A few fish about!

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March and April are generally quiet months out on the coast but there are always a few fish to be found and its often good to just be out there in the fresh air. Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway fished an Ilfracombe Rock mark with his young son Charlie and they both tempted shore rockling with Ross landing a new personal best of 13.5oz. Between them they landed pollock, dogfish and rockling.

There should be very chance of bull huss from rough ground marks and the fisrt ray should be showing from local surf beaches.

Spurdog on the feed in stormy seas

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North Devon Angler Jon Patten kindly gave permission for me to replicate this account of his latest trip.

With the chance of a spur on the horizon myself and a couple of mates ventured out in the middle of the night in pursuit of spurdogs
After a long drive through wind.. sleet… snow.. hail and very high winds
We arrived at our location to find a lumpy sea….perfect although the rain was now coming down in stair rods and extremely uncomfortable against our faces
But at least the wind was behind us
We cast our baits into the murky depths of the Bristol channel in pursuit of our quarry
Rods rattled instantly as the baits hit the sea bed with small bites…… bait fish were in the area for the spurs to feed off
We didn’t have to wait long before the first spur showed…mostly smaller size between 6/7lb with bigger specimens showing aswell later in the tide
Little flurries of them went through and our spur numbers rose
2 hrs into the ebb must have seen a mass of fish go through as spurs hit our baits in a big way
It was mayhem
We landed 18 fish in total and then released after a photo…. with Several nice doubles to add to our tally…. it was pure madness
Red letter day to say the least and we did manage 1 or 2 breaks in the weather to boot.

Jon is sponsored by Shimano, Reeds, Veal’s Mail Order, Sea Power UK and Jim’s Lures.

The biggest spurdog pulled the scales to 12lb 3oz.

Rockling Reward

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A short session on the rocks produced plenty of dogfish for Rob Scoines and myself. Conditions seemed perfect with the seas having settled nicely following the weekend storms. A pleasant surprise was this near specimen rockling of 1lb 9oz that fell to Rob along with pollock of a couple of pounds.  There a bound to be a few spurdog and bull huss about but getting through the dogfish and small conger is as always a challenge.

Shore Spurdog

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The first spurdog of the winter season have been caught from rock marks along the coast. These toothy predators should be around for the next couple of months at least and have become the go to species since the decline of cod in North Devon waters. Chay Boggis landed this 5lb fish during a twelve hour session at a deep water rock mark.

Big Ballan

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Ross Stanway landed a fine ballan wrasse of 4lb 14oz from a North Devon Rock mark when he made an early start attempting to add new species in the clubs Species Hunt. Big ballan wrasse have been scarce over recent seasons with very few caught near the local specimen rating of 5lb.

It is unclear whether numbers have declined significantly or if less are caught because less anglers target them? In the clearer waters of Cornwall , South Devon and the Isle of Scilly large numbers of wrasse are tempted using soft plastic lures. It may well be worth trying for the species over some of North Devons Rocky marks during periods with improved water clarity.

Most wrasse are tempted using legered worm or crab baits.

Huge spurdog

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 Castaways Sea Angling Club member Gary Hillon fished a North Devon Rock mark to a catch a fantastic specimen Spur of 17-7-8. The fish was tempted on a sandeel squid cocktail fished on a 4/0 pennel pulley rig.

Ryan Dunbreck  also had a fine Spur of 14-6-8 a new Castaways Catch & Release record.