From Steve on Sunday:
“Caught at least a couple of dozen of small whiting in Hayling Bay today, with a few larger ones in the mix, and lots of double headers. Some big dogfish taking my whole squid too…
I nearly didn’t get out at all as my engine didn’t start this morning after several attempts, although it was firing. Called Sea Start and they were just about to set off when it finally started. The guy said I need to run it a bit more often… (Steve – that’s a very good reason to go fishing more. Use it with the Boss! – N)
Lovely flat calm and gentle breeze this afternoon in the sun, but a pretty brisk westerly over the tide in the morning which made things tricky for me!
Pic of a whole mackerel bait after being in for about 10 minutes.”
A weather window in winter is too good to miss so I negotiated a pass from my business partner and took the day off. It was a bright, cloudless day with near perfect visibility, although the low sun was very awkward at times. It started almost flat calm so I used the opportunity to re-calibrate my Azimuth compass, which didn’t take long. I did it over a bass-holding bank so I had something to watch for while the calibration was happening. The large shoal has gone but there are still shoals of bait fish. Sprats already?
After a late start and then the calibration thing I didn’t have as much time as usual so I decided to try a new mark, not too far out. Having arrived there, there were no features to be seen so I pottered about for a bit and suddenly saw a congregation of fish on the bottom. I circled back and they were still there so it looked like a fish holding area rather than a passing shoal. I wasn’t exactly confident I had found a mark but I anchored up anyway, and from then on it was all action. I had three rods out and sometimes all three rod tips were nodding. Most were pout and whiting but they were of a reasonable size, with a couple of dogfish thrown in.
These were interspersed with four massive bites including one where my rod holder was twisted 90 degrees. Three of them were conger who did a fair impression of a nodding cod which was very annoying, particularly as they all came on the cuttlefish bait. The final big bite turned out to be an undulate ray of about 12lb but what was more remarkable was that the bait had been taken by a not-so-small pout, and the ray had grabbed the pout. I am not sure whether the ray was trying to steal the bait (cuttle again) or chomp the pout. I suspect the latter. The wind increased in the afternoon, a lot more than forecast but what’s new.
Although I used a variety of baits – frozen mackerel, squid, lug and cuttle, the best bait by a country mile was the cuttle. I stopped by the tackle shop on the way home to stock up with more cuttle but they had almost sold out, only bits and bobs left. Apparently cuttlefish are in short supply as well as squid.
A final thought – have you ever contemplated the eye of a whiting? The proportions are huge. A true sight-hunter.
It has been many months since I’ve been out as one of my fishing pals, David Bennett, who has been mentioned and pictured in these reports a few times, unfortunately lost his battle with Cancer last month. The Doggies of the Nab will miss him as will his fishing pals.
So Roland and I headed out on Sunday 27th Nov. as it looked the best day to go out matching our availability. The NE4/5 forecast meant we thought going up the Solent might be best to get cover from the wind. As it happened Sunday morning was reasonably calm so we headed off to East Nab. A slow start resulting in some good sized “smellies” (pout) to around 2lb, small whiting and the inevitable dogs. Just as we were discussing moving, always a good tactic, Roland had a strong knock, struck, had a fish for about 5 seconds, then…… Well we’ve all been there and as I’m writing this before the watershed I can’t repeat what he said. However 2 minutes later my rod went and a lovely 8 ½lb cod came over the side (see Pic). So, delay moving, amazing how one fish can change a strategy.
Roland kept his battle up with the odd large”smelly” and the “Selsea Flounder” as we now call the ubiquitous doggies to make it sound better, but nothing else, so we decided to move to north of the Nab. Here we got far more whiting, some 7/8 getting to the potential “keepers” size around 1½lb with the rest being the pencil sized. A 12lb Blonde Ray then came over the side and Roland kept up his battle with dogs and “smellies”. The cod came on single squid with most of the whiting coming on mackerel; pout and doggies taking everything although a whole whiting fished for most of the day caught nothing.
We left late afternoon as the light faded having spent some 5 hours and a reasonable day, although the wind had got up by the afternoon. Talking to other skippers coming back into the marina who had gone up the Solent, we did well compared to a lot so happy with the day.
Dave was out on Jenny G from the Hamble.
“We saw a break in the weather last week so we decided to go for it.
3 nice cod came aboard all on squid.”
Nice one Dave, you have to grab those chances when you can with storms like Angus turning up to mess with our weekends.
This week we heard the sad news that Chris, who set up the Solent Fishing Guide web site and the very popular Forums, passed away on 4th November. The web site remains in place but the forums are currently on hold. His brother Mike posted this message:
Chris, my brother, the keen fisherman and webmaster who set this site up about 15 years ago, and has maintained it since then, sadly died in hospital on 4th November 2016 of cancer, following several months of acute illness. Despite the certainty of his death, intense pain and paralysis his sense of humour prevailed right to the end.
We are debating what’s to be done with this website and if it has got a future. If you have any suggestions then drop me an email.
If you want to leave any messages you can do so below or email Mike directly.
Since catching a decent cod and bass, Gordon and I , fueled with enthusiasm and belief that we can finally catch fish, have been out a number of times. Taking advantage of the calm conditions we have been out 4 times in the last couple of weeks – the latest trip being the 3rd November.
On my part I have become the whelk king – as I have had more whelks on my squid than doggies. Aside from doggies , Gordon had a couple of whiting , and a very small spotted ray on our latest trip – which despite my best photographic skills still looks tiny in the photo!
Still the weather has been great and maybe ,if there is some stormy weather to stir things up, we might start catching again.
I took a last minute decision to take Tuesday off for the light winds – although they were the dreaded east winds! Amazing weather for the end of October, especially in the afternoon with the sun out and very mild. Fishing not so hot though – I only had two bites all day; a 8lb thornback on the first cast and a small 2-3lb starry smoothound on the last cast, with no doggies or pout in between, which was a bit of a surprise.
I did catch a mini starfish on lug and a couple of big spider crab on whole squid, which may explain the lack of fish bites 😊
Anyway, I still had a great day out on the water– always plenty to see around this part of the IOW with the anchored tankers, cross-channel ferries and the cliff scenery.
We thought we’d try some marks east of the nab after not having much success more inshore. As the flood tide died off i had a small eyed ray of about 4lb which is a new species for me. Pretty sure this is a small eyed? After this we moved to another mark nearby in a bit of deeper water but this just gave us more dogfish. Listening to the radio it sounded like most people were having a hard day and a couple of boats had one or two cod. After speaking to other fishermen in the marina seems like the bass fishing was better this weekend. Probably got something to do with the water being quite warm still.
With all the chat about the Solent being the place to go for cod, I thought it would be like a car park over the usual marks (it was), so I headed to New Grounds to a mark that had produced cod for me last year. Despite the calm weather (or because of – ENE and high pressure), fishing was slow. Dogfish kept the rod tips nodding but eventually I caught a small scad and a huge mackerel.
The scad went back down BBQ style and within minutes was taken by what turned out to be a 14lb undulate ray. I retrieved the mangled scad, added a squid for company and dropped it down again. This time it wasn’t a ray, after a brief but very vigorous fight the line was bitten through above the hook so it was probably a conger. Then it all went quiet, although I was desperately trying to catch more small scad! In the end I packed up early and headed back, intending to drift a bank on the way home with my new Fiiish Black Minnow lures. The gulls were working the bank again and I could see bass on the surface, but the lures I had were too heavy and were dropping below the fish. While lining up for the next drift I noticed on the fishfinder the bottom was alive with fish so I bumped the Black Minnow along the bottom. That was the right thing to to – a total of six bass in a single drift, all at about 30cm long so just undersized but plenty big enough to put up a good fight on light tackle. I was using the 25gm 120 FBM and that can be tied direct to the line, increasing sensitivity and fun.
Ian and I headed out for a day on Orca yesterday with high hopes that there may be Cod in numbers in the Eastern Solent. However, we arrived to see another angler coming back into the Marina have given up due to the swell and wind over tide conditions. He was constantly broad side on to the swell and couldn’t even pour a cup of coffee, poor chap! We ventured out anyway and by the time we were out there the wind had come round a little to the NW and had dropped – so conditions were OK.
We anchored up at a mark in mid Eastern Solent fishing into 60ft+ of water. With the tide flooding the bottom five feet were a kennel full of Doggers – very frustrating when you know that there are other species around not getting a look in. At about half tide the Dogfish just disappeared and I said to Ian that might mean something better – and hey presto, we started to get a bit more serious action. A Cod of 8lb 9oz hit the deck to my rod followed by some decent Whiting for both of us. Another Cod was lost close to the net but Ian had a small Conger soon after plus a few pouting (bait for when our squid runs out!). Then came what I thought was another Cod but turned out to be a beautiful Bass of a smidge under 6lb. Now call me an old fashioned coarse angler but I couldn’t bang it on the head for my one fish limit – so back it went to fight another day, and boy did it fight!
Bait for the day was whole squid marinaded in Krill Oil. We use a bait dropper made out of an old cat food tin to get loads of smelly stuff down to the bottom and create a scent trail – it seemed to do the trick. An enjoyable day out with 6 species caught in the end and some tasty Cod and Whiting for supper for the next few days