Combe Martin SAC members ventured to Portishead Marina in search of the large mullet that reside within the sheltered waters. The day commenced with heavy rain falling and a bitterly cold North wind that ensured that breakfast the first item on the days agenda.

Fortified with full English and hot coffees members explored the confines of the marina. The mullet proved elusive with John Shapland securing the only fish of the day a superb specimen of 4lb 2oz.

Sea Angling Results – CMSAC and Bideford

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs annual Lyn Fish competition concludes each year at Lynmouth with the meet up afterwards in the pub. This year’s meet up was in the Ancient Mariner where members were pleased to retire to the warmth of the bar after fishing around the harbour as a cold North Wind swept in.

October is generally a good month for targeting thick-lipped grey mullet and most members who fished the competition concentrated on these wily grey ghosts fishing several of the weekend’s tides.

I ( Wayne Thomas) was fortunate to win the competition with a mullet of 3lb 4oz and added a brace of mullet weighing 3lb 3oz each to secure the top three places. Dan Welch also caught several mullet to 2lb 9oz using float and feeder tactics. I was also surprised to catch a pollock of around 1lb 8oz using bread flake as bait.

Bideford Angling Clubs

October’s 48 hour result 

Only 1 fish weighed

1st Andrew Clements Wrasse 3lb 13 1/2oz  85.416%

Estuaries of Opportunity

Combe Martin SAC member Jamie Steward tempted this fine specimen thin lipped grey mullet of 4lb 14oz whilst using baited spinner tactics.

The Taw and Torridge Estaury offer many miles of accessible angling where light tackle and varied tactics can be employed to tempt a surprisngly wide variety of species. Bass to double figures hunt the estuaries and can be found surprisingly high up on the confluence with freshwater as well as at the estuary mouth.

On  the lower estuary school bass can be seen in a feeding frenzy as they smash into whitebait behind this angler lure fishing on a flooding evening tide.              

Gilthead bream are a more recent visitor to the Taw estaury with specimens tempted as far up as Fremington Quay.  All three species of grey mullet can be found throughout the estuary and can be caught using bait, fly fishing and baited spinners.

Where the estuary meets the sea smoothound to double figures can provide excting tussles as they grab baits often intended for bass or gilthead bream.

( Above) The vast estuary at Fremington Quay offers plenty of scope to explore and use different tactics.

( Above) Mullet will push up into the many creeks along the estuary offering a challenge that few anglers are prepared to accept.

The vast estuary with its many mudbanks, creeks and sandbanks offers a wealth of opportunities for anglers with the chance to glimpse a diverse variety of wildlife. The scene is ever changing as the tides ebb and flow beneath everchanging skies. As autumn approaches flounder enthusiasts will line the banks at popular venues. Codling can often provide a decent meal as the nights pull in during late autumn.

Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (D&SIFCA) Netting Permit Bylaw Review, Benefits and Implications

Andrew Burt Chairman of the National Mullet Club is urging anglers who have benefited from the netting ban in estuaries across the South West to express their thoughts regarding the significant benefits in extending the current bylaw that has undoubtedly protected stocks that are valuable to the recreational angling community who largely practice catch and release. 

Below is an explanation of the current situation with information that can be drwn upon when drafting a letter or email.

Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (D&SIFCA) Netting Permit Bylaw Review, Benefits and Implications

The D&S IFCA netting bylaw, D&S IFCA MCRS and Bylaws (see page 20 for netting), came into effect on the 1st March 2018. After 5 years it is now up for review and the process will start shortly.

D&S IFCA introduced this bylaw to protect salmonids, bass, grey mullet and other species that use these inshore areas for migration, as nurseries or for refuge. In doing so D&S IFCA recognised the importance of protecting these areas from commercial fishing and the benefits to recreational fishing and local communities. It is worth noting that many of these areas now fully protected are BNAs (Bass Nursery Areas) and are ecologically sensitive.

The bylaw as it stands only allows for seine netting for sandeels. This offers complete protection of all other species using the estuaries and harbours.

The Environment Agency pushed for a complete ban due to the poor ecological status of salmonids particularly Atlantic Salmon. The financial benefit to local communities of thriving salmon and sea trout is huge, not only getting local rods out fishing again but attracting anglers from other parts of the country to return.

The harbours and estuaries are home to all three native UK grey mullet species, particularly thick and thin lipped. These two species use these areas throughout the juvenile stages and then adulthood. It can take a thick lip mullet 10 – 12 years to reach maturity before they can breed for the first time. Often aggregating in large shoals and demonstrating a high site fidelity (often returning to the same places) they are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. During winter months they are known to aggregate in particularly large shoals prior to spawning; this makes them extremely vulnerable to commercial exploitation at the time when they are most in need of protection.

As previously mentioned, many of the areas protected are already BNAs, however this does not protect bass from unscrupulous commercial fishing or mortality when caught in nets set for other species and outside of months when bass nursery regulations apply, see link for current regulations,D&S IFCA Bass Nursery Areas and Regulations . Like grey mullet species they are spiky and easily caught in gill nets of any mesh fished tight or slack.

These inshore areas are important not only for the fish but for recreational angling as they offer good access as few anglers have boats and fishing from the open coast is often not possible or safe. Thriving inshore fisheries are of huge benefit recreationally and financially to local communities where anglers can fish for species such as grey mullet, flounder and gilthead bream that are of low importance to commercial fishing as well as bass. Further up the rivers anglers and communities benefit from increased salmonid stocks.

It should be noted that much of the recreational fishing is catch and release, it is estimated that over 95% of grey mullet caught recreationally are returned alive (who would want to eat a fish that has spent 10 – 20 years eating detritus including raw sewage anyway?). Some species more commonly retained such as bass (bass may not be retained if caught from a

page1image43189184 page1image43189568

boat), impact is extremely low and recreational anglers are severely restricted as to how many bass may be retained.

To sum up, the bylaw has little impact upon commercial fishing but huge positive impacts upon the fish living inshore, the communities and the financial value generated for Devon and Somerset. We firmly believe that there has been a positive impact upon the quantity and size of species since the bylaw was instigated as well as an increase in range of some species such as gilthead bream. During previous consultation landing data from the commercial sector highlighted the low commercial importance of these areas. The protection of these nursery and refuge areas, social and economic benefits to recreational angling, coastal communities as well as those further inland surely highlight that this bylaw should not be changed to weaken it. If you fish in the D&S IFCA region, please take a few minutes to contact D&S IFCA using the details below about the positive impacts and future potential the bylaw offers.


More Info



ADDRESS: Brixham Laboratory, Freshwater Quarry,
Brixham, Devon,

D&S IFCA Region

EMAIL: [email protected] PHONE: 01803 854648
OUT OF HOURS: 07740 175479


Grey Mullet – Provide Fine Autumn Sport

October and early November can offer some of the best mullet fishing of the year as these fish often feed hard prior to the onset of winter. In past decades the end of October signalled the end of the mullet fishing season but now these wily fish can be caught throughout the year. Harbours and rock marks are well worth fishing throughout North Devon.

White bread the best bait for thick lipoped grey mullet
A near 4lb mullet tempted from a North Devon harbour.

Mullet Dominate CMSAC Competition

Daniel Welch dominated Combe Martin SAC’s Lyn Fish competition taking the top three places with grey Mullet of 5lb 5oz, 3lb 8oz and 3lb 2oz. His son Solly also enjoyed success tempting a mullet of around 2lb.

Ten anglers fished the competition with Open coast fishing for heavyweight species proving difficult with just a few dogfish caught on baits intended for ray, bass and huss.

Grey Mullet catches

posted in: Sea Angling, Sidebar | 0

Some superb mullet have been tempted from North Devon waters in recent weeks. John Shapland caught this fine thin lip of 3lb 15oz from a North Devon estaury mark using a baited spinner.

(Below) Mark Jones was targetting bass when a speciemn thick lipped grey mullet of 4lb 9oz seized his lure.