Tope are showing out of Ilfracombe with these two fine specimens boated on Wild Frontier during calm conditions.
Twenty anglers competed in Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs week long competition to catch the best mixed brace of specimens. The event was held in conjunction with the Lyn Sailing Club with proceeds split between Combe Martin SAC and the 1st Lyn Scout Group. Several anglers invested a degree of effort into seeking out specimens from both boat and shore.
The presentation was held at the Ancient Mariner at Lynmouth as part of the Lynmouth Maritime Festival. The winner of the event was James Fradgley Gubb who boated a fine specimen tope of 50lb and a blonde ray of 12lb 12oz a combined rating of 210%.
A cool Easterly breeze failed to dampen the spirits of anglers aboard Wild Frontier off Ilfracombe skipper by Mark Hutchings. Their efforts were rewarded with a fine small eyed ray coming to the net closely followed by the first Tope of the season which took off like a rocket. Both fish landed by young Daniel Smith. They also boated several conger to 18lb and huss to 10lb.
Tarrant Wotton has invested many hours in the pursuit of a shore caught tope and his efforts paid off when this fine specimen of just over 38lb seized his bait.
Whilst numbers of shore caught tope are low the season for catching them seems to have extended with the occasional fish showing from May right through until February.
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.
Dave Brooke landed a fine tope of 34lb 1oz to secure first prize in CMSAC’s Autumn Rover. Matt Jeffery was runner up with a flounder scaling 1lb 145/8oz. Equal third were Rob Scoines with a bass of 7lb and Wayne Thomas with a rockling of 1lb 81/2oz.
(Below) Matt Jeffery with his flounder scaling 1lb 145/8oz
(Below) Rob Scoines caught this personal best bass of 7lb from a North Devon mark along with two other bass, a codling and two pouting.
I was fortunate to be fishing with Dave and Kevin Legge when the tope was hooked. Always good to share in the excitement of such a moment. The fish gave a hard fight running over my lines in the process which caused a few anxious moments before Kevin could lift the fish from the water. Always a good idea to get all lines out of the water when someone hooks a tope. Fortunately neither of my rigs snagged the bottom as the fish was encouraged towards the shoreline. We also landed dogfish, small conger, huss, pouting,pollock and rockling. The best rockling weighed 1lb 9oz and fell to my whole squid bait fished close in hoping for bass or huss.
The next few months are amongst the best in the Sea Anglers year with a wide range of species to target. Tope, spurdog, huss and conger are all to be expected with large fish baits and wire traces advised. Top baits for tope are flounder. fresh rockling, Launce or whole mackerel.
(Below)Mark Jones fished a North Devon Beach to land a personal best small eyed ray off 11lb 10oz.
(Above) Still time to catch bass on lures. This fish was tempted by local lure enthusiast Mark Jones.
Bideford & District Angling Club – 24hour Rover Result
1st Andrew Clements flounder 2 lb 1oz
2nd Rob Harris bull huss 7 lb 10oz
3rd Andrew Clements dogfish 1 lb 14 1/2oz
Paul Lorrimore and a party of anglers enjoyed a great days sport on Blue-Fin out of Ilfracombe.
Thanks to Paul for his account of the day.
Initially after seeing the water clarity (which was pretty good) we headed for the Horse-Shoe Rocks for a crack at some Bass action.
We chucked everything at it from Skerries Eels to Live Sand Eels – but only small 2lb to 3lb Bass were coming aboard.
A big change to the last visit from the skipper.
After a good go and more Pollack, small Bass and a chunky Pouting to Andy Smiff ,we anchored up and got the big gear down.
Prospects are excellent for the next few weeks with a wide variety of species to target. Bass, grey mullet and flounder should provide sport on lighter tackle with conger, tope and ray for those using heavier beach rods. I welcome your news and pictures for North Devon Angling News and Sea Angling News.
Ali Laird caught this hard fighting 24lb 8oz tope from a North Devon Rock mark it is his second of the year. Ali lost another tope that picked up a spider-crab and squid cocktail chomping through 80lb mono!
(Below)Dan MIles Redmore enjoyed a successful session on one of North Devon’s local beaches catching six small eyed ray to just over 7lb & a blonde 11lb 10oz.
(Above) A fifty pound plus tope for first timer Colin.
Bluefin will be running fishing trips out of Ilfracombe throughout the winter months at present there are still a few tope being caught and bass from the reefs. With the new that anglers can now retain one bass per day trips to reefs will be popular with option to keep the occasional fish for the table.
Jon Patten was targetting bass with half mackerel baits when a pack of tope swam past! As Jon placed his rod in the rest after casting, his second rod bounced in the rest and the reel screamed its warning. Hastily grabbing the second rod he failed to give full attention to slackening the clutch on the recently cast out rod. As battle commenced with the fish on rod two; Jon watched in despair as his recently cast rod was catapulted from the rest to disappear into the dark night sea. After a spirited tussle a fine tope of 38lb 6oz was brought ashore for a quick photo. Jon was using size 8/0 hooks to 40lb b.s Seagar Fluorocarbon hook lengths.
This is not first rod to be lost as big fish seize the bait and head out to sea its important to always fish with a loose clutch but its easy to get distracted and the cost can be high!
Tarrant Wotton was fishing with Jon on the same session and also enjoyed success landing this splendid huss.