I joined seven fellow members of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club aboard Ilfracombe Charter Boat Wild Frontier Two skippered by Mark Hutchings. With a brisk South West Wind forecast and a substantial swell surging onto the coast I was a little apprehensive regarding the day ahead as we climbed aboard. Any fears soon evaporated however as we steamed out of the harbour appreciating the stability of the broad decks of the catamaran that gave plenty of room for all anglers on board.
Heading up channel we all gazed at the towering cliffs East of Combe Martin that are I believe amongst the highest sea cliffs in the UK. It was apparent that the recent weather has impacted on these wild and rugged cliffs with plenty of scars indicating recent rockfalls.
Our first stop in the lee of these cliffs brought only limited action with just a few dogfish grabbing our baits. A strong wind made fishing difficult at times causing the boat to swing on its anchor as it swirled with gusts riffling the sea as they sped towards us. The sound of the mighty swell pounding the foot of the cliffs provided a dramatic soundtrack as we savoured a hot drink whilst watching nature acting out its daily drama.
The easing tide signalled time to head out deep to target the spurdog packs. We lowered our baits into deep-waters and soon started to get savage indications as hungry spurdog seized our offerings. The sun broke through, rods bent and life felt pretty good out there on the water.
Hectic sport continued until once again the increasing tide pull forced a move to more tranquil waters. Closer inshore sheltered once again by the towering cliffs we targeted ray on sandy banks. Club secretary Nick Phillips was first into action boating a pleasing small eyed ray that was followed a short while later with a tackle testing blonde ray of 14lb 2oz.
A few conger and the inevitable dogfish followed before we once again headed out to deeper water for a second time rounding off the day with more action landing spurdog to 14lb 8oz.
The next couple of months should see spurdog sport continue with every chance of some bigger specimens close to twenty pounds. Ilfracombe Charter Boats Wild Frontier 2 ( www.bristolchannelcharters.co.uk) and Bluefin will soon be joined by Reel Deal moving down after the winter season out of Watchet.