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Category: SMAC (Page 2 of 3)

SMAC Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the club will be held at 7:30pm on Tuesday 1st February in the Marina Bar. Results of all the annual competitions will be announced. Also on the agenda is an Open Bream Comp, Open Species Comp, Presentation Night, voting on Club Officers, Rule amendments plus any other subject brought up by members present.

Subscriptions for the year will be due from 1st February: £20 per person, concession for Juniors.

I will also be bringing samples and try-on sizes for the 2022 SMAC draw-string hoodie so if you are interested you can see the quality and try for fit. These are made to order in batches so we need to have a few folk interested before we can commit to supplying them.

See you there!


Farewell Moonshine

January 2022 marks the end of a significant era: the charter boat Moonshine will no longer be seen around the eastern Solent skippered by Pete Churchill. Pete and Moonshine have been together for 31 years and together they built a tremendous reputation in the charter fishing community.

Even if they don’t know Pete Churchill, many boat anglers will be familiar with the blue and white 10metre Starfish charter boat which would often be seen on the usual marks, fully booked with parties of very happy anglers. Moonshine was based in Southsea Marina and Pete Churchill has been active member of the Southsea Marina Angling Club.

Sadly, all good things come to an end and when Pete decided to finally retire from chartering, it was also time for Moonshine to go to a new home.

In early January, Moonshine was loaded onto a transporter for the journey to her new owner in Grimsby. This was rather fitting because the SMDAC boat Lady Elsa, often berthed alongside Moonshine came to Southsea from Grimsby. Maybe they compared notes.

It is sad to see Moonshine go and it must be a real wrench for Pete, but we will still see him around Southsea Marina. He has bought Seabiscuit with SMAC member Bill Arnold. We look forward to following their joint fishing adventures and I’m sure they will carry on competing with each other for the SMAC competition prizes as they have done so successfully before.

Here’s one of many testimonials from happy Moonshine customers:

“Moonshine is a 29ft starfish skippered by Pete Churchill, in my view one of the better skippers around. Pete and Moonshine are responsible for plenty of big fish including two 80+ Tope one a British record breaking 84lb, Blonde rays over 38lb, many Smoothhounds over 20lb, lots of 20+ Cod, massive Plaice, lots of tea, and the list goes on. He even caught a juvenile Thresher shark on Mackerel feathers!” – FishyNige

Mandela Cup Competition 15th January

The SMAC Mandela Cup is a light-hearted, club-only competition which we try to fish (weather permitting) over the Christmas break. Often it is postponed, and sometimes the weather is so bad it gets to the point that we have to fish something, somehow before the end of the Club year and end up dangling hooks in the marina. I kid you not: one year absolutely nothing was caught so the cup was shared between the oldest and youngest competitors.

I digress. The weather didn’t permit us holding the competition over Christmas this year but 15th January promised suitable weather and the date was fixed. The competition is simple: winner takes all, one prize for the largest cod and if no cod are caught, the prize goes to the heaviest whiting.

Whiting have been very obliging this season and plenty of good-sized whiting were stashed in cool boxes in anticipation that they might be eligible.

Hopes for a whiting victor were dashed when Tim Andrews, fishing with John Evans messaged that he had boated a 7lb cod. This turned out to be the only cod and therefore the winning fish, so Tim was presented with his winnings in the Marina Bar afterwards by John Evans. Congratulations Tim.

SMAC Monthly Meeting January 2022

The first meeting of the year was held on 11th January, at the earlier time of 7pm to allow Ross Honey to present an Open Q&A at 7:30pm about this year’s Sea Angling Classic competition.

Club News

Steve Kelly provided an update on the club competition standings, see below. The Bass Cup winner is confirmed as Kevin Johnson as that competition closed with the bass season. The other competitions will close at the end of January, so there’s still time for it all to change!

Fish Of The Month was awarded to Ben Lumsden for his flounder. This monthly competition is awarded by votes on the night, and takes account of Specimen Size, notable species or a story about the catch. Members all agreed that a 1lb flounder was a rarity today compared to in previous times, so we unanimously voted for young Ben.

The Mandela Cup will be fished on Saturday 15th January. Best cod, members only, winner takes all. This is a friendly competition and in seasonal spirit, takes place partly in the bar.

The date for the Presentation Night will be agreed at the next meeting.

Neville Merritt reminded members that he welcomes all photos of catches and reports for the website Catch Report and SMAC pages. You can send via FB Messenger, Whatsapp or email.

Also at the next meeting Neville will bring a selection of sizes of hoodies to try on and confirm costs so we can order a batch of SMAC branded hoodies if there is sufficient interest.

Next meeting will be on 1st February at 7:30pm. This meeting will the one where we elect club officers (Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Commodore) and review any rule changes that members propose.

Sea Angling Classic Q&A

We were pleased to welcome Ross Honey and Glen Milligan who joined the meeting at 7:30pm to host an open Q&A session. Ross first provided an update on the events surrounding the competition, clarification on the rules and explained how the prize table is made up.

There is now an extensive Q&A page on the SAC website, please see here . This covers many of the questions raised at the meeting.

The event itinerary is here. More details are being discussed and it appears that Portsmouth Chambers of Commerce, Council, QHM etc are all keen to use the event as a way of promoting Portsmouth. They are providing a lot of support which will make this fishing competition more like a festival!

The main prize of an amazing boat package plus an expenses-paid 18 month experience programme is unprecedented. Thanks to the generous sponsors, this fully kitted out Extreme 745 Game King fishing boat will be insured and storage paid for 18 months enabling the winning crew to participate in other competitions including the 2023 SAC if they wish. The boat package will be the focus of a “Boat Reveal” in Portsmouth on 19th March, after which it will go on a road trip around the coast stopping off in London for a trip along the Thames before continuing along the South Coast and back to Portsmouth. There are other competitions and prizes within the SAC and these are being updated as more sponsors come forward.

These Q&A sessions are a good way for the SAC team to explain more about the event and also collect valuable feedback and ideas from the local angling community. For example, a question about potential disruption from anti-angling pressure groups was raised. This has since enabled the SAC team to prepare a detailed risk assessment and have contingency plans in place to address this if it occurs.

We were also given the opportunity to try out the SAC app which will be used to manage catches and the leaderboard in real time during the event itself. There will be further app training sessions available nearer the date of the event.

Follow the Sea Angling Classic Facebook page for more event news as it develops.


SMAC Open Cod Competition 2021

Whenever we have to delay our annual open Cod Competition there is always more chance the fish will hear about it and go into hiding. The competition was originally scheduled for 14th November and was delayed by weather four times before we were finally able to hold it on 19th December. By then the news had got out and the cod made themselves scarce.

A total of 88 anglers in 37 boats set off on a slightly murky Sunday morning although the visibility was far better at sea than further inland. The mist came down a couple of times, but the wind dropped during the day and all boats found somewhere fishable from the Solent to south of the Nab.

Not surprisingly, the whiting had also read the news about the competition and the larger fish we had been catching on midweek practice runs were noticeably absent from the marks where they had been caught before. Nevertheless, the target species were found by three anglers and we had three cod and eight whiting to make up the prize list.

All the boats returned to weigh-in by 5:30pm and we are very grateful to the Marina Bar for staying open to host the presentation of prizes from 6pm. The evening opened with a short address from Ross Honey, founder of the Sea Angling Classic competition who gave us a few highlights about the 2022 competition. Then onto the prizes!

First prize went to Paul Hanks for a cod of 6lb 12oz, winning him £500 cash and an entry ticket to the 2022 Sea Angling Classic donated by Ross.

Second prize went to Mark Argyle for a cod of 5lb 11oz which won him £100 cash.

Third prize went to Pip Saunders for a cod of 3lb 2oz which earned him £100 of vouchers from Andy’s Baits.

The Ladies Prize went to Megan Haughton who won £50 cash for a whiting of 1.06lb.

Two identical whiting meant we had a tie for first place in the Juniors competition. Jake Kelly and Sian Houghton both won £50 each for whiting of 1.16lb

The following Runners-Up prizes were awarded:

4th Place – Lee Swire, whiting of 2.64lb, boat rod donated by Fish On Tackle Shop

5th Place – Des Clare, whiting of 2.08lb, boat rod donated by Fish On Tackle Shop

6th Place – Dennis Hayden, whiting of 2.02lb, boat rod donated by SMAC

7th Place – Tim Warren, whiting of 1.92lb, boat rod donated by SMDAC

8th Place – Peter Churchill, whiting of 1.84lb, £50 bait voucher donated by Premier Marinas

9th Place – Peter Reynolds, whiting of 1.76lb, two places on boat trips donated by Sportsman’s Knight

10th Place – Darren McKnell, whiting of 1.72lb, boat trip donated by Anglers Edge

11th Place – Thomas Clare, whiting of 1.72lb, two meals donated by Marina Bar

Our sincere thanks to Steve Kelly and Chris Ellis for all their work organising the event; to Ross Honey of Sea Angling Classic, Andy’s Baits, Fish On Tackle, Premier Marinas, Sportsman’s Knight, Anglers Edge, SMDAC, SMAC and Marina Bar for donating prizes and to all the competitors who turned out to participate in the competition making it another successful event for SMAC.

Scroll through the photo gallery below for more photos from the day.

Nevile Merritt

SMAC, December 2021

SMAC Monthly Meeting December 2021

I’m not sure what SMAC has done to upset the weather gods but this month’s meeting coincided with Storm Barra. This not only brought a lot of wind and rain, it also piled up the high tide causing flooding all around Langstone and Portsmouth harbours with the predictable knock-on effect on traffic. Nevertheless, the more stalwart SMAC members braved the wet and windy night to meet in the Marina Bar which had stayed open especially for us.

The Club Standings are documented below. Highlights are:

Plaice Cup: Tim Andrews leads with 1lb 8oz  – no disrespect to Tim, but that size shows just how poor the plaice season has been.

Bream Cup: Tim Andrews again, 3lb 13oz.

Bass Cup: due to the season restriction this competition has now closed, so we can announce that Kev Johnson has won the cup with his bass of 8lb 11oz. Congratulations Kev.

Cod Pool: all to play for but Lee Jackson currently leads with 8lb 7oz. With 34 people in the pool that’s a decent prize.

Fish of the Month: this was awarded to young Ben Lumsden (Junior Member) for his bass of 4lb 11oz.

The Cod Competition: what can I say. This rolls on, next stop 12th December but that’s looking dodgy. Some of us are secretly hoping for 19th December which would make a great start to the Christmas break.

Mandela Cup: This informal club competition is usually fished between Christmas and the New Year, with the rules adjusted according to the weather and hangovers. Watch the WhatsApp Group for further information.

Curry Night: probably a Saturday night in January because nobody could identify a specific Indian and I can’t remember the road name anyway. It’s lucky that this level of imprecision doesn’t extend to weighing fish for club competitions, I think we do that rather well by comparison.

Next Meeting: this will be a week later than our regular slot, it being New Year and everything, so put the date in your diaries for Tuesday 11th January 2022 at 7:30pm in the Marina Bar. See you there!

Neville Merritt

Early November Fishing Report

The summer fishing seems to have extended well into autumn this year, with the mackerel staying with the spratt shoals right up to the end of October before fading away. The amount of baitfish seen on the fishfinders is spectacular, attracting mackerel and bass. This is probably why the dolphins are being seen inshore here and bluefin tuna not so far offshore too. Every day that I have been out over that last two months I have seen large flocks of gulls working within a mile or two of shore, and if you like catching school bass on light gear you can catch a fish almost every cast, some of them actually into the “keeper” size of over 42cm.

Bream have stayed on the Blocks and rocky marks into early November, and looking back at my log I don’t see I caught many this late in previous years, although I probably wasn’t targeting them. I have always been interested in fishing methods used in other countries and this one caught my eye recently: fishing for yellow snapper (very like our black bream in habit) groundbaiting with oatmeal – or what we call porridge oats. I gave the method a try and it certainly produced some nice bream. Best bait was fish strip or prawn, not the usual squid strip. It wasn’t a scientific test because there was no other boats nearby using a different method to compare, but if you want to see the technique in use here’s the original video:

 I was expecting more whiting by now and some are showing but not in the numbers we can expect as we move into winter. There are some good sized fish around – Lee Marshfield shows one that will produce some nice fillets.


Further out some nice bull huss have been caught – shown here a 12lb Bull Huss to Andrew Law fishing from Moonshine, and one of similar size for John Jones.

There have been plenty of good bass caught and Ben Lumsden showed his dad how to do it:

Finally – cod. Yes, some have been caught but there’s a reason why they are called Solent Unicorns – because they aren’t very common. One boat reported catching four but that is unusual. One or zero is far more likely. Tim Andrews did a very good job of making this one look sizable, but the game was up when we saw the weight in the Cod Cup listings – 5lb 6oz but still good enough to be in second place behind a 5lb 7oz fish caught by Tony Callard earlier.

The Cod Competition has been postponed from 14th November to 21st November, so that gives the cod and whiting a bit more time to organise themselves into turning up.

SMAC Monthly Meeting November 2021

We had a good crowd in the Marina Bar on Tuesday to catch up on the latest club activities. The Marina Bar has just launched a new menu which might have contributed to the attraction too (thumbs up for the burger and blue cheese by the way).

First up was voting on Fish of the Month. Dave Ford won with a specimen Small-eyed Ray of 11lbs, a good fish. This is 100% of the specimen weight. The fish was released.

Other club standings were confirmed, as listed below.

The new Scales Hut is now in place. The door can be opened with a code which can be obtained from the marina staff, although if you know the code that is used elsewhere on site you can guess it correctly. The electrical power point has been installed and a floor will soon follow. The height of the hut has been kept low so as not to obstruct visibility from the marina office, so don’t expect to have a party in it.

The Open Cod Competition will be held on 14th November.  High Water is a Neap at 08:20 with a mean range of 2.4 metres.  This is very convenient for marina-based boats because the Cill will be open from 05:13 to 11:13, and again from 17:44 so we can put our boats away after the presentation which starts at 6pm in the Marina Bar. More details here

Chris Ellis gave us an update on next year’s Open Species Competition which will be held in the summer, probably a weekend in August and this time running over two days. The organisers of the Sea Angling Classic will be loaning their mobile app for competitors to register their catches in real time.

Steve Kelly passed on a message from Premier Marinas for all members to make sure their boats have the boat name clearly marked on the boat hull or superstructure to avoid confusion during boat movements carried out by the yard crew.

Neville Merritt asked if members would be interested in a Fairtrade alternative for branded SMAC hoodies. Currently Vintage Pig can supply standard hoodies with our logo, although not everybody knows that. If there is sufficient interest in a good quality Fairtrade hoodie, Neville will bring a sample to a future meeting.

The next meeting will be at 7:30pm on Tuesday 7th December in the Marina Bar.



Inter-Club Competition 2021

This is our annual head-to-head competition between SMAC, Eastney Cruising Association (ECA), Langstone Harbour Fishermen’s Association and Southsea Sea Angling Club. It’s a simple winner-takes-all for the largest specimen weight by percentage. The winning club hosts the competition the following year, and as last year’s winner was ECA, it was duly hosted by ECA.

Dave Ford caught good specimens of Bull Huss and Small-eyed ray, but unfortunately he caught them the day before the competition.

Bill Arnold got our hopes up with a bass of 8lb 10oz.

Tony Dickson was chasing him with a nice bull huss.

Then Mark Argyle boated a bass of 9lb 15oz and sealed the competition for the ECA (again).


Well done Mark, congratulations on winning with such an impressive fish. Looks like the ECA will be hosts again next year!

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


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