This is the usual story of wind and rain putting paid to most weekend’s fishing, and a few bright spots midweek allowing the flexibly employed and lucky retired anglers to take advantage of those rare weather windows. The photo gallery below makes it look like it was a calm December, but believe me it wasn’t. Even the calmer days were mostly very murky. The SMAC Cod Open Competition was postponed from one weekend to the next and we still have to find a suitable Sunday in January.

In terms of catches, it has been rather predictable if you know your Solent seasons. Hordes of dogfish of course, plus some bigger pout among the usual pack. Whiting are plentiful, and some good pan-sized fish among them. Regular followers will know I don’t like conger, and these have been out on their winter prowls gobbling bait and even grabbing hooked fish. If you like conger, you can enjoy catching up to 30 pounders even fairly close to shore.

More welcome are the very occasional cod, and each one is something to celebrate these days whatever the size. Most are in single figures but we did hear of an 18-pounder. Other catches were generally made up of rays, bass and further afield, some good pollock and bass on the wrecks.

One slightly bizarre spoof was a huge seatrout which turned up on the shore of Southampton Water, but on further investigation it was a dead spent fish that was washed up, not caught. It shows they are there though.

Finally, we said farewell to Bill Arnold whose funeral was on 27th December. Bill was a lifelong angler, Pompey supporter and all-round good chap. His son Lewis, who happens to be the Newhaven RNLI cox mechanic, gave a wonderful eulogy at his service. He said “if you wanted anything, just call Bill”. It’s had to believe we can’t call Bill anymore. He was very much a part of SMAC and did a huge amount for the club. We did give him a very good sendoff though, in several locations.