Boat Angling

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Langstone Report April 2019

If February is the doldrums between the winter and spring fishing seasons, March should in theory see the start of the spring species being caught. Unfortunately a number of factors get in the way of that theory. Many owners of private and charter angling boats take them out of the water for their annual antifoul and service, instead of fishing. I have noticed that the cleanest they will be all year is in the hours before relaunch – they’ll never look as good after a few fish have come aboard. Other friends have taken the opportunity to travel to fish in warmer climes instead of on a bleak Solent. The luckier ones have sent back some amazing photos of catches, but as this is not a Florida Fishing Report I can’t include them. The third reason is the number of storms: we have had a procession of them tailgating each other for three weeks as they roll up the Channel from the west. Those factors haven’t left much time for fishing or people to fish.

Nevertheless some of us have grabbed a day or two here and there and we have a few fish to indicate what is out there. First up is Mark Banks, showing that quality pollack can be caught from the Channel wrecks although some days can be tough. Marks offshore produce the usual range of rays. Conger are now moving back to their holes in rocks and wrecks and are less of a pest on open ground. Wayne Comben shows off a nice spurdog of 16lb and a bull huss of 7lb. Inshore we are having a run of plaice. Some days they can be fairly plentiful (by today’s standards) and other days they are hard to find. But if fishing was predictable I would have nothing to write about. Here are some photographs from recent plaice trips including a very late codling for Dick Stubbs and a surprise early bream for Dennis Hayden on the same trip, which neatly bridges the two seasons. Steve Kelly is waving both a plaice and a species competition card so it looks like he is going for it this year.

April is drawing near so we should soon be reporting smoothhound and bream in numbers. The bass restrictions change on 1st April for the summer and the opportunity to keep one fish per day may tempt more anglers to target them. The first garfish tend to arrive with the spawning bream and mackerel appear soon after. The tope will follow them in. The seasonal pattern certainly gives us plenty of variety in this area, if only we have enough weather windows to fish. Roll on summer, preferably one like last year.

Langstone Report February 2019

Finally…the Southsea Marina Angling Club (SMAC) Open Cod Competition was held on 30th December after seven postponements due to the weather. We even had a few settled days beforehand to get into the swing of things after two months of being stuck ashore. Although overcast, visibility was good, it wasn’t too cold and a slight westerly breeze gave us plenty of options.

A total of 102 anglers signed in, with 45 boats mostly heading out from Southsea Marina, the Eastney ramp or Eastney Cruising Association (ECA). More fish were being caught inshore of the Nab than further out. Although the winning cod wasn’t as big as last year we were pleased that five cod weighed in (only two in the 2017 competition) and we had the main prizes awarded to cod with a number of good whiting as runners-up.

The winner was Tim Andrews, SMAC Commodore with a cod of 9lb 2oz. Other winners were

2nd: Ken Barton cod 8lb 14oz; 3rd: Tom Baker cod 4lb 9oz; 4th: Bradley Tomkinson cod 4lb 7oz;

5th: Dean Kilford cod 3lb 10oz. Runners up with good whiting included Pete Bowden,  Darren Price, Kim Bowden, Germit Ladaher, Bernie Kwil, Steve Manning, Dick Stubbs and Tim Ward. There were also prizes for Ladies, won by Hayley Ellis and a Junior prize won by Michael Houghton. The entire event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication from Steve Kelly, SMAC Chairman who made sure all the anglers had a great day.

Although the cod season this year has been disappointing there have been some notable fish caught, topped by Lee Frampton with an amazing 31lb fish caught out of Bembridge. Mark Argyle from the ECA also caught a cod of 16lb 9oz on squid bait.

Further out the banks and wrecks have been producing some good pollack and bass. Mark Banks and Tim Andrews demonstrate a typical catch. Heber Crawford had an amazing day on the bass which was topped by this monster of over 14lb. There are some very big bass around – Robert Foster’s 13lb 9oz fish reported last issue was awarded SMAC Fish of the Month.

Rays feature in many boat trips but Ash Dowdswell’s 18lb Undulate Ray is a very good fish. We had a run of congers on many marks, not only taking cod baits but also attacking fish that were being reeled in as Phil Stride shows.

Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club prove that age is no barrier to fishing. George Dominy shows how it’s done at 85 and John Wearn has no trouble wrestling this conger. At the other end of the age spectrum we always encourage young anglers and Mikey Primmett is delighted with this fine dab.

After Christmas we usually find the remaining cod and larger whiting are hunting sprats further up in the water making them less interested in conventional bait fishing. As a result inshore fishing tends to quieten down in January and February before the plaice arrive. However we are already hearing reports of plaice being caught along the shore so the unseasonably warm water might be encouraging them in early. We will let you know next month!

First spotty of 2019

The last few weekends have been spent in accessible places in Rebel Runner, installing the wiring for my new capstan and other things. Now that’s pretty much done I decided to go fishing again. I had heard rumours of the occasional plaice being caught so this weekend I headed out to find some for myself. I have found that frozen black lug tipped with a strip of squid is the best bait for early plaice but the shops were out of stock. Luckily, right at the bottom of my freezer was a very old and sorry-looking packet. The plaice don’t mind what it looks like as long as it is smelly, so I was in business!

First stop was The Blocks, which looked very busy. I anchored just north of the crowd and set out some lines with plenty of bling. Within half an hour I had my first plaice of the year. The next couple of hours were bite-less but the weather was lovely so I didn’t mind too much. As the tide increased the anchor decided to trip so a move was an easy choice to make. I headed over to Hayling Bay and with half an hour another two plaice were on board. They were all small so I filled a bucket of water and put them in it while unhooking, to reduce stress and aid recovery. I made an interesting discovery, they all sicked up lugworm in the bucket so it is pretty obvious why lugworm scores.

I soon ran out of bait so I practised a SAR mission on an abandoned life-ring I had seen float by half an hour earlier. It is surprising how difficult a bright orange life-ring is to spot on a clear fairly calm day. Eventually I spotted it and won myself a new life-ring and about 15 metres of floating rope.

What happens if you don’t take your boat out fishing

This is what happens if continued bad weather keeps boats tied up on the pontoon instead of getting a good salty soaking out fishing. Seen in Southsea Marina recently, mushrooms sprouting from the cockpit! We need to get out there, people…

Forever By The Sea Tributes

If you have lost a loved one or friend who loved the sea, there is a very fitting way of setting up a website to collect and share memories and photographs. The RNLI have a free-to-use tribute portal called “Forever By The Sea”. All you need to do is visit this RNLI page and ask via their page for a tribute to be set up. There is no obligation to collect funds but people will probably want to donate something anyway. It is all in a very good cause and there is something lasting to share, visit and revisit.

Forever By The Sea Tribute Fund

Philip and Roland December 2018

The sudden improvement in weather and my availability allowed us to go out for the first time since the end of September. So a week before Xmas went out on the neap tide and decided to go deep to see if anything was happening out south of the Nab.

Well dogs, some biggish pouting and small whiting, with only one about 1.5lbs that was worth keeping.

With nothing much happening we went back inshore, where at least we got some real action, which was with a few Congers, on open ground. We had four, not exceptionally large although the biggest went 25lbs and gave a good scrap on the up-tider for Roland.

With the fait hint of success we went out a day or so after Xmas, although the larger tides meant we went out between Selsey and the Nab. The tide and a lot of weed (lots of it drifting around) caused us to move after only 45 mins with nothing more than the odd Dog, Pout and one Whiting.

So we went back towards the Nab to a hole to the East of the Nab. Better tide here and we were able to get down amongst the Whiting and Pouting. A couple of Dogs then a big bite nearly taking the rod over the side. A nice 5½lb Bass. Then a big fish, felt like a Conger, got off half way up. On bringing in the tackle there was a Whiting hooked on a flyer, with a big cut across its back, so the Conger had obviously taken a liking to my catch !

Whiting bitten by conger
Conger Attack!

A couple of straps came on board and then another good bite resulted in a double – a 2lb Bass on the flyer and a 7½lb Cod on the lower pennel rig. So all in all a good day for me – Roland came out as well and had some Whiting, Pouting and the odd Dog. Took advantage of the ability to be smug as we all know it will probably be different next time. Took home a Bass, Cod and 2 Whiting (2lb apiece) and the Bass and Cod fillets will allow us to forget the Turkey.

Phil and Roland, December 2018

SMAC Open Cod Competition Results!

Finally…we had the competition on 30th December after week upon week of postponements due to the weather (seven times because the day before Christmas Eve was never going to make us popular). We even had a few settled days beforehand to get into the swing of things after two months of being stuck ashore. Although overcast, visibility was good, it wasn’t too cold and a slight westerly breeze gave us plenty of options.

A total of 102 anglers signed in, with 45 boats mostly heading out from Southsea Marina, the Eastney ramp or ECA. After hearing a bit of chat on VHF it appeared that more fish were being caught inside the Nab rather than further out. Weigh-in was 4.30pm so most of us were back in our berths by dusk, waiting to see if this years’ results would be better than last. Although the winning cod wasn’t as big as last year we were pleased that five cod weighed in (only two in the 2017 competition) and we had the main prizes awarded to cod with a number of good whiting as runners-up.

The winner was Tim Andrews, our SMAC Commodore with a cod of 9lb 2oz. Tim would usually hand out the prizes but as he was a recipient this time, yours truly didn’t duck fast enough and had the honour of handing out the prizes and congratulating the winners.

There were also prizes for Ladies, won by Hayley Ellis and a Junior prize won by Michael Houghton.

Hayley Ellis fishing from Miss Molly
Michael Houghton Junior Prize Winner

Other winners were as follows:

2nd: Ken Barton cod 8lb 14oz
3rd: Tom Baker cod 4lb 9oz
4th: Bradley Tomkinson cod 4lb 7oz
5th: Dean Kilford cod 3lb 10oz
6th Pete Bowden whiting 3.76lb
7th: Darren Price whiting 3.24lb
8th: Kim Bowden whiting 2.38lb
9th: Germit Ladaher whiting 2.16lb
10th: Bernie Kwil whiting 2.06lb
11th: Steve Manning whiting 1.94lb
12th: Dick Stubbs whiting 1.92lb
13th: Tim Ward whiting 1.78lb

We are very grateful for the support and prizes from the following: Portsmouth Marine Training; Allan’s Marine; Solent Truck Parts; Barden UK; Premier Marinas, The Marina Bar and Cafe; Pete Kilshaw (Sportsmans Knight); Adam Houghton (Anglers Edge); Baits ‘R Us; Lock Stock and Tackle.

The entire event would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment from SMAC Chairman Steve Kelly who made sure 102 anglers had a great day. Thanks again Steve.

PS Thanks to Steve Andrews for taking the photos!

First double cod for Mark Chamberlain!

This is slightly outside our normal area of news coverage but this is a cod story so why not. Mark Chamberlain caught this lively 19lb cod from his own boat while fishing of Watchet in Somerset, using a bait of mackerel and squid. Photo and story sent in by Neil Foster.

Langstone Report Sea Angling News

The last month has been brilliant for fishing if you only wanted to go out once (midweek) and catch loads of small congers. For the other 99.9% of anglers it has been pretty miserable with every weekend blown off and only a few fishable days midweek for those able to take advantage of them. Those than did steal a day for a boat trip were rewarded with conger after conger roaming around the cod grounds on the lookout for carefully presented expensive cod baits. As most were T-barred off at the side of the boat, we have a representative photo from Peter Churchill which could be one of hundreds!

Other regulars were dogfish, pout and various rays. Some nice bass were caught including Team Foster, son Tom shows a 5lb 6oz while his father Robert caught a stonking bass of 13lb 9oz!

Tom Foster 5.6 bass

There have been some whiting caught but very few cod. The one star catch of the month was a cod of 33lb 5oz caught by Lee Birchwood in the Nab area on squid bait.

The Southsea Marina Angling Club Cod Open Competition has been delayed by the weather every weekend since October and we are hoping to improve on last year’s date which was also delayed until 14th January. We thought we would get ahead of the game this year by planning it earlier. So much for that idea. To cheer us up let’s have another look at Dick Prosser’s winning cod of 18lb 12oz from January 2018.

Dick Prosser winning cod

Looking back over the year we have had some good fishing. Plaice arrived early in February, Heber Crawford shows the quality of fish caught.

Heber Crawford 50 plaice

In March we discovered we were sitting over large shoals of herring, and by targeting them with small sabikies you could catch plenty for bait or supper. Quality pollack and bass were caught on the mid Channel wrecks as shown by Kev Johnson.

Kev Johnson

By April plaice were plentiful and we had some good spells of weather. May saw the arrival of bream as displayed by Kev Johnson and John Jones. Wafters – buoyant baits use by carp anglers – made a difference when threaded on hooks baited with squid strip.

Kev Johnson 2.6 and 2.6

By June tope had arrived and so had some great weather. Most of the summer photos show calm blue seas and sizzling temperatures. Leigh Coward shows all of this with his tope of 46lb.

Leigh Coward 46lb Tope

There was a good run of smoothhound right through the summer, Adam Houghton shows one just shy of 20lb.

Adam Houghton 19-10 Smoothhound

The best tope we recorded was Ian Drapers fish of 64lb.

ian draper 64lb

Bass were catch and release only during the summer so there were fewer boats targeting them but there were plenty of the calibre of this 5lber caught by our local butcher Mo Twells.

Mo Twells Bass 5lb

The calm weather meant boats were regularly able to push further offshore to find prime pollack. The sun shone on the marina as if it was the Mediterranean and mullet were caught to a very good size. The sun was still shining in August, Kev Johnson managed to actually catch a sunfish and we were regularly treated to dolphin displays.

Kev Johnson Sunfish 18-20lb

There were also a few turbot and brill caught which were very welcome. Chris Sartow shows an example. There were are few early cod in September.

Chris Sartow Turbot

Squid fishing suddenly became very popular across the South Coast with plenty caught from boat and shore. In late October the weather hit us and here we are, waiting and hoping for a settled weekend so we can chase the last of the cod. If we have another summer like that in 2019 I don’t think we will be complaining.

Bass Limits 2019

Today the EU Council announced an agreement on the  2019 catch limits for commercial fish stocks. The agreement was based on their commitment to the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): environmental, economic and social sustainability.

For bass anglers, the main change is that we have a limit of 1 bass per angler per day from 1st April to 31st October. Any fish caught above the limit during that period must be returned unharmed and any bass caught outside the limit must also be returned. No bass may be retained under the MLS.

We had hoped that bass would be further protected by a proposed increase in the restriction on the fixed netter’s daily catch limited. However our own Fisheries  Minister, George Eustice, and Defra completely rejected this. For the third year running, the UK has agreed to unenforceable ‘unavoidable bycatch’ restrictions for fixed netting.  We think that the UK Government has taken a disgraceful position on this.

Here is the link to more detail

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