Double figure bass wins CMSAC Woolacombe Open

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Combe Martin Sea Angling Club Secretary Nick Phillips won the clubs latest Open Match at Woolacombe beach with a fine bass of 10lb 1oz caught on the last cast of the competition.

The specimen bass seized a mackerel bait fifteen minutes before the end of the four hour match that attracted twenty keen anglers. The club organised the competition following the ongoing success of their Putsborough competition held each summer.  Members had speculated that a match held during the autumn could offer the chance of a good specimen fish or two with ray and bass high on the agenda.

After a week of atrocious weather with strong winds and heavy rain the likelihood of the competition taking place was in question. But on the night the winds dropped along with the swell and even the rain ceased for the four hour duration of the match.

Anglers assembled at the booking in and anticipation was high as competitors ambled down the steep slopes to the vast expanse of Woolacombe Beach. A brisk breeze was blowing from the south east and a moderate surf surged against the sands. The next four hours passed and a range of species were brought to the shore including small eyed ray, small bass, turbot, whiting, codling, conger and the inevitable dogfish. The fishing was for most slower than hoped and spirits had slipped since the start with talk reflecting a lack of fish. As always though at the meet up to collate results a good few fish had been caught. At first it appeared that a dogfish could win the match despite the temporary raising of the specimen size for the competition to 3lb 8oz.

The announcement of Nicks 10lb 1oz bass brought a buzz of excitement and congratulations. The picture taken by Nicks son Jack was eagerly viewed by the huddle of tired anglers. The bass injected a much needed surge of enthusiasm ensuring that many will return to the beach again in search of that dream fish. A double figure bass is much sort after and many have not seen such a fish. I have witnessed several over the past fifty years but never been fortunate enough to actually land one. It is very high on my bucket list and is one of the goals that keeps me going. Autumn is the month if you want a double.

Results :-

1st Nick Phillips – Bass 10lb 1oz

2nd Mark Jones – dogfish – 2lb 4oz

3rd Wayne Thomas – dogfish 2lb 2oz

4th – Dan Miles Redmore – dogfish 2lb 1oz

Best ray – Dan Welch small eyed ray – 3lb 4oz

Breaking the Norm!

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There is a tendency to frequent familiar marks and do the same things year in year out basing ones fishing on previous history.  This is perhaps a good policy most of the time as fishing proven marks with a good track record will eventually bring success. However times change and perhaps we need to change our habits to widen our experience and to continue learning.

I recently persuaded a friend to join me at a local beach where I hoped to catch a bass. The weather was a touch blowy and he questioned our wisdom when we parked the car to see flags fluttering as a brisk North Westerly blew onshore.

The tide was ebbing and I intended to fish down to low water fishing with one rod each using a big bait in the hope of that elusive big bass. We clambered onto rocks that were being battered by a good sized surf. I gentle lob would put our baits onto clean sand and shingle.

I was using a 12ft bass rod, with 25lb b.s line straight through to simple paternoster with a 3oz lead and whole joey and a pennel rig with 6/0 and 5/0 Sakuma hooks.  I love this direct contact fishing holding the rod feeling for that electrifying jolt through the line. Stood with waves crashing over the rocks and wind whistling past is invigorating stuff especially if your well dressed up to repel the elements.

Ten minutes after casting out I received a rattle and to my surprise swung in a small pouting neatly hooked on the 5/0 top hook. This gave encouragement that was increased when Rob brought in a small codling followed by a school bass.

A fresh joey was employed and resulted a decent Pollock of around 2lb. This came as a surprise as we were fishing in shallow water buffeted by a heavy surf. As the tide dropped back the bites ceased despite what I thought were perfect bass fishing conditions.

We packed away as low water approached as with work in the morning neither of us wanted to be late. A full moon shone brightly when the clouds parted driven swiftly across the sky by the brisk North West Wind. The short session had given us food for thought and we will revisit the beach again soon when tide and conditions are right.

Go Up Channel for Autumn and winter cod.

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As Autumn descends and days grow colder many sea anglers hope to catch cod. Sadly cod have become rare along the North Devon shore line so if you want cod its best to head up Channel and get out on one of the many charter boats that operate. Dan Hawkins has relocated to Watchet after the summer at Ilfracombe and continues to find quality fish.

Mick Cashmore sent me this report from Somerset.

Massive thanks to Dan Hawkins, Reel Deal charters, for a great days fishing, Saturday 5th Oct, and finally helping me get my lump of a cod and pb @ 9lb 2oz after years and miles of trying. Thanks again to a great skipper who works so hard to get you on the fish.

SEA ANGLING – ROUND UP

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Distinctly autumn looking results for the sea angling club results on the first Sunday of October. Matt Thomas enjoyed success catching a plump 4lb codling from a North Devon mark on whole squid a promising sign for the coming months perhaps.

Bideford rover results
1st Julien Stainer   flounder 1lb 10 1/2oz 82.812%
2nd Terry Dymond flounder 1lb 10 1/8oz 81.640%
3rd Andrew Clements flounder 1lb 10oz 81.250%
4th Terry dymond flounder 1lb 8oz 75%

 Triple Hook Club – SWW Water Flounder Open

1st Mark Hancock – Flounder 1lb 8/2oz

2nd – Kevin Hmcock – Flounder – 1lb 61/2oz

3rd – Robert Hancock – Flounder 1lb 61/8oz

Appledore Shipbuilders- Rover

1st Jazza John – Flounder 1lb 12 1/4oz

2nd Terry Dymond – Flounder 1lb 10 1/8oz

3rd – Jazza John – Flounder  1lb 8 3/4oz

Autumn Bass

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A short session to a local venue produced a pleasing 5lb 12oz bass  tempted on a trout dead-bait. On autumn nights presenting big fish baits close in on light tackle is exciting sport. Not sure it matters too much what bait is used blueys, mackerel, squid and trout all work as would I suspect pouting or rockling.  Use a light bass rod or carp rod, 20lb b.s main line with 30lb to 40lb b.s hook length. If there is current free-line the bait or use a small weight to keep the bait down. Use big hooks, 6/0 is ideal. Keep light off the water. Hold the rod and feel for bites, gentle tap is often followed by a heavy pull sighted as the fish moves confidently away with the bait. Its exciting stuff at close range.

Big bass on light tackle

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Dan Welch enjoyed an evening catching up with old fishing friends on a North Devon rock mark. They had a few fish Including this lovely bass of 8lb 4oz. “Taken on light gear fishing big baits with small weights the next best thing to lure fishing.”

SEASONS and CHANGING TIMES – A few thought from the waters edge.

Autumn seems to be setting in early this year with the salmon fishing seasons end almost upon us and no prospect of wetting a line with heavy rain bringing a big spate that has come too late to save what has been a lacklustre season as a result of low flows for much of the year. On the plus side the swollen rivers will enable salmon and sea trout to forge upriver and with no anglers or nets to impede their progress they will hopefully successfully spawn ensuring fish for future seasons.

Autumn colours are already showing on many trees on higher ground; martins and swallows are glimpsed as they head south battling the autumn gales as they start their epic journey. In a few weeks they will be swooping over a different landscape in Africa with elephants, lion and wildebeest instead of red deer, foxes and badgers. Each year these natural migrations take place and to some extent we take it all for granted expecting it all to continue year on year. Sadly things don’t always go on and we should watch with concern as nature faces troubled times. I read today of a threat to the Horse Chestnut trees and a shortage of conkers. Ash die back threatens to decimate our woodland.

As I drive around North Devon I am dismayed at the number of houses being built. Have we the infrastructure to cope? How will all of this impact upon the natural landscape and wildlife of North Devon? My recently published book “I Caught A Glimpse” reflects upon a North Devon I grew up in. Each year the stories within its pages seem far removed from the present day.

The coming months are often the best of the year for many anglers with carp already showing from our local lakes at impressive weights their bronze flanks reflecting autumns hues. Stillwater trout are likely to bring exciting sport. On the coast sea anglers will be relishing the chance to catch tope, bass, conger, Huss and grey mullet. In the estuary flounder anglers will enjoy simple fishing as rod tips rattle as bunches of ragworm are engulfed.

These autumn storms will of course pass and warm sunshine will bring reminders of summer warmth. November generally gives those first chill days but even then garfish and mackerel can bring a pleasant surprise on the coast. Part of the joy of angling is not knowing what will happen next and being out there by the water is a constant adventure. What better place to watch the drama of life on earth unfold?

South Molton Anglers take a trip aboard Bluefin

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 Eddie Rands of South Molton Anglers reports on their latest boat trip.
With a decent forecast we eagerly set off to ilfracombe.
We left on time and went to a nearby reef, tried a couple of drifts for a bass, nothing doing so off we steamed to Lundy.
We soon caught a few mackerel for bait and then proceeded to work our way round permitted area of the island with feathers and sidewinders drifting where we caught ballan wrasse, pollack,coalfish, pouting a few more mackerel and horse mackerel.
We then anchored up in some deeper water and caught a few dogfish, Huss and tope.
Stephen Baker, Matt Brady and Steve Edmonds broke their duck and landed at least 1 each.
We had a lovely day in a very scenic situation with a good bunch of chaps and again well looked after by John Barbery aboard Bluefin.
Looking forward to next time.

I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE – BOOK LAUNCH

(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