Bass, tope and huss are on the feed Off Ilfracombe.
Daniel Hawkins focused on taking anglers in search of shark during the month of September and enjoyed a great deal of success bringing a good number of porbeagle and thresher shark to the side of the boat. The biggest porbeagle was estimated at an impressive 550lb.
Reel Deal moves up to Watchet for the winter season while the sister boat Predator 2 skippered by Archie Porter remains at Ilfracombe and will be running trips throughout the winter targeting spurdog, bull huss and conger.
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.
Below Troy Laing with a nice bass caught on Bluefin. A few days after the South Molton Club trip
Daniel Welch and Ross Stanway enjoyed an awesome day on the boat with good numbers of bass and a couple stunning porbeagle shark. Dan and Ross both bringing fish of over 200lb to the side of the boat. Dans son Solly was at hands share the experience. The three anglers also enjoyed sport with bass.
Many thanks to Dan for allowing me to use the splendid images.
Sometimes as I put these pages together and see what everyone is catching I wonder where I am going wrong. In the past few months, I have persisted lure fishing for bass despite blank after blank. I have fished ground that I have enjoyed success at in the past confident that it would eventually come right.
Calm conditions, interspersed with rougher water and masses of weed. I fished early, late and at different states of tide. Its seldom that everything is right after all. One morning I arrived at the water’s edge on the early morning flood. Third cast and wallop a heavy fish hit the lure hard. After a few strong runs the bass that I estimated to be between 8lb and 10lb was wallowing on a short line. All was going well until in a sickening moment the hook hold gave way and the lure flew back towards me. The big bass was gone with a flick of its tail to linger hauntingly in the minds eye. Strange how the loss of a big fish often remains etched in the mind far longer than a successful capture.
The loss of the bass spurred me onto more sessions and yet more blanks. On one occasion I arrived to find a huge swell surging into the shoreline. Despite this I persevered and found a slightly calmer area with no weed. I caught sight of a few mullet their flanks catching the evening sunlight. After two hours still no bass; a move to a second mark brought the same result.
A couple of days later I return to the same mark. A brisk North West wind is blowing into the shoreline but there is little swell just a fizzy wind driven sea. I wade out and flick out a dark coloured Mega bass spindle worm lure. Third cast and bang the rod tip slams round the line zipping out to sea the rod pulsing in the hands the reels singing in protest. After a short exhilarating encounter a bass of 67cm ( just over 6lb) is secured. In the next two and a half hours I beach another five bass estimated at between 3lb 8oz and 6lb. Three of the fish are close to 6lb. I pack away after darkness has descended my soft lures depleted by the aggressive bass.
Confidence is restored in the marks, the lures and my own judgement. It would be easy to just plan trips based on tide, weather and time of day. Problem is sometimes we can only go when it suits us. Choosing those perfect conditions would be ideal but getting tide times, weather, water clarity and time of day to fall into place is difficult. Then of course there is lure choice or bait choice plus location.
The following day I headed to Ilfracombe Pier for a short LRF session with my good friend Keith Armishaw of River Reads and Angling Heritage. After a later than planned start we fished the rising tide to tempt a few miniature pouting and pollock. Keith added a shanny to list and totally out-fished me using fragments of mackerel. I stuck to ISOME imitation ragworm and failed to connect with several good tugs.
Grey mullet were next on the agenda and we headed off to our chosen mark electing to fish the sheltered area out of the brisk North West breeze. A friend arrived on the opposite shoreline electing to fish into the teeth of the wind. Lesson learnt four mullet to 5lb 1oz on the windward shoreline – Nil, from the sheltered shoreline!
Remember the fish will be where the food is and not where you are most comfortable.
Toby Bassett enjoyed a great afternoon with his good friend Rob Pearson. Their target originally was mullet and they found a few nice ones feeding but only 1 take for Rob. Toby turned his attention LRF tactics with king ragworm baits. This resulted in some stunning brightly coloured wrasse. Toby also caught a flounder of 1lb 2oz. All caught in and around the Ilfracombe Harbour area.
This 21lb smoothound was tempted on John Barbeary’s Bluefin.