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Sea Fishing off Clovelly - August 2008

Originating from Birmingham, I've been brought up as a coarse fisherman, but over the last few years, have taken up fly fishing. Torrington is only six miles from the sea but I hadn't been sea fishing from a boat, even though I moved here in late 1991. Phil from next door has been encouraging me to go with him so that we can learn together (and he's only been here six months!) - he loves seafood and wanted to catch fresh fish.

This was our first boat adventure on the 'Independent' with Dave and Doug, who operate out of Clovelly harbour. We only went for a morning "taster" session with all the tackle and baits provided. We initially stopped over a reef a short distance from the quay and were quickly into small lesser spotted dogfish. After having a few each we upped anchor and moved to the edge of the reef in the hope of larger fish. Although we still caught the little dogs, Phil hooked into a large fish which Dave thought was a smoothhound which shed the hook near the surface. I was lucky enough to catch a bull huss which turned the scales at 10lb 2oz.

As the session drew to the end, we tried over the mud flats nearer the shore and within a few minutes I had landed a thornback ray. But as the tide turned, so the sport declined and it was time to return.

The Bideford Bay area has been poor inshore of late due to the rainfall. The mud from the highly coloured rivers is discharged into the sea greatly reducing the visibility, so spinning for mackerel and bass is futile as they can't see the lure. This trip would normally also catch these, but to ensure that we caught fish, the tactics were amended accordingly.

This was a really good way to try your hand and a totally different method of fishing with excellent company. The full days go farther out to sea where tope, pollack etc are regularly caught. You can even book them for shark trips (strictly catch and release). After a thoroughly enjoyable day, I'm now planning my next excursion for the full day. I'll keep you posted