COMBE MARTIN SAC – ILFRACOMBE HARBOUR FUN & SPECIES

Combe Martin SAC have launched a new fishing community project with the help of keen species enthusiast Toby Bassett. The new fun fishing event was launched on February 1st on Ilfracombe Pier with  local anglers starting an 11 month long species hunt that encourages anglers to catch as many species as possible from Ilfracombe Harbour area.

The essence of the fun fishing league is to encourage local anglers to socialise and share knowledge. Local business are supporting the event with prizes already pledged from Ilfracombe Aquarium, High Street Tackle, Turton’s Butchers and Quay Sports.

A pop up fishing event to get the event started was attended by a mixture of old and new club members. The weather was kind with a clear sky and a calm sea. Nine species of fish were caught during the three hours including; common shanny, rock goby, pouting, whiting, conger, dogfish, ballan wrasse, plaice, pollock and shore rockling. Prizes donated by High Street Tackle were awarded to Ross Stanway who caught the most species on the day. To Zephyr Laramy the most fish caught by a Junior and the smallest fish prize was awarded to Toby Bassett who caught a tiny common shanny using a size 16 hook!

Ross Stanway caught 7 species during the launch day event
The smallest fish of the night to Toby Bassett
Top junior Zephyr Laramy

The intention is to hold a pop up event once a month that will be picked to coincide with a suitable tide and hopefully good weather. Notice will be sent to club members seven days prior to the event. The competition runs until December 31st 2024 with major prizes to be presented early in 2025. Sponsors will be donating prizes with High Street Tackle providing a small prize each month for a category to be decided each month. February prize will be for the most species registered. March will be for the best photograph.

Rock Goby
Nickki Laramy with a whiting
Ross Stanway
James Thomas with a whiting
A whiting was my first fish of the event.
Plaice for Ross Stanway

Even this tackle twisting conger brought a smile as every species counts!
Whats coming up next?

This is not a pure LRF competition as all accepted angling methods are encouraged with bait as well as lures. The use of LRF tactics is a  branch of angling that undoubtedly opens an entirely new dimension to sea angling with some becoming totally addicted to the pursuit of the  range of species available. It is going to be fascinating to explore the vast range of species that dwell within Ilfracombe waters. We will be sharing our results with the local Aquarium and hope to provide a few exhibits for their extensive display tanks.

       We packed away as the flooding tide pushed us off the lower landings. James and I headed to the Bay-side Burger Bar to round off an enjoyable session savouring our spicy chicken and fries in the shadow of Verity.

Ross with a pouting

VARIETY ON THE PIER

Fishing covers a wide spectrum and its always good to hear of anglers successes and experiences. Ilfracombe angler Toby Bassett is an allrounder who catches pike from the local reservoir, sharks off the coast and also enjoys scaling right down to experience the wonders of multi species fishing with LRF tackle. Many thanks to Toby for his  account below.

Every year i try and catch as many species as I can and this this year like everyone else I have been limited to just the Bristol Channel due to travel restrictions which has given me plenty of time to focus on local marks and where better then the pier to rack up my tally? I have always heard of weird and wonderful fish coming on out on the LRF gear so thats been my main goal and the clingfish always in the back of my mind as one of the more prized mini species, so when i actually caught one i was stunned, such an awesome slimy little morsal and a big tick off the list! That brings my tally to 20 species so far this year, i still have a few trickier fish to target as the year goes on such as the illusive tadpole fish and the dragonette but this cornish sucker has made me one happy focker lol!  Toby Bassett

Variety on Ilfracombe Pier

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Combe Martin SAC hosted an LRF float fishing social on Ilfracombe Pier where several species of fish were landed including black bream, wrasse, pollock, bass and garfish. 

(Above) Sally Welch with nice school bass
(Above) Nick Phillips with a small pollock caught on LRF tackle
(Above) Dan Welch – with a garfish
(Above) Paul Saunders with wrasse tempted on ragworm

(Above)Jake Moule fished Ilfracombe after dark to land a 10lb 12oz conger. Several spotted ray have been tempted from the pier on sandeel bait.

Record Breaking Fish From Ilfracombe Pier

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Tim Poat has set a potential new British Record landing a 15.8 gram connemara clingfish whilst fishing North Devon’s top LRF mark Ilfracombe Pier. The current British record stands at 10grams and Tim has submitted a claim to the Angling Trust’s record fish committee.

Tim tempted the fish on a piece of ragworm fished down the side of the wall on a very calm evening as the tide was ebbing.Tackle was Impact Ajing 5762 Lrf rod Shimano Sahara c2000s reel Gosen 9lb Maxbeat braid All purchased from Art of fishing in Wadebridge Hook size 16 tied directly to the end of the line 7 gram weight about a foot above the hook.

LRF(light rock fishing) Fishing has grown in popularity over recent years and offers a whole new perspective to sea angling with the use of ultra light tackle and finesse not traditional associated with sea angling. One of the joys of LRF fishing is catching an amazing array of species.

Another aspect of LRF fishing is that even moderate sized fish give a spirited tussle on the this tackle and you could call it Light-Rod Fun Fishing.