Catch Reports 2010
Hopefully the Christmas period was a welcome break for all. No doubt we all
learned something from a family gathering, our friends or someone new.
During this week fog was the debilitating factor for myself and a planned
Christmas competition at the end of the river. The crew dwindled to 'a few' and the day
itself was so restricted in visibility, the trip 'out and back' was literally
a test trip, practicing navigating in the fog. The view, was literally, a
'white-out'. The Garmin Radar overlay on the 12" chart plotter was
'priceless'. The Navionics chart on my Samsung Galaxy Tab was a reasonable
backup but not something I would recommend to replace 'proper' navigation
equipment. Note my new backup mobile number is 07585 335 783.
Weekending 26th December
A Christmas Story
I went down to the boat one night this week and tipped the
floating slab of ice out of the tender. After a 50m paddle, boarded White
Maiden from the stern and stepped down onto the deck and went down like a
sack of dogfish. The aft centre deck was an ice rink.
After opening the cab door, there was no sound from the
alarm, so obviously the alarm was 'forked'. So I primed and started both
engines, they both pinged into life, so I kissed the helm, what a beauty she
is. No seriously I did, affairs with boats can become very passionate.
I put 'the mistress' against the ropes as I do every week,
if the weather is bad, mainly to avoid a proper trip in the dark and risk
sliding into the sea off the foredeck while releasing the head ropes. Note
that I do this to make sure everything is ready for the next trip, whenever
that will be!
While changing the batteries in the PIR of the alarm
system, the starboard engine screamed and scrolled the word 'overheating'
across the digital display. I switched it off. Two minutes later the port
engine did the same. I was guessing they were 'iced up' too.
I finish and tested the alarm fix proving that the Chinese
manual was wrong! Two sneaky 'smokes' later and a 20 minute wait, I
restarted the engines and this time monitored both 'tell tales' and
temperature gauges. They had both defrosted nicely, bingo but no kissing
this time. Another lesson learned!
I ran White Maiden against the ropes for a bit more,
giving the two starter and two house batteries a charge, and then went
through my shut down routine and reset the alarm. White Maiden is all ready
to go again, and I am champing at the bit.
The weather this year was as good as it has ever been
compared to my first four years and so I won't complain. If the weather
forecast is good enough, we go, if not, we don't. If we can get out at those
fat Cod over the next four weeks that will be great. The February weather
will often give us a chance to fish, if there are any fish to be caught
inshore. Well that part is yet to be proven. Traditionally February /
March is a hard period but I will be keeping White Maiden on the
mooring until March 21st, where she comes out for about 10 days for some
maintenance and three year survey.
So there will be opportunities I am sure in the next 8
weeks or so to have a go at those slippery, spiky, wet, rough, cold, tasty,
hard fighting Needles winter species.
A big thank you to all those that have supported me and
White Maiden throughout the year and a particular thanks to those
that brought along the makings of a good breakfast and those that provided
such good pictures to make my website more special to look at.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All.
Les and White Maiden
Weekending 19th December
The forecast at 2pm on Friday was enough for me to cancel the
Saturday charter this weekend, so not much to report. The few boats that did
get out found it hard going. Shoals of sprats are showing on the sonar now
round the Needles light and so this is no doubt a pre-occupation for the
majority of sought after fish in the vicinity. However if the forecast was
better I would still like to have a had a good go at the really big Cod that
are on on our patch from about now, to the end of January. Some real
monsters are possible and it has been a good Cod season, so who knows how
big they could go.
So now the chances of fishing is really up to the weather
conditions and of course the favourable driving conditions for the
travelling crews too.
In the meantime have a very Merry Christmas and if you get a
chance some very tight-lines,
From Les and 'White Maiden'
Weekending 12th December
Same mark, same tide, two weeks later on exactly, you might
expect a good return but the Cod kept fairly quiet. It was an ideal forecast
and not as many boats tested the Needles as I would have expected for this
time of year.
On White Maiden, the Alan Headley crew, included the Thursday
Cod Champion Tony Wells and true to form caught a well marked double figure
Cod, just after the hardest part of the flood tide. We assumed this was the
start of another good day. The anglers were catching some nice Whiting all
through the flood on 10/0 hooks but the Cod just did not come out in numbers
to brighten our day. By the end, the Whiting count, all around 1.75lb - 2lb
was over 25 kept fish, so we did OK. The middle of slack water, start of the
ebb, just before we up-anchored, was very quiet! The majority of the other
crews had either 1, 2 or no Cod but plenty of Whiting, while Thomo on 'Major
Tom' caught four Cod, with the best at 22lb and fared as well as anyone I
heard of. Pick the right mark and the Congers can be fun and there is the
odd double figure Pollock showing still.
Weekending 5th December
A decision for a regular Saturday crew from Watford had to be
made on Thursday evening and the snow, ice and forecast made it difficult to
commit to the trip. Unfortunately this crew don't fish the Solent as a fall
back, so we cancelled. As it turned out on the day, only three charter boats
took their crews round the Light and so we obviously made a popular
decision. I still went down to the moorings and did a couple of jobs, while
running the engines against the ropes, so 'White Maiden' is primed to go.
Today was a much better day, my day off, and the small boat
crew I just spoke to, could see about 40 boats just South of the Needles
light. This crew did very well, with one of their best 'own boat' catches,
after a move to an easier second mark that produced many Whiting over the
4lb mark plus Cod of 21lb, 18lb and 15lb. The sea was flat calm and the sun
was out, so another cracking day round the Needles light.
Above is Norman
pictured with his best ever Cod of 27lb and another picture his first two Cod. At one point,
Norman was winning 4 Cod to 0,0,0,0,0,0 as there was seven on the boat! He
had it all his way until
Tony pictured below started to catch him up. When Dave sends the group
picture back of them all on the pontoon, that will be added to this report
Prime Time, Full Story -
breezy NE F5, freezing cold but very Coddy. After three weeks of cancelled Needles
trips, I took the Tony Lavington crew a couple of miles South and just in
time for the start of the flood. Between 9am and 1pm they hauled up ten
double figure Cod with the best at 27lb and the smallest a handy 11lb. The average size was 16.5lb! What a cracking day, sat at anchor,
Needles Codding, round the back of the Western Wight.
Out of the seven anglers fishing Norman (69) lead the way
catching five cracking Cod, including the 27lb'er, Tony caught four, his best
at 18lb and Dave caught the last one at 14lb. Interestingly from slack water
high and the start of the ebb we had a quieter spell, with big baits only
being attacked by the small fish. The best Whiting and Pout were up near
3lb, although there were not many of them, and there was a single Conger.
The Conger was so small I
think it had just been born!
if the day wasn't good enough, we had a couple of Dolphins at the stern of
the boat for six or seven 'sightings' before they moved off down the tide!
that before we had a Cod in the boat, Steve Davies fishing solo
in the Western Solent on 'Agay', had three Cod of 13lb, 17lb and 18lb. But
then failed to find a big fish after that. But the point is for an easy day
and the chance of a good Cod, the Solent is still fishing
The better Cod are now round the Needles area and it was a
pity the Cod champs could not benefit, after the wind pushed up a lumpy sea
'round the Light', forcing the Wed / Thurs comp down the Solent. 25 boats
fished both days. The best boat was 'Challenger II' Skippered by Mike
Cottingham. His crews catching the most Cod, over the two days.
On Wednesday, Vernon Everitt on 'South Today', found the best
Cod at 18lb+ for one of his crew, worth £1000. Arthur Savage on 'Private
Venture II' put his anglers over the Cod on Thursday, to allow Tony Wells to
catch the days best Cod also worth £1000, a nice 21lb'er. Tony also added
another Cod, later in day, that weighed in at 19lb. The overall winner never
even fished day one, ending up with four Cod, for his £1000 prize, and the
overall prize. The competition again was a success for both the skippers,
the anglers, organisers and the location. There are few ports on the South
coast that can boast an area that holds inshore specimen Cod and a handy
sheltered fall back like the Solent when conditions are as bad as they were
last week. A big 'well done' should go to Rob Thompson, skipper of 'Shogun'
and 'the Mrs' for running such a fine competition, in such appalling
Before and after those two days the weather was good enough
to fish the Needles. The Cod fishing off the 'Light' is on fire this week
with a few good fish around the 28lb mark reported and good numbers of
double figure Cod too.
I dipped out Thursday evening and Saturday as the forecasts
were against both trips when the decision was required. The Thursday evening
decision was made on the Wednesday evening and by Thursday morning the
forecast was much better, how annoying! Similar but different the Saturday
decision was made on Thursday evening forecast which was a bit worse by the
Friday but turned out better on the actual day. With the wind from the North
East, again annoying for me but good luck to those that went out.
high winds during the week made the
12 mile inshore computer put out a Moderate to Rough sea prediction for
Saturday and so with the wind forecast at a F5 in the morning I cancelled the trip. The Solent is a good
option this time of year, although not guaranteed which is why some crews
chose not to fish down there. I give
White Maiden a test run and nipped out for a couple of hours, to the middle
of the Solent at the end of the river, with a
photographer friend, during the flood tide, fishing from 11:10 to 13:50. As
it turned out the wind was negligible and the Solent was flat calm, no rain,
a bit of sun and a few fish. It paid off with this
well marked 14lb Cod, caught on wire line (again). The Solent is looking very
murky after all the rain so a bit of colour helped plus the 10/0 and 8/0 hooks loaded with plenty of bait
but and 'singing wire' makes the difference.
Today while I was out at rugby with our U15's Rugby team at Romsey,
it was reported that the Solent fished for Cod better than the Needles with
more double figure
fish. Jeff Semple on 'Lazy Daze' had two doubles, one at 11lb
another at 14lb. Steve on 'Agay' had one at 14lb and two at small ones
3lb-4lb plus a 4lb Bass.
Let's see what happens next week during the Cod Championship,
as Wednesday and Thursday is looking very promising, so good luck to all,
set out your stall and keep them baits fresh.
Weekending 31st October
This week started off
great but then it was poor weather from then really. I had a day off fishing
on Monday, as a birthday treat to myself, see the report below. Wednesday
was a bit too breezy against the fairly big tide to tackle the Solent at
night. Yesterday was cancelled as the wind was against us with a F7 SSW in
the forecast at midday plus a moderate to rough sea to boot.
Monday’s weather was fantastic in comparison to the rest of the week. Myself
and a couple of mates, that happened to be on their 'off' days, had a good
day 'round the Needles’.
We went for an easy
0915 start and got back at 1630, leaving the mark as the tide continued to
run off hard. The sea was flat calm and like a mirror in the afternoon. It
was very warm too, fantastic!
Right at the start
and on the very first drop, in the easing flood tide, Pat practically hit a
12lb Cod on the head. His posers ABU Suveran made it look like a very good
fish too. Well it was really as the Cod was well hooked and a welcome sight
in the first 8 minutes! At slack water Tim had a Conger around 20lb,
released at the side of the boat. Then near the very end, during the hardest
part of the ebb, I hooked a 10lb Cod on wire line and just before we had
decided to go back. I mention the wire as I am convinced this is a key
factor in catching Cod, along with two 10/0 hooks, loaded with five squid!
So all in all it was
a good day, as we never saw that many Dogs and Pout either, surprisingly.
And although we tested the Hokkais, over the slack water, not one Whiting
was boated. A very different day compared to just eight days ago, in the
same area, although two Cod of exactly the same size. It had to be the high
pressure system we were fishing in. Other charters found the fishing equally
Today, while I was coaching our Rugby
team, I heard of a few reports of good fish. Agay found a 21lb Cod in the
Western Solent along with a smaller Cod, Thornback and bits. While 'Due
South' had a Cod of 18lb and a Spurr of 14lb just a couple of miles off.
This is a good time of year if you can get yourself out there.
Weekending 24th October
forecast of a F7/8 SW plus rain is far too much for me so I just cancelled.
While the Wiltshire Farmers with Tony Edwards had a lovely evening on
Thursday down the Solent. The fishing wasn't blistering but Richard had a
nice Cod of 10lb and some large Pout up to nigh on 3lb. The biggish tide
plus annoying messy weed was a pain. However the Solent
is very fishable from now even in 75% spring tides.
Apologies for the picture of Richard and his 10lb Cod but my
new phone camera is poor in the dark and even this proper camera keeps ending up
on the wrong setting. So here is Richard in the dark, under flash with a landscape setting! We live and learn.
PS - The British Cod Championship charter boats are filling
up quickly. Lymington is hosting the event this year and the Town Hall
Sailing Club is the control / venue. Take a look at this excellent new website advertising the event on behalf of
the West Wight Charter Skippers.
Weekending 17th October
Yesterday (Saturday) was my birthday and although I shouldn't
have been 'working', it was a great day round the 'Needles Light'. The Tony
Lavington crew always enjoy their fishing days and they caught lots of fish
too. We started with more Pout than they could cope with but the six 5lb
boxes of squid meant we could hammer them and anything else that came our
way. After an hour into the Pout, a 12lb Cod found Phil's large squid bait.
After a slight easing of the very small tide, luckily the Pout went off and
the Whiting came on the feed. The lads did very well and caught lots of
Whiting to hokkais, many between 1.5 and 2.5lb! There were a few dogs and a
The flood was a bit quiet although it still felt perfect as
the baits were staying on the hooks a bit longer. However the fishing
remained fairly quiet, apart from the occasional but reasonable Whiting,
until I started the engines at 1556. That is when our second Cod at 10lb
found Mikes Hokkais and finished the day off nicely. There was a brisk
Northerly for most of the day but with the sun, and plenty of fish, this
made for a birthday treat. Incidentally I finished off Saturday with a a
nice family diner at La Vista, Hythe Marina and then to cap off the weekend
my Fawley U15's rugby team, beat Winchester B 46 - 10. So not a bad way to
spend a half centaury birthday!
Here are the Long's. Dad Phil is showing off the prize catch,
a 12lb Cod, then Mike with a laden set of Hokkais, the best Whiting weighed
at 2lb 7oz, then finishing off with this first ever Cod at 10lb.
On Thursday evening the Andrew Swayne crew had a good
forecast and an ideal tide for a Western Solent evening trip but the fish
did not play along with the perfect conditions. It was not just us either,
as very little was caught down the Western Solent between the two other
boats that I spoke to. We couldn't blame the quality of bait or the very
little weed, it was simply, 'better luck next time'! Incidentally the same
area on the same tide on Friday evening gave up plenty of Pout and a 10lb
Cod to John Skeggs crew on 'Last Laugh'.
Weekending 10th October
Both White Maiden trips were 'cancelled' this week due to a F5-6 Easterly against
a very big tide. Although yesterday we did attempt to fish, following
a forecast that was similar to that lovely Friday. But it was horrible. We
drifted for bait with no luck and after 90 minutes of being bashed about,
there was no way, with hire rods, we could have attempted fishing the bottom
in the 125% tide, 2 hours before high water. And so
commonsense prevailed. One boat remained out side and had one Cod during the golden
hour, mind you she is a much bigger vessel than mine. A small boat
fishing the high water also found a 10lb Cod at slack water in the Western Solent.
So almost like clock work the Cod appear to be turning up on time, there are
also a few Whiting too.
Weekending 3rd October
an individuals trip on White Maiden were able to get out and fish a
fortunate break in a run of weather systems rolling across the
South. It was comfortable, with some morning sun and it stayed dry until we up anchored.
We fished a bank for most of the day but first
we drifted an inshore wreck for 10 mackerel which is very useful, but no
Pollock or Pout. We then
tested a 114' mark, a small gulley at around four miles, to find a few
dogfish and a 7lb Thornback but it was a bit quiet. So we soon moved to a bank and
immediately shook off the bait robbing fish and
found a reasonable Bass, five Blonde Rays to 23lb, a couple of Tope plus a Small Eyed Ray,
so not too bad by the end of the trip. Here's Clive with a very nice 23lb Blonde
Ray and then again below with a Bass. Phil is holding up his near 20lb Blonde
Ray and a Small Eyed Ray, while Mike shows off his Thornback Ray.
On Thursday evening
the Rick Godwin crew also had a lucky break in the weather that was due
to deteriorate at the end of the trip. Armed with ragworm, squid and mackerel
for the baits we
fished the Western Solent. The Black Bream made for a hectic start and through the ebb until slack water at
around 2030, with a couple more coming at the start of the flood. A hound
that went about 4lb was caught at slack water but the end of the trip and
mainly the flood tide didn't turn up the better fish that was hoped for / expected
but just a couple more
dogs. Still, it was a nice evening and the SW breeze, that was with the
flooding tide, only got to a low end Southerly F5 as we
came back down the river. Then it rained as I washed down the boat, which is
handy. Next time
lads you can bring less food, only joking, as Andy Bartram did you proud. That is the first
time I have had steaks to fry for all, as well as the usual bacon, eggs.
mushrooms, onions, etc! Thanks for a good
Below are the photo's kindly forwarded
to me by Jeff Semple who Skippers 'Lazy Daze' out from Bucklers Hard. He took his crew sole
fishing last Friday evening and caught this massive stinger weighed on the
boat at between 51lb and
55lb before being released. It was breezy from the North and so the
measurement was the best they could see on the dial scales. The cracking Stinger was
put back by the captor after being beaten on Sole gear and a size 2 black
I have now uploaded next years White Maiden Boat Diary. There
are some Saturdays left and plenty of evening dates to fish on Wight Maiden
in 2011, I look forward to seeing you all again. Please note that I have
marginally increased the cost by £5 to £305 for a full boat at the weekend
and £3 to £168 for an evening trip.
Weekending 27th September
On Saturday the
Trident SAC crew found a few fish plus a Mackerel and Scad early on and at
slack water, although the Mackerel are now really quite scarce and there are
too few to rely on for bait. We drifted for a Bass and after 6 drifts and
after loosing a suspected Tope decided to get the best and easier end of the
flood tide and went onto the hook closer inshore in the fairly big 3.7m
range tide. We had a lot of big Pout plus a Spotted Ray, a 5lb Pollack and a
27lb Conger. The ebb started well with a couple of big fish dropped and the
Conger but then seemed to go quiet. So we went back on the drift again but
to no avail. Here is Bob, Chris and Roy showing off the best fish. I do like
to eat the big pout as you know, so a few of them went home for filleting,
skinning and putting in breadcrumbs for tea. The boat that passed us on the
way back to the light, drifted the same reef that we did, and caught a
12.5lb Cod on a single squid, dragged along the bottom.
On the Tuesday
evening we fished the Solent and found plenty of Bream that went up to
1.5lb. They fed well into the dark. The biggest fish caught throughout the
session were five small Hounds to 4lb and there were plenty of Dogs and some
Pout too. Although the fishing was lively, nothing spectacular showed up
before we set off for home on a perfect still moonlit night. I cancelled the
Thursday evening trip due to the wind from the SW up at 21knots with rain
forecast too, so that was an easy shout for me.
Other reports are
mainly of Sole, some Big Stingers and of the early Cod that are now being
caught. Ray Pit on ‘Lady M’ found an early Cod for his crew at 17lb on
Saturday. On Friday night Jeff Semple on ‘Lazy Daze’ helped one of his
crew when he netted and weighed a Stinger that was beaten on sole tackle and
a size 2 hook. The big Stinger fought for 20 minutes before netted and
dragging the scales down to between 51lb and 55lb! The fish was already
minus its tail and was released after weighing. On Saturday night Gary
Withers hooked another huge Stinger in the same area but this one just would
not fit in the net, and after a few attempts with the landing net the
massive Stinger snapped through and swam off. This one had a tail so it was
definitely not the same fish.
There are 2 places on an individuals
trip next Saturday at £45 each. It is a small tide and so will push out to
ten miles weather permitting. I have finalised my 2011diary dates but will
confirm bookings with the regular Saturday crews before publishing on the
Weekending 19th September 2010
Saturday, the Tony Lavington crew had perfect weather and tide for fishing
over a bank around 5 miles off the Needles Light, targeting a variety of
species. Only the fish did not show up. Fair play the lads and lass stuck at
it well but the fish just did not switch on. Mackerel were very scarce and
it was the Tope that made up for most of the fun plus a Thornback for John
but all in all, excluding the Dogfish, it was a quiet day to say the least.
Still we fished where we wanted to get to and the rest of the reports were
similar. In hindsight I wished we had moved at half time.
Thursday, the Charles Stanswood crew had a varied evening trip; after
fishing the first mark, deep at West Lepe, where we had five or so Bream and
a few Mackerel but then also a bit too much weed, we moved over to Newtown.
Here we found too much wind for the tide, which caused White Maiden to swing
around the anchor, and not much life either, so we moved back over to
sheltered Sowley. The first fish there was Andrews racing Cod at
12.5lb, then came five small Hounds plus Dogs, Bream, Pout and a Bull Huss.
There seemed to be lots of fish at the end of the ebb and not a lot of weed,
The crew were pleased that the fish come on the feed eventually and for the
breeze to ease off. We finished off nicely on a lovely moonlit calm Solent.
have been notified of a change of booking in December. This has freed up a
Saturday on a good tide which is ideal for targeting Cod and Whiting,
weather permitting. Note also that I will soon be posting next years diary.
Weekending 12th September 2010
After filling the boat, I had to cancel yesterday, and it was
a good shout, as it was horrible with 28 Knots of wind and rain in the
morning. I spent most of the day on the boat and can report now that I have
resolved an issue that has been getting worse since I took the boat from BW
SeaCat 2.5 years ago. Basically the stern tubes / conduit going forward that
carry my outboard controls and steering, was letting in water into a forward
sealed section, all unknown to me but I could see the water line going over
the 'boot top', of my anti-fouling. Over the last 3 weeks I have been
getting to the bottom of it. I had recently sealed the stern pipes but at
the start of my holidays I found and extracted a total of 465 litres
(measured) from the starboard hull (sponson/canoe) and 14 litres from the
port hull in the same but opposite 'sealed' section. I have 16 sealed
sections of which 8 are large. It was one of these 8 large sections that was
pretty much, full up.
Basically I have been carrying half a tonne of sea water! I
knew there was something wrong and now after three weeks of checking, I am
confident that no more water is coming in. The result is a boat that sits
much higher out of the water, goes quicker if I want to, and takes the seas
better when the crew come forward.
Back to fishing, as I have nothing to report this week,
except that the Mackerel are really patchy now, here is an e-mail from Mike
Long who went off to New Zealand during the summer for a trip of a lifetime:
Had my first fishing trip in New Zealand and it was amazing! The scenery was
lovely and even in their winter I was able to get down to a Tee-shirt and
catch some sun. As for the fishing I have never caught so many fish, the
action was all day long. I have caught my first Cod (Blue Cod), Snapper,
Wrasse and a Kahawai. The Snapper was fun taking line, the Kahawai was
exciting as it leaped from the water once I got it to the surface. Tuna and
Marlin fishing is available but sadly that's not in my price range until I
Hopefully the pics will come through (Sun rise to Sun set) Feel free to do
what you like with the pics or send to the rest of the lads if you have
Weekending 5th September 2010
What a cracking holiday;
with the weather at the start of my two weeks, forcing me to do some
jobs on the boat. Then we had seven days in the lovely rocky cove of San Miguel in
Ibiza. Then we came back to some superb weather for the boat and garden to finish off.
I also skippered a reasonable charter yesterday, although the fishing was difficult all
round from the reports received form the other boats; after turning the Needles Light we found
Mackerel immediately and half filled a bin easily. We then bashed our way out
a nine mile bank while many charters chose to stay inside the light and chase the
Bream. With an Easterly F4-5 blowing directly down a small tide I decided to
go for it. This gave us four hours fishing on the bank until slack water low,
which although not as good as it can be, still produced three well marked
Small Eyed Rays, a Bass and a couple of Tope and some Scad. But as this was a
competition we also decided to have a go at the Bream and finished the day
with a dozen of those to 1lb 4oz. Mackerel seemed to be everywhere. The
Solent was a flat calm haven compared to nine miles off. Peter is showing
his best Small Eyed Ray, while Paul holds up his Bass.
report of a Plaice sortie by Bob the Plumber, found two fish of a lifetime
when Bob pegged Greavsie with two cracking Plaice that went over the 6lb
mark in a six Plaice catch. However others faired not so well with one
Plaice between three anglers on one boat, and other boats failing to find
one Plaice. The potential is massive though and that's why we like it round
on the mussel beds. I would take a crew round there but they would need to
have the right attitude and lots of bait!
I now have two Saturday dates 'freed up'. They can be
booked either as a full day
or as individuals. First there first served. Next Saturday is a big tide when we will concentrate on Bassing for most of the day,
starting at 7am and trying a number of methods including, drifting a bank,
floating a live bait and trolling a lure.
The second is a nice small tide in a few weeks time,
ideal for anchoring a bank for Rays for half a day and a wreck for Congers
the other half. See my
diary page for dates and costs. If you
are interested mail me on
Weekending 23rd August 2010
On the Tuesday we had
rain and a F4 SW breeze forecast, wind over tide, for the duration of the
evening. So the Solent was the ideal place to settle down for an evening
session. The Alan Headley crew from the refinery fished well and are
The lads coped with
the drifting weed, in the fairly small tide, and so we tested three marks in
the Western Solent, all in less than 37’ of water. They caught best on the
last mark, towards the end of the ebb, and of course, I wish we had tested
that spot earlier. We were over on the North Shore of the Island. All of
them caught fish, mainly Bream, plus a couple of Dogs, a Pout and a couple
of Hounds. Now it is my holidays the wind and rain have conspired against
me. Still this poor weather has given me plenty of time to do some of those
Weekending 15th August 2010
Saturday, the Trident SAC caught Mackerel and Scad bait fish immediately,
having shoaled up in the expected places, again. Strings of small Scad flew
over the gunnels, ideal for Bassing. The first few drifts on an inshore mark
didn’t produce a fish. The next two drifts alongside a wreck followed the
same pattern and that was using great bait. The banks gave us a few Bass,
and the other three charter boats that were working them, including a new
BWSeaCat, 'Rapid Fisher' out from Poole.
Our first proper fish
was a good Bass, which was lost at the surface and typically, the best fish
hooked that day. The next seven Bass boated were between 2.5lb and 4lb. The
weather improved from lunch time, with the rain stopping, the wind dropping
and even the sun coming out towards the top of the tide. At anchor we found
a Thornback, a couple of Spotted Rays, Dogs, Bream and the Tope caused
havoc. So eight species in all and I reckon just the one nice Bass, added to
the catch, would have made an average day, a good day, not picking on Steve,
it was one of those things. Pictured left to right is John, John, Roy and
Chris. John is holding his beautifully marked Spotted Ray, definitely worth
a picture and one for my in progress fish identification web pages. This
will be a winter project which I felt necessary, after a neighbour was
convinced a 23.5lb Blonde was a Thornback Ray. This really got me going
having been one of many, to fish those banks for years with the best
Thornback going 17lb, until now!
On the Thursday evening the Andrew Swayne crew had the massive tides, ideal
for Bass, but unfortunately not the best of seas, as the wind blew WNW and a
bit more than expected. The breeze didn’t ease off at all and as it became
dark, if anything, it blew a bit harder. So sod the meteor shower, we
shortened the trip by about 45 minutes and ran back to the Solent and home.
The Solent was flat but the huge tide and expected weed made the usual
fallback marks not a viable option at that state of the tide. They caught
Pout, Dogs, Macky, a Spotted Ray and a Bream.
Weekending 9th August 2010
Nothing to report, as the Tuesday evening and Saturday's day
trip were cancelled due to the forecast and the prospect of uncomfortable
conditions with no alternative fallback options because of the wind
direction and the inshore weed that is causing havoc down the Western
Solent. Both days turned out exactly as the forecast had predicted. I did
get out for a practice trip yesterday and although the bait was plentiful,
with Mackerel and some lovely small scad baits, most boats like ourselves,
found the ebb as being particularly quiet. It was one of those heavy,
oppressive, high pressure days, and the fish did not come out to play but it
was very nice out there.
Weekending 1st August 2010
Saturday crew called off due to a lack of numbers, very early in the week
and although I did get calls from people interested in fishing, lots in
fact, I sensibly decided to have a break from chartering White Maiden, for a
week. It was most relaxing, although I was still up early and hopping about
looking at the trees! On Sunday I went down to do some jobs and play with my
tenders and a small outboard. It's stupid but I really enjoyed just having
some time out and playing with the boat.
On Tuesday evening
the Paul Johnston crew wanted a bigger bend in their rods following their
early May, Sunday afternoon trip of Mackerel, Dogfish and a tiny Whiting.
The breeze at 21Knots was nearly a F6 at the start and worse than forecast,
so we fished the Solent. Even there we had a swell at first, although we
were sat nicely round with the wind with tide and on the bow.
they got a bend in their rods, with weed! Not what we wanted. A Gar and some
Mackerel made a show, near the surface at anchor but the weed restricted
fishing. So a second move, same depth but another ‘line’, found as much weed
again plus some small Bream activity. A move across to the mainland side
found a Smoothound almost immediately but the weed was just as bad there
too. The evening turned out perfect weather wise but the fish did not play
Even the hound we
landed was lassoed around the tail with no hooks any where near it! Bream
were biting but only one was landed and that was foul hooked on a 5/0 black
Aberdeen, meant for a Hound. It was a difficult evening, spoilt by the
weed. I would recommend that you take lots of worm and crab if you target
the Hounds now as they have given up taking squid. Pictured is Jackie and a
tail wrapped hound that gave a good account of itself. The sunset was
During the week, Dink
Lemoignan, fishing inshore on ‘Due South’, weighed officially and ashore at
Lymington, on club scales a nice Undulate Ray of 17lbs. The good Ray was
kept in a large freezer box and kicked as she was released back into the
Harbour. They also had many other species to go with it including a small
Cod! There are reports of a big 22lb Turbot and some Whiting too as a point
of interest. Plus good Thornbacks, Small Eyeds, Bream and Bass. We just got
to keep an eye on that weed now and the bigger tides inshore.
Saturday the Tony Lavington crew found Mackerel as soon as we turned on the
Bridge. Next drift for a Bass, found more Mackerel. Then it was off to a
bank. First fish was a small Turbot, we were set for a good day. Then came a
couple of Small Eyed Rays and then a long quiet period at the end of the
flood, over slack water and the start of the Ebb, that produced a couple of
Goby, a Tope and a dogfish. So next we were off to find some Pollock. There
were plenty of small Pollock plus lot more Mackerel inshore.
to a deep mark off Brook at the end of the ebb it was very quiet again, with
only a Spotted Ray and a couple of Dogs. The trip back was a bit on the
rough side but OK. It is often the way in the summer, that as the heat of
the day gets to its peak we get a good breeze around 4pm which is very good
for sailing boats, but not so, for an easy ride home in your motor boat. On
the left is Vicky and a well marked male Small EyedRay or Painted Ray that
was returned and Tony is seen returning a female, on the right.
Tuesday evening the Nigel Bush crew, brought along a reasonable mobile bar,
plus some quality worms supported by a nice 5lb box of squid, some
additional fresh Mackerel would create the ideal ‘bait box’ for the trip.
Over at Sconce we struggled with just two Mackerel in the first 40 minutes,
so then it was back down the Solent to fish the North side of the Island,
before the ebb got away. Guess what, Mackerel were in abundance there and
could be caught at anchor! How annoying, but great to find them.
first mark, as well as plenty of Mackerel, a dogfish and a sizable Bass were
boated, before the weed and tide became too much. On the next mark,
shallower at 40’ we found some Bream to 2lb plus and a Hound of 7 or 8lb
plus more Mackerel. The bites kept coming until dusk then it went quiet.
Right from the start the sky looked ominous and it was extremely humid, and
the decision to stay in the Solent with the small and manageable tide was
sound. Chris can be seen with his Bass and the best Bream, added to the
Mackerel the makings of an excellent BBQ.
worth remembering that an evening trip ‘outside’ round the light,
interrupted by bad weather means lots of motoring and less fishing time. As
the rain helped me clean the boat down and the wind at 20kts from SSW would
have forced us back earlie,. I was pleased to have stayed inside. Lymington
is a great location to fish from with the Solent an excellent fall back.
Weekending 11th July 2010
On Saturday the
Kiddlington SAC were on Bass trip 1, with Bass trip 2 next Saturday. We had
smooth seas all day but were shrouded in fog until gone 1300. We chased the
Bass from an inshore mark, out around a group of banks that would be
expected to produce, but they didn’t. Chris was the winner with an early
2.5lb Bass. The Mackerel are pretty much all over now, with joey’s out deep
easy to find, that box of squid would have been handy again as the fog
enforced a slower drive out to the first mark and then the tide is not what
you need, when you get there. With hindsight we should have gone onto
anchor out deep and then drifted inshore for the Bass during the ebb, and
turned plan A on its head.
Thursday the Alan Headley crew of sparks from the refinery had a great time.
On the way out we found 7 Bass of which 3 were sizable takers. Then
alongside a small wreck the lads fought and beat two Tope that were easily
over 20lb, plus 6 or 7 smaller ones. As well as a big Tope, Ryan also fought
and lost a massive, assumed to be a Conger, while everyone weighed in with
small Tope, loads of Dogs, Pout, Jumbo Mackerel, a Bream on a 6/0 hook, and
a Star Fish! A bit of fog drifted through but the evening was perfect for
the majority of these self confessed ‘raw beginners’. Craig and Ryan are
both showing off their almost identical Tope, while Craig holds up one of
the Jumbo Macky, and Brian, the Star Fish. It was a good evening ‘round the
light,’ with a good crew.
The Tuesday evening
charter, for the Tony Edwards/Wiltshire Farmers crew had a breezy start that
was due to ease off before dusk, but it never happened. A low end F5 South
Westerly continued right through. However we had warm sunshine which made
for a lovely session until the sun went down. As it went dark we headed for
the Needles light, and then home. Early on the Mackerel were sparse through
Sconce but there are some to be caught there, with more coming when we
needed them around the light, towards the drop off. Anchored alongside a
small wreck they caught about 10 small Tope to 8lb, plus Dogs and Pout and
an incidental Bream on an 8/0 hook, but the targeted ‘big fish’ never came
on the feed. That’s fishing! This was a most enjoyable evening and the
farmers went home with a good feed of Mackerel and large Pout. I know you
don’t believe me but the big Pout, gutted immediately, and then filleted and
skinned at home, makes the perfect breaded fish supper. Try it, you will not
be disappointed. However, leave an un-cleaned Pout overnight and you will
spoil the delicate white flesh, when it smells and tastes like a gorillas
Weekending 4th July 2010
Saturday the Trident SAC from Watford started well, near a small wreck, with
a Thornback, Bass, Red Gurnard, Pout, Tope, and plenty of Dogs. Mackerel
were surrounding White Maiden at about 30’ down.
After the tide had
got going we went drifting for a Bass, which I thought was a good idea,
using the joey Mackerel, still live and kicking, in the bait tank.
After two banks and a
'long drift', we tried another wreck but failed to boat a single fish! So
for the last couple of hours we went back ‘onto the hook’ down at Brook.
After a flurry of Dogs and a couple of Tope, while the breeze freshened to
20 Knots, I was considering a move. As I made my thoughts known, Chris
latched into a cracking 14lb 12oz Thornback Ray, John a nice 4lb Spotted and
Bob caught the Bream he was after, as they came on the feed, at the
end of the tide. So it was a good finish to the day, although a bit bouncy
on the way back.
On Thursday, a crew of individuals hit the target fish immediately in the
first drift with 3 Bass to 4lb followed by one more sizable Bass on the
second drift but after that we tried hard, but in vain. A Mackerel hunt
worked, but the Pollock areas only found a few small fish. It was a lovely
and enjoyable evening, although two booked individuals, never showed, only
my second experience of this, in nearly 5 years.
On Wednesday I went
round to Wickor Marine to test their SPEED 11. But I have decided that to
change over to the next boat up would more hassle, time and money to
upgrade, during an already very busy period. I couldn’t afford a new vessel
to be built exactly how I would like it to be and the next build slot is
2012. Thanks to all those that came out for the ride and served as ballast!
I already have some positives over the new vessel with my White Maiden, so I
have made a final decision to stick with what I have, which is a relief, to
The Tuesday trip was
cancelled with a breezy evening against an ebbing tide and a tooth
extraction making it, the right and only decision.
I have a neighbour
who reported boating a 23lb 8oz Thornback and believed not to be a Blonde. I
am keen to see the pictures before I get over excited, as I suspect it was a
good Blonde but you never know. We had one earlier this year on a mark that
I would not expect to see a Blonde, let alone one of 26lb.
Jeff Semple on Lazy
Daze boated a 6lb Plaice for himself, which is a good fish, but the plaice
fishing behind the Wight, is specialised and not all that rewarding as far
as numbers is concerned, but the quality, unarguably fantastic.
Weekending 28th June 2010
Sunday the Don Tucker crew from Lee On Solent, compromised on a 0600 start,
to take in the footy. The fishing was far better than the footy! They
started with 3 Bass, the best at 6lb, after a few shorts drifts. We then
found a bit of rough ground that could be a small unmarked wreck. Here they
pulled out masses of big Pout, plus Dogs, Poor Cod, Mackerel and a Bream. A
Tope came to the surface after following up another brace of Pout and
decided to play with them, until spooked. At slack water Ryan fought and
beat a 35lb Conger confirmed and weighed in the net, before being released.
We moved away from the Pout just before the start of the ebb but that was
not a success with just Dogs, a small Tope and too much sun, wearing the
majority, non-regular, anglers out. It was a good day for all, right up
until we saw England and the worlds the most expensive group of players gift
at least 3 goals. I did loose my voice, shouting at a ref, who couldn’t hear
me, while I was spinning the boat onto her moorings! After the game, and
still on the boat, a couple beers and then some time relaxing in the sun,
fixed everything. Richard is showing the best Bass and Ryan his Conger.
Saturday the PAR Builders / Paul 'the Tope' Bisgrove crew, from Hythe, found
a few Pollock although the drifts were restricted by the lack of wind and
tide. Out deeper they caught a couple of Tope, the best a tad under 20lb. It
was hot, with very little breeze. Along with Dogs and Pout there were some
BBQ Bream plus lots of Mackerel which were a distraction for half the crew,
that may have limited the bigger fish count, but then, may not. It was
a good day out, and one of those rare ’almost too hot days’ on the English
On Thursday the Pat
Warne Crew, from the Waterside area, found a few more Pollock, and a
cracking Wrasse that was over 4lb, caught by Pete. Unfortunately I missed
the picture after it was dropped on the deck and then lobbed over the side.
To be fair I was trying to get the best picture instead of just a picture,
so a lesson learned there. The markings were superb, take my word for it.
Out and deep again, we found more Tope, although not so many as the evening
before, to about 9lb, plus Pout and Dogs and Bream. With the Wrasse and Gar
I made it 8 species for the evening.
Wednesday after the England v Slovinia match the Hoxtons Occasionals,
organised by Bryn, turned up in good spirits and ‘well up’ for the fishing
on a cracking evening. A drift for Mackerel and Pollock found a few, but
anchoring deep near a wreck turned up Bream and Tope (Paul and Ian), plus
Pout and Dogs, and Mackerel if we needed them. The Tope were not big but
they were serious fun, as explained to me, ‘when you live in Hackney’! The
lads fished well and we saw 7 species over the evening with plenty to go on
the BBQ, the following day at a beach near Shorefields.
Weekending 20thJune 2010
Saturday the Church Crookham SAC had one thing in mind, that was Cod. So we
headed offshore at 0630, after doing the slalom through the leading field,
of the 'Round the Island' Racers. Between Hurst and the Needles Light we
hurtled along, at nearly 20 Knots with the ebbing tide. We concentrated on
an area that gave us three good Cod to 14lb at the end of our very first
drift. I thought this wass going to be a good day. Slack water came and went
and included a few Pout, Mackerel and onlyone big
fish lost, suspected to be another cod that took baited Muppets, when a knot
the start of the flood working the same mark we found one more double figure Cod
but that was it. The wind never really eased off, as promised by the
forecast, so we had
to punch into a low end F5 Northerly all the way back to 'The Light'. A stop
at a wreck, just over half way back, 'turned up' a single, 10lb Pollock for Roy
and a couple of 'hits, that were missed. It was a fairly ‘hard’ day for all but
not as bad when compared to the other reports, from boats posted to all areas.
The fishing had
been poor all round, all day, I reckon that cold front and pressure change that came
through in the early hours must have put the fish off their dinner! Pictured left to
right is Keith, Roy and Richard with some good fish.
the week White Maiden was lifted, scrubbed, re-anti-fouled, cleaned and
re-launched, after a great job by all; elbow grease by yours truly ably
supported by Alison, LYH, Rope Walk, and BHG. Here is White Maiden on the
maintenance pontoon ready to go for a test drive which proved 'all ready'
for the mid-channel sortie, the following day.
Tuesday evening Bassing was cancelled with a huge tide
against the F5 most of the evening that would have made it
uncomfortable for the inexperienced crew. Not bad in itself but the slightly
early date on the Bass this season, due to the cold seas, possibly
avoided, a waste of all our time.
Weekending 13thJune 2010
On Sunday the Tony
Lavington crew followed a similar plan as the Saturday crew but it is always
amazing how two days on the same marks can vary. We couldn’t find a Mackerel
where we had plenty the day before. But the Pollock were there again, with a
couple of Mackerel too, this time mixed in with them. At the same deep mark during the flood the
crew found a comfortable tide and proceeded to catch two Spotted Rays, a
Thornback, a tiny 2lb Conger, a 7lb Hound, Pout, Dogs, Bream to 1.25lb and
many Tope up to 10lb. At slack water high, we had Bream and Pout plus more
Tope and of course the Dogs. At the start of the ebb there were more Bream
to 1.75lb and more Tope and Dogs plus a Whiting. Then it went a bit quiet,
which was exactly the same as yesterday but also coincided with a big noisy
boat moving back onto its drift start, too close to us, to save spoiling
his own drift lines. Work that one out! Anyway we moved off, and back
at an inshore mark with the SSW breeze now at 18 knots,
we found two small sizable Bass, plus a Garfish. The food was
again quality, supplied by Mike, burnt by me, eaten by all, once again. The
best specimen was Vicky’s Thornback or Normans Hound or Bream but
although nothing spectacular, I counted 12 different species. It was a great weekend to be out on the boat.
Clockwise is Robin with one of his Pollock that preferred real feathers,
Norman with a Bream, John and Vicky and lastly a picture of the makings of a
On Saturday the
Darren Toomer crew had a breezy start with 17knts from the North in the
morning but a great forecast for the rest of the day which fished as follows.
First the Mackerel were obliging enough for a good 25 or so fresh bait
fish but still not that easy, as other boats struggled. The next drift was for a
Pollock where we had 40 odd small but sizable fish to about 2lb, big enough for a feed so we kept
some and released the rest. The next stop for a Bream failed to
produce a bite in 40 minutes of fishing, so with the tide easing all the
time we moved out and anchored on a deep mark. The end of the flood produced
Thornback and around 6 small Tope to 10lb plus dogs. At the end of the ebb and slack
water the Bream started and went to a tad under 2lb. A big Horse Mackerel,
the first this
year on White Maiden came next plus another Thornback, a Tope and more Dogs. The Ebb produced a BBQ Bass for Dave and more Bream,
and more Dogs plus the odd Tope. Then it went quite. We decided to move off
and drift a
small wreck that fished OK last week but that failed with just a few
Pout and Mackerel finding the hooks The last inshore drift produced 4 small Bass and a few
more Mackerel. There was hardly a breath of wind at the end of the day. Again the
crew provided the Bacon, Sausages and Eggs, which after some skilled
burning, went down a treat. Thanks for a good day out. I reckon the best
specimen was Dave’s 1.25lb Scad (Horse Mackerel) and we had 9 species in
On Thursday the F4 to
5 NE wind over a SW flooding tide with forecasted persistent rain for the
entire evening trip put us right off and common sense prevailed. As it
happened we had no rain, but a good F6 so a sensible shout.
On Tuesday evening
the Balmer Lawn Honda crew had a competition where they were fishing for the
‘first non Mackerel, Dog or Pout’, the ‘most fish’ and ‘biggest fish’
prizes. All three prizes were a tank of fuel! We went to find some fresh
Mackerel and Sconce produced enough for the first time this season. We
then went down with the tide deep off Sowley where Jeff Semple on ‘Lazy
Daze’ had already reported less weed than when fishing shallow, which was
handy. Leon had the first ‘non-dog-pout-macky’, a BBQ Bream, so that was a
Tank of fuel in the bag for Leon. Then the Hounds came on the feed and were
being taken on squid or mackerel. They increased in size, first Bens at
7lb, then Pauls at 8lb and then at slack water Richard had the best Hound at
11lb, out of a total of about a dozen Smoothies. I never did find out who or
how they counted the most fish, but they did catch a lot of dogfish too. The
evening was dry, not cold and the breeze dropped too, so a good evening all
round. Thanks to Paul for the sausages, bacon and soft drinks and for
setting up the lads with a good competition. Pictured left to right is Ben,
Paul and Richard.
will happily cook and probably eat some of yours but in a vain attempt at
limiting my calorie intake, I won't be bringing any along. This does not affect
my next four crews as they already bring their own. As for the
rest, if you would like me to fry (or burn, as I say) your sausages, bacon and eggs,
then that is not a problem as I will cook it for you. The main reason
is that I am eating too many sausages, so will have to show some control, maybe it is
just a summer thing, we will see.
World Cup - England
I have fitted a small Freeview flat screen TV, and it works fine, so we
won't be missing any important games. I have Rugby written through me like a
stick of rock but I am also very patriotic, so the footy must be watched!
Weekending 6th June 2010
the Trident SAC had their work cut out, as there was very little tide,
little wind and a high pressure. I had to put my thinking cap on too. We did
alright, after persevering to find the Mackerel, found eventually, below a
gathering of Gulls and Guillemots, sat clustered on the surface. Macky are
hard to find this week which is a pain but all part of fishing, so you
must take that 5lb box of squid, as a backup. We then
drifted a wreck for lsome big Pout plus a few Pollock to 4lb and one big
fish lost, assumed to be a much better Pollock. The next and last move to a
bank worked well where we found Thornbacks, Blondes, Tope and the ever
present Dogs. Chris was wary of the the teeth on his Tope, holding it out
worked :-). A lovely day and a well
deserved return for the Trident club.
Thursday the three man crew of Richard, David and Alexander had the best
weather so far this year of an evening. It was a bit breezy but clear blue
skies and very warm. The Easterly breeze with the tide and high pressure may
have had a bearing on the fishing. Basically we tried 3 marks including the
one on Tuesday evening and found very little movement or excitement. A few
Dogs and tiny Pout were caught, plus a few Mackerel, 2 small Bream and a
tiny Tope and that was it. The photo is of Alexander with the smallest shark
ever caught anywhere in the world!
Last Tuesday a crew
made up of Matthew Simpson plus Jerry and the two lads, Toby and Luke, plus
Mick and then my Robert and my Anna’s BF, Matt, had a flat and calm evening
although drizzly to start with. The last of the ebb, slack water low, and
the start of the flood on a mark out in Christchurch bay found too many Pout
and Dogs. In fact the only other fish to find the hooks were two small Bull
Huss and a Pollock. A few Mackerel made a show by the end of the evening but
not as many as we needed at the start of the trip, The crew that included
three parent and child pairs and one other pulled up as many fish as we
could have wanted and some of them very large Pout. Some larger fish would
have gone down well.
There are some huge
Tope to be caught, and St Catherine’s Deeps are starting to fish this week
for the real whoppers. Bream are on the usual marks but spreading around now
too. Hounds and Bream are down the Solent and Bass should become more
prolific in the coming weeks. A good time to have your boat or your trips
lined up and ready to go! See my web diary for places on White Maiden there
are a few opportunities if you fancy a go. If I am busy, try the West Wight
Charter Skippers website
WestWightCharterSkippers for more telephone
Weekending Sunday 31st May
the Jon Haley crew had a short and breezy afternoon trip. Hurst was showing
22knts, a F6 from the West/North West, which unfortunately, was against the
ebbing big tide. So a sortie up the Solent found 11 reasonable Bream to
1.5lb. The next trick failed, as we chased the Mackerel and Bass, off
Yarmouth and Sconce. So a test of the mainland side, and down the middle of
the race was tried, which also failed, so no Macky for the BBQ here yet.
Note some lads reported there were a lot of Bass last weekend off Sconce,
full of peelers. This was after the very short burst of hot weather that got
the crabs peeling-off, all at the same time. It was alright, although
a couple did get wet from the spray! It was an enjoyable afternoon and
fortunately the first mark worked but the second half of the afternoon was a
challenge finding the fish.
Saturdays Trident SAC
trip fell afoul of the strong winds; Hurst showed 39 knots at one point
around 13:00, so really I was pleased not to have gone out there.
Thursday evening the Duncan Easton crew managed to drink their mobile bar,
nearly dry. The 17Knts F4/5 Westerly breeze persisted for most of the
evening making it a bit bouncy but with the wind in the same direction of
the tide, we had another cool and comfortable evening. The big spring tide
was hard to push against, on the way out to the spot and also meant that the
inshore weed collected on their lines, a pain. The crew started with the
first Tub Gurnard of the year, then a Small Eyed Ray. By the end, five more
species, Mackerel, Bream, Dogs, Bass, and a couple of Spotted Rays found
their baits, so 7 species in all, making 12 species for the week. Duncan is
standing behind Matthew holding his Small Eyed Ray, while Warwick is showing
off his released Tub Gurnard.
On Tuesday evening
the Lee Price crew all from Balmer Lawn Honda, had a lovely flat sea that
defied the forecast. Lee and Phil looked after the others with the fishing
and baiting-up, while right until the end, the sea remained calm with a nice
tide and a good few fish. Although nothing spectacular was caught, the ever
present dogfish were the first to oblige followed by a number of large
Pout, plus returned female Black Bream, a Pollock and a Bull Huss. Mackerel
were scarce with just 4 found while at anchor. As the tide turned West at
21:30 the wind picked up to a F5 from the East and never really troubled us
apart from the short leg from Hurst to the River entrance, where we had the
odd crash bang.
Weekending Sunday 23rd May
the Tony Lavington crew had lots of options and so we went for it, by
targeting the Chale and Atherfield Banks area. Catching Mackerel was not
easy, but necessary for these banks, and during the 'Macky chase' we found
enough Mackerel, a Pollock and a few Pout. By the end of an extended bait
hunt hit the banks following the hardest flow, of ebb tide. Set nicely, the
fog rolled in from the East, giving a 200m vis for the next 4 hours. It was
cold enough to put your hat and coat on, even in the sunshine. Apart from
the Hound, pictured with Norman, all we found were dogfish, after dogfish,
which is really unusual on these banks. We didn’t fare well but the crew
worked hard. A move back inshore towards Chale, never accounted for much, so
not the best of day but Mackerel, Garfish, Pout, Dogs, Pollock, Whiting and
Smoothhound all made a show. I think we found the coldest and breeziest
place in the South! By the time we turned for home, the fog and breeze had
gone, and it was just like summer! Meanwhile 'Due South' stayed on, after
faring as badly as us on the ebb. Andy finished the day with some good
Blondes and Small Eyed Rays, while Dink trumped Andy at the very end of the
tide with a cracking Brill of 5lb 15oz!
Thursday evening the PW crew wanted to go to the ‘same spot as last time’
and as it was a superb evening and we could do what we liked, I agreed. It
looked like we were going to struggle as the Tuesday crew did with Pout,
Dogs and Mackerel the bulk catch up until dusk. However after the sun set
onto a dark and crimson mirror like sea, Kevin got into something very
decent. After a struggle to the surface a large Blonde literally hit the net
but flapped and dived away, nearly all the way down to the bottom!
Meanwhile, I had plenty of time to get the bigger net. To be fair Kevin took
his time and coaxed her back up to the surface well, where I still had
trouble getting it in the big net. It was only when I went to lift her up
over the side that I realised that this ray was huge. The scales with the
net went down to 30lb and a bit and so it was around the 26lb mark and
obviously lost, as I would never have expected a Blonde Ray to show up where
we were, let alone a Blonde of this size! The beautiful Blonde swam off
slowly no worse for the experience I am sure. So nearly running out of time
I started the engines, when another big fish found bait. This time it was
Stu having to hold on tight as he played a 40lb Conger to the surface where
we netted it, weighed it, photographed and released it. It turned out to be
a real good evening for weather and fish too.
On Tuesday evening
the Nigel Bush crew had a good enough evening to get round the light
although it was a bit chilly in the F4 breeze. Still it was dry and
comfortable. While searching for the Mackerel, Nigel found a reasonable
Herring among the few Mackerel caught on the drift. There were more over
the mark but still not many. Dogs were a nuisance through the evening and
the odd hound or Tope wrecked a set of baited feathers but generally the
fishing was quite and the best specimen on the night was a huge Pout for
Nick. It was an enjoyable night though.
Inshore the Black
Bream are now showing in more numbers in all the traditional marks with a
few Bass now making a show too. As everything is 3 weeks late this year, I
see it that we still have May to come yet, so I really looking forward to
the next four weeks plus, and then the summer!
Thanks to Mick Ketley
for the new picture now on the front page, taken while out on the ‘Pirking
Patch’ last Saturday.
Weekending Sunday 16th May
(Saturday) the Darren Toomer crew plus Tony and Roy, went in search of a Cod
and were relatively successful, although the lads had to fish quite hard for
them as we needed to do a fair bit of searching. Their return of 14 good
conditioned Cod, all around the 10lb mark was acceptable for the effort,
cost and time put in. As a distraction, during a quiet spell, a small wreck
provided a few Pollock to 4lb to add to their tally.
We set off at 0600
and the steam out was great, although against the tide down to the light. It
took us 2hrs 15mins from the pontoon to the mark and was good enough for
tea, and coffee plus the obligatory bacon rolls. We certainly had the best
of the weather in the morning but along with the ebb tide at 1300 came the
inevitable and forecasted breeze. On the way back it was up to a F5. The
return trip was OK but where White Maiden needs a good scrub off and re-anitfoul,
and we were slightly against the tide, with a following sea, at 2hrs 45mins,
it felt like a very long steam home. She will need a scrub-off before the
next long range, 90 mile trip, so I have now planned that in for June.
Above, each holding 2 cod, from left to right, is Nick, Darren, Rob and
Tuesday evening, last week, the freezing cold NE breeze stayed at a F4 until
dusk, which meant it was not the best May evening, wind over tide
experience, for the John and Charles crew. We aimed into the tide for an
hour heading West, to search for, and winkle out the bigger Bream. It wasn’t
rough, or uncomfortable but there was no shelter for the anglers, from the
There were just four
decent Bream caught, the best a tad under 2.5lb and in spawn. Peter (right)
can be seen holding his first ever sea fish, a good Bream. Three were
released and one went for the pot. John is pictured (left) with one of his
two Bream. We also found a couple of small Bull Huss, Wrasse, Pout and
Dogfish but it was fairly slow. So a move to Milford, where just last week,
the same mark gave up plenty of fish, on two separate visits, now seemed
devoid of all life, bar a couple of dogs! So another quick move to a
shallower mark, found a couple of Hounds, a few more Dogs and a Pout in the
last 40 minutes.
It was a good evening
but very cold and the distance travelled against the tide limited our
fishing time. As usual, when a plan semi-fails, some hindsight options may
have found the Bream feeding better, on closer marks. We need to track the
Bream down as they are a ‘highly mobile species’ but they have their
favourite places still. This and new terms like 'Marine Conservation Zone’s'
or 'MCZ’s' will become more familiar to all, over the next 12 months, I am
Weekending 9th May 2010
the Paul Johnson family crew had a cold but comfortable few hours fishing
round the light. The Mackerel are definitely in now with reports from all
over, although it took a few stops and some ‘sonar work’ to find ours. Paul
and his crew managed to fill a box with large Mackerel in about 10 minutes
before finding a kennel of Dogfish at anchor, plus a single pin Whiting. The
interesting thing was the lack of quality fish. We were in 90’ of water,
fishing easy, and were baited with fresh mackerel, plus squid and worms and
crabs, presented on a variety of rigs over slack water low and the start of
the flood. Basically although steady, there was nothing spectacular. Thanks
for an enjoyable afternoon, and I think the ‘men v ladies’ thing was a dead
heat! I am sure the ladies on this trip would have wanted a photo with a
decent fish but the Mackerel and skinned dogfish didn't count. Why the
Blackheaded Gull? Well unusually this young lady helped me and Rob clean up
at the end of the trip, by pecking over the bait board!
On the Saturday the
Darren Toomer crew were also blessed with a comfortable day, nine miles off,
although still bloody cold, for this time of year. The sea temperature is
well down on normal, at 11 degrees C! But that did not stop us hooking some
good fish. With a 4lb Brill and three Blonde Rays between 17.5lb and 15lb
being the best specimens on the days. Plus they boated two Thornbacks, a
Hound, a Bream, Mackerel at slack water and 6 more dogs than expected. All
the fish were returned except for the one Bream and the one Brill.
As a note; I bit the
bullet and updated the software on my Garmin Navigation System. It was a bit
painful and time consuming but sparing the detail, one or two things that
did not work, now miraculously, do work! The new features are superb and
stuff that didn’t make sense before, now does! Thanks to Garmin for the free
Update Thursday 6th May
at 5:30pm I picked up my first evening crew of the season.
The PW crew had a very small tide and
perfect weather conditions, so we shot down with the tide and round the
light to fish a small wreck in 90’ of water, until just before 9:45pm. Many
large Pout, spaced out by occasional dogs kept them all busy, all evening. A
Hound of around 7lb made us think we had found a good Bass, it wasn’t.
Another, smaller hound followed that one. A shoal of Mackerel was also over
the wreck and we had our fill of those. They were big Mackerel mind you,
like the ones we found earlier in the day. Here’s a picture of John Bellamy
with his Hound, which put up a good scrap on light tackle. We never had a
Pollock or a Conger, it is time of year. But we never had a Ray either,
which was more surprising.
During the day
yesterday, the Geoff Wheeler crew fished the Ledge and we found some
reasonable Bream and lots of Pout but it was ‘quiet’ so we moved to
Southbourne Rough where it was absolutely ‘dead’ on two marks. Another move
back to Milford found a few more Bream for (Deputy Dog) Rob and a load of
large Mackerel, plus the usual kennel of Dogs. Rob is shown with one of his
On Bank Holiday
Monday the ‘Wiltshire Farmers’, corralled by Tony Edwards, had a cold and
very blustery but comfortable day. We found fish in close, in the Bay, with
some reasonable Bream, the odd Dog and a small Hound plus a big Mackerel. It
was not that easy to catch fish. A little further out in the Bay on our
second mark we found the fishing was extremely quiet for the last 2 hours.
Let’s hope for some better weather next time.
Saturday the Tony Lavington crew targeted Black Bream and were moderately
successful with 8 Bream boated, one near to 3lb. Mind you that was caught
while the rod owner was in the heads! Jon Richards shows off the best Bream
landed on ‘White Maiden’ after he grabbed Johns rod while he was otherwise
engaged. The mark also produced lots of Pout, a number of Wrasse plus a
couple of Gars and our first inshore Mackerel of the season. Dink and Andy
on ‘Due South’ fishing alongside us had 7 Bream all over 3lb, and the best
weighed-in at just under 4lb.
We had a move at
slack water, to avoid snags and losing gear, to a small bank. Meanwhile the
wind built to a F5 Westerly, but that didn’t stop the fishing, as a
reasonable Small Eyed Ray, a Gar and a number of dogs put the species count
up to 6 for the day. Not bad really as the water is still down at only 11
degrees. It was great to see Robin doing so well and catching fish again,
The Black Bream are
definitely there now, some spawned already, but about 2.5 weeks later than
last year. Most of the hen fish we had Saturday had already released their
eggs. But more will turn up over the next few weeks to spawn too. Most hens
were still returned, though we kept a couple for the pot. I noted too that
with the first of this season’s foals and calves have appeared out on the
forest. I doubt that’s a coincidence either.
There are reports of Cod showing down the middle.
Weekending 25th April 2010
with the good weather! Who would have known this last September when these
trips were planned! Unfortunately this lovely sun is not warming the sea up
as the nights have been so cold. A cold winter, low sea temps, Easterlies
plus high pressure is putting the fish off their dinner, that's for sure.
The 'White Maiden' crew, Church Crookham SAC, found a few Gars, nice to see
mind, plus a dozen wrasse and half a dozen dogs, but no Bream. It wasn't for
trying, as rigs and bait looked good and we tested 3 marks. They just didn't
want to know or are not there in numbers yet. Keith, left, and Paul, right,
show their early Gars. Nearby 'Wight Rebel' and 'Our Mary' found a couple of
Bream but they are hard work still. The water is clearing all the time and
the best fish could be there any time now.
We had lots of options open to us and boats went off in all directions but
reports were very similar, lots of effort and little return. Andy Stevens on
'Make My Day' caught a nice 11lb Small Eyed Ray, Roy Davies on 'Agay' a 15lb
Cod. One of Kev's crew aboard 'Voyager' caught a 12.5lb Pollock, these were
all good but occasional fish with the conditions as they are. Everything
could change, any day now, and those first Mackerel will be followed keenly
but the rest of the sought after species.
By the way today (Sunday) was very cold with more breeze than
yesterday and a horrible sea fog that would have made it more of a challenge
for all, lets hope they found a few more fish than yesterday. As I walked
Hurst Shingle Bank and then had a pint and a ploughmans lunch in 'The Gun'
at Keyhaven, I thought I should call a few of the skippers to find out what
was occuring, and then I realised, what I may have thought myself, receiving
the same call, while sat out in thick fog! So I didn't dare make the calls.
Note all rigs
are now priced at only £1.30 each or 4 rigs for £5.00 but no more than 2
rigs of any one type per order and only small qualities are available when
bought on the boat.
Wednesday 21st April 2010
our weather continues to be dominated by a high pressure system, cold at
night and still/bright at day, the fishing is a bit ‘slow’ all round, unless
you are looking for dogs! The first Black Bream are making a show now. These
early Bream, potentially the biggest of the season, are difficult to catch
in the murky waters, but they are there, as the Geoff Wheeler crew minus
Geoff (laid up with a bad back) caught our first of the season. Tom on the
left is showing the returned hen fish. However, the fishing was slow and a
move only found more dogs. The water is still down at 10 degrees. On Sunday
one boat landed more than nine Bream all good fish, so they are there.
unfortunately, White Maiden didn’t catch a Bream but found a couple of
Edible crabs, a small Bull Huss, inevitable dogs and Pout plus a few Wrasse,
for the Steve Forster crew. The day was very calm and quiet apart from a
cold breeze for an hour on the change of tide.
Wight Rebel of Lymington,
fishing near to White Maiden, caught two good Bream and lost two, one thought to be a
very big Bream. The other boats in the vicinity that did connect, found
one or two fish, around the 3lb mark.
The sea is gradually
warming up but is cold still, too cold, maybe? Hounds are deep and falling
to squid as they do this time of year. Some Rays are being caught on the
banks with Blondes, Small Eyeds and Thornbacks showing. Pollock are being
caught well out on the mid-channel wrecks. Kevin Duell, out from Lymington,
on Voyager, found 48 for his crew last week to 15lb.
On Saturday, inshore,
Steve Davies fishing solo on ‘Agay’, baited worm to a size 2 and struck into
what he thought to be a decent Hound (Smoothie). After carefully coaxing
the nodder to the surface, after more than 10 minutes, through the 50’ of
water he was in, he netted a Cod of 13lb. Maybe we should be fishing for
Good fish! Above is Richard Burgoyne
with a cracking 21.5lb Spur caught two weeks ago now. White Maiden is the
white mark near his thumb!
Weekending 11th April 2010
great forecast meant we had plenty of scope and so we comfortably fished the
banks well South of the Light, all day. The tidal range was kind at just 2.2
meters but this still required 1.5lb of lead in the hardest run of the Ebb.
Trident SAC crew
caught six double figure Spur Dogs with two of them at specimen size, just
over 13lb. All fish were weighed and released. All but one angler had a
double figure fish, so they were reasonably well shared around.
the same trip I recon the best Blonde Ray ever hooked on one of my boats was
lost after a 30 minute struggle. Ken hooked the fish at the end of the Ebb
and it eventually came to a stalemate. I took over and got the big fish off
the bottom and moving again and demonstrated how to use the back, the legs
and the deck to pump the big fish to the surface but I gave the rod up, as
it wasn’t my day out. Bob continued to pump up the big fish, which was
directly below the boat. Unfortunately the big Blonde ‘bit through’ a trace,
that did not account heavy weights, about 20’ from the surface.
This is frustrating
for both Anglers and Skippers as we will never know how big she was, but she
was big. As a note this time of year there is nothing to lose when using at
least 150lb nylon traces. An added bit of 'colour' helps too when the water
is deep and cloudy. As for the day itself it was ‘fairly quiet’ with the
odd Pout and a number of LSD's showing too.
far away from us and on the same banks, a small boat landed a monster 21lb
Spur, caught a 14lb Cod and lost another , estimated at 20lb Cod on the
There were Spurs
caught on most boats when 5 miles out or further. With a number of Cod
showing plus a few Hounds and the odd Bass there’s some reasonable fishing
to be had. Whiting are also being caught still on the right spots.
are making a show and during this week we should see some of the biggest
fish making their way back to their usual breeding spots. We should all make
a special effort to release the hen fish. The early Big Bream seem to be on
a few agendas next weekend. An alternative target fish could be a spring
4th April Easter 2010
is early this year and my original plan fell victim to the weather when both my
fishing days got blown off!
During the week prior
to Easter I went to see the new BWSeaCat vessel at Wicor Marine. Their new
inboard diesel 'SPEED 11' is launched and was off to a new home on the
Wednesday after her successful MCA Coding on the Monday. Here she is on the
The new vessel is
bigger, heavier and costs twice as much as White Maiden but the principles
are the same. It is based on displacement hulls with fine entry bow’s but
the new vessel has much more power as she is pushed along by two 260HP
inboards. She weighs in at 8.3 Tonnes and will hit 26 Knots .The version
shown will cost around £170K. This boat is purchased as a workboat, a
gunnery patrol vessel , working off of Portland. Another bespoke SPEED 11
also fitted with inboards is being finished off for Graham Knott, for
diving. The next build slot is now the middle of 2011
and they are well set with this boat as the ride and economy combination
is hard to beat. My guess is the name BWSeaCat will
become more familiar to sea anglers as time goes by.
My crews need not
worry though as White Maiden has fitted our purpose really well. She still
feels new and is very stable, roomy, quiet, clean and extremely economical.
I couldn’t afford to run a bigger boat than White Maiden part time as
I do now, plus I
love the boat now anyway. However if I were to go full time, I could be
forced into a larger mid channel vessel. We will see what happens.
Back at the ranch I
have a problem with a garage shelf stacked with very old flares. I need to get
rid of them and discovered that old flares or Expired Pyrotechnics (PTs) can
now be disposed of, more easily again. Call Solent Coastguard on VHF CH67 or
02392 552 100 and they will give a date when they can be dropped off at Lee
on Solent. If it was any other European Country we would just let them off
on November 5th, Christmas or New Year and no one would give a toss!
Tightlines and Happy Easter,
Weekending 28th March
Hello again, sorry
for the lack of updates, but I have been away on our ‘silver wedding
anniversary treat’. In date order a Mexico / Cruise short fishing story can
be found below.
Back to this weekend,
on Saturday the weather was ideal and so I tested a few marks. We started on
an inshore sand bank moved to a reef and then drifted the Shingles. We
found some fish but this was at best referred to as ‘scratching’.
I scratched both ‘the
itch’, having not caught a fish for a few weeks, and scratched a few
‘competition fish’ too. The sand bank was very quiet with nothing showing
at all in the first 1.5 hours that we put in there, while at anchor. We
fished the preferred time of the tide, the start of the ebb, following a 7am
After a move to the
second mark, bites were immediate and the Dogs and Pout came thick and fast,
with the competition scratching rigs working well (My Shop
SFN Rig 4) and
returning a ‘full house’ on a couple of occasions. But as we were after a
flatfish, ideally, the scavengers would never give them a chance to get to
the bait, so in the remaining time we tried drifting for a Bass. One
suspected Bass was hooked but lost. It felt like a reasonable fish fighting
with only 2 ozs of lead to drag around so there’s some life, already.
The early run out was
interesting as a South Westerly running swell was hitting ‘the shallows’ at
the end of the Shingles, where we got some breaking surf waves up to round
8’. We traversed the shallows without issues, after seeing a big gap of safe
water, but I wouldn’t do this with a crew, just in case, but it was fun
Meanwhile, the only
other charter boat that went out on Saturday, John Skeggs on ‘Last Laugh’
went mid-channel and found some nice Pollock, the best, a good specimen of
17lb. Their catch of 40 odd Pollock averaged 7lb that included 5 doubles.
John also reported that he spotted plenty of Gannets hitting the water on
the way out and on the way back, this bodes well. The Exbury club dinghies
found a few Plaice at 'The Blocks' but they didn't go loopy-loo, but they
are always worth another try.
Let’s see how the
weather goes for next weekend. Spring is in the air and Easter will be upon
March – Holiday Story
Well our holiday has
gone, and is now a distant memory. We did have a very nice time though.
Mind you we have discovered since returning, that we are both properly
allergic to work! Confined to a ship for 14 days meant that we met lots of
interesting people from all walks of life, including Captain Bill, a
Lobsterman, who runs out from Boston, and Captain Ray, who runs a sports
fishing operation out from Kona, in Hawaii. That is what holidays are all
about, a good yarn, some fishing and the odd drink, all in warm sunshine and
Mind you, I guessed
correctly what would happen with the fishing. The day we went out in search
of a big fish from a small Mexican Port called Huatulco, we only found one
Skip Jack Tuna falling to our one and only small lure. The rest of the rods
were working big hooks, with big baits or lures as we were not mucking
about. Guess who retrieved then only fish, a small Skip Jack, yes Mrs Jones!
So, 5 hours of
trolling, produced a 4lb Tuna. That’s why they call it fishing in Mexico
too and not catching J. We were working on the same line as three
commercial trawlers and there were Dolphins and Turtles everywhere. As for
Marlin and Sailfish, well we did see a Marlin jumping but we couldn’t hook
one. The next Day Captain Ray and his wife Vicky both caught a Sailfish
each, out from Acapulco, fantastic!
My second fishing
trip out from Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, was cancelled, as there was only
myself and Captain Bill booked on it. Unknown to each other, we would have
been happy paying double, but the communications just never happened. Just
as well really, as the ship struggled with a faulty generator over night,
and we were late into the dock anyway. So it was just as well we never
‘forced it’ at Cabo but I will be back, that’s for sure. It is a sea anglers
Following our return
my son helped me run White Maiden on a reasonable Sunday, and all was well
down at the moorings, so I
decided to fish the coming weekend, if the weather was kind. As you can see
above it was.
Weekending 28th February
Nothing to report this week but here's some pictures taken on
the way home at the end of last weeks trip. No need to add many words here
as you can see for yourself that it was a good day off the famous Needles
Lighthouse. You can see why we call it is Sun Corner!
Weekending 21st February
Saturday, the South of the Needles light, was shared between just two
charter boats and two private boats. We had one of the best days of the
winter. It started frosty with slight seas, hardly any wind, dry, mostly
sunny, low pressure, a middling tide and a few fish too.
The Tony Lavington crew on 'White Maiden' recorded 6 species,
fishing near a bank in 120' of water. The flood was mostly quiet, however a
nice 5lb Bass for Tony plus another, rattled the rods in the strongest part
of the run. Towards the end of the flooding tide small but sizable Whiting,
the odd dogfish and Pout was the source of some amusement but the ebb was
anticipated. On the right is a very pleased Mike Long having christened his
new rod, reels and survival suit and fancy flashing rubber squid.
Two better fish, a Thornback Ray and a Conger of around 25lb
allowed the fishing day to go out on a high but we missed out on the 'hoped
for Cod'. Guess who caught the Thornback and Cod? You guessed, it was Mike
and his flashing, bloody squid. He deserved it, after supplying the fry up
once again. The sunset was spectacular.
The Cod are still there, as Steve Davies fishing solo,
inshore of us, on 'Agay' found a Cod of 9lb and a clunker at 17lb at the end
of the flood, his only other fish, was a Dogfish. John Skegg's crew on 'Last
Laugh' also found two Cod one of 8lb and another at 9lb plus a Conger.
Note that in mid-April I have a free Saturday, ideal for the
early and hopefully biggest Bream again. Also I just made the Easter
Bank Holiday Monday available plus a few half days of a few Sundays,
throughout the summer. That's it for me now, until Easter, as I have a few
maintenance jobs to be getting on with. During this time I will also be
updating my small shop with my own, modified rigs.
Weekending 14th February
There were only four charter boats South of the Needles on
Saturday, with no dinghies venturing round by the look of it. Three chose
the one mile line, while we went to three. The F5 NE made it a little bit
uncomfortable at first and the wind was very cold but the crew were well
wrapped up and had plenty of bait, tea, coffee, bacon, sausages, eggs and
even mushrooms. However the fishing was very quiet for all of us. We only
found three Pout at slack water and only two fish lost, probably Congers,
during the Ebb. We had nothing at the end of the ebb! The crew fished well,
stuck to their cause, and weren't too hard on the Skipper, well for
most of the day. Thanks for a good day out lads and at least we can say for
sure, that they weren't there, rather than just assume they wouldn't be!
The water temp is now down at 4 degrees C and the inshore
marks appear to have gone into hibernation mode. If we can test 10 miles
next week then there is still a chance for the last trip of the winter
The next 6 weeks or so are going to be hard but on a good
forecast, I would test the Plaice marks inshore and if perfect weather, you
could test the 10 mile banks for a Blonde, Spur or Conger etc or maybe a
deeper wreck for a Pollock. One thing you can't do is waste a good forecast
when there is always a chance of a fish or even practicing your techniques.
If the weather is poor then you can't beat getting your reels serviced and
ready to go. Sorting out rigs and getting prepared for the Spring season is
the key to success.
Weekending 7th February
Yesterday, Saturday, a big SW swell and a NE F4 in bright
sunshine made for a strange day. The fishing was best described as 'quiet',
although the Congers showed up at the end of the tide.
On White Maiden the Trident SAC crew found a few Pout at
Slack Water low, first thing in 112' of water, plus a Conger released and a
Conger lost. This was the start of a very quiet flood tide. Towards the top
of the flood, the Congers fed a bit better and another 3 up to 20lb were
'T-barred off' and four more were lost. This made a total of 4 eels caught
and 5 lost. All day it felt as though a Cod was soon to go on the score
sheet but it never happened. Yet today, Steve on 'Agay', fishing Solo, on a
similar line, found a nice Cod of 18lb, along with 5 Congers. Skeggsy found
a 12lb Cod yesterday and all boats found the Congers, although not as many
as in previous weeks. The Whiting appear to have moved off now.
Next week is a perfect tide at 3.1m range, for the Cod, and
so with a perfect forecast, I will organise a crew at £45 a head. Like
yesterdays crew said, it was a quiet but enjoyable and if the chance for a
big Cod is there, we should go. I will keep an eye on the forecast and get a
message out on Wednesday to give some notice.
Weekending 31st January
'Getting harder' is the best description for this time of
year. But if the weather is as good as yesterday, then it is difficult not
to test the waters and see if you can beat one of those lunker Cod.
Yesterday the Kiddlington SAC fished on White Maiden in a big tide around
4.3 meters in RANGE; that's a 4.7 HW down to a 0.4 LW tide. The 1.5lb and
2lb leads came in handy, and the lads fished well, right through hardest
part of the tide, supported by Tea and Coffee plus the mandatory bacon and
sausage bread rolls but we couldn't find a Cod.
Duncans TBR had us all going in the strongest part of the ebb
tide until it came up from the bottom and 'went back' and the line began to
draw small circles where it broke the surface. A 'skate on' giveaway. Apart
from the returned 9lb female Thornback we found 5 dogs, a Whiting and 8
Pout; that was it.
Only one other boat could be seen off the light yesterday,
while today, a couple of Merry Fishers found the going tough too. Each boat,
skippered solo, went out a little further and one coaxed a 14lb Cod while
the other found a 20lb Conger and that was all their large hooks and baits
could find. I am not sure how the charter boats on the mile line did today.
Next weekend, is a smaller tide and so this will mean the
9-10 mile banks for Plan A, on a cracking forecast, or if a reasonable
forecast then half way may be good enough. Plan C will be floundering around
for a flatty in the harbour for those more desperate for a bit of daylight
and sanctuary from the rat race. That'll be me then.
Saturday 13th February is a 3.1m tide that has fished
well this winter, so if the weather is very kind to us we will go and chase the
Congers again with the chance of a Cod and a few Whiting still but only on a
really good forecast again. I have a couple of individuals interested and so
will make up a crew at £45 per angler.
Weekending 24th January
was a cracking day for winter fishing. The fog held off and the sea went
flat and was a heady 7 degrees C. As it happened, Congers were the main
feeding fish, and it was just as well, as it could have been a quiet day
On White Maiden, Dave had the quality fish, a 38lb Conger and
a specimen Whiting that went 3lb 8ozs. Darren and Dave caught seven of the
ten Congers and lost about the same number, through bitten off hooks and
busted knots. Jason and Derek gave up working their 'specially prepared
bait', 30 minutes from the end, to catch a Conger too. The biggest Conger,
was fought and beaten, by both Dave and Darren when the biggish fish scooped
up two baits at once. A third rig in it's throat belonged to Derek, with the
specially prepared bait, so the possibly 'dodgy' bait, sort of worked. One
internet bought rig suffered a busted barrel swivel! I would be very wary of
the rest! Jason provided the sausages, bacon and eggs, which went down a
treat and was greatly appreciated.
So this was a good day for deep sea fishing in January and
for testing gear on some hard fighting eels. They deserved to go back and
fight another day. So two lessons learned; when taking on the bigger fish,
prepare your own rigs. You need rigs made-up with 130lb or bigger, nylon.
Also big hooks can take plenty of bait. The best squid bait has never been
defrosted before, so new, large 'snow white', 5lb boxes of calamari squid is
a must. What's the difference between an egg and a cuttle fish? You can beat
an egg, you can't beat a good cuttle fish. By the way, most believe you can
re-freeze cuttle fish without changing it's effectiveness as a good bait.
The best fish reported on Saturday was a Cod of around 28lb
on Mike Cottingham's 'Challenger 2'. Mike was on the same line as the three
Merry Fisher skippers that bashed the Cod on White Maiden before Christmas.
They are private boats, and all caught Cod yesterday too. Andy Stevens on
'Make My Day' caught Cod of 12lb, 11lb and 9lb.
The Exbury Cod comp was won by 'Bob the Plumber' with a 12lb
Cod and Steve on 'Agay' was second with an 8lb Cod, there was no third!
The Poole Cod Comp today had a few Cod weighed in too with
the best around 18lb. So the Cod are still there. I went too far out for
them on Saturday, so will stay in closer next week, in the spring tide. I
saw plenty of bait fish on our bank showing on the sonar, so I suspect
sprats are filling up the Cod and Whiting. Some fish were reported as
coughing sprats up when they hit the deck.
John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' went 10 miles and found Congers
and few Whiting plus a 7lb Bass and an 18lb Blonde Ray.
I did manage to test my Christmas present, a new Shimano
Torium 20 reel, on my Conoflex Trilogy 20 rod. What a cracking reel and
ideally matched to the rod. It beat the Conger so well, I should really get
another. A combination of a shop bought soft 100lb trace and a non-practiced
star drag caused me to loose a biggish looking fish while making the tea.
The day glow beads and muppets lured the big fish within minutes of propping
the rod, the trace however let the rig down. The rod tip was bent to the
gunnels three times before being bitten through.
Saturday 13th February is a nice 3.1m tide that has fished
well this winter, so if the weather is kind to us we will go and chase the
Congers again with the chance of a Cod and a few Whiting still. The whole
boat is £300 for the day but if I get a few individuals interested I will
make up a crew at £45 per angler. First there first served.
Weekending 16th January
This time of year can be frustrating, as some quality fish
tend to show mid-January, if you can get to them. So far, the New Year has
been very frustrating, as we can't test the Needles this week with the
forecast against us again. Tomorrow I have a Rugby team to manage, but will
have a quick fish in the afternoon, else I might go a bit stir crazy. I am
sure a couple of mid-week charters went and sampled the snow, sleet or fog
but I didn't ask around to find out, so apologise for that. Steve and Andy,
both of Merry Fisher owners took 'Agay' and 'Make My Day' out last Sunday.
They only spotted one charter boat. Their hardy session found mainly Dogs
but a couple of Cod too, 'in close', to the Light.
Today, among other things, I improved my online
'Shop' pages. It is
mainly for the Bait and Rigs that are available to White Maiden crews. If
you need anything please list what you would like in an e-mail, before your
trip, so that I can confirm and take your bait and traces down to the boat
My 2010 evening trips are being taken up nicely, so while the
days are starting to get longer, I guess that you are now thinking about the
Spring and Summer. With the lack of boats out there, the fish will have more
time to spawn and gorge on the Sprats too, so not all bad.
I hope to get a day round the Light, next weekend with the DT
Crew, we will wait and see
Weekending 10th January
Snow, ice and boats, not the best of mixes. The ice is a pain
and very heavy, adding extra weigh (payload), jamming knots, blocking
letting ports, turning warps into rigid works of art, sticking down hatches
and making fuel caps impossible to use. Not a day to be taken lightly,
particularly when the car shows an outside temp of -1 degrees at 2pm in the
afternoon, and the wind is blowing 22 Knots at Hurst! This is a rare weather
event for us down on the South coast that's for sure. Let's hope it will not
become the norm.
You should have guessed by now that we didn't entertain going
out today. Some boats in the Marina were surrounded by sea ice, while 'White
Maiden', was not iced-in but more, iced-over.
I got down to the moorings at midday and was glad to see her
looking so clean, safe and stable. The wheelhouse was warmish and the
windows clean and clear. I spent an hour loosening and brushing off 70% of
the ice build-up, as we are due for a lot more snow yet. Hopefully
with a bit of luck next week the conditions will be a fishable but if it
stays like this, well, I will be surprised if this can be considered
'favourable weather'. Maybe it's different in Norway and no doubt the boats
are better prepared for ice up there.
I have no pictures of 'White Maiden' as I was working hard
smashing and brushing the ice off, but the Seaward 29 and the Orkney 26
above, were too good to walk past on the way back, without taking a quick
shot. It was a beautiful, if not fishable day, down by the sea and driving
across the forest was a privilege, for sure.
If, next week, everyone turns up in the correct cold weather
gear, and the warps, hatches and caps aren't stuck solid with ice, we could
go. Today though, would have been impossible.
Weekending 3rd January
Happy New Year. I hope all is well with you and your families
and the holidays were long and enjoyable. Yesterday, On White Maiden we had
our first sortie of 2010 and were again chasing the Cod. This trip was up for
grabs until 3 weeks ago. If I do get a charter date without a booking, I text
one of three groups with times, cost, bait and the target species. This was
one of those called 'serious locals' as it was a big tide
and the day would include some 2lb lead work, in the hardest part of
the run, so not everyone's cup of tea. But it can pay off, as it did
for us on this trip. We found 6 good Cod mostly during the Ebb again in the
very big 4.4m
range tide. Tony Lavington weighed in with 3 Cod with his best over 15lb.The best Cod
on the day at 16lb fell to Mike Callus, who also bagged another good one of
14.5lb plus a 3lb Whiting and a 4lb Spotted Ray. Norman got on
the scoreboard too with a Cod about 10lb. The rest worked hard too.
For those that need to see what we do round here, this is a
reminder, basically at times they fished with 1.5lb to 2lb of lead, mainly
on braid, with 8/0 - 10/0 hooks to 130lb Nylon and 4 or 5 Squid or a Cuttle
fish and 2 or 3 squid.
The picture on the left is Tony showing you his big Cod bait,
then the result of that particular bait, his smallest Cod! Tony had 3 of the
6 Cod landed, so it works well! There were a few more reasonable
Whiting and some big Pout plus dogs so all in all, on a lovely bright breezy
cold day, it was a blummin good day out.
Tightlines and Happy New Year