and the "JUNE LIPET"
My first early adventures in sea angling were from Plymouth, Devon in the United Kingdom .
It all started with shore fishing when I went to Elphinstone Pier on the
Barbican & also what we called pipe at the Yacht Club on he Hoe. Here we fished
for mullet using bread. Caught & released some big one as well.
Then I started fishing from the shore over at at a place called the Warren, off
the south coast pathway near Noss Mayo for Sea Bass. Here I had great success.
However I always dreamed of boat fishing.
And so it began in the
early 70's when I used to go fishing on evening trips with Mark Blades on
a vessel called the CAROL ANNE from the Barbican. This was a clinker wooden hulled ex admiralty
vessel with "kitchener" steering gear. With tihis vessel if you wanted to go astern you wind
a lever which made a bucket type metal disc go around the rear of the propeller, thus making the
vessel go astern.
I could afford it I went to fish on such
legendary named boats as the
Later I had the opportunity to use the boat of my late great friend and former business partner David Toy. This boat pictured here was called
the "MALLARD" which helped me
learn all my early seamanship. With this vessel we enjoyed great catches of Pollack and Bass at the Eddystone reef, Hands Deep, the Rutts and the occasional Sea Trout, at "Bridges"
off Drakes Island.
Two great fisherman of the sea helped us perfect our catches, with their own particular techniques. The legendary late Spencer Vibart, who caught more Bass than I have
had "hot dinners" mostly at the famous EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE REEF and a real old salt of the sea, the late Alfie Briggs who new all the marks, before electronic navigators made their presence in this world.
EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE HISTORY
That instilled me into building my first vessel a 19' 6" Colvic called
HERRING" with the help of a
two friends Steve & Paul Edginton. A larger vessel soon followed in the form of a
23' 6" boat "RED HERRING 11". However ,I wished to get out where the big boy's were fishing and names
like Steve Barrett were making headlines with the charter boat
"BOA PESCADOR". There
were other's, like skipper Ray Parsons in
John Brown in
who were also constantly making news in the angling
press and also operating from the port of Plymouth.
And so in 1976 I bought
my first charter vessel "BALEINE" a 30' Senior Marine Fisherman powered by a naturally aspirated 146HP Bedford
Diesel. This vessel was replaced a year later by a Lochin 33" Cresta Fast
Fisherman powered by a single 180HP Ford Powermarine Turbocharged Diesel
Engine from Newhaven. At 14-16 knots she was considered speedy at that time as
most other vessels could only achieve 8 knots. This gave me a huge advantage in
terms of time and distance as I was able to fish wrecks way out into the English
channel. The name "NORVIC" became synonymous with big fish, notably
Conger weighing 101lbs 8ozs (Wally Ellis) and 102lbs 8ozs (John Marchant).
BRITISH CONGER CLUB
early wrecking years I purchased a very expensive PROTON MAGNETOMETER for wreck
searching. Hours of scanning the seabed with this tool produced many unknown
wrecks which I used in my efforts to catch large species on virgin wrecks. Much
of the data was given to the Hydrographic Department at Taunton and you may
notice my name on many printouts in the SW Area even that of the
which I located on the 28th March 1977. This vessel at the time of it's sinking
was shrouded in mystery because two US Warships stayed on station until it sank.
The vessel was thought to be carrying nuclear fuel rods for the first US atomic
1978 I was considered as one of the top six skippers in the UK by the Sea Angler
Magazine. I was also awarded a plaque made by OUR UNITY for my conger catching
before moving on to produce a great name for the vessel
I consider John Baron one of the best skippers of that time.
Later that year I was awarded the TOP SKIPPER AWARD by the BRITISH
CONGER CLUB for outstanding catches of Conger Eels. John Baron also came to
In 1987 I purchased the vessel
"CATCHUP" to give me more speed. However a new Lochin 38 hull had just
come on the market and I was interested in the greater potential of twin engines
with also a greater range capability. And so the "CATCHUP"
was sold in the
interests of building a vessel specifically designed for offshore wrecking.
During 1988 work
started on the construction of my new vessel
a Lochin 38" with twin Volvo 306HP
Diesels which could cruise ,fully loaded with 10 anglers and two crew at a speed
of 20 knots. This vessel was built with the help of many friends but primarily
Paul Descombe & Dave Maddocks. The craft entered the long range wrecking scene
in the summer of 1990 with two skippers myself and Paul Descombe and we started
to rewrite the Conger Eel catches of previous years. Paul had to retire
unfortunately through ill health and produced many great catches of congers for
our clients, for which he will be fondly remembered. Had Paul not had to retire
at such an early age through illness, I am sure his skill would have seen the Conger Eel Records
of today with his name on a significant number of trophies.
fine summers day after being cancelled by a group of anglers, Mel Russ the
Sea Angler Magazine
had the good fortune
to receive a call late from me, one Friday afternoon. All he had to do was
to be in Plymouth for 7 a.m. the following morning........a drive of some 300+
miles no less. And what a day he and his girlfriend partner had to remember.
First big eel of the day was by his lady accomplice, scaling 80 lbs which left
Mel looking decidedly glum. Not to be outdone some minutes later Mel hooked into
another classic fish which turned the scales at 101lbs 8ozs. That fish as you
would expect featured in more angling magazines than most with Mel
grinning from ear to ear. A once in a lifetime catch for most anglers !
The catches of
100lb + eels continued but the elusive world record could not be caught until
suddenly in 1991 the late Hans Clausen fishing aboard the
with Bill Warner smashed the record books with a Conger Eel of 110lbs.11ozs.
That summer of 1991 was a summer to remember with large numbers of eels in the
90lbs + region being caught by the top charter boats mainly from the Port of
In the spring bank
holiday of 1992 Trevor Kerrison broke the World Record with a Conger
Eel of 111lbs 4oz aboard the vessel
fishing a wreck 57
miles from Plymouth. On the same day fishing wrecks a few miles away ,the
from Dartmouth boarded an eel of 105lbs 8ozs and the
Plymouth based vessel
had an eel of 101lbs 8ozs. The ink was hardly
dry on the Kerrison claim form when the vessel
"SALTWIND OF DART"
world record up further again with an eel of 112lbs 8ozs landed by Nial Ball.
Within two weeks the world record was equaled by
, Del Mash being the lucky angler with the eel weighing 112lbs 8ozs at the
There the record
stood and in the next two years the push to catch large congers continued but
they remained elusive and hardly any in the 100lb region were caught. Suddenly
in 1995 my friend Vic Evans from Brixham in his vessel
smashed the record out of sight with a
magnificent fish of 133lbs 4ozs.
So what for the future.
Will the record be broken again? I am sure it will, for eels with weights up to
250lbs have been hauled up in the nets of commercial fishing vessels along the
southwest coast of England. Also we have seen and lost fish in the order of
140/150lbs right at the point of gaffing on two occasions. We have had the
fortune to catch five eels over a 100 lbs, so they are there to be caught, all
you need is lady luck to be with you. As for the smaller congers, especially
those under 50lbs, please remember to return them to grow into that monster you
are desperately seeking to catch. The message is Conservation, catch and
Congratulations to Dave
Brett skipper of the
for a fine conger caught in August 1999.
This fish weighed in at 115lb and was caught by Shaun Tromans of Bristol and is
the second largest Conger Eel ever captured on rod and line and was caught out
Mecca of Sea Angling in the UK.
by kind permission of Russ Symons No3. & Mike Millman No1. & No2.)
to 1995 TEN PAGES OF FISH PICTURES CAUGHT ON ELECTRIC BLUE
BLUE UNITED KINGDOM PHOTO GALLERY
CLUB ROLL OF HONOUR