Angler’s Tales – Mike Spiller

Honiton Sea Angling Club, Honourable Secretary – Wyvern Region of the Angling Trust marine group

My earliest fishing memory is of rock pooling on Beer beach, around 1965 ish, trying to catch or net anything in the pools. I started sea angling proper with Beer and District Sea Anglers as a junior around 1973 because my parents ran a pub in Seaton so I used to fish to get away from the smell of stinky pub carpets and smoke!

Nowadays I fish mainly in East Devon and Dorset mostly from boat and shore. I also fish from Weymouth to Torbay, with regular trips up to the Bristol Channel. I also travel to Southern Ireland and Northern Norway.

I like catching all fish but my favourites would be all types of Ray in the Bristol Channel.
My best memory is a hard one but I think I can narrow it down to two. An 80lb Halibut in Norway ay Sandland Brygg and a 7lb 2oz Plaice on the Shambles Bank at Weymouth in England. My favourite marks include any of the East Devon beaches, such as Seaton, Branscombe, or Budleigh Salterton. Iconic species of this coast line are bass and mullet as well as different species of ray. I also like the Minehead area in the Bristol Channel which is known for it’s rays and smoothhound.

I go angling to enjoy the fishing plus the scenery and countryside. The people you meet are always willing to stop and chat. Sea angling means a lot to me, not just the fishing but looking after what we have got already, for example, helping to keep our beaches clean.

Sea angling and the paper work side of things to do with sea angling [Mike does a huge amount for the Devon angling community] means so much to me. I wish more people would help get sea angling the recognition it deserves. My goals for the future are to keep fishing and to help others enjoy fishing.

I also like to show case the Lyme Bay Reserve off our local coast. This is a marine protected area where scallop dredging has been removed, and other activities are managed by voluntary codes of conduct. The improvements we have seen since its started nearly 10 years ago is amazing: Plenty of fish to catch like ray, plaice, gurnards and bream. Commercial fishing boats in the area have also changed their practices for the better I think, switching to less damaging methods of fishing now. I hear they get more money for their catch when it is marketed as sustainable catch from the marine reserve.
we need more Marine Protected Areas like this.

My advice for any visiting anglers would be to contact the local clubs and get down here to enjoy it!

http://www.honitonsac.co.uk/