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Category: Catch Reports 2018 (Page 1 of 4)

SMAC Open Cod Competition Results!

Finally…we had the competition on 30th December after week upon week of postponements due to the weather (seven times because the day before Christmas Eve was never going to make us popular). We even had a few settled days beforehand to get into the swing of things after two months of being stuck ashore. Although overcast, visibility was good, it wasn’t too cold and a slight westerly breeze gave us plenty of options.

A total of 102 anglers signed in, with 45 boats mostly heading out from Southsea Marina, the Eastney ramp or ECA. After hearing a bit of chat on VHF it appeared that more fish were being caught inside the Nab rather than further out. Weigh-in was 4.30pm so most of us were back in our berths by dusk, waiting to see if this years’ results would be better than last. Although the winning cod wasn’t as big as last year we were pleased that five cod weighed in (only two in the 2017 competition) and we had the main prizes awarded to cod with a number of good whiting as runners-up.

The winner was Tim Andrews, our SMAC Commodore with a cod of 9lb 2oz. Tim would usually hand out the prizes but as he was a recipient this time, yours truly didn’t duck fast enough and had the honour of handing out the prizes and congratulating the winners.

There were also prizes for Ladies, won by Hayley Ellis and a Junior prize won by Michael Houghton.

Hayley Ellis fishing from Miss Molly
Michael Houghton Junior Prize Winner

Other winners were as follows:

2nd: Ken Barton cod 8lb 14oz
3rd: Tom Baker cod 4lb 9oz
4th: Bradley Tomkinson cod 4lb 7oz
5th: Dean Kilford cod 3lb 10oz
6th Pete Bowden whiting 3.76lb
7th: Darren Price whiting 3.24lb
8th: Kim Bowden whiting 2.38lb
9th: Germit Ladaher whiting 2.16lb
10th: Bernie Kwil whiting 2.06lb
11th: Steve Manning whiting 1.94lb
12th: Dick Stubbs whiting 1.92lb
13th: Tim Ward whiting 1.78lb

We are very grateful for the support and prizes from the following: Portsmouth Marine Training; Allan’s Marine; Solent Truck Parts; Barden UK; Premier Marinas, The Marina Bar and Cafe; Pete Kilshaw (Sportsmans Knight); Adam Houghton (Anglers Edge); Baits ‘R Us; Lock Stock and Tackle.

The entire event would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment from SMAC Chairman Steve Kelly who made sure 102 anglers had a great day. Thanks again Steve.

PS Thanks to Steve Andrews for taking the photos!

Langstone Report Sea Angling News

The last month has been brilliant for fishing if you only wanted to go out once (midweek) and catch loads of small congers. For the other 99.9% of anglers it has been pretty miserable with every weekend blown off and only a few fishable days midweek for those able to take advantage of them. Those than did steal a day for a boat trip were rewarded with conger after conger roaming around the cod grounds on the lookout for carefully presented expensive cod baits. As most were T-barred off at the side of the boat, we have a representative photo from Peter Churchill which could be one of hundreds!

Other regulars were dogfish, pout and various rays. Some nice bass were caught including Team Foster, son Tom shows a 5lb 6oz while his father Robert caught a stonking bass of 13lb 9oz!

Tom Foster 5.6 bass

There have been some whiting caught but very few cod. The one star catch of the month was a cod of 33lb 5oz caught by Lee Birchwood in the Nab area on squid bait.

The Southsea Marina Angling Club Cod Open Competition has been delayed by the weather every weekend since October and we are hoping to improve on last year’s date which was also delayed until 14th January. We thought we would get ahead of the game this year by planning it earlier. So much for that idea. To cheer us up let’s have another look at Dick Prosser’s winning cod of 18lb 12oz from January 2018.

Dick Prosser winning cod

Looking back over the year we have had some good fishing. Plaice arrived early in February, Heber Crawford shows the quality of fish caught.

Heber Crawford 50 plaice

In March we discovered we were sitting over large shoals of herring, and by targeting them with small sabikies you could catch plenty for bait or supper. Quality pollack and bass were caught on the mid Channel wrecks as shown by Kev Johnson.

Kev Johnson

By April plaice were plentiful and we had some good spells of weather. May saw the arrival of bream as displayed by Kev Johnson and John Jones. Wafters – buoyant baits use by carp anglers – made a difference when threaded on hooks baited with squid strip.

Kev Johnson 2.6 and 2.6

By June tope had arrived and so had some great weather. Most of the summer photos show calm blue seas and sizzling temperatures. Leigh Coward shows all of this with his tope of 46lb.

Leigh Coward 46lb Tope

There was a good run of smoothhound right through the summer, Adam Houghton shows one just shy of 20lb.

Adam Houghton 19-10 Smoothhound

The best tope we recorded was Ian Drapers fish of 64lb.

ian draper 64lb

Bass were catch and release only during the summer so there were fewer boats targeting them but there were plenty of the calibre of this 5lber caught by our local butcher Mo Twells.

Mo Twells Bass 5lb

The calm weather meant boats were regularly able to push further offshore to find prime pollack. The sun shone on the marina as if it was the Mediterranean and mullet were caught to a very good size. The sun was still shining in August, Kev Johnson managed to actually catch a sunfish and we were regularly treated to dolphin displays.

Kev Johnson Sunfish 18-20lb

There were also a few turbot and brill caught which were very welcome. Chris Sartow shows an example. There were are few early cod in September.

Chris Sartow Turbot

Squid fishing suddenly became very popular across the South Coast with plenty caught from boat and shore. In late October the weather hit us and here we are, waiting and hoping for a settled weekend so we can chase the last of the cod. If we have another summer like that in 2019 I don’t think we will be complaining.

Langstone Report Sea Angling News December

What happens when you plan to take your boat out at the weekend? It gets windy. What happens when you plan a boat fishing competition? It is even more likely to get windy. Fortunately the winds abated enough for the annual inter-club competition between Southsea Marina, Eastney, Southsea angling clubs and Langstone Harbour Fishermen’s Association to take place. 47 anglers took part with the top prize going to the largest specimen fish. Last year cup-holders SMAC lost to ECA and this year we were delighted to win it back. Our commodore Tim Andrews weighed in (and released) a cuckoo wrasse of 1lb 10oz which was the best specimen of the day.

Tim Andrews winning Cuckoo Wrasse

The photo here shows Pete Kilshaw of hosts ECA presenting the prize to Tim. We’ll be fighting it out again next year.

Tim Andrews InterClub

SMAC Fish of the Month was won by Kev Johnson with a slightly larger cuckoo wrasse, 1lb 12oz although this wasn’t in the competition. They must know where those big wrasse hang out.

Kev Johnson Wrasse

As usual, those with flexible (or no) work arrangements have been able to fish midweek and have had some good catches – ray, bass, pollack, huss as shown in the photo gallery. For the rest of us, the weather on the last few weekends has been consistently bad and the Open Cod Competition rolls forward yet another week. Hopefully we will have a report on this next month. It is probably just as well, because the hot summer and mild autumn has meant sea temperatures have not fallen as quickly as usual. Mackerel and garfish are still lingering, and cod and whiting have not shown in any numbers just yet. Maybe another week or two will make a difference.

Barry Murrer Blonde ray

Meanwhile, if you can’t get out far you can still catch some cracking fish close in – very close in for mullet. Heber Crawford shows this 4lb 10oz beauty.Heber Crawford Mullet 4-10

Another inshore fish making an appearance on the score board is the flounder – a 2lb specimen for Steve Kelly. We used to catch flounders by the dozen but in recent years they have almost become a rarity.

Steve Kelly Flounder 2lb

Various theories for their demise have been circulating: it could be caused by the increasing numbers of predatory bass in the nursery zones, pollution (Langstone Harbour oyster fishery is closed due to this), seals, French trawlers, illegal netting for pot bait and of course the EU.

Squid fishing has been booming, so much so that angling shops have had to hurriedly re-stock their squid lures. Good sized squid can be caught by boat (Bill Arnold and John Evans demonstrate here), from the beach, pier and harbour walls.

Bill Arnold squid

John Evans squid

Team Crawford are regularly bringing in good catches. By the way, if you like deep fried calamari or salt and pepper squid you really need to try fresh-caught local squid. Can’t be beaten!

Team Crawford Squid

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Shoals of anchovy have been appearing recently. These can be caught with tiny feather rigs and make good baits, or you can prepare and eat them much like sprats. Apparently in some seasons the cod and bass are stuffed with them so it is always worth trying with tiny feathers if you see a shoal on the fish-finder. Chances are, larger fish will be waiting under them too.

Peter Churchill Anchovy

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We always celebrate young anglers’ achievement and this month we welcome Mikey Primmett who is very proud of his bass and wrasse.

Mikey Primmett Bass

Mikey Primmett Wrasse

Meanwhile our Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club show what they can still teach us, John Wearn shows off his blonde ray and a bass.

John Wearn Bass

John Wearn Blonde

To read the full Sea Angling News online please click here

Langstone Report Sea Angling News November

Late September and early October is usually the time for the first run of cod, but this year the water temperature has remained higher than usual by just a few degrees which may have delayed things. Although there have been some cod caught, it wasn’t until mid-October that they started to show more frequently. On the other hand, there have been plenty of large mackerel still around to give sport on light tackle or just top up the bait supplies.

Trigger fish don’t stay around for very long but there are worth targeting while they are here. Bill Arnold shows a typical fish caught in late September – very exotic-looking for a UK fish.

Bill Arnold Trigger Fish

Another visitor is the Couches bream, which is far more common in warmer waters of the Mediterranean and Americas. Mick Barry caught this nice 3lb 14oz fish from Valkyrie 6 on squid strip.

Mick Barry Couches Bream

And to remind us that UK fish can also look exotic, Heber Crawford caught this male and female pair of cuckoo wrasse which wouldn’t look out of place in an aquarium.

Cuckoo wrasse pair

Squid fishing has been a minority sport along the South Coast for many years but recently there had been much wider interest, partly because there are plenty around, large ones at that, and partly because of the development of squid tactics and tackle pioneered by the Japanese and Australians. We used to rely on a luminus barrel lure costing about £1. Now you can spend over £16 for a rattling, glowing, vibrating, textured lure which although very attractive to squid, it is just as attractive to snags. This can make trips rather expensive. The start of the squid season has arrived in this area and they should stay around in numbers until late winter, although a stock will remain all year. Most anglers target them from shore marks but we are also catching them from boats. With the price of squid for bait plus the culinary value (much better than frozen!) we expect a lot more to be caught. Heber and Archie Crawford show examples of squid caught recently.

Heber Crawford Squid

Archie Crawford Squid

Now to cod. I wish we had more photos to show but as mentioned earlier, we have been struggling. One of the earlier cod, a modest fish 6lb 11oz caught by Steve Kelley underwent a quick autopsy and demonstrates what a wide range of food they actually eat – nature’s dustbin. From that you might think there is no excuse for having the “wrong bait”. You can see squid, cuttlefish, dab, crab, dragonets, shellfish, probably a pout and other unidentifiable objects.

Inside a cod

In the last week we were much encouraged by Tim Andrews and John Evans who turned the corner by catching not one cod but several. Things are looking up at last.

Tim Andrews cod

Specimen fish reported by Southsea Marina Angling Club this month were a bass of 11lb 10oz for Dave Ford; bass 10lb 8oz to Tim Andrews; undulate ray 14lb for Chris Ellis and Heber Crawford had several large mullet, best 5lb 12oz.

Heber Crawford Mullet

Last month we featured junior anglers but we also encourage and celebrate the success of new anglers who may not be as young. New member Mike Gibbons was taken out by Bill Arnold on Limpet for his first ever boat trip and was rewarded with these small eyed and blonde rays. He also caught brill, tub gurnard, launce and mackerel. Now wonder he’s smiling.

Mike Gibbons small-eyed ray

Langstone Report Sea Angling News October

We are now well into September and watching the transition from summer season to autumn.   One of the milestones is the Southsea Marina Angling Club summer BBQ which was held on one of the last sunny weekends before the wind and clouds started to make more of an appearance. We had great intentions of doing a beach clean on the day, but our efforts were overshadowed by the amazing work that The Final Straw Solent have been making clearing rubbish from our local beaches and harbours – including entire boats! Watch out for the publicity for their next mass beach cleans.

Final Straw Solent beach clean results

Back to the SMAC BBQ: Esme Andrews represented the club in the beach clean so at least we did something on the day! An impromptu raffle also raised over £70 for the RNLI, which has since increased significantly from donated prizes from the monthly awards.

Beach Cleaner Esme Andrews

SMAC BBQ Prizegiving

Shark fishing has attracted more attention this year because threshers are regularly sighted south of the Island. Several charter skippers have been running exploratory trips and with the experienced gained we hope to hear of some interesting catches in due course.

The first codling have been reported, they usually appear in nets and pots before anglers catch them. This is surprising because with the water temperatures so high we were expecting a later arrival, but they seem to be sticking to the calendar. There are still mackerel and scad around but not in such large numbers as last month. The plaice are feeding well and will still be around for a couple more months before moving offshore, returning in March.

Plaice double

Another seasonal visitor is the trigger fish, which arrive in September, stay around for a month then disappear. Bill Arnold and Luke Scott both caught some nice specimens. Inshore rocky marks, squid or fish strip baits, small hooks and very strong traces – even wire – are the winning mix. Triggers have very powerful toothy jaws and can easily cut through light mono.

Luke Scott Trigger fish

Some good bass have been caught throughout the year, and we welcome the promised relaxation of the bass rules which we expect will allow us to keep one fish per day over the size limit. Dave Ford caught and released a magnificent 11lb 10oz fish.



Turbot are always a popular target although we don’t get many in the area, or of the size you will find further south. However, Chris Sartow, Tim Andrews and Kev Johnson were very happy to land a few this month.

Chris Sartow Turbot

One of the many wonderful things about fishing in this area is the variety of species available. Heber Crawford shows off some impressive weevers and a red mullet. Luke Scott shows off his first gilthead bream. Peter Churchill demonstrates the quality of ray fishing with an large blonde  and Chris Sartow shows the patterns of a nicely marked undulate.

Heber Crawford Weever

Heber Crawford Red Mullet

Peter Churchill Blonde ray


Chris Sartow Undulate

We always enjoy seeing the delight on our junior anglers’ faces when they show off their catch – as demonstrated by Archie Crawford with his bass and Ivy Brudenell with her first mackerel (hopefully first of very many).

Archie Crawford Bass

Ivy Brudenell First Mackerel

Finally, a special date for your diaries: the annual SMAC Open Cod Competition will be held on Sunday 28th October (with reserve dates if the weather is against us). Entry £10 at Southsea Marina on the day, fishing 8am to 4pm. 1st prize £500 with many other cash and other prizes. Categories for Ladies and Juniors too. For further details contact or 07790584698

To read the full Sea Angling News online please click here

Bass Ban relaxed 1st October to 31st December

The rule-makes have accepted that maybe leisure anglers aren’t responsible for decimating bass stocks and have changed the outright ban on taking bass, to a one fish per day (over 42cm length) limit from 1st October to 31st December 2018. For the full text you can access it here but they don’t make these things very readable! There is a technicality, of course.  This needs to be published in the EU Journal for it to actually become law – as soon as that happens I’ll update this post. Edited: this has now become law! Go catch your bass…

Langstone Report Sea Angling News September

The calm sunny weather continued, causing widespread confusion. We have never experienced so many fishable days all in a row – what’s going on? This has all changed in the last week, but it was really good while it lasted. The calm seas in the background of many of the photos demonstrates how pleasant it was, right out into the Channel too.

Last month we were a little concerned about the apparent lack of mackerel despite huge concentrations of recently hatched fry. Well, word must have got out because the mackerel have turned up in good numbers, and in good sizes too. Early in the day, we can stock up on big fat barrel-shaped mackerel, full to the gills with fry. Later in the day, digesting their huge breakfasts, the mackerel have been a lot harder to catch.

There has been an interesting demonstration of the food chain in action in the eastern Solent. The proliferation of fry attracted mackerel, which in turn has attracted the dolphins. In previous years we have had the occasional treat of the sight of a pod passing. This year, the dolphins have been much more numerous and a number of boats have had the amazing experience of dolphins following the boat, playing alongside and riding the bow wave. The photo here was taken by David Cheal from his boat off the Isle of Wight. Dolphins have even been travelling into Chichester harbour.

Dolphins David Cheal

Back to the fishing – the larger tope have now moved off leaving smaller pack tope which can be a bit of a nuisance at times. The larger smoothhound are still around, as Bill Arnold demonstrates with his impressive specimen caught inshore.


Offshore wrecks and reefs are producing good summer pollack. Rough ground holds bull huss, and although they are usually nocturnal they can be caught during the daytime in deeper water, as shown here.

Heber Crawford Bull Huss

Another benefit of the calm water has been the ability to spot our regular summer visitor, the sunfish. When basking (which they do on their sides, strangely) their pectoral fins stick out of the water making them easy to see at a distance. They can be scooped up in a landing net for inspection, but Kev Johnson caught one legitimately with feathers, estimated at 18-20lb.

Kev Johnson Sunfish 18-20lb

With water temperatures now 20C (a full two degrees warmer than this time in previous years) we have had reports of more unusual fish sightings. Luke Scott even videoed a large, unidentifiable fish behaving very strangely just below the surface. Unfortunately this became a non-catch report because it could not be tempted. He did catch a beautifully marked starry smoothhound later though.

Luke Scott Starry Smoothhound

Mullet are a summer feature in our marinas and harbours, and can grow to a size that gives a good bend to a light rod. We once thought these fish were uncatchable and they are a challenge, but with a very delicate approach and lightening reflexes they can be landed. They also feed at night so a few hours in the evening can give great sport. Christopher Sart shows off his pier mullet, Bill Arnold has an impressive 4lb 7oz fish, and Heber Crawford tempted both thin- and thick-lipped mullet.

Christopher Sart Mullet

Bill Arnold Mullet 4.7

Heber Crawford Midnight Thick Lipped Mullet

The juniors were also busy this month. Jake Kelly shows off his undulate ray of 13lb 8oz, and at the other end of the size spectrum Heber Jr. and Archie Crawford have been having great fun on LRF gear catching shanny. Dad Heber Crawford caught this monster (?) shanny – all things are relative.

Jake Kelly Undulate 13-8

Heber Crawford Jr Shanny

Huge Shanny Heber Crawford

August is often a quiet month before the first autumn and winter species arrive, but with fishing, you just never know what might turn up. I’ll let you know next month.

Read Sea Angling News online here

Langstone Report Sea Angling News July

There is nearly always something not quite right when you go boat fishing. Tides are too small or too big, wrong bait, cloudy water, weed…but this month we couldn’t complain about the weather. I can’t remember so many fishable days crammed into the month. Sitting comfortably on a blue sea, topping up the tan and banter with mates makes poor fishing bearable. And there have been some quiet days recently, where we have been scratching for a few mackerel, pout and dogfish. Other days have been very good including some spectacular tope fishing. Top fish in this report is Ian Draper’s 64lb tope which he matched up with another good specimen of 50lb. To prove that experience can beat youthful energy, John Churchill at 80 years old tamed this tope (pictured) which was in excess of 50lb. To reduce stress on fish to be returned, weight is often estimated which is why we don’t have exact weights in all the photos.

John Churchill tope 50lb

Fewer boats are targeting bass as there is a landing ban for 2018, but there are still good stocks in the area and regularly turn up on general bottom-fishing trips. Our local butcher Mo Twells shows off the typical stamp of fish with a healthy 5 pounder. I am pretty sure that is the same hat he wears behind the counter too.

Mo Twells Bass 5lb

We usually have to motor much further afield for turbot of any size: Heber Crawford is showing off a very pretty fish caught from one of the Langstone boats over the offshore banks. However, Kriss Scott caught a magnificent inshore fish (for the area) of 8lb. This was awarded SMAC “Fish of the Month” because you just don’t see turbot of that size here, even though the Specimen Book thinks otherwise. This fish pipped Luke Scott’s huge (relatively) three-bearded rockling of 1lb 8oz which was an official Specimen and impressive in the rockling circles but not impressive enough to win the votes for Fish of the Month from our discerning members.

Heber Crawford Turbot

Even nearer to shore, Peter Churchill tempted this mullet of 3lb 12oz. We regularly see some very large mullet in the marinas but they can be very picky so this was a good catch.

Peter Curchill mullet 3lb 12oz

Some of my wealthier angling friends pay a lot of money to fish famous river and estuary beats for sea trout. Heber Crawford proved this is not always necessary. While fishing for mullet with a LRF rod and a tiny fly spoon, he noticed a dark shadow and a swirl behind the lure. Casting again he was rewarded with this stunning sea trout. After the photo-call it was promptly returned. Young Archie Crawford returned with Dad a day or two later and first cast hooked another sea trout! Before anyone thinks this is a regular thing in the area, these are the only two sea trout reported from this tidal creek that I can recall.

Heber Crawford Sea Trout

The many calm days have allowed us to observe more under-water traffic than usual. We have seen large numbers of jellyfish, and also some large and very dense shoals of fry – see the photo of the fish-finder screen. This indicates a smaller number of predatory fish around, and it also makes it more difficult for anglers to tempt mackerel with feathers when they have such an abundance of the real thing to eat. This might also explain why the mackerel we have caught are invariably stuffed so full they are like little round torpedoes.

Shoals of Fry

Let’s hope this great weather continues.

You can read Sea Angling News Online here

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