North Devon report by Wayne Thomas
Whilst reports have been suppressed by lockdown some stunning specimens have been landed from the North Devon shoreline. Several specimen ray have been tempted from North Devon beach and rock marks including a stunning thornback of 15lb 2oz caught by Dan Spearman that sets a new club record for Combe Martin Sea Angling Club. Thornback are scarce from the North Devon shoreline with small eyed, spotted and blondes more commonly landed.
Bull huss have also shown in encouraging numbers and have generally fallen to fish baits intended for spurdog. Spurdog numbers peaked in late February. I suspect that some good catches of spurdog will be taken now that charter boats can get afloat out of Ilfracombe where bull huss and conger will also give good sport to boat anglers.
The first of the seasons smoothound should be showing by the time you read this with all the normal rock marks likely to produce with crab the most popular bait.
A dedicated few have been targeting bass throughout the year and Mark Jones is one angler to have enjoyed success in every month. As the water warms I expect bass to show in increasing numbers with lure fishing well worth a try. Following on from a relatively mild winter I would not be surprised to hear of gilt head bream from the lower Taw estuary as I believe it likely that a few will have overwintered.
Thick lipped grey mullet will be pushing into the estuaries and harbours as April unfolds and thin lipped mullet are worth targeting in the estuaries towards the end of the month.
LRF enthusiasts have enjoyed success from Ilfracombe with scorpion fish, clingfish, pollock and wrasse. This style of fishing is a welcome break from traditional heavy beach-casting tactics that can be frustrating through early spring as dogfish tend to dominate catches.
With lockdown easing angling should be able to return closer to normal with competitions resuming along with charter boat trips.