Boundaries – Iron Bridge at Rock Park, Barnstaple to The White House, Crow on either side of the river. Flounder must be at least 12” with prizes for the heaviest fish weighed in, only heaviest fish per angler counts. Maximum 2 rods per angler with total of 3 hooks.
Juniors (6 – 16 years) must be accompanied by an adult. Decision of the Weighmaster is final
Please call Mark Beer 07796230674 if you have any queries
Triple Hook Fishing Club 2023
Open Flounder Competitions
Sunday 8th October
Sunday 29th October
Sunday 5th November
Sunday 10th December
Sunday 17th December
8am – 1pm
£5 each event
Book in with Dennis Toleman tel.07815009260 or any committee member together with the entry fee before the event. Please ensure you leave contact details.
Must be back and present fish at weigh in by 2pm at rear of Barnstaple Social Club (formerly Royal British Legion), St.Georges Road, Barnstaple
Boundaries – Iron Bridge at Rock Park, Barnstaple to The White House, Crow on either side of the River Taw
Flounder must be at least 12” with prizes for the heaviest fish weighed in, only heaviest fish per angler counts
Maximum 2 rods per angler with total of 3 hooks. Juniors (6 – 16 years) must be accompanied by an adult
Decision of the Weighmaster is final
Please call Mark Beer 07796230674 if you have any queries
Combe Martin SAC member David Brooke tempted this stunning bass of 12lb 6oz. The fish was tempted on a whole joey mackerel presented on a 6/0 Seadra Octopus hook. The fish was caught on one of the biggest tides of the year following a recent storm.
The tide was flooding rapidly into the River Axe estuary when I arrived to park up and I took note of what looked like a potential mullet fishing venue. This was confirmed later as I chatted with the skipper John Wallington.
There is always something particularly exciting about visiting a new fishing destination. I had been invited by Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce who had brought along a few Snowbee Deep Blue Rods to test out. https://www.snowbee.co.uk/sea-fishing.html
There were six of us fishing on the boat Jeff and I knew none of them but as always anglers are a little like super glue gelling quickly to become friends sharing an adventure within a short time. Names are banded about at the start of the day, Mark, Martin, Mick and Zee but in truth I am terrible with names and by the time we left the harbour they could have been Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
Those grey mist shrouded cliffs of the Jurassic coast soon faded into the distance as we headed out to wrecks deep beneath the grey waters of the English Channel. Bass were our target with the chance of pollock. I always find it fascinating how many Skippers have their own approach and special tricks. John is very keen on safety and had given a very thorough briefing before leaving the port. Focussing on how to use the ship to shore radio if he was to become incapacitated a factor that I have often thought of but never actually asked any skipper about.
John explained how we would be drifting the wrecks using lures on long traces of up to 6 metres. The ball weights used must be inserted into their holders when the fish is retrieved and the fish is then handlined carefully to the waiting net. Flailing weights can be dangerous. When lowering the tackle into the water the weight is lowered first the lure held carefully until the weight has taken up the slack in the trace.
( take care not to get hooked by the inertia of the sinking weight- It hurts! ) The set up incorporates a simple anti tangle tube with the weight attached to a weak link. ( Well, mine was as I was using 50lb b.s braid mainline!) The other technique/protocol that was different to many charter boats was that we were all to fish on the same side of the boat with the lines all trailing away, ensuring none of the tangles associated with lines coming under the boat.
It was a very grey murky day but fortunately the sea was calm with just a gentle breeze. John spotted a few tuna leaping from the water. Gannets soared gracefully in the dark sky.
After forty minutes or so we reached our first wreck with the shoreline now hidden by mist. We sent our lures to the sea bed and followed the drill. On reaching the sea bed wind up slowly for thirty or so turns then send it back down and repeat. If a fish started to attack the lure keep retrieving until all locks up and then thump the hook home by lifting the rod positively.
The morning started slowly with a few bass and pollock from the first two or three wrecks. I was pleased to get off the mark with a decent pollock and bass.
The fishing was steady then as we covered a couple more wrecks. As the tide eased the breeze dropped away and we were entranced when pods of dolphins appeared to play around the boat passing within a few feet clearly visible in the clear water.
Several martins flew overhead as they headed South on their migration to Africa. A warbler of some type circled the boat another tiny migrant heading south its survival surely against the odds.
Sport began to pick during the afternoon as the tide picked up with each drift bringing multiple hook ups keeping a smiling John busy with the net.
Despite dark skies and intermittent rain, we were all surprised when a flash of lightning was followed by an impressive rumble of thunder. The storm persisted for around fifteen minutes with huge thunderclaps and some spectacular flashes of lightning. We fished on in shock and awe. This failed to deter the fish that were hitting our lures with gusto.
Not sure how many bass and pollock we eventually caught but I ended with seven bass and three pollock. I did lose a very good fish that hit my lure hard putting an impressive bend in the Snowbee Rod, the reel screaming before the hook pulled free.
We headed back to Seaton bouncing across a dark grey seascape as gannets plunged into the water. We all climbed from the boat a little weary and said fond farewells thanking John for a great day.s sport.
Autumn is the season to target flounder in the estuaries and I would expect reports of catches over the coming weeks. The first big competition of the Autumn is to be held on October 8th in memory of popular local angler Dan Miles Redmore.
Stephen Found won Bideford Angling Clubs 48-hour sea rover with a specimen smoothound of 13lb 11oz. Andrew Clements was runner up with a smoothound of12lb 4oz and Nathan Clements third with a smoothound of 8lb 12.5oz.
We had been looking forward to our trip on Reel Deal targeting Porbeagle shark for months and with the weather set fair I climbed out of bed eagerly at 5.00am. It was still dark when I set off to pick up fellow sharker Peter Robinson. I had offered to pick up Peter so that we could share the extortionate cost of parking on Ilfracombe Pier for the day. A £15.00 charge to park for a day during the summer season is likely to deter visitors and adds a significant cost to a day’s boat fishing.
We arrived at the harbourside and greeted Bruce who had booked the trip over twelve months ago following on from a successful excursion after the shark last Autumn when Bruce and James had brought shark boat-side between 100lb and 175lb.
In addition, Dan Hawkins skipper of Reel Deal had just recorded the first two blue fin tuna to be caught from the Bristol Channel. They had also caught a fine porbeagle estimated at over 200lb. In addition, earlier in the season several thresher shark had been caught and it was likely that these could still be present in the rich feeding grounds at the mouth of the Bristol Channel.
The weather forecast gave light winds of less than 10mph. I was slightly concerned as I felt a chill breeze as I stepped out of the car. There was also white water visible opposite the pier as a large swell pounded the rocks.
We greeted Dan quayside who seemed confident that all would be well with the wind forecast to drop later in the day. We were joined by three other anglers and we set off out of the harbour heading West towards the sharking grounds that are situated an hour or so steam beyond Hartland Point.
It was immediately obvious that the wind was brisker than forecast and it was more than a little lumpy as we bounced across the tide race off Morte Point. A good number of gannets could be seen diving into the turbulent waters a clear indication that mackerel and bass were present.
Dan eased off the power and gave us a bad prognosis. The wind was far stronger than forecast and images of Bude via surf cams showed a wall of white water. Sharking would be unpleasant and very likely unproductive. It was up to us but Dan thought we would be wasting our money and suggested we abort. He left us to ponder for a few moments and after a short debate we decided that the skipper generally knows best.
And so rather deflated in spirit we bounced back on the waves to Ilfracombe. Bruce and I started to think of plan B. Lure fishing off the shore could be worth a go with plenty of bass in the estuary?
On arrival back in Ilfracombe we clambered off the boat and within minutes Dan told us there were a couple of places on the Charter-boat Carrick Lee fishing locally. There were a few trigger fish being caught. Bruce had never caught a trigger fish so within minutes we were buying fresh king ragworm from the harbour Kiosk and handing over cash for a day on Carrick Lee. We said our goodbyes to Peter who was going to catch the bus home to Barnstaple. Pete had endured a very slow days boat-fishing a few days previous and wasn’t keen for a repeat.
We jumped on board ‘Carrick Lee’ to be greeted by the owner and skipper of the boat Paul Simon. There were six of us on board three who were visitors to the area and Paul Lorrimore who I know through Combe Martin SAC and his excellent Bay-side Burger Bar in Ilfracombe. Between us Bruce and I had enough tackle to combine efforts and put suitable rigs down to the sea bed. First stop was to the bay of my home village Combe Martin where we used small hooks and small baits to try and target a range of species with trigger fish high on our wish list.
The calm waters of Combe Martin Bay were certainly more tranquil than the wild waters off Hartland Point. It wasn’t long before Paul was into the first fish of the day a ballan wrasse of perhaps 2lb. There were plenty of gentle raps on the rod tips but fish were hard to find. Paul followed up with a lovely little red mullet a species I have yet to catch. I really need to do a bit more light species fishing this Autumn.
As the tide eased away sport was slow with just a couple of strap eels seizing baits. Skipper Paul pulled up the anchor and we set off for pastures new. After a short stop in the bay beneath Little Hangman we headed out to fish beneath the spectacular towering cliffs beneath Great Hangman. Paul put us on a bit of rough ground off Sherricombe Waterfall a mark I knew to have been productive over the years. Sherricombe Waterfall has a fascinating history. It is said that during the Second World War submariners from German U-Boats visited the craggy shore to collect freshwater during the cover of darkness. Many years ago, there was a path down to the sea near this point where locals would access the foreshore to gather laver. There were also rumours of smuggling activities. This path has long since crumbled along with the memories of those who walked the treacherous path. Mining was carried out deep within the cliff’s and it is still possible to see the remains of shafts on the sheer cliff face.
Whilst the scenery was spectacular the fishing wasn’t and after a few hours trying various rocky marks at anchor. We also tried drifting the well -known reefs at Copperas Rock. It was apparent that if the fish were present they were not feeding. The boat was buffeted by a strong offshore breeze, reinforcing the knowledge that our shark fishing trip cancellation had been a wise move.
Paul our skipper had tried very hard to find fish but is was undoubtedly a hard task. A return to Combe Martin Bay was welcome and again we hoped for trigger fish. After a couple of moves we eventually found success. Bruce’s rod arched over as he made contact with a hard fighting fish that was safely netted. A fine trigger fish of perhaps 3lb was held up and admired. A fish that always looks so unreal in British waters a visitor from warmer climes that is often linked to climate change. Their numbers fluctuate year on year and any link to climate change is tenuous.
Five minutes later I too added a trigger fish to the days tally.
We hoped for more trigger fish over the remaining couple of hours but they proved elusive. Paul had tried hard throughout the day. We had caught nine species between us, small tope, wrasse, pouting, pollock, strap eels, poor cod, red mullet, scad and trigger fish.
It has been a very mixed season for Ilfracombe Charter boats. Early summer had seen huge numbers of mackerel with calm weather. Occasional calm periods during July had allowed Reel Deal to venture to the shark grounds where several thresher shark were caught along with large porbeagle. During August poor weather and disappearance of the mackerel ruined the opportunity to take tourists on the short fishing trips that can boost the bank balance for charter boat owners in these increasingly difficult times of rising costs. The life of a charter boat skipper may seem like living the dream but it’s a far from easy way of making living.
In 2012 over a decade ago Combe Martin Sea Angling Club had an idea to hold a fun fishing event at Ilfracombe Pier in conjunction with a Marine festival entitled Sea Ilfracombe.
The idea was to bring various angling interests together with the aim of promoting angling to young people and providing an opportunity for some social interaction. On this first event I invited Ben Field from the Art of Fishing, Mat Mander and Jeremy Boyd from the newly formed Devon And Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and Nick Payne Devon Development Officer for the Angling Trust.
This event on a murky day blighted by drizzle ran from 1.00pm until 5.00pm. A dozen or so took part in the competitive aspect of the event whilst many more came along to chat and mingle with our guests.
A good number of fish were caught some of which were donated to the Ilfracombe Aquarium who supported the event with prizes and shared knowledge regarding the fish caught.
Over a decade since the first event, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all who have supported the event since its conception.
This year’s Fun Fish saw us once again welcome Mat Mander from the D & S IFCA, along with Dean Asplin from the Angling Trust and Jo Eames from the RNLI. The format of the competitive aspect has been tweaked slightly over the years but the general concept of a family fun day of interaction remains.
Each year on the run up to the event I have my concerns for there are always things that can go wrong that are too many to mention here and if we undertook an in-depth risk assessment we would undoubtedly have to rule out any fun! That said involving the Coastguard and RNLI over the years has provided a valuable opportunity to share common sense safety advice to all who enjoy being at the water’s edge.
Two of the main factors impacting upon the event are tides that dictate the times and of course the weather that is totally unpredictable. This year’s event was set to run from 2.00pm until 4.00pm a couple of hours shorter than the inaugural event back in 2012. One lesson we have learned is that young angler’s attention will start to wander if sport is slow and its also exhausting running around with a clip board keeping a tally of catches for the species competition.
Luck was certainly with us on Sunday September 3rd 2023 for we were blessed with a light breeze, warm sunshine and a blue sky reflecting upon a calm sea. We met up with our guests in the Aquarium Café an hour before the event to greet and run over the days format.
For Dean Asplin of the Angling Trust and Jo Eames of the RNLI this was their first CMSAC Fun Fish. I explained that the format was rather loose and that whilst there is a competitive element its really just about having a fun day. Rules are minimal and we have no idea how many will turn up on the day.
This year’s event was generously supported by Danny Watson of High Street Tackle who supplied a splendid array of tackle prizes to add to the club’s funded prizes and additional support came from the Angling Trust.
Arriving at the pier we regretted the oversight in not having our club papering table to work from. I had assumed Nick would bring his, Nick had assumed I would bring mine and Dean Asplin from the Angling Trust said he would have brought his if he had known. There is surely a lesson to be learnt there. I vaguely remember something on a training course referring to an Ass of U and Me!
We strolled onto the pier with an array of spare rods leaflets and boxes of prizes. A good number of anglers were already set up some of them fishing and others getting ready for the fun fish to commence. Dean Asplin joined with me in grabbing details of the competitors and I invited those who just happened to be there fishing to join in the fun. After twenty minutes or so we were ready for cast off with over twenty competitors ranging from three years old to a more senior stature.
In truth it was a bit chaotic but it wasn’t long before a variety of fish started to be swung to hand. I dashed around with the clip board keeping a tally and grabbing a few images. Nick Phillips the Clubs long suffering secretary assisted keenly measuring fish when requested and offering advice and tutoring when possible. Jo Eames from the RNLI chatted keenly with anglers and members of the public displaying a vast knowledge of safety at sea and the history of the RNLI. Mat Mander was at hand to assist throughout and take any questions relating the sterling work undertaken by the Devon and Severn IFCA to help manage and police inshore waters for the benefit of stakeholders and the complex marine ecosystem.
There were twelve species of fish registered during the event including, mackerel, pollock, ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, smelt, blenny’s, shanny’s, rock gobies, garfish, pouting, whiting and even a small tope.
The results are as follows : –
Junior Winner of top prize – Ben Clark – 17 points
Overall winner – Anna Stavrakopoulos – 27 points
Heaviest Fish – Paul Chamberlain – tope 11oz
Longest Fish – Paul Maxfield – garfish 56cm
It is true to say that everyone who took part in this year’s event was a winner. It was perhaps one of the best Fun Fishes we have held over the years though there have been some very special memories made and I hope just a few new anglers have been set on a journey of fun and adventure.