Combe Martin SAC – Lure Fishing League update

Ross Stanway has established a healthy lead in Combe Martin SAC’s Lure Fishing league being the first member to register the required five fish. His total length for five bass is 273cms the best three bass all 56cm.

League standing at present is :-

Ross Stanway – Five bass – 273cm

Reece Woolgar – Three bass – 175.5

Mark Drewer – Two bass- 130.5 cm

Wayne Thomas – Two bass – 108cm

                                                Kyle Bishop – One bass – 59cm

It only Takes One Cast on target!

Sunday evening low water at 7.40pm. A light North West Wind blowing into the coast; the lure of the coast is strong.
I am no follower of football but after enduring an hour of frustration watching those highly paid athletes kicking the ball around I was about to head out of the door. Then with thirty seconds to spare they went and scored. I guess I should watch the extra time and put the kettle on. After fifteen minutes I decided to head for the coast. Pauline questioned if it was worth it? I replied “that it only needs one cast in the right place just like the footballers only needed one kick on target!”
Forty five minutes or so later I was at the water’s edge as the tide started to creep in over the weed and boulder strewn shore. Water clarity was good and I found that I could work a weedless soft plastic without too much weed fouling it.
After half an hour and several casts I was rewarded with that savage tug as a good bass  hit the lure. At 56cm it was a pleasing a result.

I fished on into darkness failing to contact with three other bass that hit the lure in the shallow water. The tug is undoubtedly the drug that keeps you casting! It’s been a slow start to the lure fishing for bass this summer but they are there and prospects for next weeks Combe Martin SAC Lure competition are good.



After getting lucky enough to catch a salmon in April from the Torridge this year, many further fruitless sessions followed, leading me to switch my attention to bass fishing earlier in the season than I normally would. It was obviously a lucky April for me, as somehow on my second session of the year I managed a 67cm fish, and I am yet to catch a bigger one this season in the pursuit of a 70cm+ fish on a lure. However, because of all the time and effort I have been putting in, I have managed some nice fish, albeit not monsters for some, which can be seen in the pictures shown. The excitement never wears out for me with these fish, particularly when caught on surface lures.

As I’m sure is the case with many others in the North Devon area, bass are probably my favourite fish to target throughout the season and I feel we are blessed as anglers to have so much different ground to fish from the estuaries to the open coast. I’ve been a member of the North Devon Bass Lure fishing page on Facebook for a couple of years now, but last year I started to post fish I caught on the page. This resulted in me getting chatting to a couple of good lads who I’ve subsequently done some sessions with, sharing marks and as always learning new things about people’s preferred tactics and lures etc. As much as I love the solitude of fishing, going out with others has been thoroughly enjoyable and I believe social media pages such as this are going to be crucial in getting the younger generations into fishing going forward.


 In addition to the local page, I would also give mention to UKBLF where people from all over the UK chat all things bass lure fishing and share their catches. Through this Facebook page, I discovered we are lucky enough to have one of the leading stockists of bass lures in the UK in Ilfracombe at Highstreet tackle. A lot of the fish I have caught so far this year have been on Savage Gear gravity stick paddle tails or the IMA Chappy, both of which I purchased there. It really is like a sweetshop in there however and easy to get carried away as a prewarning.

As is usually the case, I anticipate the bass fishing to only get better as the season progresses and hopefully, I’ll surpass the 70cm mark as it gets towards September/ October. Whilst Bass fishing can be hard graft at times, it is all made worth it when you put the leg work in and it pays off in the end.




Mark Drewer has taken the lead in Combe Martin SAC’s Bass lure league tempting bass of 67.5cm and 63cm. Both fish were tempted on a white gravity stick pulse tail.  As we go into summer proper I am expecting catches to pick up. At present Mark Drewer is in first place with two bass for 130.5cm. Second is Reece Woolgar with two bass for 118.5cm.

Reece Woolgar – Winner of CMSAC 2023 – Bass lure League

Reece Woolgar was the worthy winner of Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Lure Fishing league sponsored by High Street Tackle Ilfracombe, Reece recieved a Gift voucher to spend in store to the value of £150. Reeces best three bass totalled 200cm just 1 cm ahead of runner up Mark Jones.

Combe Martin SAC will be running the competition next year and give thanks to Danny Watson for agreeing to sponsor the event again. The league is free to all CMSAC paid up members and is awarded to the member who catches the best three bass throughout the league on a lure boat or shore. Next years league will run from April 1st until October 31st. The presentation will be arranged to be at High Street Tackle at a convenient weekend.

The club plan to hold a couple of lure fishing sessions in the summer of 2024 with the intention of sharing knowledge and social interaction.

(Below) Reece Woolgar with some of the bass caught during his lure fishing season.

(Below) Mark Jones runner up with three bass total of 199cm


Bass and thunder on the Jurassic Coast


The tide was flooding rapidly into the River Axe estuary when I arrived to park up and I took note of what looked like a potential mullet fishing venue. This was confirmed later as I chatted with the skipper John Wallington.

The cliffs were shrouded in grey mist giving a truly Jurassic atmosphere to an early October day as we motored out of Axemouth aboard

There is always something particularly exciting about visiting a new fishing destination. I had been invited by Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce who had brought along a few Snowbee Deep Blue Rods to test out.

There were six of us fishing on the boat Jeff and I knew none of them but as always anglers are a little like super glue gelling quickly to become friends sharing an adventure within a short time. Names are banded about at the start of the day, Mark, Martin, Mick and Zee but in truth I am terrible with names and by the time we left the harbour they could have been Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

         Those grey mist shrouded cliffs of the Jurassic coast soon faded into the distance as we headed out to wrecks deep beneath the grey waters of the English Channel. Bass were our target with the chance of pollock. I always find it fascinating how many Skippers have their own approach and special tricks. John is very keen on safety and had given a very thorough     briefing before leaving the port. Focussing on how to use the ship to shore radio if he was to become incapacitated a factor that I have often thought of but never actually asked any skipper about.

         John explained how we would be drifting the wrecks using lures on long traces of up to 6 metres. The ball weights used must be inserted into their holders when the fish is retrieved and the fish is then handlined carefully to the waiting net. Flailing weights can be dangerous. When lowering the tackle into the water the weight is lowered first the lure held carefully until the weight has taken up the slack in the trace.

( take care not to get hooked by the inertia of the sinking weight- It hurts! ) The set up incorporates a simple anti tangle tube with the weight attached to a weak link. ( Well, mine was as I was using 50lb b.s braid mainline!) The other technique/protocol that was different to many charter boats was that we were all to fish on the same side of the boat with the lines all trailing away, ensuring none of the tangles associated with lines coming under the boat.

         It was a very grey murky day but fortunately the sea was calm with just a gentle breeze. John spotted a few tuna leaping from the water. Gannets soared gracefully in the dark sky.

         After forty minutes or so we reached our first wreck with the shoreline now hidden by mist. We sent our lures to the sea bed and followed the drill. On reaching the sea bed wind up slowly for thirty or so turns then send it back down and repeat. If a fish started to attack the lure keep retrieving until all locks up and then thump the hook home by lifting the rod positively.


A Red gill hybrid !


         The morning started slowly with a few bass and pollock from the first two or three wrecks. I was pleased to get off the mark with a decent pollock and bass.

         The fishing was steady then as we covered a couple more wrecks. As the tide eased the breeze dropped away and we were entranced when pods of dolphins appeared to play around the boat passing within a few feet clearly visible in the clear water.

         Several martins flew overhead as they headed South on their migration to Africa. A warbler of some type circled the boat another tiny migrant heading south its survival surely against the odds.

         Sport began to pick during the afternoon as the tide picked up with each drift bringing multiple hook ups keeping a smiling John busy with the net.

         Despite dark skies and intermittent rain, we were all surprised when a flash of lightning was followed by an impressive rumble of thunder. The storm persisted for around fifteen minutes with huge thunderclaps and some spectacular flashes of lightning. We fished on in shock and awe. This failed to deter the fish that were hitting our lures with gusto.

         Not sure how many bass and pollock we eventually caught but I ended with seven bass and three pollock. I did lose a very good fish that hit my lure hard putting an impressive bend in the Snowbee Rod, the reel screaming  before the hook pulled free.

         We headed back to Seaton bouncing across a dark grey seascape as gannets plunged into the water. We all climbed from the boat a little weary and said fond farewells thanking John for a great day.s sport.