SUPER SEPTEMBER SHARKING

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Daniel Hawkins focused on taking anglers in search of shark during the month of September and enjoyed a great deal of success bringing a good number of porbeagle and thresher shark to the side of the boat. The biggest porbeagle was estimated at an impressive 550lb.

Reel Deal moves up to Watchet for the winter season while the sister boat Predator 2 skippered by Archie Porter remains at Ilfracombe and will be running trips throughout the winter targeting spurdog, bull huss and conger.

The Reel Deal Team

Dan Hawkins has been operating his charter boat Reel Deal out of Ilfracombe for several years and has built a deserved reputation for putting anglers on the fish especially porbeagle shark. Dan has expanded on the waters fished out of Ilfracombe making the most of the boats capability to explore waters far to the West of Ilfracombe even venturing out into the Celtic deeps to catch blue shark.

Good news for anglers is that the Reel Deal experience has been expanded with Archie Porter joining Dan to skipper sister boat “Predator 2”. Seventeen year old Archie Pike has been assisting as deck hand for close to five years during which time he has undoubtedly been tutored well. I first met Archie as a keen junior angler participating in one of  Combe Martin SAC’s popular fun fishing events. It was apparent then that he had a keen interest in sea angling and I am delighted that he has takin this opportunity to help ensure Ilfracombe’s long term future as a charter boat destination.

I was due to join Dan on Reel Deal for a day with my camera capturing a few images for features. As is often the case circumstances dictate a change of plan and the need to fit a new engine into Predator 2 meant that young Archie was to skipper Reel Deal and was lumbered with me for the day.

On arrival at a busy Ilfracombe harbour, I was greeted by Dan and Archie who were chatting with Ilfracombe Sea Safaris the hot topic of the day being an invasion of Twitters eager to reach Lundy and tick off a rare warbler that had been sighted. Ilfracombe harbour is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for Wildlife watching and diving, operating as the stepping stone to Lundy.

Archie was taking myself and a party of anglers from the Weston-Super-Mare  area. Chatting with them I found that they ranged from experienced boat anglers to relative newcomers to the sport. Jerry Day, Raymond Galivlins, Igor Fursous, Matt Burns, Alec Hughs and Alec Gelasvili immediately made me very welcome.

As luck would have it the weather forecast was a bit iffy offering strengthening winds later in the day and low cloud. We set out from Ilfracombe and I was impressed as Reel Deal bounced across a moderate sea powered by twin Suzuki 325 engines that can push Reel Deal at a top speed of 45 knots cruising comfortably at 30 knots.

The familiar coastline West of Ilfracombe passed by quickly the cliff tops shrouded in mist. The first mark was a rocky reef close to Baggy Point where pollock and bass were on the wanted list. After several  unproductive drifts it was clear that the fish were either absent or not feeding.

I could sense that Archie was frustrated by this lack of action and overheard his enquiries as to conditions further afield. We were soon heading towards Lundy Island where we could drop anchor and target the tope that had been showing in good numbers.

https://www.northdevonanglingnews.co.uk/2021/06/07/tope-feeding-frenzy/

We spent an hour drifting with lures with a few wrasse and small pollock getting the fish count underway. The steep granite cliffs shrouded in mist created an exciting Jurassic park feeling to the vista. Guillemots  were abundant along with a few puffins.

As the tide eased towards low water it was time to embark upon the days main event and target the tope. We anchored at the favoured mark with a mixture of sand and broken ground. Large frozen mackerel baits were favoured by most and were sent to the sea bed. The rods set up in holders in anticipation of rod bending tope.

After a few minutes rod tips started to nod as a succession of bull huss and dogfish found the baits. A whiting tempted on baited feathers was attacked on the retrieve by what was undoubtedly the target species. The encounter being all too brief with the whiting showing deep lacerations on its flanks where the topes teeth had cut into the flesh.

As the tide eased towards low water bull huss came frequently each one boasting an impressive pattern of leopard like spots.

By now there were only five anglers participating in the day as one had been struck down by a particularly bad bout of sea sickness.

As the tide began to flood the fish once again went off the feed and we headed closer to the misty cliffs once again for the last session of the day. With a few small pollock added to the tally it was time to steam back to Ilfracombe.

It had been a hard day’s fishing as is sometimes the case. Despite this spirits were surprisingly high as future trips were planned with those on board eager to replicate their previous success on Reel Deal a few weeks prior to this trip when they had found the pollock in a cooperative mood smashing into their lures to result in a bulging fish box to take home for the freezer.

Lets hope my next venture out with the camera coincides with good light and plenty of fish.

Reel Deal Sport off Ilfracombe

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Anglers have enjoyed some superb sport off Ilfracombe aboard Reel Deal with Skipper Dan Hawkins. Tope fishing as at times been hectic with a few larger predators showing including blue shark to 90lb plus and a some chunky porbeagle. One large porbeagle even enjoying a chunk of fresh bass for dinner! The anglers have also enjoyed frequent glimpse of dolphins and whale in the deeps.

Go Up Channel for Autumn and winter cod.

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As Autumn descends and days grow colder many sea anglers hope to catch cod. Sadly cod have become rare along the North Devon shore line so if you want cod its best to head up Channel and get out on one of the many charter boats that operate. Dan Hawkins has relocated to Watchet after the summer at Ilfracombe and continues to find quality fish.

Mick Cashmore sent me this report from Somerset.

Massive thanks to Dan Hawkins, Reel Deal charters, for a great days fishing, Saturday 5th Oct, and finally helping me get my lump of a cod and pb @ 9lb 2oz after years and miles of trying. Thanks again to a great skipper who works so hard to get you on the fish.

Porbeagle Shark – Are the Reel Deal

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Reel Deal has once again put anglers in touch with the large porbeagle shark patrolling the North Cornish Coast. Following on from the huge fish estimated at 500lb Peter Hearn hooked a shark estimated at 250lb. The shark was beaten using sponsors Penn Tackle supplied by High Street Tackle. The shark were attached to the boat using Ammon Chum mix and Ammo frozen mackerel hook baits.

Coalfish on Reel Deal

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Daniel Hawkins landed this fine coalfish of 5lb 10oz whilst fishing over a reef off the North Devon Coast. Not often you see these caught off North Devon and when I first saw it I thought it was a post from Norway! The biggest coalfish I know of from the North Devon coast was landed by Barry Hill from a shore mark near Ilfracombe and weighed 18lb! It held the British Record for several years.

BIG BLUE ON REEL DEAL

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Shane Tandy boated a fine blue shark of 114lb whilst fishing on board Reel Deal. This was one of thirteen shark caught during a trip to the offshore marks out of Ilfracombe.

Dan Hawkins wrote earlier “with the season coming to a close down Ilfracombe we have some last chance availability for the sharks then it’s back up channel for the cod www.reeldealcharters.uk book now to avoid disappointment I’ll be running local trips and trips right up to the English and welsh grounds”

LADIES GET THE BLUES – Its the Reel Deal Birthday off Ilfracombe

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(Above)Stacey Bayldon – Fine Birthday present

Ladies day aboard Reel Deal (Dan Hawkins) off ilfracombe resulted in fabulous Blue sharks up to 90lb. Stacey Bayldon landed the first blue shark of the day, followed by Jade Jemmett, Michelle Bayldon and Sharon Feakes landing the biggest at 90lb. A truly amazing experience, life long dream achieved! A massive thank you to Daniel Hawkins and Archie Porter aboard Reel Deal for an amazing day, to Dave Stenson for embracing our madness and our helping hand and huge thank you to Phil Lewis for the best birthday present ever!

Many Thanks to Stacey for sending this report to North Devon Angling News

(Above) Jade Jemmett
(Above) Sharon Feakes

(Above) Michelle Bayldon

Reel Deal tope sport off Ilfracombe

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The Veals Mail order Team enjoyed a fantastic day Tope fishing out of Ilfracombe with Daniel Hawkins of Reel Deal Charters

Simon Lynch relays that the day started off well with numbers of small Tope around the 20lb mark, along with a few Bullhuss. After a couple of hours Dan decided to up the anchor and move off. He suggested big mackerel baits at the second mark and we were soon rewarded with some lovely Tope around 30lb, it was non stop action all afternoon with double shots on-board. Simon Lynch landed a new personal best of 41lb.

Bait was supplied by Ammo Baits.