Are huss the most photogenic of sea fish?

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Bull huss have to be one of sea angling s most photogenic fish with their Leopard like spots. Chay Boggis landed this beauty from a local rock mark. It pulled the scales down to 9lb 5oz.

Quality fish like this are out there to be caught but there are also plenty of small eels and dogfish about that tend to get to the baits first as I found out on a session at a local rock mark last night, Its good to get out though and with settled conditions its good to just be there waiting.

Management measures for the North Devon Marine Pioneer area

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Image Courtesy of Heather Lowther (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Nick Phillips and I met with Dr Gill Ainsworth Social Scientist from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology CEH Edinburgh to represent Combe Martin Sea Angling Club in an hour long filmed interview that will form part of a film for the below project that gives Marine stakeholders an opportunity to voice their views on the Marine Environment and what matters to them and their communities.

Cultural values, experiences, identities and capabilities relating to marine ecosystem services

Project introduction: This Community Voice Method (CVM) project is being undertaken in collaboration between the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) as part of the Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (MERP). The project goal is to identify potential management measures for the North Devon Marine Pioneer area and views on the future of the marine environment in the Southwest. We aim to do this by gathering people’s views about the benefits, experiences and capabilities they gain from conducting different activities in the marine environment and how these might be affected by a range of possible future scenarios.

How the Community Voice Method works: This project aims to gather stakeholder views about potential marine management options and enable deliberation on those options. The method involves filming interviews in order to produce a documentary film to be shown during a stakeholder workshop later in the year. This will inform the design of marine management in the Southwest, and ensure different community voices are represented more effectively when policy options are being considered, alongside ecological and economic evidence.

The Marine Pioneer: The Marine Pioneer is an area of the Celtic Seas that joins the existing North Devon Biosphere along the coast and extends to approximately 20 nautical miles beyond Lundy. Defra chose the Marine Pioneer in 2016 as part of its 25 Year Environment Strategy to deliver growth in our natural environment and in the social and economic well-being of the North Devon area.

Who is being interviewed? We are approaching people for interview based on their knowledge or involvement in relevant marine industries or sea user groups as well as trying to ensure that we capture as full a range of views and values as possible. We are intentionally selecting people who we know are engaged in, care about, or are impacted by the marine management process, and who represent a range of views on and interests in marine resource use, management and conservation.

Image courtesy of Heather Lowther (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

The films will be used later as a focus point at workshops where stakeholders have the opportunity to work together to find a way forward to ensure a marine environment that balances the needs for all involved.

ITS DOUBLE TOPE – Martin Pearce

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Autumn time sees a dedicated few target the elusive hard fighting tope that haunt the waters of North Devon. A tope from the shore is perhaps the greatest challenge for the dedicated shore angler unless of course you include the remote chance of hooking and beaching a porbeagle shark!

Martin Pearce – tope 42lb 8oz

Martin Pearce has struck gold in mid October first beating a fine tope of 31lb 4oz and then following it up a few days later with a fine specimen of 42lb 8oz. Landing a tope is seldom a solitaire event and Martin was very appreciative of a help in hand from his mate Darren Bell who tailed both fish. The fish were tempted using whole mackerel on Varivas big mouth extra 8/0 hooks. Both fish were tempted from undisclosed North Devon Rock Marks.

Martins – 31lb 4oz tope


Bass and Ray for Dave and Kevin – Guest reporter Jansen Teakle VMO

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As the summer comes to pass and there is a distinct freshness to the autumn air, north Devon angler Kevin Legge has for the last few years turned his attention towards surf fishing for bass. With most anglers heading for the local rock marks in pursuit of conger and maybe a tope, the surf beaches are for the most part devoid of anglers and Kevin, together with a couple of friends, has enjoyed some tremendous fishing. Although his personal best bass from the beach is 15lb 12oz (the current Bristol Channel record), it is rare that he goes a season without seeing a fish of specimen size.

This year has been no different and recent sessions have been extremely productive for both Kevin and regular fishing partner Dave Brook.

Only last night, Kevin and Dave had planned to tackle their regular stretch of beach but were a little uncertain as to whether it would be fishable. With the forecast onset of strong winds, Kevin realised it would be highly probable that there would be an onshore swell developing as a result of a weather front developing out in the Atlantic. Such conditions often bring with them rafts of weed which make the beach near impossible to fish, so the decision was made to try a little further along the coast at Putsborough. The prominent rock peninsula of Baggy Point would offer some protection, at least that was the plan, and so Kevin and Dave headed off across the sands, the roar of the ocean ever present.

Kevin’s approach is a little different to that of the regular surf angler who historically has fished with as light a lead as possible. Kevin fishes with 7oz leads on regular pulley rigs. A pair of 6/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra hooks complete the set up and are baited with a fillet of blast frozen Ammo mackerel. Mackerel is rarely in short supply in Devon, but Kevin has experiment to great lengths with both fresh and frozen mackerel and it is interesting to note that the blast frozen bait out-fishes the fresh bait by a considerable margin.

Tackling up some hundred yards apart in order to give each other plenty of space, Kevin only had to wait ten minutes before a small bite registered on his rod tip. Before too long, the tip began to pull over and a steady rasp of line was pulled from the reel, the ratchet singing out in the wind. Making contact, it was evident that this was a big fish and Dave came over to assist Kevin in the surf. Sure enough, a long bass came into view and was guided onto dry land.

Double figure delight for KevinKevin’s fish was admired, weighed at 10lb 7oz in a light sling, photographed and returned, but whilst this drama was unfolding, his second rod that had been neglected for the last ten minutes was also paying out line to an as-yet unseen adversary. Once again, Kevin was into a fish, but despite his initial thoughts turning to a second bass, it soon became clear this was not the case.

Dave looked on inquisitively as both anglers awaited the fish to come ashore. Soon, all was revealed and as suspected it was not a bass but a specimen size small eyed ray of 9lb 12oz.


This was a spectacular start for the dynamic duo but Dave was more than aware that his own rods were all alone further down the beach so after taking further photos of Kevin with his ray, he made his way back down the beach to see what the state of play was.

Both rod’s were there on the stand, but one was not as it had been left… in fact it was as straight as a needle and the line was blowing about wildly in the buffeting wind. Dave wound down into the slack and and lifted the rod, not knowing just how long it had been like this. As luck would have it, the rod pulled back in his grasp and the fish was still there! With plenty of head shakes as the fish swam parallel with the beach, Dave was certain that this fish was a bass and sure enough in the beam of his lamp a  black back emerged from the froth and a prime bass was slid up the sand.


Dave’s bass weighed in at over 8lb, but the two anglers weren’t done just yet. Over the next two hours they added two more small eyed rays and Kevin found another bass of just over 7lb.



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Shore fishing has been hard going in recent weeks from what anglers have been telling me though some excellent fish have been landed. The next few months are generally the most productive of the year with a wide range of specimen fish available for those prepared to put in the hours and effort. I hope to have plenty of pictures and reports on here in these coming months.

Appledore Shipbuilders & Bideford Angling Club Monthy Rovers

Terry Dymond won Appledore Shipbuilder’s monthly Rover with a bass scaling 6lb 141/2oz. In second place was Heidi Green with a rockling of 1lb 61/4oz and in third Graham Fisher with a gilthead bream of 3lb 81/4oz. Chelsea Babb dominated the junior section with wrasse scaling 3lb 7oz, 3lb 5oz and a bass of 3lb 3oz.

Terry Dymond’s bass also took top spot in Bideford’s Monthly Rover.

Combe Martin SAC Fish of the month –


1st – Liam Stevens bass 15lb 8oz

2nd – Derek Ferret – bass  13lb 3oz

3rd – Ross Stanway – rockling 1lb 13.5oz

Kevin Legge has enjoyed some success in recent weeks landing a blonde ray of 10lb 1oz and several smoothound.

kev-ray kev-hounds

Dan Spearman targetted grey mullet and landed a fish of 3lb 14oz. (Below)

14183879_10207368744123553_8813351594224658264_n Dan Spearman rockling -1lb 10oz (Below)



High water temperatures and extensive weed growth have made fishing challenging at Bratton Water as at many other waters in the area some of which have been forced to close temporarily. The skillful angler can generally tempt a fish or two from the Bratton Waters Crystal clear waters using either dry flies or small nymphs. South Molton Angler Bob Gooding put his many years of experience to good use catching five brownies in a session the best two scaling 7lb 8oz and 5lb. Arthur Bond landed a brace of 5lb brown trout and rainbow trout.

Bob Gooding

As autumn sets in sport at this tranquil lake will improve with the trout rising freely. Daddy long-leg patterns are well worth trying fished virtually static; this visual fishing is a particularly pleasing way to deceive the specimen browns that cruise within the clear waters.


Another Big Bass

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Combe Martin SAC Member Derek Ferret fished a local beach to land this superb bass scaling 13lb 3oz. The fish was tempted using Ammo Frozen mackerel and was returned alive after weighing and photographing. This is the third big double I have heard of so far this season a promising omen as we are still early in the season regarding bass with the best yet to come!

I hope to have better pictures of this fine fish in a couple of days.

Derek Ferret - bass 13lb 3oz
Derek Ferret – bass 13lb 3oz