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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has to be said that although this is now July, the weather is far from summer like and I think I've yet to don the shorts and a T shirt whilst wetting a line! The weather is so up in the air and seems to change every couple of days with no real settled spells to talk of, very annoying when you try to plan a trip around the weather and you end up fishing in quite indifferent conditions.

It's not all doom and gloom though as the anglers who are fishing locally and haven't been lured away by the south coast sport have made some reasonable catches, particularly further down channel. Tope, Smoothhounds and an assortment of Rays have all been taken when the conditions have allowed from marks West of Minehead and the best news is that, for the time being anyway, the dogfish have done their annual disappearing trick leaving anglers targeting the good stuff with half a chance.

Sandeel and crab continue to be the top baits and Launce are also worth taking if Tope are on the cards. On the same note, if you are planning a trip beyond Porlock be sure to use a wire trace otherwise an encounter with said toothy critter will be short lived! The far West of the channel rarely gets a mention and often hides in the shadow of the popular mid to upper channel marks but comes into its own at this time. The usual bottom sport can be encountered on the various reefs and headlands, generally at night owing to the clear water, but it is this clear water so alien to us 'Zummerset' anglers that provides another attraction; lure fishing.

No longer the casual past time of the holiday angler armed with clumsy tackle and a set of feathers, but a very effective method for taking Bass that is growing in popularity and well suited to the rugged North Devon coast. The arrival of imported Japanese plugs has added to the buzz and if you have yet to try it then now is the time to give it a go! Early mornings and last thing in the evening are the prime times as the Bass move in on the prey fish and can be caught at very close range with regular success. High water periods are good too though this is a generalisation and you will have to find the most productive stage of the tide at a venue. The angler who tells you that this method is only good for Schoolies should be ignored too, as more than one Double figure Bass has been taken on a 'plastic fish' of recent years!

Best advice I can give now though, is if the weather allows, go fishing before it turns sour again!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As suggested last month, there has been no huge change to the fishing over the last few weeks though anglers have been making some good catches primarily from the lower end of the Channel. All the usual culprits are in abundance around Minehead and beyond including the Small eyed and spotted rays together with the turbot and odd gurnard.

Smoothhounds are up and down the channel like yo yo's, one day will see several taken at one mark, only for it to produce very little over the next couple of tides and for a neighbouring venue to see a few visiting packs. The Tope are starting to put in an appearance along the North Devon coast now and will continue to show right through the Autumn and into the winter months.

Upper channel sport will improve all the while with many anglers targeting the large Sole that inhabit the mud around Clevedon and Portishead, using good quality dug ragworm is important.

The Quality of the Bass fishing locally is definitely on the up with reports of fish nudging double figures from Burnham on Sea, incidentally one such fish was landed from here on a 12 meter plus tide on the Weston scale, not a tide usually associated with fishing at Burnham other than from the Sea wall at the far end of the prom. The same venue has produced the first of the Sole as well as numerous strap eels and the ever present Thornbacks.

If you fancy some easy fishing then Burnham has to be top of the pile at this time of year. Fishing two rods will cover all potential species, one carrying small hooks cast short with worm baits will account for Flounders, small Whiting, and odd Large Sole (I once saw a 15lb Ray taken with this type of tackle just 30yds out!) whilst the other rod should carry at least a set of 4/0's baited with either half a large squid or a whole small one and cast as far as possible. It is not unusual for the heavier set up to catch the most fish and these will consist of Conger in the tiny to double figure bracket, Rays of average size and if luck is on your side a Bass or two. The other benefit of this beach is that it is not so heavily invaded by holiday makers as those in the neighbouring towns.

That's it for now, as a final note could I ask that if anyone has any good digital photographs of recent captures in the Channel to kindly email them to the paper. They don't have to be monsters, though monsters are always welcome(!), but they say a picture tells a thousand words and I don't want to be including my ugly mug each month! Thankyou and tight lines.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It only seems like yesterday that we were anticipating the arrival of the summer species and the heat of the mid day sun, but almost without warning September is here and the summer that never was will have to wait until next year for when the Met Office promise yet another unfulfilled heat wave. No doubt a hosepipe ban will be instigated soon!

Back to the fishing and without wanting to place a big fat curse on coming months it would appear that, if current form is to be believed, we may actually get a winter season worth putting some hours in for! The signs are there, Whiting of reasonable size are showing from a number of marks mid channel, not monsters, but they would be 'goers' in a match. It makes me chuckle when I hear some anglers moan about the lack of Codling in recent years, what about the poor old Whiting? This fish, that was generally regarded as a bit of a pest to many, used to be most prolific with bags of thirty fish or more possible from some venues. No rocket science was involved; two or three hook traces baited with slivers of mackerel or a chunk of sprat fresh from the local netters fished over a big tide on a calm frosty night would see continuous action on the tips. The last few years though have produced next to nothing by comparison and it's almost as if the Whiting catches of years gone by have slipped peoples minds.

I would suspect that Cod fever pays a part in this and it is noticeable the number of anglers back out on the beach in pursuit of the mythical early Cod. Mythical may be a little unfair as there are already codling showing from the usual marks around Portishead and the bridges, as well as the odd fish further down channel.

Is it merely coincidence that the weather bears some resemblance to a traditional autumn and that the fishing is following the patterns of old? We will see…Late Summer Sole are still there for the taking to those willing to source top quality ragworm bait and put the hours in, again Clevedon and Portishead marks produce the goods for the persevering angler. This time of year however always seems to throw up a monster Sole that is partial to a large bait offered for Cod and despite their peculiar shaped mouths they have the ability to hook up with even a 5/0 occasionally.

If the Whiting do arrive in numbers this year also expect to see some great Conger action as the bigger eels move in over the cleaner ground chasing the whiting shoals. A pleasant evenings whiting trip gets interesting when whilst baiting a spare trace you are suddenly aware of your mainline lying on the ground next to you as an eel grabs a hooked Whiting! Add to the equation the ever present Thornback Rays and some decent catches are on the cards. A box of Squid for a couple of quid is all that is required for a few hours of what can be quality fishing and the local beaches should be digging well for small to medium size lug that will account for anything 'flat'.

The quality of the Bass fishing at Burnham mentioned in last months piece has reached an all time high with a belting lump of a fish going 15lb taken from the sea wall at the end of the promenade. As is often the case it would appear that the captor is not affiliated to a club or body and as such will not be able to claim the fish as the area record that it should be. This really is a huge Bass by anyone’s standards and you could fish the same spot every day for a year and think yourself lucky to be able to count fish a third of its size on one hand in between numerous straps and Whiting.

Sticking with Burnham and November the 9th is a date for the diary should you have an interest in the competitive side of sea angling as Weston Outcasts S.A.C hold their first open of the new season. Sign on from 10am at the Bay View Café with fishing from 11.30-3.30pm. This ever popular match attracts many anglers every Autumn and with a prize table totalling over £700 it is easy to see why.

A prediction as to what the fishing may bring would have to take the weather nearer the time into account, but if the weather stays relatively mild and settled as in previous years expect either a bag of two or three Congers or perhaps a solitary better eel to take the first prize. Bags of Whiting should also be on the cards and these will be a prime target for the Eels working the mud flats.

A decent blow from the West or South West will bring the Codling on the feed as well as potentially the odd Bass. Cocktailed baits containing lug and crab should be used on large hooks attached to a hefty snood and a little patience used if this is your approach. Here's hoping that by this time next month there are further seasonal catches worth a mention!

Help for Heros Match - Saturday 8th Nov 2008

Arnside Cumbria 11am-4pm

C.M.R 1 rod 2 hook match. Entry is via sponsorship form
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And so the season continues to develop as it once did, with the traditional Autumn fishing that somehow went out of sync for a couple of years seemingly now back on track. The Whiting shoals that were common during late September and October just a few years ago have returned in almost plague proportions at most marks between Weston and the bridges. Most baits will be snaffled but good bags can be taken when the fish are targeted with multi hook traces tipping worm baits with small slivers of Mackerel. Unlike the Cod, the Whiting is not a great lover of too much tide so best results are often found away from the headlands and within the muddy bays over high water on a spring tide.

With the return of the Whiting the food chain becomes complete; the shrimp that are in abundance are their staple diet, the Whiting in turn attract the attention of the predatory species such as the Cod, Conger and Bass and some good fishing can be had. Just today a friend called from a Portishead mark to say it was crawling with Whiting and he had already landed what was left of two, mangled by angry eels. This is the time to try a live bait, a pennel style setup carrying a smaller hook tethered to it, baited with worm and then sitting and waiting for a hooked Whiting to bring attention to itself.

This is best fished on a second rod as patience is the key but the reward can be worth it. Sticking with Portishead, the Sole fishing is nearing its peak and those in the know will be targeting them on the smaller tides using ragworm as bait. I have heard of a couple to around the two and a half pound size but I am sure bigger have been taken.

Anglers trying for early Codling are enjoying fair success, again the top end of the channel is producing the goods as is Sandpoint and though I have yet to hear any reports I would imagine Brean Down. Fresh lug, crab and squid will all be a safe bet and a bonus Thornback is a likely addition to catches. The larger females will move inshore again now and a good double is always on the cards.

The sandy beaches at Weston and Brean should not be neglected as these are producing good mixed bags of fish including Flounders, Bass, Whiting, Conger and Pout. An onshore wind any time now would see it get a decent stir up and encourage the Codling to move into the shallower areas. Channel Codling fishing doesn't have to be sitting it out on a snaggy rock mark, Berrow and Burnham beaches are already giving up a few fish around the three pound mark and a double is not out of the way.

Burnham in particular has a reputation for throwing up an October double though possibly owing to the popularity of the place and the amount of baits in the water at a given time! Reefs beyond Burnham will be a little slower to fire up, if they are going to, and you may have to wait another month for any chance of consistent success.

St.Audries Bay and on down to Blue Anchor is a safe bet for a large eel, a friend fishing in a boat just a couple of hundred yards off of here had one in his boat of 37lb this time last year and eels approaching 20 have already shown from the shore this season. Top bait in this neck of the woods is Pout, which should be plentiful at this time. Settled conditions will score.

Minehead golflinks and Dunster have the habit of producing early season Codling to crab baits, large tides are favoured and it really can steam through here at times. Weed can be a problem following a spell of strong onshore winds.

Bass will also figure along with the return of the dreaded dogfish. Beyond Porlock and into the cleaner water fishing in darkness should be productive for Huss, Eels, Bass and some Tope. Big fish baits on heavy traces are required and if your reel has a ratchet, use it! If visiting this area pay special attention to not just what the current forecast is, but also the pattern of that over the few days previous. A lot of these marks, especially beyond Foreland are subject to massive ground swells at times so if in doubt consider a plan B. Several anglers have taken to wearing a self inflating Co2 vest at some marks, not a bad idea and better to look a little daft than drowned…

Finally, just a quick reminder of the up and coming Weston Outcasts open at Burnham-on-Sea. Sunday 9th of November is the date, check out the papers match planner for contact details etc.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately not a great deal of note has happened since the last not so exciting installment, indeed this season will go down in history as one of the worst in recent years and although there is much speculation as to why this could be, I don't think anyone has the defining answer unless they are a Cod! The majority of my angling buddies have headed for the more productive South coast marks over the last few weeks, not only to fish for something that's there but to avoid the persistent Northerly winds that have killed an already dead Bristol Channel, if that is possible.

The majority of the Congers have now left the mid- upper reaches, some will remain around the deeper marks but they will be few and far between. Thornback rays of specimen size will provide something to target between now and the spring. Fishing with big Squid baits will pick these out and you also have the chance of finding a decent cod around this time but don't count on it! That is it from me for this year, again slim pickings but things can only get better! Happy New Year to all readers and a fish filled 2009.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the time of writing we are just saying goodbye to one of the coldest spells in recent years that did the fishing no favours what so ever freezing the mud in the estuary and turning another poor season into a truly diabolical one.

Whilst the South East coast continues to experience some of the best sport they have ever had we are stuck in the doldrums scratching our heads- but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The coming week sees some big spring tides and these combined with a large depression trundling in off the Atlantic are just what we need to pump some life into the Channel. This may not happen over night as there is a lot of frozen water in the estuaries tributaries but as it all starts gradually warming up we might, just might see a few fish landed.

The period over New Year was as exciting as predicted with the only fish showing mid channel being the good old Thornback, best I know of bang on 11lb but no doubt larger specimens have been taken. The cold spell eventually put an end even to these as they either moved away into deeper water or just sat and sulk in the mud reluctant to feed in such conditions-you choose. A minute smattering of Codling were taken from the Somerset reef marks but nothing worth getting worked up over. Word is that the Sprat shoals too have broken up considerably, another reason why a few Cod may move inshore at this time.

The beaches have produced spasmodic catches of Flounders, again just this evening a friend has landed one of over 2lb at Weston, these fish are really increasing in size with every year that passes and before long a 3lb may not be out of the way. It's quite amazing that big flounder are not consistently caught in the upper reaches considering the ideal environment for them; perhaps this will change in time. Pin Whiting as ever will be present, stealing baits aimed at the flatties and in the last couple of years five bearded rockling have made a good showing.

At the other end of the scale and the other end of the Channel the north Devon rock marks are producing the goods with a small degree of consistency to those prepared to put the hours in enduring the weather. Huss to 12lb have come from the Ilfracombe area as well as a good number of respectable eels to 30lb. Again the Huss will feed well during a south westerly blow associated with a low pressure system though care should be taken in these conditions to avoid the notorious north Devon swell. Night sessions will also produce plenty of Pout, and some three bearded Rockling, these can be used as baits to target the bigger specimens and don't be afraid to fish some really heavy tackle. It was last winter that the Bristol Channel shore record Conger was taken and it could go again so also have means to land such a fish should you get lucky…

On a final note and not one I like to end on, but thanks to the guys that recently left a national trust controlled area looking like a fast food chain car park. The mark in question requires a little exertion and I can only guess that they used up their energy through this rather than filling a carrier bag and taking their litter home with them!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is such a thing as 'Groundhog day' then the fishing of late really would be Groundhog month. Round and round again- things are perking up, the weather sets it back, perks up, sets back and so it goes on. Unless there is a marked improvement in the Channels shore sport soon, then these reports will get shorter and shorter.

The second cold snap which included heavy snow and ice was the final straw for most people and those that are making the effort and venturing out to the coast are finding near empty venues on the most productive of tides and one thing is certain, nothing will be caught if no one is fishing!

If you are willing to fish the (once popular) Cod venues of old with plenty of worm and crab then you may get lucky and find an isolated pocket of Codling that are passing through. Low water marks between Hinkley and Clevedon will offer the best chance where water is always present and a good run of tide will be found. Thornbacks will continue to show, becoming more widespread as the weather warms up. The odd Bass will turn up soon, falling to crab baits cast short for the most part.

And that could just about sum up the upper Channel! The Porlock Bay area has produced a small number of Rays, both spotted and small eyed in daylight as well as after dark.

North Devon marks have produced a fair number of Huss to double figures, but even these are not as widely available as they should be at this time. To put things in to perspective, Coombe Martin SAC recently held one of their weekend rover matches. It is not unusual for these matches to produce several good specimen fish, but over the weekend there were just three dogfish that made the weigh in. On a lighter note, club specimen hunter Kev Legge recently accounted for a superb Spurdog of over 11lb whilst targeting huss. This fish really is a cracker, going over 200% of the BCFSA specimen size it will certainly take some beating in the fish of the month stakes.

Such a pity that this an exception to the current situation, but I really think that sport all round will get better as the weather improves, both up and down channel. On the match front now, and the Angling Trust, formerly the NFSA Severn Division, held an open on the beach at Minehead recently. Despite treacherous driving conditions for many, a respectable turn out of 56 anglers took part and better still almost half of them weighed fish in. Most bags consisted of solitary fish but the winner, Craig Pope from Bridgwater managed a hat trick of dogfish to take top spot by a clear mile. Anglers targeting the better fish along the Minehead to Lynmouth stretch of coast after dark report packs of marauding dogfish destroying baits as soon as they hit the water so if you decide to venture down this way, have plenty of bait to hand!

That's it for this month, all we can do now is hope that spring happens soon or next time it will be another Groundhog month!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last, it would appear that spring has finally sprung as the outside temperature has hit the dizzy heights of fifteen degrees and it feels positively balmy! The sunlight streaming through the living room window and the Daffodils in the garden are an encouraging sign that winter is losing its grasp and the outdoors is coming to life once more.

The fishing has improved ten fold over the last fortnight with some good catches of Thornback rays from mid channel areas. Catches of up to six rays a trip including some low doubles are keeping the anglers busy who are now for the most part targeting these and regarding the Codling as an accidental catch; how times have changed! Local angler Paul Turner recently landed a superb ray from a popular mark near Clevedon, but to his horror realised he had forgotten to pack his scales. Despite kicking himself, he was consoled by the fact that he did get a picture of it and the ray was estimated as somewhere in the region of 13-14lb. During a short session last night I was lucky enough to find them feeding and in probably less than fifteen minutes had three out between 9 and 10.5lb. In relatively shallow water these fish really scrap, but are considered by some channel anglers as a most unworthy capture; something I have never really understood.

On the whole it would seem that the general average size this year is down on those previous as there are a number of 'butterflies' showing. These smaller rays would usually start to show around mid April once the majority of the larger females have been and gone.

Bass have started to show from several marks around Sandpoint, Clevedon and Portishead and will increase in numbers as the weather warms. Fresh crab baits fished on light tackle are the most enjoyable way to target the only round fish you are likely to encounter this far up the channel, although if you are very lucky you may find a codling over a few ounces in weight. These mini codling, or codlets as they are now referred to, are met with the same 'Next season will be a good one' comments every year and certainly if this years quantities are anything to go by, we will be knee deep in Codling next year- but I doubt it.

At the opposite end of the channel and into the clearer water, sport is also on the up with the first of the seasons rays reported from the sandy marks around Minehead. In recent years this has been a good time for specimen Blonde rays and I would not be at all surprised to hear of one over the coming weeks.

On the match front, Weston S.A.A recently held their spring open on the town beach in weather that would have tested the hardiest of souls. For this reason they experienced one of their worst attendances on record with just 28 competitors signing in. The fishing was as bad as the weather though and just two anglers brought solitary Flounders to the scales; in first place Steve Ace closely followed by Phytos Yianni (The only angler who wouldn't blow away!)

Finally, congratulations to John Lintern who has again been selected to represent the country at international level, a true honour and one well deserved by not only a great angler but a true gent. In what seems like another life time ago as a junior member of the Weston S.A.A, I found great inspiration in John, amongst others, and his ability to pull fish from a puddle when everyone else struggled, and the green van man would often provide transport home after the weigh in for this annoying teenager with too many questions! Tight lines.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the weather continues to improve (A long hot dry summer on the cards should we believe the Met Office!) so does the fishing with pretty much the entire length of the Channel on good form as you read this. Anglers tackling the upper reaches are being kept busy by Thornbacks, Congers and Dogfish which are readily available from the rock marks with the lion's share of the fish taken over low water on neap tides.

The Bass I spoke of last month are now making a good showing from the small estuary marks as well as from rocky areas where they are hunting out the crabs. Anglers making the effort to target these fish with light tackle are having some great sport from these silver tearaways at short range with fish up to 6lb reported. Not what you may call monsters by south coast standards but good fish for this area. I cannot help but feel that the Bristol Channel Federation specimen size for these fish is a little un realistic for probably 80% of the channel, at 8lb 8oz, and were it not for the mid double exceptions encountered on the North Devon beaches in the late summer it would be an incredibly fortunate catch to attain the specimen size.

Spring Codling remain on some marks but these are mostly small and will be thinning out by the time you read this. Large Thornbacks have been taken from the reef marks around Hinkley, again falling to Crab- undoubtedly the best upper channel bait at this time of year- as well as squid baits, but again a degree of luck is required as these large females are often taken from marks holding many smaller rays.

In recent years I have noted that a lot of better rays have been taken in darkness, particularly from the shallower marks. This of course goes against the grain that the channel will fish equally well in daylight as in darkness, but I really do think this could be the case in some conditions.

Still on the subject of Rays and the cleaner water species are making a good showing from the sandy marks over low water west of Minehead. The dogfish plagues are a nuisance one tide and almost non existent the next and it's a shame that the reason for this is so difficult to put your finger on! Big tides seem to encourage the packs and some anglers have cottoned on to this choosing to fish the neap tides with some good results. Although a better cast is needed on some marks, the smaller tide also makes for a better depth of water when it does bottom out and may again be beneficial. Members of the recently formed Seaswest S.A.C have landed some fine small eyeds recently topped off with some low double as well as numerous 9lb'ers. Spotted ray catches also seem to be on the up although these are mostly small and fairly localised. Even the odd double figure Blonde has made a showing. These, like the spotted's prefer slightly more broken ground where huss are also on the cards.

Local shops now have fresh stock of this seasons Sandeels and Launce, cheap and simple to use bait that certainly produces the goods in this neck of the woods.

If rays don't do it for you then the smoothhounds that are now starting to show may do.

Lower Channel marks gave up a good number of smaller pack fish around the May day bank holiday and these will have pushed further up the channel by the time you are reading this. Rarely taken on sandeel, crab is without doubt the best bait for these sporting mini sharks, fresh or frozen are both readily accepted and if you locate a marauding pack it's difficult to go wrong. As with the codling fishing of old, the hounds may only pass through at a certain stage of the tide so double patting is essential and using just the one rod advisable. If leaving your rod alone for any length of time be sure to set the clutch; these fish are extremely powerful and will dislodge an unstable tripod in a matter of minutes.

The month of May is regarded by some as one of the best in the channel and I think most would probably agree that this is true right now. Catches of this type will continue for a good while longer and will improve further, particularly around the lower channel marks, as the speckled sea rats disappear during June when the better fish can be targeted without fear of getting 'dogged out'.

How nice to make a positive report this month, lets hope the Met office have got that long hot summer bit right this year!
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Jansen Teakle

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would appreciate it if you would refrain from duplicating my articles that are featured in Sea Angling News.
There may also be issues with copyright to consider.

Thankyou.
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