Boat Angling

The web site for eastern Solent boat fishing

Langstone Report Sea Angling News

Well what a dismal few weeks we have had!  The wind has kept most boats off the water for a number of weekends since the last report. Those that did get out in gaps in the weather found mainly dogfish, whiting and conger. After a promising appearance in late October and early November, the cod have gone into hiding. The conger that are roaming the usual marks can be quite a nuisance, or exciting, depending on your point of view. Their behaviour changes significantly in the autumn, and instead of hiding in wrecks and rocks as they do in summer, they are now roaming in daylight, attacking large baits with gusto. They are even biting hooked fish on the way to the surface. If you want action they will give you that – picking up a bait and running with it like a tope. If you want cod, then an expensive cuttlefish bait being snaffled by a conger within minutes is beyond annoying.

So instead of recent catch reports, we thought we would look back at some of the activity in the area this year. The Southsea Marina Angling Club (SMAC) runs monthly and seasonal competitions, and raises money and donations for local rescue charities. We support the independent Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Services (GAFIRS) and the RNLI which has a base on our doorstep. We had a visit from the local crew at a club meeting to receive their donation – see photo. We would certainly feel safe in their hands!

Specimen fish recorded through the year by SMAC were Kevin Johnson, Bass 10lb 1oz; Steve Andrews, Bass 11lb 4oz; Tony Harris, Bass 11lb; Kris Scott, Bass 11lb 3oz; Tim Andrews, Pollack 16lb 3oz. In the Catch and Release Specimen Fish category for 2017 were Neil Glazier, Undulate Ray 15lb; Jocky Park, Thornback Ray 15lb; Heber Crawford, Undulate Ray 22lb 4oz; Bill Arnold, Thick Lipped Mullet, 5lb; Jake Kelly (Junior), Undulate Ray 14lb and Martina Houghton, Undulate Ray, 14lb 6oz. Pat Dorking recorded a John Dory of 3lb – not huge but certainly unusual for this area.

We had the very welcome news from Dave Stenson that his wife and fishing partner Caroline has been given the all-clear after a long battle with cancer, and will be back featuring in our catch reports again very soon. She usually out-fishes everyone on the boat. She even went fishing during a gap in her treatment – such resilience. An amazing lady, great to have you back on the water Caroline.

If time is short or the weather is uncertain, LRF tactics can be used from boats and structures around the harbours with great success. Admittedly, catches won’t feed a family but if you fancy some sport on much scaled-down tackle, you will find inshore waters teeming with fish and a wrasse of a only a couple of pounds can give you some serious trouble on very light gear.

Due to the weather it is likely that the SMAC Open Cod Competition will be carried over into January, either 7th,14th,21st or 28th, with a 1st prize of £500, 2nd prize of £200, plus a good prize table. There is always the chance that cod will reappear, and then we have next year to look forward to with the spring run of plaice followed by bream, smoothhound and tope. Looking forward to the warmer weather already.

Neville Merritt
December 2017

Read the full report with photos here

December Turbot

A catch report from Heber Crawford today (28th December).

I  decided to give the cod fishing a miss today and fished some offshore sandbanks instead and was rewarded with a few bass to around the 3lb to 5lb range, two small-eyed rays to around 7lb, a nice undulate ray well into double figures but to top it off had a lovely 6lb 4oz turbot weighed on the club scales back at the marina and a new club record. Absolutely chuffed to bits, a beautiful day and a great way to end the year I think. All fish returned apart from the turbot. All fish caught on frozen mackerel that I caught myself in the summer .


Time to check lifejackets

Ideally, send them away to be serviced. OK, not all of us do that so here is the next best thing.

  1. Visually inspect all over for damage, and repair if possible.
  2. Unwrap the bladder (inner yellow bit) and check for damage.
  3. Check the firing mechanism – it will have a replace-by date and a green/red indicator. Replace if red or out of date.
  4. Check the gas canister if you can see it. Replace if there is any corrosion on the surface.
  5. Blow the lifejacket up using the mouthpiece. Preferably, use a pump to prevent getting damp air from your breath inside the bladder. Blow it up until firm
  6. Leave 24 hours, and check if it is still firm. If it has lost noticeable firmness, send it away for repair or replace.
  7. Repack according to the instructions.

Here is an extra tip. Try it on in the inflated state, and make sure you know how to do things like pull over the spray hood, pull out the EPIRB to activate and switch on the light. You might (or might not!) know where these things are in the packed state. It will all seem very different when it is inflated and you have time to find things when you are in a warm dry room. Better to get familiar now than in the cold water. I am glad I tried out the spray hood on my Spinlock – I don’t think I would have realised how it works without benefit of a mirror and a bit of practice!

“Mekhanik Yartsev” in trouble

29th December: This Russian cargo ship is in trouble midway between Cowes and Lee-on-Solent, so if the cod fail to show you can at least go and have a look. All 13 crew are safe but can’t be very comfortable.

No Cod, but a cracking Pollock

I was out with Richard yesterday, 22nd Dec, on his boat “Wicked Tuna” from Southsea Marina.  We fished a mark North East of the northern end of the Nab Dredged Channel.  After the rough weather of recent weeks, it was great to get out in light winds and a smooth sea.

We fished a mix of rigs, some with large squid baits for Cod, and others lighter outfits to target Whiting.  Fishing was slow over the end of the flood, with a few Whiting and Pout.  We hoped the fishing would pick up with the ebb, but apart from dogs being added to the species caught, fishing remained slow. Just as we were considering a move, Richard had a very heavy take, but failed to hook-up with the fish, which we assumed was either a Cod, or a Conger, so we decided to stay.

I then had a strong take on my light rod rigged with a two hook paternoster baited with small strips of mackerel for Whiting.  On picking up the rod, the fish took off on a very strong run that was difficult to stop.  I slowly gained control of the fish even though it continued to make several strong runs, but eventually I guided a cracking Pollack into the landing net. It weighed 13.11lbs on my digital scales.

We stayed on the mark for another couple of hours before returning to the marina, and a beer in the marina bar.  Whilst our main target was Cod, that Pollack made my day.


Connor on 19th December…a common story actually.

Connor sent me this report which has been a typical experience recently. Some cod have been caught this week, but not very many. Most trips were like this one:

It was a very cold, icy morning and the night had been very calm so we expected fog, also because it was on the forecasts. Luckily when we came out past West Pole it was a lovely – the sea was flat and although it wasn’t perfect there was a few miles of visibility. We started off south of the Nab on the flood where I failed to connect the best bite of the day, most likely a conger or ray but could of been that elusive cod which is sad to think about. A few other bites resulted in dogs. At slack we moved to Culver with a few other boats already there, for the ebb flow. A few small rattles, most likely whiting, early on in the ebb were also missed and we headed in earlier than we had planned as we were getting cold. Unfortunately the dogs we did have came to my dad’s rods so that’s a blank for me! Oh well, was a lovely day to be out on the water, next time we’ll be after rays as it seems like this is one of those years on the cod fishing.

Local VHF Radio Channels

The Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) have made some changes to the use of VHF marine channels in the Solent area, effective from September 2017. Here is a summary of what has changed.


There are Marine Safety Broadcasts on the following channels:

62 & 63 – Solent Area
64 – Newhaven, Needles and Beerhead
23 – Portland and Boniface Down
65 – National Coastwatch Institute (NCI)
67 – Solent Coastguard routine small boat traffic


Useful reference of local channels:

16 – Emergency calls to HM coast Guard
12 – Southampton VTS
11 – QHM Portsmouth
68 – Yarmouth Harbour (Also Beaulieu)
69 – Cowes Harbour Radio
66 – Lymington Harbour
80 – Marinas

If you need a VHF Operators licence you can take the VHF Short Range Certificate Incl DSC – Radio Course at Boatability in Portsmouth.

Bass 2018: Catch & Release only, all year

From the EU Council agreement on 2018 fishing quotas in the Atlantic and North Sea published on 13th December:

“Concerning sea bass the Council acknowledged the bad state of stocks in the Celtic Sea, Channel, Irish Sea and southern North Sea and their importance for many countries. It consequently decided to make additional efforts by only allowing limited fisheries with certain gears in those areas, while providing for a two months closure to protect spawning aggregations. Recreational fishing is further restricted, with only catch-and release fishing allowed during the entire year. A lower daily bag limit for recreational fisheries is also fixed in the Bay of Biscay.”

Read the full report here.


Hypothermia Myths And The Truth About Cold Water

A very informative article by retired Coastguard Mario Vittone is available here

Watch the “Cold Water Boot Camp” video too…

Great news from Dave and Caroline!

You may have wondered why Dave and Caroline, one time my most prolific Catch Reporters, had been absent from this site. Poor Caroline had been fighting cancer but after many brave months she she has now been given the all clear, which we are all delighted to hear. They have some other news too – they will be starting a new charter business from their purpose-built Swiftcat 11.4 metre catamaran – see photo above. Due to be launched in the Spring on 2018, it will be  to be fitted with Evinrude Etec G2 300hp engines which will provide a cruising speed of 26 – 28 knots and a WOT of 42 knots. It will be coded for 12+2 but the plan is to limit anglers to 8. There is a temporary web site

We will bring more news as the project progresses. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing more of Dave and Caroline on this site, with their amazing catches. Here is a reminder:

Cod fishing Hampshire


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