Boat Angling

The web site for eastern Solent boat fishing

Restart a Heart day – Port Solent Marina

Premier berth-holders were invited to an educational workshop this week at Port Solent. This was well attended, and after coffee and cake we were treated to an excellent demonstration of CPR and a defibrillator by Liz Baugh of Red Square Medical.  Liz is ex-Navy, highly experienced and very knowledgeable about the challenges of delivering First Aid at sea. Although I have had First Aid training I still learned a lot as recommendations have changed.  We are now encouraged to do hands-only CPR (see the Vinnie Jones demonstration video below) because it is more important to keep blood flowing around the body – think of it as a manual bilge pump while someone is coming to you with an electric one. The body can keep going on the existing oxygen in the blood for 4-5 minutes so with any luck you can get the heart going again before having to puff any more air in , which is the bit many people don’t fancy. (Having done it, I can tell you it isn’t that bad in the circumstances.)

The next demonstration was the use of a defibrillator – something most people are vaguely aware of but wouldn’t know how to use one even if they had one in their hands. They have a vital role in resuscitation, and there are many defibrillators around the country accessible in an emergency so it is very useful to know how they work. Download the AED UK app on your phone or use Heartsafe on a browser to see where they are.

A defibrillator is a completely automated way of doing a “re-boot” of a heart: Ctrl+Alt+Delete if you like. This stops the heart doing crazy things so it is more likely to respond to CPR. The machine needs to be connected to the patient, then it will analyse what needs to be done. The machine actually talks you through everything so you can’t do the wrong thing with it. Here’s a rather less amusing but very useful video showing how to use it.

If you can’t attend a demonstration of Hands-Only CPR and a defibrillator I strongly recommend you at least watch these videos and replay them in your mind. It could help you save a life one day – maybe the life of a loved one.

See a following post for a report of the Air-Sea Rescue presentation by ex-Navy pilot Jonathan Turner of MAST Consultancy on the same night.

SMAC 2nd Open Boat Cod Competition

28th October 2018

(Reserve dates 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th November)

1st Prize £500

(Heaviest single cod)

Heaviest single whiting if no cod caught

2nd Prize Cash TBC

3rd Prize Cash TBC

Sign in at Southsea Marina Office. Entry fee £10

Fishing from 0800hrs – 1600hrs Weigh-In by 1730hrs

Presentation in the Marina Bar at 1800hrs

Prize Table:

Donated by :

Allans Marine – Penn Squadron 20lb Rod and Reel (RRP £100.00)

Solent Truck Parts – £100 Voucher

Barden Battery Power Solutions – £100 Voucher

Lock, Stock & Tackle – £50.00 Voucher

Southsea Premier Marina – £50.00 Bait Voucher

Anglers Edge – Boat Fishing Trip

Andys Baits – £50.00 Bait Voucher

Marina Bar – Sunday Dinner for Two Voucher

Extra Prizes to be added depending on entries

Bonus Prizes

Ladies Prize – £50.00 (Heaviest Cod)

Junior Under 16 Prize – £50.00 (Heaviest Cod)

Ladies and Junior – If no cod, heaviest whiting

Any questions please contact Steve Kelly at or call 07790 584698





“Angles on Sea Angling” – 1963

How it used to be! Thanks to Steve Andrews for loaning a copy of this booklet, published by Associated Newspapers. You can have a read here:

Angles on Sea Angling

Langstone Report Sea Angling News October

We are now well into September and watching the transition from summer season to autumn.   One of the milestones is the Southsea Marina Angling Club summer BBQ which was held on one of the last sunny weekends before the wind and clouds started to make more of an appearance. We had great intentions of doing a beach clean on the day, but our efforts were overshadowed by the amazing work that The Final Straw Solent have been making clearing rubbish from our local beaches and harbours – including entire boats! Watch out for the publicity for their next mass beach cleans.

Final Straw Solent beach clean results

Back to the SMAC BBQ: Esme Andrews represented the club in the beach clean so at least we did something on the day! An impromptu raffle also raised over £70 for the RNLI, which has since increased significantly from donated prizes from the monthly awards.

Beach Cleaner Esme Andrews

SMAC BBQ Prizegiving

Shark fishing has attracted more attention this year because threshers are regularly sighted south of the Island. Several charter skippers have been running exploratory trips and with the experienced gained we hope to hear of some interesting catches in due course.

The first codling have been reported, they usually appear in nets and pots before anglers catch them. This is surprising because with the water temperatures so high we were expecting a later arrival, but they seem to be sticking to the calendar. There are still mackerel and scad around but not in such large numbers as last month. The plaice are feeding well and will still be around for a couple more months before moving offshore, returning in March.

Plaice double

Another seasonal visitor is the trigger fish, which arrive in September, stay around for a month then disappear. Bill Arnold and Luke Scott both caught some nice specimens. Inshore rocky marks, squid or fish strip baits, small hooks and very strong traces – even wire – are the winning mix. Triggers have very powerful toothy jaws and can easily cut through light mono.

Luke Scott Trigger fish

Some good bass have been caught throughout the year, and we welcome the promised relaxation of the bass rules which we expect will allow us to keep one fish per day over the size limit. Dave Ford caught and released a magnificent 11lb 10oz fish.



Turbot are always a popular target although we don’t get many in the area, or of the size you will find further south. However, Chris Sartow, Tim Andrews and Kev Johnson were very happy to land a few this month.

Chris Sartow Turbot

One of the many wonderful things about fishing in this area is the variety of species available. Heber Crawford shows off some impressive weevers and a red mullet. Luke Scott shows off his first gilthead bream. Peter Churchill demonstrates the quality of ray fishing with an large blonde  and Chris Sartow shows the patterns of a nicely marked undulate.

Heber Crawford Weever

Heber Crawford Red Mullet

Peter Churchill Blonde ray


Chris Sartow Undulate

We always enjoy seeing the delight on our junior anglers’ faces when they show off their catch – as demonstrated by Archie Crawford with his bass and Ivy Brudenell with her first mackerel (hopefully first of very many).

Archie Crawford Bass

Ivy Brudenell First Mackerel

Finally, a special date for your diaries: the annual SMAC Open Cod Competition will be held on Sunday 28th October (with reserve dates if the weather is against us). Entry £10 at Southsea Marina on the day, fishing 8am to 4pm. 1st prize £500 with many other cash and other prizes. Categories for Ladies and Juniors too. For further details contact or 07790584698

To read the full Sea Angling News online please click here

Bass Ban relaxed 1st October to 31st December

The rule-makes have accepted that maybe leisure anglers aren’t responsible for decimating bass stocks and have changed the outright ban on taking bass, to a one fish per day (over 42cm length) limit from 1st October to 31st December 2018. For the full text you can access it here but they don’t make these things very readable! There is a technicality, of course.  This needs to be published in the EU Journal for it to actually become law – as soon as that happens I’ll update this post. Edited: this has now become law! Go catch your bass…

Langstone Report Sea Angling News September

The calm sunny weather continued, causing widespread confusion. We have never experienced so many fishable days all in a row – what’s going on? This has all changed in the last week, but it was really good while it lasted. The calm seas in the background of many of the photos demonstrates how pleasant it was, right out into the Channel too.

Last month we were a little concerned about the apparent lack of mackerel despite huge concentrations of recently hatched fry. Well, word must have got out because the mackerel have turned up in good numbers, and in good sizes too. Early in the day, we can stock up on big fat barrel-shaped mackerel, full to the gills with fry. Later in the day, digesting their huge breakfasts, the mackerel have been a lot harder to catch.

There has been an interesting demonstration of the food chain in action in the eastern Solent. The proliferation of fry attracted mackerel, which in turn has attracted the dolphins. In previous years we have had the occasional treat of the sight of a pod passing. This year, the dolphins have been much more numerous and a number of boats have had the amazing experience of dolphins following the boat, playing alongside and riding the bow wave. The photo here was taken by David Cheal from his boat off the Isle of Wight. Dolphins have even been travelling into Chichester harbour.

Dolphins David Cheal

Back to the fishing – the larger tope have now moved off leaving smaller pack tope which can be a bit of a nuisance at times. The larger smoothhound are still around, as Bill Arnold demonstrates with his impressive specimen caught inshore.


Offshore wrecks and reefs are producing good summer pollack. Rough ground holds bull huss, and although they are usually nocturnal they can be caught during the daytime in deeper water, as shown here.

Heber Crawford Bull Huss

Another benefit of the calm water has been the ability to spot our regular summer visitor, the sunfish. When basking (which they do on their sides, strangely) their pectoral fins stick out of the water making them easy to see at a distance. They can be scooped up in a landing net for inspection, but Kev Johnson caught one legitimately with feathers, estimated at 18-20lb.

Kev Johnson Sunfish 18-20lb

With water temperatures now 20C (a full two degrees warmer than this time in previous years) we have had reports of more unusual fish sightings. Luke Scott even videoed a large, unidentifiable fish behaving very strangely just below the surface. Unfortunately this became a non-catch report because it could not be tempted. He did catch a beautifully marked starry smoothhound later though.

Luke Scott Starry Smoothhound

Mullet are a summer feature in our marinas and harbours, and can grow to a size that gives a good bend to a light rod. We once thought these fish were uncatchable and they are a challenge, but with a very delicate approach and lightening reflexes they can be landed. They also feed at night so a few hours in the evening can give great sport. Christopher Sart shows off his pier mullet, Bill Arnold has an impressive 4lb 7oz fish, and Heber Crawford tempted both thin- and thick-lipped mullet.

Christopher Sart Mullet

Bill Arnold Mullet 4.7

Heber Crawford Midnight Thick Lipped Mullet

The juniors were also busy this month. Jake Kelly shows off his undulate ray of 13lb 8oz, and at the other end of the size spectrum Heber Jr. and Archie Crawford have been having great fun on LRF gear catching shanny. Dad Heber Crawford caught this monster (?) shanny – all things are relative.

Jake Kelly Undulate 13-8

Heber Crawford Jr Shanny

Huge Shanny Heber Crawford

August is often a quiet month before the first autumn and winter species arrive, but with fishing, you just never know what might turn up. I’ll let you know next month.

Read Sea Angling News online here

Pimping Leads

Anglers often use lures or pirks at the end of a string of mackerel feathers to add attraction, and those lures often pick up larger mackerel or bass, sometimes even cod and pollack near the bottom. The trouble is, those lures can cost £5 each in the 100gm+ weights needed and if you are fishing close to the bottom or over wrecks and rough ground you can easily hang up, which is expensive. A very low cost way of adding attraction is to paint your leads. Paint tends to scratch and chip easily in use so I use vinyl powder paint which coats the lead in a layer of vinyl – just heat the lead in a gas flame, dip in the powder, then heat again to melt the paint. You can then pimp up the lead with permanent Sharpie pens or coloured varnish. Apparently herring are attracted to red and white, mackerel and bass probably to anything fish-like. Here’s the result of very little effort for the price of leads (about 60p for 4oz) instead of lures. I’m going to add an Assist hook then give them a trial.

Inshore fishing boats in Iceland

We have just returned from holidaying in Iceland, and predictably I spent a lot of time in the many small working harbours looking at the day boats. Probably over half of them were one of the Somi range, which must say something. You can see some in the foreground of the harbour above. These are rugged boats from 7 metres to 9 metres in length. Most of the ones I saw were rigged for commercial jigging for cod: 200lb mono traces, three 8/0 hooks and “gummi-macs” or rubber eels lures. They are operated with automated electric haulers.

Iceland 3

Some of the larger boats were rigged with similar haulers but much longer traces, there were probably for mackerel. There looked like 50+ lures per line, and 12 or more haulers. Fish are automatically unhooked with rollers and fall down a chute into the enclosed packing deck.
iceland 4

The water was clear and exceptionally busy with marine life. Plenty of shore anglers were having great success catching plaice in this small marina – there were about 10 anglers and a fish was coming in every few minutes.

Iceland 1

Fishing is the main industry here, and fish is the main item on every menu. Many restaurants serve nothing else – this one has three main dishes, fish soup, fish stew and … fish.

iceland 5

Food is like everything, expensive at about twice UK prices but portions are very generous so that softens the pain. Well presented too. I particularly liked the lightly salted (brined?) cod dish.

iceland 6

Langstone Report Sea Angling News July

There is nearly always something not quite right when you go boat fishing. Tides are too small or too big, wrong bait, cloudy water, weed…but this month we couldn’t complain about the weather. I can’t remember so many fishable days crammed into the month. Sitting comfortably on a blue sea, topping up the tan and banter with mates makes poor fishing bearable. And there have been some quiet days recently, where we have been scratching for a few mackerel, pout and dogfish. Other days have been very good including some spectacular tope fishing. Top fish in this report is Ian Draper’s 64lb tope which he matched up with another good specimen of 50lb. To prove that experience can beat youthful energy, John Churchill at 80 years old tamed this tope (pictured) which was in excess of 50lb. To reduce stress on fish to be returned, weight is often estimated which is why we don’t have exact weights in all the photos.

John Churchill tope 50lb

Fewer boats are targeting bass as there is a landing ban for 2018, but there are still good stocks in the area and regularly turn up on general bottom-fishing trips. Our local butcher Mo Twells shows off the typical stamp of fish with a healthy 5 pounder. I am pretty sure that is the same hat he wears behind the counter too.

Mo Twells Bass 5lb

We usually have to motor much further afield for turbot of any size: Heber Crawford is showing off a very pretty fish caught from one of the Langstone boats over the offshore banks. However, Kriss Scott caught a magnificent inshore fish (for the area) of 8lb. This was awarded SMAC “Fish of the Month” because you just don’t see turbot of that size here, even though the Specimen Book thinks otherwise. This fish pipped Luke Scott’s huge (relatively) three-bearded rockling of 1lb 8oz which was an official Specimen and impressive in the rockling circles but not impressive enough to win the votes for Fish of the Month from our discerning members.

Heber Crawford Turbot

Even nearer to shore, Peter Churchill tempted this mullet of 3lb 12oz. We regularly see some very large mullet in the marinas but they can be very picky so this was a good catch.

Peter Curchill mullet 3lb 12oz

Some of my wealthier angling friends pay a lot of money to fish famous river and estuary beats for sea trout. Heber Crawford proved this is not always necessary. While fishing for mullet with a LRF rod and a tiny fly spoon, he noticed a dark shadow and a swirl behind the lure. Casting again he was rewarded with this stunning sea trout. After the photo-call it was promptly returned. Young Archie Crawford returned with Dad a day or two later and first cast hooked another sea trout! Before anyone thinks this is a regular thing in the area, these are the only two sea trout reported from this tidal creek that I can recall.

Heber Crawford Sea Trout

The many calm days have allowed us to observe more under-water traffic than usual. We have seen large numbers of jellyfish, and also some large and very dense shoals of fry – see the photo of the fish-finder screen. This indicates a smaller number of predatory fish around, and it also makes it more difficult for anglers to tempt mackerel with feathers when they have such an abundance of the real thing to eat. This might also explain why the mackerel we have caught are invariably stuffed so full they are like little round torpedoes.

Shoals of Fry

Let’s hope this great weather continues.

You can read Sea Angling News Online here

Winner of the DoinTheDo Photo Competition

Congratulations to Heber Crawford who won the June 2018 Photo Competition sponsored by Dave Stenson, skipper of DoinTheDo Charters. The competition was for photographs that were not only attractive and good technically, they also highlighted the pleasure of angling and the beauty of fish. Heber manages to capture all of these with a photo of his son and a wrasse. The fish is right in the foreground, the centre of attention and displays the detail and texture of the fish very well. The young lad’s pride and pleasure is evident, but because of the way the photo is framed, the fish remains the subject although the observer’s eye is also drawn to the angler. A great photo! Heber wins a voucher for a day out with Dave and Caroline on DoinTheDo and an armful of DoinTheDo swag.

Runners up were Lee Frampton for his photo of a bass coming to the net, and Josh Carter for his photo of a tope making it look a powerful specimen. They receive a bag of DoinTheDo swag each.

If you want to find out more about DoinTheDo have a look at the web site, it is very detailed and gives some great local tips too.

Archie Crawford Bream

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