Rob Scoines and Kody Chugg enjoyed success with thornback ray at a popular rock mark higher up the Bristol Channel. They landed eight ray to 8lb 1oz! The big advantage of fishing up channel is that dogfish are scarce so if you catch its generally ray or codling that take the bait.
The festive holiday will give many anglers the opportunity to visit the shoreline where there is a variety of species worth targeting. Bull huss,. spurdog and tope will be top of the wish list for many with codling also worth targeting epiecially up channel around Minehead and beyond. Harbours are well worth a try using light tackle tactics for grey mullet a species that are now present all year around.
(Above) Shuan Quartly landed this bull huss of 11lb 6oz on recent trip to a North Devon Rock Mark.
(Above) Mark Jones visited a beach in the Minehead area to land five codling to 4lb in a short session over low water.
(Above) John Shapland targetted grey mullet with success landing this sliver flanked specimen from a North Devon harbour.
(Above) James Grigg with an 11lb 1oz spurdog caught from a local rock mark on a whole whiting bait.
Nathan Clements enjoyed success on a North Devon rock enjoying the fresh air instead of the crowds of Factory Friday. This conger scaled 23lb 13oz and is one of the biggest shore caught eel reported so far this autumn. The biggest eels of the winter often show after Christmas so lets hope there are a few more to come. So far this autumn there have been large numbers of small eels that are nuisance but are perhaps a good sign for the future?
(Below) Young Charlie Stanway will be hoping for some chips to go with this cod he caught at Ilfracombe whilst fishing with his Dad.
Prospects for the Festive period are excellant with South West Winds and mild conditions. Matt Jeffery tempted a tope of 25lb 4oz and I expect one or two more of these toothy critters to show over the christmas holiday period along with spurdog and huss.
(Below) Ian laird landed this spurdog on a recent trip and is hoping to hook a bigger one before the winter is over.
Kevin Legge as a well earned reputation for catching specimen fish from the North Devon shoreline and having fished with Kev for close to forty years I know he is meticulous in his preparation and leaves nothing to chance. Kevin has been testing the latest terminal tackle from Veals Mail Order and sent me this short article.
I have been asked recently about wire traces for toothy critters. I have been using the Mason Wire for a few years now in 175lb b.s this wire is both strong and extremely kink resistant a plus when the straps and dogfish are about in plague proportions.For hooks I use good old Varivas extras or the recent catfish hook. I have always been a fan of stainless steel swivels and the latest from Seadra are exceptionally robust with the 1/0 crane swivel rated at 525lb! To connect the trace to hook and swivel I have been using Seadra double barrel crimps 1.2mm. The crimped joints are protected using Mustard shrink tube (3mm) this creates a neat finish and protects the fingers from shards of wire that can give a nasty cut.
At snaggy marks Kevin often uses a single hook instead of the more commonly used Pennel rig.
These are difficult times on the High Street with many shops struggling as many shop online to secure the best deals. This is understandable but we must not forget the local tackle shop for they provide us with an invaluable service. Fresh bait, tubs of maggots, the chance to pick up and look at the product and that social benefit of meeting fellow anglers. Tackle shops have always been at the hub of the angling world a place to learn and become motivated by fellow anglers. If your thinking of what to buy the angler for Christmas why not head to your local tackle shop of which we have a great choice in North Devon.
Danny Watson runs High Street Tackle in Ilfracombe with his partner Pauline and has a passion for lure fishing that is reflected in the huge range of lures on offer in the shop. They also stock qaulity Ammo frozen bait along with sea angling tackle and essential items for the coarse angler.
Jamie Miller (Below) runs North Devon Tackle in Queens Walk, Barnstaple (in the arcade adjacent to Queens Street and Bear Street Car Parks). They specialise in carp, Coarse and Sea Fishing with Gift Vouchers available to ensure the angler gets to choose the perfect gift.
Summerlands Tackle are North Devons longest established tackle shop. A family run business that has traded for over thirty years. They carry a range of tackle covering all three disciplines and are actively promoting safety at sea this year with Crewsaver Life jackets on offer at a very reasonable price. What better present for the angler you care about?
Chillcheaters in Braunton offer a range of qaulity garnets for combating extreme weather conditions. See link below.
Blakewell Fishery boasts a well stocked tackle shop with Fly Fishing Tackle, clothing and a range of flies from West Country company Snowbee. Whilst there you can enjoy a coffee in their tea room and even choose a Christmas Tree.
Choose a good book for those cold winter nights from River Reads book shop near Torrington.
There has been a concerted campaign by the RNLI to encourage anglers to were life jackets and this has been supported a by a few high profile anglers including Henry Gilbey. The vast majoroty of anglers do not wear lifejackets and this is something that needs to change if the number of lives lost each year due to drowning are to be reduced. I visited Summerlands at Westward Ho! recently and was delighted to see that they have embraced the campaign and are selling Crewsaver 165 Sport Life Jackets at a very reasonable price of £65.95. This could make the perfect Christmas present with the potential to save a life.
Many experienced sea anglers if challenged will admit to having near misses and with an average of ten shore anglers drowning each year it is time to consider investing in this valuable kit that could save your life.
Storm Diedre failed to keep members of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club from the shoreline to compete in their Christmas Competition. Mark Jones secured victory with a thornback ray of 10lb 7oz. The fish won him a voucher from https://cokerscreations.co.uk and choice of a secret Santa prize donated by members. In runner up spot was myself(Wayne Thomas) with a dogfish scaling 2lb 9oz and in third Dave Brooke with a bull huss of 7lb 9oz. Ross Stanway weighed in a small- eyed-ray of 7lb 2oz for forth. 1st-Mark Jones – thornback ray – 10lb 7oz 2nd– Wayne Thomas – dogfish – 2lb 9oz 3rd– Dave Brooke – bull huss – 7lb 9oz 4th– Ross Stanway – small-eyed-ray – 7lb 2oz 5th– Jack Phillips – dogfish – 2lb 6th– Jack Phillips – dogfish – 1lb 15oz 7th– Mark Jones – thornback ray – 6lb 15oz 8th– Jack Phillips – dogfish – 1lb 14oz 9th– Nick Phillips – dogfish – 1lb 14oz 10th– Dan Welch – flounder 1lb 3oz 11th– Nick Phillips – dogfish – 1lb 10oz
Bideford Angling Club – Christmas Competition
Fifty eight anglers lined the banks of the Torridge estuary to compete in Bideford Angling Clubs Christmas Competition last Sunday with twenty four flounder registered. The winning angler Owen Hare was a junior who landed a flounder of 1lb 71/2oz. Runner up was Stephen Found with a flounder of 1lb 63/4oz, third Darren Burslem with a flounder of 1lb 31/2oz and forth Robert Bowden with a flounder of 1lb 31/2oz. The club were very appreciative of the behind the scenes work of Paul and Lisa Downing and to the sponsors.
Barnstaple Triple Hook Clubs
Barnstaple Triple Hook Clubs Christmas Flounder Open attracted a field of fifty anglers all keen to secure a turkey dinner. The results were the best for many seasons with plenty of quality flounder weighed in. The top ten all recieved a turkey.
1st – Richard Chapel – 2lb 13/4oz
2nd- Nigel Gullen – 2lb 7/8oz
3rd – Steve Luxton – 1lb 143/8oz
4th – Max Peake – 1lb 13.75oz
5th – Dennis Toleman – 1lb 127/8oz
6th – Darren Short – 1lb 125/8oz
7th – Kevin Hancock – 1lb 121/8oz
8th – Dave Mock – 1lb 113/4oz
9th – Isabel Luxton – 1lb 113/4oz
10th = Cleo Babb – 1lb 101/2oz
I have been reporting on these estuary flounder competitions for many seasons now and have often noted the contrast in the average size of flounder caught between the two estuaries. This year the results show a marked difference in fish sizes with the top ten flounder caught from the Taw in Triple Hook Clubs Open all bigger than the winning fish from the Torridge. Both rivers share many common characteristics yet seem to produce different sized flounder potential?
The stormy weather has coloured the inshore waters dislodging lots of food for hungry fish. Just after the storm is often the best time to get out and capitalise on conditions that sometimes last for no more than a couple of tides.
Kyle Blackmore landed five codling the biggest just under 4lb along with plenty of eels all caught on squid and frozen blacks. Kyle is hoping that is a good sign for the months ahead.
The estuary flounder season has been one of the best for several seasons with both quality and quantities’ of flatfish. Appledore Shipbuilders Christmas Competition attracted a field of 31 anglers. The winning fish was caught by Junior angler Max Peake who landed a fine flounder of 1lb 133/4oz. In runner up spot was Junior angler Cleo Babb with a flounder of 1lb 12oz. Cameron Atkinson took third and forth with flounder of 1lb 91/2oz and 1lb 91/4oz. Fifth was Jack Pike with a flounder of 1lb 83/4oz.
Dennis Toleman secured first prize in Triple Hook Clubs Flounder Open with a flounder scaling 1lb 93/4oz. Joan Cairns was runner up with a flounder of 1lb 71/2oz.
(Below) Antony Smith won Bideford Angling Clubs twenty-four hour Rover with a spurdog scaling 7lb 141/2oz. Nathan Clements was runner up with a dogfish of 1lb 131/2oz.
I expect to see some good fish caught from the Open coast over the coming weeks with spurdog, bull Huss, big conger and tope all likely.