There is nearly always something not quite right when you go boat fishing. Tides are too small or too big, wrong bait, cloudy water, weed…but this month we couldn’t complain about the weather. I can’t remember so many fishable days crammed into the month. Sitting comfortably on a blue sea, topping up the tan and banter with mates makes poor fishing bearable. And there have been some quiet days recently, where we have been scratching for a few mackerel, pout and dogfish. Other days have been very good including some spectacular tope fishing. Top fish in this report is Ian Draper’s 64lb tope which he matched up with another good specimen of 50lb. To prove that experience can beat youthful energy, John Churchill at 80 years old tamed this tope (pictured) which was in excess of 50lb. To reduce stress on fish to be returned, weight is often estimated which is why we don’t have exact weights in all the photos.
Fewer boats are targeting bass as there is a landing ban for 2018, but there are still good stocks in the area and regularly turn up on general bottom-fishing trips. Our local butcher Mo Twells shows off the typical stamp of fish with a healthy 5 pounder. I am pretty sure that is the same hat he wears behind the counter too.
We usually have to motor much further afield for turbot of any size: Heber Crawford is showing off a very pretty fish caught from one of the Langstone boats over the offshore banks. However, Kriss Scott caught a magnificent inshore fish (for the area) of 8lb. This was awarded SMAC “Fish of the Month” because you just don’t see turbot of that size here, even though the Specimen Book thinks otherwise. This fish pipped Luke Scott’s huge (relatively) three-bearded rockling of 1lb 8oz which was an official Specimen and impressive in the rockling circles but not impressive enough to win the votes for Fish of the Month from our discerning members.
Even nearer to shore, Peter Churchill tempted this mullet of 3lb 12oz. We regularly see some very large mullet in the marinas but they can be very picky so this was a good catch.
Some of my wealthier angling friends pay a lot of money to fish famous river and estuary beats for sea trout. Heber Crawford proved this is not always necessary. While fishing for mullet with a LRF rod and a tiny fly spoon, he noticed a dark shadow and a swirl behind the lure. Casting again he was rewarded with this stunning sea trout. After the photo-call it was promptly returned. Young Archie Crawford returned with Dad a day or two later and first cast hooked another sea trout! Before anyone thinks this is a regular thing in the area, these are the only two sea trout reported from this tidal creek that I can recall.
The many calm days have allowed us to observe more under-water traffic than usual. We have seen large numbers of jellyfish, and also some large and very dense shoals of fry – see the photo of the fish-finder screen. This indicates a smaller number of predatory fish around, and it also makes it more difficult for anglers to tempt mackerel with feathers when they have such an abundance of the real thing to eat. This might also explain why the mackerel we have caught are invariably stuffed so full they are like little round torpedoes.
Let’s hope this great weather continues.
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