Boat Angling

The web site for eastern Solent boat fishing

Solent angler, massive turbot!

Slightly “out of area”, but only just. Keith is a regular contributor to Catch Reports and his turbot deserves recognition. I just wish beasts like this could be caught nearer home! Here is Keith’s report:

Richard and myself, both members of the Southsea Marina Fishing Club and Crookham SAC, had a day fishing on Supanova 2, skippered by Lyle Stantford out of Weymouth along with 4 other members of Crookham SAC.

We left Weymouth promptly at 7.30, having paid a visit to the tackle shop to top up on frozen mackerel for bait.  We steamed out past Portland Bill to a number of wrecks SW of the Bill.  Weather was fair, with a southwesterly breeze that picked up during the day, putting up a bit of a chop at times, and we had one brief shower during the morning.

After steaming for around an hour and half, we reached the first wreck, and down went the lines, most baited with mackerel, although some had squid, all expecting Ling.  Early in that first drift, I hooked into a fish that didn’t feel like a Ling, but was strong enough to take line. Once I had colour, Lyle grabbed the landing net and a superbly marked Turbot hit the deck.  It was officially weighed-in at Weymouth Angling Centre on return to Weymouth at 9.760Kg (21 lbs 8 oz), by far my best Turbot, and a fish of a lifetime. (Pictures and Copy of Weigh-in Certificate attached)   We continued to drift this wreck for an hour or so, but with the exception of a few Pout, nothing of note was landed, although some members were broken off by larger fish, or drop fish whilst reeling in, so Lyle headed to another wreck.  Drifting this produced more Pout, plus the first Ling.  As the tide turned, Lyle anchored uptide of the wreck, and this produced more Pout, the odd Conger, a few Ling, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Whiting and a specimen Spurdog for Peter, estimated by Lyle to weigh 17lbs.  Finally, Lyle headed to another wreck to drift with lures for Pollack, and a few were landed.  Whilst drifting this wreck, we spotted at least one whale close by.


Catch and Release Infographic


How to Catch and Release Fish

How to Catch Herring

Many of us have caught the occasional herring while mackerel fishing, but I have always been convinced there are a lot more around. I received an email from Askari, the European on-line tackle store with their promotion “Get ready for the herring season”. If others can target herring why can’t we? I searched on-line for information about herring migration and established that although the main stocks are in the North Sea, there is a substantial presence in the English Channel. Perhaps when we see shoals of fish on the fish-finder mid-water but can’t catch them, they are herring not mackerel?

As a result of research and experimentation, I can tell you how to catch them but I am still working out when they will appear regularly in the Eastern Solent. All I can say so far is that in early April they were around in good numbers. If anyone has more information please let me know.

Catching herring is like feathering for mackerel but with some significant differences. Those differences become obvious when you consider the diet of herring compared to mackerel. Mackerel feed on small fast-moving fish so are caught on strings of flashy feathers up to 3cm long, jigged up and down to represent an escaping school of small fish. Herring on the other had feed on the larvae of crustaceans which float about on the sea currents. Herring are gentle harvesters of food with delicate mouths. Mackerel are fast, all muscle and have tough, fish-grabbing jaws. Big difference in appearance and behaviour.

Herring mouths are very soft so a rod with a soft tip will cushion any jerky movements that could tear the hook out. Use the lightest, softest rod you can get away with.

The best herring feathers are small, sabiki lures that look like larvae rather than fish. Size 6 hooks, small transparent fish skin “wings” and short sparkly tails will work well. This is what you are trying to emulate:

crab larvae

As well as different lures, you will also need different fishing techniques. Like mackerel fishing, you will need to try different depths until you find fish but unlike mackerel fishing, keep the lures still!  The herring’s food just floats along in the water, so your lures need to float along too. Even too much rocking of the boat will make the lures too active. Keep them as still as you can.

When you feel a bite, which will be a gentle jiggle rather than the mad dives of a mackerel, wind smoothly and gently until the fish reaches the surface then swing it up and into the boat where it will probably fall off. Any jerky movement in that process will tear the hook-hold and you will loose the fish. That is all there is to it! The key is using very small lures, keeping the lures still, using a soft rod and bringing them in firmly but smoothly.

I have seen some interesting weights sold in Europe and Scandinavia for herring fishing, which are painted red and white. I presume these add to the attraction. I haven’t tried them but I have used a flashy pirk as a weight and that should have a similar effect.

Good luck!

Southsea Marina Fishing Show Report

We could not have wished for better weather for Southsea Marina’s third annual Fishing Show – bright sunshine and enough wind to keep anglers from being tempted out to sea. There was plenty to interest everyone, from the jumble stalls to talks, trade stands, demonstrations and some impressive boats.


The talks and demonstrations were very popular, with standing room only at all the sessions. Wayne Comben gave an informative talk on local fishing and inspired us with tales of giant sharks just off the Island.


I was particularly impressed by the demonstration of fish preparation by Johnsons Enterprises. I was even more impressed by the size of the plaice they used to demonstrate – caught by a local day-boat. There is hope yet!


The boat jumble was very popular. I was delighted to hear that Southsea Marina Angling Club raised £305 for the RNLI from the sale of donated items on their stall.


There were some interesting new boats too. You may be aware the Wilson Flyer moulds have been bought by Garry Bull, who is manufacturing them to order with some updated features. At the show, he was demonstrating the extended mould for the 24 foot hull which is now wider and much roomier. I am looking forward to seeing photos of the first build out of that mould, it will be huge!


The berth-holders are very lucky to have such a great team at Premier Marinas who made such a great effort to ensure the show was successful. I know how much work goes into running an event like this, and it is good to see all that hard work was worthwhile. Here is Rupert Bremer, the marina manager who can never resist dressing up. However, we usually use squid as bait so he is lucky he didn’t end up in the marina dangling from the crane after we had heard Wayne’s shark stories.


Finally, we must congratulate Lizzie Mitchell (PR and promotions for the Fishing Show) who got married before this show and will be having a baby before the next one! We wish you well Lizzie. Thanks for not giving up after the rain-soaked 2015 Fishing Show, and carrying on to make the 2016 and 2017 shows so successful. We look forward to the next marina event!



Neville Merritt
Rebel Runner
May 2017

Webinar Recording, Plaice Fishing

This is a recording of the recent Navionics webinar presented by Tim Macpherson of Saltwater Boat Angling, filmed off the Sussex coast. It shows some interesting underwater video footage of plaice behaviour when taking the bait. You need to register to view the recording but there is no cost. It is about 25 minutes long.

Click on this link to get started:

70lb Conger!

Report from Miles Burden:

Our Red Deer club trip was basically a “drifting for Pollock and the like” day. Courtesy of Zack Cairns’s awesome skippering, everyone on board Valerie 6 had a healthy cool box of fish to take home so we put the anchor down for the last hour to try for some ling in particular.

We had four eels up to 28lbs over an hour. Just a few minutes before my 70 lb eel I had brought up a dog fish and thought that was how the day was going to finish as we were nearly out of time.

I put one last mackerel flapper over, with a nice yellow muppet above to encourage the ling, and almost immediately, BANG..I connected with this beast ! 240 ft down, and the best part of half an hour later and it was landed. Never experienced a fight or weight like it ! Nigel Mcgloughlin, a club member and also the new membership secretary for the Conger Club was on board so he and Zack got it into a sling weigher and verified the weight, before pictures and returning the fish.

The Red Deer club is always looking for people to join our friendly, funny and enthusiastic group. We go inshore, offshore, and everything in between…..and we get great days with Zack and Glen on the Valerie Cats. Anyone wanting to join us please contact :


April Report – Ian and Gordon on Orca

With Orca now back in the water at Sparkes Marina, Ian and I have now completed three Friday trips out in the eastern Solent – with mixed results.

Our first trip was a bit of a loosener on 7th April – for the boat and us (boat handling a bit rusty!), out into Hayling Bay for Plaice. This resulted in two fish hooked and one small Plaice in the boat. We tried natural and artificial rag with one fish hooked on each while drifting. Not a great return – but a start.

Our second trip on 13th April over to Selsey was a disaster in that we had no bites or fish despite drifting a large area for Plaice. This was a bit of an ordeal with stronger winds than forecast and a tide/wind combination drifting us side on to the swell – rock and roll. Many folks seem to be struggling to find Plaice at the moment and complaining about water clarity. Maybe that’s true – who knows?

Our latest trip out on the 21st was much better. This time we were after Bream and headed over to the Isle of Wight to find some rough ground and ledges. We fished light gear and small squid strips (one on the bottom and one just off). We were kept busy with Dogfish and Pouting but also landed 4 nice Bream. The biggest was a female of 3lb 2oz for Ian – which went back. We took one male as a tasty supper that night. Had we not lost another 3 Bream it would have been a better day. The tide was very benign so fishing the Isle of Wight was easier than it can be in a faster tide. That probably explains why all our fish were taken on the bottom droppers.

Great to be back out on the water. Roll on those warm summer days – and more fish!

By the way, Ian bought some artificial worms (Isome) through your site and hooked a Plaice on one – so they seem to work.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Southsea Angling Show next week.


Saved by a plaice

Saved from blanking! I spent a lot of time trying to repeat my past success with herring, but they were nowhere to be found on Saturday. I dropped in by The Blocks and had one bite, and one nice fat plaice that fed both of us for tea tonight. Although the Solent area is crowded, it has the benefit of providing an endless show of interesting ships passing. This one was the Rolldock Sky, on her way into Southampton with some very big things on board – whatever they are.


Watch out cod, Caroline’s fishing again

Saturday’s report from Dave:

“Its been a while. As is known, Caroline has been diagnosed with cancer and has a long period of treatment ahead of her. Chemo, Herceptin, and Radiotherapy. However Friday saw the end of her Chemo treatment and when asked what she wanted to do to mark the completion of one course of treatment, forget the “Go out for a meal” her answer was “Go Fishing”.

So thats exactly what we did. We headed out to our favourite Cod mark and I was a little worried she may not be up to it fully and may find it exhausting. I need not have worried, by the 3rd drift we had 2 Cod and a Pollock on board. We took it a lot easier than we normally would and we extended the drifts. We ended with a mixed bag of Cod and Pollock with majority of the 15 fish haul being Cod.

Most of the fish were double figures. We gave it a few hours and headed back in so as to be back at the berth by mid afternoon. Caroline has a new vigour for getting the charter boat we had planned before the diagnosis of her illness.

All I keep thinking now is, “Watch out Cod”  🙂


Dave and Caroline”

Mine cr




With less than two weeks to go, further exhibitors have been added to the line-up at the Fishing Show at Southsea Marina.

Taking place on Saturday 6th May from 10am – 4pm, Portsmouth family fishmongers, Johnsons Enterprises will be demonstrating the art of filleting fish in the dedicated Q&A tent and offering visitors the chance to take home some fresh produce for supper. Local sea anglers, Wayne Comben, Pete Kilshaw and James Roberts will also be talking about LRF and shark fishing and discussing the new way to fish on a sea kayak. A series of free talks from 10.15am it will be the perfect time for visitors to ask questions and pick up the latest fishing tips.

On the day there will be a main exhibitor marquee with a fantastic local presence from Andy’s Baits, angling centre, Allan’s Marine and Solent Tackle who will be selling a selection of tackle, bait, rods and lures. Portsmouth Marine Training RYA Training Centre will be in attendance and LGS Marine will be on hand with the newest safety equipment. FRIB (Foldable RIB) will showcase an innovative designed foldout RIB for sea anglers plus new exhibitor, Wade Marine will be unveiling a rope handling device that makes mooring up a simple, stress free task.

By the main tent a line-up of fishing boats will be on display courtesy of Sea Ventures, Sussex Boat Shop, JBT Marine, RBS Marine and boat builder Garry Bull, including a 695 Marlin, a Beneteau Barracuda 7, Parker and Rodman boat models and a brand of Ocean kayaks that come fully rigged.

As well as the opportunity to buy top fishing finding navigation equipment from Landau UK and a comprehensive range of outboards from Golden Arrow, visitors can drop in from 9am to pick up some bargains at the marina boat jumble and have their life-jacket checked for free by the RNLI.

Admission to the show is free with first-come, first-served parking available and the onsite café will be serving refreshments and hot and cold food throughout the day.

A few stalls are still available at the marina boat jumble. Only £10.00 a pitch, if you’re interested in selling some kit before the new season, contact Southsea Marina Reception on 023 9282 2719.

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