Tarrant Wotton won Bideford Angling Clubs twenty- four hour rover with a specimen tope of 37lb 2oz. In second and third place was Dick Talbot with flounder of 1lb 12oz and 1lb 111/2oz.
Members of South Molton Angling Club are saddened by the death of Ian Binding who was a founder member of the club giving close to fifty years of sterling work as secretary.
Many Thanks to Nathan for sending me the results of Bideford Clubs regular competitions
Cyril Petherick was a prominent character in the local angling community with his tackle shop at the top of the High Street. He was Bideford Clubs respected President for several years. I have fond memories of Cyril and his wife Elsie. I asked Dick Talbot if he could write a few words about Cyril for this report as I know Cyril would be honoured that his name is remembered each year as members fish in the competition.
Dick Talbot writes
“Cyril was a stalwart of the club and I and many others had photos taken outside the shop in the High Street he was always there to help juniors often giving them bits of tackle. Cyril and his wife Elsie always used to fish the comps together they used to fish with the Bottomley’s on many occasions.”
( Mary and Harry Bottomley were prominent West Country Anglers who had a strong connection with Bideford Angling Club, from what I can recall they enjoyed considerable success with flounder on South Devon Rivers such as the Teign)
Cyril was very committed to the angling politics of the day and served on the National Federation of Sea Anglers representing North Devon and attending many meetings across the South West often in South Devon. I believe he also wrote a regular angling column in the North Devon Journal for several years before handing over to Des Clements.
There are some good fish out there to be caught with several bass showing from coast and estuary. A few codling too. Its very much of taking advantage of any window of opportunity with the late autumn weather or just dressing up and getting out there!
Josh Atkinson landed this stunning silver flanked bass of 7lb 10.25oz whilst flounder fishing on the Taw estuary. I asked him if he was targeting bass ?
“Would love to say that I was targeting it but yeah I was targeting flounder. But as we know it is part of the wonderful by-catch that we can have whilst flounder fishing on the Taw.”
(Above) Chay Boggis tempted this 7lb 14oz bass on a mackerel tail fished in a rocky gulley at short range.
Cod for tea – Kevin Kirby landed this pleasing 3lb 12oz codling from a North Devon Shore Mark.
A FEW NOTES ON BIG FISH CATCHING ON ROCKY SHORES
The next couple of months have much to offer the dedicated sea angler in North Devon with the open coast likely to see anglers land a variety of specimen fish. Fishing Open coast rock marks can be a dangerous pastime so always give careful consideration when planning trips. Safety should always be top of the agenda so always study the weather forecast and tide times. Local knowledge is invaluable when choosing where to fish but if this is not available study wind direction and check against a map to see how this will impact on the location. Google Maps can prove very useful for checking out marks giving some idea of topography. Ordinance Survey Maps will show public footpaths that give access to marks.
Joining a local angling club can also be a great benefit but you will need to make the effort to join and get to know the anglers before they give away all their secrets.
Always respect property and never leave litter it loses fishing and scars our marvellous coastline. It also ruins our reputation as environmentally caring.
During the winter months warm waterproof clothing is essential if you are to enjoy your fishing trips. Chillcheaters located in Braunton offer a superb range of quality gear that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Sturdy Footwear with good grip is vital for scuffling around on treacherous wet rocks. Rock Grip boots with studs are one of the best investments I have made in recent years and I struggle to comprehend how I once coped with standard wellies etc.
Lighting has dramatically improved in recent decades with headlights now light in weight offering powerful lighting options and long charging life with small batteries. I am currently using a Fenix HM 65 R that purchased from Veals Mail Order.
Big fish on the open coast demand strong tackle to give any chance of landing them so choose rods capable of casting 8oz, reels that can hold plenty of line with a good retrieve capable of pulling terminal tackle clear of snags and bullying big fish from rock and kelp.
Main lines of between 20lb b.s and 30lb b.s. I use a pulley rig for 90% of my winter fishing.
A leader with at least ten yards of line on the reel( With rig hanging from the rod tip) gives a chance of lifting moderate fish out of the sea. When targeting big fish I have started using Mason 49 Strand wire 175lb b.s. This is kink resistant an advantage with the large numbers of strap eels around the coast each winter.
Sakuma Manta Extra hooks are reliable with 4/0 to 8/0 suitable for big baits. A Pennel set up is probably more reliable for hook ups. There is a trend at present for using single catfish hooks. This can reduce snagging over rough ground and these hooks are without doubt capable of landing any fish hooked in the Bristol Channel.
Many will be reading this thinking that this approach is over the top. But there is no way of knowing what will take your bait. Tope, conger, spurdog, bull huss and big ray are all likely.
Big fish baits are order of the day with Ammo the best quality available in my experience. Mackerel, Squid, Bluey, Launce, herring, fresh pouting, whiting, rockling and flounder all have their day.
Landing fish is often the most risky time so ensure you have the right gear to give yourself a good chance. In calm conditions it might be practicle to grab the trace and fish using heavy duty gloves. Generally a long handled capacious net is the best option for bull huss and spurdog. A long handled gaff is an option if used carefully avoiding the vital organs but is a last resort in my view.
The key to success is of course being in the right place at the right time. Location + Weather + Tide + Experience and a little luck!
Spurdog and bull Huss are giving sport off Ilfracombe with John Barbeary putting anglers on the fish. The early arrival of spurdog will bring hope amongst shore anglers that this season could be a good one for the species that have filled the winter gap in shore sport from diminished cod runs.