I joined South Molton Angling Members on a trip out off Clovelly aboard Shimano sponsored ‘Independent’ Charters skippered by Doug Walls.
We met at Clovelly at 8:00am all keen to head out for another adventure at sea that commenced with the transfer of anglers and gear from the pebbly foreshore to the waiting boat a hundred or so yards offshore.
All on board and Doug gave an outline of the days plan. We would be venturing past Hartland Point to sample the fishing grounds West of Hartland at the Mouth of the Bristol Channel expectations were high for a variety of species. I have fished these grounds in the past and know full well that they can give excellent sport.
The journey to the mark is an integral part of any day at sea and spirits were high as we rounded Hartland Point race where several porpoises were showing in the surging waters. The cliffs from Clovelly round to Morwenstow are wild and for the most part inaccessible those parts that can be accessed carry a rich vein of history including many a shipwreck.
The first stop was to a reef where we drifted for pollock, mackerel or bass. First into action was Mike Good who swung aboard a pleasing pollock of around 4lb.
(below) Mike Good with a 4lb pollock.
After a few drifts and a few more pollock Doug decided to drop anchor and see if we could entice a few tope, bream or huss. Within minutes of the baits hitting the bottom rods were nodding as a succession of bull huss seized our baits.
There were a variety of tactics employed with some choosing big baits for tope or huss and others small baits for bream and other species. Black bream are great sport and good eating and it was great to see one of these come aboard to Ed Rands who was using back lug and squid baits.
After an hour or so the tide eased and sport tailed off. A move to a mark further West was Doug’s choice and we steamed several miles before once again dropping the anchor. Soon after settling Mike Good hooked the best fish of the day a fin perfect black bream of 2lb 8oz.
A couple more bream followed but sadly it was not a good as we had hoped for and bites were few and far between. I always feel for the skipper at times like this for they have put the anglers on good ground but the fish are either not there or not playing the game. As time and tide ebbed away there were a few flurry’s of action with Ed Rands boating the biggest fish of the day a bull huss of 8lb 8oz. The day ended with ten species caught including, bull huss, dogfish, corkwing wrasse, mackerel, scad, pollock, smoothound, pouting, poor cod and black bream.
I hope to return to waters off Clovelly next year with the South Molton anglers and enjoy a day afloat with Independent Charters. Doug kept us supplied with tea and coffee all day and did his best to put us on the fish.
Once again I am prompted to mention the contentious issue of litter and angling. Last year there was talk of a ban on angling at Clovelly as a result of anglers leaving litter, bait and urinating against the harbour wall. Clovelly is a picturesque village that is currently in the running for Channel 4’s Village of the Year with Penelope Keith. it is completely understandable that the owners of the village and the community do not want their beautiful village to be tarnished by irresponsible anglers who undoubtedly have no respect for the environment or local community.
When I have posted about this previously I have provoked strong protestations about this issue with many anglers condemning the culprits. This vitriol on Facebook and social media achieves little. In my view local anglers need to take action and work with the Clovelly Estate to address this issue. As Bideford and District Angling Club are closest it would be useful if they could take the lead and I have contacted them to this end and the issue will be discussed at their AGM. I would hope that anglers from other areas of North Devon will join in with a possible beach clean and show that we do care. If this is considered a good idea I will promote the event both here on NDAN and within my Angling Column in the NDJ.
It may well be that there is a need to control angling access in future so that any culprits can be identified and banned from future visits.
There is still time to hook into a spurdog from shore marks all along the North Devon Coast and with things roughing up this week and evening tides and expect to get a few reports. Kevin Pike rose early at the weekend to tempt a fine spurdog of 10lb 4oz. Many thanks to Kevin for letting me use this excellent image.
Combe Martin SAC members fished their roving match at Clovelly on Saturday 28th January and it was Matt Jeffery who won the mixed brace competition with a plump dab of 11.5oz and a whiting of 1lb. The hoped for spurdog failed to materialize though Matt confided that something grabbed a whiting on his last cast of the night.
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!’