Reel Deal Charters – Summer Schedule

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Reel Deal Charters have the big game, Lundy, tope and bass,The 1k tope competition on predator and the Cornish reefs as well as over the Easter holidays we will be running 2 hour local reef (Mini deep sea) and half day (4hr) deep sea trips on predator every day from the 11th April until the 22nd if you looking for things to do with the kids perfect time to get out for a taster session hope to see you all soon all trips available online at www.reeldealcharters.co.uk or call 07850984933 message me and for half term trips go to www.ilfracombeseasafari.co.uk to book.

Minehead Boat – Fishing Trip

With a Combe Martin Club Competition over the weekend, I was looking at a plan when Rob Scoines suggested a trip out on Steve Webbers Osprey. There were two places available and the weather forecast was spot on.  It took a few moments to come to a decision and within five minutes the trip was secure and plans in place.

The boat was due to sail at 10:00am so there was no crack of dawn rise. I picked Rob up at 07:30am and enjoyed a scenic drive across Exmoor arriving at Minehead Mc Donald’s for a Breakfast roll and coffee before grabbing some bait from Speedbait the new fishing tackle and bait outlet situated close by on the Industrial estate.

www.speedbait.online

We climbed aboard Osprey shortly before 10:00am and met with our fellow anglers, Colin Shepard, Rich Leonard, Lee Buck and Joe Woodward who had travelled down from the Bristol area.

It was one of those rare days with a mirror calm sea and a bright sky. There was a chill in the air after a few days of cold North East winds with overnight frosts. Anticipation was high as we headed off down channel.

First stop was in Porlock Bay hoping for an early smoothound. Within minutes dogfish were swung aboard in profusion.

Joe Woodward admires his first sea fish!!

After our first brew of the day from Steve’s son Will it was a unanimous decision to up anchor and head down to a well-known huss mark beneath the spectacular cliffs of the Exmoor coast.

After a few moments rod tips were nodding as scavenging predators below located our baits. I hooked into what felt a reasonable fish that plodded about at the end of the line as I persuaded it towards the boat. The head of a very large bull huss appeared ten yards behind the boat as Will stood ready with the net. Skipper Steve commented that it was a very good huss or words to that effect. At that moment the huss opened its mouth and spat out the bait, the terminal tackle flying back towards the boat. B******** or words to that effect. These nearly moments often seem to stick in the mind longer than success stories.

A flurry of huss to around 10lb followed along with strap eels and the occasional dogfish. As the tide began to ease the catch rate slowed and the decision was made to head back up channel in search of ray.

Myself and Rich Leonard with two of several Bull Huss caught during a brief feeding spell

We dropped anchor a short distance off Selworthy and put out our baits into what was very shallow water. A small eyed ray was brought to the boat by Lee Buck within a minute or so of settling at anchor.

Lee Buck with a small eyed ray

A good start that was to prove a false promise as just one other small eyed was tempted from the location. All remaining very quiet with just the occasional dogfish showing and a solitary conger of perhaps five pounds to my rod.

(Above) Rich Leonard with a small eyed ray

A move of a few hundred yards to a new position brought a few more dogfish and a small thornback ray.

As the day ticked past all to quickly it was very apparent that the fish were not feeding, perhaps as a result of the easterly air flow and high pressure?

Steve as ever kept trying and moved to another mark a mile closer to Minehead. The rod tips remained frustratingly still with even the dogfish scarce. As Steve called time my rod tip nodded and I lifted into a small eyed ray of 7lb. A reminder that success can come at the very last moment.

It had been an enjoyable day afloat with good company and the spectacular scenery of the Exmoor coast. Results had not lived up to expectations but this was no reflection on the skill of the skipper for we all knew that on another day these same marks would have brought a steady stream of quality fish.

THE LINGERING ESSENCE OF SUMMER – Fishing out of Beer

The coast was shrouded in early morning mist as dawn broke, sunlight breaking through low cloud to glisten upon the calm waters of Lyme Bay off Beer in South Devon. We were fishing aboard Orca Charters skippered by Stuart Pike. A trip that had been rearranged on several occasions over the past two years due to weather conditions and COVID isolation concerns. I was joined by two previous work colleagues fishing pal Mike Spiller and my son James.

It was mid-October yet there still seemed to be the lingering essence of summer. Mackerel had only recently arrived in any number and it was indeed pleasing to catch a few strings of the fish I had always associated with summer. The weather forecast told of a change over the coming days as low pressure systems were due to sweep in from the South West. This would undoubtedly stir up sediment and reduce the water clarity signalling the transition into the true autumn season.

It is always exciting and refreshing to visit and fish a new venue. It is also extremely rewarding to meet up with a new skipper and glean valuable knowledge that can be deployed both at the venue being fished and further afield.

This was not a serious outing in many ways more of an excuse for friends to meet up and enjoy a day afloat fishing for a variety of species. Derek Walters and Simon Trapnel are not seasoned boat anglers but were very keen to learn and enjoy. Mike Spiller is a long time sea angler and has like myself been dangling a line for many decades. My son James enjoys a day’s fishing and has travelled extensively with myself and my friends in search of fish. He is not a dedicated angler but relishes the experience along with the environment and wildlife that it allows him to observe and enjoy.

This was to be very much a team effort without any competitive edge. Well only a little! Black bream were the main target using light tackle with the chance of ray and conger on a heavier outfit.

Orca is a traditional fishing boat and is ideally suited to fish five or six anglers with comfort. The skipper operates fishing trips in the Lyme bay reserve an area that has benefitted from a mission to forge valuable links between fishermen, conservationists, regulators and scientists in order to maintain a sustainable marine environment.

https://www.lymebayreserve.co.uk 

Stuart had greeted us warmly the moment we had climbed aboard and chatted enthusiastically throughout our day afloat. Imparting a wealth of knowledge learned throughout many years at sea.

I had made up numerous two hook rigs for the intended bream that Stuart frowned upon offering up one of his own bling free rigs. I passed this rig to Derek who proved its effectiveness by out-fishing the rest of us throughout the day.

Derek, Simon, James and myself all targeted the bream whilst Mike decided to focus upon larger fish using  larger baits for most of the trip. I also set up a heavier outfit with joey mackerel or large fillets. The intention was to take it in turns to land fish on this outfit giving everyone the chance of a larger specimen.

As the sun burnt off the morning cloud and mist we soaked up the ambience of the seascape. Gulls cried out, fishing boats floated at anchor, gannets dived into the clear water and porpoises rolled close by.

We lowered our bream baits to the sea bed. Stuart advised us to ignore the initial rattles on the rod tip and wait until the tip was dragged down into the water. We used size 4 Sakuma Chino hooks with slivers of mackerel. Stuart explained that frozen mackerel would out-fish fresh with the bream whilst fresh mackerel would be more likely to attract jumbo sized channel mackerel. This was to prove uncannily true throughout the day.

Shortly after lowering down the big rod its tip nodded vigorously. I took first turn and picked up the rod waiting until the tip plunged hard over before setting the hook by winding steadily until the rod was compressed. This was certainly no dogfish!

Steady pressure soon turned the battle my way and line was steadily retrieved as I pumped the fish away from the seabed. A pleasing blonde ray of 13lb 8oz was soon held aloft for a quick photo before being released. I took delight in watching the fish swim serenely back into the clear waters from whence it had come.

As the tide picked up the bream began to feed in earnest with a succession of these delightful fish coming to the boat. Their silvery iridescent sides illuminated in the sunshine. Bream after bream came to the boat each giving a spirited account on the light tackle employed.

In addition to the bream came a few good sized mackerel and a couple of vividly coloured red gurnard.

The bigger rod once again nodded and James took his turn to subdue another fine blonde ray of 11lb plus. Derek followed up with a small thornback ray. The bigger rod brought a succession of conger up to double figures and the occasional dogfish.

As the day drifted along beneath the warm autumn sun fishing slowed as the tidal flow eased . Stuart discussed options mulling over whether to make a move or stay and hope an elusive undulate ray would show as the boat swung with the changing tide.

We decided on a move higher up onto the reef. As soon as our baits touched down the rod tips signalled that the bream were present with a succession of good fish coming aboard some close to 2lb most around 1lb 8oz. A change to strips of squid brought a period of frantic sport with even my rigs bringing frequent double shots of bream to the boat.

All too soon Stuart indicated that our day afloat was coming to an end. The bream bites were by then easing as pouting started to rip into the baits.

Throughout the day Stuart had worked hard unhooking fish and untangling the occasional entwining of lines. His knowledge of the fish and their environment was outstanding and his pleasure in giving his customers a good day plain to see. Stuart is a qualified Angling Trust coach and delights in introducing new anglers to the joys of boat fishing. He is also a keen angler himself enjoying shore fishing in addition to boat fishing.

As we prepared to leave the fishing grounds a huge dolphin rolled close by a sight that thrilled all on board. We sailed back to Beer’s pebbly shoreline where the boat was driven pleasingly into the shore with a jolt before being hoisted up the pebbles over weathered planks of timber. A well-practiced routine plied by many generations of Beer fisherman.

On shore day-trippers savoured the last days of sunshine and warmth. Ice-creams and coffee, children launching pebbles into the clear waters with pleasing plops. Those simple pleasures that have been enjoyed by many generations.

It had been a perfect day enjoyed with friends, memories made and vows made to set out on another adventure next year all being well.

Bass Sport on Bluefin

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Troy Laing and Toby Bassett were amongst anglers to enjoy some great bass sport off Ilfracombe on-board Bluefin. Autumn often provides some of the years best bass fishing over local reefs and this year everything seems to be running a little late so perhaps sport will continue right through the autumn months if weather permits access.

Huss, tope, conger and bass off Ilfracombe

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SOUTH MOLTON ANGLING CLUB
South Molton angling club enjoyed a day off Ilfracombe with John Barbeary on BluefIn. Report from Ed Rands below :-
It was a bit overcast and we had a heavy shower in the afternoon but it didn’t dampen our spirits. 
Often this time of year can be good for bass on the horseshoe so after a couple of drifts on inshore reefs to let the tide ease we went out for the main event which needless to say produced no bass and only a few pollack and scad.
We then moved to another place and anchored up which produced a 20lb tope and a 25lb conger,a 14lb huss and the inevitable dogfish. 
We tried the horseshoe again on our way in, still no bass!
We then finished the day off inshore off Lee bay, more huss, dogs and conger. 
In all we had 25 huss, 10 conger,20 scad,3 pollack a starry smoothound and bjorn caught a mussel and a starfish, but the biggest cheer was for richards 4″ joey mackerel which are getting like hens teeth….how things change 

Below Troy Laing with a nice bass caught on Bluefin. A few days after the South Molton Club trip

Sunfish in a heatwave

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Mark Jones made a very unusual catch on Sunday off Lundy! A 52lb Sunfish hooked on baited small 3 hook feathers with Braunton Bait Box session squid. “Never seen anything like it put the rod down to unhook my sons 5lb pollock and he saw my rod tip rattle then all hell let loose. Very unusual texture and smell, quickly weighed and released.

The fish sets a new Combe Martin SAC boat record.

The British Record for a boat caught sunfish is 108lb caught off the Welsh coast in 1976. It is unlikely that this record will be beaten as the fish would need to be killed for weighing ashore something few of todays conservation minded anglers would contemplate.