Variety on the coast

I often comment that one of the joys of sea angling is the unexpected. During late Autumn and winter the coast certainly has a few surprises along with the target species. Kevin Legge tempted this specimen pouting of 1lb 9oz on a recent visit to the shoreline.

The beaches can still produce bass when the conditions are right but its not always bass that find the bait. This small turbot was a welcome surprise on a recent trip.

This conger estimated at 18lb put a good bend in Kevin legges rod on recent session on the rocks.

On the same session I was pleased with this small spotted ray.

December mullet were once rare yet mullet fishing now seems well worth the effort throughout the entire year.

Sea Angling Round Up

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(Above) Chay Boggis 13lb 7oz smoothound

North Devon’s anglers have been relishing the lifting of lockdown and heading to the water’s edge where social distancing is easy to undertake. Sea anglers have not found the fishing easy with high pressure and north east winds not generally  conducive to good fishing. Most anglers have just been glad to once again smell the sea air and be there fishing. Smoothound have provided some exciting sport with Chay Boggis landing a specimen of 13lb 7oz and Kody Chugg a hound of 10lb 6oz.

(Above) Charlie Jenkins with a 12lb smoothound

David Jenkins and Charlie  enjoyed a successful beach session landing ray, bass and smoothound.

Kody Chugg – smoothound 10lb 6oz

Several bass have succumbed to lure fishing tactics on the coast and in the estuary.

(Above)Mark Tossel with a lure caught bass

Wrasse are a fish that always respond to clear water and several have been caught from the kelp strewn gullies of the open coast. Anglers fishing soft plastic lures slowly through rough ground can tempt wrasse a tactic that is often underused on the North Devon coast where bait fishing tactics have traditionally reigned supreme.

Grey mullet are showing from both coast and estuary providing exciting and challenging sport on light tackle.

(Above) Steve Pinn with 3lb 4oz thick lipped grey mullet
(Above) Jack Phillips with a 2lb thick lip grey mullet from the Open Coast.

Kody Chugg with a well marked bull Huss

Ross Stanway takes top spot with a big blonde

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Eighteen club members took part in Combe Martin SAC’s Blow Away the Excess competition over four days with shore and boat an option. Ross Stanway secured first and second place taking home over £90 for a blonde ray of 14lb 1oz and a conger of 18lb 4oz. Dave Brooke was third with a bull huss of 8lb. Mark Jones landed a spurdog of 7lb 13oz.

Mark Jones – spurdog 7lb 13oz
Daniel Welch with plump codling caught off Minehead
Daniel Welch with boat caught thornback of 8lb 2oz

Shore Caught tope 39lb 12oz

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Combe Martin SAC member Ian laird landed this stunning 39lb 12oz from a North Devon rock mark. This is the second tope caught this week and bodes well for the coming weeks with more anglers hitting the shoreline over the festive period. I will take this opportunity to remind anglers of the dangers of shore fishing with cold water, surging waves and big fish a dangerous cocktail.

Shore sport update

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There are some good fish coming in along the North Devon coast at the moment with conger, bull huss, blonde ray and spurdog, It is important that those reading this get a true perspective as these fish generally require effort to catch. I obviously get to see lots of good fish to report on and I too sometimes get over optimistic when I set out onto the shoreline. Last night was a typical session when I joined fellow CMSAC member Rob Scoines at a local rock mark. We were both optimistic on arrival at our chosen mark but after close to five hours we had managed seven or eight small conger (commonly known as straps or bootlaces) and a solitary pollock. My own catch rate was undoubtedly impacted upon by my choice of 8/0 hooks and wire trace with several traces coming back as twisted tangles following the small eels attempts to eat the large baits.

There are often plenty of trips to the shoreline that bring little reward but its all part of the long term game. Put in the hours; sit back watch those rod tips for before long they will nod, the reel will scream and the rod will bend. Below are a few catches from this week.

(Above)Paul Lorrimore landed several eels to 18lb 8oz
Chay Boggis with a good huss

Dan Welch – blonde ray of around 9lb.

Sea Angling Results

Bideford Angling Club and Appledore Shipbuilders hold their monthly sea rovers on the first Sunday of each month and both clubs allow competitors to fish over a very wide area of the South West including  Devon, Dorset and Cornwall. Their results highlight the vast the vast range of species available to anglers in the South West.

Bideford Monthly Rover results

1st – Antony Smith garfish 15 1/2 oz 77.5% (Above)

2nd  -Andrew Clements dogfish 1 lb 13 60.416%

Appledore Shipbuilders Monthly Rover Results

1st- Josh Atkinson – black bream 2lb 7.5oz

2nd – Michael Hammett – garfish 1lb 2oz

3rd – James Mayhew – small eyed ray 7lb 1/8oz

Junior section – Jack Pike – ballan wrasse 4lb 3oz

Triple Hook Club – WYCO EWB – Club Flounder

1st – Mark Hancock – flounder 1lb 1/4oz

2nd – Kevin Hancock – flounder 15oz

Sea Angling Prospects

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Prospects for the coming weekend are looking good with a wide range of species available to target. Weather wise Sunday is the best looking day with light winds and sunshine. Fish don’t always worry about the weather though and night sessions could be profitable for bass, huss, conger and ray.

Combe Martin SAC are holding an Open competition over the weekend so this will encourage a few anglers to get out and see whats about. Might even win a prize from the sponsors Sakuma and Ardosia slate.

(Below)Mark Jones fished a local rock mark and landed a fine smoothound and beautiful wrasse.

(below) John Shapland caught this fine grey mullet earlier this week.

Braunton Bait Trip to Foreign Shores

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Craig McCloughlin runs Braunton Baits and has just posted this report.

Just got back from another Braunton Bait Box / FishTrek stingray trip abroad.

This trip wasn’t to disappoint!! We managed a lot of different species and a lot of personal best’s broken several times over

Between us we landed
Eagle ray to 25lb +
Butterfly ray to 80lb+
Stingray ray to 170lb
Smooth hound to 21lb 10oz
Hammer head shark
Lizard fish

And Rikki having the fish of the holiday with an estimated weight of 170lb

and whats even better – all the rods I built stood up to the battle

If Anyone is interested in a trip abroad please get in touch

Combe Martin SAC Winter Rover

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Dan Welch secured victory in Combe Martin SAC’s Winter Rover landing a specimen spurdog of 12lb 3oz ( Above)

In runner up spot was Matt Jeffery with a specimen bull huss of 10lb 13oz(Below). Matt also took third place with a spurdog of 8lb 4oz.

Several conger were also landed to 15lb along with rockling and dogfish.

A double figure conger (Above)

The end of competition meeting was held at Cook Island and proved to be a great venue with friendly banter and in depth discussion on the weekends fishing and tactics.