Bass are about!

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Combe Martin SAC Member Chris Bonds fished a local mark to tempt this fine bass of 8lb 1oz. The fish took crab and king rag presented on a long flowing trace. The bass was returned alive in line with current legislation that allows no bass to be retained for the table by recreational anglers.

Result! – Ministers Dismiss Bass Fishing Ban, But Catch & Release Only In 2018 – For Now…

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Perhaps it is worth speaking up; a partial victory for now see press release below.
Petition update
European Anglers Alliance

14 Dec 2017 — Thanks to YOUR support the EU Council of Ministers has rejected the Commission’s proposal to ban members of the public fishing for sea bass in the first half of 2018. Anglers, charter boats, bass fishing guides and others will now be able to legally fish for and catch bass throughout 2018.

However, as things stand no member of the public fishing recreationally will be able to keep a single bass to eat in 2018, while commercial hook & line vessels will be able to land up to five tonnes each in 2018. This isn’t fair BUT our pressure has helped to ensure that, following the results of a science benchmarking to be completed in March, the EU Commission will reconsider whether the public should be able to retain bass for some months in the second half of 2018. We are confident that this benchmarking will reduce the estimate of the impact of angling and open the door for anglers to be allowed to keep fish to eat within sustainable limits and whilst allowing the stock to recover.

We will therefore be keeping the petition open so we can update you on progress. In the meantime, please keep sharing the petition with your friends, colleagues, family and neighbours. It has become apparent that despite the important message of the campaign, and the amazing support of nearly 18,000 people, it is extremely difficult to communicate with the estimated two million people across Europe who fish recreationally for bass.

Thanks again for your amazing support. Each one of you should be very proud of standing up for your right and helping to influence the EU decision-making process. Generations of anglers and recreational fishers to come will owe you a debt of gratitude for making a stand and defending the right of the public to access a publicly-owned resource.

For more news and information about how EAA, EFTTA and their members are representing the interests of anglers and those whose livelihoods rely on it please take the time to visit

We know that angling cousins from across Europe have supported the petition. In order to help support what we do please consider joining the EAA organisation from your country which has been involved in protecting your right to fish:

France: FNPP –
UK: Angling Trust –
Netherlands: Sportvisserij Nederland –
Denmark: Danmarks Sportfiskerforbund –
Belgium: Sportvisserij Vlaanderen –

North Devon Big Bass Catch

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Stories of big fish captures do not always make the news immediately as many anglers choose to keep success close to their chest for various reasons. This is understandable to some extent to deter the fish chasers who are inspired to head out after hearing of others hard won success. Many thanks to Tarrant Wotton for allowing me to use this story and pictures of a fantastic catch of bass made early in the year from a mark in North Devon.

The biggest three bass caught by Tarrant and his angling buddy Alex Brine weighed an impressive 12lb 5.5oz, 11lb 3oz and 9lb 5oz. The fish were all tempted on that classic bass bait of whole fresh mackerel. All of the bass were returned to water

Save our bass fishing

New proposals from the European Union Commission would have a devastating impact on recreational bass fishing. Now is the time for anglers to make their voices heard. Whilst angling’s representative bodies do a great deal of work to represent anglers its is surely imperative that individuals also make their views known. There are plenty of keyboard warriors on Facebook and the like who rant and condemn saying that speaking up is a waste of time. How many of these have written to their MP? Below is a letter I have sent to our local MP. I suggest that those who care about their bass fishing do the same.

Peter Heaton-Jones MP
Member of Parliament for North Devon
House of Commons

01271 327990

Dear Peter Heaton-Jones

I have been a keen and dedicated angler for over fifty years and whilst I fish for a wide range of species I have enjoyed fishing for bass in North Devon’s coastal waters for most of my adult life.

I am Chairman of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club and run a local website I have also written an angling column in the North Devon Journal for close to twenty years.

North Devon’s coastline has a rich history as a bass angling destination and recreational sport fishing makes a significant contribution to the local economy. The proposals by the European Union Commission would have a catastrophic impact on coastal tackle shops, charter boats and the holiday trade. The majority of experienced sea anglers already practice catch and release taking just the occasional fish for the table. Anglers are on the whole passionate about the safeguarding of future fish stocks and have campaigned passionately for many decades to restrict commercial exploitation. These proposals would be an injustice that could see angling severely restricted whilst commercial fishing continues.

Many anglers will be furious at these proposals yet will not bother to voice their concerns as they feel that protesting is waste of time. I would urge you to take time to listen and show your support as our local MP.

I have included below a summary of these issues as penned by the Save Our Bass campaign.

Yours Sincerely,

Wayne Thomas

The contents below summarise my concerns regarding the future of bass angling in the UK.

I’m writing to express my serious concerns over the recent proposal by the European Union Commission that that sea anglers should no longer be allowed to retain a single bass caught in 2018 and face a complete ban on even catch & release bass angling for 6 months of the year.

This has sparked outrage amongst angling groups, tackle shops, fishing guides and charter boat skippers, particularly because the Commission is proposing that some forms of commercial fishing should continue and is clamping down hardest on the sector that has had the lowest impact on bass stocks.

Members of the public who enjoy fishing for bass from the shore or from pleasure or charter boats make a significant contribution to hard-pressed coastal economies – estimated by DEFRA to be as much as £200 million a year and far in excess of the value of the commercial fishery. Not only is it ridiculous and utterly unenforceable to suggest that anglers can stop a bass, rather than a pollock or a wrasse from biting on their bait or lure, it is monstrously unfair and completely unenforceable.

As my MP, I would like you to raise these matters in the House of Commons, if possible at the forthcoming Annual Fisheries Debate, and to write to Fisheries Minister George Eustice calling on him to:

  • Firmly reject, at the European Union Fisheries Council meeting, proposals by the EU Commission which seek to restrict anglers’ historic rights to the public Bass fishery, whilst allowing commercial exploitation to continue.
  • Make clear that this measure is unfair, disproportionate and completely unenforceable. It would ‘criminalise’ thousands of anglers whose activities have had the lowest impact on European Bass stocks.
  • Insist that there can be no justification for increasing the already severe restrictions on anglers who have borne a disproportionate burden of recent restrictions.
  • Continue to rebuild Bass stocks by limiting their commercial exploitation by restricting bass fishing to sustainable hook and line fishing only.

The sea angling community and those businesses which it sustains will be most grateful for your support.”

Estuary Sport on Light Tackle

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Flounder enthusiasts are enjoying some good sport on light tackle with quality flounder from all the regular estuary marks. Combe Martin SAC Ian Laird landed several to 1lb 7oz in a recent session.

CMSAC   member Rob Pearson also targetted the flounder landing 10 to 1lb 14oz along with a fine bonus bass of 7lb.

Top Shore Sport

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Prospects are excellent for shore angling sport between the storms. Ian Laird landed this pleased brace that typify s the Autumn season with a plump bass of 6lb 10oz and a pleasing codling. He also caught a bull huss of 9lb 12oz in the same session! He also landed five smoothound, several pouting and the inevitable dogfish!

Bass on Bluefin

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Anglers enjoyed a top day out of Ilfracombe aboard charter Boat Bluefin skippered by John Barbeary. Several bass were landed including this beauty to the rod of Toby Bassett. Lures accounted for several of the bass and were supplied by High Street Tackle Ilfracombe.