The 2018/19 Flounder season is proving to be the best for many years with good numbers of good sized flounder caught. There is the chance of flounder for a couple more weeks and it could be wortbn trying the lower estuary as the fish drop back towards the sea. It is tp be hoped that next season will be an even better one with survivors of this year class returning even bigger next autumn. Flounder fishing on the estuary tends to be cyclical with peak seasons followed by poor seasons with smaller fish.
Richard Chapple and James Griggy enjoyed New Years Day morning down on Taw estuary catching six flounder the biggest flounder caught by Richard Chapple weighing in at 2lb 1 1/2oz (second 2 pound flounder of season for Richard Chapple)
Combe Martin SAC member Rob Scoines enjoyed a short session in the Taw estuary landing five flounder to 1lb 6oz. Whilst many stop fishing the estuary after Christmas I suspect that good sport can be enjoyed for a few weeks yet with every chance of a large specimen full of roe prior to spawning.
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 flounder fishing season has got into full swing following a few frosty mornings with plump flounder being caught from all the popular estuary marks.
Mark Beer won Triple Hook Clubs RBL Club Shield Flounder Match with a fine flounder of 2lb 7/8oz. Runner up was Kevin Hancock with a flounder of 1lb 103/4oz and third Dennis Toleman with a flounder of 1lb 97/8oz.
(Above)Paul Hutchings and Andrew McKenna enjoyed an action packed session on the Taw estuary catching upwards of thirty flounder over 1lb 4oz the best a beauty of 1lb 14oz.
Further afield North Devon angler Dan Miles Redmore secured first place in Sunday’s heat of the prestigious National Flounder competition fished on the River Teign estuary over last weekend. Dan’s flounder scaled a fraction over 2lb and beat a field of almost 170 anglers.
Heidi Green took first and second places in Appledore Shipbuilders Rover catching flounder of 1lb 143/8oz and 1lb 133/8oz. Third was Josh Atkinson with a flounder of 1lb 117/8oz. Amelia Mellor took first and third in the junior section with flounder of 1lb 9oz and 1lb 5oz. In second was Jack Pike with a flattie of 1lb 71/2oz.
Nathan Clements won Bideford Angling Clubs monthly rover with a dogfish of 2lb 1oz. In second was Terry Dymond with a flounder of 1lb 4oz.
Combe Martin Sea Angling Club members enjoyed a day out of Minehead aboard Steve Webber’s boat Osprey. Cod were the intended target but proved difficult to find on the day. Persistence eventually paid off when Rob Scoine’s bait was seized by a fine double figure cod weighing 12lb 4oz. James Thomas boated a blonde ray of 12lb the best of several ray caught including thornback and one other blonde. Smoothound, spurdog, dogfish and numerous conger were also caught.
The autumn is racing towards its close as winter descends and now is the time to catch that special fish. Looking back over the decades November is a month that can produce that fish of a lifetime. Kevin Legge’s British record tope of 66lb and 66lb 8oz were both caught in early November. Barry Hill’s shore caught record coalfish of 18lb was also caught in November and Tim Neal caught a rockling of 3lb 1oz that also held the British record. The stories behind some of these fish are in my book I Caught a Glimpse due for release in mid February 2019.
The Pearson family enjoyed a fun flounder fishing session in the Taw estuary with Candy Pearson hauling a double shot of flounders and nine year old Ellie Pearson catching a whopper of 1lb 10oz.
The humble flounder can provide great fun for family fishing with no sophisticated tackle required as the fish can be caught in very shallow water. For great sport use a light carp rod or spinning rod with a 2 or 3 hook trace with size 2 fine wire hooks and a bunch of ragworm. The fish can also be caught using light float tackle set so the the bait trundles over the sand. LRF style tackle can also give an alternative challenge with artificial ragworm on the hook worked slowly through likely spots.
Summerlands Tackle are presently selling fresh locally dug harbour ragworm. Phone to secure your order if you suffer from a bad back it can ease the pain.
The autumn estuary can provide some fine sport for young anglers with flounder and school bass.
Ian Cairns won Triple Hook Clubs Junior Open Flounder competition with a fine flounder of 1lb 87/8oz. In second place was Roxy Mortimer with a flounder of 1lb 8oz. Joan Cairns won the ladies Open Flounder match with a flattie of 1lb 73/4oz. Christine Hancock was runner up with a flounder of 1lb 31/4oz.
Andrew Conibear took his son Thomas to the Taw estaury where they enjoyed sport with flounder and bass to 5lb 9oz.