Thirteen members of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club set forth to fish as an icy cold North Easterly Wind lashed the coast. Fishing was hard going for most but Colin Emery and Liam Stevens consulted Google Maps to find a sheltered mark where they found some sport. Colin secured the top three spots with a specimen bull huss scaling 10lb 12oz and a plump dogfish of 3lb 2oz and a conger of 17lb 4oz.
Eighteen club members fished in Combe Martin SAC’s Christmas Rover and it was a grey mullet caught by Daniel Welch that took top spot.
A few years ago few would have considered fishing for grey mullet at the end of December but times are changing and five members targetted the species. Dan’s mullet of 3lb 7oz was the only one landed though despite several bites.
The local rock marks produced a variety of species including whiting, pollock, dogfish, huss and conger. Larger species were hard to find though and it was Rob Scoines who took runner up spot with a rockling of 1lb 6oz. In third was Dan Spearman with a bull huss of 7lb 10oz and in forth Rob Scoines with a bass of 3lb 15oz.
A bitter North East wind blew down through the Bristol Channel making fishing conditions difficult for the dozen who booked into Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Lee to Lee Competition on Sunday 27th November. I was fortunate to take top spot with a specimen bull huss weighing 10lb 9oz that was tempted on high water using an Ammo Bluey, mackerel and squid cocktail presented on a pennel rig using 6/0 Sakuma Manta Extras. Thanks to Rob Scoines who got soaked through whilst netting the fish amidst a torrent of spray.
Daniel Welch took second spot in the competition with a pouting of 15oz and Ross Stanway third with a dogfish of 1lb 11oz. Daniel Welch also landed a pleasing pollock of 2lb 10.5oz. A few other dogfish, rockling and small conger were landed.
Wayne Thomas took top spot in Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Fish of the Month Competition with a thick lipped grey mullet scaling 5lb 2oz.
In runner up spot was Daniel Welch with another thick lipped grey mullet of 5lb 1oz and in third Ross Stanway with a tope scaling 34lb 1oz.
November has already got a few good fish on the board and if weather permits I feel sure there will be some quality fish caught with November historically one of the best months of the year for specimen fish.
A few years ago Combe Martin SAC member John Shapland set out to catch fifty sea species in a season and succeeded. Knowing Johns keenness on species hunting I felt sure he would excel in a one day species competition and so it proved on Sunday November 6th. The bitterly cold North Wind that was forecast deterred the vast majority of club members who had shown an interest in the event with just four of us eventually venturing out. John elected to fish an estuary mark and Ilfracombe Pier and from the two venues caught an amazing eleven species including bass, sand goby, flounder, common blenny, scorpion fish, pollock, sand smelt, ballan wrasse, pouting, poor cod, rock goby and poor cod. His fishing partner for the day was Louis Rooke who managed four species;pollock, pouting, ballan wrasse and rockling.
I fished a mark in Combe Martin Bay with Rob Sciones where we landed 7 species between us, whiting,pollock, ballan wrasse,conger, corkwing wrasse, tub gurnard and a pleasing grey mullet to my rod that weighed 4lb 14oz.
Despite the icy wind Rob and I did manage to find a little shelter from the wind and was rewarded with the sight of a pod of porpoise showing a few hundred yards from the shoreline.
Combe Martin SAC member Ian Laird – 9lb 15oz smoothound
Smoothound have been a regular feature of sea angling catches during the autumn months in recent seasons with hounds landed right through into December. This could be a result of numerous factors including climate change? It is however difficult to speculate. Trigger fish became common for several seasons and this was seen as a clear sign of global warming; they have been virtually non existent this year though?
The annual Lyn Fish open competition attracted twenty local anglers competing for cash prizes and an impressive prize table from sponsors Sakuma Tackle and Braunton Baits. The event is a catch and release specimen match with fishing from boat and shore.
Anglers fished a wide variety of marks between the boundaries Minehead Harbour wall and Clovelly Harbour. Most of the winning fish coming from marks in the Lynmouth to Ilfracombe area.
Day one was blighted by a strong westerly wind that made boat fishing impossible and shore fishing a bit of a trial. Grey mullet were a popular target species with several competitors and it was these hard fighting fish that were being targeted by Daniel Welch on Saturday night when he hooked a hard fighting fish that took off on several long runs before eventually being netted. The fish turned out to be fine conditioned bass of 7lb 13oz tempted on bread-flake and size 8 hook!
On the Saturday evening tide James Fradgely- Gubb and Rob Scoines fished a rock mark buffeted by the strong wind. A couple of good fish were lost but James eventually managed to land a specimen bull huss of 10lb 1oz.
In the early hours of Sunday morning Kevin Legge and Dave Brooke fished a rough ground mark where Kevin landed a couple of huss the best scaling 9lb 6oz. Kevin also landed a blonde ray of around 7lb that was a surprise on the rough ground they were fishing.
John Avery and myself targeted grey mullet and at 6.00am on the Sunday morning I cast out a two hook rig baited with bread flake. Seconds later I noticed the rod tip rattle and grabbed the rod as the butt lifted from the ground. A powerful fish surged away and battle commenced. A few minutes later John expertly wielded the net and a very pleasing mullet was secured. At 5lb 2oz it was a great start to the day!
After a couple of quiet hours fishing we moved to another mark and found the mullet in a feeding frenzy landing half a dozen with John and Callum Gove landing the majority with Johns best scaling 2lb 9oz.
Louis Rooke and John Shapland paid a visit to the estuary in search of grey mullet and flounder. Louis managed the only weigh-able fish of note a plump flounder of 1lb 6oz.
The calm weather on Sunday enabled the boats to get afloat and Rob Scoines boated the best boat caught specimen of the day a small eyed ray of 9lb 13oz. Ross Stanway boated the biggest fish of the weekend; a tope of 30lb.
The weigh in and prize giving was held at the Rising Sun Lynmouth where platefuls of scrumptious sandwiches and hot chips were provided for the hungry anglers who had fished hard over the two days. Raffle tickets were sold for an array of impressive prizes donated by local businesses with the proceeds going to West Exmoor Federation.
The raffle and fishing competition helped to raise £400 for the West Exmoor Federation of schools.
1st – Wayne Thomas – Grey Mullet – Shore – 5lb 2oz – 128%
2nd – James Gugg-Fradgely – bull huss – Shore – 10lb 1oz – 101%
3rd – Rob Scoines – Boat – small eyed ray – 9lb 13oz – 98%
4th– Daniel Welch – Shore – bass – 7lb 13oz – 97%
5th – Kevin Legge –Shore – bull huss – 9lb 6oz– 93%
6th – Ross Stanway – Boat- tope – 30lb -75%
7th – Louise Rooke –Shore – Flounder – 1lb 6oz – 68%
8th – John Avery – Shore – Grey Mullet – 2lb 9oz – 64%
Combe Martin SAC give special thanks to all who participated and supported the event, to Sakuma and Braunton Baits for donating some excellent prizes. Thanks also to Tony Vickery and all at the Rising Sun for providing delicious food and making all welcome.
Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Annual Fun Fishing event on Ilfracombe Pier was once again a highly enjoyable event with twenty competitors taking part and plenty of onlookers taking an active interest. Special guests for the event were Libby Ross from IFCA and representing the local coastguard Deputy Station Officer Dave Mannering and Coastguard Rescue officer Jodie Smith.
The event was unfortunately delayed as a result of a delay in the birthing of the Balmoral which was running late after a delay on the Welsh side due to inclement weather. This gave the opportunity for the coastguard officers and Libby to engage with the fishers discussing fish conservation, regulation and safety at sea.
When fishing eventually got underway competitors soon started to get a few bites and swing fish ashore to be admired briefly before being returned to the water. Species caught included tub gurnard, pollock, wrasse, rockling, shore rockling, poor cod,pouting,smelt,grey mullet,rock goby, tompot blenny, and mackerel. Despite the small size of many of the fish caught beaming smiles on young faces made the event well worth while.
A little light rain began to fall at the end of the event but not enough to dampen enthusiasm as everyone gathered for the presentation that was kindly carried out by Jodie Smith from the coastguard.
Winner of the top prize was young Charlie Stanway who caught five species for 7 points. Runner up was Sam Davison who caught four species for 7 points. Winner of the over 18’s section was Lyn Wilson with 7 points and runner up Ali Laird with 5 points. The heaviest fish was a 1ln grey mullet caught by Dan Welch. Special thanks go to High Street Tackle who kindly sponsored the event. Prizes were also provided by Combe Martin SAC and North Devon Angling News.
Liam Stevens has landed one of the biggest bass so far this season a fine specimen of 15lb 8oz that was landed from a shore mark in the Ilfracombe area. The fish was tempted using mackerel presented on a 3/0 hook on a running ledger set up. Liam had persisted after suffering from a large amounts of weed fouling his line the previous night. The fish was weighed and witnessed by Peter Read and photos taken by Ben partridge. Liam is a member of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club.
The remaining months of the year are sure to turn up large specimen bass with many marks along the North Devon coast capable of producing fish to make anglers dreams come true.
Graham Snow took the top two places in Combe Martin SAC’s Fish of the month competition with a fine thick-lipped mullet of 4lb 15oz and a thin-lipped mullet of 4lb 1oz. In third place was Kevin Legge with a bass scaling 9lb 2oz. Club member Ross Stanway got August’s competition off to a good start landing a fine specimen rockling of 1lb 13.5oz.