Combe Martin SAC’s Annual Fun Fish at Ilfracombe Pier has become a popular event within the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival and this year was no exception with thirty fun fishers taking part.

Once again the weather played its part in the success of the event with warm sunshine throughout. A moderate North West breeze was fortunately at the participants backs helping the lines to blow away from the pier’s structure with a good drop to the water on one of the lowest tides of the year.

This is as it says on the box a fun fishing event with minimal rules. The competitive element is based on catching the most species with the top prizes in the points section reserved for under 18’s with adults picking up the remaining prizes. There are also prizes for the longest fish and heaviest fish. The main reward for those taking part is the social interaction and the broad beaming smiles on anglers faces.

Combe Martin SAC give thanks to High Street Tackle, Ilfracombe for their generous support of the event with an array of great prizes donated. Thanks also to Ilfracombe Aquarium who donated the family prize and engaged with participants in fish identification.

Our special guests on the day were Steve Dawe author of the book “Fishty Two weeks In A year”. A book that tells of Steve’s year long quest to catch as many species within twelve months as possible all in the cause of raising money for the stroke association.

Colin Wood and Alex Bond represented Ilfracombe Coastguard and mingled with the visiting public to talk about their valuable work as an emergency service co-ordinating rescues along the coast and beyond. Safety is of course top of their agenda with advice on good practice and safety aids readily available.

Colin Wood & Alex Bond represented the Ilfracombe Coastguard

The fishing proved to be challenging at times with the water coloured due to the low tide and brisk NW wind leading up to the event. Plenty of fish were caught however with a very wide variety of species including a few rarities. Young Solly Welch enjoyed an exceptional day with a little help from mum, dad and grandad. Solly landed an incredible eight species including a rare Cornish clingfish, red mullet, dragonet, rock goby, ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, smelt and pouting. There was also a little drama when a pouting that had succumbed to his bait was seized by a conger eel that held tightly onto its prey before letting go when it saw the waiting landing net!

Several crustaceans were also landed including two lobsters and a good sized edible crab for Danny Watson. These were not eligible for prizes but I think there could be a prize introduced next year for the most exceptional non piscatorial catch. In the past there have been octopus caught and this year one angler lost contact with a substantial oar that battled gamely twisting and turning in the tide before coming adrift.

Morgan Butterfield with his lobster
Steve Dawe displays a fearsome lobster
Danny Watson of High Street Tackle with the crab of the day

The Welch family were way ahead of the field amassing a grand total of 38 points to receive a family visit to the aquarium where they can visit the clingfish caught by young Solly and donated to the aquarium.

Lyn Welch displays a silvery smelt
Effy Welch is all smiles after catching a three bearded rockling
Young Solly and grandad with the pouting that tempted the conger that got away!

The longest fish was a 43cm garfish tempted by Matt Jeffery and the heaviest a ballan wrasse of 11oz to the rod of Matthew Dawe.

Matthew Dawe with the 11oz wrasse that won the heaviest fish prize

As part of Sea-Ilfracombe a big part of the event is the social interaction as members of the public wonder amongst the anglers to gaze at the catches and chat enjoying the ambience of the seaside and fun of the fishing.

Smile of the day had to go to young Scarlett Hart who tempted a scorpion fish just before the call for all in was broadcast. Persisting throughout the day Scarlett was absolutely delighted when the fearsome looking mini species seized her bait.

Always seems a bit sad to see the dismantling of the festival props as I drive away knowing that another summer has drifted past all too quickly. The best of the years fishing lies ahead though so embrace the coming autumn and get out there fishing.

The 2019 Fun Fishers

The Fun Fishing Event signalled the conclusion of Comb Martin SAC’s summer lure fishing competition that was won by Rob Scoines with a fine boat caught bass of 8lb 8oz.

Danny Watson presents a top of the range lured to Rob Scoines winner ion the CMSAC Summer Lure Competition

Bideford Angling Club – Junior Fishing Event

Junior results, Tarka Swims George’s Lake.

1st  Thomas Scott 10lb 8oz

2nd Charlie Evans 3lb 9oz

3rd Tyler Scott   2lb 7oz.

The Saturday afternoon 3 hour competition was fished in warm blustery conditions , Thomas drew the end peg Q and took victory with a nice carp on the feeder and a good bream on the pole and corn, Charlie’s had a nice net of smaller fish on the pole on peg U . Third spot went to Tyler on peg S. The winner of the 4 match series was Tyler Scott

Blakewell Fun Fishing

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Catching those first fish is not always easy so that first venue needs to have a good head of fish. At Blakewell Fishery the Fun Fishing Lake gives young anglers the chance to catch that first fish and of course a tasty treat to take home as well. The Fishery also boasts a waterside cafe overlooking the fish farm where children can also feed the fish. An ideal venue for a family visit.

 Junior Event @ Tarka Swims George’s Lake results:

1st Tyler Scott 11lb 7oz

2nd Charles Evans 4lb 9oz

3rd Thomas Scott 3lb 13oz

Our 3 hour junior event was the third in the summer series, Tyler Scott has fished peg U and landed a near 10lb carp early in the match, this specimen plus some smaller fish secured victory. Young Charles on the adjoining peg, V has pole fished to a very respectable 2nd spot.  Thomas Scott put together a good net for third.

Bideford Angling Club – Junior Event

Bideford Angling Club arranged a Junior match and coaching session at their Tarka Swims Georges Lake – Well done to the club and its members for providing this valuable experience.

 Junior Event @ Tarka Swims George’s Lake

1st Tyler Scott 7lb 5oz

2nd Charlie Evans 5lb 3 oz

3rd Thomas Scott 2lb

4th Joe Westcott 1lb 15 oz

5th Adam Wheeler   13oz .

This 3 hour event was fished on the shallow pegs .Celebrating his birthday , Tyler Scott  landed a fine mixed catch alternating between shallow and full depth on the pole on peg F to secure victory on the first of our 4 match series , Charlie took second spot in his very 1st competition fishing on peg Z . Third place was Thomas Scott, next door to his brother on peg E .

Learn How To Fish at Anglers Paradise – Junior Fishing


Zenia Gregorek says –

“We are very excited to announce that the Nash Team with Alan Blair will be joining us at Anglers Paradise on 23rd and 24th July to encourage more Kids to go Fishing!

On Tuesday 23rd July we will be hosting the Kid’s Fishing Day for the Anglers Paradise Kids that are staying with us and on the 24th July it will be open to “All Kid’s” and we will be fishing at Anglers Eldorado.

All tackle and bait will be provided by Nash, they’ll be a goody bag for each Kid to take home and they’ll also be Prizes to be won! Our whole aim is to show Kids how much fun fishing is and start them on their fishing journey the right way!

If you would like your Child to join in then please contact Zenia on 01409221559 to book their place ASAP before it gets fully booked! ”

Time to share our passion for angling with the future generation! — with Alan Blair Urban Banx, Nash Tackle and Zenia’s Fishing Adventures.

Anglers Paradise

Zenia lands a starring role with Shakespeares fishing heroes

(Above) Zenia with Matt Hayes -Then and Now

Shakespeare Fishing Heroes is a show to celebrate and thank the unsung heroes of the sport that bring so much back into fishing but are also the ones that don’t get the recognition they deserve. When I was asked to be the Presenter of this inspiring show – I couldn’t believe it, to get to meet these Fishing Heroes and tell their powerful stories is an honour I don’t take lightly! We ask all on facebook if they know a Fishing Hero that they want to nominate – to get in touch and share your story! You can contact me via Zenia’s Fishing Adventures Page. We will be airing the next Fishing Heroes video on Matt Hayes Page in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for it! Time to celebrate fishing and the amazing people we have in this great sport.

Anglers Paradise