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FISHING HISTORY


My first early adventures in sea angling were from Plymouth, Devon in the United Kingdom . It all started in the early 70's when I used to go fishing on such legendary named boats as the "ANJONIKA" and the "JUNE LIPET". 

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 "RED 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 "SUNLIT WATERS" and John Brown in "JUNE LIPET" 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).

THE BRITISH CONGER CLUB

BRITISH CONGER CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

During these 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 famous "FLYING ENTERPRISE" 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 submarine "Nautilus".

In 1978 I was considered as one of the top six skippers in the UK by the Sea Angler Magazine. 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 skipper "NORVIC" before moving on to produce a great name for the vessel "SUMMERZET MAID".

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 "ELECTRIC BLUE" 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.

One fine summers day after being cancelled by a group of  anglers, Mel Russ the editor of 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 "MISTRESS" 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 Plymouth.  

In the spring bank holiday of 1992 Trevor Kerrison broke the World Record with a Conger Eel of 111lbs 4oz aboard the vessel "ELECTRIC BLUE" fishing a wreck 57 miles from Plymouth.  On the same day fishing wrecks a few miles away ,the vessels "JENNIFER ANN" from Dartmouth boarded an eel of 105lbs 8ozs and the Plymouth based vessel "MISTRESS" had an eel of 101lbs 8ozs. The ink was hardly dry on the Kerrison claim form when the vessel "SALTWIND OF DART" pushed the world record up further again with an eel of 112lbs 8ozs landed by Nial Ball. Within two weeks the world record was equaled by "ELECTRIC BLUE" , Del Mash being the lucky angler with the eel weighing 112lbs 8ozs at the scales.

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 "SEA SPRAY" 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 release.  

Congratulations to Dave Brett skipper of the "SCORPION" 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 of 

Plymouth

The Mecca of Sea Angling in the UK.

(Pictures by kind permission of Russ Symons No3. &  Mike Millman No1. & No2.)

 CONGER EEL PICTURES
1990 to 1995 TEN PAGES OF FISH PICTURES CAUGHT ON ELECTRIC BLUE

 ELECTRIC BLUE UNITED KINGDOM PHOTO GALLERY

 BRITISH CONGER CLUB ROLL OF HONOUR

"ELECTRIC BLUE" a 37' Topaz Open Sports fishing vessel was operated by Capt. Tony ALLEN from the World Famous Johns Pass, Clearwater, Florida from 1999 to 2005.

Unfortunately due to the terrorist actions in New York on the 11th Sept 2001 tourism in Florida declined dramatically. Air travel being most noticeably hit. Electric Blue was sold in 2005.

It's taken almost 7 years and things are getting back to some normality. However many of the Charter Boats that used to operate in my area have ceased operating. Lack of customers and the cost of diesel fuel I guess? Hopefully we are going to see a change in the fragile economy and hopefully things will gradually get better.

Our last vessel was a CABO 45' EXPRESS SPORTS FISHERMAN. This vessel was never Chartered in the Gulf as we could not obtain a Gulf of Mexico Fishing Permit. This is a closed fishery. We have now obtained a license for the Atlantic Fishery and we will be operating from Jupiter Inlet/Lake Worth Inlet area with a new vessel as the CABO 45 EXPRESS has now been sold as of 1st November 2016.


 

 ELECTRIC BLUE PICTURES OLD & NEW


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ELECTRIC BLUE HISTORY
FISHING CHARTER BOOKING COST & TERMS
INLETS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY
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MERCURY IN FISH & SHELLFISH
WWII BOMBS & MUSTARD GAS IN THE GULF

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BRITISH CONGER CLUB
EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE HISTORY UK
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USA & FLORIDA DIVING
THE MOON & FISHING
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SINKING OF THE USS ORISKANY
SINKING USNS GENERAL HOYT S. VANDENBERG
SHIPWRECKS AROUND THE WORLD
UNDERSTANDING AIR PRESSURE ETC
WHAT IS EL NINO?
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