Boat Angling

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SMAC Awards Night 2022

Delayed from our usual date which would have been soon after the competition season ends, this year our “event of the year” was held on 14th May. Post-Lockdown confidence meant we were back in the Marina Bar as usual, and the members were determined to enjoy themselves. We combine the SMAC awards celebration with the Disabled Club (SMDAC) and we were delighted their members were able to join in too.

DJ Mike Otton provided the music, Steve Kelly hosted the event (and organised it all actually); Bill Arnold made sure plenty of raffle tickets were bought and Rupert Bremer presented the prizes. The Marina Bar team were kept busy supplying drinks and preparing a huge buffet spread for us all.

First up were some “catch-up” prizes that had not been  awarded at the previous monthly meetings. John Jones for his 70lb conger, Stuart Newell for his April bream of 4lb 3oz and Kev Johnson with his Angling Trust Specimen Fish certificates.

Next up were the awards for the Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club. SMDAC members have the use of the boat Lady Elsa and also fish their own lake and pier competitions. Prizes were awarded as follows:

John Wearn – Champions Cup

Frank Chatfield – Best Cod Caught on Lady Elsa (actually a whiting, there being no cod); Lake Cup

Chris Satow – Best Specimen Caught on Lady Elsa; Champions Runner-up; Combination Cup; Mixed Lakes Cup

Tony Tadd – Largest Fish Cup

George Dominy – Pier and Beach Cup

Unfortunately George Dominy was unable to attend this evening.

Then we moved onto the SMAC Awards for 2021 Season. Here are the full results, with a photo gallery of the winners below.

Plaice Cup – Mark Banks (2lb 10oz)

Bream Cup – Tim Andrews (3lb 13oz)

Bass Cup – Kev Johnson (8lb 11oz)

Cod Cup – Brian van Daal (15lb)

Champions Cup – Kev Johnson (Runner-up Tim Andrews)

Pollack Cup – Kev Johnson (16lb 15oz)

Ladies Cup – Eleanor Atkins (Bass 1lb)

Junior Cup – Ben Lumsden (Bass 4lb 11oz)

Catch & Release Cup – Kev Johnson (Mullet 7lb 1oz)

Best Specimen Cup – Tim Andrews (Bream 3lb 13oz)

Pairs Cup – Tim Andrews and Mark Banks

Species Hunt Cup – Peter Churchill (27)

Junior Species Cup – Jake Kelly (7)

Ladies Species Cup – Eleanor Atkins (7)

Cod Pool – Brian van Daal (15lb)

Nelson Mandela Cup – Tim Andrews (Cod 7lb)

Inter-club competition was won by the ECA

SMAC Cod Open Best Placed Member – Peter Churchill

SMAC Species Hunt Day Competition – Bill Arnold

Unfortunately Mark Banks, Jake Kelly, Tim Andrews and Ben Lumsden were not able to attend in person.

After an interlude so we could enjoy our buffet and a few more drinks, the next activity was the raffle. Thanks to Bill Arnold’s powers of persuasion we raised enough money from the sales of raffle tickets to top up the club coffers. The prize table included rods, reels and accessories, cash prizes and even a couple of bottles. You had to be in it to win it and it was a fun way to round off the evening.

Our thanks go to to Steve Kelly for all the work he does behind the scenes to make events like this go so smoothly; to Mike Otton for the music; to Rupert Bremer and Premier for their support; to Bill Arnold for the raffle sales; to the SMDAC team for folding several thousand ticket stubs, to the Marina Bar crew for their hospitality and most of all to all the members who turned out to help make this such a great evening. If you couldn’t make it this year do make sure you come along next year – a free drink, a free buffet, free music, not free but worth it raffle and plenty of free banter will be waiting for you.

Neville Merritt

SMAC Monthly Meeting May 2022

The SMAC monthly meeting was held as usual in the Marina Bar.

The club competition standings are listed below. This is at 10th May, including fish caught in the 1st May Bream competition. Team Atkins are starting the shake up the usual list! However, there are many months ahead…

Fish of the Month (for April entries) went to Stuart Newell with a bream of 4lb 3oz. Stuart wins a medal and £10.

This year’s Species Hunt Open Competition is scheduled for July 31st with reserve dates 7th August or 14th August. More details will be published nearer the date.

Our summer BBQ will be on Sunday 28th August. This usually starts at 3pm, food will be provided but bring your own drink.

Steve Kelly has been in discussions with one of the tackle brands to get sponsorship and prizes for the club. Watch this space and thanks Steve! This is Neville’s website where he hosts the SMAC page and club news reports. It’s awesome. If you get the chance have a look around. It’s chockablock with information about the waters we fish, the fish we catch and methods for catching target species and loads of other stuff. Neville volunteers to do write-ups on our club activities and competitions. With our help he also includes catch reports, photos and stories. If you’re lucky to land that fish of a lifetime please send a piccie in via his webpage, our WhatsApp group or the SMAC Facebook page.

And finally……

Presentation night is this Saturday 14th May 7pm onwards. We have a DJ, and buffet and one free drink for all SMAC members. We’ll also have a fantastic table of raffle prizes.

Next monthly meeting will be the first Tuesday in the month as usual: 7th June 7:30pm in the Marina Bar. All members welcome, do come along for a drink and some banter.


Steve A

SMAC Open Bream Competition 1st May 2022

After weeks of cold, strong easterly winds we were all delighted that the weather on Sunday was light, southerly winds. Who cared that it drizzled much of the day, many of us were fishing for the first time in months. The target was the heaviest single bream and hopes were high because the time was right for some large fish to move inshore.

A total of 76 entries fishing from 27 boats meant that the cash prizes were impressive – first prize was 60% of the total entry pool. We also had Ladies and Junior sections. There was a generous prize table of other prizes donated by Baits’R’Us; Fishon Bait ‘n Tackle; Cosham Angling; British Big Game Fishing; Premier Marinas; Sportsmans Knight; Anglers Edge and the Marina Bar for which we are very appreciative.

Fishing started at 8am finishing at 6pm, with the last weigh-in by 6:30pm. That meant 10 hours to find that big bream. Many boats headed east, fishing rocky marks around Bracklesham Bay, Selsey (Boulder Bank), Bognor, Littlehampton (Kingmere) and Worthing (wind farm). Others headed to Sandown, Bullocks Patch and other more local marks.

The fishing was terrific with everyone I spoke to reporting constant activity catching bream, the target species and also a wide variety of others also hungry for small baits. However, the only number that counted was the weight of the largest bream and there was an impressive number of good fish brought to the scales. (Note the freshly-painted, centrally-heated SMAC Weighing Station!)

At the presentation in the Marina Bar afterwards, our master organiser Steve Kelly and Commodore Tim Andrews who presented the prizes kept us in suspense by calling the winners in reverse order, but I’ll do the conventional thing here by reporting the final placings.

Winner overall was Jim Atkins (SMAC) with a stonking bream of 4.5lb – a clear pound heavier than the next heaviest. This also sets a new SMAC record for heaviest bream.

Second was Mark Argyle (ECA) with 3.5lb

Ladies Cup winner was Eleanor Atkins with 2.66lb. Is it a coincidence that both Jim and Eleanor were wearing their new  Fairtrade SMAC hoodies? I think not. If you want to win, wearing a SMAC hoodie clearly helps.

Junior winner was Jake Kelly with 2.3lb

Runners-up prizes were awarded from the prize table as follows:

3rd place Lee Swire 2.9lb

4th place Mark Oldfield 2.68

5th place Eleanor Atkins with her winning bream of 2.66lb

6th place Steve Kelly himself with 2.48lb

7th place Dan Lumsden 2.44lb

8th place Dick Stubbs 2.34lb

9th place Jake Kelly with his Junior Prize fish 3.3lb

10th place Mark Jackson 2.26lb

11th, 12th, 13th and 14th places tied with 2.22lb fish each: Nick Wallis, Jay MacKay, Kevin Johnson and Richie Shippin

This was a great event and we are very grateful to Steve Kelly for his hard work organising and promoting the event, the sponsors who donated prizes and all the competitors who turned out to make this competition so successful.

There is a very good chance we’ll run this event again!

Neville Merritt
SMAC May 2022

Catch Report March and April 2022

March and April have been rather quiet on the Catch Reports here. This is due mainly to the time of year, which has traditionally been rather slow for fishing, and the persistent easterly winds which as legend and experience will say doesn’t make the fish feed very enthusiastically.

Plaice showed briefly on the usual inshore plaice marks of Hayling Bay and The Blocks but not in the numbers we have seen in previous years. Some were caught from the boats that weren’t ashore for maintenance and could get out on the calmer days.

Clive Newnham

While we were waiting for the spring and summer species to appear, there were still the resident rays to keep us interested.


Peter van Daal

By mid April the first of the smoothhound were appearing in catches. David Cox sent in this photo and report:

“April 14th – an early start ruined by heavy fog so I got to bass marks a bit too late, which is my excuse for zero fish! However, I had seven 12lb plus Smoothies on Hard Grounds. This was the best at 17lb caught by me on Velvet Crab. The females were obviously pregnant so all fish were promptly returned. On the way back in to Chi we had some nice bream on the drift at Bullocks Patch.”

David Cox

The arrival of the bream means we are now looking forward to the SMAC Open Bream Competition on 1st May!

SMAC Monthly Meeting April 2022

We had another (nearly) full house for the April meeting in the Marina Bar – thank you to all that turned up. It was great to welcome new members and catch up with old friends who have been hibernating through the un-fishy months previously. Hopefully, April and May will see an improvement on the dogfish/pin whiting catches that we have had to endure on trips recently.

However – some people have been catching decent fish and this month we actually had to vote on Fish of the Month, unlike last month. And on that subject, we had to make a correction for the No Fish of the Month in March because Peter Churchill actually did catch a half-decent tope and for reason that escape me (because I wasn’t listening) the entry wasn’t put forward. Pete got his medal but I think his prize money had already gone into the RNLI envelope.

But back to this month – Neil Glazier won Fish of the Month with a 12lb small-eyed ray which is 109% of the specimen weight. Other club competition standings are as follows.

On to other news: the weigh scales shed is about to be painted (in regulation Premier Marina colours), and a tube heater installed to keep the scales cosy. Apparently the scales get sleepy if they get too cold and they need to be on top form for the rare occasions when a fish worth weighing turns up.

After not much debate it was decided that the Awards Night will be held on the Saturday after the Open Bream Competition. If that seems vague, it gets worse because although the Bream Competition is scheduled for Sunday 1st May, it may get postponed to the following Sundays if the weather is unsuitable. I hope that makes things clear. I also hope the Marina Bar are following this because that’s where we will hold the Awards Night, whenever that may be. It seemed to make sense last night anyway.

Daven Newnham has donated this very nice Bream Trophy (heading photo) for the Best Placed Member in the Open Bream Competition. The competition prize list is very impressive, see details below. Angling Trust Boat Rules apply – maximum two rods, thee hooks in total.

Neville Merritt thanked members for their orders of SMAC hoodies, the first of which were distributed at the meeting. These hoodies are Fairtrade certified and sourced directly from the cotton growers, fabric makers and garment factories in India, so you know for sure that your money is funding the people who make them rather than the owners of sweatshops. You can buy online here, or if you prefer to pay cash talk to Neville, or more accurately give cash to Neville and he will organise a hoodie for you. Here’s Steve modelling his SMAC Hoodie.

If you have any photos, news of catches or fishy stories please send them in to Neville for inclusion in the next Catch Reports. Whatsapp, text, Facebook Messenger or email.

Next meeting will be on Tuesday 3rd May unless otherwise advised.


Neville Merritt

6th April

Storm Eunice

I’m sure Storm Eunice isn’t news to anyone by now, but it might be interesting to share some boat-related stories local to Portsmouth.  Eunice, the most severe storm was actually sandwiched between two other storms, Dudley and Frankin, so we had three successive storms battering the UK in mid February.  Eunice hit us on Friday 18th and despite plenty of warnings and preparation, there was still plenty of damage.

The storm itself is well documented in this article. As you can see from this map, the Red warnings go right across the south of England which is unusual – most of the severe storms in the past have have more impact on the north of the country.

The storm created and coincided with a tidal surge and the strong winds and this high tide proved too much for the floating crane in Pounds Marine ship breaker’s yard. It broke loose and floated itself over to the M275 where it came to rest, uncomfortably close the the motorway. There it stayed until there was another very high tide a couple of weeks later, allowing it to be recovered.

The weather station at the Needles Battery recorded a record gust strength of 122mph at the peak of the storm. Winds of this strength proved too much for some of the the Camber Dock dry stack occupants.

Our neighbours in the ECA have the disadvantage that their boat storage yard is very exposed to southern winds, and one of the yachts took a tumble taking several others down with it (feature photo above).  The high tide pushed boats in Southsea Marina above the normal protection of the basin but fortunately, and a lot to do with the diligence of the Premier Marina crew, very little damage was recorded.  The new SMAC weighing shed didn’t move an inch either, and I’m sure the members that built it (and there seemed to be a lot of people involved) will be reminding us of this fact for years to come.

According to the notice below, there was another casualty of the storms although I’m not sure exactly when this vessel actually sank. Langstone Harbour took a battering for several days, and even the Hayling Island bridge was closed to traffic for a while as water washed over it. Sadly, an 11 metre catamaran sank at its mooring near the Mulberry wreck. From memory it didn’t have a mast which probably explains why there is still four metres of water above it. It will probably be recovered to ensure it doesn’t move to a more dangerous location.

Catch Report February 2022

Looking back at the archives, I’m usually struggling to write a Catch Report for February. We are often unable to get out because of the weather, and this period sits between the best of the winter fishing and the start of the spring run of migratory species like plaice and bream. Many boat owners and charter skippers pick February for their annual maintenance for the very good reason that they aren’t missing much. This year was no exception, and our fishing was well and truly locked down by a trio of storms: Dudley, Eunice and Franklin which battered the South of England particularly badly mid-month. The SMAC Fish of the Month award blanked, and even the Species competitions struggled to get off the ground.

Surprisingly, we have seen mullet appear in the marina already. Steve Kelly snapped this shoal in the floodlights, which does seem very early. Having checked the water temperature against the available archives it isn’t significantly warmer than in earlier years – maybe half a degree – so either half a degree matters or there is another reason for their early appearance.

Even more remarkable is the tope in our header photo. This was caught by Peter Churchill and was estimated to be around 35lb – released at the side of the boat to reduce stress. We’re often tempted to mentally halve an angler’s estimate but not with Peter’s depth of experience. I have every confidence this fish was as big as he says it was.  With more settled weather hoped for in March, I wonder what we will see caught next. More warm water exotics perhaps?





SMAC Monthly Meeting March 2022

It was wet. It was windy. Nobody had caught much. Portsmouth were playing at home. Folk were working. Kev was playing midwife to lambs. We thought it would just be Steve, Steve and me at the meeting but surprisingly we had a great turnout! Thank you everyone for coming along and thanks also to the Marina Bar for staying open for us.

Fish of the Month turned out to be…nothing. The £10 prize went into the growing RNLI jam jar and the medal went back in the box. Better luck next month hopefully.

The Species Competition fared very slightly better, slightly because it is only just more than also being zero. Jake Kelly surges into the lead in the Junior Species league with one fish and Peter Churchill rockets up the main Species Competition with two.

The new Bass Regulations 2022 are now in force which means that recreational anglers can take a maximum of two bass over 42cm length per day. If that sentence is too difficult to understand, the North Western IFCA have produced a helpful visual. I’m not sure what that says about their local anglers, but anyway.

The Annual Awards Night is likely to be held in the Marina Bar some time in April, COVID confidence permitting. Watch out for the notice. There will be prizes, there will probably be a drink, there might also be snacks. It will be a good night anyway. Bring family along too, to show them what civilised company you keep during the year.

We had a reminder of the Open Bream Competition, scheduled for 1st May 2022. The prize table is growing nicely with contributions already from Baits ‘R Us, Marina Bar, Premier and local tackle shops.

The Sea Angling Classic Prize Boat Reveal will be at 12noon on 19th March at Gunwharf Quay. This isn’t a SMAC event but as SAC donate prizes to SMAC competitions they deserve a mention.

The first SMAC Hoodies order will be processed on 9th March so if you want free delivery at the April Meeting please place your order here by 9th March and mark your order Click and Collect. You can order at any time if you want delivery to your home address with the standard delivery charge. If you have already paid Neville at the March meeting, these will be delivered at the April meeting.

Neville also reminded those present that he welcomes any catch reports, photos, stories, news and gossip for inclusion in the monthly Catch Report on the website. News has been a bit sparse lately because of a combination of the season and the weather.

If members have not paid their annual subscription please can you do so as soon as possible, to Steve Kelly. If you for some strange reason don’t want to renew, please tell him that too.

Next meeting will be at 7:30pm on 5th April in the Marina Bar.

Neville Merritt

March 2022

New SMAC Open Bream Competition Announced

Here’s something to look forward to: Southsea Marina Angling Club have had such a successful run of Open Cod Competitions over the last few winters that we decided that we couldn’t wait until next season for another Open Competition so we are announcing our first Open Bream Competition for this summer. It will be held on Sunday 1st May 2022 from Southsea Marina. Sign in at the Marina Office, entry fee £10 per angler. Fishing from 8am to 6pm, weigh-in must be complete by 6:30pm and this will be followed by presentations in the Marina Bar at 7pm.

There will be generous cash prizes and a prize table to be confirmed. There will also be a Ladies prize and a Junior prize.

Put the date in your diary!


Catch Report January 2022

January is what I call a transition month – the end of the winter season and perhaps the hint of the species arriving in the early spring. Our normal winter season sees whiting in large numbers following the sprat shoals; cod, although in far fewer number than in previous years and conger roaming open ground. As the winter season draws to a close there are still one or two cod around; numerous whiting; nice pollack are caught on the channel wrecks and spurdog make an appearance. Some large bream are found on the wrecks in autumn and winter, although few people target them preferring the chance of a big fighting pollack. Bass are catch and release only until 1st March 2022 and although there are still plenty of bass around, most anglers aren’t targeting them. Plaice usually start appearing in February and this year catches off Brighton in late January attracted the attention of long-range anglers based in Hampshire. Have a look at the photo gallery below to see some of the catches reported in January.

Included are John Jones, with his SMAC Fish Of The Month Award conger of 70lb and Brian van Daal with the cod of 15lb that won the SMAC Cod Pool and Cod Cup.

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