Three stunning catches give hope to North Devon sea anglers
SEA ANGLERS have been having a hard time but it would seem things are changing.
This week, I can report on three stunning specimen fish – all caught from local marks.
Ben Putman fished from the shore to land a huge bass of 13lb, beating his personal best by 10lb.
The magnificent fish was tempted during the early hours using half a Joey mackerel presented on an 8/0 hook.
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Kevin Legge has already broken the shore tope British record twice and got his latest autumn campaign underway with a fine specimen weighing 43lb 15oz.
A bitter north-east wind failed to deter Legge who believes tope are one of the few fish unaffected by the notorious east wind.
Adrian Gove landed a fine grey mullet of 5lb 6½oz from the shore.
These hard-fighting fish should be around for a couple more months if sea temperatures hold up.
Steve Luxton won Triple Hook Club's WYCO EWB club flounder match with a fish of 1lb ¼oz. Darren Short was a close second with a flounder scaling 1lb 7/8oz.
With the clocks changing, dedicated sea anglers will be heading for the shore, relishing the prospect of cod, conger and huss.
Indications are good, with some quality cod caught from both boat and shore in the Minehead area. These fish often start to show off North Devon in November.
The last few winters have seen some spectacular catches of spurdog from offshore marks and this should continue if the weather permits.
Pike anglers are catered for at Slade Reservoir where fish topping 20lb succumb each winter.
Those targeting these toothy predators must carry the correct unhooking equipment and a large landing net and use a wire trace at all times. The handsome fish are sensitive to bad handling and should be treated with respect.
BBC One's Countryfile featured John Slader, of the Salmon and Trout Association, demonstrating flyfishing and highlighting the fragile state of Southern Chalkstreams.
He is the son of accomplished local angler Bill Slader who has spent many years fishing North Devon's rivers, especially the East Lyn.
Wistlandpound Flyfishing Club's final match of the season at their home venue saw members endure cold, wet conditions.
Colin Combe won the Secretary's Shield with a three-fish bag totalling 3lb 10oz.
Runner-up was David Eldred with 3lb 8oz, and in third Andre Muxworthy with a single rainbow of 2lb 10oz.
Blakewell Fishery has been providing some excellent trout sport with numerous quality brown trout in excess of 7lb banked. James Bean landed one of 7lb 12oz, Shaun Stanbury had a fine specimen of 7lb 8oz and Paul Wilson had a 7lb catch.
Rainbows of 9lb 4oz and 7lb were caught by Roger Over an Gavin Colwill who also had a brown of 6lb.
Winter is often the best time to fish small stillwaters as weed growth dies back and water becomes crystal clear.
Peter Slade and Andy Bailey headed a field of 16 anglers in Ilfracombe Match Group's blind pairs match at Oaktree Fishery, near South Molton, with Peter landing 41lb 12oz from the top lake and Andy 22lb 12oz from the bottom.
Graham Curnow, with 34lb 12oz, and John Bailey, 38lb 4oz, were the runners-up, ahead of Nielson Jeffery and Tony Burslem who weighed in 34lb 15oz and 19lb 1oz for third.
Stafford Moor's Beatties and Joseph's Lakes continue to produce quality specimen carp, topped by mirrors of 24lb 8oz and 24lb, caught by Ian Northey and Jack Sutton respectively.
From today, prices drop to £10 per day and £5 per night. Sport can be great during milder spells so look out for those southerly or westerly winds and call 01805 804360 to book your swim.
Sunday: Bideford Angling Club rover.
Sunday: Appledore Shipbuilders Rover.
Sunday: Combe Martin SAC monthly meeting, Braunton CC, 7pm.
Sunday: Ilfracombe Match Group, Jennetts Reservoir, start of Winter League.
Friday, November 9: Bideford and District Angling Club presentation night.