Friday 3 Nov was a beautiful day, the sea was flat the fog had cleared and we skimmed from Stokes Bay to the Fingers in “High Hopes” in search of something large; cod, conger, bass?
Fishing before 9.30 we were straight into whiting with the occasional dog, by 10.30 the bites had virtually stopped but the sun was shining. The tide turned and we fished on slowly for another hour and then re-anchored about half a mile to the South on another bank. Again fishing was very slow, a few whiting and several dogs, then a thornback and a gurnard. The radio was indicating it was the same all over, surely on what was a perfect day there would be something to write home about. It was turning out to be a lovely day with some very disappointing fishing.
Then about 3 pm as the tide was grinding to a halt, a knock followed by the rod surging down (and out) and battle commenced. Well behind the boat the fish surfaced, dived and then surfaced again to the side of the boat. It was shy of the net but once in the boat came in a shade under 12lb, my first double figure bass. We fished for a while longer but that was it, what a difference a bite can make.
Gordon and I went out on the 30th . The weather was fantastic although there was not much of a tide. We headed out to the Nab area , and had a couple of thornbacks up to 11lbs, a bass of 3lb, and the first cod in the boat this season which weighed 7lb 12 ozs. Plenty of doggies as well , but only one whiting.
We were also really lucky to see the new aircraft carrier at close quarters as it came out of Portsmouth for the day – together with a circling helicopter and police ribs!
So armed with a box of squid and some frozen mackerel we headed out to a hole a couple of miles south-east of the Nab. With a lot of the charter skippers seeming to be East Nab we questioned our thoughts. Did they know something we didn’t ? Well, obviously yes – they are the professionals after all. But hey ho – out we went to the deeper water, 100ft in the hole, was hopefully our saviour.
The first hour produced a few dogs, a couple of whiting and a 10lb smoothie caught uptide at the top of the hole, not in it. Then a strap conger – and it was small – couple of pounds at most and a 5lb Thornie. Still nothing to write home about. As the flood tide picked up the fishing got better. A couple of bigger Thornies getting close to double figures and a few bigger straps. Also up towards the 10lb mark.
In between the odd pouting, I suddenly had the feel of the Nod. Having had a few conger, which although not large gave great sport on 12-20lb rods, I did get a shock when it hit the surface. Up came a codling – yes – first of the season for us. Not double figures, but enough for a fresh fish tea and some to freeze.
Unfortunately for me Roland took the largest fish prize with a 20lb+ conger, released at the boat side so only an estimate. Still way bigger than my cod or thornie so he won the pint for the largest fish and wiped out my first fish pint. I now owe him 7 pints for the year – not a good year.
All in all, we had about a dozen conger, 3 thornies, 10 whiting, a smoothhound, and quite a few dogs and pout – oh and the cod. The bigger fish all took whole squid (not convinced on the boilies as I read earlier) and a lot of the whiting on mackerel strip on a flyer. If we tried mackerel on the bottom – we got dogs. Something to note. Still all in all, not bad for two of us.
By Neville Merritt, SMAC
October in the eastern Solent area is often a cross-over month between the summer species and the arrival of winter cod and whiting. This year the summer species have stayed around well into the month with good catches of plaice, some bream plus garfish and scad still taking baits or feathers off the bottom. Conger are roaming the rough ground away from their summer haunts of wrecks and rocks, and can provide energetic sport or be a nuisance to those targeting cod, depending on your point of view. A good autumn conger on open ground can run like a tope and put up a very good fight.
On the subject of cod, we have seen a limited run of autumn fish with the luckier boats having four or five to about 15lbs, mainly reported from Solent marks. The first few whiting have appeared but not in the numbers we expect later. We usually see a few trigger fish on the rocky marks at this time of year, and some nice fish have been caught this month.
Bass fishing has been excellent with the inshore shoal fish being larger each year and giving good sport on light spinning tackle. The bigger fish tend to be hanging well below the smaller fish which will often grab a lure on the surface. Further offshore there have been good catches of bass to 6lb on the better days, although only one fish of over 42cm per angler per day can be retained.
On 8th October the interclub boat competition between Southsea Marina, Langstone Harbour, Eastney and Southsea Sea Angling Clubs was held with 39 individuals entering on their own boats or from charters. The competition for best specimen fish was won by Ray Plomer fishing from his own boat Ruthless with an undulate ray of 13lb 15oz. Catches were generally disappointing on the day but Mark Banks brought back a bull huss of 11lbs and Tim Andrews a ling of around 20lb. Heber Crawford started late and stayed in the harbour, but nevertheless winkled out several very nice wrasse the largest 4lb 1oz.
Notable fish reported this month included a monster bass of 16lb 4oz caught by Les Chant from a Langstone charter boat. Bait was apparently carp boilies. This has aroused much interest from other anglers as this might be an alternative to the very high prices being charged for our staple cod bait, frozen squid! Pete Kilshaw of the ECA caught a twaite shad of 1lb 8oz which was quickly released because these are protected species. Mark Argyle also of ECA caught a nice bass of 9lb. Catches from Southsea Marina Angling Club included a trigger fish of 2lb 1oz caught by Tony Skinner and in the junior section, an undulate ray of 14lb to Jake Kelly (pictured). Heber Crawford is way in the lead in the species competition, with 52 to date.
The next competition will be the Southsea Marina Angling Club Open Cod Competition scheduled for 3rd December, with reserve dates of 10th and 17th December if the weather is unfavourable. First prize for the largest cod is £500 plus a prize table. Entry is £10 – for further details contact Steve Kelly at Southsea Marina on 02392 822719.
Read other Sea Angling News reports here
We set of from Southsea Marina around 08.00 and thought we’d head west up the Solent to try for cod. We got to Gilkicker and there was a gaggle of around 10 boats so we headed to a mark we have further west just to find a charter boat on it. We went looking for another mark and found a interesting spot, dropped the hook and started fishing . It was a pleasant day F3 SW, tide on the west run. We were straight into fish: pout, smoothound, doggies, scad, whiting and conger which kept us busy for a couple of hours.
The tide had then come round to the east run. The sea flattened and the sun came out but the fish disappeared. We had a move closer to Gilkicker but it was still quiet with just a couple of doggies a big spider crab and a starfish. Time to move again and we decided on Horse Tail for a couple of hours before we head in. We had smoothound ,doggies a thornback of 10lb and a nice undulate ray weighing in a around 15lb on the boat scales. We were back in at our mooring around 17.30. Not a bad days fishing but no cod yet!
Today the weather was OK, the fishing was worse than average but this sight at the end of the trip made up for it. Dolphins passing Horse tail.
Video of dophins passing Horse Tail
Some of the reports from this site have made it into Sea Angling News this month! I am now writing the Langstone Harbour Area Boat Report for SAN from reports sent to me here, from Southsea Marina Angling Club and Eastney Cruising Association. You can read the on-line version here
The summer is definitely over and autumn is here, in fish terms. Rebel Runner is back in the water after the annual antifoul and leg service, so I went out to see if these reports of cod were true. No cod for me , although a number have been caught locally. One lonely mackerel and a few scad showed that summer has only just passed, and the first whiting of this season showed that autumn is here. Bass seem to shoal up over inshore banks at this time of year and if you spot birds working, sneak up on them and drift down with lures – you will be in for some good sport. I caught about ten in the one to two pound range before finally catching one bang on 42cm. Fiish Black Minnow was the winning lure, the lighter shore version cast well away from the boat and zig-zagged back. The fishfinder was alive with bass (above) but I only caught on the top of the water, not down where the fish were showing. I wonder why?
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).
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.
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.
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.