This year, unlike previous years, summer started the way it is meant to start! Bream arrived in good numbers and some excellent catches have been made both in size and quantity. It’s good to see so many fish returned and only a few kept for the pot. There have been plenty over the 2lb mark and the largest bream recorded at SMAC so far this year (4lb 8oz) is already a lot heavier than last year’s Bream Cup winner (3lb 13oz). See the SMAC Open Bream competition report and also the Harvest Moon report for more details.

A spectacular Gilthead bream was weighed in on the Isle of Wight. It was caught by Robbie Swindle on ragworm while he was fishing for stingray, and tipped the scales at 7lb 12oz. This shows what could be out there, you just never know when a specimen fish could turn up.

Mackerel have also arrived in good numbers, and of a respectable size too. Last year they were late turning up but when they did they were plentiful. This year they already here in similar numbers, although I have found they don’t always seem to be hungry. You can find them in the usual places including very obviously in the entrance to Portsmouth harbour, right where you aren’t supposed to be in a small boat! See photo.

Tope followed the mackerel in and plenty of good fish have been caught. Bill Arnold and Peter Churchill shared these photos of large tope to an estimated 50lb coming to the boat (see the Gallery below). Conservation-minded anglers like Bill and Peter prefer to release big tope at the side of the boat rather than bringing them aboard. Large tope can damage themselves with their own strength, and their greater bodyweight needs the support of water to prevent risk of internal damage.  Smaller tope can be brought aboard without much harm if handled carefully. Thanks also to Dan Lumsden (wrasse of 3lb 15oz featured in our header photo) and Stuart Newell for their catch photos in the gallery.

There had been much anticipation of the national Sea Angling Classic competition on 17th and 18th June from Portsmouth, and we wish all competitors the very best of luck. We look forward to bringing you the results in our next Catch Report.

Neville Merritt