New personal best as I save the best for last

Angler holding a 15lbs 9oz cod

JS cod 15lbs 9oz - Credit: Submitted

Christmas is often a time of reflection as well as celebration and this year has certainly been a strange one.

A worldwide pandemic that saw us shut down with no fishing and very little outdoor activity with a gradual relaxation of the rules allowing charter boats out with groups of six anglers and match fishing allowed.

Now we have this tier system where the rules can change at any time, but fishing is still allowed to some degree.

Huge thanks this year must go to the Angling Trust which has worked tirelessly in getting us all fishing and keeping us updated with the current rules. 

It is a misconception that they work only for freshwater anglers and indeed have put time in with some of the problems that have been encountered at Hopes Nose.

Newbarn Farm Fishery continues to produce good quality fish including a fine fully scaled common carp of 20lbs for Sid Cashin fishing a ledgered boilie at the bottom of the marginal slope.

Work is now complete on the new kitchen in the shop, hot drinks and snacks are now on sale.

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The fishing around our coast is still producing fish with bass, bull huss, and whiting being plentiful. Mackerel are still showing at odd times.

The travelling angler has been the most successful this week with Jamie Clark landing a conger eel of around 14lbs in among the whiting at Budleigh Salterton.

Exmouth SAC fished their Christmas competition with flounders and bass showing, the winner on the day was George Drew with Gareth Moffat and Andy Browning taking the next two places.

A group from Honiton SAC headed to Minehead on Sunday and in wet and windy conditions caught blonde, small-eyed and spotted rays as well as bull huss.

My year has been very peculiar with my favourite boat fishing very much curtailed, I did get out just after the first lockdown on a single person charter from Minehead where together with Michael Webber-Griffiths, skipper of Teddie Boy, we landed over 40 smoothounds.

I fished the summer around the coarse fisheries with some success, fished the beaches and caught whiting during the autumn.

Saving the best until last, I fished the same boat last week on my final boat trip of the year and landed a new personal best blonde ray of 19lbs and a Bristol Channel personal best cod of 15lbs 9oz.

I would like to thank all anglers who have sent me pictures and reports this year, please keep them coming. Ours really is a tremendous sport. Look out for our fish of the month competition starting in January, sponsored by Sidewinder Lures and Newbarn Farm Fishery. You can email them to me on

Have a very happy Christmas and stay safe.