Well what a dismal few weeks we have had!  The wind has kept most boats off the water for a number of weekends since the last report. Those that did get out in gaps in the weather found mainly dogfish, whiting and conger. After a promising appearance in late October and early November, the cod have gone into hiding. The conger that are roaming the usual marks can be quite a nuisance, or exciting, depending on your point of view. Their behaviour changes significantly in the autumn, and instead of hiding in wrecks and rocks as they do in summer, they are now roaming in daylight, attacking large baits with gusto. They are even biting hooked fish on the way to the surface. If you want action they will give you that – picking up a bait and running with it like a tope. If you want cod, then an expensive cuttlefish bait being snaffled by a conger within minutes is beyond annoying.

So instead of recent catch reports, we thought we would look back at some of the activity in the area this year. The Southsea Marina Angling Club (SMAC) runs monthly and seasonal competitions, and raises money and donations for local rescue charities. We support the independent Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Services (GAFIRS) and the RNLI which has a base on our doorstep. We had a visit from the local crew at a club meeting to receive their donation – see photo. We would certainly feel safe in their hands!

Specimen fish recorded through the year by SMAC were Kevin Johnson, Bass 10lb 1oz; Steve Andrews, Bass 11lb 4oz; Tony Harris, Bass 11lb; Kris Scott, Bass 11lb 3oz; Tim Andrews, Pollack 16lb 3oz. In the Catch and Release Specimen Fish category for 2017 were Neil Glazier, Undulate Ray 15lb; Jocky Park, Thornback Ray 15lb; Heber Crawford, Undulate Ray 22lb 4oz; Bill Arnold, Thick Lipped Mullet, 5lb; Jake Kelly (Junior), Undulate Ray 14lb and Martina Houghton, Undulate Ray, 14lb 6oz. Pat Dorking recorded a John Dory of 3lb – not huge but certainly unusual for this area.

We had the very welcome news from Dave Stenson that his wife and fishing partner Caroline has been given the all-clear after a long battle with cancer, and will be back featuring in our catch reports again very soon. She usually out-fishes everyone on the boat. She even went fishing during a gap in her treatment – such resilience. An amazing lady, great to have you back on the water Caroline.

If time is short or the weather is uncertain, LRF tactics can be used from boats and structures around the harbours with great success. Admittedly, catches won’t feed a family but if you fancy some sport on much scaled-down tackle, you will find inshore waters teeming with fish and a wrasse of a only a couple of pounds can give you some serious trouble on very light gear.

Due to the weather it is likely that the SMAC Open Cod Competition will be carried over into January, either 7th,14th,21st or 28th, with a 1st prize of £500, 2nd prize of £200, plus a good prize table. There is always the chance that cod will reappear, and then we have next year to look forward to with the spring run of plaice followed by bream, smoothhound and tope. Looking forward to the warmer weather already.

Neville Merritt
December 2017

Read the full report with photos here