Sunday, 24 October 2010

North Devon, Ilfracombe Harbour

The top deck of the pier, note the tall post on the left on the lower deck.

Ilfracombe is on the north Devon coast, when you arrive you will note that the locals are not fond of direction signs.... there are small brown signs for The Aquarium and Harbour but they are easily missed. There is a large car park adjacent to the harbour wall so you can fish near to your car. There is a cheaper car park back at the head of the harbour.
There are toilets at the entrance to the car park and a tackle shop nearby, back up the road you came in on, follow the road round to the left and the shop is a short distance down that road on the right,
(Variety Sports, 23 Broad Street, Ilfracombe, Devon EX34 9EE). Note, Apr 2016, this shop looks as if it is closing down, for sale sign and irregular opening hours. There is another shop High Street Tackle, 153 High Street, Ilfracombe, Devon EX34 9EZ 
There are plenty of shops, caf├ęs and pubs nearby for food and drink.

The lower deck at low tide.

The tides here are typical of the area, big. The water comes up a long way and can catch out the unwary..... the weed growing on the wooden posts on the lower level is a clue to what happens later in the tide. You can only fish the lower section for a couple of hours before and after low tide, less or not at all in rough weather.

This is a venue that can be fished with light or heavy tackle, big baits cast out towards Wales from the end of the lower level can catch you a conger, more likely to catch a dogfish, but conger are regularly caught here. Fishing light close in can result in many species that are attracted by the cover provided by the pier structure and submerged obstructions, it is snaggy however and you will lose some gear. Fish with hook lengths and lead links of lesser breaking strain than the mainline so that you can pull clear of the snags, fine wire hooks that bend such as the Mustad Nordic Bend are good in these situations. Size four are about right for general species hunting close in. Ragworm is the most used bait but fish baits will catch as well.
Fishing further out puts your bait out onto a generally sandy bottom with some weed clumps and other snags, there is not much tidal flow so grip leads are not necessary to hold bottom.
Float fishing near to the pier can be productive, when last there ( Mid October ), there were gar, sand smelt, coalfish and a mullet caught on fish strips fished at depths of up to twelve feet or so. Fishing out onto the sand gave small whiting, sole and a small conger eel

Tide flooding the lower level.

The pool that is enclosed by the pier can be fished; an angler fishing here had a silver eel later in the tide.

Note the post referred to in the first picture caption !

Fishing from the rocks is possible at low tide but be very aware of the advancing tide, the rocks in the picture above offer no refuge from a swell or a bigger tide.

Easy wheelchair access and no distance casting needed makes this a good venue for a disabled angler

easy level access to railed promenade on top level sloping ramp to un-railed lower level.

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