The early bird catches……………….the

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Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway set his alarm for the early hours of 2021 and embraced the icy conditions to get his angling year underway. Fishing from a local rock mark spurdog, bull huss, conger or cod were the expected catch. The first fish to rattle the rod was small conger of around 6lb. Then Ross hooked into a good fish that fought hard and swam deep in the water. Ross was hopeful that he had hooked a rare double figure cod. To his surprise the culprit was a specimen smoothound scaling 12lb 9.5oz a fish more often associated with the spring, summer and autumn!

Rare skate from Bristol Channel shore mark.

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http://www.sakuma.co.uk

Jamie Steward fished an up Channel mark and hooked into a surprise fish in the shape of a rare skate. The skate believed to be a blue skate (Common skate) is a very rare catch from the South-West of England and sets a new club record for the Combe Martin SAC. The skate weighed 8lb 3oz which its not big in skate terms as these fish grow to over 200lb’s. I wrote about the huge skate that were once caught off Lynmouth and the North Devon in my book “I Caught A Glimpse”. coast it would be exciting if these fish could once again establish a population in our region. I have made enquiry’s to try and establish a definite identification of the skate and will update this story when I have further expert opinion.

The skate has a large chunk missing from its wing indication that it has been attacked at some point by a large predator.’possibly a seal or shark. This is of course one of sea anglings great attractions in that you never know what lurks pithing casting range.

Jamie was fishing with fellow club member Ali Laird who caught a 20lb 3oz specimen conger.

Big Conger for CMSAC member David Brooke

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BIG CONGER REQUIRE STRONG TACKLE

            Combe Martin Sea Angling Club member David Brooke fished a North Devon rock mark to tempt a fine specimen conger scaling 26lb 10oz. Large conger are to be expected over the winter months and can turn up at many marks and are often the source of tales of the one that got away. Strong tackle is required to give a good chance of securing these powerful fish that often dwell in the snaggiest of lairs. Whilst conger of over forty pounds have been landed from the North Devon shoreline larger specimens of over fifty pounds undoubtedly exist and offer a significant challenge to the shore angler.

Anglers fishing during the winter months require top quality waterproof clothing to ensure that can enjoy their long vigils beside the murky surging waters of the Bristol Channel. Local company Chillcheaters based in Braunton provide outstanding quality clothing that I have been using for several seasons.

SEA ANGLING ROUND UP

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Cold North and East winds combined with high pressure seldom bring good results for sea anglers at this time of year. The wind is forecast to back to the South later in the month when sport should improve.

Bideford Rover results

1st Dick Talbot flounder 1lb 7oz

2nd Dick Talbot flounder 1lb 5oz

Dick caught his brace of flounder from the River Torridge estuary to win first and second in the clubs. monthly rover.

Triple Hook Club Suspend competitions.

Barnstaple’s Triple Hook Club have made the decision to suspend all competitions until 2021 when the COVID situation has eased.

Combe Martin SAC

Combe Martin SAC are holding a monthly competitions for the first half of their club year. At present Rob Sciones is leading the event with a small eyed ray of 9lb 10oz.

Combe Martin SAC – Lyn Fish

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Combe Martin SAC members caught plenty of fish in their rescheduled Lyn Fish competition with members fishing boat and shore.

Rob Scoines secured top spot with a fine specimen pouting of 1lb 15oz a species that is not as prolific as it once was in North Devon. ( “The local name for pouting was glower”)

Runner up in the competition was Dan Welch who fished from his Private boat with his friend Ross Stanway. Dan boated several specimens including a tope of 47lb and a bass of 8lb 12oz.

Dan and Ross also boated smoothound, Bull Huss and rockling.

Dan also targeted grey mullet during a short evening session and tempted a fine thick lipped grey mullet of 4lb 2oz

I was fishing with Rob when he caught his pouting; a session that provided a hectic few hours. During the four hour session we beached 13 Bull Huss to around 6lb, 3 dogfish,1 pollock, 1 conger and a bass.

A short lure fishing session from a shore mark on the final afternoon of the competition brought me three bass to 5lb 4oz.

COMBE MARTIN SAC – Woolacombe Beach Competition

Last year Combe Martin SAC held an Open match on Woolacombe beach that was attended by over twenty anglers despite rough conditions prior to the competition. This year the event was a club only event due to the ongoing COVID -19 outbreak that has impacted upon many events this season. Special thanks go the Mortehoe Parish council, who kindly allowed the club to use Marine Drive for the event. It is hoped that next year will see a return to an Open format.

A cool North wind prevailed through much of the preceding week and was still blowing on the night pf the competition. An inspection of the beach earlier in the day had revealed that there was not much weed and that it would be fishable on the night when all the swimmers and surfers had headed for home.

Half a dozen club members assembled at Marine Drive before heading down to the shoreline to cast their baits into the surf. The sun was setting behind Lundy on the horizon and I relished the spectacle appreciating the places that fishing takes me too.

As darkness descended anticipation was high that a bass or good ray would succumb. The moon rose above the hillside painting the beach with moonlight after the sun had set.

At low water I noticed a change in the pattern of nodding rod tip and reeled in a tiny small eyed ray. The next cast brought a another slightly bigger ray.

The tide flood quickly in and it was soon time to pack up. My last cast brought another tiny ray that had attempted to take my large mackerel bait intended for bass.

The trudge back to the post comp meet up was hard going with waders and soft sand a taxing combination that made us all blow a little. The results were disappointing with six small ray, a single bass and one small smoothound.

1st – Dan Welch – bass 2lb 3oz

2nd Barry Scobling – small eyed ray 2lb 4oz

Note this was a catch and release match as all CMSAC matchs are.