(Above) Image – Courtesy of Tony Gussin

After what seems like a long journey my book ” I Caught A Glimpse” has finally been published and I am delighted with the end result. The launch day at Blakewell Fishery proved to be an enjoyable event with a good number of local anglers attending to meet with publisher Wayne Cryer from the Little Egret Press and myself. The lush water gardens, pools of swirling trout and tea rooms bathed in bright sunshine proved the perfect setting. There was a steady stream of anglers arriving throughout the event and it was pleasing to see generations of North Devon Anglers mingling and reminiscing with several old friends reunited.

The book will be judged by its readers so I await feed back confident that I have produced a worthwhile tome. There is of course far more that I could have written about and this becomes increasingly obvious as I talk further with the anglers of North Devon.

A big thank you to all of those who attended the book launch from both Wayne Cryer and I.

On a hectic day Pauline and I then attended the Annual River Torridge Dinner at the Half Moon Inn. After a wonderful meal with members of the Association I was pleased to sign a few more copies of “I Caught A  Glimpse”. Special thanks must go to Charles Inniss who wrote a foreword to the book and promoted the book enthusiastically to the Torridge Fishery members.

I must of course give a very big thanks to all who assisted me in writing the book for it was by no means a solo effort and those who helped are acknowledged within the book. Though I have to say I have undoubtedly missed a few.

Fine Autumn Sea Sport

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Sea anglers have been enjoying some fine autumn sport from both boat and shore as summer temperatures linger on. Kevin Pike won Appledore Shipbuilders latest boat competition with a fine tope of 46lb. David Atkinson was runner up with a triggerfish of 3lb 81/2oz and Kevin Pike third with a triggerfish of 3lb. Triggerfish are a tropical fish that move into Britain’s Coastal waters during late summer and autumn and are a shoal fish that can offer great sport once located. Large numbers were first caught from the North Devon area in the mid-nineties. I recall one of these fish being caught in the early eighties when no one knew what type of fish it was. It is widely speculated that the arrival of triggerfish and gilthead bream is linked to climate change.

Olie Passmore and Kody Chugg fished a North Devon rock mark and landed trigger fish of 2lb 12oz and 2lb 14oz.

(Above)Olie Passmore – trigger fish 2lb 12oz
(Above)Kody Chugg – 2lb 14oz trigger fish

SEA ANGLING – Weekend Round Up

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Rob Scoines took first prize in Combe Martin SAC’s Lyn Fish boating a small eyed ray scaling 9lb 11oz. The fish was one of twenty-eight he caught whilst fishing from Steve Webbers boat Osprey off Minehead. In runner up spot was Dan Welch with a boat caught small eyed ray of 8lb 6oz, Dan also took third with a boat caught bull Huss of 7lb 15oz. Jamie Steward also enjoyed success landing a 7lb 10oz small eyed ray but was unfortunately too late back to register his fish. Club members met up at the Rising Sun Lynmouth for the presentation where they enjoyed a splendid platter of fresh sandwiches and chips.

Rob Scoines 9lb 11oz small eyed ray

Dan Welch enjoyed an exceptional session fishing from his own boat out of Ilfracombe.

“Amazing day out on the boat started off on the bass resulted in 10 all around 4lb on a light set up with size 5 black minnows. Then moved in on the banks and had unbelievable ray fishing I landed between 25-30 small eye ray it would have been more but I ran out of bait. The best thing was I only had one dogfish all day.”

Jamie Steward with a small eyed ray of 7lb 10oz.


Members enjoyed a fine Autumn weekend with warm sunshine and clear water. Several  grey mullet were also caught by members fishing the competition but none were big enough to register.

Rob Scoines with an autumn mullet
(Above)Passing kayakers enjoy the autumn sunshine.


24 hour results

1st Stephen Found thick lipped mullet 4lb 2 3/4oz 101.171%

2nd Andrew Clements smooth hound 6lb 2oz 61.250%

Combe Martin SAC member John Shapland tempted this superb 4lb plus thick lipped grey mullet on his latest session after the wily species. Look at the tail on that one!

Sea Fishing Results

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Stephen Found secured top spot in Bideford Angling Clubs Monthly Sea Rover with a specimen thick lipped grey mullet of 4lb 63/4oz. In runner up spot was Julien Stainer with a conger of 19lb 111/2oz and third Paul Downing with a dogfish of 2lb. Forth Terry Dymond with a wrasse of 3lb 5oz.

Josh Atkinson took first and second in Appledore Shipbuilders monthly rover with small eyed ray scaling 9lb 12oz and 8lb 3/4oz. In third was Chris Slade with a smoothound of 9lb 123/4oz.


Combe Martin SAC’s Annual Fun Fish at Ilfracombe Pier has become a popular event within the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival and this year was no exception with thirty fun fishers taking part.

Once again the weather played its part in the success of the event with warm sunshine throughout. A moderate North West breeze was fortunately at the participants backs helping the lines to blow away from the pier’s structure with a good drop to the water on one of the lowest tides of the year.

This is as it says on the box a fun fishing event with minimal rules. The competitive element is based on catching the most species with the top prizes in the points section reserved for under 18’s with adults picking up the remaining prizes. There are also prizes for the longest fish and heaviest fish. The main reward for those taking part is the social interaction and the broad beaming smiles on anglers faces.

Combe Martin SAC give thanks to High Street Tackle, Ilfracombe for their generous support of the event with an array of great prizes donated. Thanks also to Ilfracombe Aquarium who donated the family prize and engaged with participants in fish identification.

Our special guests on the day were Steve Dawe author of the book “Fishty Two weeks In A year”. A book that tells of Steve’s year long quest to catch as many species within twelve months as possible all in the cause of raising money for the stroke association.

Colin Wood and Alex Bond represented Ilfracombe Coastguard and mingled with the visiting public to talk about their valuable work as an emergency service co-ordinating rescues along the coast and beyond. Safety is of course top of their agenda with advice on good practice and safety aids readily available.

Colin Wood & Alex Bond represented the Ilfracombe Coastguard

The fishing proved to be challenging at times with the water coloured due to the low tide and brisk NW wind leading up to the event. Plenty of fish were caught however with a very wide variety of species including a few rarities. Young Solly Welch enjoyed an exceptional day with a little help from mum, dad and grandad. Solly landed an incredible eight species including a rare Cornish clingfish, red mullet, dragonet, rock goby, ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, smelt and pouting. There was also a little drama when a pouting that had succumbed to his bait was seized by a conger eel that held tightly onto its prey before letting go when it saw the waiting landing net!

Several crustaceans were also landed including two lobsters and a good sized edible crab for Danny Watson. These were not eligible for prizes but I think there could be a prize introduced next year for the most exceptional non piscatorial catch. In the past there have been octopus caught and this year one angler lost contact with a substantial oar that battled gamely twisting and turning in the tide before coming adrift.

Morgan Butterfield with his lobster
Steve Dawe displays a fearsome lobster
Danny Watson of High Street Tackle with the crab of the day

The Welch family were way ahead of the field amassing a grand total of 38 points to receive a family visit to the aquarium where they can visit the clingfish caught by young Solly and donated to the aquarium.

Lyn Welch displays a silvery smelt
Effy Welch is all smiles after catching a three bearded rockling
Young Solly and grandad with the pouting that tempted the conger that got away!

The longest fish was a 43cm garfish tempted by Matt Jeffery and the heaviest a ballan wrasse of 11oz to the rod of Matthew Dawe.

Matthew Dawe with the 11oz wrasse that won the heaviest fish prize

As part of Sea-Ilfracombe a big part of the event is the social interaction as members of the public wonder amongst the anglers to gaze at the catches and chat enjoying the ambience of the seaside and fun of the fishing.

Smile of the day had to go to young Scarlett Hart who tempted a scorpion fish just before the call for all in was broadcast. Persisting throughout the day Scarlett was absolutely delighted when the fearsome looking mini species seized her bait.

Always seems a bit sad to see the dismantling of the festival props as I drive away knowing that another summer has drifted past all too quickly. The best of the years fishing lies ahead though so embrace the coming autumn and get out there fishing.

The 2019 Fun Fishers

The Fun Fishing Event signalled the conclusion of Comb Martin SAC’s summer lure fishing competition that was won by Rob Scoines with a fine boat caught bass of 8lb 8oz.

Danny Watson presents a top of the range lured to Rob Scoines winner ion the CMSAC Summer Lure Competition


I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE – Fishing In North Devon

            I have been privileged to enjoy over forty years fishing North Devon’s varied waters enjoying both success and failure. The places and the many people I have met along the way have greatly enriched the journey and as the years pass I realise that all we ever get is a fleeting glimpse of a period in angling history.

In this book I tell a few of my own stories of North Devon angling along with recollections from others; some from an earlier generation who enjoyed fishing in those good old days.

I have no favourite species of fish just the one I am fishing for at the time and this book reflects this with every discipline of angling represented. From the small crimson spotted trout of tumbling streams to the huge shark that roam the Atlantic Ocean.

Angling is in essence an attempt to reach into a different dimension. Its fascination has for me never ceased and I always believe that the next cast will be the one that connects, that marvellous moment of completed deception. The anglers I have interviewed in writing this book reflect upon past times when they too glimpsed piscatorial events that they enjoyed recalling. Stories of lost fisheries, big fish, record fish of angler’s their attitudes and love of fishing.

I hope that I manage to share and convey the joys of angling in North Devon and provide a glimpse into a century of marvellous fishing.


Just a fleeting glimpse,

Of Memories gone,

A hopeful glimpse of what may come,


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SUNDAY September 1st

1.30pm until 4.30pm

Special Guests:

Dominic Garnett – Free Lance Writer and Angling Trust

Steve Dawe – Stroke Association – Species Fisher

Safe Fishing – With the coastguard

Fun Fishing Competition

Sponsored byHigh Street Tackle, Ilfracombe

(Below) last years winners