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Category: Catch Reports 2022

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!

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?





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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