Many thanks to Pete Gregory and Toby Bassett for allowing me to use their pictures and words following a successful trip on Bluefin out of Ilfracombe.
Fishing Ilfracombe aboard John Barbearys boat ” Bluefin ” and what a fish packed day it was . Lots of Dogfish as you would expect but in the morning when your hooking and landing more Bull Huss than dogs , you know its going to be a good day . Its always good to fish with Troy and Toby and as well as loads off fish between us , great laughs and banter all day long . We moved out to deep water to get amongst the Spurdogs and conger and ended up with forty to fifty spurs and a couple of half decent conger . Unfortunately with a spring tide and a little swell we had to head back in , but thanks john and the lads for a good day!
Kyle Blackmore took advantage of the quiet shores on Christmas Day to tempt this smoothound. Not a large specimen but a thought provoking fish at this time of year. Catching fish outside of their recognised seasons has always happened but my gut feeling is that it is happening far more these days. There are many factors that impact upon fish and fish migration climate is just one of these and as anglers we play our game on natures chess board casting our lines into ever changing waters.
At Christmas and the New Year we often indulge in looking back and forth in time and social media has introduced an instant world that undoubtedly has its up and down sides. It is a fact that social media reflects good and bad in people so rather than condemn it as the new evil best to accept it as it is; taking the good with the bad as we always have in life.
On North Devon Angling News I try to report in a positive way to promote angling and the enjoyment of angling. I started the website back in 2016 when I saw that traditional papers were in decline ( The North Devon Journal stopped rewarding their angling columnist), I still write the column in the Journal because I want angling to have its place in North Devon News but feel that most people get their news on line these days. I hope readers enjoy what I try to do on this site and I welcome any features on local angling that you may be inspired to write. Please keep sending the news and images I do not reveal marks unless they are large easy access ones as I know this is a contentious area for sea anglers.
Fish conservation and habitat are all factors that impact upon anglers and I try to promote good practice within my pages on this site. In many instances anglers are at the forefront of conservation efforts espeicially on our rivers with grace concerns regarding salmon and sea trout stocks.
As I type this a latest report has just come in from Ian Laird ( Below) who landed this 9lb 8oz bull huss from a North Devon Rock Mark. One observation on recent months is that I am getting good numbers of qaulity pictures from anglers fishing the shore line during day light hours. I have fished plenty of after dark sessions to be plaged by small dogfish and strap eels.
If you would like to advertise/sponsor North Devon Angling News please get in touch. I try to give good value to all my sponsors. In the next few weeks my Intention is to add a few new features to the site giving more information on venues and whats on offer to anglers visiting North Devon.
These are difficult times on the High Street with many shops struggling as many shop online to secure the best deals. This is understandable but we must not forget the local tackle shop for they provide us with an invaluable service. Fresh bait, tubs of maggots, the chance to pick up and look at the product and that social benefit of meeting fellow anglers. Tackle shops have always been at the hub of the angling world a place to learn and become motivated by fellow anglers. If your thinking of what to buy the angler for Christmas why not head to your local tackle shop of which we have a great choice in North Devon.
Danny Watson runs High Street Tackle in Ilfracombe with his partner Pauline and has a passion for lure fishing that is reflected in the huge range of lures on offer in the shop. They also stock qaulity Ammo frozen bait along with sea angling tackle and essential items for the coarse angler.
Jamie Miller (Below) runs North Devon Tackle in Queens Walk, Barnstaple (in the arcade adjacent to Queens Street and Bear Street Car Parks). They specialise in carp, Coarse and Sea Fishing with Gift Vouchers available to ensure the angler gets to choose the perfect gift.
Summerlands Tackle are North Devons longest established tackle shop. A family run business that has traded for over thirty years. They carry a range of tackle covering all three disciplines and are actively promoting safety at sea this year with Crewsaver Life jackets on offer at a very reasonable price. What better present for the angler you care about?
Chillcheaters in Braunton offer a range of qaulity garnets for combating extreme weather conditions. See link below.
Blakewell Fishery boasts a well stocked tackle shop with Fly Fishing Tackle, clothing and a range of flies from West Country company Snowbee. Whilst there you can enjoy a coffee in their tea room and even choose a Christmas Tree.
Choose a good book for those cold winter nights from River Reads book shop near Torrington.
Dan Hawkin’s has been taking anglers to fishing grounds far off the North Devon coast on his boat Reel Deal where they have made some spectacular catches of shark not seen off North Devon since the 1970’s. The party of anglers set a boat record of 28 blue shark up to 97lb on the first day. On the second day of their charter Jason Heenan boated a superb blue shark of 133lb.
The anglers boated 38 shark over the two days with Ammo Baits Chum attracting the fish and Penn Rods and reels from High Street tackle taming the fish.
The fishing is strictly catch and release with circle hooks ensuring that the majority of shark are hooked in the jaws where hooks can be easily removed. Fortunately the days of slaughtering these beautiful fish has been consigned to the history books where such practices belong.
Dan has enjoyed considerable success over past couple of years with anglers boating huge porbeagle shark, a thresher shark and blue shark with catches unheard of in recent years. The success has come on the back of significant investment and effort with the will to travel long distances with no guarantee of success. The future is exciting and expect Dan’s diary to be filling already with booking for next year.
Craig McLoughlin who runs Braunton Baits enjoyed an action packed session at a local beach with his friends.
“Well what can I say about last night?”
It was especially Awesome!
A very very last minute fishing session with Mark Jones and Mark LaMude down the local beach, ended up with a fish a cast for me eleven ray landed five being blonde ray to 12lb and six small eyed ray to 9lb
Between us we had over 27 ray all on the braunton bait box Sandeel.
The recent change in the weather could bring a few opportunities for bait fishers in particular as the water colours up following a couple of months of calm hot weather. Several reports of mackerel from marks along the coast. A big mackerel bait will often sort out that monster bass with the next couple of months the prime time to get that double figure specimen. Bideford Angling Clubs Festival next weekend see poster below.
Bideford Angling Club 24 hour results
Graham Snow took the top two spots in Bideford Angling Clubs twenty four hour rover
1st Graham Snow mullet thick 3 lb 9 1/2oz
2nd Graham snow mullet thick 3 lb 2 1/2oz
3rd kyle Blackmore dogfish 1lb 14oz
(Below)Daniel Welch enjoyed an excellent evening session at a local harbour landing nine mullet to 4lb 15oz.
(Below)Stefan Jones spotted a window in the weather and decided to venture out on his boat. With a lively swell and big tide options were limited but a sheltered venue produced several smoothound, a bass of around 5lb, plenty of mackerel and a fine tope of close to 38lb.
Combe Martin SAC Member Kody Chugg landed this fine bull huss of 10lb 9oz during a session at a local rock mark.
Dan Hawkins has ventured to deep waters off the North Devon coast taking advantage of the settled weather to put anglers amongst both blue and porbeagle shark. Over three days eleven porbeagle shark and nine blue shark were tempted using Ammo chum in combination with Ammo mackerel hook baits. The fish were in the 80lb to 90lb range.
The catches have stirred interest from the national press who will undoubtedly be sensationalizing the catches of shark off the North Devon coast. This is however nothing new as shark have always frequented the the area but it takes a pioneering skipper to rediscover them and make the effort. All of the shark are released alive after photographing. Circle hooks are used to reduce any danger of deep hooking and the fish handled for a minimal period with large fish unhooked at the side of the boat.