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West is Best

December 10 2008

Jim O'Donnel is Owner/skipper of Plymouth charter boat "The Tiburon"

Sea Fishing around Devon and Cornwall - the so-called foot of Great Britain

Using this term makes us sound distant from the rest of the UK. Well I suppose we are distant from the hustle and bustle of real city life. But to be distant from something always means you're closer to something else! The south coasts of Devon and Cornwall face out into the clear, fish rich waters of the western English Channel, placing us closer to arguably the best boat fishing in the country.

Far from the fast life but as close to the dream as you will ever get. This is where the action happens!!
From the busy ports of Plymouth, Brixham, and Falmouth to the small quaint Harbours of Looe, Mevagissy and Salcombe you will find small but enthusiastic teams of expert charter skippers with fast, safe and reliable boats, only too keen give you a superb days sport. This on a good day can be beyond your wildest dreams!! All the skippers that work from the coasts of these two counties are truly passionate about what they do, are anglers themselves and have their own unique stories to tell.

A typical summers day fishing
It's 6.30am. You've had hardly any sleep because of your imminent fishing trip! The excitement started yesterday evening as you prepared your tackle and packed lunch, ready for an early and well prepared start.

You arrive at you chosen port for the day. All is silent until the sound of an empty fish box hitting a concrete floor at the local fish market breaks the spell and the sound echoes around the old concrete walls of a historic harbour. This is a fisherman's time of day!! Commercial and pleasure fisherman are among the privileged few who know the beauty of this time, sharing in an excitement unknown to those who have never fished. The feeling of nerves and expectation over what catch this day will bring!

You walk down the wooden slipway, across the wooden pontoon to your chosen boat for the day. Others have already arrived, some experienced, some novice but all with one thing in common, they are here to fish and share the same excitement. The boat deck is quiet but there is a tension in the air that feels like everyone's excitement is about to explode!! The skipper emerges from the wheelhouse door with a tray of piping hot tea and coffee. "Morning lads" - his words break the silence and chat breaks out among the expectant crew. Safety instructions and a quick brief on the fishing are given before he turns the key and the boats turbo engine roars into life!!

Fifteen minutes later you are leaving the coastline behind you, to be engulfed by the horizon. Everybody's excitement has now turned to a race to see who will have his or her tackle ready first. The boat slows down as the skipper reaches his chosen destination and you line the sides of the boat ready for the command to drop your tackle to the seabed.

The skipper turns on his electronic fish finder and a huge mark appears on the screen indicating the fish that are beneath the boat. The boat is carefully positioned and a command is yelled from the wheelhouse "down you go boys". This is it!! Whilst concentrating on your own tackle you can't help but notice somebody to the rear of the boat is shouting. His rod slams over, contorted by a hard fighting fish!! Then another anglers rod bends over, and another, and another until finally it's your turn. Your rod is almost wrenched from your grip and bends as if about to break!! You play the fish savouring the fight all the way to the surface. The skipper nets your catch and places it carefully down so as not to damage it. You triumphantly hold your capture and have your picture taken - a moment saved forever.

There are fish being caught everywhere, many are returned whilst others will be taken home to be cooked and enjoyed by the whole family at the table. The action continues all day until the sun becomes low in the sky and the boat heads back towards land. All aboard have had a superb days sport. Your memories of this day will last forever drawing you back to the western English Channel to chase the dream once more!!

Species that can be sought
Many species inhabit the waters that surround Devon and Cornwall, including specimen pollack, cod, bass, huge conger eels, many flatfish, ray, big blue sharks more. Each port and skipper will have their own speciality. All skippers will provide tackle, copious amounts of tea and coffee and be only to pleased to help, advise, teach, and see the smile on your face when you visit the most productive fishing grounds in the UK and are rewarded with some truly tremendous fishing. Tight lines!!
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