BIDEFORD & DISTRICT ANGLING CLUB PRESENTATION NIGHT

It was a pleasure once again for Pauline and I to attend Bideford & District Angling Clubs presentation night and to be made so welcome. Such events are vitally important to the social fibre of angling clubs enabling members and families to join together to enjoy a little fun and banter whilst reflecting on the achievements made by members throughout the year. It is not just about the fish caught but also about recognising the huge amount of effort invested by club members. BIdeford Club is a long established club that has its own waters for coarse anglers, a thriving sea section and a game section that travels across the South West to target trout on the fly.

There were some outstanding fish caught throughout 2019 including a bass of 15lb 6oz to the rod of Tarrant Wotton, a club record couch’s bream of 15oz to the rod of Nathan Clements and a rainbow trout of 14lb 11oz to Matt Sander. John McCullum won the Clubs Game Fishing Trophy with 49 points. Martin Turner secured the clubs Match Mans Cup with 108 points and young Tyler Scott won the club Sam Vaughan Cup for most Match points by a Junior with 42 points. Dick Talbot won the clubs sea league with 49 points. There were a huge number of certificates awarded and trophies congratulations to all of the winners. Let’s hope 2020 is just as productive for club members.

A winner takes all raffle was won by Reg Sutton who kindly donated the proceeds to the RNLI in memory of local angler Cameron Atkinson who sadly lost his life late in 2019.

WEEKEND COMPETITION SEA ANGLING ROUND UP

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Bideford Angling Club Rover results

1st Paul Ackland – Golden Grey Mullet 1lb 8oz 75%
2nd Dick Talbot   Dog fish 2lb 2oz  70.833%

End of season results
1st Dick Talbot dogfish 2lb 2oz  70.833%

Combe Martin SAC – Six Hour Rover

Thirteen anglers fished CMSAC’s six-hour rover on February 1st and the fishing proved hard going with strong winds and heavy rain throughout much of the night. Dogfish dominated catches with Jonathon Stanway securing top spot with a dog of 2lb 3oz. In runner up spot was Daniel Welch with a doggie of 2lb and Mark Tossel third with a doggie of 1lb 14oz.

Appledore Shipbuilders Monthly Rover

Appledore Shipbuilders travelled far and wide across the South West to find their fish and fish more associated with the summer months won.

1st -James Atkinson – mackerel 1lb 5/8oz

2nd – Kevin Pike – bass 5lb 3oz ( returned in line with current regulations)

3rd – James Atkinson -mackerel 14oz

Spurdog, Conger and huss from Rocky shores,

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Shore anglers have been finding a few fish over recent high tides with conger, huss and spurdog for those putting in the hours. There is every chance of an outsize conger from deep water rock marks with thirty pound plus specimens likely.

( Above) Jon Patten was rewarded with this double figure Spurdogs on a recent session at a North Devon Shore Mark
(Above) A double figure conger caught by Ross Stanway

Five Spur Haul

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Combe Martin SAC member David Jenkin’s fished a popular North Devon shore mark to tempt five spurdog to 13lb 19oz.  Spurdog packs have been few and far between close to the shoreline this winter but if you find a hunting pack sport can be fast furious. Wire traces are essential to stand a good chance of landing the fish that have razor sharp teeth.

Spurdog on a tiny dab bait

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Nick Job and Ian Hooper enjoyed a great night fishing at a popular North Devon Mark landing more than they bargained for a when a 9lb 4oz Spurdog seized a tiny strip of squid on a size 4 hook intended for dabs. Nick hooked the spur towards the end of the session and Ian was able to scramble down to the waters edge to secure the fish.

They also caught several tasty dabs.

Winter Mullet

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There was a time just a couple of decades ago when winter mullet were not considered a worthwhile winter target unless you fished the far West of Cornwall or the Channel Islands. Things have changed though and recent seasons have seen North Devon anglers landing mullet throughout the winter months. Just to clarify I am talking about thick lipped grey mullet and not thin lipped mullet  that sometimes shoal up in large numbers in certain locations.

I set out this afternoon in search of an elusive thick lip but my optimism was lower than normal after receiving reports that the mullet were very scarce. On setting up I peered into the clear water hoping to glimpse a mullet but none showed. As the tide pushed in the rod tip trembled a couple of times; if there had been the slightest breeze I would not have seen the indications but on bringing in the baits the fluffy ends of the bread were gone a sure sign that mullet were present?

I followed the tide in and my confidence was boosted when I glimpsed a silver flank turning. Mullet were present! The light faded and I peered into the clear water beneath the street lights a couple of shadows drifted across the rocks. I Lowered a baited rig with two flakes of soft white. A good sized mullet swam up to the bait and proceeded to play with bait. I watched fascinated as the mullet was joined by another fish each nudging the bait that seemed to occasionally disappear from view. Striking too early can often spook the fish better to wait for a positive movement of the tip. After 15 minutes of so I had probably cast to the mullet ten times with the fish removing the fluffy tail of the bait each time leaving a small piece on the hook each time. The mullet were feeding right beneath my position and I could watch them as they moved the bait causing the tip to tremble occasionally pulling round an inch or more causing me to strike in vain. Eventually I hooked the mullet and it splashed on the surface for a second or two before coming off the hook.

It was now almost high water and I thought my chance had gone. I moved down a few yards and flicked my baits out before walking back to the shallows to see how many mullet were present in the beam of my head torch. None could be seen and I thought they had moved out with the ebbing tide. I wonder back to my rod and started to dismantle my net. The tip trembled slightly! I put he net back together and watched the tip. As I put the net on the wall the tip surged over and a fish was on. Ten minutes later I was weighing a pleasing winter mullet of 4lb 2oz.

Fellow CMSAC Members John Avery and John Shapland have been travelling to marks on the Cornish coast to tempt some fine winter mullet John Avery landing a fine specimen of 4lb 14oz and John Shapland a new personal best of 5lb 1oz.

John Avery 4lb 14oz – Thick lipped grey mullet
John Shapland – Thick lipped grey mullet 5lb 1oz

Bluefin – Spurdog Fishing

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Many thanks to Troy Laing for allowing to use his post on their recent trip to the deeps off Ilfracombe aboard ” Bluefin:.

Well what can I say. John Barbeary said we were going spurdog fishing today, and that’s certainly what we did..Found a nice little spot. 8 miles off land. And as soon as our baits reached the seabed…We were all catching spurs from the off..approx 50 spurs caught..between us all. Along with huss to 16lb..spurs to 18lb..along with dogfish…and 1 pollock..caught by me haha..tomorrows dinner..thank you to John Barbeary.

He loved life, family and fishing – A Tribute to Cameron Atkinson

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Today I joined a huge congregation at North Devon Crematorium to celebrate the life of twenty year old Cameron Atkinson.  Cameron tragically lost his life before Christmas generating shock and grief throughout North Devons community. Cameron was a very keen member of Appledore Shipbuilders Angling Club.  I have featured many of Camerons catches on North Devon Angling News his bright and contagious smile lighting up many a page. Family, Fishing and cricket were Camerons greatest loves and his warmth and enthusiasm will be sadly missed. He caught far more specimen fish in his short life than many a seasoned angler has achieved over many decades of angling. In 2018 he landed a British Record Spurdog of 18lb a fine fish. It is impossible to find adequate words at such a time so I will share a few pictures of Camerons many catches over the years.

Love of family, friends and of the sea shone through at todays service.

The Poem below was read at Camerons Funeral a fitting choice in memory of a young man who loved to sail out to sea from Appledore crossing the bar. To drift upon those brightly sparkling waters.
BY Alfred Lord Tennyson 
Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.

BLUEFIN – SPORT FROM THE DEEPS

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Each Winter anglers take advantage of the great sport available in the deep water off Ilfracombe where huge packs of spurdog prowl hunting whiting and herring. Catches of over a hundred spurdog a day are not uncommon with double figure Bull Huss and big conger also testing anglers tackle to the limit. This Winter  has once again seen John Barbeary take anglers to fishing grounds that have provided  some excellent catches as illustrated below. For details of Bluefin click on the above link.