April is always one of those “transition” months where the arrival of the Spring run of species happens – or not, depending on weather and temperature. This April was exceptionally cold, coupled with prevalent northerly to easterly winds. Fishing is not only poor in these conditions, it’s less pleasant for anglers too. With fewer anglers venturing out in April and fewer fish biting than we would have hoped for we can only report on the arrival of species rather than big catches.
For those that have the time and fuel to push well offshore to the Channel wrecks, some good pollack can be caught. Kev Johnson, John Evans and Tim Andrews fished on Kev’s boat Reel Lucky and show some good fish.
The banks further offshore can also produce occasional turbot as Tim Andrews demonstrates.
There have been plaice caught but not in numbers. Let’s hope there are merely late arriving and not showing a further stock decline. In former years we would have been catching plaice by the dozen, sadly now a few plaice is regarded as a good catch. There are many theories to explain this but not proven. There is no doubt that over-fishing has put pressure on stocks but other factors are also significant – damage to the seabed in breeding areas affecting their food supply – shellfish; predation from the big increase in bass stocks; pollution; suspended matter from sea defence work; imbalance of the ecosystem caused by any of the above; the list is endless. Whatever the reason, managing commercial fishing is only part of the solution.
To cheer us up, two other Spring species have arrived. Bream can now be found on the usual rocky marks. The larger breeding fish will be around for a couple of months and then we will probably be plagued by large numbers of small bream that have a habit of whittling away at larger baits not intended for them.
The other popular Spring arrival are smoothhound. Jason Watts boated his personal best at 20lbs, and Gary Dee did even better with one of 23.5lbs. Both very good fish. Smoothhound will stay in the area all through the Summer.
Ray species tend to stay around all year and often a good ray can save an otherwise uneventful trip. Ashley Nichols shows a blonde ray of 22lb and Les Beever holds another good Blonde ray of 19lb.
With warmer weather expected in May we hope the fishing will continue to improve. If the Atlantic weather system can push those Easterlies away we will all be grateful. South-westerly winds bring wetter weather but at least it will be warmer, and the fish will be more active. The very first mackerel have been reported so hopefully the tope will soon be following them in.
Southsea Marina Angling Club.