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Wayne Thomas took top spot in Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Fish of the Month Competition with a thick lipped grey mullet scaling 5lb 2oz.


In runner up spot was Daniel Welch with another thick lipped grey mullet of 5lb 1oz and in third Ross Stanway with a tope scaling 34lb 1oz.


November has already got a few good fish on the board and if weather permits I feel sure there will be some quality fish caught with November historically one of the best months of the year for specimen fish.



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(Above) John Shapland on a previous fishing trip

A few years ago Combe Martin SAC member John Shapland set out to catch fifty sea species in a season and succeeded. Knowing Johns keenness on species hunting I felt sure he would excel in a one day species competition and so it proved on Sunday November 6th. The bitterly cold North Wind that was forecast deterred the vast majority of club members who had shown an interest in the event with just four of us eventually venturing out. John elected to fish an estuary mark and Ilfracombe Pier and from the two venues caught an amazing eleven species including bass, sand goby, flounder, common blenny, scorpion fish, pollock, sand smelt, ballan wrasse, pouting, poor cod, rock goby and poor cod. His fishing partner for the day was Louis Rooke who managed four species;pollock, pouting, ballan wrasse and rockling.

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I fished a mark in Combe Martin Bay with Rob Sciones where we landed 7 species between us, whiting,pollock, ballan wrasse,conger, corkwing wrasse, tub gurnard and a pleasing grey mullet to my rod that weighed 4lb 14oz.

Despite the icy wind Rob and I did manage to find a little shelter from the wind and was rewarded with the sight of a pod of porpoise showing a few hundred yards from the shoreline.




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Terry Dymond took top spot in Bideford Angling Clubs monthly rover with a flounder of 1lb 123/4oz. Paul Downing was second with a flounder of 1lb 10oz and Taz Wotton was third with a plaice of 1lb 81/4oz. In fourth was Andrew Clements with a plaice of 1lb 7oz and Lisa Downing was fifth with a flounder of 1lb 61/4oz.


14971564_10154591071991788_1589527463_o(Above) Josh and James Atkinson

Appledore Shipbuilders monthly Rover attracted a field of 25 seniors and 4 juniors. Josh Atkinson won the competition with a fine flounder of 2lb 105/8oz. In second and third was James Atkinson with flounder of 2lb 75/8oz and 2lb 63/8oz. Junior winner was Nalani Knox with flounder weighing 2lb 4oz and 1lb 101/4oz.


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Dennis Toleman secured victory in Triple Hook Clubs RBL Shield with a flounder of 1lb 65/8oz. In runner up spot was Mark Beer with a flounder of 1lb 45/8oz.


A Stunning bass!

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15002500_10154608649676054_3624574730732216912_oGeorge Stavrakopoulos fished a beach near Minehead to land this fine bass of 8lb 9oz. Its not North Devon I know but James Wigglesworth of the Sea Angling News editorial team posted it and I asked if I could use it. Such a stunning image on a cold bleak November day; its enough to make you want to go fishing!!!!



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14964040_10207853459201127_1482099491_oKyle Bishop landed this specimen bull huss weighing 12lb 5oz whilst on a trip to a local rock mark where Dan Spearman also enjoyed success landing a fine pollock of 4lb 7oz and a plump pouting of 1lb 2oz.


Ben Partridge went out after the tope and thought he was into one when the clutch screamed off, turned out to be a decent smooth hound weighing 9.2 picture taken and back she went! ( Below)


Late season bass catch

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Jeremy Johnson sent me a report of a cracking day on his friend Robert Hurst’s rib on Sunday October 30th targeting bass on the lure.  Not sure of conditions so they decided at the last minute to change their minds from an early cod session up channel, to a bass session off Clovelly. Proved to be a good shout. As they landed 10 bass including a personal b on lure for Jeremy – (weight unconfirmed as the fish was released and had no scales but was certainly larger than an 8lb fish Jeremy had a couple of months back) They also had a perfect conditioned 6lb and 4lb bass and several round the 2-3lb mark.
14914773_10157689130495181_1167951833_nAdvert  - Summerlands Tackle


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14875429_10157658663295284_1131427848_nRoss Stanway fished Ilfracombe Pier with me on Tuesday evening and we chatted at length about tope fishing. The following night Ross was inspired to head back out to the coast with his good friend Daniel Welch. The decision proved to be a good one as Ross was rewarded with a fine tope of 34lb 1oz. The fish was tempted using half a mackerel presented on 8/0 Sakuma Manta extra hooks.




ITS DOUBLE TOPE – Martin Pearce

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Autumn time sees a dedicated few target the elusive hard fighting tope that haunt the waters of North Devon. A tope from the shore is perhaps the greatest challenge for the dedicated shore angler unless of course you include the remote chance of hooking and beaching a porbeagle shark!

Martin Pearce – tope 42lb 8oz

Martin Pearce has struck gold in mid October first beating a fine tope of 31lb 4oz and then following it up a few days later with a fine specimen of 42lb 8oz. Landing a tope is seldom a solitaire event and Martin was very appreciative of a help in hand from his mate Darren Bell who tailed both fish. The fish were tempted using whole mackerel on Varivas big mouth extra 8/0 hooks. Both fish were tempted from undisclosed North Devon Rock Marks.

Martins – 31lb 4oz tope


The Pier

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The Pier


Ilfracombe pier is not a venue I often fish these days but it is a venue that has a certain appeal. I have many fond memories of the venue that has to be the most heavily fished venue along the North Devon coast and it is undoubtedly for this reason that it has over the years produced an outstanding track record.

Being a veteran I can of coarse remember the pier in its heyday when you could fish from the Victorian structure at any state of the tide in pretty well any weather conditions. The beauty of the pier was that you could turn up and fish being confidant that you would have company. It was the social hub of North Devon’s sea angling community easily accessible, safe and at times productive.

Of course back then we didn’t value what we had taking it for granted like many things in life that are only really appreciated in hindsight. I value the memories of those cold winter nights on the pier and witnessing some fine fish caught. I also look back with a tinge of sadness at the lovely people and characters I fished with who are no longer with us; I won’t mention names but those who were there will share my sentiments.

Ilfracombe lost a huge asset with the demolition of the pier a place where people fished and others strolled to watch us watching our rod tips. Some inquiring what we had caught, some understanding the fascination; others perplexed at the fools who wasted hours staring out to sea.

Those who were there in those distant days will still remember and visualize how it was when anyone mentions the North End or by the Club hut. Beneath the water there were of course always tales of the mighty conger that lurked within the structure eels that divers glimpsed as they explored. Strange that the biggest eel recorded at 42lb was caught from the pier in 2015 long after the pier was demolished.

( Note Chris Wilson refers to an eel of 56lb has anyone got a record of that?)

I fished the pier with Rob Scoines on October 26th the main reason I chose the venue was because I had a few leftover harbour ragworm left from a flounder fishing excursion. With news of a few red mullet being caught I thought why not try the pier might even catch a sole. It was a very calm mild night after a week or so of easterly winds. We offloaded the van and ambled the few yards to the lower landings. There were a handful of other anglers already set up in the hot spot on the corner so we set up where there was space.


I fished two rods one with small worm baits the other with a larger offering of mackerel, to be exchanged for a fresh pouting shortly after catching one on the worm baits. The worm baits brought a steady succession of small whiting, tiny pouting and a solitary dab. Danny Watson from High Street Tackle chatted enthusiastically about prospects for the coming winter. Fellow CMSAC member Ross Stanway turned up with his young son Charlie. We chatted about old times and made plans for future forays. Young Charlie caught a few whiting; bringing a smile to his face.


When we packed away at the end of the night beneath the deviant structure of Damien’s Verity Rob commented that it wasn’t his favorite venue. It’s not mine and the fishing was poor but it still has a certain value as an easy sociable venue where good fish are sometimes caught.