Boat Angling

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SMAC Boat tops Sea Angling Classic Charter Boat Category

Well what an amazing fishing event the 2022 Sea Angling Classic turned out to be. After a trial run last year, Spirit of Angling run by Ross Honey launched the UK’s biggest and most glamorous sea angling competition we have ever seen – from Portsmouth! Ross has been very supportive of SMAC and has donated a number of the £250 SAC entry tickets as prizes for our own competitions.

The event was run along similar lines to the big USA fishing tournaments with lots of promotion, sponsorship, road trips, media coverage and entertainment – in fact it was almost a festival around the competition itself. Activities ran from Wednesday 15th June to Sunday 19th June with the two-day competition running on Friday and Saturday.

The event was run in two team categories: Charter Boat and Recreational Boat to give everyone a fair chance. Top prize in the Recreational category was a £150,000 fishing boat package so this competition attracted anglers from all over the UK. The Charter Boat category was a pairs event; the Recreational category was run as a boat team with two to four anglers participating.

The theme of the programme was to support recreational angling with a strong conservation message. All competitors had to take part in a Beach Clean. There were side-line activities to encourage young people to try angling. The main competition was strictly catch-and-release, with a slightly complicated scoring system made simpler by the use of a dedicated phone app. Simply explained, five species groups counted: rays, bass, bream, tope and smoothhound. All catches had to be measured and photographed, and the aggregate length of the longest three fish in each species on each day became the team score.

SMAC members competing in the Recreational Category were :

  • Ray Plomer and Bill Arnold (Ruthless)
  • Clive Newnham and Dave Newnham (Pedro)
  • Dan Lumsden, Steve Tambling and Ben Lumsdem (Sea Jay)
  • Tony Dickson and Steve Andrews (Big G)
  • Nick Wallis fished on a non-club boat Bad Boyz

Charter Boat Category:

  • Stuart Newell and Pete Churchill (Harvest Moon)

The overall results from the two days was spectacular. A total of 1.067 fish were caught, with locations and sizes recorded and the data shared with marine biologists monitoring fish stocks in the area. This included 128 Tope, 505 Smooth Hound; 300 Bream; 120 Skates and rays; 14 Bass. This was a combined length of 763.29 metres! The low number of bass caught was because the better bass marks were outside the limits of the competition fishing area.

Both teams from Stuart Newell’s boat Harvest Moon were placed at the top of the Charter Boat category; Steve Batchelor and Colin Searles coming first with 1,601cm and Stuart Newell and Pete Churchill coming second with 1,406cm, putting Harvest Moon firmly at the top of the league! Stuart Newell also won Biggest Fish with his tope of 161cm.

The Recreational Boat category was won by the team on Smartfish, but it was interesting to see that only 16cm separated them from second place Tequila, and only 1cm separated them from third place Paintball. At 4pm on Friday, the provisional placings put the SMAC team on Sea Jay in first position! The standings at the end of Day One put Tequila leading Smartfish and Paintball so the competition was close fought to the end.

The Recreational Boat category trophy was a spectacular model of the Spinnaker Tower, made by apprentices at BAE Systems Maritime. It was constructed from timber from HMS Victory and steel from the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Overall, this was a hugely successful event attracting a lot of attention and much enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike. There was plenty of entertainment for those ashore from the opening parade on Wednesday to the final reception on Sunday. On the water, we could easily spot the competitors’ boats by the large flags they were flying.

For more details on the event and the full results listing please see the posts on the home page of Sea Angling Classic.

You can enjoy a photo gallery from the event here:

P.S. Stuart Newell has donated a heap of his prizes to SMAC for our forthcoming competitions and raffles. Thank you Stuart!

Devastating fire destroys vessel off Bembridge

Bembridge All-Weather Lifeboat the RNLB Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson responded to a motor boat on fire off the eastern shore of the Isle of Wight on Sunday 19th June. The Tamar class lifeboat was launched at 3.40pm at the request of UK (Solent) Coastguard to assist the 38ft vessel Fast Flow on fire with two people onboard. First on scene was Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS). The Independent lifeboat crew were able to take the two crew off safely and establish a tow. Once on scene, RNLB Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson took over the tow and anchored the burning vessel.

The two crew were then transferred to her and taken to Hayling Island (from where they had set off earlier in the day) and dropped off. The Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth dispatched the firefighting tug SD Independent to attempt to put out the fire. Unfortunately by the time it arrived, the vessel had burned almost to the waterline and was beyond saving. It has subsequently been reported that the vessel has sunk. RNLB Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson returned to Bembridge as was recovered by 7.15pm.

Report and photos from Portsmouth Echo, RNLI and GAFIRS

Catch Report May 2022

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



SMAC Monthly Meeting June 2022

As usual, the monthly meeting was held on the first Tuesday in the month in the Marina Bar.

First item on the agenda was a quick round-off from the Awards Night in May, where Tim Andrews and Mark Banks were given their awards: the pair of them for the Pairs Cup; Mark for the Plaice Cup; Tim for Champion Runner-up; Bream Cup; Mandela Cup and Specimen Award for his bream of 3lb 13oz.

Bill Arnold was also thanked for his impressive powers of persuasion, relieving the attendees of nearly £500 (rounded up by Steve Andrews on the night) through the sale of raffle tickets.

On to current items: Fish Of The Month was awarded to Jim Atkins for his competition-winning bream of 4lb 8oz.

Competition standings are as follows:

Next event will be the SMAC Open Species Competition to be held on Sunday 31st July (with reserve dates). See here for more details.

Steve K has kindly prepared a list of SMAC members by name and boat, which will be helpful when calling on VHF. Paper copies can be obtained from Steve, or members can request a copy by emailing me here. I won’t provide the list on the website to protect individual privacy. As with any Data Protection requirements, members can ask for their names to be removed from circulated information if they wish.

Steve K advised us that Lizzie Mitchell, Premier Marinas Senior PR Executive will be leaving for pastures new. Lizzie has provided us with amazing support especially with the Fishing Shows we ran from 2015-17 and in promoting SMAC generally. We wish her the very best and look forward to welcoming her replacement.

Stuart Newell (Harvest Moon – British Big Game Charters) has been negotiating potential sponsorship with Normark, who own brands such as Okuma, Rapala etc. They have gifted a number of stickers and a Guide to Lines booklet, which members can collect from the marina office while stocks last.

Finally, we wished all the members competing in the Sea Angling Classic in June the very best of luck. Hopefully, all that beach cleaning (pictured) will create karma for success!

Next meeting will be 7:30pm on 5th July.

Neville Merritt
June 2022

SMAC Species Competition 31st July 2022

Save the date!

All anglers welcome.

Fishing from 8am to 6pm. Last “weigh-in” 6:30pm (photos only!)
Sign on at the Southsea Marina Office, entry fee £10
Presentation of prizes in the Marina Bar at 7pm
Cash Prizes for first place (60% of entries) and second place (20% of entries). Other prizes donated by Baits R Us; Fishon Bait and Tackle; SMDAC; British Big Game Fishing; Cosham Angling; Sportsmans Knight; Anglers Edge; Marina Bar. Bonus cash prizes for Ladies and Junior winners
Reserve dates if the weather is unsuitable are 7th and 14th August.

May Report from “Harvest Moon”

This month we have a guest report written by Stuart Newall, skipper and owner of “Harvest Moon” and UK Big Game Charters.

Here’s a look back at May onboard Harvest Moon.

The beginning of the month was taken up by exploring the inshore reefs for the Black Bream that were being reported. We found good numbers of 2lb+ fish just perfect for the table, but I’m glad to say that the majority of anglers returned 99% of their fish. The best day was dream fishing with over 100 fish to the boat with six over 3lb and two 4lb fish, the biggest 4lb 8oz weighed on the boat.

We then turned our attention to Tope and Smoothies, with an early arrival of mackerel making our job easier. The Tope fishing has been very good with every trip so far producing 40lb+ fish and a good number of 50lb+ thrown in too. Fresh mackerel has been the best bait but frozen mackerel and herring also producing the goods. At times it has been a struggle to keep a single rod in the water with fish from the off.

The hardback crabs have been sorting out the bigger Smoothies again, at times it has been hectic fishing with every rod in the water screaming off as another pack moves through. Our biggest smoothhounds so far have been around the 15-16lb mark.

Looking to the next few weeks ahead we will be taking part in the Sea Angling Classic in June, and the start of our Shark fishing.

Tight Lines

Stuart Newall.

(Contact Stuart on 07919 001400 or British Big Game Charter on Facebook)

Don’t get dehydrated when you’re fishing!

Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluids than you take in and results in your body lacking the water and fluids to carry out its normal functions. If dehydration isn’t treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem.

Babies, children and elderly people are more at risk of dehydration and some medical conditions and medications can also increase the risk. Most of us will have experienced mild symptoms of dehydration occasionally, you know, those times when you’re too busy to eat and drink, when you might purposely reduce fluid intake because you can’t get to or use a toilet easily, or when we’ve been ill.

The main symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Feeling thirsty.
  • Dark yellow and strong-smelling pee.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Feeling tired.
  • A dry mouth, lips and eyes.
  • Peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day.
  • But if the symptoms develop to include any of the following, you or your patient need to seek urgent medical attention:
  • Feeling unusually tired.
  • Confused and disorientated.
  • Any dizziness on standing that does not go away.
  • Haven’t peed all day.
  • Weak or rapid pulse.
  • Fits (seizures).

As we mentioned earlier, the risk of dehydration can increase with certain medications and medical conditions.

  • Diabetes
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
  • Being in the sun for too long (heatstroke).
  • If you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  • Sweating too much after exercise.
  • If you have a temperature of 38C or more.
  • If you take medicines that make you pee more (diuretics).

So what do you need to do if you think you have dehydration? 

Well firstly, our advice is to avoid it in the first place. Prevention is definitely better than cure. Which can be easier said than done!  But, if you’re exercising, working in a hot location or environment, you’re ill or you’ve been drinking alcohol, you need to up that fluid intake in anticipation. The NHS ‘Eatwell Guide’ ( suggests that we need to drink 6-8 cups of fluid per day. Water, low fat milk, and sugar free drinks (including tea and coffee) all count towards the total. But be wary of energy drinks, fruit juices and smoothies and fizzy drinks as they can be high in sugar and caffeine.

Water is the healthiest (and cheapest!) choice as a thirst quencher, it’s calorie free and there are no sugars to damage your teeth. Obviously you’ll need to check if tap water is drinkable locally and bottled water may be the better option in many locations. If you don’t like plain water, try sparkling or flavoured water, tea, fruit tea or coffee, or just add a slice of lemon or lime to hot or cold water. Adding a drop of sugar free squash or fruit juice also works.

If you think you are showing signs of dehydration:

  • Drink plenty of fluid or increase your normal intake.
  • If you’re dehydrated due to vomiting or feeling sick, take small sips and gradually increase. Even if you vomit again, some fluid will be retained.
  • Drink enough to turn pee back to a pale, clear colour.
  • Consider using rehydration sachets such as Dioralyte.
  • If the dehydration is due to vomiting or diarrhoea, consult with your shoreside medical team as alongside rehydration salts, you should carry antiemetic (anti sickness) drugs as well as anti diarrhoea medication.

Dehydration can affect anyone onboard, so keep an eye out for other members of your crew and check you’re all taking on enough fluid regularly and remember that prevention is better than cure. If you’d like any further information about managing dehydration onboard, please get in touch.

If you would like a copy of our Hydration chart then click the button below for your free download.

By Rachel Smith, Paramedic
Article kindly provided by Red Square Medical

SMAC Awards Night 2022

Delayed from our usual date which would have been soon after the competition season ends, this year our “event of the year” was held on 14th May. Post-Lockdown confidence meant we were back in the Marina Bar as usual, and the members were determined to enjoy themselves. We combine the SMAC awards celebration with the Disabled Club (SMDAC) and we were delighted their members were able to join in too.

DJ Mike Otton provided the music, Steve Kelly hosted the event (and organised it all actually); Bill Arnold made sure plenty of raffle tickets were bought and Rupert Bremer presented the prizes. The Marina Bar team were kept busy supplying drinks and preparing a huge buffet spread for us all.

First up were some “catch-up” prizes that had not been  awarded at the previous monthly meetings. John Jones for his 70lb conger, Stuart Newell for his April bream of 4lb 3oz and Kev Johnson with his Angling Trust Specimen Fish certificates.

Next up were the awards for the Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club. SMDAC members have the use of the boat Lady Elsa and also fish their own lake and pier competitions. Prizes were awarded as follows:

John Wearn – Champions Cup

Frank Chatfield – Best Cod Caught on Lady Elsa (actually a whiting, there being no cod); Lake Cup

Chris Satow – Best Specimen Caught on Lady Elsa; Champions Runner-up; Combination Cup; Mixed Lakes Cup

Tony Tadd – Largest Fish Cup

George Dominy – Pier and Beach Cup

Unfortunately George Dominy was unable to attend this evening.

Then we moved onto the SMAC Awards for 2021 Season. Here are the full results, with a photo gallery of the winners below.

Plaice Cup – Mark Banks (2lb 10oz)

Bream Cup – Tim Andrews (3lb 13oz)

Bass Cup – Kev Johnson (8lb 11oz)

Cod Cup – Brian van Daal (15lb)

Champions Cup – Kev Johnson (Runner-up Tim Andrews)

Pollack Cup – Kev Johnson (16lb 15oz)

Ladies Cup – Eleanor Atkins (Bass 1lb)

Junior Cup – Ben Lumsden (Bass 4lb 11oz)

Catch & Release Cup – Kev Johnson (Mullet 7lb 1oz)

Best Specimen Cup – Tim Andrews (Bream 3lb 13oz)

Pairs Cup – Tim Andrews and Mark Banks

Species Hunt Cup – Peter Churchill (27)

Junior Species Cup – Jake Kelly (7)

Ladies Species Cup – Eleanor Atkins (7)

Cod Pool – Brian van Daal (15lb)

Nelson Mandela Cup – Tim Andrews (Cod 7lb)

Inter-club competition was won by the ECA

SMAC Cod Open Best Placed Member – Peter Churchill

SMAC Species Hunt Day Competition – Bill Arnold

Unfortunately Mark Banks, Jake Kelly, Tim Andrews and Ben Lumsden were not able to attend in person.

After an interlude so we could enjoy our buffet and a few more drinks, the next activity was the raffle. Thanks to Bill Arnold’s powers of persuasion we raised enough money from the sales of raffle tickets to top up the club coffers. The prize table included rods, reels and accessories, cash prizes and even a couple of bottles. You had to be in it to win it and it was a fun way to round off the evening.

Our thanks go to to Steve Kelly for all the work he does behind the scenes to make events like this go so smoothly; to Mike Otton for the music; to Rupert Bremer and Premier for their support; to Bill Arnold for the raffle sales; to the SMDAC team for folding several thousand ticket stubs, to the Marina Bar crew for their hospitality and most of all to all the members who turned out to help make this such a great evening. If you couldn’t make it this year do make sure you come along next year – a free drink, a free buffet, free music, not free but worth it raffle and plenty of free banter will be waiting for you.

Neville Merritt

SMAC Monthly Meeting May 2022

The SMAC monthly meeting was held as usual in the Marina Bar.

The club competition standings are listed below. This is at 10th May, including fish caught in the 1st May Bream competition. Team Atkins are starting the shake up the usual list! However, there are many months ahead…

Fish of the Month (for April entries) went to Stuart Newell with a bream of 4lb 3oz. Stuart wins a medal and £10.

This year’s Species Hunt Open Competition is scheduled for July 31st with reserve dates 7th August or 14th August. More details will be published nearer the date.

Our summer BBQ will be on Sunday 28th August. This usually starts at 3pm, food will be provided but bring your own drink.

Steve Kelly has been in discussions with one of the tackle brands to get sponsorship and prizes for the club. Watch this space and thanks Steve! This is Neville’s website where he hosts the SMAC page and club news reports. It’s awesome. If you get the chance have a look around. It’s chockablock with information about the waters we fish, the fish we catch and methods for catching target species and loads of other stuff. Neville volunteers to do write-ups on our club activities and competitions. With our help he also includes catch reports, photos and stories. If you’re lucky to land that fish of a lifetime please send a piccie in via his webpage, our WhatsApp group or the SMAC Facebook page.

And finally……

Presentation night is this Saturday 14th May 7pm onwards. We have a DJ, and buffet and one free drink for all SMAC members. We’ll also have a fantastic table of raffle prizes.

Next monthly meeting will be the first Tuesday in the month as usual: 7th June 7:30pm in the Marina Bar. All members welcome, do come along for a drink and some banter.


Steve A

SMAC Open Bream Competition 1st May 2022

After weeks of cold, strong easterly winds we were all delighted that the weather on Sunday was light, southerly winds. Who cared that it drizzled much of the day, many of us were fishing for the first time in months. The target was the heaviest single bream and hopes were high because the time was right for some large fish to move inshore.

A total of 76 entries fishing from 27 boats meant that the cash prizes were impressive – first prize was 60% of the total entry pool. We also had Ladies and Junior sections. There was a generous prize table of other prizes donated by Baits’R’Us; Fishon Bait ‘n Tackle; Cosham Angling; British Big Game Fishing; Premier Marinas; Sportsmans Knight; Anglers Edge and the Marina Bar for which we are very appreciative.

Fishing started at 8am finishing at 6pm, with the last weigh-in by 6:30pm. That meant 10 hours to find that big bream. Many boats headed east, fishing rocky marks around Bracklesham Bay, Selsey (Boulder Bank), Bognor, Littlehampton (Kingmere) and Worthing (wind farm). Others headed to Sandown, Bullocks Patch and other more local marks.

The fishing was terrific with everyone I spoke to reporting constant activity catching bream, the target species and also a wide variety of others also hungry for small baits. However, the only number that counted was the weight of the largest bream and there was an impressive number of good fish brought to the scales. (Note the freshly-painted, centrally-heated SMAC Weighing Station!)

At the presentation in the Marina Bar afterwards, our master organiser Steve Kelly and Commodore Tim Andrews who presented the prizes kept us in suspense by calling the winners in reverse order, but I’ll do the conventional thing here by reporting the final placings.

Winner overall was Jim Atkins (SMAC) with a stonking bream of 4.5lb – a clear pound heavier than the next heaviest. This also sets a new SMAC record for heaviest bream.

Second was Mark Argyle (ECA) with 3.5lb

Ladies Cup winner was Eleanor Atkins with 2.66lb. Is it a coincidence that both Jim and Eleanor were wearing their new  Fairtrade SMAC hoodies? I think not. If you want to win, wearing a SMAC hoodie clearly helps.

Junior winner was Jake Kelly with 2.3lb

Runners-up prizes were awarded from the prize table as follows:

3rd place Lee Swire 2.9lb

4th place Mark Oldfield 2.68

5th place Eleanor Atkins with her winning bream of 2.66lb

6th place Steve Kelly himself with 2.48lb

7th place Dan Lumsden 2.44lb

8th place Dick Stubbs 2.34lb

9th place Jake Kelly with his Junior Prize fish 3.3lb

10th place Mark Jackson 2.26lb

11th, 12th, 13th and 14th places tied with 2.22lb fish each: Nick Wallis, Jay MacKay, Kevin Johnson and Richie Shippin

This was a great event and we are very grateful to Steve Kelly for his hard work organising and promoting the event, the sponsors who donated prizes and all the competitors who turned out to make this competition so successful.

There is a very good chance we’ll run this event again!

Neville Merritt
SMAC May 2022

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