Appledore Lifeboat – Safety Awareness for anglers

As we enter the winter season many keen sea anglers will be targetting the specimen fish that lurk within the waters off the North Devon Coast. Recent events highlighted the dangers that can be faced when fishing from this wild and rugged coast. The angler involved expressed his sincere thanks to the RNLI who undoubtedly saved him from a watery grave. Following on from this I was pleased to work with the local RNLI to promote the wearing of lifejackets and buoyancy aids.

On Saturday, November 26th, Pauline and I visited Appledore Lifeboat Station where my own lifejacket and our sons lifejacket were given a safety inspection. Both jackets failed to pass the criteria as both had inflation mechanisms that were past their use by date. New parts were promptly ordered from Summerlands Tackle at Westward Ho! Of the sixteen lifejackets presented for inspection 50% failed due to mostly minor defects. It has to be remembered that this vital equipment could save your life and failure at a critical moment could be as catastrophic as the brakes failing while descending a steep hill!

Simon McCarthy shares his wisdom on lifejackets. Simon is often at hand in Summerlands Tackle to discuss and advise on safety at sea

Many thanks to Owen Atkinson, David Inwood and Simon McCarthy  for their expertise, advice and a fascinating insight into the valuable work undertaken by the RNLI.

The high magnification binoculars (Left) were kindly donated in the memory of popular local angler Cameron Atkinson 1999- 2019 They have already contributed to saving the lives of estuary users.

RNLI Education Volunteer Matt Cox offered useful advise for anglers and other water users and discussed the merits of modern lightweight bouyancy aids.

The RNLI carry out many rescues throughout the year and undoubtedly encounter many who are Ill-informed about the risks that are ever-present at the waters edge. I know that many believe that they will get away with it and that nothing will happen to them. On average I believe around ten anglers drown each year making angling a statistically dangerous sport.

The key messages to anglers are :-

Always wear a life jacket when fishing from shore or boat

Modern Automatic lifejackets are lightweight and comfortable. Those who wear them often forget they’re wearing them. Remember to regularly check and service your lifejacket inline with the manufacturers recommendations.

Always carry a means of calling for help on your person. 

Whicever device you choose to call for help, you must be able to reach it Easily in an emergency. Consider taking a mobile phone with the Safe Trx app.

Always check the weather forecast and tide times

Anglers should check the tide times and predicted swell forecast. This is particularly important for shore anglers to reduce the risk of being swept away or cut off by the tide.

Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back

They can raise the alarm with the coastguard by calling 999 or 112 if yiu are overdue.

It is reassuring to know that the coastguard are there to work with the RNLI to rescue those who are in difficulty and do so without judging those they rescue. Chatting with those at the lifeboat station it is very apparent how passionate and dedicated they are to ensuring the safety of those who interact with the sea for recreational reasons or to earn their livelihoods.

Lifejackets hang serviced a ready for action.
The lifeboat station crews kits at the ready.


Members of the Appledore Lifeboat Team

Offshore sport with spurs and huss

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Cameron Atkinson, Thomas Atkinson, James Mayhew and David Atkinson Cracking enjoyed a splendid days boat fishing from a Private boat the boat  catching around 50 spurdog with the biggest weighing 15lb to Thomas.Camerons biggest went 14lb 12oz. They also had a few decent huss with the biggest weighing 13lb 8oz caught by  David Atkinson along with a few eels to around 20lb and a small eyed weighing 5lb 7oz, they also lost a few other decent fish either spitting the bait half way up or on the surface near the boat. The fish were tempted on a range of fish baits including, mackerel, squid and pouting.

Sea Angling News Round Up.

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Shore sport seems to have slowed down with the weather undoubtedly deterring a few anglers from venturing out. There are a few whiting, dabs and dogfish being tempted. There is still an excellent chance of catching ray, conger, huss and spurdog from deep water marks.

If the weather permits boat sport should be good off Ilfracombe with Bluefin taking trips out after spurdog and conger.

Bideford 24 hour Rover

Nathan Clements took the top spot in Bideford Angling Clubs twenty four hour rover with a fine pollock of 4lb 3oz.

In runner up spot was  Andrew Clements with a pouting 1lb 1 1/2  and in third Antony Smith with a  rockling 14 1/2 oz.

In Appledore Shipbuilders Rover Josh Atkinson secured victory with a spotted ray weighing 3lb 10oz.



Appledore Boat Competition

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Kevin Pike won Appledore Shipbuilders boat competition with a fine tope of 39lb 8oz. Andrew Atkinson took second and third place with bull huss scaling 11lb and 10lb 4oz. Conditions during the day were fresh as a the wind swung around to the south west building a moderate swell.


A couple of days before this trip Andrew took a trip to Chesil beach in Dorset where he landed a plaice  of 2lb 10oz.


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