After all those weeks of lockdown with calm sunny days, the inevitable happened. We were allowed back onto our boats and the wind got up and the rain started to fall. Actually it wasn’t that bad, we have had plenty of fishable days and for those on a more “flexible” working arrangement there have been enough fishable days to give us a great gallery of catch photos this month. The socially distanced queue for bait at our local tackle shop was a sign that things are kind of getting back to normal.

May to June are excellent months in the Eastern Solent calendar. The bream are still here, smoothhounds have arrived, large tope are here to breed and there are plenty of mackerel for bait and the BBQ. All these in addition to our residents of rays, bass and lesser species keep the rod tips active.

Calmer days allow boats to push well offshore to the channel wrecks. Kev Johnson shows the quality of pollack available if you find the right wreck. If you scale the tackle down you can catch some exceptional bream on the wrecks, best on that trip was 3lb 13oz. As Arron Shons demonstrates, you can also find some lunker wrasse with pollack lures. There are some cod on the wrecks too. One of the dangers of prolonged inactivity is that boat engines can suffer, and it pays to check them over carefully and run them up before heading out. There has been a record number of callouts to Sea Start, our local “AA” for boats. Kev Johnson towed a boat back from his wrecking trip – broken down, no VHF and no lifejackets. They were lucky he was passing.

We are fortunate to have eminent marine biologist Bill Arnold as a member of SMAC, and he is a goldmine of information about fish species. I learned something new from Bill – he sent me pictures of two cuckoo wrasse he caught – male and female. Apparently they are all female at birth and change if they feel the need later in their lives (so that’s not a new thing). As you can see the male is much brighter and his job is to lure predators away from the nest where the female protects the young. Sounds like a dangerous existence. Thanks Bill for the biology lesson!

On to larger species, the tope fishing has been excellent and we have some great catches shown by Dave Jordisan, Dean Lodge, Josh Carter, Pete Brown and a personal best for Tony Myatt. There were also some good rays boated – Bill Arnold again with a blonde ray of 17.5lb; Kris Scott topped it with a 21lb blonde and a good undulate ray. Scott Gardner fishing off Selsey shows a good thornback ray and an excellent smoothhound of 19lb. Tim Andrews has one of our less common catches, a turbot.

Meanwhile the SMAC Ladies competitions standings were overturned with a nice bream from Hayley Ellis and she now also leads the Ladies Species Table.

We are hoping for more great fishing in the coming month before the tope and bream move off. August can be quiet but that is still plenty of fishing weeks away. See you next month.

Neville Merritt

Southsea Marina Angling Club

Sea Angling News