Bass and Ray for Dave and Kevin – Guest reporter Jansen Teakle VMO

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As the summer comes to pass and there is a distinct freshness to the autumn air, north Devon angler Kevin Legge has for the last few years turned his attention towards surf fishing for bass. With most anglers heading for the local rock marks in pursuit of conger and maybe a tope, the surf beaches are for the most part devoid of anglers and Kevin, together with a couple of friends, has enjoyed some tremendous fishing. Although his personal best bass from the beach is 15lb 12oz (the current Bristol Channel record), it is rare that he goes a season without seeing a fish of specimen size.

This year has been no different and recent sessions have been extremely productive for both Kevin and regular fishing partner Dave Brook.

Only last night, Kevin and Dave had planned to tackle their regular stretch of beach but were a little uncertain as to whether it would be fishable. With the forecast onset of strong winds, Kevin realised it would be highly probable that there would be an onshore swell developing as a result of a weather front developing out in the Atlantic. Such conditions often bring with them rafts of weed which make the beach near impossible to fish, so the decision was made to try a little further along the coast at Putsborough. The prominent rock peninsula of Baggy Point would offer some protection, at least that was the plan, and so Kevin and Dave headed off across the sands, the roar of the ocean ever present.

Kevin’s approach is a little different to that of the regular surf angler who historically has fished with as light a lead as possible. Kevin fishes with 7oz leads on regular pulley rigs. A pair of 6/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra hooks complete the set up and are baited with a fillet of blast frozen Ammo mackerel. Mackerel is rarely in short supply in Devon, but Kevin has experiment to great lengths with both fresh and frozen mackerel and it is interesting to note that the blast frozen bait out-fishes the fresh bait by a considerable margin.

Tackling up some hundred yards apart in order to give each other plenty of space, Kevin only had to wait ten minutes before a small bite registered on his rod tip. Before too long, the tip began to pull over and a steady rasp of line was pulled from the reel, the ratchet singing out in the wind. Making contact, it was evident that this was a big fish and Dave came over to assist Kevin in the surf. Sure enough, a long bass came into view and was guided onto dry land.

Double figure delight for KevinKevin’s fish was admired, weighed at 10lb 7oz in a light sling, photographed and returned, but whilst this drama was unfolding, his second rod that had been neglected for the last ten minutes was also paying out line to an as-yet unseen adversary. Once again, Kevin was into a fish, but despite his initial thoughts turning to a second bass, it soon became clear this was not the case.

Dave looked on inquisitively as both anglers awaited the fish to come ashore. Soon, all was revealed and as suspected it was not a bass but a specimen size small eyed ray of 9lb 12oz.

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This was a spectacular start for the dynamic duo but Dave was more than aware that his own rods were all alone further down the beach so after taking further photos of Kevin with his ray, he made his way back down the beach to see what the state of play was.

Both rod’s were there on the stand, but one was not as it had been left… in fact it was as straight as a needle and the line was blowing about wildly in the buffeting wind. Dave wound down into the slack and and lifted the rod, not knowing just how long it had been like this. As luck would have it, the rod pulled back in his grasp and the fish was still there! With plenty of head shakes as the fish swam parallel with the beach, Dave was certain that this fish was a bass and sure enough in the beam of his lamp a  black back emerged from the froth and a prime bass was slid up the sand.

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Dave’s bass weighed in at over 8lb, but the two anglers weren’t done just yet. Over the next two hours they added two more small eyed rays and Kevin found another bass of just over 7lb.

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SOUTH MOLTON ANGLERS BOAT TRIP

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IMG_20160910_150549885_HDRSouth Molton anglers enjoyed a session off Ilfracombe on Bluefin skippered by John Barbeary. They landed 20 bass to 8lb keeping one each for the table in accordance with present regulations and returning the rest in the hope conserving the species.Three tope to 30lb were boated, six pollock to 5lb over twenty huss to 10lb, conger to 15lb, horse mackerel, pouting and the inevitable dogfish.

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SHORT SESSION BASS

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DSCF2784The weather forecast was far from good with strong winds and heavy rain forecast but it was a Friday night and after a week at work the coast was beckoning. A phone call from my good mate Kevin Legge sealed the decision and a short session was planned to coincide with high water.  We knew a sheltered spot and with top quality waterproofs there was no excuse not to go.

One of the beauties of bass is that they can be caught on a wide variety of methods and one of my personal favorites is to free-line  holding the rod to feel that electrifying pull as the bass intercepts the bait. First cast I had a good pull and missed it. Second cast and I connect with a pleasing bass of around 3lb 8oz that is carefully returned. I expect more takes but that is the only take  I get all evening. A couple of hours later Kev gives a shout and I scurry over to slip the net under a bass that we estimate at around 6lb. The fish gives a good account of itself on the light tackle and rounds off a pleasing excursion. The fish is tempted on a large flapper of Ammo mackerel.

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ROB YOUNG MAKES LONG TREK WORTH WHILE

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Despite some lumpy sea conditions, Rob Young didn’t waste any time finding the fish on a recent trip to North Devon after making the lengthy trip from South Wales for a 7.00am start with Stefan Jones. The day afloat with Stefan  resulted in this remarkable bull huss that was weighed afloat registering somewhere  between 14 and 16lb! The following day Rob fished from the coast with local angler Kevin Legge and landed a good bass of around 6lb as well as several other fish.

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(Below)  Stefan release a hard fighting conger at the side of the boat.

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GOODBYE SUMMER AND INTO AUTUMN

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Where has that summer gone, those long evenings full of promise? Tonight I grabbed a couple of hours at Watermouth with James hoping for a few mackerel over top of the tide. The sun was illuminating the high cliffs of Exmoor to the East, porpoises were showing just a short distance from the shore and gannets were swooping and gliding in the evening sky.

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It was good to be there with a rod in hand even though things didn’t go exactly to plan! After twenty minutes I eventually hooked a string of small mackerel, then next cast had a birds-nest!! Worst for years. Still plan “B” I launched a whole live mackerel out beneath a standard orange tipped sea float. Time to chill a bit and absorb the scenery with the rod in hand and the hope of a good fish. On two occasions on the retrieve a bass shadowed the bait.

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James float-fished beside me and the float only sank once as he glanced away.

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Mobiles and float-fishing do not mix!

There is a mixture of feelings at this junction of the year, a slight sadness that summer has drifted past. Optimism as we enter the three best months of the year for sea fishing.

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Ilfracombe Pier bass

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14053759_10153804039228085_46378459082089324_oOllie Passmore – bass 7lb 1oz

Ollie Passmore enjoyed a session on Ilfracombe Pier landing a fine bass of 7lb 1oz that was carefully returned to the water after a quick photo. The fish was tempted using a large mackerel bait. The water clarity is reduced along the coast now and as a result bait anglers are enjoying improved sport with mackerel squid or crab baits best.

When the water clears lure anglers will start to catch again. I visited High Street tackle recently and was impressed with their wide selection of bass lures both soft and hard plastics from top brands.

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SOUTH MOLTON CLUB – ENJOY VARIETY OFF CLOVELLY

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South Molton Anglers boat trip off Clovelly aboard Independent charters saw members enjoy a variety filled day with several species coming to the boat including tope,mackerel, horse mackerel, bull huss, pollock, bass, black bream, pouting and the inevitable dogfish. Club sea trip co-ordinator Eddie Rand’s declared ‘good weather and good company!’

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Another Big Bass

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Combe Martin SAC Member Derek Ferret fished a local beach to land this superb bass scaling 13lb 3oz. The fish was tempted using Ammo Frozen mackerel and was returned alive after weighing and photographing. This is the third big double I have heard of so far this season a promising omen as we are still early in the season regarding bass with the best yet to come!

I hope to have better pictures of this fine fish in a couple of days.

Derek Ferret - bass 13lb 3oz
Derek Ferret – bass 13lb 3oz                 

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Its big bass time!!!

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FullSizeRenderLiam Stevens has landed one of the biggest bass so far this season a fine specimen of 15lb 8oz that was landed from a shore mark in the Ilfracombe area. The fish was tempted using mackerel presented on a 3/0 hook on a running ledger set up. Liam had persisted after suffering from a large amounts of weed fouling his line the previous night. The fish was weighed and witnessed by Peter Read and photos taken by Ben partridge. Liam is a member of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club.

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The remaining months of the year are sure to turn up large specimen bass with many marks along the North Devon coast capable of producing fish to make anglers dreams come true.

 

Appledore Shipbuilders News

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David Atkinson won Appledore Shipbuilders Monthly Rover with a fine gilthead bream scaling 4lb 53/8oz. Runner up spot was secured by Steve Ford with a gilthead of 4lb 2.75oz and in third was Josh Atkinson with a smoothound scaling 6lb 15oz. In the Junior section it was Chelsea Babb that took the prizes with a ballan wrasse of 3lb 3.75oz.

Top fish of the week was a stunning bass taken from a local beach scaling 12lb 9.75oz by Paul Downing.

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