James Wigglesworth and his angling friends often enjoy trips to Ilfracombe’s Pier where they catch a wide variety of species using both conventional tactics and LRF techniques. Many thanks to James for sending me this informative article.
Whether you’ve fished it or not, Ilfracombe Pier should be a venue on any species hunters radar. Throughout the seasons nearly anything is possible from the North Devon Port. During the summer months it can get particularly busy with families and groups targeting the seasonal mackerel that visit our waters so I prefer to head down at quieter times and adapt a mobile approach where I can fish on the move and target different species in different habitats. My favourite style of fishing is using a very light LRF rod (0.5-7g) with a size 16 hooks trying to tempt all the weird and wonderful mini species that find sanctuary in and around the harbour. Tiny bits of ragworm or Isome fished tight to the wall will produce bites for the majority of the day with gobies, blennies, scorpion fish, wrasse and small pollack finding it too irresistible to ignore. If that’s not really your game and you like to fish static with heavier gear then you’d be silly to ignore the piers potential. I haven’t done too much of this myself but good friend and local species hunter George Stavrakopoulos has and he’s bagged a lot of good fish. He fishes light flapper rigs baited with worm, squid or mackerel. Fishing straight off the end of the lower Pier will find your lead landing on rough, rocky ground which will see you getting plenty of bites from wrasse, pout and the likes. Moving round into the harbour the ground cleans up and just a gentle lob will find you on the sand where there are plenty of dabs, flounders, bass and the odd ray or gurnard.
Float fishing through the warmer months will get you mackerel and garfish which is always great fun on light gear. We’ve seen some pretty strange fish come from the Pier since we’ve been fishing it and also some pretty rare ones. One recent session saw myself catch a topknot and a leopard spotted goby in consecutive casts and I know that George bagged himself a cling fish and a tadpole fish in a single session there last year. Get down there and give it a go…. you never know what might turn up!