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Jon Patten was fishing for spurdog from a North Devon shore mark and was surprised when a smoothound grabbed his fish bait presented on a 6/0 hook. Smoothound traditionally arrive in early May. Recent seasons have seem them caught right up until Christmas. So the question I pose is early or late?

A Message from Bideford Angling Club

Pete Skinner of Bideford & District Angling Club contacted me and asked me to stress that despite the closure of the clubhouse. Bideford and District Angling Club is very much still in existence, still running sea, game and coarse competitions and the Tarka swims lakes complex is still open and taking new memberships. All renewals and applications for membership can be made at Anglers Heaven, Market Place, Bideford. By kind consent of Tom Wade. The clubs results are a regular feature here on North Devon Angling News.

COMBE MARTIN SAC – End of Winter Rover

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With sport dropping off on the coast there was a low turnout for this club event with just seven members fishing marks all along the coast. Bites were few and far between for some members with small conger and dogfish providing most sport. Rob Scoines fished small baits close in to successfully target rockling landing close to a dozen the best three weighing 1lb 2oz, 1lb 1oz and 15oz to take the top three places.


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North Devon Anglers Kevin Legge and Craig McCloughlin of Braunton Baits made the long trek to Norway for a week fishing at Saltstraumen Brygge Fish Camp in search of the specimen fish that reside within the prolific icy waters. Fishing from the rocky shoreline in temperatures as low as minus15 degrees they landed numerous halibut and cod. The highlight of the trip was a huge cod of 51lb 12oz to the rod of Paul Rogers of Rock Grip.

(Above) Paul Rogers 51lb 12oz cod

Fishing is about more than just fish its also about the places and sights you see such as the spellbinding Northern Lights.(Above)

A stunningly marked cod for Craig

(Above ) Kevin Legge with a fine cod

Shore caught halibut for Kevin and Craig

A rocky shoreline big fish and snow capped peaks,

How do you thaw your bait in frozen rock pools?

South Molton & District Angling Club AGM

South Molton & District Angling Club held their 48th AGM at the Coaching Inn in their hometown and as always it was a friendly and convivial evening. The formalities were handled by long serving secretary Ian Binding and club Chairman Mike Evans who has stood down after seven years in the role. His efforts were been much appreciated by all present. The Chairman’s role has been taken by Eddie Rands who also runs the clubs sea-fishing activities. Eddie dominated the clubs sea fishing trophy presentation winning the clubs top four trophies with an 8lb bass and a 30lb tope.

The clubs Mac Trophy for the biggest trout caught during the annual trout fishing competition was won by club treasurer Roger Bray who landed a fine 6lb rainbow from Bratton Water Trout Fishery. (Below)

The clubs primary focus is the fishing it leases on the River Bray where members enjoy some delightful fishing for an abundant population of wild brown trout that thrive in the clear waters of this delightful tributary of the River Taw.

Paul Carter the local full time Fishery Officer was a welcome guest at the meeting and reflected upon his 30 years as a fishery officer in North Devon. The fact that he was once part of an eight-man team of officers brings into focus how times have changed. Paul stressed the need for anglers to share information with the Environment Agency reporting any signs of pollution immediately to the E.A on their 0800 80 70 60 Hotline.


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North Devon angler Colin Joy escaped from the cold English winter to the warmer climes of Costa Rica where he enjoyed fine sport with rooster fish and barracuda. The rooster fish weighed 80lb and the barracuda 30lb. Whilst its not North Devon it certainly beats dogfish on the local coastline and gives a glimpse of far off shores with blue skies and big fish.

Anglers Paradise

Spurdog Reward

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16603044_289044128179203_8870885651022767830_nTarrant Wotton set out on a bitterly cold evening and was rewarded with a fine specimen spurdog scaling 10lb 8oz. With the winds expected to via away from the North East this coming week there is every chance of enjoying some late winter sport before thoughts turn to spring.

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Holsworthy Sea Anglers- Enjoy top sport on “Bluefin”.

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16508259_1905533016399921_6243044193109970528_nMany thanks to Paul Cozens for the report he posted on their club trip off Ilfracombe. A stunning conger and plenty of spurdog.

Holsworthy Sea Anglers enjoyed a great  day afloat with skipper John Barbeary and crewman Paul on the Bluefin out of Ilfracombe. The ten anglers; Andrew Braunton, Robert Gould, Steve Dawe, Adrian Pett, James Pett, Brian Hopcraft, Stuart Lockyer, Graham Verral, Steven McDonald and Paul Cozens.  After an hours  stop close in for some doggies and a bonus 25lb conger for Adrian Pett they pushed out to the spurdog mark. Over went the mackerel and squid baits and it wasn’t long before they were hauling the spurs aboard along with a few  bull huss to 12lb and a very welcome 45lb to 50lb conger for club eel specialist  Steve Dawe. The spurdog fishing was frantic with the party losing track of the numbers caught  with many of them over 15lb and best one going 17lb to Steve Dawe a new personal best. Steven McDonald had the most spurdog ending up with 14 of them!!
Paul Cozens stated that it was once again a great days fishing aboard Bluefin.


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Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway fished a rock mark near Ilfracombe and hooked a specimen conger weighing 22lb 8.5oz after carefully weighing the eel in a weigh sack it was time for a photo. The eel proved camera shy and took its opportunity upon being released from the weigh sack and in Ross’s words; “Took off like a Bob sleigh team down over the rocks.”

The eel was one of twelve eels caught with four of them over 10lb.16522431_10158195529410284_1851944608_o(Above) 10lb eel that posed for the camera!

Ilfracombe shore marks are producing conger, whiting, dogfish and occasional ray. Proceed with caution particular if fishing at Capstone one of North Devon’s most productive marks but also one with many dangers.