ITS DOUBLE TOPE – Martin Pearce

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Autumn time sees a dedicated few target the elusive hard fighting tope that haunt the waters of North Devon. A tope from the shore is perhaps the greatest challenge for the dedicated shore angler unless of course you include the remote chance of hooking and beaching a porbeagle shark!

Martin Pearce – tope 42lb 8oz

Martin Pearce has struck gold in mid October first beating a fine tope of 31lb 4oz and then following it up a few days later with a fine specimen of 42lb 8oz. Landing a tope is seldom a solitaire event and Martin was very appreciative of a help in hand from his mate Darren Bell who tailed both fish. The fish were tempted using whole mackerel on Varivas big mouth extra 8/0 hooks. Both fish were tempted from undisclosed North Devon Rock Marks.

Martins – 31lb 4oz tope


Appledore Boat Competition

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Kevin Pike won Appledore Shipbuilders boat competition with a fine tope of 39lb 8oz. Andrew Atkinson took second and third place with bull huss scaling 11lb and 10lb 4oz. Conditions during the day were fresh as a the wind swung around to the south west building a moderate swell.


A couple of days before this trip Andrew took a trip to Chesil beach in Dorset where he landed a plaiceĀ  of 2lb 10oz.


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There are still tope about!

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(Above ) Wayne Parkhouse 30lb tope

Anglers fishing off Ilfracombe aboard John Barbeary’s ‘Bluefin’ are still catching tope which is no surprise as these predators hunt the Bristol Channel at this time of year for herring and flatfish often moving close inshore.

14520528_972367716241942_5629966660311090980_n(Above) Troy Laing 24lb tope

It is surprising what might might be lurking beneath the surface during the autumn months! Below is a picture from the 1950’s showing a porbeagle shark that became tangled in the herring nets off Combe Martin. (Below) If you have any tales of big fish from by-gone days please email the details.28047_113735952127862_1077790431_nbanner


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Stefan Jones, Matthew Druce and Sam Longhurst enjoyed a successful boat trip off the North Devon coast with Sam a newcomer to angling landing his first ever bull huss.

Sam Longhurst

The trio enjoyed a great day afloat landing around twenty tope to 25lb, numerous huss and a few conger. All the fish were tempted using frozen Ammo mackerel. The day was made extra special in the presence of dolphins, porpoises and gannets.

Stefan Jones
Stefan Jones
Matt Druce
Matt Druce

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South Molton Anglers boat trip off Clovelly aboard Independent charters saw members enjoy a variety filled day with several species coming to the boat including tope,mackerel, horse mackerel, bull huss, pollock, bass, black bream, pouting and the inevitable dogfish. Club sea trip co-ordinator Eddie Rand’s declared ‘good weather and good company!’



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Tope sport off Ilfracombe

Anglers are enjoying some great tope sport off Ilfracombe with these hard fighting predators now abundant. Tope have been landed up to 37lb with every chance of bigger fish as the season progresses there is even the chance of one of these fish from shore marks if anglers are prepared to set their stall with a big bait and wire trace.

Craig McCloughlin of Braunton Baits with fine tope off Ilfracombe on John Barbeary’s Bluefin
Tope caught on John Barbeary's 'Bluefin'
Tope caught on John Barbeary’s ‘Bluefin’
Tope caught on John Barbeary’s ‘Bluefin’ by Toby Bassett
Tope caught on .'Reel Deal' off Ilfracombe
Tope caught on .’Reel Deal’ off Ilfracombe by Toby Bassett
Craig McCloughlin of Braunton Baits with a 37lb tope caught on John Barbeary’s Bluefin
Danny from Ilfracombe's High Street Tackle with a tope caught on Bluefin
Danny from Ilfracombe’s High Street Tackle with a tope caught on Bluefin


Reel Deal tope
Reel Deal- tope

Dan Hawkins Charter Boat Reel Deal arrived in Ilfracombe early this summer and after much effort made the headlines with the boating of a huge porbeagle estimated at 450lb. Since then the shark have proved elusive and a move to deeper water resulted in a blue shark estimated at 80lb being brought to the side of the boat.

Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins

Dan informed me that the general fishing has now improved with the arrival of mackerel in greater numbers. Fishing marks off the North Devon coast has resulted in turbot, gurnard, whiting, haddock, codling, tope, smoothound, huss and of course the ever plentiful dogfish.


13493053_10154249312126228_1625594950_nReel deal