Finally…the Southsea Marina Angling Club (SMAC) Open Cod Competition was held on 30th December after seven postponements due to the weather. We even had a few settled days beforehand to get into the swing of things after two months of being stuck ashore. Although overcast, visibility was good, it wasn’t too cold and a slight westerly breeze gave us plenty of options.

A total of 102 anglers signed in, with 45 boats mostly heading out from Southsea Marina, the Eastney ramp or Eastney Cruising Association (ECA). More fish were being caught inshore of the Nab than further out. Although the winning cod wasn’t as big as last year we were pleased that five cod weighed in (only two in the 2017 competition) and we had the main prizes awarded to cod with a number of good whiting as runners-up.

The winner was Tim Andrews, SMAC Commodore with a cod of 9lb 2oz. Other winners were

2nd: Ken Barton cod 8lb 14oz; 3rd: Tom Baker cod 4lb 9oz; 4th: Bradley Tomkinson cod 4lb 7oz;

5th: Dean Kilford cod 3lb 10oz. Runners up with good whiting included Pete Bowden,  Darren Price, Kim Bowden, Germit Ladaher, Bernie Kwil, Steve Manning, Dick Stubbs and Tim Ward. There were also prizes for Ladies, won by Hayley Ellis and a Junior prize won by Michael Houghton. The entire event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication from Steve Kelly, SMAC Chairman who made sure all the anglers had a great day.

Although the cod season this year has been disappointing there have been some notable fish caught, topped by Lee Frampton with an amazing 31lb fish caught out of Bembridge. Mark Argyle from the ECA also caught a cod of 16lb 9oz on squid bait.

Further out the banks and wrecks have been producing some good pollack and bass. Mark Banks and Tim Andrews demonstrate a typical catch. Heber Crawford had an amazing day on the bass which was topped by this monster of over 14lb. There are some very big bass around – Robert Foster’s 13lb 9oz fish reported last issue was awarded SMAC Fish of the Month.

Rays feature in many boat trips but Ash Dowdswell’s 18lb Undulate Ray is a very good fish. We had a run of congers on many marks, not only taking cod baits but also attacking fish that were being reeled in as Phil Stride shows.

Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club prove that age is no barrier to fishing. George Dominy shows how it’s done at 85 and John Wearn has no trouble wrestling this conger. At the other end of the age spectrum we always encourage young anglers and Mikey Primmett is delighted with this fine dab.

After Christmas we usually find the remaining cod and larger whiting are hunting sprats further up in the water making them less interested in conventional bait fishing. As a result inshore fishing tends to quieten down in January and February before the plaice arrive. However we are already hearing reports of plaice being caught along the shore so the unseasonably warm water might be encouraging them in early. We will let you know next month!