Your weekly angling column with Tony Gussin
Most sea anglers at this time of year are dreaming of one thing – cod.
It is the prime time to catch that big ‘lunker’ from North Devon’s deep water rock marks and the rewards wait for those willing to put in the hours.
Alternatively, for a bit of fun and the chance of a few edible-sized fish, the Taw and Torridge Estuary has plenty of codling to offer this year.
No record breakers, but there have been stacks of fish in the two to three pound range, with the odd slightly better one mixed in among them.
There are plenty of places to try, with Greysands on the Appledore side of Northam Burrows and beside the slipway at Appledore Lifeboat Station just two options, but the fish also push up past Fremington Quay and beyond.
Try fishing a neap tide, after dark if possible (though day time will produce some fish) and fish two hours either side of high tide, or the first of the flooding tide.
I use a ‘pulley pennell’ rig as a rule, 2/0 or 3/0 hooks, with six to eight ounce grip weights, depending on the strength of tidal flow – the need for fairly heavy leads means you’ll need standard beachcasting gear to cope with them.
For bait, nothing beats peeler crab, fresh or frozen and although estuary codling will take worm or squid baits, so will the ever-present hoards of crabs that can strip hooks bare in a few minutes.
If you do venture out to the open coast in search of the cod of your dreams, remember the adage ‘big baits means big fish’. Squid and fish baits can work just as well at this time of year, but fresh worm or crab can give a definite edge on the right occasion.
Please do remember coastal rock marks with strong tidal flows can be very dangerous places to be and have claimed the lives of plenty of anglers.
Don’t fish alone, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, wear decent footwear with a good grip (studded if possible) and have a good look at unfamiliar marks in daylight before fishing them.
* Please do send your angling stories, pictures and results - coarse, game and sea - to me at email@example.com