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Category: Catch Reports 2021

SMAC Early October Fishing Report

The first week of October has been windy so when the forecast was for a calm weekend a lot of local boat anglers grabbed the opportunity and headed out. The mornings were initially very misty but within a few hours the visibility improved. The strong winds of the previous week had left murky water and a bit of a swell but otherwise all we had to contend with were strong tides, plenty of weed and an easterly wind. Nothing is ever quite right is it?

Birds can still be seen working over shoals of baitfish being attacked from below, but the attackers are now shoals of small bass as most of the mackerel have now dispersed.

Bass fishing on the banks has been superb with good catches of quality fish. Kev Johnson and his bass are our Featured Photo above. An unusually high number of bull huss have been caught on local marks. Although bull huss are not unknown, they are more commonly caught on deeper marks. Dave Ford caught two of 12lbs and a very nice small-eyed ray of 11lbs.

In previous years, larger bream have moved offshore leaving hordes of tiny bream behind to shred our baits. This year we have been catching good quality bream right into October – fish strip fished near or on the bottom seems to work well. Here’s a nice bream caught by Jim Atkins.

It’s always nice to see dolphins – thank you Dan Lumsden for sharing this photo, taken near Medmery Bank


SMAC Open Species Competition

After several frustrating postponements our inaugural Open Species Competition was held on 5th September. It was superbly organised by Chris Ellis, a veteran of many international species competitions, his wife Hayley and Steve Kelly. The competition was also sponsored by Sea Angling Classic, whose founder Ross Honey was very helpful with advice and support on the day.

Winner of the competition was Bill Arnold with 11 species, Chris Ellis was second with 9 and there was a tie for third places between Alan Isaacs and Darren Price both with 8 species. We hope to run this competition again in 2022 with a two-day event so watch out for further details.

There is a full write-up of the competition in the current issue of Saltwater Boat Angling (pictured).

Chris Ellis in his boat Miss Molly heads out of Langstone Harbour entrace at the start of the competition:

Bass and Mackerel Go Crazy

Over the last few weeks we have seen an unprecedented influx of mackerel into the Solent and Eastern Approaches, with gulls working above feeding shoals up to a mile in length. This combined with the good weather has meant a lot of anglers have been able to stock up with winter bait with ease. The mackerel were of a consistently large size so were great for eating too. Bass could be found feeding below the shoals, and bass were also very active feeding over the banks further offshore. Some anglers were also treated to an escort of porpoises within a couple of miles of shore. They are commonly seen further offshore but they had almost certainly followed the mackerel shoals closer inshore which is less usual, but not unknown.

Have a browse through the photo gallery below.

John Evans
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Langstone Report June 2021

You may have noticed that our monthly reports are no longer published in the Sea Angling News monthly paper. Sadly as a result of COVID restrictions over the last year the paper is no longer circulated in either print or online form.  Sea Angling News continues as a website however, and you can view it here.

We will continue to publish a monthly catch report for the Eastern Solent and approaches based on news, gossip and personal experience, so if you want your catches to be included just message us here.

May and early June in the Solent approaches means bream on rocky marks, smoothhound wherever there are crabs for them to forage and the arrival of mackerel and tope. No surprises this year: all those events have happened and fish are there to be caught! The only deviation from the usual pattern was the plaice. Although some were caught as they moved onto the spawning grounds, not as many as in previous years. Hopefully they will be fattening up on the summer marks now.

There were some fine tope caught from the end of May through into late June, including several Personal Best fish. The larger breeding females will be moving away soon, leaving smaller pack tope.  If you find them or they find you they can either be a nuisance or hectic sport, depending on what you are really after!

Here’s a slideshow below of some great fish caught locally in the past month. Many thanks for the pictures and congratulations on some excellent catches.

Tony Myatt Tope

Langstone Harbour Report May 2021

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.


Neville Merritt

Southsea Marina Angling Club.

Langstone Report April 2021

I’m not sure where March went but that’s probably just as well. Those of us living a distance from our boats couldn’t travel to the coast so we had to be content reading reports on social media about what local anglers were up to. Not a lot, it would seem.

March is a strange month, because it is too late for the Winter species (cod and even whiting have moved on) and the Spring run of plaice moving inshore to spawn sometimes doesn’t start until the end of March. There will be pollack on offshore wrecks and reefs and you might find some late spurdog, but inshore the only predicable fish are dogfish and rays.

When you look at FaceBook angling groups and see photos of sunsets instead of fish, with comments like “Nice to be out though”, you know you aren’t missing much fishing action. It would have been nice to be out though. The charter boats have been gathering weed on their moorings waiting to be allowed out with clients, although I noticed many of them have had a thorough Spring clean. Let’s hope those shiny decks get dirty soon.

This month our catch report would have been very sparse without two of our regular contributors, Arron Shons and Heber Crawford. Arron headed 40 miles offshore on Time Out to a mark in 200 feet of water. Using a 110g lure he boated some nice pollack, the best weighing 19lb 2oz.

Heber defied my predictions and caught a nice cod early in the month, followed by pollack on an offshore trip. Closer to shore he also caught gurnard and wrasse, before ending the day finding a shoal of herring in the Solent approaches.

Herring are a frustrating species because you often see them on the fishfinder at this time of year, at various depths and spread over a wide area. As dusk gets closer they shoal up and rise to the surface to feed. This is when they are more likely to be caught. Tackle and approach is very specific because they have small, soft mouths. Using a very soft action rod fishing small Sabiki feathers, suspend them  a few feet below the surface and hold very still to simulate the larvae the herring are feeding on.

Early plaice were beginning to show up towards the end of the month. Charles Gattrell shows a better than average plaice of 3lb caught in March. Bait was supplied by the new shop Fishon Bait and Tackle in Cosham, Portsmouth

With lockdown rules gradually allowing a return to whatever normal will be, we will be having our first Southsea Marina Angling Club meeting (outdoors) in May and our “End of year” Awards Night will be in July.

Many charter boats are fully booked for the next couple of months which is good news for skippers and my catch reports, but if you want a space or full boat I’d recommend you book well ahead.

April should bring us plaice, bream and smoothound, heralding the start of the summer species arriving in numbers. It can’t come soon enough. Tight lines all.

Neville Merritt


Note: The Sea Angling News monthly newspaper is not being printed at the moment and is no longer being published on Issuu. The monthly reports are published on the SAN Website below.

Langstone April 2021

Langstone Report March 2021

Well goodbye February. According to the few who could go fishing, those who couldn’t travel to their boats weren’t missing much. A late cod or two and a run of spurdogs were the highlights. The whiting worth catching have moved off leaving a horde of bait-robbing pin whiting in their place. There are still a few roaming conger on open ground but as March opens they will go back to the rocks and wrecks, and we will see the first of the plaice as they come inshore to spawn. They will be in better condition in a few weeks’ time after they recover.

March also heralds the opening up of the bass restrictions. The previous EU rules were rolled forward into 2021 which means recreational anglers can keep up to two bass per day from March to November inclusive, minimum size 42cm. This may change so watch out for further announcements. The first mullet have arrived back in the marina which seems early, but the sea temperature is trending upwards so perhaps this is normal now.

Many charter boats are taken out of the water for maintenance during the fishing lull in February, but with the much-anticipated easing of lockdown restrictions many are taking bookings already. The first few months on the new charter season promise to be very busy as anglers make up for lost time.

This month we usually report on the Southsea Marina Angling Club Presentation Night, but with no actual presentation night yet, we will celebrate the successes here.

Club Champion is Kevin Johnson (11 Points). Kevin also takes the Bream Cup (3lb 13oz); Bass Cup (11lb 10oz); Pollack Cup (12lb 14oz); Best Specimen (Bass) and Pairs Cup with John Jones. He however did leave some other cups on the table, and John Evans won the Plaice Cup (2lb 2oz); Bill Arnold won Species Hunt day competition; Peter Churchill won the annual Species Cup (33); Neil Glazier won the Cod Cup and Cod Pool (22lb); Jim Collett won the Catch & Release Cup with a Spurdog (22lb 8oz).  Junior Species Cup went to Jake Kelly (13); Ladies Cup to Aedy Merritt for her bream (1lb 4oz) and Ladies Species Cup was won by Haley Ellis (10). Congratulations to all the runners up as well! Out of respect for the Lockdown restrictions, some of our competitions could not be run this year so those cups will not be awarded this time.

I’m hoping for good weather as soon as we are allowed to travel again. I think there will be a lot of boats on the water that day!

Langstone Report February 2021

The Southsea Marina Sea Angling Club year runs from February to January, so 31st January marked the end of the 2020 Season and competitions. The final couple of months are usually quite exciting with last-minute changes in the club competition standings and winter competitions to look forward to as well. Well as we all know, this year has been like no other year and with the second major lockdown restricting travel and competitions, the club activities drifted gently to a halt. Our winter cod competitions were cancelled and with only a few local anglers being able to use their boats, there weren’t many fish caught of note.

Kev Johnson was the overall Club Champion and managed to bag a few more trophies as well, including the Bass Cup for this 11lb 10oz beauty pictured! Next month we will be announcing all the winners of the SMAC competitions and hopefully we’ll also know more about when we can all fish together again.

SMAC is independent from Premier Marinas Southsea although we are based in the marina, and we are very grateful for their support. Premier have kindly given up a page on their website if you would like to find out more about the club and activities, please visit and look at “About Southsea Marina”.


Langstone Report January 2021

Well this has been a tough month. We’ve had several waves of stormy conditions passing over the area putting a stop to boat fishing most weekends, and only those lucky enough to be able to go out midweek were able to fish at all. Then, just to put a final nail in it the local area is designated Tier 4 so anyone living outside Portsmouth can’t travel to their boats even if the weather improves. Oh well, I suppose there’s always next year!

We do have some fishing news from those that managed to get out however. After a slow start to the winter season we saw more cod coming out, some over 20lb. Neil Glazier now leads the Southsea Marina Angling Club Cod Pool with this nice fish of 22lb.

There are a lot of whiting inshore. Strangely, they seem to be either very large and few in number of very small and in large, ravenous shoals. The larger fish such as the 4lb specimen shown by Nick Reeves are very welcome. The smaller whiting strip large baits or give themselves up within minutes on smaller baits, making fishing very difficult.

I found that putting a dead whiting on a large hook and sending it down again kept their brethren away and gave other fish a chance to find the bait. Using this method you can expect to hook up with rays, congers or even cod if you are lucky. Mark Jackson shows the largest of three good undulate rays caught that day, topped by his crew mate Richie Shippen with an undulate a pound heavier at 15lb.

The SMAC Open Cod Competition was postponed from early November because of lockdown restrictions, then when restrictions were eased we had to postpone due to adverse weather conditions. With the new, tighter restrictions in force we have no revised date to publicise. We will have to wait and see what s possible.

Let’s hope that with renewed efforts to combat the virus and the roll-out of vaccinations we’ll be able to get back to some form of normality in 2021, and we can all go out fishing again as we used to.


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