Massive tope off Ilfracombe

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Daniel Welch has boated a stunning tope of over 70lb whilst fishing from his Private boat out of Ilfracombe. The tope is one of the largest ever recorded from the area and should be considered the fish of a lifetime. The tope was tempted on a whole fresh pollock fished on a running ledger with a 300lb nylon trace and 10/0 hook. The tope was the highlight of a day that saw Dan boat pollock, bass, smoothound and bass.

New Fishing Tackle Store for Barnstaple – Quay Sports

North Devons anglers have a new tackle store opening on Saturday, June 26th. Located at Roundswell near Sainsburys it will be a convenient stop off for local anglers. I look forward to visiting in the near future. The recent upsurge in angling participation following the COVID outbreak will hopefully ensure that this and other local angling outlets prosper.

I spoke with Chris Connaughton (Above) Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity. Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity.( Above) a well known local carp angler who works at the store and is excited by this exciting new development that caters for all disciplines.

Saturday, 8am – 5pm. We have free goody bags with every purchase including a remix baits sample for the carpers 😉🤣. We have also made a guide to fishing for beginners which will be available for free with our starter kits but also able to purchase in store with proceeds going to charity.

Fine wrasse wins trophy

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Michael Hammett won Appledore Shipbuilders Gordon Harrower Trophy.
Members fished their away day this year on the North Cornwall coastline. The winning fish was Michaels colourful Ballan Wrasse of 4lb 7ozs.
All anglers reported catching several wrasse mainly around the 2 to 2 1/2 lb Mark, a few Dogfish and strap congers.
All fished were returned alive.

Appledore Shipbuilders Boat Competition Results

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12 members in 6 different boats fished in Appledore Shipbuilders  June Boat Competition.
Weather was very kind for a change, with calm seas on an easy swell.
Plenty of Smoothounds were caught with many in the 8 to 10lb range along with a couple of Tope and several Bull Huss.
All fish safely returned to fight another day.
Winner was Michael Toogood  with a Specimen Smoothound of 15lb 2ozs.
In a very close 2nd was Thomas Atkinson with another Smoothound of 15lb 0ozs and 3rd was Kevin Pike  also with a Smoothound of 13lb 14ozs
Best Tope recorded was a near Specimen of 37lb 4ozs caught by Andrew Atkinson.
Let’s hope we get more days like this on Competition days !

The Reel Deal Team

Dan Hawkins has been operating his charter boat Reel Deal out of Ilfracombe for several years and has built a deserved reputation for putting anglers on the fish especially porbeagle shark. Dan has expanded on the waters fished out of Ilfracombe making the most of the boats capability to explore waters far to the West of Ilfracombe even venturing out into the Celtic deeps to catch blue shark.

Good news for anglers is that the Reel Deal experience has been expanded with Archie Porter joining Dan to skipper sister boat “Predator 2”. Seventeen year old Archie Pike has been assisting as deck hand for close to five years during which time he has undoubtedly been tutored well. I first met Archie as a keen junior angler participating in one of  Combe Martin SAC’s popular fun fishing events. It was apparent then that he had a keen interest in sea angling and I am delighted that he has takin this opportunity to help ensure Ilfracombe’s long term future as a charter boat destination.

I was due to join Dan on Reel Deal for a day with my camera capturing a few images for features. As is often the case circumstances dictate a change of plan and the need to fit a new engine into Predator 2 meant that young Archie was to skipper Reel Deal and was lumbered with me for the day.

On arrival at a busy Ilfracombe harbour, I was greeted by Dan and Archie who were chatting with Ilfracombe Sea Safaris the hot topic of the day being an invasion of Twitters eager to reach Lundy and tick off a rare warbler that had been sighted. Ilfracombe harbour is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for Wildlife watching and diving, operating as the stepping stone to Lundy.

Archie was taking myself and a party of anglers from the Weston-Super-Mare  area. Chatting with them I found that they ranged from experienced boat anglers to relative newcomers to the sport. Jerry Day, Raymond Galivlins, Igor Fursous, Matt Burns, Alec Hughs and Alec Gelasvili immediately made me very welcome.

As luck would have it the weather forecast was a bit iffy offering strengthening winds later in the day and low cloud. We set out from Ilfracombe and I was impressed as Reel Deal bounced across a moderate sea powered by twin Suzuki 325 engines that can push Reel Deal at a top speed of 45 knots cruising comfortably at 30 knots.

The familiar coastline West of Ilfracombe passed by quickly the cliff tops shrouded in mist. The first mark was a rocky reef close to Baggy Point where pollock and bass were on the wanted list. After several  unproductive drifts it was clear that the fish were either absent or not feeding.

I could sense that Archie was frustrated by this lack of action and overheard his enquiries as to conditions further afield. We were soon heading towards Lundy Island where we could drop anchor and target the tope that had been showing in good numbers.

https://www.northdevonanglingnews.co.uk/2021/06/07/tope-feeding-frenzy/

We spent an hour drifting with lures with a few wrasse and small pollock getting the fish count underway. The steep granite cliffs shrouded in mist created an exciting Jurassic park feeling to the vista. Guillemots  were abundant along with a few puffins.

As the tide eased towards low water it was time to embark upon the days main event and target the tope. We anchored at the favoured mark with a mixture of sand and broken ground. Large frozen mackerel baits were favoured by most and were sent to the sea bed. The rods set up in holders in anticipation of rod bending tope.

After a few minutes rod tips started to nod as a succession of bull huss and dogfish found the baits. A whiting tempted on baited feathers was attacked on the retrieve by what was undoubtedly the target species. The encounter being all too brief with the whiting showing deep lacerations on its flanks where the topes teeth had cut into the flesh.

As the tide eased towards low water bull huss came frequently each one boasting an impressive pattern of leopard like spots.

By now there were only five anglers participating in the day as one had been struck down by a particularly bad bout of sea sickness.

As the tide began to flood the fish once again went off the feed and we headed closer to the misty cliffs once again for the last session of the day. With a few small pollock added to the tally it was time to steam back to Ilfracombe.

It had been a hard day’s fishing as is sometimes the case. Despite this spirits were surprisingly high as future trips were planned with those on board eager to replicate their previous success on Reel Deal a few weeks prior to this trip when they had found the pollock in a cooperative mood smashing into their lures to result in a bulging fish box to take home for the freezer.

Lets hope my next venture out with the camera coincides with good light and plenty of fish.