Hectic Spurdog Sport off Ilfracombe

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

John Barbeary’s Bluefin has been taking anglers to deep water marks off Ilfracombe where packs of spurdog are giving great sport along with huss and conger. Catches exceeding one hundred spurdog per day between eight anglers is not unusual with plenty of fish into double figures. Pete Robinson boated one of the biggest so far this season at 17lb. Craig McCloughlin also joined a party of anglers taking numerous fish to 15lb.

Craig McCloughlin spurdog 15lb
Pete Robinson – spurdog 17lb

Huss dominate Combe Martin SAC Competition

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0
David Brook left with a huss of 7lb 13oz & Wayne Thomas with a huss of 6lb 10oz.

Combe Martin SACs January Rover was fished by ten club member with a wide range of marks fished. Bull huss dominated the result with David Brook (above left) securing first place with a huss of 7lb 13oz. Shane Pavio Hookway was runner up with a huss of 7lb 10oz and myself third with a huss of 6lb 10oz ( Above right).

Shane Pavio Hookway with a huss of 7lb 10oz

The recent settled weather has resulted in clear water along the coast and a lack of quality fish close inshore. With this in mind I joined Kevin Legge and Dave Brook at a remote rock mark that gave access to thick kelp and seriously rough snaggy terrain. At times I questioned the sanity of clambering around the slippery and jagged rocks at the age of sixty but in truth I have no intention of giving up just yet. It is good exercise after all and I still love being out there in the dark night casting out in that mysterious dimension wondering whats lurking beneath the waters surface?

Strong tackle is a must with 25lb b.s Berkley Big Game Line,  a single strong catfish hook and a rotten bottom. Tackle loses can be high but in calm clear conditions getting in amongst the rough stuff can pay dividends. It is very much a case of tightening up the clutch and giving it plenty of stick when a fish is hooked. With luck if a good fish is hooked it can be bullied clear of the snags if it gets stuck it will often come out after leaving the rod in the rest for ten minutes. if not more often that not the rotten Bottom link will break allowing the fish to be retrieved. I personally tend to use one rod in these situations with a second rod all set up ready to cast out if the gear is lost.


Watching the news this morning took me back to a wonderful time in the early eighties when for seven days we would wander the North Devon coast in search of specimen fish. The Ilfracombe & District Angling Association organised a popular angling festival each summer that was well attended by both locals and visiting anglers. The ignition for these memories was sparked by the mention on BBC news of one of North Devon’s famous rock marks.

Back then as we competed against each other to catch the biggest fish and successful marks could be a closely guarded secret with some going to extreme lengths to discover these marks. Spotting a known anglers car parked adjacent to a coastal access point was a common giveaway or a quick glance through the window would give a clue if it was an angler’s car with associated fishing bits a giveaway. Back then all cars also displayed a tax disc giving a clue as to the angler’s residential area.

This was of course long before the days of social media where anglers post their catches and often try to disguise marks using clever photo shop techniques. Not sure if there are more or less anglers these days but there are probably less fish. Coastal access has however become an increasingly problematic area. The increase in coastal walkers and those using the coast for recreation has undoubtedly increased considerably and this has in some cases impacted upon free access.

The introduction of fishing permits to gain access has been an unwelcome trend generated in part by a lack of respect for private land and the ongoing issue of litter.

Coastal erosion is also playing its part with once popular marks like Sillery Sands now inaccessible due to landslips.

In truth there are still many miles of accessible coastline that allow free access even if a long walk is required. A day walking the coast can reveal potential marks as can a survey of Google Maps often revealing areas worth exploring.

Those chasing specimen fish often follow the crowd trying to catch the fish that were caught yesterday. Whilst being at the right place at the right time is paramount there are plenty of fish in the sea! Many marks have become popular due to the reporting of good fish a major factor for the more people who fish a mark the more will be caught. Perpetuating the myth that it is the must visit mark.

I fully understand the reason for being careful with informing others of where fish are caught. We all like to have our favourite marks to ourselves but in many cases with a bit of thought it’s not hard to get away from the crowds.

Like most things in life many will always follow the crowd. Back in those days fishing the North Devon Coast during the Ilfracombe Festival I fondly remember the smirks as the competition organisers voice echoed across the harbour. Today’s winner is “ Bullshit Bov , with a fine specimen wrasse of 6lb from “ Fraggle Rock”.


Fraggle rock a popular childrens TV programme has been relaunched. It ran from 1983 until 1987.

Sea Angling News

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Sea angling seems to have entered the doldrums with calm conditions resulting in quiet fishing on the open coast. A good storm is undoubtedly required to stir things up a bit. The results of local shore competitions speak for themselves. It might pay to experiment a little during these conditions and scale down the tackle in search of dabs and smaller species that can get overlooked.

It’s always interesting to take a look at whats on the shoreline as there can be clues as to the species that can be found beneath the waves.

Mermaids purse- bull huss egg

Bideford Angling Club – Twenty Four Hour Competition Result

Many thank’s to Nathan Clements for the report.

24 hour results 

12 angler’s fished 

3 fish caught 

1st Antony Smith Dog 2lb 1oz 68.750%

2nd Andrew Clements Dog 2lb 0 1/2oz 67.708%

3rd Stephen Found Pouting 1lb 66.666%

Fishing didn’t exactly meet expectations but well done to the 3 that caught something big enough to weigh in.

Fingers crossed things pick up 

Next competition 

Codling comp 29th/30th Jan

Appledore Shipbuilders monthly Rover Result
Many thanks to Andrew Atkinson for the report.
6 members fished the January heat of the winter league .
Only one fish of size was caught.
Winning with a Whiting of 1lb 2 1/4ozs was Josh Atkinson. Anglers reported catching Small codling Congers other Whitings and Poutings.
Well done to all that fished.

Specimens from the North Devon Shoreline

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

The last few weeks have seen sea anglers investing plenty of effort into unlocking the secrets that dwell within the deep and murky waters. When conditions come right windows of opportunity open and the fishing can be good as Combe Martin SAC members Ali Laird and Jamie Steward discovered when they enjoyed success fishing from the Rocky shoreline.

During a couple of hectic sessions they successfully landed tope, Bull Huss, spurdog and conger. The fish are pictured below.

Ali Laird – tope 36lb 6oz
Ali Laird – Bull Huss 11lb 14oz
Ali Laird – spurdog 8lb 10oz

Jamie Steward – tope 34lb 9oz
Jamie Steward – spurdog 11lb 3oz
Jamie Steward – Bull Huss 11lb. 10oz
Jamie Steward -Spurdog

Jamie Steward – conger 17lb

It is easy to glance at these images and believe that the anglers make these sort of catches every trip. I can assure you that many trips result in little more than tackle tangling encounters with small conger and dogfish. On many occasions everything feels right and yet the better fish fail to show. I invest a moderate number of hours fishing the coast and my number one priority is to enjoy my fishing. I know that if I persist the right tide will come and my bait will be in the right place and hopefully my knots will hold and the fish will be held aloft for that pleasing trophy shot and another fishing memory in life’s bank of experiences.

Angling Trust – Marine – Wyvern Region Open Shore Slapton, South Devon,

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

On the 2nd Jan 2022.

The South West’s first major event in 2022 attracted 111 anglers to the South Hams to fish the annual Angling Trust Wyvern Open Festival, with some competitors traveling from South Wales & the Isle of White, the weather conditions on the day saw a strong, west / south westerly wind with occasional heavy showers for the five hour event.  Whiting, Dogfish, Pouting, flounder, dab, spotted ray & an excellent Small Eyed Ray were caught during the event, 64 competitors returned to the scales with fish to record. The results were announced within half an hour of the close of scales at the Festival Headquarters at the Stokeley Farm Shop.

The main sponsor was Julian Shambrook of Anyfish Anywhere Ltd, a major fishing tackle manufacturer, based in Torquay.  All of the sponsors for the day were thanked for their continuing support each year, also a big thank you to Stokeley for their hospitality & providing an excellent venue.

The worthy winner, was the main sponsor Julian, Julian apart from being our sponsor for the event had fished it for over 30 years but had never won the competition before, he recorded a specimen Whiting of 1.775lb & a  L.S.D. of 2.220lb (207.14%),he was presented with the top prize of £200 cash and the Brixham Bowl. The other tackle prizes were valued at over £800 and were awarded down to 12th place, these were announced by the Chairman of the Wyvern Region Alex Parker, and presented by Julian Shambrook.

The Region promotes the Angling Trust “Take Five” anti litter campaign and encourages all anglers to leave the beaches cleaner than they found them.

The first Twelve Places are as follows:-

First :                              £200                            Brixham Bowl

Julian Shambrook            Torquay                      Whiting           1.775 lb

L.S.D.            2.220 lb                Total: 207.14%

Second                             Pick of the Prize table   & Bideford Cup Cup

Claire Loder                     Newport                      S E Ray           11.245 lb

Whiting           0.965 lb“             Total: 204.91%

Third                               Pick of the Prize table &   Appledore Cup

Tony Honeywell                                                L.S.D.     1.605 lb

Whiting  1.96 lb                           Total:  194.87%


Fourth                             Pick of the Prize table & Sidmouth Cup

Mike Rose                       3 counties                  Whiting   1.37 lb

L.S.D.    2.415lb                           Total:  187.94 %


Fifth                                Pick of the Prize table

Ben Bradstock                 Honiton S.A.C.           Whiting           1.68 lb

L.S.D.            1.85 lb                  Total:  186.00%


Sixth                                Pick of the Prize table

Paul Rohrabaugh             Sidmouth S.A.C.         Whiting           1.705 lb

L.S.D.            1.575lb                     Total:  176.67%

Seventh                           Pick of the Prize table

Dave Lane                       Weymouth AC                                     Whiting          1.485 lb

L.S.D.            1.925lb                     Total:  176.00%


Eighth                             Pick of the Prize table

Marcus Ward                   T&B A.S.A                 Whiting           1.375 lb

L.S.D.            2.045lb                     Total:  173.47%

Ninth                               Pick of the Prize table

Dave Reed                       S.W.A.F.S.A.C           Whiting           1.39 lb

L.S.D.            1.965 lb                   Total:  171.27%


Tenth                               Pick of the Prize table

Mark Barnett                   Kingsbridge S.A.C.    Whiting           1.33 lb

L.S.D.            1.965lb                     Total:  167.27%

Eleventh                          Pick of the Prize table

Darren Newland              Isle of White               Whiting           1.505 lb

L.S.D.            1.67 lb                        Total:  167.14%


Twelfth                            Pick of the Prize table

Nick Snow                                                           Whiting           1.535 lb

L.S.D.             1.60 lb                      Total:  166.34%

Best Team           Team Shield:  ( Team of four anglers, Best fish by each angler)

Team:   Anyfish Anywhere


Rob Marshall

Julian Shambrook

Marcus Ward

Ben Bradstock

Total    394.01%.

 Pool  (best individual species) 

1/   50%   Claire Loder 140.57% Newport

2/   30%   Tony Honeywell 130.67%

3/   20%   Julian Shambrook 118.34% Torquay