Minehead Boat – Fishing Trip

With a Combe Martin Club Competition over the weekend, I was looking at a plan when Rob Scoines suggested a trip out on Steve Webbers Osprey. There were two places available and the weather forecast was spot on.  It took a few moments to come to a decision and within five minutes the trip was secure and plans in place.

The boat was due to sail at 10:00am so there was no crack of dawn rise. I picked Rob up at 07:30am and enjoyed a scenic drive across Exmoor arriving at Minehead Mc Donald’s for a Breakfast roll and coffee before grabbing some bait from Speedbait the new fishing tackle and bait outlet situated close by on the Industrial estate.

www.speedbait.online

We climbed aboard Osprey shortly before 10:00am and met with our fellow anglers, Colin Shepard, Rich Leonard, Lee Buck and Joe Woodward who had travelled down from the Bristol area.

It was one of those rare days with a mirror calm sea and a bright sky. There was a chill in the air after a few days of cold North East winds with overnight frosts. Anticipation was high as we headed off down channel.

First stop was in Porlock Bay hoping for an early smoothound. Within minutes dogfish were swung aboard in profusion.

Joe Woodward admires his first sea fish!!

After our first brew of the day from Steve’s son Will it was a unanimous decision to up anchor and head down to a well-known huss mark beneath the spectacular cliffs of the Exmoor coast.

After a few moments rod tips were nodding as scavenging predators below located our baits. I hooked into what felt a reasonable fish that plodded about at the end of the line as I persuaded it towards the boat. The head of a very large bull huss appeared ten yards behind the boat as Will stood ready with the net. Skipper Steve commented that it was a very good huss or words to that effect. At that moment the huss opened its mouth and spat out the bait, the terminal tackle flying back towards the boat. B******** or words to that effect. These nearly moments often seem to stick in the mind longer than success stories.

A flurry of huss to around 10lb followed along with strap eels and the occasional dogfish. As the tide began to ease the catch rate slowed and the decision was made to head back up channel in search of ray.

Myself and Rich Leonard with two of several Bull Huss caught during a brief feeding spell

We dropped anchor a short distance off Selworthy and put out our baits into what was very shallow water. A small eyed ray was brought to the boat by Lee Buck within a minute or so of settling at anchor.

Lee Buck with a small eyed ray

A good start that was to prove a false promise as just one other small eyed was tempted from the location. All remaining very quiet with just the occasional dogfish showing and a solitary conger of perhaps five pounds to my rod.

(Above) Rich Leonard with a small eyed ray

A move of a few hundred yards to a new position brought a few more dogfish and a small thornback ray.

As the day ticked past all to quickly it was very apparent that the fish were not feeding, perhaps as a result of the easterly air flow and high pressure?

Steve as ever kept trying and moved to another mark a mile closer to Minehead. The rod tips remained frustratingly still with even the dogfish scarce. As Steve called time my rod tip nodded and I lifted into a small eyed ray of 7lb. A reminder that success can come at the very last moment.

It had been an enjoyable day afloat with good company and the spectacular scenery of the Exmoor coast. Results had not lived up to expectations but this was no reflection on the skill of the skipper for we all knew that on another day these same marks would have brought a steady stream of quality fish.

Ray and Hounds off Minehead for CMSAC

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Six members of Combe Martin SAC enjoyed a boat trip off Minehead on board Osprey Skippered by Steve Webber. The day started off with a cool North East breeze that made for an uncomfortable lop on the water. Despite this fish came steadily to the boat all day with smoothound the dominant species at our first mark in Porlock Bay. The biggest of the hounds was a low double. A range of baits worked for the hounds with crab, prawn and squid all tempting these hard fighting members of the shark family.

As is always the case banter flowed freely throughout the day that kept spirits up when heavy rain fell for a short while and grey skies shrouded the hills. John Shapland boated a fine huss of 11lb 8oz. (Below)

After a couple of hours targetting the hounds Steve suggested a move to the sandbanks to try for a few ray.

It wasn’t long at our new mark before we found a few ray with small- eyed ray, thornback and spotted ray finding our baits.

(Below)The best specimen of the day turned out to be a fine small eyed ray that gave a spirited tussle before reaching the net that was expertly wielded by Skipper Steve Webber,

As the tide flooded we made a couple more moves before anchoring off Dunster to try for the hounds again. The hounds here in the murkier water were very light in colour and whilst not so numerous appeared to be a slightly bigger stamp of fish.

As the day started to drift towards its conclusion the sun eventually started to break through and enable us to peel off some of the layers. Nick and his son Jack were not up until now enjoying good sport and seemed to have a knack of finding the dogfish that punctuated every ones day as always. Fortunately persistence eventually paid off  and something bigger nailed Nick’s bluey hook-bait.

After several minutes of tension there was some disappointment when the hard fighting fish turned out to be conger of perhaps 10lb.

Everyone on the boat by now really wanted Jack to catch a decent fish and Steve baited Jack’s hook with a generously donated helping of peeler crab. After a few minutes Jacks rod was bouncing on the gunnels and at last Jack enjoyed a bending rod as a hound fought strongly before reaching the boat.

Shortly after this it was time to head back to Minehead with its tourists crabbing down the harbour wall and devouring ice creams in the hot sun. We couldn’t help but wish it had been this calm and still all day. We ended the day with a flourish as several hounds came to the boat with John Shapland having an uncanny knack of finding the hounds.

COMBE MARTIN SAC BOAT TRIP

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Members of Combe Martin SAC had a trip on Steve Webber’s Osprey off Minehead and found some quality fish topped by cod of 18lb 4oz to the rod of Matt Jeffery and 15lb 3oz to Rob Scoines.

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Rob Scoines – cod 15lb 3oz
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Rob Scoines- Cod 15lb 3oz
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Matt Jeffery 18lb 4oz

In addition to the cod Jonathon Stanway landed a boat club record haddock of 2lb 7oz and several ray were also landed including double figure blondes to John Shapland and Chris Bond.

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(Above) Club record boat caught haddock of 2lb 7oz15775111_1082347611910987_3460322801092675794_o

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