Tope continue to provide exciting sport off Ilfracombe as Ian Tyldesley director of Ammo Baits discovered when he traveled up from St Ives to fish aboard Ammo Baits sponsored boat Reel Deal. Dan Hawkins put the anglers on the fish despite breezy conditions that made fishing a little uncomfortable for some of the party. In addition to tope the anglers also landed several bass.
David Brooke took top spot in Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs fish of the month competition with a specimen smoothound scaling 15lb 1oz. In runner up spot Dan Spearman with his thin lipped grey mullet of 4lb 15oz and in third Derek Ferrett with a smoothound of 11lb 14oz.
Anglers are enjoying some great tope sport off Ilfracombe with these hard fighting predators now abundant. Tope have been landed up to 37lb with every chance of bigger fish as the season progresses there is even the chance of one of these fish from shore marks if anglers are prepared to set their stall with a big bait and wire trace.
Graham Snow secured first place in Appledore Shipbuilders monthly Rover with a grey mullet of 3lb 151/2oz. Andrew Atkinson took the runner up spot with a ballan wrasse of 4lb101/2oz and Joshua Atkinson was third with a smoothound scaling 9lb 23/8oz.
Smoothound and bass are providing some great sport for shore anglers with specimens of both species being landed. I have received reports of several bass caught in recent weeks above the coveted weight of 10lb but the captors have not made their catches public. The next couple of months should see a few double figure bass landed. The biggest specimens tend to fall to large baits fished from rock or beach marks. Spider crab is without doubt the top bait at present with squid and mackerel baits working better as the summer progresses. Lure anglers also tempt big fish each season when conditions are favorable.
Kyle Bishop and Dan Spearman enjoyed another action packed session with smoothound landing close to twenty hounds in a session the best 10lb 14oz to the rod of Kyle. They also landed a bass and a small eyed ray of 5lb small eyed ray all in daylight.
Anglers gathered at the club house for the best weigh in for several months with some fine fish visiting the scales.
John Barbeary has been finding plenty of tope for anglers on board his charter boat ‘Bluefin’ off Ilfracombe. The best have been up to 35lb with bull huss and a few bass showing. From July 1st anglers can keep one bass per day following a contentious six month total ban on keeping fish for the table.
It was fitting that Michael Squires caught the only weighable fish in Bideford and District Angling Clubs Michael Squires Memorial Trophy. The 10lb 12oz undulate ray was the highlight of the clubs venture to Chesil Beach where members had a good time enjoying a social event with a BBQ.
Michael Squires Senior was a popular member of several North Devon angling clubs including Bideford and Combe Martin SAC. I have fond memories of away trips to Ireland and Sark with both Michael Squires Jnr and senior.
Combe Martin SAC member David Brooke landed what I believe to be the biggest smoothound from the North Devon coast so far this season. The specimen hound weighed an impressive 15lb 1oz. Fellow club member Derek Ferret fishing with David also enjoyed success landing a specimen smoothound of 11lb 14oz.
Callum Gove fished the Upper estuary with a baited spinner intended for thin lipped grey mullet and hooked into a hard fighting bass of 7lb 7.5oz. It is not unheard of to hook large bass whilst targetting thin lipped grey mullet and from time to time double figure bass are landed by anglers trying something different.
Dan Hawkins Charter Boat Reel Deal arrived in Ilfracombe early this summer and after much effort made the headlines with the boating of a huge porbeagle estimated at 450lb. Since then the shark have proved elusive and a move to deeper water resulted in a blue shark estimated at 80lb being brought to the side of the boat.
Dan informed me that the general fishing has now improved with the arrival of mackerel in greater numbers. Fishing marks off the North Devon coast has resulted in turbot, gurnard, whiting, haddock, codling, tope, smoothound, huss and of course the ever plentiful dogfish.