Combe Martin SAC AGM and presentation night.

Kyle Bishop recieves his well deserved Merit award from club secretary Nick Phillips.

Combe Martin SAC held their AGM and presentation night at the White Lion Inn Braunton on Friday January 26th. The club had enjoyed a successful year in 2023 with members registering a good number of specimen fish. The club are introducing a predator award next season for the member registering the best tope, conger, bull huss and spurdog specimen rating total. The winner will receive a megladon sharks tooth for 12 months from club member Daniel Welch.

Award winner for 2023 were as follows :-

2023 Trophy Winners

Cod Trophy    Mark Jones.    6lb 12oz

Bass Trophy   David Brooke – 12lb 6oz

Mullet Cup       Kyle Bishop = Thin Lipped grey mullet    5lb 3oz 129%

Conger Cup       Shane Pavio Hook Way – 23lb 7oz

Flatfish Cup       Daniel Welch.  Flounder 1lb 9oz

Shore Shield       Kyle Bishop   tope 61lb 9oz  205%

Medway Cup     Mark Jones  Porbeagle Shark  151% calculated by formula

Ray Shield    Jamie ~Steward small eyed ray – 12lb 13oz

Wrasse Trophy   Daniel Welch   5lb

Burgess Trophy     Charlie Stanway – ballan wrasse 4lb 15.5oz 110%

Scouse Shield     Wayne Thomas  – rockling 15oz

D Kyte Award     Wayne Thomas 4 mullet total 312%

Out Of Limits    Ollie Passmore –  ballan wrasse     5lb 6oz

Ollie Passmore recieves the Out Of Limits trophy for a fine wrasse of 5lb 6oz

Thornback Cup     – Mark Jones 13lb 10oz

Specimen League –    Kyle Bishop

Bass                     10lb 6oz      129.688%

Bull Huss                15lb 5oz.     153.125%

Spurdog                13lb 3oz.      132%

Thin Lipped grey mullet. 5lb 3oz.  129.688%

Tope                      61lb 9oz.         205.208%

Ballan wrasse         4lb 15oz.         109.722%

                                           Total – 859.306%


Runner up Jamie Steward

small eyed ray 12lb 13oz 128.125 S
tope 37lb 12oz 122.083 S
gilthead bream 4lb 4oz 141.667
thin lipped grey mullet 4lb 14oz 122.875 S
smoothound 13lb 3oz 131.875 S
bull huss 11lb 4oz 112 S


Top four boat specimens

Mark Jones –

bass 9lb 1oz 113.281 B
porbeagle 265lb 151.43 B
tope 36lb 90 B
pollock 7lb 4oz 72.5 B

Club Records 

Kyle Bishop – Skate 13lb 8oz

Shaun Quartly – blue-mouth 6oz

Kyle Bishop – bull huss  15lb 5oz

Daniel Welch – bonito 3lb 15oz (Boat)

Shane Pavio Hook Way – Thresher Shark – 300lb ( Estimated)

 Fish of the season –

Winter 22/23    David Brooke – bull huss 15lb 2oz             151%

Spring 23            Jamie Steward – Gilt head bream  4lb 4oz 141%

Summer  23       Kyle Bishop.   Tope     61lb 9oz.                      205%

Autumn 223–     David Brook.   Bass  12lb 6oz                          154.688%

Merit Award  –    Kyle Bishop outstanding catches throughout the year.

Kyle Bishop with the 61lb 9oz tope that won the best specimen award

The club are also launching an Ilfracombe based species league that will be run in conjunction with keen Ilfracombe anglers

Species competition Format

  1. Most species wins
  2. All fish to photographed with captor and proof of location
  3. Boundaries from lime kiln to Cheyne beach
  4. CMSAC Club members
  5. Comp starts 1st of Feb 2024 until December 31st 2024

Subsequent years will be as per calendar year

  1. Entry for CMSAC members is free as part of membership
  2. Fishing to club rules – 2 rods, four hooks

9 . Prizes upfront

 1st, 2nd , 3rd

Season Ticket for aquarium ( Family TBC)

£25.00 Voucher High Street Tackle

Voucher for local butchers ( TBC)

  1. Catch a Release encouraged

Entries to be sent to Fish Recorder Wayne Thomas or Toby Bassett.

Photos required clearly showing fish, captor and location.

League will be kept updated by Fish Recorder and in addition to individual entries a tally will kept as a club tally as a collective team effort.

Will try and arrange a few pop up species days throughout the year to encourage social interaction with members.

Appledore Shipbuilders – December Result

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Thirteen fished the December rover today. Fishing was tough in the fresh NE Wind. Josh Atkinson won with a fine specimen Whiting of 1lb 11ozs. James Atkinson was second with a Whiting of 1lb 6 1/4ozs and Josh also secured third with another Whiting of 1lb 6ozs.
Several reported that Flounders seemed hard to find today with only one submitted at the weigh in.
James also caught an old warrior which was returned back to the sea after a quick photo and weighing. It pulled the scales to 8lb 3ozs!

Bideford Angling Club Sea Rover

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Bideford Sea Rover October rover results 

1st Antony Smith Thornback Ray 12lb 8oz  138.888%

2nd Nathan Clements Bull Huss 8lb 14 1/2oz  89.062%

3rd Andrew Clements Thornback Ray 7lb 10oz  84.722%

Appledore Shipbuilders Rover
Only 10 Anglers turned out today for the last competition of the season.
Weather was awful to start the day but it fined away nice through the day.
Winner today was Andrew Atkinson with a fine Trigger Fish of 2lb 14ozs. The only other fish weighed in was a 14oz Mackerel also caught by Andrew
Appledore Shipbuilders AGM will be held on Friday 21st October at The Royal In Appledore 7:30 start.

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.