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“A beautiful Valley, a charming old Inn, and a rugged cove that can provide plenty of sport for the shore angler.” From Sea Fishing in Cornwall” By Hugh Stoker. Angling Times Publication 3’6. Published in1960.

Hugh Stoker was a Sea Angler who wrote several books and a series of guide books on fishing in the West Country. I have the editions relating to North Devon, South Devon and Cornwall and have over the years visited many of the marks mentioned. In some cases, the marks have changed whilst in other cases much seems to have remained the same.

We were due to head off Penzance in search of blue shark but the weather did not play ball and we were forced to seek alternative sport from the shore. We had planned to do a little shore fishing on the Thursday anyway with sharking planned for the Friday.

Lamorna Cove sounded an appealing place and a little research proved encouraging if one ignored the extensive rants about the car parking prices and the company that enforces the rules.

On the way we called into West Cornwall Tackle in Penzance where we were given plenty of useful advice on where we could use our ragworm and a few bits of tackle.

We were pleased to arrive after the three hour jaunt from North Devon and set off enthusiastically along the rugged coastal path, littered with granite boulders and perilous sheer drops to the sea below. After a ten minute walk we arrived at an impressive rock stack and set up our tackles.

I elected to float fish with king ragworm whilst James used soft plastics and Rob ragworm fished on jig heads. James was soon in action with a wrasse of a pound or more and Rob soon followed with a succession of wrasse. Eventually my float plunged beneath the surface and I was briefly connected to a powerful fish that dived for cover with the hook length parting, probably against a sharp granite boulder.

We spent the next couple of hours searching the rocky headland with numerous wrasse succumbing to our baits. Particularly Rob whose jig head tactics seemed to work well.

As evening approached and high water passed, we decided to head back to Penzance for food and to book into our hotel. As we descended into the cove the clear water erupted as sand eel’s scattered as they were pursued by launce and a large bass glimpsed by Rob.

We hurriedly assembled our lure rods commencing a search of the bay. My slim metal lure was soon seized and a hard fighting mackerel was swung onto the old granite quay. Over the next half an hour I added a couple more sizeable mackerel, a small bass and a few small pollock. Rob and James spotted several fish in the clear water at the base of the quay wall and enjoyed hectic sport with colourful wrasse.

The evening sun illuminated the honey coloured granite and the Atlantic gently caressed the rugged shoreline.  Youngsters swam in calm waters of the cove. We didn’t catch anything big but that hour in Lamorna Cove will probably sit high on my list of memories of the year.

James drove the van up through the beautiful valley passing a charming old Inn where patrons were eating and drinking on this warm summer night. I really must visit more of Hugh Stokers old haunts.

Ilfracombe shore and boat sport – Summer Sun Fishing

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Hot sun and crystal clear water is not ideal for all species but one fish that will feed well in these conditions is the ballan wrasse that can be caught using king ragworm, crab or prawn. Ollie Passmore landed these two colourful specimens to just over 3lb at a mark near Ilfracombe.

The calm waters are also brilliant for boat anglers with plenty of tope being caught off Ilfracombe on Charter boats and on Private boats. Toby Bassett  caught this fine tope of 33lb from his own boat a cracking photo as well!

Sea Angling – Latest

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Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway enjoyed a wrasse fishing session with his son Charlie they tempted several topped by this fine fish of 4lb 7oz. ( Below)

(Below) John Shapland tempted this specimen thin lipped grey mullet of 4lb 1.5oz.

Smoothound are still producing good sport from marks along the coast with several good specimen tempted to just under 10lb.

Big Ballan

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Ross Stanway landed a fine ballan wrasse of 4lb 14oz from a North Devon Rock mark when he made an early start attempting to add new species in the clubs Species Hunt. Big ballan wrasse have been scarce over recent seasons with very few caught near the local specimen rating of 5lb.

It is unclear whether numbers have declined significantly or if less are caught because less anglers target them? In the clearer waters of Cornwall , South Devon and the Isle of Scilly large numbers of wrasse are tempted using soft plastic lures. It may well be worth trying for the species over some of North Devons Rocky marks during periods with improved water clarity.

Most wrasse are tempted using legered worm or crab baits.

Latest Sea Reports

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Appledore Shipbuilders monthly Rover

James Atkinson won Appledore shipbuilders monthly Rover with a small eyed ray of 9lb 61/4oz. In second place was Richard Boone with a fine wrasse of 5lb 47/8oz and in third Andy Sanders with a thornback ray of 6lb 5oz.

Bideford Angling Club Monthly Rover

 1st Antony smith thornback ray 9lb 5 1/2 103.819%
2nd Antony smith thornback ray 8lb 6 1/2 93.402%
3rd Dick Talbot smoothound 9lb 5 93.125%
4th Andy Sanders thornback ray 6lb 6 70.833%
4th Lee Watts dogfish 2lb 2 70.833%
5th Paul Downing thornback ray 5lb 15 65.972%
As the water starts to warm up wrasse should start to show along the North Devons rock marks. Combe Martin SAC member Ollie Passmore set out after the species and was rewarded with a nice fish of 3lb 6oz.
Bull huss continue to provide sport after dark when Ollie Passmore enjoyed success with a huss of 10lb 11oz. (Below)
Boat anglers are continuing to enjoy boat sport off Ilfracombe with several spurdog to 18lb brought aboard John Barbeary’s boat Bluefin. (Below)

Mullet, wrasse and bass for Combe Martin SAC members

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Dan Spearman thil lipp 4lb 15oz
Dan Spearman thin lip 4lb 15oz

Dan Spearman enjoyed a successful session targeting thin-lipped grey mullet at a local estuary landing a new personal best weighing 4lb 15oz. This is the biggest I have heard of so far this season fellow Combe Martin SAC member John Shapland also landed a brace weighing 3lb and 3lb 12oz.

Out on the coast Combe Martin SAC members have enjoyed varied sport with Ross Stanway landing a fine bass of 7lb1oz. The fish was tempted on a small crab bait intended for wrasse.

Ross Stanway bass 7lb 1oz
Ross Stanway bass 7lb 1oz

Rob Scoines found ballan wrasse on the feed at a local rock mark landing eight fish in a session using king ragworm baits presented on a jig head. The best of the session weighed 3lb 8oz.