Fishy Grapevine 2005 and older
My one trip this week was on ‘Due South’, skippered for one of the last
times, by Ted Entwhistle. We managed to find the faithful Dogs and Pout,
with some Whiting in the 1-1.5lb bracket and three strap Congers. I did
enjoy the trip, even though it was freezing during the first hours but the
banter, the sunshine and the feel of a fish on the line made it all worth
while. I would like to thank the ‘Tony Lavington crew’ for making a below
average day, very enjoyable. We noted the lack of reports on Channel 06 and
little movement by the other boats, it was one of those days, high pressure
with some East in the very cold wind.
An excellent Cod fell to a Private Boat just before Christmas, believed to
be caught ‘outside’. It was weighed on the Lymington Pontoon and pulled the
‘Due South’ scales down to 37lb. Then there was a report of another good one
from the Western Solent,
which was weighed at 24lb, caught on the Wednesday before Christmas. However
the cold weather seems to have put the clamps on a lot of the fish movement.
Those that are being caught are finicky and plenty of hard work is still
required to keep those baits fresh. Cod ‘Around the Light’ or down the
Solent have either thinned out or are feeding on something else. The
faithful Dogfish and Pout are showing still while the Whiting are ‘patchy’.
The open ground Congers are still there as is the odd double figure Pollock.
However perseverance will catch the real big Cod that are normally around
‘til end of January.
The flounder marks have been producing well so there is always a daylight
fall back if the weather keeps us inshore.
Next week looks good so we will have
another chance at a big Cod and a few whiting over the bank holiday.
Happy New Year.
Wow, Saturday was one of the coldest
that I have fished. The wind blew a F5 NW which kept us in the Solent in
'Make My Day' a 19' Fastliner. After an hour, my skipper Andy Stevens,
latched into a 12lb Cod. Then towards low water we tried deep, mid Fairway,
to no avail, so we came back to the inshore mark and had Bass of 5lb,3lb and
2.5lb. It certainly made up for the cold but according to the fishy
grapevine others were not so fortunate. Last weekend 'Jara' also fishing the
Solent caught a similar sized Cod and a 3lb Pout. Round the light there are
some solid hard fighting Conger, Whiting to 4lb and Cod in the following
year groups 4-6lb, 11-12lb and 18-20lb. Not many Cod are going to the same
boat, but Ted Entwhistle on Due South managed to find 3 Cod for the same
angler on one recent charter. He must have been doing it right. I must
confess I have just about had it with cuttle now. I have tried but with less
success I recon than big squid. That's the problem at them moment, getting
big squid in a 5lb box is proving difficult. Many only seem to hold the
medium to small size squid.
Merry Christmas to all regular readers
especially those that take the time to read this far :-) ! Thanks for your
support with cranking the 'hit counter' round.
It has been a while since an
update, due to a number of things including some pure ‘crewing’, some
fishing and some training. On the fishing front the Cod are there but it
seems in mainly two classes 4-5lb and 16-18lb. I know which one I would
prefer but hey, one is better than none and I managed to get one of the
smaller Cod(ling)on my last trip on my Shetland. I was showing the new owner
the ropes, so it set a good impression, mind you it was a bit brassy out
This weekend looks
good again. I am booked on an RYA Diesel engine course all day Saturday, so
I will miss the fishing again! But I am sure most of you won’t. As far as
other reports go Due South got into some nice Whiting to nearly 3lb and some
large open ground Congers with the best going 52lb. Also caught were the
odd skate supplemented by Pout and Dogs.
The odd Codling seem
to be the main showing in the Solent but you need to put the time in. Bass
are up around 4-5lb and can nearly be counted on at least one or two showing
on each trip. There are some large Pout around.
How’s this for a
story. A mate was fishing for flounders in 8’ of water last week when a Bass
took the bait. It was a cold flat and quiet day. As he got it near the boat
on the Starboard Quarter it was taken by a huge ‘fish’, he nearly s**t
himself. As he grabbed the side of the boat fearing it may hit tbut it
cruised under the keel and away, showing a dorsal fin about 100 yards up
tide. It must have been a Dolphin but what a scare. It is certainly not
expected in this part of the sea, that’s for sure. Having said that Andy
Stevens witnessed a similar event mid-Solent 3 years ago.
Back to more sedate
fishing. The flounder hotspots are showing good numbers again and there are
Cod being caught from the Deep Water at Lepe and off the Shingle bank.
It is just three weeks now until I take
on Due South and I can’t wait. I will soon be giving a few dates out if you
want to come along. The Web site is near completion but not finished or
published yet. I have some groups interested in coming already and will be
looking to do some ‘Individual’ trips based on coaching. Tightlines and lets
hope more anglers can enjoy the thrill of catching a personal best.
Ady Hume set
the pace last weekend with 11 Bass between 7lb and 3lb topped by an 18lb
Cod. All were caught on the flood tide last Saturday afternoon. Ady was
from his own boat on a good mark of which he was not surprised would help
him find the fish. Meanwhile, Steve Pollard (picture right) who was fishing
on Nick Dunning’s Quicksilver ‘Cinnabar’, also got into the action, with a
good 10lb plus Cod that fell for a nice smelly cuttle, the mark was reported
to be somewhere in the Solent.
During the same weekend Ashlett SAC held their November Dinghy Competition.
Gary Withers on 'Sea Hunter' recorded 50lb of Conger and a specimen Sole to
wrap this one up. He went round the light when the ‘seaway’ had eased. He
boated 5 species by the end of the day, including the best specimen, caught
back in the Solent, another specimen Sole of 2lb 8oz (weighed ashore and
returned!). Totalled, this gave Gary the heaviest aggregate weight of 71lb
8oz for 175pts. Dink Lemoignan on 'Maestro' scored 90pts for 4 species and
35lb 8oz. Andy Niven also on 'Maestro' was third with 36lb 8oz and 3 species
for 81 pts with just 1lb separating their catch of mainly Dogs and Pout. I
scored 71 pts for 24lb and 4 species. Steve Davies and Andy Stevens on 'Make My Day' were 5th and 6th respectively. Going into
the last competition of the Series Lemoignan leads with 911pts, Niven 882pts
and Withers 767pts, Andy Niven is now favourite out of the three.
Last Monday’s Ashlett Boat Knockout 2005 final fished onboard Due South was
an excellent day of fine weather with Cod being the target fish. Andy Niven
had the best Cod at 18lb plus a small Conger to set the pace, however Steve
Davies landed a cracking Undulate Ray at 17lb 12oz for the best specimen and
a boost to his aggregate weight to win by 154pts to Nivens 150pts. The rest
of the crew made up the numbers with a small Conger and plenty of Whiting,
Pout and Dogs.
British Cod Championships - Fished
in cold but reasonable weather gave the chance for all the boats to get to
the intended marks. On day 1 there were 13 Cod and Day 2 there were 22 Cod
caught. Perry Dack had the best Cod on Day 1 and Day 2, both over 20lb.
Sponsored this year by Raymarine it was a resounding success. See reports on
West Wight Charter Skippers web site which should be there soon.
About time too, the NFSA are reviewing their membership scheme. The NFSA
have decided to vote for proposals in a December EGM (Extra Ordinary
Meeting) that if passed will amalgamate the Individual and Personal
memberships. They will also vote on allowing Junior Anglers to join free of
charge. Affiliated clubs will be charged £1 per member with a minimum of
£25. This makes good sound sense. Be warned though, unless you are a direct
or full NFSA Member and not just an affiliated member, through an affiliated
club, you are not eligible to take part in the awards scheme or be eligible
to claim Divisional Record Claims.
Open – Sponsored by Glen Grieve - Sunday 27th November. Fishing
9am – 3pm
The weather is
doing what it always does and that is make up for all the fine spells that
we have had during the summer and autumn. It has really put the mockers on
the Sole fishing and restricted Cod fishing mostly too. John Skeggs on
Tomkat has managed a couple up the Western Solent, an area that many charter
crews resist fishing if the weather is poor. They are reported around 16lb.
If you scale down to smaller hooks and don't have the patience to wait for a
Cod or Conger there are plenty of bigger Pouting around and worth catching
for the pan. In my opinion one of the better eating fish you can catch. You
must fillet them off as soon as possible though and eat them quick.
The sea is a little
warmer than usual for this time of year but there have been reports of a
couple of good sized Dabs. Lets hope that bodes well for the Cod too later
on when they get a chance to get round our way again. It still feels too
warm to me. The law of averages must mean we will have a very harsh January,
February or March if not before. I hope not as I have got my Yachtmaster
Practical course and Examination booked and paid for with UK Sailing
Academy in January 2006 out from the Cowes! I wonder if they would mind me
taking along a Cod rod plus some squid and cuttle bait!
The IOW International Cod Championships are coming round again see
The time and place are as follows
FROM YARMOUTH IoW ON 16th and 17th
Thornbacks and Black Bream, Flounders and Mullet, Cod and Congers, Whiting
and Mackerel, sounds a good mix of species but that is the type of catch you
could end up with this weekend, weather permitting.
are getting more of these Red Mullet this year than ever, it is a funny
little fish. You seem to either get none or just the one throughout
a long session. This would indicate that they must be territorial and not a
shoal species as such. They are a beautiful looking fish though and appear
to be a cross between a Red Gurnard and a Bass and are good eating, tasting
more like a herring. Incidentally they have very large scales and die very
quickly if not handled properly. A crazy mixed up fish.
must be good though this weekend up the Solent in particular although the
Easterly wind might dampen proceedings a little. One trawler
recently sweeping the Western Solent had 6 cod in his nets. A 6lb Cod was
caught off the shore at the deep water section at Stone Point, Lepe. Sole,
Cod, Bass and Whiting will make up the majority of the target species. It is
not silly to expect one lucky angler at least to get a 15lb plus Bass
falling to a big bait setup for Cod. This is based purely on the quality of
fish already caught this year. I don’t know how long Red Mullet stay around
but I bet we have not seen the last of them. Also we may yet see a rogue
small Tuna or two after the ones caught in November last year.
We should not
be surprised if an Ashlett member or other local angler was to hold the
British Record Sole soon from the Boats. It only stands at 4lb 2oz. Gary
Withers has just improved the Ashlett Sole Record from the boats to 3lb
11.75oz! I recon the weed has restricted the trawlers up until recently so
it is a race between us and them, although the real big Sole are not really
edible. The professionals can’t even sell the monster soles so best keep
them alive to weigh and put them back if you can.
still a few Mackerel around and many private and a few charter boats are
still drifting for Bass.
The first cod
generally come from the Solent and should be expected on the next set of
Last year some
good small eyed rays were being taken from Boscombe Beach to Sandeels, while
at the same spot soles were falling to worm. Wrasse should be getting
heavier too as they gorge themselves ready for winter. Sole are being caught
in huge numbers all along our shores but you need to get there before the
trawlers and netters do. The humble flounder should also begin to account
for themselves too.
The IOW International Cod Championships are coming round again see
Thanks to Wight Warrior for the positive feedback regarding the web site. It
is nice to hear, especially as it does not come direct very often. By the
way I did not receive your e-mail so try using
firstname.lastname@example.org these should both work.
On a similar note, I e-mail anyone that I know is interested in sea angling
making them aware of any web updates as soon as they happen. All you need to
do is make me aware of your e-mail address.
After last years experience, ‘tongue in cheek’ humour does not work too well
in black and white, I try my hardest not to offend anyone. For those that
are unlucky enough to actually know me they will understand that I may find
that difficult at times J.
Also you should have noticed that I avoid posting very exact reports. For
example if I found a bank or reef at ‘Lat xx.xx/Long xx.xx’ layered in fish
within 2 miles from my moorings, would I want everyone else to fish it?
Unlikely! An impossibility anyway as fish or the tides move them around and
what’s there one day is sure to be gone the next. However having said that,
it is worth knowing what is out there, while it is out there. Generally the
local newspapers are 1-2 weeks out of date when it comes to sea-angling, I
know I send reports. Coarse angling, golf, yachting, Rugby etc are all
similar. The Sea Angler Magazine is about 8 weeks out of date.
What I aim to do here is keep people up to date that is if I know of
anything. Currently many dinghy anglers are targeting the illusive soles. I
got ‘talked into’ going sole fishing after being at the boat show all of
Saturday. I could not get back onto the moorings until 2am but we went
anyway and were rewarded with everything but soles. These sole are hard to
locate in any numbers but they pretty much hook themselves if the bait stays
on the hook. Also they tend not to feed until very late, probably after
midnight. Before that time of night there is lots of other species on offer
by fishing shallow in the Western Solent and out at
Dave Masterton latched into a nice Sole of 3lb 4oz along the North side of
the Western Solent and there are bound to be bigger ones out there. While
these sole are being fished for there are ‘bait robbing’ Spotted Rays,
Thornback Rays, Dogs, Hounds, big Silver Eels, Pout, small Black Bream, good
Bass and ‘Red Mullet’ coming to the boat, all after dark. Incidentally we
had at least one of all these species bar the Red Mullet. Nothing is
particularly very big but the variety is, at times, the spice of life. Gary
Withers on Sea Hunter during the weekend caught a 1lb 1.5oz Red Mullet for a
new Ashlett Club Record. Meanwhile it is reported that Red Mullet are being
trawled up, from down the Eastern Solent with up to 30 at a time found in
the net. The Island boys are also getting them along the South side of the
Western Solent. Interesting times these. As fish recorder I know that
Ashlett SAC have had new club records for Black Bream, Gilthead Bream, Red
Mullet, Allis Shad and Stingray so far this year. Most of which have been
caught in the Solent and within half a mile from the shoreline!
Please can I ask you for any ‘good’ pictures of local fish along with the
angler, preferably showing the fish ‘alive and kicking’ and soon after
capture. They will all be considered for uploading with any provided ‘story’
so please send them in by e-mail. This photography lark is not easy and
takes some practice. Try to capture pictures with the angler holding the
fish a normal distance from the body. Not with outstretched arms. This tends
to show a miniature head behind a fish being held by fingers that look like
they have been run over by a 10 tonne truck! Preferably the gills should be
held and the tail supported just behind the vent with as few fingers showing
as possible, not the ‘bird’. Remove dark glasses.
Luckily after a busy Rugby weekend I made the right
decision to pick a good day off for fishing on a huge springer at 4.9M.
Early on Monday we had a short session at West Lepe over high water which
produced a couple of small hounds and dogs to squid before heading out
towards Christchurch Ledge. Luckily for us the 'sea' got a little too big so
rather than go back into the Solent we made a good move and went in closer
to the shoreline where in 20' we found it teaming with fish. The Black
Bream, of which there were many, averaged 1.5-2lb. We must have had over 50.
Meanwhile there were plenty of Mackerel and Scad on the bottom hooks on a
set of Pollock boomer 'feathers'. There was also a 5lb 5oz Bass on the 'up-tider'
and a Tub Gurnard at a 1ib. When it got dark we moved in for Sole and ran
out of worms at 11:30pm after catching small Plaice and School Bass and five
Sole to 1lb 4oz. If I was not doing the boat show on Saturday I would fish
along there again this weekend. The Solent is fishing really well too as the
weed has died back, with reports of good Bass and Thornbacks. Basically you
are really spoilt for choice.
To book your places for the Cod Champs in November see
Just as a reminder it is time to order that Cod bait too. One recommendation
is that 'Baits Direct' do good cuttle, at very cheap prices (3 in a pack for
£1.30) but I would avoid their bargain squid as it looks very old to me and
not the beautiful snow white squid with the fluorescent green eyes that you
really want. Bells is usually a good bet for quality frozen bait. No doubt
my loligilo squid will catch the competition doggies for me :-). Nothing
ventured, nothing gained.
The fish could be there or they may not be. I managed to avoid the mackerel
on Sunday even though you could have walked on them Friday evening. It seems
that the fishing is very patchy. The Solent
appears to be fishing extremely well with plenty of fish after dark and
during the daylight hours. An Allis Shad was weighed on Saturday by Brian
Jones, fishing on his own boat Jara, caught along the Hampstead Ledge area.
It weighed 9.5 ozs and is a new club record for Ashlett SAC. There are
plenty of fish in the Solent and the good news is the weed is well on its
way to dying out. Meanwhile outside the Solent, Andy Niven and Dink
Lemoignan on Maestro, recorded 12 sizable species caught during the Ashlett
boat comp on Sunday. Their catch included good sized Bull Huss, Small Eyed
Rays, Bass and Thornback Rays, quality fishing.
The tides are picking up for this weekend so lets all hope for a good
forecast. Close in along the Solent
shallows under darkness should prove tempting as should Barton, Freshwater
Reef or Christchurch Ledge.
If the weather turns bad there is always the Southampton Boat show. A new,
now affordable chart plotter has to be worth looking at and haggling over.
My old Garmin 45 a 4 channel handheld GPS is proving too slow to update when
I am ‘wrecking’. Still, it did last me about 14 years! The Garmin 192C or
the Lowrance 3300C sound like absolute bargains at the moment and I
definitely need one to assist my wreck fishing. Now that I have a more
economical outboard I can afford to drift the wrecks without causing issues
with my engine ‘oiling up’ or burning too much fuel. These 4 strokes are
very efficient at low revs when compared to the older 2 strokes. But then
the even newer 2 strokes are supposed to be even better than the current 4
strokes. Who do you believe? Best go on recommendation, I say. No one has
recommended the new 2 stokes to me yet!
This is a good time of the year to be a sea angler as we are blessed with
nice air temperatures and warm seas. Luckily the F5 during Saturday and
Sunday cooled down what would have been a real scorcher. Sitting on your
boat and fishing comfortably in a pair of shorts after dark is a treat that
we are not always given in the UK but that’s how good it was. This usually
leads on to some good catches too and that is exactly what has been
Roger Williams of Ashlett SAC has caught and weighed a massive 53lb 8oz
Common Stingray. Roger, an experienced boat angler respected by many a local
skipper, was fishing from his own boat in 11’ of water just off Lepe. Anyone
who thinks that this was the only big Stinger out there should think again.
Tim Parvin reckoned on one night, some years ago, he and Andy Stevens caught
and released 7 big Stingers all over 30lbs with some estimated nearer to
40lb. On the conservation front, Ashlett SAC has released many Stingray this
year alone, alongside the boat or immediately after weighing on the boat.
One Stinger was even boated, weighed ashore and then released unharmed.
However both the Ashlett SAC Junior Record and the Senior Club Records have
been beaten in the last 4 weeks! The NFSA rules used to say that a potential
record or award fish must be weighed ashore and on club scales count. It is
a grey area now though. There are many arguments around this but
conservation is key to our sport and to the future of our sport but whatever
your personal point of view, Rogers Stinger was a massive fish and deserves
recognition. I have extended my thoughts and made a few notes and comments
regarding this capture in an article called ‘To kill or not to kill that is
the question’. It will be uploaded in a week or two after I have completed
what is turning out to be an interesting investigation into this prickly
Back to the fishing, some good Plaice catches have been reported and there
are trigger fish to be caught too. Who knows what else may turn up? An old
boy, Brian Williams, down at our moorings latched into a ‘Herring’ on a
trolled Redgill. It may have been some sort of ‘shad’ but he had eaten his
‘bass’ before I could photograph it and count the fin spines and markings
for a proper ID! You need to get out there in the coming weeks to get the
best of the fishing in this country!
has been a long time with no reports. It is mainly because the weather has
been good and I have been out in my boat but also recently I have been
offline so to speak and on my holidays all of 15 miles away (as the crow
flies) at Bembridge on the IOW. It was great, although the weather could
have been better. I had plenty of time to explore new ground and some
Eastern Marks between the Nab and Ventnor but like all fishing, I never had
enough time. In fact the best mark was established one hour before bringing
my boat back, typical but that’s fishing! Just to rub the salt in, the best
days were the days I took my boat over, 2 days before we went on holiday
proper and then the Sunday afterwards, when I brought her back. I think they
call that sod’s law.
Back to the fishing, its been good, interesting and at times quiet. The best
part of getting out of the Solent
was the lack of weed although the crystal clear water made fishing a little
less suited to complicated rigs. Simple was best. A long single hook on
flouro-carbon traces was the way to go, with nice long strips of mackerel
was an easy way to fish but luckily you dig your own worms at Bembridge.
Ventnor is fishing patchy for Plaice with the best up around 5lb but many
are around the 1lb mark. A long way to run for a few small fish but the
potential is still there. Some good Bass are still being taken in
Christchurch bay and along the shallows of the Western Solent.
There is still hounds along the
Western Solent after dark with some good Bass along the edges. There are
good patches of skate on the banks. This is the time to start thinking about
the sole. Although there seems to be more Brill around this year. There are
certainly more round Culver that the Needles.
What fantastic Weather. I guess some might say you don’t need to catch fish
when it’s like this, true maybe, to a certain extent but when you have a
session like we did Wednesday night in the boat along Park Shore and Sowley,
you could be excused for thinking differently. When you catch just one small
Hound and the most weed you have ever seen on a line in 6’ of water, after
only 5-8 mins, between casts, then you can see it may not always be a true
statement. Having said that a slight improvement on the rig would enable a
quick release of the weed by cutting the mainline tied to a swivel above the
weight. I spoke to Bells Sports ‘boss’ Alan Shergold who was organising and
fishing a Hound event at Park
Shore at the same time. He had 25 anglers sign on and the weed was beginning
to beat them too with a few deciding that it was not worth it, that’s how
bad it is, with no fish it makes the night very frustrating, I don’t believe
any of them managed to find a Hound! The weed was shrouding the bait most of
the time- although I did get one 6lb Hound on my uptider as this tends to
keep the bait clear. So there you go, the perfect tide, big moon, clear sky,
still night with the ‘sea like glass’ …. and tons of weed and no fish,
that’s fishing!!! Personally it makes me want to go again and beat it!
Wednesday night’s ‘up and over’ was in complete contrast to the weekend
where we had the lot, fine weather, good tide and lots and lots of fish. I
fished the Ashlett SAC dinghy comp with my daughter Sarah (11) on our
Shetland 570 called ‘Shetland’. All 7 skippers had their own ideas on how
to win the comp as three boats fished the Ledge, 3 fished Atherfield and one
elected to ‘stay inside’. Guess who caught the heaviest weight? I like
comps as you find out what is really caught (no radio fish) and various
marks can be compared with the same weather and tide conditions, crucial
data for success. I particularly enjoy the Ashlett Comps. Not only do you
have to know how to catch fish but you need to get your boat out to a number
of marks and back safely. You can go where you want on these comps (weather
permitting) and they are all 12 hours long. You are also up against some
good anglers. Ashlett allow 2 rods with 4 hooks between them in an effort to
pre-empt an anticipated NFSA ‘new rule’ but they may need to change this
back to 3 hooks next year as the anticipated ‘new NFSA rule’ was not
Back to the comp - the June competition was won by Gary Withers on 'Sea
Hunter' who went to the Atherfield Banks and caught 8 species (Blonde, Small
Eyed, Spotted and Sting Rays) and 61lb of fish for 143pts. Second was Andy
Niven with the best weight of 98lb of Hounds for 140pts, who fished with
Dink Lemoignan on 'Maestro' in the Western Solent.
Third was myself with 4 species and 48lb (actually 70lb, I will explain
later) for 125pts (in c a bonus 25pts for the best specimen) on fished
Christchurch Ledge and fourth was Dink Lemoignan with 82lb of hounds for
114pts. Fifth was Mitchell Jones (14) on ‘Jara’ with 91 pts caught 51lb of
Hounds and Wrasse.
daughter, Sarah (11) on the front page, caught the best specimen on the comp in
the form of a fine Black Bream of 3lb
7ozs weighed ashore and a new Junior
Club record. It was one of 10 Black Bream that Sarah caught. They averaged
up around 2lb. All the Ashlett comps start unrestricted depending on the
weather so I elected to take my Shetland 570 'Shetland' to Christchurch
Ledge. Interestingly Sarah caught the Black Bream on a Fladden Maxximus 12lb
class rod (good rod) and a Fladden reel (not good) that she won last year in
the SAN Junior fish of the month competition.
Not to be out-done I managed 19 Black Bream to 3lb 4oz and a few Bass with
the best one weighed officially at 9lb 4oz. As much as people like to see
these big Bass weighed and released this one is a marker for our annual Bass
Trophy and went down really well after a visit to the frying pan.
For those with a head for detail our club competition boat rules only allow
for each sizable Black Bream to count as 1lb. Therefore Sarah's Black Bream
as far as the comp was concerned only counted as 1lb, they can then be
quickly recorded and released. If it was 1oz more it would have counted as
3lb 8oz...rules is rules! Wrasse, Dogs and Pout also have a size limit and a
max number restriction unless of specimen size. All the comps are run as
weigh and release and work purely on trust with nothing but points to gain
that go towards the annual championship trophy. This saves lots of fish,
including Bass, Bream and Cod. In the June comp we weighed and released
350lb of fish from 4 of the dinghies with only a couple of Bream and Bass
taken for the pan. A few years ago when we adopted these rules as a test we
released 500lb of Hounds and Stingray in the same June comp, with Dink
nearly catching 200lb on his own. Andy Niven, Geoff Wheeler and myself only
had about 100lb each!! That was a lot of fish saved, it made good sense and
they have extended that approach to all the comps. As more clubs are
adopting these conservationist attitudes have you noticed more Hounds, Black
Bream, Dogfish, Skate and Bass around now compared to just 8 years ago? I
A gem for those that read to the end - an old fisherman's
tale is that thundery weather is good for Stingers! Oh and that thundery
weather can kill your rag worm if you tank them (keep on the aerator)!
have been plenty of hounds to be caught at the well publicised Hill Head
boat and beach marks. Of course catches all along the coastline will include
large clumps of weed although it is not quite as bad as it has been over the
last few weeks. Reports are still of many hounds with up to 6 or more fish
going into double figures although they may now be dispersing in their
search for more crabs. Most hounds are falling to hardback crabs and the
trusty rag worm. One spectacular Hound was taken during last week by Alan
Shergold while fishing in his friends small boat. Alan owns and runs Bells
Sports Tackle Shop. The Hound banged the scales down to 22lb 4oz! Another
reported Hound went 24lb, could this be the same fish?
Others that have persevered in the Western Solent say they have not caught
as many fish and the average size is not as big during the day but close in
under darkness will work as proved last night with the Best in the West
reported going 14lb. If you use good worms you can encounter the odd Stinger
too which Dink Lemoignan and Andy Stevens both managed to do.
Bream are also giving themselves up in large numbers on and around the Ledge
still with smaller Bream off Culver Cliffs and most other marks. Bracklesham
Bay in May threw up a 5lb 4oz Black Bream for Ashlett SAC member Dennis
Willingham weighed ashore by the skipper. He then discovered that it had to
be weighed on official scales to count for any club award! Still he will not
be the first or last to catch a fish of a lifetime that will not be included
in his club records list. A similar thing happened last year to Patric Warne
when he caught a big Hound out from Langstone. The skipper was not going to
let it die so it went back within minutes after being estimated well above
20lb, another potential Club Record!
found Ventnor slow during the day on Saturday with few fish moving and those
that were proved to be the faithful dogfish (vermin to many). What we had
was small with nothing of any note but what a lovely place to fish. The
mackerel although available were patchy with just the odd ones and twos
complimenting our bait supply. It was noted that Freshwater Reef was
crawling with dogfish as was The Shingles too!
another new experience this weekend while returning from Ventnor on a
friends boat, a Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695. We were flying along at about
16knots when we hit something which caused a violent judder and nearly
stalled our 150hp Volvo Inboard Diesel and whatever it was also resulted in
poor steering. Having stopped the boat and scanned around the stern we
decided to try in reverse and then forward again. We were drifting and free
from the bottom but there was definitely something around the prop as we
found that above 7knts we were juddering along. It was a long trip home. A
new addition to my friends ‘safety kit’ is now a snorkel and mask as he
found it very useful when cutting off what could only be described as some
rubbish cargo netting. It was a useful comparison between an inboard and an
outboard engine. When I pick up rubbish round the prop of my outboard -
generally you can get to it a little easier - I wish I hadn’t written that
now. The prop guards that BHG Marine supply must be worth considering,
particularly with all the pot ‘buoys’ that are appearing everywhere up and
down the Solent.
The Lymington Summer Species Open Boat comp is on Sun July 3rd
hopefully the weather will be a little better than last year but it never
seems to put off the majority of dinghy anglers with plenty of options
inside the Solent at this time of year
This weekend I was in Alderney,
see our Alderney Story
for the full details, so I have been phoning around for local news. I
understand that the Bream are still showing in numbers on the favoured marks
and are of a good specimen size.
There are Hounds around with the
best going 12lbs reported from the Western Solent and 13lbs reported from
the Eastern Solent, so take your pick.
From the shore there should are some big Silver Eels falling to worm and
peeler. They can be fished for at the same time as Hounds as the bait is the
same and can be caught along Shore Road at Hythe and the Marina
With the breezy conditions over the last
two weekends most small boats stayed inside the Solent with mixed results.
Unfortunately there is a lot of weed clinging to the lines. It is here much
earlier than normal and is as bad as it can get. If you get to the right
spot there are a few hounds but they are fairly localised by the reports
that I have heard and during a session witnessed last weekend. The trick for
the early hounds has proved to be more productive by baiting up with squid. Some sizable
Bass are coming from the gravel shallow banks and close in. Lets hope the
weed will die away earlier while the late summer fish are still around.
There is only one thing to do and that is get outside to escape the weed or
fish through it. I am getting right outside and trying for a Turbot over at
Alderney with Arthur Savage on Private Venture 3 out from Lymington. I hope
to get a couple of good fish all being well we will have 5 days to fish for
them. The long range forecast looks better so I guess we will all be
I have been a little busy so the updates are behind but the fishing and
rugby was been worth it though. After last weekend most of us are hoping for
less fog but it looks like the weather is conspiring against us again this
weekend with a F6-7 in the forecast from the SW. The Ledge is producing some
classical Black Bream with the best reported at over 5lb on Greg Woodford’s
charter boat. Ashlett SAC member Andy Stevens has latched into Black Bream
of over 4lb on consecutive trips with the best at 4lb 1.5ozs breaking the
Ashlett SAC Boat Club Record. It certainly seemed to me and was consistent
with other reports that the Bream were coming on the Ebb while the flood
tide was difficult. The party squid are the fellas to put on the small
hooks. They are deadly easy to bait up with.
Sandbanks local to the Wight are producing good catches of Small Eyed Rays,
some under sized but the right marks are producing well to sandeel baits.
There is also the chance of a small Turbot. Mackerel are now showing over
those banks too. Hounds have started moving down the Solent and Pollock are
in over the inshore reefs. Basically in 4 weeks we have gone from fishing
hard for little reward to having to decide what fish we want to fish for.
The summer’s here boys, fill yer boots.
The real trick and the way to satisfaction is to concentrate on a species
and then to catch what you target. A good specimen is the icing on the cake
although a bait intended for one particular species will often turn up a
surprise. Whole squid will often appeal to the Hounds this time of year as
they move inshore. Similarly fresh mackerel and cuttle strip can be very
affective for the big ‘May’ Stingers. If you just want to ‘catch anything’
then use small strong size 4 carp hooks baited with a ragworm and mackerel
cocktail, that will catch most species at most sizes. Remember small hooks
catch big fish, look at those 40-50lb carp.
From the shore I have had a report of sizable Bass in numbers from Calshot
beach at the start of the Ebb, Small Eyed Rays from Milford and more dogfish
to make up the bags.
Oh and it seems the catching of a 400lb Tuna in a net is believed to be myth
although the huge shoal of herring that moved East up the English channel
last month was not. Of course there is no reason why Tuna and other exotic
fish should not be following them. It is all down to water temperature.
It was interesting yesterday as I was able to fish on two boat trips
on the same day. I shot out in my Shetland 570 at 0430 to fish the channel of the
Western Solent over dawn and was back in at 07:15 mainly because of the tide
and also to take advantage of the fine weather. All we caught were Pout and Dogs
but there were many and the Pout were over a 1lb that was until just before
we came back when the sun was up, they definitely stopped feeding. Then I
went with some friends on a brand new Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695 with a 150HP
Volvo Diesel engine a really lovely boat out to Christchurch Ledge taking
advantage of the weather. It was really bad luck that the engine had a
fractured injector pipe which we discovered only when we got out there.
Luckily included in the package was something called SeaStart and after a
few phone calls they came out and towed us back into Lymington. We fished
for an hour for a few Wrasse before the SeaStart rib found us but the whole
experience made me consider a SeaStart package for myself and for just under
£130 a year it seems good value. Do you really want to lug an Auxiliary
around when SeaStart are in 5 different ports, 24hrs a day around the Solent
http://www.seastart.co.uk/seastart.html for further info.
As for what is going on the fishing is
getting better and the Black Bream will be starting to gather for spawning
into the sandy patches between the rocks off Culver Cliffs and Sandown Bay.
Please release the hen fish as these should be left to do their thing and
future proof the Black Bream population. Mind you there were loads of
smaller fish last year all over the place. On the Poole species comp in May
I caught 44 Black Bream all around the pound mark plus some undersized ones
too. The marks are easy to find just keep going ‘til you see 50 boats all
within 50M of each other. You think I am joking!! Another target fish would
be the Plaice still. On the banks the Rays will be at their biggest ready to
drop their purses. From the shore along Southampton Water Flounders will
feed again but will be in very poor condition after spawning. They are good
fun to catch as they try to stuff themselves but not for eating that’s for
sure. I remember running out of hooks once this time of year off Ashlett
Creek! Anywhere along Taddiford, Hordle and Barton must be favourite for a
Plaice or a Small Eyed Ray, worm for the first and sandeel for the second.
Remember small hooks can catch big fish but big hooks won’t catch small
Ashlett SAC Shore
Championship attracted twenty two anglers fished of which five were Juniors
and between them they managed to catch 9 Flounders and not a Plaice looking
Flounder amongst them. It was a fine sunny day so there were no excuses for
the red spots, they just weren’t there. A couple of Plaice would have lit up
the day. First was Mike Cooper with 2 small Flounders for 1lb 6.5ozs the
next to figure with one each in order were Maurice Young, Ted Yeates, Chris
Wheeler, D King, Alan Rowland and Dennis Willingham. All the members hope
that Rods wife is OK and well and they hope to see him back on the next
Ashlett SAC evening match
was dry and comfortable but the fishing was hard work. Alan Rowland was the
clear winner on the night as the six anglers targeted anything that moved.
One Pout, a Bass and a Flounder made Alan an easy winner. Five more Pout
were shared between the next three anglers, S. Pitman was 2nd,
Ernie 3rd and Ted came 4th. They are all hoping that
the fishing will be better on the next comp at Magazine Lane. They way this
works is that the winner takes the money with a small amount going to the
club. It is a very competitive event but also sociable and fun so get your
rods along to the next one, if you can.
The first Ashlett SAC
Boat competition of the year was supported by only four anglers on two boats
due to our date clashing with Saints v Chelsea and Easter Holidays. The
conditions were indifferent to say the least. Both boats elected to fish
Atherfield Banks 9 miles East of the Needles Light. The trip down the Solent
went well at 20 knots all the way. The 9 miles from the ‘Light’ to the mark
forced them down to 8 knots. By the time ‘Make My Day’ a 19’ Orkney
Fastliner with Andy Stevens and Dink aboard, got to the mark, Gary Withers’
‘Sea Hunter’, an 18’ Raider, already provided Mickey Thompson a 17lb Blonde
Ray! The Blonde fell to Tommo’s first bait and was an excellent start to the
day! Dinks next fish was the nearest to a specimen, a 4lb 3oz Spotted Ray.
Dinks first fish was followed by a Painted Ray then a Pout, a Dogfish and a
jammy sizable Whiting. Those fish apart, the fishing did seem a little on
the slow side. As the tide eased Dink had a small Blonde Ray then nothing.
A quick chat with Andy and ‘Make My Day’ moved back 5 miles and were soon
into Pout and dogs which was enough, they thought, to cover a 17lb Blonde
Ray. Andy also snatched a sizable Hound to finish the day off. The trip
back to the light seemed reasonably quick as they surfed 6ft waves. Once
round the ‘Light’ and all the way to Yarmouth again they were up to planning
speeds whilst they tried to get back to the Brickyard for the big “Game”.
From Hurst the conditions conspired against them as they went back to
plodding along at 5 knots with the boat hitting several brick walls before
the sedge of Seagull Island came into view - sanctuary. Dink was first with
5 species and best specimen for 175 points, Andy Stevens second, Mickey
Thompson third and Gary Withers didn’t weigh-in. It was nice to see Tommo
back fishing with the club and at the weigh-in he added a ‘nice to see’ 5lb
Turbot to his 17lb Blonde Ray. It was not the best days fishing and not the
best sea conditions and the 2nd half wasn’t much better for the
Good weather down south this weekend with a little warming
up of the fishing too. For those that managed to get out onto the sand
banks, deep off the back of the island, some better quality fish were
available, although the fishing was still on the slow side. While some
blanked others connected with some good fish with Mick Thompson landing a
5lb Turbot and a 17lb Blonde Ray on Sea Hunter skippered by Gary Withers.
Small hounds were also showing along with 4 more Blondes, to the nearby
boats, and a 93% specimen Spotted Ray plus Small Eyed Ray going to Andy
Stevens boat 'Make My Day'. Closer in and there were a few Dogfish and an
The Solent is still slow to react to this warm weather and
Plaice are still the target fish.
We have had some fantastic weather which has gone some way to making up for
the fishing. There are a few more Plaice starting to show now. ‘The blocks’
off Portsmouth and Winner Bank being the marks to produce a few at a time
with the biggest near to 3lb. All the boats are getting at least one Plaice.
Smaller fish are showing along Calshot but only a single fish to a boat and
that’s if you are lucky. I managed to get one myself big enough to remind me
that they can put up a good account of themselves. That is slow fishing but
there are 'just under sized Bass' in amongst them too. As there is little
weed suspended you can scale down to very light tackle so they all give some
sort of fight. The trick is not to catch fish at the moment but finding
Deep along the Solent channel is
showing small Pout, a dogfish or two and the odd Spotted Ray.
Out past the Island is slow too
generally with just a few Pout, Dogs and Spotted Rays and an odd early
Hound. although there will be some good Blondes on the banks on the smaller
tides and a few Pollock on the wrecks.
Apart from the fresh air, the confidence that the boat is working well, that
the end tackle is casting well and not tangling there is no point raising
hopes too high. Expectation is the key to fishing through to the end of this
month and early April. Set your expectation low and be prepared to fish
hard. You have to do this when there is not a lot interested in your baits
but you will probably need to put more effort into moving the bait, keeping
it fresh and trying different marks.
Locally, Calshot seems to be the best option with the banks off Ryde,
Portsmouth and Hayling also being areas to target for the Plaice from Boat
The boats that had a go this weekend struggled to get a bite when fishing in
the very neap tides (1.2M between high and low) in the Western Solent, which
currently seems to be almost fishless. Although during an all day session in
the Western Solent
on Saturday, one boat did produce a couple of Thornbacks. A few boats
started in the Solent, caught nothing, then braved the poor visibility to
get out past the Needles light and settled a couple of miles off. They were
in Fog all day. It was still hard work out there too with reports of an odd
Thornback, Dogfish and Spotted Ray making up the catches. The water is gin
clear and cold, with the mist and fog causing visibility problems all
I bought a few worms headed into the fog on Friday evening and came back
without wetting a line as darkness was on its way and I could not see any
real benefits in staying out there. I passed the worms on to my brother for
Saturday who also realised the fog was thickening again towards the evening,
and he also decided to give the fishing a miss and gave the worms back.
They were then passed to a mate who saw the thickening fog on Saturday night
and realised Sunday morning was a non-starter too. He didn’t use them
either! Two miles inland and it was like a mid summers day, all very
The sea temperature should be warming a little from now and the worms would
have finished spawning and so too the Flounders, maybe more inshore fish
will show some interest over the next couple of weeks. A little more tide
will help too when fishing deeper.
Fog and why it forms along the coast
Fog and mist are both made of tiny water droplets suspended in air. The
difference between them is the density. Fog is denser (thicker) so contains
more water droplets than mist. For air pilots, if you cannot see further
than 1000 meters, then it is called fog. For motorists though, visibility
has to be less than 200 metres before it is classed as fog.
Fog can form along the coast when warm air moves over a colder area of sea.
This will cool the air and its moisture will condense into fog. This
'Advection' fog often forms in spring and early summer and sometimes early
winter when there is a greater difference between the temperatures of the
sea and land.
Fog forms in many different ways, but generally the air near the ground can
hold its moisture for longer, so water droplets condense to form fog. The
amount of moisture that air can hold depends, amongst other things, on
temperature. The cooler the air is, the less moisture it can hold, so fog
can form. Fog usually clears soon after dawn as the sun heats up the air
again, allowing it to hold more moisture.
At night, the ground loses or 'radiates' heat. In turn the air near the
ground cools too and cannot hold as much moisture. Any excess moisture
condenses into 'radiation' fog, the UK's most common fog. The longer the
night and the clearer the skies, the more the temperature can drop, so the
denser the fog can become. However, a wind can prevent fog from forming,
because it 'mixes' the cool air by the surface with the warmer air above,
preventing the air from getting cool enough for its water to condense
man and his dog were out last weekend but there were not many bites to go
round with no one landing a fish from the shallower marks. Most were after a
Plaice or two but the Plaice were not playing. This weekends tides are
perfect for wrecking and deep banks. The threat now is from Fog as the
weather is very calm and still but with good sunshine the air temperature
has shot up unfortunately the sea is freezing still. I tried to go out last
night but in the end decided to just give the engine a run. It did not make
sense heading out into fog with my 9 and 11 years olds just as dusk was
approaching for a dogfish or two. Hopefully the boys will get out to the
Atherfield Banks this weekend. There are some wreck trips planned too.
seems to be the mark for inshore Plaice. Others areas to fish would be Ryde
and Hayling, good luck. You need some this time of year.
In the latest Ashlett SAC Evening League fished at Hurst shingle bank the
fish were hard to come by as only four anglers weighed-in. Ernie Cuthbertson
with a Pout and a Dogfish for 2lbs 0.25 ozs won the night with Ralph Pitman
taking second place with a solitary
dogfish, and Alan Rowland third with a solitary Pout
27 members fished this Winter Rover with Pout, Plaice, Flounders, Rockling,
Whiting and Silver Eels being returned to the scales. Ernie Cuthbertson
secured 12 points and first Plaice with a brace of Flounders, a nice Plaice
and four Pout for 3lb 12oz. Second was Emily Carr, a Junior, fishing at
Lepe, who out-fished her Dad by three Flounders to none. Emily also caught
the best specimen on the day with a 1lb 12oz Flounder. Alan Rowland was 3rd and Ted Yates 4th.
This is the time to get your
fishing tackle maintained and new traces tied and ready. Also a good time to
ensure the boat and engine is ready to go and make sure that your charter
trips and competitions are booked and in the diary. Next if you get a chance
have a go at testing what you have done but don't expect too much unless you
are lucky. The benefit in going out this time of year is that you can test
new ideas and you may get one of those special out of season days and a
'full fishing fix'. Traces can look good but cast and 'work' very poorly.
On the actual fishing front
18th BAT SFC again chartered Dakala Mist skippered by Steve Guyan. They
set out from Langstone for a wrecking foray. The deal was that it would be
wrecking or nothing which is a good idea at this time of year considering
the unpredictability of the weather. It was not the best of days catch-wise
on the wrecks but they were out there and trying, you never know. However, they boated about 10 congers the best going 45lb and a Bull Huss of 11lb.
Pat Warne then hooked into a 16lb Smoothound as can be see from the
'FrontPage', I wonder what he thought he had latched into, during the
retrieve, as this fish is way out of season. I guess when you are out in the
middle you can expect anything.
boats fishing the shoreline for flatfish
struggled to get bites. However this weekend promised to be better with
Northerly winds, brighter days and bigger tides. It should of created ideal
conditions for chasing those early Plaice but they did not play the game.
I started the weekend trying to get more water going round my Yam
60HP 2 stroke by changing the water pump. I was chuffed when I removed the
top half of the pump to see two 'teeth' broken off the impeller. After
replacing all the bits that come with the kit, there was more water shooting
out of the 'tell tale' at 2500rpm and the water coming from the exhaust just
below the cowling was not boiling hot and steaming so I think that it is now
fixed. That gave me two hours of tide to take my nipper and nephew out for a
spot of Plaice fishing. As it happens like all other reports received this
The weekend suffered with high winds from the North East which meant that
only a couple of ‘diehards’ got out and fished, mostly sheltering their
boats on the North Shore of the Western Solent. Thanks to the meteorological
webs I could see that at 13:00 on Saturday it gusted to 50 Knts (F10)!
Anyway the fish kept there heads down too with school Bass ripping the
baits. Unfortunately trawlers have been spotted working up and down these
areas for the last couple of weeks. They don’t do it for nothing, there must
be fish there. They have a living to make but it is frustrating when you are
waiting for a good run of fishing only to see your 3 hooks competing a few
hours a week with a huge net that is dragged up and down for hundreds of
hours a week.
targets for next weekend with the neap tides will be getting deep again with
large baits and hoping for a late Cod or a nice Skate or Conger. This can be
done while picking off anything smaller that moves with squid strip, worm
and slivers of mackerel. If that fails then there are Plaice and Dabs to
chase with the same small baits.
large Flounder should show inshore and around the rivers to King rag
presented well on a size 1/0 black Aberdeen style hook. Another Flounder
trick is to have a ‘flyer’ above the weight. This bait will have more
movement as the waves and boat move the line above the weight. Another trick
is to add beads, sequins and even small rod tip lights above the hook. Then
there is the float and spoon method, I actually prefer the plastic
spoons…loads to play with. The moral to fishing is not to sit and wait but
to experiment with tactics and try new marks.
The Western Solent Boats that are fishing the deeper marks on these small
tides are finding a few Whiting
to 2lb, the odd small Pollock, reliable Pout and Dogs. You have to be on the
fish as there have been reports of some fishless days. In the sandy shallows
there have been small Plaice and Dabs caught. A few Flounders are being
taken still form just off the shore but they are very hard work to catch.
The odd Bass is still showing to 4lb. A cracking Thornback of 15lb was
caught by Mick Cousins on Sea Hawk. The Specimen 'Skate' was a big female
bursting at the seams and was released immediately, she put up a good fight
on sporting up-tide tackle and a fell to a small hook baited with mackerel.
Not aware of shore of charter activity.