Days for a boat trip don’t get better than this!

A flat calm glassy sea greeted us all as we sailed out of Ilfracombe past Verity on our way to Lundy that outcrop of rock that dissects the entrance to the Bristol Channel. Eight anglers chatted and set up tackle as we steamed out on “Blue Fin” skippered by John Barbeary. Word was that the fishing had not been too good with mackerel scarce and prospects questionable. However every tide is different and with good weather things would improve soon after all someone has to be first on the fish when they arrive.
First stop was to try for a few elusive mackerel; small feathers brought a few launces writhing to the surface. Mackerel were none existent though so we set of to drift some rocky ground to the West of the Island. Deck hand Terry Latham soon had the Pollock coming over the gunnels using a set of Silver dream lures.
I sent down a live launce and expected instant action. Several drifts went by however before a four pound plus Pollock devoured my offering.
Meanwhile Terry continued to haul them in using his successful silver dream lures.
Strange how a particular colour works on a given day and that on some days artificial lures will out fish the real thing! In addition to the Pollock the use of ragworm, crab and prawn brought a succession of brightly coloured cuckoo wrasse that would not look out of place on a tropical reef. Sadly many of the cuckoo wrasse and ballan wrasse suffered from inflated swim bladders. Some suggest that puncturing this enables the fish to recover. They certainly seem to go back Ok but I would not want to overindulge in catching these delightful fish from deep water.
Michael Taylor
As the tide eased it was time to target bigger fish at anchor. A mile or so West of Lundy and down went the anchor. Dan is first into a fish that puts a decent curve in his rod. A huge mouth appears at the surface as a large huss succumbs to the rod and line. Weighing over 13lb it’s a cracking specimen. Then Matt hooks a tope; the first of five he lands during the next couple of hours. Eventually I too hook a tope that gives an exhilarating account. It looks to close to thirty pounds and is almost in the net when it spins and its tale brushes the braid; a limp line blows in the breeze…
At the other side of the boat Rob Pollard has more success landing a tope that weighs 28lb.
Rob Pollard
A few more tope and huss follow before John declares it time to leave the tidal flow increasing until 2lb of lead is required to hold bottom. We have a few drifts at the North End of the Island in view of the lighthouse that warns ships of the Island and its treacherous rocks.
Rock pinnacles that tower above the ocean floor amongst a racing tide home for Pollock, bass and wrasse. Its truly awesome ground; I would think well worth a try for porbeagles. If only one had limitless time and a very deep pocket.
We steamed back across a flat calm sea, half way back a pod of dolphins break the surface and join the boat for a short while frolicking in its wake.
It’s been a stunning day, good company, spectacular scenery and a few good fish. Days don’t get much better than this!

About piscator2

An all-round angler I fish for fun and enjoy sharing my experiences and adventures at the waters edge. Each week I write a column for the North Devon Journal and occasional articles for various publications.
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