By Neville Merritt, SMAC
October in the eastern Solent area is often a cross-over month between the summer species and the arrival of winter cod and whiting. This year the summer species have stayed around well into the month with good catches of plaice, some bream plus garfish and scad still taking baits or feathers off the bottom. Conger are roaming the rough ground away from their summer haunts of wrecks and rocks, and can provide energetic sport or be a nuisance to those targeting cod, depending on your point of view. A good autumn conger on open ground can run like a tope and put up a very good fight.
On the subject of cod, we have seen a limited run of autumn fish with the luckier boats having four or five to about 15lbs, mainly reported from Solent marks. The first few whiting have appeared but not in the numbers we expect later. We usually see a few trigger fish on the rocky marks at this time of year, and some nice fish have been caught this month.
Bass fishing has been excellent with the inshore shoal fish being larger each year and giving good sport on light spinning tackle. The bigger fish tend to be hanging well below the smaller fish which will often grab a lure on the surface. Further offshore there have been good catches of bass to 6lb on the better days, although only one fish of over 42cm per angler per day can be retained.
On 8th October the interclub boat competition between Southsea Marina, Langstone Harbour, Eastney and Southsea Sea Angling Clubs was held with 39 individuals entering on their own boats or from charters. The competition for best specimen fish was won by Ray Plomer fishing from his own boat Ruthless with an undulate ray of 13lb 15oz. Catches were generally disappointing on the day but Mark Banks brought back a bull huss of 11lbs and Tim Andrews a ling of around 20lb. Heber Crawford started late and stayed in the harbour, but nevertheless winkled out several very nice wrasse the largest 4lb 1oz.
Notable fish reported this month included a monster bass of 16lb 4oz caught by Les Chant from a Langstone charter boat. Bait was apparently carp boilies. This has aroused much interest from other anglers as this might be an alternative to the very high prices being charged for our staple cod bait, frozen squid! Pete Kilshaw of the ECA caught a twaite shad of 1lb 8oz which was quickly released because these are protected species. Mark Argyle also of ECA caught a nice bass of 9lb. Catches from Southsea Marina Angling Club included a trigger fish of 2lb 1oz caught by Tony Skinner and in the junior section, an undulate ray of 14lb to Jake Kelly (pictured). Heber Crawford is way in the lead in the species competition, with 52 to date.
The next competition will be the Southsea Marina Angling Club Open Cod Competition scheduled for 3rd December, with reserve dates of 10th and 17th December if the weather is unfavourable. First prize for the largest cod is £500 plus a prize table. Entry is £10 – for further details contact Steve Kelly at Southsea Marina on 02392 822719.
Read other Sea Angling News reports here