As Autumn fades and the chill of winter approaches sea anglers are looking forward to potentially productive nights on the North Devon coast. The key to enjoying winter fishing is keeping warm and dry and the correct clothing is essential in meeting this requirement.
Braunton based Reeds Chillcheater’s manufacture an impressive range of clothing for dealing with extreme weather conditions. I visited their premises for a chat with assistant manager Nigel Beattie.
The recent uptake in outdoor pursuits post COVID lockdowns has resulted in a busy time for Chillcheater’s with sales of the companies Storm Jackets and Storm trousers surging. Worn in conjunction with the companies transpire fleece inners they will keep the angler warm and dry in the harshest of conditions. Other items in the transpire fleece range include socks, long trousers, short trousers, long sleeve tops, zipped or unzipped tops, beanies and balaclavas.
Nigel assured me that after sales is an important factor and in the unlikely event that any clothing fails to meet expectations or is damaged then repairs can be undertaken to rectify the issue.
The company continues to develop new products for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts for the UK market and far beyond. With Christmas looming orders will need to be placed in good time to ensure delivery before Christmas. My own Storm Jacket is still in use and repelling water effectively after at least four seasons of use.
Followers of North Devon Angling News can obtain a 10% Discount just enter the code – BC10 when ordering on line.
Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway set his alarm for the early hours of 2021 and embraced the icy conditions to get his angling year underway. Fishing from a local rock mark spurdog, bull huss, conger or cod were the expected catch. The first fish to rattle the rod was small conger of around 6lb. Then Ross hooked into a good fish that fought hard and swam deep in the water. Ross was hopeful that he had hooked a rare double figure cod. To his surprise the culprit was a specimen smoothound scaling 12lb 9.5oz a fish more often associated with the spring, summer and autumn!
Combe Martin Sea Angling Clubs Six Hour Rover saw ten members venture out onto North Devon’s coast line as a brisk west North West breeze blew up the Bristol Channel. Fishing has not been easy over recent weeks with the water clear after a period of calm weather. Dogfish and small conger have been abundant all along the coastline with just the occasional better fish showing. A short competition like this is useful in pulling together a group of anglers fishing an area of the coast and seeing what results.
Kevin Legge secured the top two places in the competition with fish that were only moderate specimens to Kevin who sets the bar high in his constant quest for specimen fish. A dogfish of 2lb 5oz and a bull huss of 7lb 1oz were enough to take the money. Ross Stanway caught a pleasing rockling of 1lb 31/2oz for third and Mark Tossell a good whiting of 151/2oz.
Combe Martin SAC member John Shapland is a very keen mullet angler and targets the species all year round. The mullet was once considered a fish of the summer months but recent years have seen the species caught in every month of the year. Johns latest catch is exceptional for January catching five over three pounds in two days fishing. The fish weighed 3lb 8oz, 3lb 8.5oz, 3lb 9oz, 3lb 10oz and 4lb 4oz.
(Below) Louis Rook joined John Shapland to land this fine thick lipped grey mullet of 3lb 12oz
The stormy weather has coloured the inshore waters dislodging lots of food for hungry fish. Just after the storm is often the best time to get out and capitalise on conditions that sometimes last for no more than a couple of tides.
Kyle Blackmore landed five codling the biggest just under 4lb along with plenty of eels all caught on squid and frozen blacks. Kyle is hoping that is a good sign for the months ahead.