Over the last month, things have been gradually easy back to a new sort of normal. Marinas are open for business, shops are selling bait and fish are still there to be caught. While we were otherwise occupied, Spring happened so it feels a bit odd to go fishing and find that Summer is in full swing. Mackerel have arrived and are as usual, frustrating. When you need to rely on them for bait, you can’t find them. When you are out walking the dog, huge shoals are boiling close to shore. I guess that’s why we go fishing.
This month has followed the usual pattern for the time of year. The large tope like Peter Bird’s pictured here have started to move away, leaving numbers of smaller pack tope which are still good sport on light tackle – like the one with Scott Gardner. The larger breeding bream are moving offshore again, probably back to the channel wrecks and reefs, leaving hoards of bait-robbing small bream behind. We have a healthy population of bass now, and every year we see more of the larger fish. The Bass Nursery Areas and the recent bass fishing restrictions will have played a part in helping the recovery of stocks. Heber Crawford and Oliver Aubray-Thomas show the stamp of fish that can be caught.
Our resident population of rays can be relied on for a bit of action, and a large ray in a strong tide can be an exhausting battle of strength. We have a selection pictured, from Peter Churchill, Pete Brown, Peter Higgins, Tim Andrews, Tony Myatt and Steve Latham. Smoothhound are more acrobatic and will do a good impression of a mini submarine with a drunken skipper as they zoom around, creating new and interesting knots around any lines unwisely left in the water while the fight is on. Given that they eat crabs, squid and worms it is surprising that evolution equipped them for a hard chase, but we’re not complaining. Kev Lee is happy with his personal best smoothhound of 16lb.
When boat fishing isn’t possible due to weather, family or time constraints, mullet fishing in the harbours produces some good fish. Freelined bread is still the preferred option for fish used to feeding on scraps – Heber Crawford shows a good fish caught with this method.
Sea trout are far less common but they are around and reward an angler prepared to put in the hours to research methods and locate them. Heber Crawford is one of those anglers and he has shown that his catches of sea trout are not flukes by catching more each year. From measurements, this one was estimated to be in double figures but was released without the additional stress of weighing.
Turbot are an attractive quarry but few are found near the Harbour. Boats targeting turbot have to travel some distance but with perseverance they can be found as Tim Andrews demonstrates.
The seabed is this area is very varied, hence the wide range of species caught. Old wartime structures, wrecks and reefs hold some big wrasse which put up a good fight for their size. They have a varied diet with jaws capable of crunching shellfish and an aggressive turn of speed which means they will take small lures and live prawn. Heber Crawford shows a nice ballan wrasse caught on prawn bait.
August can be a slower month compared to earlier in the year but there will still be plenty of fish to be caught and we hope good weather to catch them in too. See you next month.
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Southsea Marina Angling Club