Without doubt, early May is a watershed for fish species in the Eastern Solent. Those pesky little whiting have gone, although the pesky dogfish (aka Solent Salmon) will be here forever. Plaice are fattening up after spawning, and the summer species of bream, smoothhound and tope arrive to give great sport.
If you don’t want to go too far, wrasse can give a good account of themselves on rocky marks or by the many concrete structures around the area. Small hardback crabs and soft lures find the better fish.
Bream are becoming more plentiful as the month progresses. They rarely appear in great numbers but when you find and can hold on to a shoal they give an amazing fight for their size. There is no mistaking a bream bite on light tackle! Kev Johnson and John Jones had an exceptional catch of 40 bream, all were returned and the two best were kept in the fish-well initially for a photo-opportunity – see picture.
Garfish arrive shortly before the mackerel, and often follow baits right to the surface. They can surprise you with a last-minute grab of small bream baits. They make a bit of a tangle out of your carefully constructed bream rigs though.
We have seen some very good smoothhounds caught. The 19lb 10oz specimen boated by Adam Houghton currently leads the Catch and Release Cup for Southsea Marina Angling Club.
In the last week, tope have put in an appearance resulting in some cracking days out for those crews fishing the tope marks. Other good fish reported this month were Bill Arnold, smoothhound 18lb; Neil Glazier, smoothhound 16lb and Steve Kelly, undulate ray 14lb 4oz, all catch and release.
Further offshore, pollack and cod are being caught over the Channel wrecks and catches are well worth the trip to get out there.
We were very pleased to host the RNLI at the SMAC May meeting, where volunteer speaker Brian Masters gave an excellent talk on small boat safety for anglers. Even though many of use were experienced, we all learned something new. Brian Hill ran a Lifejacket Clinic at the event, and found some important safety defects in some of the lifejackets he inspected. This reminded us all to check our lifejackets carefully. We raised £94 for the RNLI from donated prizes and a collection at the meeting.
SMAC is keen to involve more juniors and ladies in the sport. To this end Adam Houghton has been organising some Ladies Trips, which seemed to enjoyed by all (eventually) – see the photos!
The juniors seem to be rather good at out-fishing their dads sometimes, so maybe we have some club champions of the future among the junior membership.
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