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Category: Catch Reports 2024

SMAC Bream Competition 2024

Sunday 5th May 2024 will go down in history as the time the SMAC Bream Competition actually took place on the scheduled date! After weeks of very variable weather we were delighted that the weekend forecast was reasonably settled, and a total of 56 anglers set out for eight hours of intense competition. Unlike our Cod Competition where cod are hard to find, there’s no shortage of bream in May and the question is only – how big?

Bream fishing is a combination of knowing where the big ones are likely to be, and the right tackle and methods.  As the day progressed and the weather changed from sun to drizzle and back again, news of catches started to come in. We knew that the winners would have to land fish of over 3lbs.

Steve Kelly officiated at the club weighing scales and a number of good fish were weighed. The leaderboard kept changing as better and better fish were weighed in but finally we drew the line at 6:30pm and the prize table was allocated. We had 14 prizes in all, plus bonus prizes for top Lady and top Junior.

The presentation was held as usual in the Marina Bar which was by then packed with anglers, each with a pint and a distant gaze. It had been a long and tiring day. Steve brought us all to attention at 7pm and the prize-giving began. The results were as follows, and photos are in the gallery below. Weights are in pounds decimal as the margins between fish can be very small!

1st – Mark Oldfield (winning £350): 3.10lb
Top Lady – Pam Eckersall: 0.86lb
Top Junior – Toby Challinor; 1.32lb
2nd – Dan Lumsden: 3.08lb
3rd – Steve Andrews: 2.94lb
4th – John Evans: 2.60lb
5th – Pete Churchill: 2.54lb
6th – Kevin Johnson: 2.50lb
7th – Mark Argyle: 2.48lb
8th – Luke Scott: 2.44lb
9th/10th Draw – Lee and Ryan Whitcome: 2.36lb each
11th/12th Draw – Steve Tambling and Wayne Comben: 2.18lb each
13Th – Paul Brindley: 2.10lb
14th – Tony Skinner: 2.08lb

We are very grateful for the prizes donated by our sponsors: Premier Marinas, Cosham Angling, Fish-On Bait and Tackle, Baits’R’Us, Victory Heating, Southsea Marina Disabled Angling Club, Prestige Plumbing, Sportsmans Knight, British Big Game Charters, Newnham Builders, Brian van Daal and our hosts the Marina Bar.

We would also like to thank all our helpers and of course all the competitors without which these events wouldn’t be half as much fun. Plus of course whoever is organising the weather, and to top off the day we were treated to an amazing display of rainbows.

Watch out for our next SMAC Open Competition which will be the Species Hunt in the summer.

Catch Reports February and March 2024

February is traditionally a very slow month and this year it was even slower than usual, with poor weather and ever poorer fishing. In fact most of February and March can be described as dogfish, dogfish, conger, dogfish. A few settled days allowed the long-distance boats like Harvest Moon to head for the wrecks, and some good pollack were brought to the boats.  Nearer shore we were looking for plaice, but few appeared. We expect bream to arrive in Spring but bream in early March was a surprise. The bream season seems to be much longer than it ever was, which is a sign of the changes going on around us.  As you can see from the photo gallery below, if you managed to get baits past the dogfish and conger there are still a few other species there including ray, spurdog, early smoothhound and a bonus brill!



Catch Report January 2024

This is the last month of the 2023 year for Southsea Marina Angling Club and the first month of 2024 for the rest of the entire planet. The 2023 SMAC Cod Open Competition was rolled forward to 14th January as a result of a string of windy Sundays in November and December. As you will see from the report, cod and whiting were extremely hard to find on the day but at least the whiting have been more plentiful on other days in January. From personal experience and chatting to others, the size of the larger whiting has been smaller than in previous years but there are still plenty of pin whiting around to destroy baits.

If you picked a good day and the right wreck, pollack sport was there to be had but again, smaller and fewer than in previous years. We’ll see what the debate around the ICES pollack stock assessment leads to, because it’s looking like it might follow a similar pattern to the current bass stock protection measures in future.

The waters around the Solent hold an enormous variety of fish species, as evidenced by the SMAC Annual Species Hunt. Joint winners were Peter Churchill and Dan Lumsden with 47 species each, and if you would like to see a selection have a look at the gallery below. It shows you can have a lot of fun without needing to go far or catch huge fish. The total tally for different species across the entire club was 54.

One of the reasons why we have such a variety is that the Wight area is affected by two major water and fish movements – from the North Sea to the east of us and the Atlantic to the west. This water movement accounts for the double high water between Southampton and Poole. It is why we get herring, plaice, cod and whiting from the North Sea in winter and spring, and many warm water fish species arriving for the summer from southern waters.

This also helps to explain why local boats going as far as Brighton were catching early plaice in January, although they had just spawned and were very skinny. They will hopefully fatten up and move further west to our more local marks.

Many angling boats come out of the water for annual maintenance in February because the weather is often miserable and catches dominated by tiny whiting and dogfish. We are often tempted to go out anyway then wonder why we bothered. But you never know…that’s why we do it.

***Reminder: Bass regulations in force require all bass caught in February and March to be returned quickly and unharmed. Bass may only be retained from April onwards, and the daily catch limit then will be 2 bass per angler per day, minimum 42cm length.***

SMAC Open Cod Competition Results

Finally! First scheduled for 5th November and postponed every Sunday since due to the weather, the SMAC Annual Open Cod Boat Competition was held on Sunday 14th January 2024. The north-westerly wind had a bite to it but we were blessed with a few glimses of the sun during the day. A total of 77 anglers from SMAC, neighbouring clubs including Stamshaw Lake Angling Club, ECA, Langstone Harbour Fishermen’s Association and independent boats took part, fishing from 8am to 4pm.

The competition was simple – who can catch the heaviest cod! The winner takes 60% of the entry fees, second place 30% and runner-up prizes from our sponsors were ready to reward the next in line. If there are insufficient cod (as is the case these days), we then count whiting. Well, all that seems very simple, but fishing wouldn’t be interesting if it was predictable. Despite all the efforts from a lot of very experienced anglers, whiting were nearly as elusive as the cod this year. Whether it was the timing, weather, water colour, alternative food sources or what we don’t know. In the end only one cod – but a nice cod at that – and seven whiting were weighed in (the whiting size limit is 27cm) and even some of those would have been used for bait on previous trips.

Nevertheless, as whiting they counted and despite their diminutive size they scored well on the prize table. Club Chairman Steve Kelly announced the prizewinners, and Dan Lumsden the 2022 prize winner made the presentations. Here is the winning roster:

  1. Bob Blades (Why Not) Cod 9lb 6oz – Stamshaw Lake Angling Club
  2. Richard Pack (Wingin It) Whiting 1.52lb SMAC and Best Placed Member Cup
  3. Kev Johnson (Reel Lucky) Whiting 0.94lb SMAC
  4. Luke Scott (Boxer Fish) Whiting 0.54lb SMAC
  5. Dan Lumsden (Sea Jay) Whiting 0.44lb SMAC (presented by Pan Eckersall)
  6. Jim Atkins (Reel Therapy) Whiting 0.42lb SMAC
  7. Chris Ellis (Miss Molly) Whiting 0.40lb SMAC
  8. Freddie Hack (Lady ‘D’) Whiting 0.36lb

In addition, we award two bonus prizes, for the top weight entered by a Lady and a top weight entered by a Junior (under 16). In the event, neither entered any fish so we awarded the plaque anyway for taking part:

  • Ladies Cup: Pam Eckersall
  • Junior Cup: Toby Challinor

You may have noticed that we promised a much larger prize table anticipating more fish to be weighed in. The prizes that would have been awarded for 9th place and onwards will be carried forward and added to the prize table for our next Open Competition which will be the Bream Competition hopefully on the first Sunday in May, weather permitting.

We would like to thank all of our sponsors who donated prizes: Premier Marinas; SMDAC; Baits ‘R Us; Victory Gas and Heating; Cosham Angling; Prestige Plumbing; Southsea Marina Bar; Fish-On Tackle; Brutish Big Game Fishing; Sportsman’s Knight Charters and SF Marine.

We look forward to welcoming our visiting competitors back in May!

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