I’m not sure where March went but that’s probably just as well. Those of us living a distance from our boats couldn’t travel to the coast so we had to be content reading reports on social media about what local anglers were up to. Not a lot, it would seem.

March is a strange month, because it is too late for the Winter species (cod and even whiting have moved on) and the Spring run of plaice moving inshore to spawn sometimes doesn’t start until the end of March. There will be pollack on offshore wrecks and reefs and you might find some late spurdog, but inshore the only predicable fish are dogfish and rays.

When you look at FaceBook angling groups and see photos of sunsets instead of fish, with comments like “Nice to be out though”, you know you aren’t missing much fishing action. It would have been nice to be out though. The charter boats have been gathering weed on their moorings waiting to be allowed out with clients, although I noticed many of them have had a thorough Spring clean. Let’s hope those shiny decks get dirty soon.

This month our catch report would have been very sparse without two of our regular contributors, Arron Shons and Heber Crawford. Arron headed 40 miles offshore on Time Out to a mark in 200 feet of water. Using a 110g lure he boated some nice pollack, the best weighing 19lb 2oz.

Heber defied my predictions and caught a nice cod early in the month, followed by pollack on an offshore trip. Closer to shore he also caught gurnard and wrasse, before ending the day finding a shoal of herring in the Solent approaches.

Herring are a frustrating species because you often see them on the fishfinder at this time of year, at various depths and spread over a wide area. As dusk gets closer they shoal up and rise to the surface to feed. This is when they are more likely to be caught. Tackle and approach is very specific because they have small, soft mouths. Using a very soft action rod fishing small Sabiki feathers, suspend them  a few feet below the surface and hold very still to simulate the larvae the herring are feeding on.

Early plaice were beginning to show up towards the end of the month. Charles Gattrell shows a better than average plaice of 3lb caught in March. Bait was supplied by the new shop Fishon Bait and Tackle in Cosham, Portsmouth

With lockdown rules gradually allowing a return to whatever normal will be, we will be having our first Southsea Marina Angling Club meeting (outdoors) in May and our “End of year” Awards Night will be in July.

Many charter boats are fully booked for the next couple of months which is good news for skippers and my catch reports, but if you want a space or full boat I’d recommend you book well ahead.

April should bring us plaice, bream and smoothound, heralding the start of the summer species arriving in numbers. It can’t come soon enough. Tight lines all.

Neville Merritt

SMAC

Note: The Sea Angling News monthly newspaper is not being printed at the moment and is no longer being published on Issuu. The monthly reports are published on the SAN Website below.

Langstone April 2021