Well February has turned out pretty much as predicted, made worse by the constant procession of low pressure systems from the Atlantic that have brought strong winds and rain. February is also often a fairly barren month, with the cod having moved off and the Spring species yet to appear in any numbers. Many charter skippers use February for annual overhauls on the basis that they are not missing much, and this year they were dead right. Good pollack will be on the mid-Channel wrecks, if only we have the right weather to let us reach them.

So, February news is on the light side. The Southsea Marina Angling Club Nelson Mandela Cup for best cod was fished very late in the season this year due to the run of bad weather. This meant a number of boats were unavailable, however seven members braved the elements to make sure we completed the calendar of events. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the timing, not a single cod was caught so the winner-takes-all prize went to Ray Plomer with a 2lb 2oz whiting. This was a great compensation for Ray, who missed out on last month’s Cod Open rankings by losing valuable fishing time returning for a forgotten flask and sandwiches.

Ray Plomer wins Mandela Cup

Other SMAC club news was the cod pool being won by Steve Kelly (correctly spelled this month, sorry) with a cod of 17lb 1oz, and John Wearn in second place with a cod of 11lb 15oz. The RNLI will be invited to give a small boat safety talk to members at the May meeting, and to support the Ocean Clean-up there will be a beach litter picking event later in the year.

Eastney Cruising Association (ECA) are Southsea Marina’s near neighbours, based right on the entrance to Langstone Harbour. Congratulations to Colin Kidd who was awarded ECA Club Champion 2017, pictured here with cod and bull huss which helped him to achieve that.

Colin Kidd wins ECA Club Champion

Colin Kidd and cod

Next month we should sea the arrival of early plaice. There have been reports of some in nets already, but I have noticed over the years that fish ending up in nets don’t seem to be fish interested in baits. Maybe they are less interested in feeding when they are in early for spawning (which is why they are on the inshore marks) but just as susceptible to nets. After that we can look forward to bream, smooth-hound and the summer species. Bass will be catch and release only for 2018 unless the restriction is relaxed later in the year. I am certainly looking forward to some warmer, more settled weather too.