Putsborough 2023 – A ray and hound bonanza

Before proceeding to the results and write up Combe Martin SAC would like to thank the sponsors of the event : SAKUMA, QUAY SPORTS and BRAUNTON BAIT BOX the sponsors provided a superb prize table that I feel sure those fortunate to collect prizes can testify to. The club would also thank the owners at Putsborough for permitting the club to hold the event each year. And of course a special thanks to the anglers who come each year and support the event.


Ray and hound bonanza

As I share in the organisation of this event with Combe Martin SAC I always set out on the evening of the event with a degree of trepidation. Having set the date back at the start of the year there are always unforeseen circumstances that can cause issues on the night. The weather is always a major factor and this year it proved to be ideal for the venue with a light  North Easterly breeze coming over our shoulders. We had also managed to miss any major clash with sporting or national events that have conspired in the past. The FA Cup Final, Derby and Cricket Test all completed well before competition start time! I remember one year when England qualified for a major football event! Now how could we predict that ! Fortunately, King Charles had scheduled his Coronation a few weeks early unlike her majesty who forced us to reschedule a few years ago with a golden jubilee celebration weekend.

The event is of course dictated to by the tide times with a small window of opportunity in early summer or late Spring when Low Water falls at a reasonable time coinciding with darkness yet not too late allowing everyone a few hours’ sleep before embarking on Sunday life.

I and CMSAC are always very grateful to the sponsors who invest in the event each year donating a wonderful array of prizes.


I must give special thanks to Craig of Braunton Baits who sorted the top ring of my rod at very short notice. On driving away from home; I noticed that the insert was missing from the top eye of my rod. I rang Craig who offered to repair the rod if I popped into his shop and workshop on the way to the competition.

I arrived at Putsborough and exchanged cheery greetings with Trevor on the gate commenting on how quick the past twelve months had flown past.

Club secretary Nick Phillips was already in place at the bottom of the car park greeting the keen early arrivals. As entrants trickled in it was good to catch up with familiar faces. It was surprising how many stated that it was their first trip out to the seashore in several months some even saying it was the first time since last year’s event. This surely highlights the importance of these fixtures in the local angling calendar. Fishing is of course highly contagious and enthusiastic trip plotting spread amongst the growing groups of anglers.

As the sun slowly sank beneath the horizon cast off time loomed and participants set up their stalls along the beach. At 10:00pm thirty nine anglers launched baits out into the retreating tide.

Nick and I had set up in the unfavoured zone close to the west end of the beach. On the first cast my rod tip nodded setting the scene for the rest of the evening during which I would reel in close to a dozen small dogfish.

The tide ebbed down to low water shortly after midnight and rumours of good fishing further along the beach started to circulate via mobile phone chatter.

Tony Gussin with 5lb 8oz- small eyed ray

It was a perfect night to be on the beach a gentle breeze, a flat calm sea and a strawberry moon rising above the hills behind illuminating the waters of the bay.

What’s in a name? That which we call a strawberry moon, by any other word would smell as sweet.

June’s full moon, also known as “strawberry moon,” is coming up Saturday evening, reaching its peak at 11:42 p.m. ET. It’s expected to be big, bright and golden — a fine way to celebrate the beginning of summer.

         High on the hill above Woolacombe a ring of lights shone brightly and music from a Spring Festival event drifted out across the vast sandy expanse of Woolacombe and Putsborough. Anglers’ headlights twinkled at the water’s edge and I wondered what had been caught this year.

         Put forty or so anglers on a beach and each year the results are different with the occasional surprise. I well remember one year when Kevin Legge caught a tope of over 40lb that I was privileged to help him land in the surf.

         There is always the concern that few fish will be tempted but fortunately over the years there has never been a complete blank.

         The species caught do fluctuate a lot and a regular event like this is useful in monitoring change in the marine eco system. When we first held the event close to forty years ago smoothound were seldom weighed into the match with small eyed ray and dogfish dominating. Surprisingly bass have seldom featured in results.

         Nick and I made sure we were back at the meet up point before fishing was due to end and I hurriedly assembled the prize table layout.

         As anglers arrived back the buzz was apparent and cheerful banter indicated good fishing had been enjoyed by many.

         I always find the collection and sorting of results stressful. This year the entry forms flooded in with fish galore written hurriedly upon the crumbled forms. It was immediately apparent that this had been a fishing bonanza. Each fish had to be checked against its relevant specimen rating. Not made easy when some had registered their weights in metric ounces! Fortunately, everyone at least adopted proper pounds and ounces.

         With close to forty anglers eager to get the results and get home to bed there was a certain pressure as we filtered the results from highest to lowest. I am fully confident that we got the top three right but concede that there might have been one or two minor errors as we announced the descending order. Apologies for any but I feel sure everyone entitled to a prize received one and all bundles were great value.

         We have learnt a few points for next year’s competition when we hope all will come together as summer arrives once again.

The top seventeen anglers received prizes: –

Full Results :-

1st – Steve Liddle – Smoothound 10lb 4oz – 102%

 Recieved £100 plus a choice of prize and £39 pool for best specimen.

2nd – Antony Smith – Smoothouind – 8lb 10oz – 86. 25%

Recieved £50 plus choice from the prize table.

3rd – Craig Mcloughlin – Blonde ray – 10lb – 83%

4th – N. Penney – Smoothound – 8lb 2oz – 81.25%

5th – Daniel Welch – small eyed ray – 8lb 1oz – 80.625%

6th – Ross Stanway – small eyed ray – 7lb 13oz – 78.437%

7th – John Johnson – smoothound – 7lb 11oz – 76.825%

8th – Daniel Welch – small eyed ray – 7lb 10oz – 76.25%

9th – Ross Stanway – small eyed ray – 7lb 7oz – 74.375%

10th – S. Springwell – smoothound – 7lb 5oz – 73.125%

11th – John Johnson – smoothound – 7lb 5oz – 73.125%

12th – Martyn Hunton – small eyed ray – 7lb 5oz – 73.125oz

13th – J. Sendell – blonde ray – 8lb 12oz – 72.917%

14th – T. Honeywell – smoothound – 7lb 4oz – 72.5%

15th – Steve Liddle – smoothound – 7lb 4oz – 72.5%

16th – John Johnson – smoothound – 7lb 2oz – 71.125%

17th – Daniel Welch – small eyed ray – 7lb 2oz – 71.125%


CMSAC – Putsborough Open Results

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Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Putsborough Open was once again a resounding success despite a forecast of less than favourable conditions and slightly disappointing numbers of quality fish. It was great to hold the event again after two years of interruption due to the COVID pandemic.

Competitors chat before the match

A massive swell had been pushing into the North Devon Coast over the previous couple of days casting doubt on the wisdom of proceeding with the event. Putsborough is however sheltered to some extent from a westerly wind and does not have such a severe swell as some neighbouring beaches. With high pressure starting to build and the wind set to ease the club decided to take a chance and proceed with the event. As luck would have it the forecast was correct and the wind eased though the swell was still a little challenging.

Thirty-two anglers signed in and it was great to see familiar faces once again from the North Devon angling fraternity. The competitors spread out across the vast expanse of sand some pitching up closer to Woolacombe than Putsborough. The beach was littered with brightly coloured jellyfish.

A stunning sunset was enjoyed by all as tackle was prepared and hooks laden with bait.


(Image) Scott Wallace
(Image) Scott Wallace
(Image – Scott Wallace)

The fishing proved slow with dogfish dominating catches. Two  good sized smoothound took the top two places with Ryan Hardman winning and taking the top prize of £100 plus specimen pool and a choice from the prize table. Kevin Legge was runner up with a smoothound of 7lb 4oz. A couple of small bass were tempted the best a bass of 2lb 8oz for Gareth Pike.

Thank you to Scott Wallace for providing a few additional images of the night.

Kevin Legge with his smoothound of 7lb 4oz.


The club would like to give a big thank you to the sponsors; Sakuma Tackle, Quay Sports, HIgh Street Tackle and Braunton Baits. I am sure those who took part appreciated the superb range of prizes for the winners listed below.

1st        Ryan Hardman            smoothound 7lb 10oz

2nd       Kevin Legge                 smoothound 7lb 4oz

3rd        Shaun Kersey             dogfish  2lb 6oz

4th        Arron Brooker             dogfish  1lb 15oz

5th        Antony Smith             dogfish  1lb 14oz

6th        David Brooke             dogfish  1lb 12oz

7th        Gareth Pike                 dogfish  1lb 12oz

8th        Antony Smith             dogfish  1lb 11oz

9th        Wayne Thomas           dogfish 1lb 10oz

10th      Gareth Pike                 dogfish 1lb 9oz

11th      Nick Phillips                 dogfish 1lb 8oz

12th      Nathan Clements        dogfish 1lb 7.5oz

13th      Arron Brooker             dogfish 1lb 7oz

14th      James Corner             dogfish 1lb 6oz

15th      John Johnson             dogfish 1lb 6oz

Best bass – Gareth Pike 2lb 8oz

Combe Martin SAC give thanks to all those who made the effort to take part and to the landowners at Putsborough who gave permission for use of the car park free of charge out of hours,




Putsborough Open – Information and Preview

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Combe Martin SAC hope you enjoy this open competition  with kind permission of the landowner.

The club is very greatfull to local tackle shops and Sakuma for supporting the event.

SAKUMA, High Street Tackle, Quay Sports and Braunton Baits.

The weather as is often the case has proved a concern with a big swell pushing into the North Devon Coast. The conditions should be fishable but challenging. It will be the same for all competitors and big fish often show when there is a bit of movement.  Whilst it is breezy this is due to drop off and it is from the West so Putsborough will be sheltered. Whilst two rods are allowed it might prove more effective to fish one rod well than to fish two rods and get tangles as a result of the possible undertow.

Competitors should take great care when wading as there can be a strong undertow and rip tides. Far better to keep shallow and cast from a firm base the fish will come in surprisingly close.

Fishing is for single best specimen, with £100 for first place and £50 second plus pick of the prize table and so on. There is an optional £1 pool foir the best specimen. There will be prizes for the top fifteen fish.

Small-eyed ray are the principal target and can show up anywhere — so pick your spot.

Sandeel is generally best but fish can be tempted at times with a whole squid or mackerel bait. Bass will show if there is some surf, the obliging dogfish is usually around — along with the odd small turbot, conger, smoothound and occasional blonde ray.

Low water is 10:15pm and the best period to fish is usually two hours either side, with the last hour-and-a-half of the ebb and first hour of the flood often proving the most productive. There are some small pits and sandbanks along this beach, so if you can spy one out it might be worth heading for…

For the purpose of this competition two rods and four hooks may be used, with a pennell rig counting as two hooks. Combe Martin Competition size limits apply.

Please leave a space of approximately 20 yards between yourself and the next angler — it’s a large beach!

When you catch a fish, please check it against the sizes overleaf and complete the capture form, before showing it to another competitor and asking them to witness it.
[Witnesses: Please also print name so you can be identified if need be!]

Steward’s decision is final. All complaints must be issued in writing to organisers before the scales close.

Please do not bring fish to the scales in water, unless the intention is to release them alive. Each angler is limited to two fish per species, but we would ask you to minimise killing of fish and endeavour to keep only your single best specimen.

Please respect the beach and do not leave litter, discarded line or old tackle behind and do not start fires.

If possible, please ensure your vehicle is parked at the bottom of the car park to the far right.


A few images from previous Putsborough Competitions.



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Combe Martin SAC’s annual Open competition at Putsborough sands is a popular event in the local angling calendar. The weather is looking ideally set for a good nights fishing. Small eyed ray are top of the agenda and with the amended dogfish specimen size anyone catching ray or bass will be well rewarded with a splendid array of prizes on the prize table from the clubs sponsors Sakuma, High Street Tackle and Chillcheaters.

This is a catch and release competition with all fish weighed and witnessed before being released. Remember that only one bass can now be retained per day for the table.

Please send your pictures taken on the night to me at North Devon Angling News either via facebook or on my email – [email protected]

Combe Martin Sea Angling Club

Presents Our

Putsborough Sands

Open Fishing Competition 2019

Saturday June 1st

Fishing From 10.00pm to 2.00am

Book In From 8.30pm to 9.30pm

Weigh In By 2.30am

Cash Prizes Of £100 & £50

Sakuma, High Street Tackle, Chillcheater





And Many Other Donated Prizes

2 Rods, 4 Hooks, Specimen Sizes

Entry £5 plus £1 Pool Best Brace

Phone Nick 814703 Or Wayne 850586

For More Details Please Check www.cmsac.co.uk Or Our Facebook Page

Please Respect Putsborough & Remove All Litter

Top Prizes in the Weekends Putsborough Open

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(Above) Some of the prizes up for grabs at the Putsborough Open this weekend.

Combe Martin Sea Angling Club

Presents Our

Putsborough Sands

Open Fishing Competition 2018

Saturday May 12th

Fishing From 9.30pm to 1.30am

Book In From 8.00pm to 9.00pm

Weigh In By 2.00am

Cash Prizes Of £100 & £50

Sakuma, High Street Tackle,

And Many Other Donated Prizes

2 Rods, 4 Hooks, Specimen Sizes

Entry £5 plus £1 Pool Best Brace

Phone Nick 814703 Or Wayne 850586

For More Details Please Check www.cmsac.co.uk Or Our Facebook Page

Please Respect Putsborough & Remove All Litter

Putsborough Sands Open Fishing Competition 2018

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Combe Martin Sea Angling Club

Presents Our

Putsborough Sands

Open Fishing Competition 2018

Saturday May 12th

Fishing From 9.30pm to 1.30am

Book In From 8.00pm to 9.00pm

Weigh In By 2.00am

Cash Prizes Of £100 & £50

Sakuma, High Street Tackle,

And Many Other Donated Prizes

2 Rods, 4 Hooks, Specimen Sizes

Entry £5 plus £1 Pool Best Brace

Phone Nick 814703 Or Wayne 850586

For More Details Please Check www.cmsac.co.uk Or Our Facebook Page

Please Respect Putsborough & Remove All Litter

Putsborough Open 2017

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Fifty eight anglers descended upon Putsborough beach for the annual Combe Martin Sea Angling Club Open and they  met with ideal conditions. The east wind that had blown for several days had abated and the sea was calm as everyone gathered in the car park to book in.

It was good to chat with a few anglers who I had reported on over the past twelve months on this website. The nice thing about this competition is that it has a really friendly vibe with anglers meeting up, sharing tales and making plans.

Combe Martin SAC give special thanks to their sponsors; Sakuma, High Street Tackle, Veal Mail Order and Kevin Legge. Thanks also to Putsborough Sands for allowing the use their venue once again. The club also wish to thank all who took part with many anglers travelling a considerable distance to fish the event. Really pleased to hear several cheery “see you next year” as anglers sped off into the night at the end.

The fishing proved to be pretty good as well with most anglers catching fish and more than enough to match the impressive array of prizes on offer at the end. Over thirty small eyed ray were caught, one blonde ray, several smoothound to 5lb 8oz and of course plenty of dogfish.

1st – Matt Druce – blonde ray -11lb 41/4oz

2nd -Dale Kiff – small eyed ray – 7lb 14oz

3rd – Gareth Pike- dogfish – 2lb 5oz

4th – Garry Andrews – small eyed ray – 7lb 1/2oz

5th – Matt Druce – smell eyed ray – 6lb 151/2oz

6th – Dan Welch – small eyed ray – 6lb 15oz

7th – Dan Redmore – small eyed ray – 6lb 12oz

8th – Colin Emery – dogfish 2lb

9th – Lee Holden – dogfish 1lb 15oz

10th – Gareth Pike – dodfish 1lb 14oz

Nick Smith – dogfish 1lb 14oz

Ben Putman – dogfish 1lb 14oz

11th – Ross Stanway – small eyed ray – 6lb 21/2oz

12th – Ben Putman – small eyed ray – 6lb 10z

Colin Tanton – small eyed ray 6lb 1oz


Junior prize – Ollie Laird  dogfish – 1lb 15oz

Best Brace  -Matt Druce – Blonde Ray 11lb 41/2oz & small eyed ray 6lb 151/2oz Total = 163.4%

Below are a few pictures and comments from the night  I will add as I get more so please feel free to send images and comments I try to make this a site for the angling community.




(above ) Dale Kiff

(Above) Nick Phillips

Mike Seatherton ( Above) – Fished Putsborough competition last night, really enjoyed it, managed to catch a few fish, smooth hound, small eyed ray and plenty of dog fish, biggest ray 4lbs 10oz,
Congratulations to all who got on the prize table!

(Above) Rob Scoines

(Below) Matt Druce and his winning fish , great turn out and thank you to all the sponsors and the usual suspects for a well organized event

Kevin Legge (Above)
Richard Budge( Above)


2017 Putsborough Open May 6th

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Saturday May 6th  Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs annual open fishing competition at Putsborough Beach. If recent catches are anything to go by we should see plenty of ray caught. As always the weather is the deciding factor so fingers crossed that its good conditions.

Combe Martin Sea Angling Club

Putsborough Sands

Open Fishing Competition 2017

Saturday May 6th

Fishing From 9.30pm to 1.30am

Book In From 8.00pm to 9.00pm

Weigh In By 2.00am

Cash Prizes Of £100 & £50

Sakuma, High Street Tackle & Veals MO

And Many Other Donated Prizes

2 Rods, 4 Hooks, Specimen Sizes

Entry £5 plus £1 Pool Best Brace

Phone Nick 814703 Or Wayne 850586

For More Details Please Check www.cmsac.co.uk Or Our Facebook Page

Please Respect Putsborough & Remove All Litter