The web site for eastern Solent boat fishing

Author: Neville Merritt (Page 1 of 38)

Owner of www.boat-angling.co.uk and
www.arfordbooks.co.uk
Author of "Angling Boats"
Director of Pure Potential Development Ltd www.pure-potential.co.uk

SMAC Meeting May 2024

Our regular monthly meeting in the Marina bar was held a week later due to the May Bank Holiday, and we had a great turnout once again. There was a lot to report and more to plan, so read on.

First up was a report on the club competition standings which are reproduced below. Dan Lumsden is in the lead overall. Pete Churchill has 15 on the slate in the Species Hunt and there are still over seven months to go, so lots more changes expected!

Fish Of The Month was awarded to Jock Park for a thornback of 15lb (125% of Specimen) which is a very nice fish and returned. It currently leads the Catch & Release Cup too.

The Open Bream Competition was a great success with 58 entries and 26 boats. You can read the full report here. We were ticked off for leaving dead fish floating in the water so we will put up notices for visitors by the cleaning station. Fish trimmings need to be put in the water on an ebbing tide so they are carried away, and any swim bladders popped so they feed the crabs without offending anyone.

The SAC Meet & Fish event last Saturday as part of the Marina Social Day was another great success, particularly as SMAC entrants Peter Churchill and Peter Kinchin carried off two of the five main prizes with Ray Plomer and Richard Pack coming a very close second. The full report is here.

Our next event is the SMAC Annual BBQ which will be held on Saturday 22nd June. There will be free food and a special free Members Raffle, plus a main fundraising raffle with some excellent prizes. Members and families are all welcome, and to help us plan the event please can you book your free tickets via this link.  £500 is being spent on raffle prizes, a similar amount on food and of course you’ll have great company so this is well worth coming to.

SMDAC have challenged SMAC to an inter-club pier competition. This will be held at South Parade Pier, Southsea from 3pm to 9pm on a date to be confirmed. The timings are already confirmed because that’s when beer and fish and chips can be bought. We’ll have to think of some rules before then, too.

The next Open competition is the Species Competition which will be held on Sunday 11th August with a reserve date of 18th August. We’ll start promoting the event so watch out for details as they are published.

We haven’t yet had responses to the questions posed to the Southsea Marina manager, Dave Frey at the March meeting. Steve will chase him up.

Next Meeting will be on Tuesday 4th June at 7pm in the Marina Bar as usual.

SAC Meet & Fish, Southsea Marina

On Saturday 11th May, Southsea Marina hosted the Sea Angling Classic Meet & Fish Competition which was the first event of a Social Day for all berth holders. There was also a Beach Clean, a SMAC information stand, RNLI lifejacket check, a raffle and a shanty band so plenty to keep the non-fishing folk entertained. Anyway, back the SAC Competition. This was a friendly, following similar rules to the SAC main event but with a big difference – it was free! Prizes were awarded for the longest of five species: bass, bream, ray, smoothhound and tope. Thirteen boats and crews from across the Solent entered, including two boats and crews from SMAC. The event started with registrations at the marina followed by a captain’s briefing by Ross Honey, founder of Angling Spirit which organises the SAC events.

Boats headed out of Langstone Harbour for a 9am competition start, each making for a mark that was most likely to produce some big specimens. We were very fortunate with the weather, because although tides were strong and the wind easterly, the sun was shining and the sea relatively calm. Through the day, competitors caught fish, measured them on the boards supplied and sent photographs of catches back to the event organisers.

By 4pm the competition was over and crews were back at Southsea Marina to hear the results, and we were delighted that SMAC members secured two of the five top prizes! Here are the winners:

Longest Tope – Peter Churchill (SMAC) 160cm
Longest Tope (Junior) – Carla Bream 125cm
Longest Ray – Peter Kinchin 58cm
Longest Bream – Caroline McKell 37cm
Longest Bass – Nick Wallis 62cm
Longest Smoothhound – Jason Williams 120cm

Peter’s tope was actually the longest tope ever recorded in SAC competition history, so well done Peter! It was a very close competition, SMAC members Ray Plomer and Richard Pack came within millimetres of the winning bream but unfortunately there were no second prizes. They made up for it carrying off five raffle prizes so all was not lost.

Marina staff Rupert and Sergey did a great job as hosts for the day, organising event space, berthing and all the things that need to happen behind the scenes. Steve Kelly represented SMAC with a table and stand display, and that stand is another of Bill Arnold’s legacies for the club.

Here is a gallery of photos from the SAC Meet and Fish Competition, prizegiving an entertainment.


SMAC Bream Competition 2024

Sunday 5th May 2024 will go down in history as the time the SMAC Bream Competition actually took place on the scheduled date! After weeks of very variable weather we were delighted that the weekend forecast was reasonably settled, and a total of 56 anglers set out for eight hours of intense competition. Unlike our Cod Competition where cod are hard to find, there’s no shortage of bream in May and the question is only – how big?

Bream fishing is a combination of knowing where the big ones are likely to be, and the right tackle and methods.  As the day progressed and the weather changed from sun to drizzle and back again, news of catches started to come in. We knew that the winners would have to land fish of over 3lbs.

Steve Kelly officiated at the club weighing scales and a number of good fish were weighed. The leaderboard kept changing as better and better fish were weighed in but finally we drew the line at 6:30pm and the prize table was allocated. We had 14 prizes in all, plus bonus prizes for top Lady and top Junior.

The presentation was held as usual in the Marina Bar which was by then packed with anglers, each with a pint and a distant gaze. It had been a long and tiring day. Steve brought us all to attention at 7pm and the prize-giving began. The results were as follows, and photos are in the gallery below. Weights are in pounds decimal as the margins between fish can be very small!

1st – Mark Oldfield (winning £350): 3.10lb
Top Lady – Pam Eckersall: 0.86lb
Top Junior – Toby Challinor; 1.32lb
2nd – Dan Lumsden: 3.08lb
3rd – Steve Andrews: 2.94lb
4th – John Evans: 2.60lb
5th – Pete Churchill: 2.54lb
6th – Kevin Johnson: 2.50lb
7th – Mark Argyle: 2.48lb
8th – Luke Scott: 2.44lb
9th/10th Draw – Lee and Ryan Whitcome: 2.36lb each
11th/12th Draw – Steve Tambling and Wayne Comben: 2.18lb each
13Th – Paul Brindley: 2.10lb
14th – Tony Skinner: 2.08lb

We are very grateful for the prizes donated by our sponsors: Premier Marinas, Cosham Angling, Fish-On Bait and Tackle, Baits’R’Us, Victory Heating, Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club, Prestige Plumbing, Sportsmans Knight, British Big Game Charters, Newnham Builders, Brian van Daal and our hosts the Marina Bar.

We would also like to thank all our helpers and of course all the competitors without which these events wouldn’t be half as much fun. Plus of course whoever is organising the weather, and to top off the day we were treated to an amazing display of rainbows.

Watch out for our next SMAC Open Competition which will be the Species Hunt in the summer.

Sea Angling Classic: Meet & Fish Southsea Marina 11th May

Southsea Marina is hosting the SAC Let’s Meet & Fish fun day on Saturday 11th May from 9am. The event is free and you can pre-register for fishing here. Prizes will be awarded for the longest specimen in each of five species categories: Bass, Bream, Tope, Smoothhound; Ray; plus a bonus for top placed Junior. It is part of a series of fun SAC Meet & Fish days around the Solent, the next one will be from Gosport Marina on 1st June. There are also separate SAC Qualifiers, running up the the 2024 Sea Angling Classic from Port Solent Marina from 20th-23rd June.

Premier Southsea Marina will be organising a host of other attractions on the 11th May. These are open to all:

Beach Clean – 10am to 12pm helping to keep the local area tidy and free from plastic with a community beach clean. Meeting at the marina reception for 10am, the litter pick will begin at the foreshore, with the intention of walking along the shingle ridge and up to Milton Common and back.

Safety Day and Spring Social – 12pm to 6pm

  • RNLI will be offering ‘safety advice onboard’ for your boat and a life jacket clinic at their marquee, alongside running a raffle in aid of Portsmouth Lifeboat Station with some great prizes to be won
  • Portsmouth Marine Training will be promoting their RYA courses and training
  • British Divers Marine Life Rescue will be offering advice and information about protecting marine wildlife
  • Sing and dance along to live music from The Portsmouth Sea Shantymen
  • Explore the taste of locally sourced gin from Portsmouth Distillery
  • Meet club members and find out more about what’s on offer with Southsea Marina Angling Club

Food is available from local food vendors or at the onsite marina restaurants, The Marina Bar and Bombay Bay.

Catch Reports February and March 2024

February is traditionally a very slow month and this year it was even slower than usual, with poor weather and ever poorer fishing. In fact most of February and March can be described as dogfish, dogfish, conger, dogfish. A few settled days allowed the long-distance boats like Harvest Moon to head for the wrecks, and some good pollack were brought to the boats.  Nearer shore we were looking for plaice, but few appeared. We expect bream to arrive in Spring but bream in early March was a surprise. The bream season seems to be much longer than it ever was, which is a sign of the changes going on around us.  As you can see from the photo gallery below, if you managed to get baits past the dogfish and conger there are still a few other species there including ray, spurdog, early smoothhound and a bonus brill!

 

 

SMAC Meeting April 2024

The weather has been so poor in the last month that we haven’t met up on the pontoons much, so it was nice to get together and chat on Tuesday evening in the Marina Bar.  Steve opened the meeting listing the Club Standings (see below), this was a lot shorter than usual as the season is making a slow start.  It seems to be the Steve Tambling/Richard Pack show so far, and Richard also won the Fish Of The Month for his 14lb Pollack (pictured). Our club funds are very healthy but sadly the SMDAC funds are not looking so good so we have gifted £200 to their kitty. This is also in recognition of all their support and contributions to prize funds previously.

The date for the SMAC and SMDAC BBQ has been set for Saturday 22nd June, serving food from 2pm and the raffle prizes drawn from 4pm. All members and families are welcome. There will be free food, just bring your own drinks and cash for the raffle (because Bill is still watching).  The BBQ location is above the toilet block at the west end of the marina, and I promise it is a lot better than that sounds. This will be our first year without access to the shed so we may have to build a gazebo encampment.

We also had notification of a couple of fundraisers in our neighbouring club. Mick Beatty at the ECA (Mad Mick!) is very poorly and has lost a leg. There is a fundraiser event for him on 20th April  at LHFA. Also at LHFA, our own Michelle Plomer is organising a Blackout Football sweepstake with the South of England Open Championship for Rowan’s Hospice. See Steve Andrews for entry tickets, £5 an entry, pick your own team from the list.

Our next event, the Bream Open Competition is almost on us, to be held on 5th May weather permitting. Details here.

Our new SMAC burgees (pennants) for your boats have arrived. There are two alternative designs, £20 each from Steve Kelly. Don’t be the only one without a club pennant on your boat! Also, summer caps and winter beanies are still available at £10 each (including children’s sizes) while stocks last. These will be for sale at club meetings and events.

Our next monthly meeting will again be at a later date this time due to the May Bank Holiday:  Tuesday 14th May at 7pm in the Marina Bar. Let’s hope for some good fishing weather in the meantime!

 

SMAC Open Bream Competition May 2024

A date for your diaries: Our next SMAC Open Competition will be the hugely popular Bream Competition for the heaviest single bream caught from a boat.  The competition will be held from Southsea Marina on Sunday 5th May with reserve dates the following Sundays in the event of unsuitable weather. £10 per angler cash entry on the day or on-line booking will be available for boats not starting from Southsea Marina. For more details and on-line booking please click here.  Details of the prize table to follow.

SMAC Meeting March 2024

We had a special guest at our March SMAC Monthly meeting: Dave Frey, the new manager at Premier Southsea Marina. Dave was invited along to meet and get to know the SMAC folk and also answer any questions from members.

After serving in the police force, Dave joined Premier Marinas first at Brighton then Gosport Marinas before moving to Southsea as Manager. Although there is a lot for him to catch up with at Southsea, Dave was very open to our questions and feedback. He was clearly very sympathetic to some of our issues being a boat owner himself. He explained that there are some company policies he is unable to change however although he is very willing to be a channel for our feedback to Premier.

There are local things that Dave can help with and we were pleased to hear that. He promised to look into the possibility of providing multiple “Lift & Scrub” packages; providing a new shed for our combined use and approaching LHB to see what can be done to remove the obstructions on the point that continue to ambush propellors at dead low water.

Unfortunately, some of our issues will go head-to-head with company policy. The restriction on overnight camper vans is unlikely to be relaxed, nor a time extension for boats on blocks.Although LHB show a reduced rate for harbour dues if paid through a club, this only applies if the club or business administers all the collection of fees. This would be a significant administrative overhead if Premier did this for 315 berth holders, because each one would have to be checked to see if they used the harbour. Liveaboards and boats stored afloat would not require harbour dues if they didn’t go outside the marina. It would probably cost more to do this than the savings would bring, so it isn’t a vaible option unfortunately.

Overall, it was good to meet Dave and I think we all felt it was a beneficial meeting. He is certainly more aware of SMAC now and we all look forward to getting to know him better individually.

Now on to monthly club matters. We all agreed that the Presentation Night on Saturday was a resounding success and the generosity of members with the raffle means we have a very healthy cash tin to support events and continencies. Our next events will be the Open Bream Competition in May, and the SMAC BBQ on a date to be agreed at our next meeting.

There being no fish weighed in during February, the Fish Of The Month Award was transmuted to Neville Of The Month Award. As only one of those was weighed in, he was given the medal in recognition of services rendered.

The SMAC caps and beanies have arrived and are on sale from the Club Shop (which is a grand name for a cardboard box) for £10 each, while stocks last. Kids sizes are available too.

Now that we are all enthused about club merchandise, we agreed to go ahead with the purchase of a small batch of SMAC burgees. These will go on sales at about £20 each. There was interest on both the Richard Pack design and the Bass design. We will be ordering a small quantity of each so everyone will be happy. We hope to have these available by the next meeting.

The next SMAC monthly meeting will be on Tuesday 9th April at 7pm in the Marina Bar.

SMAC Presentation Night March 2024

Saturday 2nd March marked the culmination of the SMAC and SMAC Fishing Year – the Presentation of Awards! Members and guests crowded in to the Marina Bar, lured I expect by a free drink and the Big Raffle. By the start of the ceremonies the room was rammed. After a welcome by SMAC Chairman Steve Kelly, SMDAC Chairman John Wearn thanked everyone in both clubs who had contributed so much to our enjoyment in the past season. We had a lot to get through including some very special guests – more of that below. I’ll list the prize winners in turn, with a carousel of photos below each section.

First up was SMDAC, and prizes were presented by John Wearn:

  • Best Cod (or whiting) on Lady Elsa: John Calton
  • Best Specimen (Undulate Ray 15lb): Frank Chatfield
  • Most Species: Frank Chatfield
  • Silver Fish Cup: John Calton
  • Largest Fish From Lakes (Mirror Carp 24lb 4oz): John Wearn
  • Mixed Lakes Cup: Frank Chatfield
  • George Dominy Memorial Shield: Frank Chatfield
  • Pier and Beach Cup: Ben Munday
  • Combination Cup: Frank Chatfield
  • Champion Runner-Up: John Calton
  • Club Champion: Frank Chatfield

Or loyal band of helpers from SMDAC also folded 1,223 raffle tickets while they were waiting!

We then had a bit of a catch-up of monthly prizes and Angling Trust Specimen Fish Certificates which were presented by Rupert Bremmer from Southsea Marina:

  • Luke Scott – Fish Of The Month (Brill 3lb 4oz – August)
  • Kev Johnson – Fish Of The Month (12lb Bass – January)
  • Mark Banks – Specimen Bream
  • Stuart Newall – Specimen Bream
  • Neil Glazier – Specimen Undulate Ray
  • Peter Kinchin – Specimen Smoothhound

The next round of awards were for the SMAC annual cups also presented by Rupert, plus a new award which I’ll leave to the end because it is rather special.

  • Pollack Cup: Darren Price
  • Turbot/Brill Cup: Steve Tambling
  • Ladies Cup: Eleanor Atkins
  • Junior Cup: Jack Dickson
  • Catch & Release Cup: Peter Kinchin
  • Best Specimen: Kev Johnson
  • Species Hunt: Joint Winners Peter Churchill and Dan Lumsden
  • Junior Species: Jack Dickson
  • Ladies Species: Pam Eskersall
    (and it was Pam’s birthday so we all sang Happy Birthday)
  • Cod Pool: Runner up Tim Andrews, winner Dan Lumsden
  • Nelson Mandela Cup: Shared between Ray Plomer, Luke Scott, Peter Churchill and Dan Lumsden
  • Open Cod, Best Placed Member: Richard Pack
  • Open Species, Best Placed Member: Peter Churchill
  • Open Bream, Best Placed Member: Steve Tambling
  • Plaice Cup: Dan Lumsden
  • Bream Cup: Stuart Newall
  • Bass Cup: Kev Johnson
  • Cod Cup: Dan Lumsden
  • Pairs Cup: Dan Lumsden and Steve Tambling
  • Runner Up Club Champion: Mark Banks
  • Club Champion: Dan Lumsden

There was one familiar face (and voice) that was sadly missed at this Presentation Night – Bill Arnold, who passed away last year. However, great friends may be gone but they are never forgotten, and Bill will stay with us through a new Bill Arnold Memorial Trophy. This will be awarded to the member who has made a significant contribution in some way during the season. The trophy itself was made by Peter Kinchin from Bill’s old reel, Bill’s old oak and bronze bearings from Kev Johnson. We were very honoured to have Bill’s Mum, sister Mary and brother Eddie with us to present the prize. After a very moving speech from Mary in which she thanked the club for giving Bill such enjoyment and company over the years, she then awarded the trophy to Luke Scott.

On 11th November, Luke was out fishing when he noticed smoke coming from a 58-foot power boat. He raced over at full throttle and was just in time to help the two crew members who had scrambled into a partly inflated life raft. Luke was able to pull them away from the blazing powerboat and kept the casualties calm until the RNLI arrived on scene to take over.  This dramatic rescue was later covered by local TV news. Luke certainly deserves recognition for his bravery in this rescue and I’m sure Bill would have been very proud that Luke was awarded the Bill Arnold Memorial Trophy this year.

Finally, after a break for more drinks, pizza and chips we reassembled for the final event of the evening: The Big Raffle. Dan Lumsden and Eleanor Atkins had done a wonderful job raising £1,223.00 in ticket sales and of course this was only possible through the generosity of all those present. We had a great prize table, from club hats to rods and reels plus prizes donated from SMDAC, British Big Game Fishing and John Jones.

It was a fabulous evening and it was great to celebrate all the successes and share happy memories from the past season. Steve Kelly did an amazing job of both organising the event and compering. The Marina Bar staff provided warm and patient hospitality and all members and guests joined in to make it a very memorable Presentation Night 2024.

Now the dials are set back to zero and it’s all to play for through the next season!

Portsmouth Aircraft Carrier Navigation

I’m sure you will all be familiar with the sets of huge beacons that are outside and inside Portsmouth Harbour. You also probably know that these are to help the Navy’s new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales squeeze through the harbour entrance. However, have you wondered why in an age of technology that can pinpoint a letterbox from space you need visual leading marks? I have too, and you might find this video interesting. It is presented by David Goddard MBE FRIN (yes, the Goddard of the Goddard Beacons) and although it is rather slow and detailed, it does explain why they are needed and how they are used very well. Enjoy.

 

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