackle to find a wider range of fish instead of sitting it out for those outsize specimens.
One great advantage with the humble dab is that they seem to relish slightly iffy worms making them ideal candidates to use up left over bait converting into a sweet tasting starter.
Offshore boat anglers are enjoying some hectic sport with spurdog with a party aboard John Barbeary’s Ilfracombe based Charter boat Bluefin landing over sixty in a trip last weekend. These members of the shark family bring welcome sport each winter with their numbers recovering following the ban on commercial fishing.
APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS WINTER LEAGUE
Graham Snow secured first and second in Appledore Shipbuilders January Winter League competition landing a brace of flounder scaling 1lb 155/8oz and 1lb 77/8oz. Third place went to Andrew Atkinson with a dogfish of 2lb 1oz.
Combe Martin SAC member John Avery landed fine winter thick lipped mullet scaling 5lb 1oz.
1st Antony Smith blonde Ray 13lb 14oz 115.625%
2nd Antony Smith smalleye Ray 9lb 12oz 108.333%
3rd Nathan Clements thornback Ray 9lb 11oz 107.638%
Combe Martin SAC member Paul Lorrimore caught this bull huss of 9lb 7oz on his latest visit to the North Devon shoreline. Shore anglers are catching plenty of small conger and dogfish but those prepared to persist are eventually rewarded.
Boat anglers will be pleased to know that John Barbeary’s boat Bluefin is back in the water at Ilfracombe following a winter refit. The next two months should see some hectic sport with spurdog, conger and bull huss.
Congratulations to Steve Dawe on an amazing year of fishing and fund raising for the stroke association. I have already ordered my copy of Steves book recording his amazing year of species hunting and will review it within these pages. Many thanks to Steve for writing the below report for North Devon angling News.
The challenge to catch 52 UK species in 52 weeks ended on December the 31stwith a final push to track down a 3 Bearded Rockling from a mark in Ilfracombe. Despite great advice on location and tactics from two very good North Devon anglers the species remained elusive although Pollack, Pouting and Congers provided a distraction. My final total for the year long challenge ended on 77 species when I finally got one of my nemesis species the Spotted Ray while fishing aboard Mike Webbers Teddie Boy out of Minehead. The Spotted Ray alone had taken 9 sessions across the year before I finally got the target, it does sum up the challenge that targeting a certain fish species presents.
Fish just don’t read a script and despite anglers I know catching the Spotted Ray with impunity if you don’t have a slice of luck to add to the time spent on the bank then that magic fish can prove difficult. Over the year the North Devon Coast and Bristol Channel have been good to me on the species front with, Conger, Spurdog, Bullhuss, Dab, Hounds, Cod and Flounder all ticked off the list from the North coast.
This was largely down to great skippers and unconditional advice from several of the North Coast’s best anglers, you guys know who you are, and I and the Stroke Association are extremely grateful. During the challenge I notched up over 7000 miles, 115 sessions, 52 sea species, 25 coarse and game. Out of that total 44, were personal bests, a statistic I am sure I will never match or exceed again.
I must also thank Wayne who does a sterling job of reporting and promoting fishing events and achievements through his pages. Wayne invited me to attend the Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs annual fun day at Ilfracombe this summer, and it was a great few hours spent with future anglers catching mini species. This event alone raised £25 for the charity in coin donations placed in the charity box, typical of the generosity shown by anglers and their families this year. Many people I met this year know someone or have had a family member effected by a Stroke, this life changing condition can affect everyone young and old.
Last Saturday I was joined by my good friend and inspiration for this challenge Andy Adams, Andy was a dedicated angler who was hit out of the blue with a massive stroke. The stroke has left Andy wheel chair bound and in need of a full-time carer, what it didn’t take however was his fighting spirit. Together we presented a cheque for £1340.00 to Hayley Ali of the Stroke Association while at a lunch down in the port of Looe.
I was asked by several of the readers of my blog to consider writing a book of the year long challenge, I have managed to complete this to coincide with the cheque presentation. The book titled Fishty Two Weeks in a Yearis available from Amazon as a Kindle version and Paperback.
All profits from the sale of this book will also go to the Stroke Association, so anyone buying are helping this great cause. Although I may have been the figurehead of this challenge it was only possible due to the copious amounts of goodwill, professionalism and support of my fellow anglers and friends so I salute you all.
Tarrant Wotton has invested many hours in the pursuit of a shore caught tope and his efforts paid off when this fine specimen of just over 38lb seized his bait.
Whilst numbers of shore caught tope are low the season for catching them seems to have extended with the occasional fish showing from May right through until February.