Lure Fishing – The latest lures

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The bass lure fishing season shouldn’t be long now as the water starts to warm up bass will be on the prowl and High Street Tackle Ilfracombe has a wide selection of the latest lures. Well worth calling in for a chat with Danny who is always ready to assist with lure choice.

New IMA Lures Colours – Available Now….

The first of this years new colours from IMA Lures have now arrived and are available to order…

First, and my personal favourite is the Chappy 100 in Pearl White – the Chappy is an excellent surface lure with a long casting ability that is very easy to walk across the surface, making as much splash as you dare and always backed up by its internal rattles…..

Several new additions now – this time it’s all about the colour. Previously only available in the Sasuke 105 we now have exclusive to the UK Aji (Horse Mackerel) available in the following models….

Hound Glide 125F

Sasuke 120 Reppa

Komomo 2

Komomo 2 90

Komomo SF125

Chappy 100

Lipper 90

At High Street Tackle we now consistently have over 150 different IMA Lure variants – without a doubt the largest selection in the UK constantly available, as well as lures we also keep the whole range of IMA storage boxes and the high quality aluminium pliers too – click on the pictures above to start viewing these products.

Visit High Street Tackle online…


Tom Wade’s Anglers Heaven is situated close to Bideford’s Pannier Market with convenient free parking close by. Tom is a keen sea angler who has been at Anglers Heaven for nine years working closely with local angling clubs including Bideford and District Angling Club providing a valuable location for obtaining club membership allowing access to the clubs fishing lakes at Tarka Swims. He sells fresh bait for both Coarse and sea angling.

Tom Wade of Anglers Heaven

The shop carries an extensive range of tackle including Pure-fishing and other popular brands. He is a stockist for Century Rods with a good number of beach rods available to examine in the shop. Toms main focus is sea angling with an impressive display of images pinned upon the shop wall.

It is vital that local tackle shops are supported as they are a valuable meeting place for anglers giving a service that cannot be replicated on-line. With local advice on where, when to fish and what tackle is required.

In addition the shop carries a wide range of air rifles.


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Spring time on the North Devon Coast is often a lean time for the shore angler with fish hard to find. Anglers often move out of the area to find winning fish. Bull huss are probably the best chance of a good sized specimen from the North Devon shoreline. A trip to Somerset is often worth a try at this time for with ray and huss found even during daylight in the murky waters above the County boundary.

Bideford Angling Club 

March rover results 

1st Nathan Clements Bull Huss 12lb 5oz 123.125%

2nd Nathan Clements Bull Huss 7lb 5oz 73.125%

3rd Stephen Found Dog 1lb 15oz 1/4

Next competition 24 hour  19/20 March

Appledore Shipbuilders

13 members fished the March Rover. Only 2 fish were recorded at the weigh in.
Both fell to James Atkinson.
James’s winning fish was a fantastic Thornback Ray of 10lb 9ozs and his second fish was a lovely Plaice of 1lb 7 1/4ozs.
Well done James and all that fished.

          Combe Martin SAC


1st – Rob Sciones -bull huss 8lb 13oz

Sea Angling Results

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Bideford Angling Clubs twenty-four rover resulted in just one fish being registered at the end of the match. A dogfish scaling 1lb 15.75oz to the rod of Nathan Clements.

Appledore Shipbuilders February Rover was equally uninspiring with Josh Atkinson registering the winning fish a dogfish of 2lb.

Spring is often a lean time for the sea angler with winter species departing and fish of the warmer months yet to arrive. Early bass and ray could be worth targeting with bull huss likely from rock marks.


I was keen to get out on the shoreline following the big stir up from Storm Eunice and Franklin so I arranged a trip to a local rock mark with my good friend Rob Scoines. This would probably be one of my last forays in search of winter species as my attention tends to turn towards freshwater goals as Spring unfurls. We arrived at low water with a couple of hours light remaining in the day. The sea was coloured up as expected and optimism was high that fish would be foraging close to the shore. In the past such a murky sea would have screamed cod but those days are long gone. Instead we hoped for spurdog, bull huss, tope and big conger.

I have started using single hooks for most of my winter rock fishing with either a 2/0 catfish hook or a 6/0 Sakuma Manta with a short length of wire as insurance against the teeth of spurdog or tope. Contrary to general opinion this does not seem to put off the fish to any extent, particularly when the water is coloured or after dark. I was also using the new 80lb b.s shock leader from Sakuma. I will also be employing the clear shock leader as a hook length during the spring and summer targeting huss and ray.

It was good to out in the fresh air as the late afternoon sunshine illuminated the cliffs and hills. A gannet glided across the coloured water and I wondered how they manage to find food in such conditions. I also saw this as a good omen that there were fish to be caught. It was action from the start with small conger smashing into my hook baits within moments of the baits hitting the sea bed. A small pollock also took a small mackerel bait intended for rockling.

Whilst I seemed to have found a  congers nursery area Rob seemed to have found the kennel with dogfish finding this baits. The constant action continued with a fish a cast the large rock pool close to my position steadily filling with small conger and dogfish. I noticed Rob enticing a slightly better fish to the shore and was pleased to see a spotted ray swung onto the rocks. Rob also tempted a decent rockling that he decided to return instead of keeping it for bait as he suspected it might be close to spawning.

As darkness descended we hoped the bigger fish would move in. We both missed a couple of slack line bites with one fish breaking off my wink link to the weight as it tore off with the bait. Was this a better fish? If so how come it hadn’t become hooked as the countless strap eels and dogfish had been.

As the tide pushed in we moved up the rocks away from the surging swell. Strangely the bites eased off until we eventually packed away close to high water. It had been an enjoyable session with plenty of small fish. Very different from the fishing that would have been experienced twenty odd years ago when we could have expected a late cod. The numbers of small conger and dogfish now present are undoubtedly an indication of a change in our coastal waters. Whiting and pouting are now scarce; is this due to a change in the climate or an increase in predation from immature conger and spurdog offshore?

As always each session brings more questions than answers. Why for example did I catch in excess of twenty strap eels when Rob caught none yet seemed to catch more dogfish?

New Rods from Penn – Review From High Street Tackle

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From the new 2022 range from Penn there was this range of rods – the Conflict Inshore…with the pandemic related absence of a trade again in 2021 I had to purchase these blind, just based on specification and instinct as well as some assurance from the sales rep. When they arrived I have to admit there were 2 thoughts that immediately crossed my mind. The first was ‘wow’ and the second was ‘why didn’t I order more?’

With reference to the second thought firstly – this has been rectified and more have been ordered….

Now let me explain the first thought…I am of the opinion and have even happily mentioned to the sales rep on more than one occasion that whilst I am a big fan of many of the rods across the range from Penn they have never really been a brand synonymous with the types of lure rods that are favoured by most UK customers for modern lure fishing….Japanese style, slim, fast action blanks with small lightweight guides – well, it has to be said that with the Conflict Inshore range this is now old news!

Now for some finer detail and better introductions to why I think this is such a good range of rods – do note though that none of this is meant to sound like one of those ‘best rods since sliced bread’ things though…keep reading and you’ll hopefully see what I am aiming at here. In the Conflict Inshore range there are 2 sub ranges if you like – known as the Conflict Inshore and the Conflict XR Inshore. The Conflict range is based around as the catalogue states, an extra fast Japanese style low diameter blank constructed with carbon X-Wrap technology.  Finished off with SW proof K -type guides and VSS style reel seats this range comprises 9 different models ranging in price from £69.99-£89.99.

The Conflict XR range is different in that the blank is of a higher quality carbon and the use of Fuji Alconite K-type guides and a Fuji VSS reel seat. In this range there are 7 different models to choose from with the price range being £124.99-£149.99… here is the reason for the first part of my excitement about these rods then is that I am more than happy and confident that they fit perfectly within their price brackets as a worthy consideration for customer purchases. As an example, for those who know me will know that my favoured line up for a so called entry level rod for general lure fishing was previously based around the following rods, Favourite Cobalt 902MH, HTO Lure Game HLG27MH or a Major Craft Ceana CNS 802MH, well now you can confidently throw in the Penn Conflict Inshore 9′ 30g or 8’2 45g for 2 examples.

The second exciting bit for me, is the inclusion in both ranges of models aimed at boat lure fishing, again doing this the modern way! Shorter rods comprising a short butt and long tip design/construction.  I know there are some very nice rods out there such as those offered by Smith, Tenryu and the HTO Nebula SP but for those customers who are looking for something a bit more entry level or not requiring such a big budget as it may not get used that frequently for instance, now we have something to fill that gap leading us to a straightforward conclusion to this article, these rods come from a very reputable brand with good availability and superb back up service.

Should you need any further information then please feel free to contact us……

The Conflict Inshore can be purchased here

The Conflict XR Inshore can be purchased here

Monster Spurdog

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Combe Martin SAC member Kyle Bishop has landed a huge spurdog of 18lb 1oz equalling his previous club record caught last winter.

Fellow angler Dan Spearman also enjoyed great sport with several spurdog up to 15lb.

As we head towards the Spring attentions will start to turn to spring ray and huss. The stormy weather might hopefully extend the winter season bring some big fish close inshore.


As I write this on a Sunday morning rain is lashing down beating against the window driven by a strong South West wind, the fire is crackling in the grate. It’s a good time to reflect on two days chasing predators with good friends.

I was awoken by the alarm at 3:45am on Thursday morning eager to visit the legendary Chew Valley Lake near Bristol. The 100 mile journey proved uneventful and I pulled into the carp park at 7:30 to greet my long term fishing buddy Bruce Elston. Shortly after 8:00am we were anchored up in twelve feet of water as the morning sun illuminated the calm lake.

We both cast out dead-baits beneath crimson topped floats the baits resting on the bottom. Lures were cast to search around the boat and a pike followed Bruce’s latest lucky lure to the side of the boat before disappearing with a flick of its tail.

My float stood abruptly to attention before sliding beneath the water! I wound down immediately to feel a pleasing resistance. Chew Valleys long history as a water containing massive pike always gives a deep sense of anticipation. Is this a jack or the fish of dreams, that thirty pounder or perhaps even a forty?

The pike is a jack of five or six pounds. Ten minutes later the float slides away again and this time it’s a far better fish. As it approaches the boat it launches itself attempting to shake the hooks free. The image of the pike erupting from the water in a flurry of spray is one of those images that will be etched upon the minds eye for many years.

The pike pulls the scales down to 17lb 3oz and is no monster in Chew terms but a good result for an occasional piker like myself.

This proves to be the highlight of a great day shared with a good friend. We savour a full day upon this vast reed fringed lake. Planes fly overhead from nearby Bristol Airport a sign that the world is moving once again after two very strange years. A pair of swans fly past majestically, terns and gulls constantly twist and turn in the winter sky. The cold winter air bites at the extremities. Sausages sizzle on the stove and the kettle whistles as we enjoy the occasional warming joy of hot tea and coffee. Blood trickles from lacerated fingers after handling numerous pike as the day progresses. All of today’s fish fall to dead-baits, joey mackerel, smelt and blueys.

We end the day with seventeen pike between us and two hard fighting rainbow trout that also seized dead-baits.

We arrived back at the jetty as the light began to fade. “Any good ?” I ask a fellow angler. “A few Jacks and a low double; not what we came for”. he replied in a slightly dejected tone. Bruce and I had also come in hope of that fish of a lifetime but had enjoyed the day immensely just catching a good few pike. Savouring the atmosphere and anticipation. I have fished Chew for close to twenty years and will keep returning. One day I might just tempt that thirty pound pike but if not I will enjoy the journey and each dip of that crimson topped float.

A mid twenty conger
(Above) Les Smith with one of many spurs
Rob Scoines holds a bull huss with attitude

Steve Dawe with vividly marked huss

(Above) Brian Hopcroft with a good spur
Good eel for Chris Hodgson
Bob Hopcroft with a fine spur.
Chris Hodgson with a good spur

The next day I set sail from Ilfracombe with seven other anglers in search of spurdog. We are blessed with a calm day sandwiched between days of strong winds. The spurdog packs seven miles offshore provide an exciting day with over two hundred a conservative estimate. A few good conger to mid-twenties add to the excitement along with handsome bull huss their sides decorated with a multitude of leopard like patterns. Hopefully a full account of this trip will appear in a future edition of Hookpoint Magazine.

Sea Angling Weekend Competition Round up

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Sea anglers faced a stormy weekend that impacted heavily upon local shore competitions. Bideford Angling Club and Appledore Shipbuilders both had fixtures on Sunday where members braved the strong winds and heavy rain to no avail with nil fish registered in either competition.

Combe Martin SAC members fished a weekend long competition that enabled members to embrace Saturdays more favourable conditions. Kevin Legge took the top two places in the match with bull huss of 9lb 12oz and 8lb 10oz. I took third place with a winter mullet of 2lb 12oz.

It is clear that thick lipped grey mullet are present in waters around the South-West throughout the year. When I first started fishing for mullet over forty years ago these fish were considered to be a fish of the warmer months. It is now apparent that they can be caught in every month of the year throughout the South-West.

Targeting winter mullet in the cold light of dawn.