Spurdog on a tiny dab bait

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Nick Job and Ian Hooper enjoyed a great night fishing at a popular North Devon Mark landing more than they bargained for a when a 9lb 4oz Spurdog seized a tiny strip of squid on a size 4 hook intended for dabs. Nick hooked the spur towards the end of the session and Ian was able to scramble down to the waters edge to secure the fish.

They also caught several tasty dabs.

Winter Mullet

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There was a time just a couple of decades ago when winter mullet were not considered a worthwhile winter target unless you fished the far West of Cornwall or the Channel Islands. Things have changed though and recent seasons have seen North Devon anglers landing mullet throughout the winter months. Just to clarify I am talking about thick lipped grey mullet and not thin lipped mullet  that sometimes shoal up in large numbers in certain locations.

I set out this afternoon in search of an elusive thick lip but my optimism was lower than normal after receiving reports that the mullet were very scarce. On setting up I peered into the clear water hoping to glimpse a mullet but none showed. As the tide pushed in the rod tip trembled a couple of times; if there had been the slightest breeze I would not have seen the indications but on bringing in the baits the fluffy ends of the bread were gone a sure sign that mullet were present?

I followed the tide in and my confidence was boosted when I glimpsed a silver flank turning. Mullet were present! The light faded and I peered into the clear water beneath the street lights a couple of shadows drifted across the rocks. I Lowered a baited rig with two flakes of soft white. A good sized mullet swam up to the bait and proceeded to play with bait. I watched fascinated as the mullet was joined by another fish each nudging the bait that seemed to occasionally disappear from view. Striking too early can often spook the fish better to wait for a positive movement of the tip. After 15 minutes of so I had probably cast to the mullet ten times with the fish removing the fluffy tail of the bait each time leaving a small piece on the hook each time. The mullet were feeding right beneath my position and I could watch them as they moved the bait causing the tip to tremble occasionally pulling round an inch or more causing me to strike in vain. Eventually I hooked the mullet and it splashed on the surface for a second or two before coming off the hook.

It was now almost high water and I thought my chance had gone. I moved down a few yards and flicked my baits out before walking back to the shallows to see how many mullet were present in the beam of my head torch. None could be seen and I thought they had moved out with the ebbing tide. I wonder back to my rod and started to dismantle my net. The tip trembled slightly! I put he net back together and watched the tip. As I put the net on the wall the tip surged over and a fish was on. Ten minutes later I was weighing a pleasing winter mullet of 4lb 2oz.

Fellow CMSAC Members John Avery and John Shapland have been travelling to marks on the Cornish coast to tempt some fine winter mullet John Avery landing a fine specimen of 4lb 14oz and John Shapland a new personal best of 5lb 1oz.

John Avery 4lb 14oz – Thick lipped grey mullet
John Shapland – Thick lipped grey mullet 5lb 1oz

Bluefin – Spurdog Fishing

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Many thanks to Troy Laing for allowing to use his post on their recent trip to the deeps off Ilfracombe aboard ” Bluefin:.

Well what can I say. John Barbeary said we were going spurdog fishing today, and that’s certainly what we did..Found a nice little spot. 8 miles off land. And as soon as our baits reached the seabed…We were all catching spurs from the off..approx 50 spurs caught..between us all. Along with huss to 16lb..spurs to 18lb..along with dogfish…and 1 pollock..caught by me haha..tomorrows dinner..thank you to John Barbeary.

He loved life, family and fishing – A Tribute to Cameron Atkinson

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Today I joined a huge congregation at North Devon Crematorium to celebrate the life of twenty year old Cameron Atkinson.  Cameron tragically lost his life before Christmas generating shock and grief throughout North Devons community. Cameron was a very keen member of Appledore Shipbuilders Angling Club.  I have featured many of Camerons catches on North Devon Angling News his bright and contagious smile lighting up many a page. Family, Fishing and cricket were Camerons greatest loves and his warmth and enthusiasm will be sadly missed. He caught far more specimen fish in his short life than many a seasoned angler has achieved over many decades of angling. In 2018 he landed a British Record Spurdog of 18lb a fine fish. It is impossible to find adequate words at such a time so I will share a few pictures of Camerons many catches over the years.

Love of family, friends and of the sea shone through at todays service.

The Poem below was read at Camerons Funeral a fitting choice in memory of a young man who loved to sail out to sea from Appledore crossing the bar. To drift upon those brightly sparkling waters.
BY Alfred Lord Tennyson 
Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.

BLUEFIN – SPORT FROM THE DEEPS

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Each Winter anglers take advantage of the great sport available in the deep water off Ilfracombe where huge packs of spurdog prowl hunting whiting and herring. Catches of over a hundred spurdog a day are not uncommon with double figure Bull Huss and big conger also testing anglers tackle to the limit. This Winter  has once again seen John Barbeary take anglers to fishing grounds that have provided  some excellent catches as illustrated below. For details of Bluefin click on the above link.

South Molton Anglers Enjoy Calm Water Deep Sea Fishing

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   A quick report from Ed Rands of South Molton Angling Club  on their trip to ilfracombe on Sunday 19th January.
   It was a cold and frosty start in the dark with icy roads and stars  shining, by the time we arrived dawn was beginning to break. 
   We wrapped up warm, waited for some water in the harbour! then set off to lee bay while the tide was racing. 
   We sat there patiently wading through the inevitable dogfish but did have 4 small conger, 10 bull huss to 13.5lb,1 pouting and a first for me, a mussel clamped on my hook!
   We then steamed out to deeper water when the tide had eased and settled in to quite a busy 3 hours or so with an estimated 50 odd spurdog to 14.5lb,we didn’t weigh them all, another 10 huss to 10lb, 6 more  conger to 30lb and more dogfish. 
   By this time the weather was glorious with coats and woolly hats being discarded and a flat  sea.
  Thanks to Paul “bluefins” stand in skipper and all that attended, we were lucky with the weather and found plenty of fish couldn’t have asked for anything more. 
  I have photos to send but I’ll send them individually as we have issues this end with size of files.
   Hopefully see some of you at the agm on February 11th.
   All the best and tightlines 
   Ed

Carp and Pike from South West lakes

(Below)Aaron Bunning has this lovely 19.12 mirror from Upper Tamar recently. His first carp of 2020. Nash baits scopex squid boilies as always for Aaron.

(Below) Barry Lee has this cracking 14.10 common from lower Tamar over the weekend in pretty cold conditions. Barry cast to showing fish at 120 yards range and caught on a tiny popup and stick bag.

(Below) Toby Bassett with a double figure pike from Slade Reservoir.

SEA ANGLING ROUND UP

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Bideford Angling Club – 24 hour Sea Rover results

1st Nathan Clements Whiting 1lb 5 1/2 89.583%

2nd Andrew Clements Thornback Ray 7lb 13 1/2 87.153%

3rd Tarrant Wotton Flounder 1lb 11 84.375%

(Below) Olie Passmore, Kody Chugg  and Alex Milton enjoyed  a great nights fishing from local North Devon marks. Olie Passmore had a stunning PB Codling of 6lb and a 4lb 12oz… also a 16lb 5oz conger, plus a small eyed ray. Kody Chugg also had this codling of 3lb 4oz and  Alex had a conger of 15lb 8oz. and all fish caught on launce and squid and mackerel baits. It also proves that there is plenty of stuff to be caught at this time of year as well.

(Below)Toby Bassett is aiming to catch as many species as possible and made a great start using LRF tactics on Ilfracombe Pier.

North Devon Match Group – Result

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North Devon Match Group competition results : Champion of champions and Championship No.1 , @ Stafford Moor Willow and Woodpecker, 23 anglers fished,

1st Dodgy Downton 75lb 5oz

2nd Ian Croxton 71lb 15oz

3rd Chris Morris 58lb 6oz

4th Neilsen Jeffery 57lb 1oz

5th Andy Gratton 45lb 14oz

6th Kevin Shears 38lb 8oz

7th Martin Turner 38lb 1oz

8th Jim Grogan 36lb 3oz .

Willow lake has produced the top 3 weights in frosty, still conditions, Dave Downton has come out top with a net of small carp on a 14 metre pole and double red maggots over micros. Second was  Ian Croxton on peg 5 on willow, 3rd place and winner of this year’s Champion of champions is Chris Morris  with a net of pole caught carp off peg 16 on Willow, top weight on Woodpecker and 4th overall was Nielsen on peg 10 , pole in the margin 6mm hard pellet.