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January can be a tough month weather wise for the shore angler but if the correct clothing is worn then there is no reason not to get out there and catch a few specimens. I get a steady stream of reports from successful forays to the coast with some anglers traveling long distances to enjoy their sport.

Combe Martin SAC member Dan Spearman enjoyed a succesful shore foray to a local rock mark landing a fine specimen whiting of 1lb 14oz and specimen spurdog of 8lb 11oz.


David Alsop travelled over to the North Devon Coast from wales and was rewarded with fine specimen spurdog weighing 11lb 6oz.( Below)

Many thanks to Robert Young for allowing me to share his picture.


Holsworthy Sea Anglers _ Enjoy fine Ilfracombe boat sport.

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Holsworthy Sea Anglers had a great  day out with John Barbeary on Bluefin off Ilfracombe. They started off with the obligatory lesser spotted dogfish with plenty of them showing their faces throughout the day, a quick move and Andrew Braunton and Tom Marshall started to find the spurdog and a lonely smoothound for Paul Cozens. Another move further out and bingo plenty of spurdogs from high singles to mid doubles along with bullhuss for a bit of variety and also a solitary tope which released itself at the surface. Steve did manage a conger at the end for a 6 species total.

Many thanks to Paul Cozens for the write up and images. Great to sea smiling faces out at sea!




Rod bending action off Ilfracombe

Anglers fishing aboard John Barbeary’s Bluefin have been catching some quality fish off Ilfracombe in recent weeks with bull huss, spurdog and big conger putting bends in anglers rods. Over the next few months spurdog numbers are likely to increase with every chance that someone will break through the twenty pound barrier. Thirty pound plus conger are frequently landed with a fifty plus on the cards if anglers have strong enough tackle. Whilst cod are elusive it would be no surprise if one or two big fish are tempted.

(Above) Double figure huss for John Barbeary and Toby Basset


Dave Clements with a big huss of 15lb

(Above)Troy Laing with a specimen spurdog
(Above)Pete Gregory with a double figure spurdog
John Barbeary shows off a spurdog and huss as the action is thick and fast.
(Above) Dan Spearman 30lb conger
( Above) John Barbeary 15lb bull huss
(Above)Nathan Pardoe -34lb conger
(Above) Richard with fine huss of 14lb


Jon gets spurred on in the cold night

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Jon Patten has allowed me to post his latest exploit here on North Devon Angling News. This is the second spurdog I have heard of from the shore so far this year which is a promising sign so early in the winter season.

Decided on a little evening session the other night based on the hunch that there may have been a spur or two about from one of the local beaches,With temperatures failing to minus 5 we hoped that we would be busy thus keeping us warm. Baits were sent out into the murky depths of the Bristol channel where hopefully something would dine on our scrumptious offering, Barely 10 minutes had passed and the first of our bites came, in fact a flurry of bites consisting mainly of dogfish, eels,whiting and huss……Nothing big but enough to keep us occupied which was very pleasing watching the rods continuously nodding amongst an array of shooting stars coming down from the skies
Our session was almost over when i saw a bite that after a couple of pulls the line fell slack almost to the floor,a couple of turns of the handle saw tension regained and a swift movement of the rod top saw weight at the end of my line
After a little bit of a scrap i could see eyes at the waters edge signalling the reflective eyes of our intended quarry the spurdog, it might not have been a big one ………but the account was open and hopefully the first of several this winter as this once rare visitor now visits our shores more frequently than years gone by
Varivas sport 20lb main line, 130lb flouro carbon trace and 8/0 BMX hooks
Bait used ……squid, sandeel, mackerel and bluey



Whilst we need a good stir up conditions are favorable for getting out there and trying for a fish or two during what is historically one of the best months of the year for shore fishing. Ilfracombe Pier is producing a bit of variety as Ross Stanway discovered when he enjoyed a short session landing, whiting, codling, gurnard and dab. Several decent pollock have also been tempted from marks along the coast with several over 2lb.


Ollie Passmore with a decent pollock

Big baits fished off deep rock marks should bring results with conger, huss, ray and possibly tope.

Boat anglers are enjoying sport up channel with the first spurdog of the winter season along with qaulity cod, conger and ray. I am sure anglers will soon be catching these ferocious predators from John Barbearys ‘Bluefin’ off Ilfracombe.