Boat Angling

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Category: Catch Reports 2018 (page 1 of 3)

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

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

Another massive tope aboard Moonshine

Ian Draper caught this massive 64lb tope from Peter Churchill’s Moonshine. This has been an awesome season for tope and Peter seems to find the best spots for his clients! To book, contact Peter on 02392 787295
Ian draper playing 64lb tope

Plan A Worked

I’ve been out a few times in June, and finally broke my duck for Tope yesterday. Plan A was to catch mackerel for bait and go to a couple of marks in Utopia in deep water in fairly big tide. Plan B was go to Sandown Bay in shallow water for easier fishing for bream if no mackerel.

Plan A actually worked! Me and my brother caught 4 tope between 8-14lb and lost half a dozen by striking too early, but great fights on fairly light tackle, especially when the tide was running hard.  Thought they would be double the weight from their size and fight, but the scales don’t lie…  The crushed hook barbs certainly helped for quick release. Plenty of doggies and a spotted ray in between the tope bites too.

I really must get the gear and learn the Alderney Ring method of anchor retrieval! It would have been impossible for me to haul anchor from the bow on my own halfway through the flood (would have been even worse on the ebb!) and I only just about managed it with my brother using the engine to carefully follow the anchor, and even then it pretty much wiped me out…

ps: unbelievably, I managed to survive all day until 10:30 pm without the football score being leaked to me

Perfect finish to the day watching the highlight 😊

Steve Fordred, Spoonbill

First trip on Osprey!

Our first trip on Osprey and success for co-owner Matt Morgan!

We headed out into Bracklesham Bay (not too far from the harbour entrance on the first trip!) and fished the ebb tide initially near the wrecks but moved further east until getting toward the broken ground near The Hounds, all in about 10-12m of water. This mark fished nicely with catches of Wrasse, small Pouting and Pollack and also the ubiquitous Doggy. Looking forward to hitting more marks, and catching more fish – the holy grails for us both are a double figure bass for Matt and a Turbot for me! Maybe one day…

Will Denby

Another good tope aboard Moonshine

Caught by Essex angler Dave Jordison, this tope weighed 40lb

Wafters find the bream

Those who are prepared to experiment often find the new killer method (although there are plenty of experiments that don’t work!) The latest “discovery” is to use wafter baits for bream. These are buoyant artificial baits developed for carp fishing, which balance the weight of the hook and bait making it wave enticingly. They usually come in colours designed to attract in murky water, and a scent as well. Combined with a squid or cuttlefish strip  for bream they can be deadly. Last weekend, all the bream I caught were on 8mm pink tuna flavoured wafters, none took the plain baits. You need to use fine hooks – short shank Aberdeens are ideal, and thread the wafter up the shank. Nick a strip of squid or cuttle (I was using cuttle as you can see from the black stains) to the hook and hang on to the rod ready for that classic beam bite that drags your arm off!

Products from


More Tope From Utopia

From Steve Holt:

I was going to go out on Saturday, but the forecast changed so went out today instead and what a superb day it was, almost tropical.

I decided to head for a mark I liked the look of on the Utopia but I first stopped off at Deans Tail to try for some Mackerel and was lucky enough to find 4 on my first drop, so I didn’t hang around for long before heading out to the Utopia where I dropped anchor into about 86ft of water, it was about a couple of hours after low water and the tide was already pushing through resulting in needing 1lb of lead.

The lead has barely hit the bottom when the clutch on one of my lever drags screamed away and I was in to my first Tope of the season, not a big one but still around the 20lb mark, then two minutes later the other lever drag screamed off and this felt like a decent fish and at times it was taking more line than I could wind in aided by the strong tide, after 15 minutes I eventually had it alongside the boat and realised I would have to net it tail first and let it drift in to the net  and upon lifting it in to the boat I could feel it was quite heavy, so I got it into the weigh sling as quickly as possible and it tipped the scales at just over 35lb, so well chuffed.

I had a couple more smaller Tope of around 15lbs. But that was pretty much it with the tide now screaming past the boat to the point that the anchor was dragging, the Utopia curse had struck again as with my last boat I could never get a Bruce anchor to hold on the Utopia until a local skipper suggested I try a traditional Fishermans Anchor which solved the problem, so tomorrow I will be out to buy a 10kg anchor.

I tries a few places on the way back for Mackerel, but nothing doing, probably because the tide was too strong, but next weekend the small tides are perfect for my new mark, let’s hope the weather plays ball.

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