Late September and early October is usually the time for the first run of cod, but this year the water temperature has remained higher than usual by just a few degrees which may have delayed things. Although there have been some cod caught, it wasn’t until mid-October that they started to show more frequently. On the other hand, there have been plenty of large mackerel still around to give sport on light tackle or just top up the bait supplies.

Trigger fish don’t stay around for very long but there are worth targeting while they are here. Bill Arnold shows a typical fish caught in late September – very exotic-looking for a UK fish.

Bill Arnold Trigger Fish

Another visitor is the Couches bream, which is far more common in warmer waters of the Mediterranean and Americas. Mick Barry caught this nice 3lb 14oz fish from Valkyrie 6 on squid strip.

Mick Barry Couches Bream

And to remind us that UK fish can also look exotic, Heber Crawford caught this male and female pair of cuckoo wrasse which wouldn’t look out of place in an aquarium.

Cuckoo wrasse pair

Squid fishing has been a minority sport along the South Coast for many years but recently there had been much wider interest, partly because there are plenty around, large ones at that, and partly because of the development of squid tactics and tackle pioneered by the Japanese and Australians. We used to rely on a luminus barrel lure costing about £1. Now you can spend over £16 for a rattling, glowing, vibrating, textured lure which although very attractive to squid, it is just as attractive to snags. This can make trips rather expensive. The start of the squid season has arrived in this area and they should stay around in numbers until late winter, although a stock will remain all year. Most anglers target them from shore marks but we are also catching them from boats. With the price of squid for bait plus the culinary value (much better than frozen!) we expect a lot more to be caught. Heber and Archie Crawford show examples of squid caught recently.

Heber Crawford Squid

Archie Crawford Squid

Now to cod. I wish we had more photos to show but as mentioned earlier, we have been struggling. One of the earlier cod, a modest fish 6lb 11oz caught by Steve Kelley underwent a quick autopsy and demonstrates what a wide range of food they actually eat – nature’s dustbin. From that you might think there is no excuse for having the “wrong bait”. You can see squid, cuttlefish, dab, crab, dragonets, shellfish, probably a pout and other unidentifiable objects.

Inside a cod

In the last week we were much encouraged by Tim Andrews and John Evans who turned the corner by catching not one cod but several. Things are looking up at last.

Tim Andrews cod

Specimen fish reported by Southsea Marina Angling Club this month were a bass of 11lb 10oz for Dave Ford; bass 10lb 8oz to Tim Andrews; undulate ray 14lb for Chris Ellis and Heber Crawford had several large mullet, best 5lb 12oz.

Heber Crawford Mullet

Last month we featured junior anglers but we also encourage and celebrate the success of new anglers who may not be as young. New member Mike Gibbons was taken out by Bill Arnold on Limpet for his first ever boat trip and was rewarded with these small eyed and blonde rays. He also caught brill, tub gurnard, launce and mackerel. Now wonder he’s smiling.

Mike Gibbons small-eyed ray