Minehead – Teddie Boy – Blonde Ray on the Feed

Mid October is a great time to venture out of Minehead with a wide range of opportunities on offer. I had booked onto Teddie Boy Charters with my son James Thomas, Rob Scoines and a friend from my working life Derek Walters. There were three other anglers already booked onto the boat two of whom turned out to be ex Combe Martin SAC members who I had last met up with twenty years or so ago.

            Mike Webber is one of the UK’s youngest charter skippers but has accumulated a mass of knowledge beyond his years after crewing with his father Steve of Osprey Charters for many seasons.


            The plan was to enjoy some of the mixed general fishing on offer close to Minehead. Ray, huss, conger, smoothound and bass were all on the agenda.

            Sailing from Minehead is always very tide dependant and today’s departure was at  11:00am allowing us time to grab a Full English at the local spoons before grabbing bait from Mike’s Speedbait outlet.

            We gathered on the Quay just before 11:00am and chatted about the day ahead noting the autumn shades of the trees on the hillside overlooking the harbour. It was good to exchange a few words with Mike’s father Steve who has taken myself and other CMSAC members out to sea on many occasions.

            The boat turned West out of the harbour and steamed down channel to a mark off Porlock Weir where Mike predicted huss, conger and the chance of a ray. The first mark proved a little snaggy and we lost a couple of rigs and hauled up numerous small conger.

            Mike up anchored and moved the boat a few hundred yards before resetting the anchor. This proved to be cleared ground and we lost no more rigs. The conger were undoubtedly present in good numbers and a succession of hard fighting eels were brought to the boat. Derek hooked into an eel that put a substantial bend into his rod before eventually being brought to the boat. The eel estimated at around 15lb was hauled in for a quick photo. Next drop down Derek was into an even bigger eel that was released boat side.

            A couple of decent huss were brought into the boat along with a thornback and a blonde ray. As the tide eased the action slowed and Mike said it was time to head up channel for a blonde ray.

            This new mark was clean ground so Mike stated that conger should be less plentiful. Wrong! A succession of small eels seized our baits intended for blonde ray. Mike was however proved correct as the tide eased to low water. Rob Scoines hooked a decent fish that proved to be a lovely looking blonde of around 8lb.

This was followed a few minutes later when I hooked a good fish that put a healthy bend in my rod before eventually being pulled over the rim of the net. I estimated the ray at around 12lb and slipped it quickly back after a photo. A few years ago, I would have been keen to put a number to the fish but these days I seem to have lost that urgent need for gathering statistics.

            A few moments later it was Robs turn to do battle and this fish definitely deserved a number and was recorded at 16lb 3oz a specimen rating of 107%. Another blonde of close to double figure was also boated by our fellow boat fishers from Bristol.

            As the tide began to flood the bites again eased as the blonde ray appeared to switch off. It was now time to move once again to our final mark of the day half a mile or so off Dunster.

            It was now early evening and the sky was painted in wispy pink clouds. We all savoured the magical fading light over  fresh brews of tea and coffee. These moments of quiet contemplation and expectation are to some extent what fishing is all about.

A few eels gave strong bites and tussles in the strong tide. A couple of thornback were also added to the days tally along with a hard fighting smoothound for Rob.