Last year Combe Martin SAC held an Open match on Woolacombe beach that was attended by over twenty anglers despite rough conditions prior to the competition. This year the event was a club only event due to the ongoing COVID -19 outbreak that has impacted upon many events this season. Special thanks go the Mortehoe Parish council, who kindly allowed the club to use Marine Drive for the event. It is hoped that next year will see a return to an Open format.
A cool North wind prevailed through much of the preceding week and was still blowing on the night pf the competition. An inspection of the beach earlier in the day had revealed that there was not much weed and that it would be fishable on the night when all the swimmers and surfers had headed for home.
Half a dozen club members assembled at Marine Drive before heading down to the shoreline to cast their baits into the surf. The sun was setting behind Lundy on the horizon and I relished the spectacle appreciating the places that fishing takes me too.
As darkness descended anticipation was high that a bass or good ray would succumb. The moon rose above the hillside painting the beach with moonlight after the sun had set.
At low water I noticed a change in the pattern of nodding rod tip and reeled in a tiny small eyed ray. The next cast brought a another slightly bigger ray.
The tide flood quickly in and it was soon time to pack up. My last cast brought another tiny ray that had attempted to take my large mackerel bait intended for bass.
The trudge back to the post comp meet up was hard going with waders and soft sand a taxing combination that made us all blow a little. The results were disappointing with six small ray, a single bass and one small smoothound.
1st – Dan Welch – bass 2lb 3oz
2nd Barry Scobling – small eyed ray 2lb 4oz
Note this was a catch and release match as all CMSAC matchs are.
Bideford 24 hour results
1st Andrew Clements small-eyed Ray 9lb 6 3/4oz 104.687%
2nd Julien Stainer Dogfish 3lb 1 1/2oz 103.125%
3rd Andrew Clements smalleyed Ray 8lb 11 1/4oz 96.701%
Combe Martin SAC Early Autumn Rover
Kevin Legge won Combe Martin SAC early autumn river with a bull Huss scaling 7lb 9oz
Mark Jones secured first place in Combe Martin SAC’s Breath Of Fresh Air Winter Rover landing a specimen small eyed ray of 11lb 1oz.
Runner was Dan Miles Redmore with a spurdog of 8lb 8oz.
Wayne Thomas was third with a dogfish of 2lb 2oz and Dan Welch forth with a thornback ray of 6lb 15oz. Jack Phillips was fifth with dogfish of 1lb 12oz and Mark Jones 6th with a codling of 5lb 13oz.
The fourteen members fished marks covering a wide area from Somerset down to Bideford Bay. Fishing was generally hard going with dogfish and small conger prolific in some areas.
I fished a local mark and the highlight of the trip was a visit from a hungry shag that was so tame it took bits of bait straight from the hand. Whilst cormorants cause a great deal of damage inland and on rivers I delight in seeing them on the coast where they belong. Gannets were also swooping over the water indicating food fish potentially close to the surface.
Forty-Nine anglers descended upon Putsborough Beach for Combe Martin SAC’s popular annual Open Match. Conditions were close to perfect with an offshore breeze and a moderate swell pushing onto the beach. As the anglers arrived families were vacating the beach and were intrigued at the number of anglers arriving and asked what we expected to catch. I feel sure that most who visit the beach have no idea what lurks within a hundred yards of the dry sand.
The club had made the popular decision to amend the dogfish specimen size for the competition raising it from 3lb to 3lb 8oz. As it turned out dogfish were scarce on the night with just a handful recorded. The desired small eyed ray turned up in really good numbers with over thirty registered and returned. There were also several bass caught to just under 5lb, smoothound to 7lb 12oz and a few small turbot.
Combe Martin SAC give a huge thank you to the generous sponsors Sakuma, High Street Tackle Ilfracombe and Chillcheater.
The club would also like to thank all the competitors who attended on the night and made the event a resounding success. The owners of Putsborough are thanked for allowing us to host this popular event and I remind anglers fishing the beach that it is a Private Car Park and should be treated with respect at all times giving consideration to those holidaying at the venue. As an organiser I have to admit to a degree of apprehension each year regarding the weather and the logistics. The count up is always a bit stressful with a deluge of fish and a keen-ness to get everything wrapped up correctly without keeping anglers too long; as many have travelled a good distance and want to get home to bed. Apologies from the club for a couple of minor errors, fortunately I think everyone who should have received a prize did and I am sure all will agree that the prize table was excellent with the top fifteen fish securing a prize pack of a considerable value.
Full Results :-
Bideford 24 hour results
1st Kyle Blackmore small-eyed ray 8lb 4 91.666%
2nd Andrew Clements smoothound 7lb 12 77.500%
3rd Andrew Clements smoothound 7lb 4 72.500%
(Below) Combe Martin SAC Member Mark Jones took a trip to a Somerset beach and landed a fine brace of small eyed ray weighing 11lb 2oz and 10lb 12oz.
Its been very quiet from the shore over recent weeks with poor weather deterring many anglers from venturing forth. The water temperature is up for the time of year and this could encourage a few fish close inshore to start feeding. Ollie Passmore found success landing this fine small-eyed-ray of 10lb 4oz. His good friend Kody Chugg also succeeded landing a fine bass of 8lb that was carefully released after a quick picture.