Boat Angling

The web site for eastern Solent boat fishing

Bluefin Tuna

OK, I know these are going to be a very rare visitor to our waters, if at all, but the issue is still relevant. Atlantic bluefin tuna is recognised as an endangered species by the WWF and the IUCN Red List. The EU supported by the UK Government have issued regulations to protect them in UK waters:

Vessels must not target bluefin tuna and if caught accidentally they must be returned to the sea, alive and unharmed to the greatest extent possible.

Sea anglers must not target bluefin tuna, any caught as a by-catch when targeting other species must be released immediately and not landed or brought onto the boat.

Yet we still see responsible angling magazines and less responsible newspapers publishing pictures of anglers catching and boating bluefin tuna. This is likely to encourage more rules and regulations to apply to all anglers not just those who are obviously breaking the rules.

More information here:

MMO Blog

and here:




Another Bank Holiday Bash

Like most others the bank holiday gave a good chance to get out for some fishing as the weather calmed. A few stops for mackerel, and some Scad, and we went out to some banks off Selsea to drift.

Each drift brought  bass. Nothing large – biggest 4 pounds but before long we had caught 8, kept the requisite 1 each and were putting them back. We ran out of bait but were catching the Bass on Mackerel and Scad. So we carried on drifting with the feathers over to try to get some more bait and Roland had three bass on the feathers. Well he was using some fancy ones (see pic).

Pretty lures

No more bait though, so off we went to catch some more bait and anchor up at slack tide in a hole south of the nab. A range of fish came on board including a 10lb Bull Huss and a couple of Thornies to 8lb and finished the day with a few Smoothhounds on hardback crab at our third location, just between East Nab and Selsea. What was annoying was the smaller bream here, constantly attacking the fish and squid baits.  We eventually got a couple on board on very light tackle and small hooks but none worth keeping. On the upside – no doggers.

PS Roland

On the bank holiday Monday we went off in the boat for lunch with friends. On the way back we stopped off for some Mackerel. My Godson Tom, aged 7 was on his first fishing trip. I had a  4ft rod and small multiplier for him and attached a string of feathers. Looking around we found a mass of feeding gulls and in the middle we found the mackerel easily. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of youngsters catching fish. So a few drifts and a bucket full of mackerel for the BBQ and then suddenly, Tom caught a Bass, on the same feathers Roland had used a few days before. Something about them! Only about 1½ pounds but he was so excited. That went back and off we went to eat the spoils. Nothing to beat fresh mackerel from the sea, BBQ’d an hour or two later.

Had a couple of hours free on Saturday so nipped out in the afternoon with some hardbacks crabs. Just went out to the east of Bullocks. Caught a couple of  Mackerel as bait. Roland was quickly into smoothies, to 10lb. 3 and a lost one, great sport on light uptide tackle. I, on the other hand couldn’t get them but did manage a 6lb small eyed ray and a couple of dogs. But for 2 hours it was a bit of fun and fitted in between doing some chores and taking the FPO out.

Quick one from Steve of Spoonbill

Four smoothhound at Utopia on Sat 2nd Sept: 14lb, 14lb, 8lb, 6lb. [nothing else, no doggies..] Managed to get to the Overfalls earlier in the day when it was flat calm – my furthest trip out to date…

No bass for me over the banks, but exciting stuff anyway in that mixed water! Two other boats and a charter there too, who may have had better luck and skill – but didn’t see anyone else catch.


Marine Conservation Zone – Utopia

It looks like the proposed restrictions will be limited to the prohibition of towed gear with half a mile of the Utopia MCZ.

It is at the By-law proposal stage.

More here:

Update 8th September 2017:

Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is now formally consulting on the proposed Utopia Marine Conservation Zone Schedule of the Marine Protected area Byelaw.

The proposed Marine Protected Areas Byelaw 2017 Schedule 4 ensures fishing activities meet Natural England’s conservation advice for the Utopia Marine Conservation Zone and prohibits the use of mobile gear. The full byelaw and schedule, together with the Impact Assessment and guidance material can be found here:

Any person wishing to comment or object about the confirmation of the above byelaw and the provisions within Schedule 4 (the existing Schedules are not subject to change or consultation) must make representations in writing before 9th October 2017 both to:

Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team,
Marine Management Organisation,
Lancaster House,
Hampshire Court,
Newcastle Upon Tyne,
NE4 7YH.


AND send a copy of this representation to:

Chief Fisheries and Conservation Officer,
Sussex IFCA,
12a Riverside Business Centre,
BN43 6RE.


Any queries please contact

Alice Tebb
Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer

Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority 12a Riverside Business Centre, Brighton Rd, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6RE

Tel: 01273 454407 |  Fax: 01273 464668



Perfect Bank Holiday Fishing Weather

After a wet and windy few weeks we all enjoyed an amazing sequence of calm sunny days over the August bank Holiday. I was out soon after 6am on Sunday, and quickly stocked up with mackerel for bait on the the way out. Mackerel and bass always seem to feed best at dawn and dusk within a couple of miles from shore. First stop was New Grounds – small bass, a selection of rays and countless dogfish.  I noticed one of the Thornbacks was host to a number of  pontobdella muricata leeches (I looked it up!)


Next stop at Sandown Bay produced small conger and a lot of lost tackle as I must have positioned myself over a net. Another mark produced little so I headed back to a bank on the way back in, to drift for bass. The first (and last) drift produced a 5lb beauty – above.

Bank Holiday Tope

“Thinking we was off to a bad start sitting in loads of traffic things rapidly changed when we got on the water and hit the mackerel straight away. Dropped anchor and put 3 fresh baits down.
Within 5 minutes the first one went off – it took literally over half the spool before deciding to stop. And that went 32lb to Charlie a first for him !! During that my rod starting ****ing line out back towards the shore resulting in a 30lb tope. Beaming we were by this point, the boat being trashed by tope. We managed to weigh photo and return safely . Then just to make matters even more joyful,  the 3rd rod goes screaming off resulting in a 42lb tope, a pb for me – absolutely buzzing. Then a small hound and a nice ballan wrasse for Charlie. Also we saw a pack of either dolphins or porpoises…which was good to see! Another 30odd lbr that got away up the side although a hand was on the hooklength!” – Josh and Charlie


New Coastguard VHF Channels

Phil’s August Report

Thought I’d give you an update as weather had kept me away from the boat for two months, well away from fishing anyway.

The sight of a flat calm forecast, the first when I was free to go fishing for a couple of months so Roland and I set out in the morning, not too early as it was a Sunday after the Saturday night.

First stop mackerel, no gulls working to help so went to Dean Tail – few Scad there, then off to the nab, nothing there so not a good start. Went out to a hole south of the nab. One thorny about 8lb and a few doggers later and we decided to move at slack tide to a nearby wreck.

We had by now picked up a couple of mackerel but the first surprise was a 12lb Bull Huss on a whole small Scad, then a few more dogs and some pouting along with some large mackerel. A re-anchor as the tide turned and a very large mackerel came on board from a bottom hook, approaching 2lb, but nothing exciting – oh and more dogs. A move to East Nab as the tide grew but nothing there (well dogs of course) so went towards Selsey, between East Nab and the Medmerry.

Action started quicker here – a flapper gave a resounding bite and line screamed off the real – ahh tope of course, well no actually, a Smoothhound about 14lb. Then another 7lb Thorny followed and a further 3 smoothhounds, this time on more conventional hardback crab.

We’d kept the feathers over and occasionally a small shoal would come through and we’d freshen up the bait stocks. We weren’t exactly wiping them out but came back with some 30 fish for table and future baits.

Nothing exciting but a range of fish, the last couple of hours topping off the day and making it reasonable with good sport on light tackle up-tiding with crab for the smoothies.

Last-minute news update: HMS Queen Elizabeth to arrive 16th August

Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to enter her new home in Portsmouth on Wednesday 16 August 2017.

The 65,000-tonne carrier, the biggest warship ever to be built in Britain, has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June.

She is now set to make her historic arrival into Portsmouth on Wednesday at approximately 0710 where she will be the latest in a long line of famous Royal Navy ships to call the port home.

Weather conditions meant the exact date of the historic moment could not be confirmed until today.

If you are planning to greet her arrival, High Water is approximately 06.30am

A calm Sunday at last

After a month of breezy weekends we finally had a day where the weather and a weekend coincided. Sunday 13th August dawned clear and calm, and after over-nighting on board I was in a great position for an early start. At 06:30 I was heading south from Langstone Harbour, and first stop was a bank a couple of miles out which usually has a good stock of mackerel hanging about. This morning the sea was alive with splashing baitfish, mackerel and seabirds. Within a few minutes I had plenty of mackerel and some scad for good measure. I find smaller fish skin feathers size 6 tied to 20lb mono to be consistently effective, especially if used with a 25 gm or heavier lure as a weight to give a flash and a flutter.

I spent the morning at New Grounds, and although I caught a couple of very nice ray, I was plagued by dogfish and small tope. Tope are annoying because you either accept the many bite-offs or scale up to wire or very heavy mono and cut down your chances of catching anything more finicky. I decided to move instead, and headed to Sandown Bay.

I ended up slightly off the mark I was aiming for, but nevertheless still had plenty of action with strap conger, small bream, more ray and scad. No tope or dogfish thank goodness.

Home via the bank again, in the hope that bass may show but I was too early, the bass tend to feed on the banks either at dawn or dusk. Never mind, I have plenty of winter bait in the freezer now the mackerel are plentiful.


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