This last month seems to have gone by remarkably quickly, the more so because we have had so many windy, rainy or windy and rainy days. There are a lucky few who can take a boat out mid-week when a weather window appears but most of us with work schedules just look at the weather charts and feel frustrated. I am sure the trouble on internet fishing forums peaks to coincide with bad weather. I expect a PhD student will do a study on that one day.
Another correlation is that the number of sunrise and sunset photos that are posted on social media has a direct link to the number of unremarkable fish caught – and comments like “Great to be out anyway”… I suspect that this month had a peak of fishing forum conflict and sunrise photos because most of us have neither got out fishing or if we have, we haven’t found the cod that are supposed to be here.
So on to the news and pictures that we can share from the Langstone Harbour area. Highlight of the month was the interclub competition between Southsea Marina Angling Club and our neighbours Eastney Cruising Association. Much to the chagrin of SMAC members who had held the trophy for the last two years they were beaten by ECA with a bass of 9lb 1oz caught by Mark Argyle. On the plus side, the ECA will have to host the competition next year and their beer is cheaper.
The previously mentioned cod have been very scarce, although a few have been reported. Whiting have put in an appearance and are a useful substitute species for the cod competitions that are traditionally run at this time of year. Heber Crawford shows off a nicely marked a haddock – not a common catch for anglers this far south. Conger are now out on open ground having spent the summer among wrecks and reefs. If you like catching conger, there are plenty around to over 40lb but the smaller strap conger can be a real nuisance.
Some spurdog have been caught, nowhere near their former numbers but it is good to see they are still around. Some good-sized bull huss and the usual ray species have made up the catches on most boat trips. The bass ban is now in force with all bass fishing restricted to catch and release. In autumn we often find some very large bass prowling close inshore particularly after a storm, and they are braver outside of daylight hours. Heber Crawford managed just three casts on his way to work and landed this impressive fish, estimated between 9lbs and 11lbs which of course was returned.
Some more settled days have allowed the offshore boats to get out to the wrecks. Kev Johnson and his crew scored well with bass and pollack. The squid have arrived in good numbers and are being caught by those targeting them, and also by those not. Kev Johnson was noticing squid bites on conventional tackle while wreck fishing so he switched to squid lures, landing this impressive specimen. If squid fishing is your thing, perhaps you could try wreck marks if you are after the big ones.
The SMAC Open Cod Competition is planned for 17th November – if it is not postponed due to weather I will be reporting on the cod (or lack of) in our next report.