The fish are out there – Go get em!

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There are some good fish out there to be caught with several bass showing from coast and estuary. A few codling too. Its very much of taking advantage of any window of opportunity with the late autumn weather or just dressing up and getting out there!

Josh Atkinson landed this stunning silver flanked bass of 7lb 10.25oz whilst flounder fishing on the Taw estuary. I asked him if he was targeting bass ?

“Would love to say that I was targeting it but yeah I was targeting flounder. But as we know it is part of the wonderful by-catch that we can have whilst flounder fishing on the Taw.”

(Above) Chay Boggis tempted this 7lb 14oz bass on a mackerel tail fished in a rocky gulley at short range.

Cod for tea – Kevin Kirby landed this pleasing 3lb 12oz codling from a North Devon Shore Mark.

A FEW NOTES ON BIG FISH CATCHING ON ROCKY SHORES

A FEW NOTES ON BIG FISH CATCHING ON ROCKY SHORES

The next couple of months have much to offer the dedicated sea angler in North Devon with the open coast likely to see anglers land a variety of specimen fish. Fishing Open coast rock marks can be a dangerous pastime so always give careful consideration when planning trips. Safety should always be top of the agenda so always study the weather forecast and tide times. Local knowledge is invaluable when choosing where to fish but if this is not available study wind direction and check against a map to see how this will impact on the location. Google Maps can prove very useful for checking out marks giving some idea of topography. Ordinance Survey Maps will show public footpaths that give access to marks.

Joining a local angling club can also be a great benefit but you will need to make the effort to join and get to know the anglers before they give away all their secrets.

Always respect property and never leave litter it loses fishing and scars our marvellous coastline. It also ruins our reputation as environmentally caring.

During the winter months warm waterproof clothing is essential if you are to enjoy your fishing trips. Chillcheaters located in Braunton offer a superb range of quality gear that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Sturdy Footwear with good grip is  vital for scuffling around on treacherous wet rocks. Rock Grip boots with studs are one of the best investments I have made in recent years and I struggle to comprehend how I once coped with standard wellies etc.

Lighting has dramatically improved in recent decades with headlights now light in weight offering  powerful lighting options and long charging life with small batteries. I am currently using a Fenix HM 65 R that purchased from Veals Mail Order.

Big fish on the open coast demand strong tackle to give any chance of landing them so choose rods capable of casting 8oz, reels that can hold plenty of line with a good retrieve capable of pulling terminal tackle clear of snags and bullying big fish from rock and kelp.

Main lines of between 20lb b.s and 30lb b.s.  I use a pulley rig for 90% of my winter fishing.

A leader with at least ten yards of line on the reel( With rig hanging from the rod tip) gives a chance of lifting moderate fish out of the sea. When targeting big fish I have started using Mason 49 Strand wire 175lb b.s. This is kink resistant an advantage with the large numbers of strap eels around the coast each winter.

Sakuma Manta Extra hooks are reliable with 4/0 to 8/0 suitable for big baits. A Pennel set up is probably more reliable for hook ups. There is a trend at present for using single catfish hooks. This can reduce snagging over rough ground and these hooks are without doubt capable of landing any fish hooked in the Bristol Channel.

Many will be reading this thinking that this approach is over the top. But there is no way of knowing what will take your bait. Tope, conger, spurdog, bull huss and big ray are all likely.

Big fish baits are order of the day with Ammo the best quality available in my experience. Mackerel, Squid, Bluey, Launce, herring, fresh pouting, whiting, rockling and flounder all have their day.

Landing fish is often the most risky time so ensure you have the right gear to give yourself a good chance. In calm conditions it might be practicle to grab the trace and fish using heavy duty gloves. Generally a long handled capacious net is the best option for bull huss and spurdog. A long handled gaff is an option if used carefully avoiding the vital organs but is a last resort in my view.

The key to success is of course being in the right place at the right time. Location + Weather + Tide + Experience and a little luck!

SEA ANGLING NEWS ROUND UP!

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BIDEFORD ANGLING CLUB MONTHLY ROVER

November rover results
1st Tarrant Wotton flounder 1lb 11 1/2 85.156%
Joint 2nd
Dick Talbot
Tarrant Wotton flounder 1lb 11 84.375%
4th Dick Talbot flounder 1lb 8 1/2 76.562%
5th Terry Dymond flounder 1lb 5 3/8 67.968%
6th Terry Dymond flounder 1lb 4 62.500%

APPLEDORE SHIPBUILDERS MONTHLY RESULT

November Rover Results

1st – Chris Boon – Flounder 1lb 11 3/4ozs
2nd – Martyn John – Flounder 1lb 9 1/2ozs
3rd – Josh Atkinson – Thornback Ray 5lb 15 1/4ozs

Damien Close from the Weston Outcasts fished a North Devon Rock mark on the eve of last weekends big storm and was certainly in the right place at the right time. I was fishing further along the coast with former tope record holder Kevin Legge.  Kev received a text from Damien. Two casts, two tope 41lb and 31lb ! The mark we fished was not so productive giving a steady stream of strap eels and dogfish. I did hook a decent fish that came off after just a few moments. Isn’t it sods law that the 2lb strap eel engulfs the bait in seconds and the big fish manages to avoid getting hooked!

Big low pressure systems often result in big fish being caught with the time before and after proving good times to be out at the waters edge. Fishing at such times is of course potentially risky so always follow sensible guidelines ensuring that you have good knowledge of how the weather will affect your chosen mark. Ensure you the correct landing equipment, use adequate tackle to land the fish you hook, were a life jacket, carry a quality head torch ( Have just bought a Fenix HM65R and have found it an excellent buy).

IMAGES FROM THE MINDS EYE – LOOKING BACK

The minds eye stores many thousands of images some of which lie dormant whilst others linger on the surface never fading completely. As a teenager I fished from the Banjo Pier at Looe in Cornwall a place I have revisited on numerous occasions since those formative angling days in the early to mid seventies. Strange how certain things stick in the mind, I just checked out the year Carl Douglas released Kung Fu Fighting. For some reason I remember this playing in the amusement arcade in Looe all those years ago in 1974. I was thirteen and by then fishing at Looe with the local lads. ( I never actually liked the song but it stuck in the mind!)

My father had introduced me to sea angling during our annual holiday to Looe which almost always fell during the last week of September and first week of October. Then as now fishing was prohibited from the Banjo until October 1st. prior to 1974 I had fished with my parents and it was garfish, mackerel and Pollock that would drag a brightly coloured sea float beneath the surface. The garfish would toy with the bait causing the float to dither before sliding beneath the surface or lying flat as the garfish swam up with the bait. I probably caught my first fish from Looe when I was seven or eight.

Those childhood and teenage days are long gone, the essence of those days remain etched in that marvelous minds eye. Strange to say that whilst I have revisited the Banjo on many occasions with Pauline watching the ebbing and flowing of the tide, the coming and going of boats and the vast seascape I had not taken a rod in hand at the venue since my last holiday with my parents back in around 1976/7. This was I guess partially due to timing as it was generally out of bounds due to it being summertime.

I remember clearly how I had fished for grey mullet on the ebbing tide in the eddy formed as the estuary meets the open sea beside the old banjo. When discussing a trip to Looe with the Combe Martin Sea Angling Club where better to fish for mullet than my old haunt? My connection with Looe had resulted in a long-term friendship on Facebook with fellow angler Matt Pengelly.  Matt is a fanatical sea angler who has fished Looe all his life. I have exchanged stories of Looe with Matt on many occasions and over the years he has freely shared a vast amount of information to which I owe him a big thank you.

As regards to the Looe mullet Matt confirmed my thoughts in that several generations of mullet later little has changed. Hence close to fifty years after catching my first sea fish I find myself on the banjo pier rod in hand along with our son James and five other members of the CMSAC mulleteers.

Quiver tips and floats are employed and mullet are caught up to around three pound.

I drop my orange tipped float into the ebbing flow. After drifting a few yards it dips slowly beneath those familiar clear waters. I lift the rod in expectation and feel a familiar gyrating motion transmitted through the line. I swing the garfish up into my hand, “Look a swordfish”, cries out a young child.  I remember such comments being made all those years ago. The green scales stick to my hands and that distinctive small of fresh garfish triggers childhood memories.

I chat with Matt who has joined us on the Banjo for a while and he tells me of plans to redevelop Looe and its Harbour. I am saddened to hear of these plans to bring prosperity to this old Cornish town. The pleasures of Looe are simple and special and locked in my minds eye and I am sure in many others who have trod a similar path.

Looking back, I have a wealth of memories relating to fishing and the places it has taken me to. I also have memories of Ilfracombe when it had a pier and how the removal of that pier has contributed to the loss of a community. I Remember how on cold winter nights we would gather on the pier safe above surging waters; ever hopeful. Sadly I feel the essence of angling holds no tangible value to planners and councilors. The social benefits are overlooked in the search for marinas and visions of splendor.

Where lies the value in a garfish and a disappearing float?

http://www.redgill.co.uk

Stafford Moor – Autumn Form

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(Above) Alan Clarke banked13 fish  from fragile rock swim 8 up on lodge lake.  Alan was fishing with DT baits super fruit and oily chicken and white wafters.

(Above)  Steve Penn who fished on the back bays (swim 9) on Beatties lake  and had 6 fish out fishing with Baitworks Atlantic feat boilies.

(Above) Tony Woods who fished on swim 12 on the spit up on lodge lake. Tony had 2 fish out up to 28lb caught on Sticky Baits Manilla & Krill boilies.

(Above) Jim Gillard who had 12 fish out up to 26lb 12oz which is Jim’s new personal best from the inlet swim on Beatties lake this weekend. Jim caught on Sticky Baits Manilla boilies in pva bags.