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.

Shark Handling Best Practice

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As we enter the Spring and summer season it seems a good time to promote good practice when handling members of the shark family. Please take note of these guidelines handle all fish with respect and consideration. I will take this into account when publishing images on this site so please follow the above when trying to capture those memories.

Spectacular Shark Fishing off North Devon

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Dan Hawkin’s has been taking anglers to fishing grounds far off the North Devon coast on his boat Reel Deal where they have made some spectacular catches of shark not seen off North Devon since the 1970’s. The party of anglers set a boat record of 28 blue shark up to 97lb on the first day. On the second day of their charter  Jason Heenan boated a superb blue shark of 133lb.

The anglers boated 38 shark over the two days with Ammo Baits Chum attracting the fish and Penn Rods and reels from High Street tackle taming the fish.

The fishing is strictly catch and release with circle hooks ensuring that the majority of shark are hooked in the jaws where hooks can be easily removed. Fortunately the days of slaughtering these beautiful fish has been consigned to the history books where such practices belong.

Dan has enjoyed considerable success over past couple of years with anglers boating huge porbeagle shark, a thresher shark and blue shark with catches unheard of in recent years. The success has come on the back of significant investment and effort with the will to travel long distances with no guarantee of success. The future is exciting and expect Dan’s diary to be filling already with booking for next year.


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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 book now to avoid disappointment I’ll be running local trips and trips right up to the English and welsh grounds”


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Dan Hawkins has ventured to deep waters off the North Devon coast taking advantage of the settled weather to put anglers amongst both blue and porbeagle shark. Over three days eleven porbeagle shark and nine blue shark were tempted using Ammo chum in combination with Ammo mackerel hook baits. The fish were in the 80lb to 90lb range.

The catches have stirred interest from the national press who will undoubtedly be sensationalizing  the catches of shark off the North Devon coast. This is however nothing new as shark have always frequented the the area but it takes a pioneering skipper to rediscover them and make the effort. All of the shark are released alive after photographing. Circle hooks are used to reduce any danger of deep hooking and the fish handled for a minimal period with large fish unhooked at the side of the boat.

Shark Catch off Ilfracombe

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“What a absolutely brilliant day!!” Said Toby Basset after an amazing days fishing aboard Dan Hawkins Reel Deal..”off we set at 6am and by 8.30am we were fishing in the Celtic deeps sharks rod went in and i was first up within an hour first fish was hooked! A cracking beagle of 80lb+ sadly shook the hook. The party hooked a fish a fish every 20 minutes with the anglers landing two shark each a mix of beagles and blues! Biggest blue went to 71lb the skipper even landed a tidy little beagle as we brought the lines in to go home! Ten shark landed 3 dropped what a day!! Even caught a new species of a little grey gurnard!”

Porbeagle Shark – On Reel Deal

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 Kevin Hainsworth, Rich Mullans and Rich Drays had an exciting day on Ilfracombe based Charter Boat ‘Reel Deal’ they decided that they were all going to have a go at enticing the porbeagle they hooked to the boat in a team effort. The porbeagle was caught on Veals Mail order terminal tackle and reels on a 10/0 circle hook. The fish measured 70 inches by 38inches girth and weighed 127lb she fell to a blast frozen Ammo mackerel.