Shore caught bull and boat fishing opportunities off Ilfracombe

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Combe Martin SAC member Paul Lorrimore caught this bull huss of 9lb 7oz on his latest visit to the North Devon shoreline. Shore anglers are catching plenty of small conger and dogfish but those prepared to persist are eventually rewarded.

Boat anglers will be pleased to know that John Barbeary’s boat Bluefin is back in the water at Ilfracombe following a winter refit. The next two months should see some hectic sport with spurdog, conger and bull huss.

Bluefin puts anglers on the fish off Ilfracombe

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Toby Bassett enjoyed a beautiful day bobbing about on  John Barbeary’s Bluefin with plenty of fish tempted throughout the day afloat.

Several bass were tempted drifting over the reefs with the biggest around 5lb. Anchoring brought sport with several tope to 30lb along with huss and the inevitable dogfish. One angler hooked a large fish that came close to spooling him before dropping the bait. The guess was that it was shark?

Troy Laing with a fine tope

Toby Bassett with specimen bull huss
Toby Bassett with a bass
Toby and Troy with silver bass

bass and scad

As winter approaches anglers will be looking forward to targetting the spurdog, huss and conger that prowl the mid channel marks giving some exciting and frantic sport when the weather permits access.


Tope sport on Bluefin

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Paul Lorrimore and a party of anglers enjoyed a great days sport on Blue-Fin out of Ilfracombe.

Thanks to Paul for his account of the day.
Initially after seeing the water clarity (which was pretty good) we headed for the Horse-Shoe Rocks for a crack at some Bass action.
We chucked everything at it from Skerries Eels to Live Sand Eels – but only small 2lb to 3lb Bass were coming aboard.
A big change to the last visit from the skipper.
After a good go and more Pollack, small Bass and a chunky Pouting to Andy Smiff ,we anchored up and got the big gear down.

From the get go, the Tope came out to play.
Myself and Troy Laing boating fish of around 35-40lb.
Paul’s  tope total for the day was 5.
All on the boat landing good fish, and plenty of them -I think we counted 17.

Species today – Huss, Dogs, Pollack, Pouting, Conger, Smoothhound, Tope, Bass.

BIg tope on Bluefin

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(Above)Paul Bloomfield with 40lb tope

(Above) A fifty pound plus tope for first timer Colin.

Bluefin will be running fishing trips out of Ilfracombe throughout the winter months at present there are still a few tope being caught and bass from the reefs. With the new that anglers can now retain one bass per day trips to reefs will be popular with option to keep the occasional fish for the table.

Migrants are highlight of Spring day afloat

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Keith Armishaw from Angling Book Specialists River Reads booked a days fishing off Ilfracombe on Bluefin skippered by John Barbeary. and sent me a brief report on an interesting day.

Keith tells me that The fishing wasn’t great a is often the case in Spring when the winter spurdog shoals have migrated away and the summer species have not arrived in any numbers. As they moved from mark to mark dogfish snaffled the bait in plague proportions.

But as is often the case the day was saved when John managed to locate a should of pollock that put a bend in the rods along with a few bull huss.

Days afloat are about more than just fish and Keith relays an interesting aspect of the day in that several birds landed on the boat.
Keith guessed that these were on migration to South Wales. They had 4 warblers (one actually settled on Lee’s rod whilst he was holding it), a blackcap and another ( caught a fleeting glimpse of was a redstart I think). Keith commented that it all added to the joy of the day. Great to be outdoors.

Biggest spur of the season on Bluefin _ It’s a club record!

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 Kevin Pike boated the biggest spurdog of the season weighing a massive 21 lb 6oz whilst fishing off Ilfracombe aboard John Barbeary’s Bluefin. The party also boated a bull huss and dogfish.
Andrew Atkinson updated my earlier report _
” The fishes official weight is 21lb 6oz. The fish was kept alive and weighed ashore and returned to the water where it swam away. strongly
The fish sets a new Appledore Shipbuilders Boat record for the species.” Andrew commented further that up until the capture of the spurdog it had been “one of the worst days fishing they had participated in. After Kevin caught the specimen it was far from their worst day ever.” Illustrating the fact that its not over until the last line has been reels in.

Toby Boats Conger 44lb 8oz

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Toby Bassett joined a party of anglers aboard John Barbeary’s boat Bluefin off Ilfracombe and boated a fine specimen conger of 44lb 8oz.. The spurdog they were targetting  proved harder to find than on recent trips but good numbers of conger proved adequate consultation with good numbers of twenty pound plus eels boated.