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Catch Reports 2011

Weekending 1st January 2012
 Our New Years Eve trip, had a Strong Wind warning in the forecast from the SW, which left us the Solent as our only viable option but all the crew were up for a chance of a Cod or Bass. So we went down and fished deep on the North side in 65' of water. With no bites after 20 minutes of slack water low, I decided to quickly move to the Island side. With a bit of tide we soon learned that my new pattern Delta anchor, that I setup on Wednesday, was not going to work. Six attempts later, I had proved that it definitely did not work as an anchor! So I am taking it back to swap for another of my preferred Bruce type copy anchor.  Oh, and the fishing, well after messing up the start of the flood and then only being able to anchor in 45' of water we basically didn't know what it was like in the preferred deeper water in the easy tide. By the end we caught five Dogfish with very little evidence of any decent 'life'. Interestingly Ian caught the biggest 'thing', a 10lb stone, while we were dragging anchor.

When we did eventually get a grip, we had a juvenile Black Guillemot on our 'White Maiden' stern, picking up scraps and playing like a pet. See this short video, by clicking on the picture.
As stated above while kicking my heels this week, I replaced my trusty 15Kg Bruce pattern anchor with a 15Kg Delta pattern anchor. Only a few times this year I have dragged anchor, in bigger seas and tides, away from marks that I wanted to fish, so the test was to see if this would improve my holding. The Delta weighs 2Kg heavier, both are marked as 15Kg. The Delta is supposed to be much more efficient, I basically proved that this copy Delta looks like an anchor but is in fact, not an anchor! See the picture which do you think looks like it should work best? I will use my Bruce type anchor by choice, at the moment but the Spade anchor is now looking like a better option.....stay tuned in.

I cancelled Wednesdays full day trip purely again on the F7 forecast, again up from the SW. The two days I could not get out this week was when the wind eased off! On Friday a few boats got out round the Needles Light and a few Cod were caught, it was lumpy to start but eased off all day. Then while I was at Twickenham on Tuesday some boats got out and found Cod, Whiting and Conger feeding on the best day. They still required plenty of bait and effort to compete with the robbing Pout and Dogs. 'Due South' had two double figure Cod, some nice Whiting and Congers to 25lb.

Did you notice that on my FrontPage I have added 'Buoys' as a regular and useful link. This links directly to the Greenwich Lightship data page at the National Data Buoy Center or NDBC. There are two buoys in our approximate sea area giving us live data. The Greenwich Lightship is about 40 miles, mid channel, SE from us and the Channel Lightship is about 50 miles, mid channel SW of us. To see the Channel Lightship data, enlarge the small chart and click on the square North of the Channel Island's. I use these to give me an idea of how big the sea maybe when I round the Needles Light, after a blow. Note the maths behind the wave height figure. Significant wave height, WVHT, is approximately equal to the average of the highest one-third of the waves, as measured from the trough to the crest of the waves. Therefore there could be much bigger waves out there, so be warned.

Tightlines, Happy New Year and here's to a break in the weather.

Weekending 24th December 2011

Today's (Christmas Eve, Saturday) individuals, five hour 'White Maiden' charter was restricted to the Solent. John Skeggs, on a full day, managed to get 'round the back'. One other boat from Lymington, also decided to go out and round, the three of us were pretty much on our own, lovely. By 14:00 they were still round there as the wind was reported to have flattened the sea off, against the tide. With the forecast given and tide times, I decided it was best to test the end of the flood and the start of the ebb, out deep, in the Western Solent. We had a few Dogs and Pout plus a Congerette (a Conger smaller than a strap) before moving inshore and out of the tide. Here they were loosing bait, on the big hooks, while fishing shallow, but still no prize fish. Knowing we had failed miserably, I reservedly called John on 'Last Laugh' and then Andy on 'Due South'. The fish at that point had beaten them too, who'd have believed it! So today Happy Christmas fish, have a good one. Here's a picture, taken from my tender, of the incredible sunrise, approaching 'White Maiden' moored on the Lymington Yacht Haven wave screen, at 07:40 today. Note that on Thursday John had Cod of 22, 24 and 26lb plus loads of Whiting on the same numbers as today! This fishing game requires lots of patience, optimism and a 'never say die' attitude!

Looking back over 2011 we had some ‘outstanding’ trips; one was a memorable Saturday afternoon/evening, in early September. We went Bassing on an individuals trip, on the same day that I disembarked from the P&O ship ‘Aurora’ in Southampton at 8am. We found Bass and caught some quality specimens that took pirks on hire rods, over an inshore bank. Then there was the Rick Godwin trip in June where we were ‘on the fish’ again all with hire rods; Congers, Tope, Skate and Hounds often coming in twos, all inshore and through a big flooding tide, while at anchor. I was knackered. On another outstanding trip in June, an evening with the Wilshire Farmers, we caught literally too many fish at the start, Mackerel and Pollock on the drift, then caught bigger fish, including a very nice specimen Small Eyed Ray, at anchor.

We had some really ‘good’ trips; one in April where the Bream went well for the Church Crookham crew who caught plenty, as well as the best for the season for Keith. Another good Bream trip in May, with the Tony Lavington crew, improved dramatically, when we moved and settled alongside John Skeggs on ‘Last Laugh’. Thanks for that one, John! Another was with the Wiltshire farmers, in late September where we caught the best Brill I have seen come to any boat, plus Blonde Rays and lots of Tope. Two evenings in July were ‘really good’ trips too; one with the Alan Headley crew and the other with the Pat Warne crew where we caught plenty of Bream, Bass to 5lb and a skate to 15lb. Another was on a bouncy day with the Tony Lavington crew in late November where they caught Whiting, Cod to 21lb, Bass to 5lb and Congers to 30lb.

Then there a regular Saturday crew that were blighted by ‘Strong Winds’, with most of their trips falling foul to a minimum of a force 6 blowing from either the West or East, or anywhere South, between those points. Trident SAC really struggled to get out and when we did, on one of those few trips we were forced back inside before 2pm, in what Arthur Savage in ‘Private Venture II’ called a ‘nasty sea’. In the last two hours of that day we watched the start of the Fastnet race, while drifting Wardens and catching buggerall, as the strong wind held the boat static against a feisty ebbing tide! TOFFs were unlucky with the weather too.

Next year’s diary is already looking healthy although there are some evening trips available, if you fancy it. I have also planned some Macky trips too, as I get lots of requests for them.

So here’s to my sixth year completed as a part time Leisure Charter Skipper, still a relative beginner. Every year, like many of us, I am half expecting to be made redundant from my full time job, with my 'real' work at risk of going overseas. In the meantime I can’t moan about having one and a half jobs, in these awkward times! So again in 2012, you will no doubt have to put up with a skipper that cooks up breakfast, keeps his boat clean and well looked after, just like a ‘mistress’ should be!

In 2012 I am looking forward to a Channel Islands trip with Trident SAC. No, not in White Maiden (licensed to 20 miles from Safe Haven) but a on Guernsey boat, 'Margaret K'. The other reason for not taking White Maiden is that I would like to enjoy some fishing of my own. You can't relax with of a five day crew while planning for successful fishing days in a strange area. Instead I aim to have a drink, kick back, enjoy trying to catch whatever is near our boat, and have a good holiday!

Here’s wishing you more tightlines throughout the next twelve months and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Les, White Maiden, Lymington.

Weekending 18th December 2011

This week has seen the bad weather disrupt most of our fishing plans. I initially thought today's cancellation (Saturday) was a mistake when I got up but at 1230 it was blowing 23knts and after talking with other skippers, who were also ashore, there was no mistake made. I aim to get out during this week if we can but if we can't, we wont.

After discussing last Saturday with a few other boats in my vicinity we were very unlucky not to do better. Just outside and 250 yards South of us were two boats that both had some great fish. Gary Withers on 'Sea Hunter' caught and released a cracking Undulate that bounced on the scales between 17lb and 21lb, that is a hell of a an Undulate. He also had two Cod and fifteen Whiting. While just down tide from him and only 250 yards from us, Fred on 'Crimson Tide' caught a massive 14lb Bass! Steve on 'Agay' just on our inside had to wait until 8pm before catching two Cod on his last drop, one was 21lb and the other 16lb. We were surrounded by good fish. The only thing that we could have done, in hindsight, was to throw more cuttle and squid at them, and possibly put a live bait above the main baits, bit like a hair rig. This used to work for the famous Geordie Dickinson on the 'Needles Bank' as he called it, in one of his autobiography type books. The trick is to try, change tactics and test new ideas, it's why we call it fishing still and not catching!

Fingers crossed on the weather. White Maiden is primed to go. Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 11th December 2011


We managed to avoid the Cod today, Saturday, after throwing plenty of bait at the Pout and Dogs. John had the best fish in the shape of a Thornback, while Chris caught the biggest Conger close to 40lb. Steve had a reasonable Conger of 30lb and Bob also caught Conger along with a Whiting, otherwise it was quiet except for the Pout and Dogs.

The forecast and sea conditions made for a great day out on the sea. Not too cold with a nice bit of sun.

Nearly everyone else, not all boats caught Cod. Some only managed one Cod to a boat but Jeff Semple 'Lazy Daze' found five with the best at around 29lb. I obviously put us exactly on the wrong spot!






Weekending 3rd December 2011

The forecast for Saturday and tonight (Friday) is for a F6/7 occasionally F8 WSW, so I cancelled TOFF's. It is annoying for all but this happens during good fishing spells and bad. This is a good one and due to poor weather and Rugby, I won't get out to test my marks this weekend.

Those lucky enough to have a booking today (Friday) or were flexible with leave and had no work commitments, managed to get out. Some did extremely well. My mate Steve fishing Solo on 'Agay', just off the Needles caught seven Cod, the best at around 23lb by 4pm. While Andy on 'Make My Day' had Cod too, with the best at 28lb. Then there were the Congers. Another trusty report was of another solo angler in the same area who accounted for ten Cod with four over 20lb.

The Cod are in and the Needles are on fire!

Having said that I am aware of a couple of Charter boats who's crews on the same day, similar area, could not get them to the surface. For Needles Cod you must use 8/0 and 10/0 hooks, along with plenty of squid, plus some cuttle. Wire line does not hurt either as it vibrates in the tide and this seems to draw them in to your bait area.

Tightlines Les.

Weekending 26th November 2011


The forecast was for a F5 WSW in the morning going to a F6 in the afternoon, so we arranged for a morning trip as the guys are all local. What we actually got was a F6 at 7am that went to a F7 by 11am. It was only a forecast and not far off. Down the Solent we had wind with tide until 10:30 and it was a big springer too at 115% or 4.5m. I was concerned about the weed but it seems to have almost gone, about time too! There was life with big baits being ripped by Dogs (boated) and presumably Pout but we fished big and caught a foul hooked Bass for Colin followed by a better one at around 3lb for Alan.

Two sausage baps and two cups of tea and two Bass later after 2 hours fishing and we were on our way back as the wind got up another notch, as the tide was turning.

The pictures were saved until we were back on the Bath Road, Lymington pontoon. Alan and Colin are trying to use perspective to get one over the other. It nearly worked too.

Here's looking forward to next weekend, as this week appears to be blowing for most of it.

Note that there are individual spaces on trips during and after the Holidays see my diary page.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 19th November 2011

Yesterday the Tony Lavington crew had to put up with a swell and a sloppy sea that persisted throughout the day. One or two crew struggled with the continuous motion and to be fair it was not ideal but the fishing is definitely becoming very good. Tony can be seen with his best Cod at a shade over 20lb to add to another nice Cod he caught earlier in the same tide. Pictured below on the right is Mike with two handy Cod, Tony again and Phil showing his Bass. Other notable fish  was a reasonable Thornback, a good Whiting and a 20lb Conger plus some lead cable! The Pout and Dogs were there too, hanging onto the smaller hooks.


On Thursday the Pat Warne crew, supported by Dave and myself found a few good fish. The two early (in the day) Cod, caught in the middle of the flood, showed potential was good and that kept us going, until an hour from the end when I made a quick move back inside and down the Solent. We got out of the swell and chop just as the breeze increased to 21 knots. Here though the fishing was more lively, where we found another small Cod plus a 5lb Smoothound plus some large Pout. A 5lb Hound on 17th November in the Solent, amazing!


The best Cod reported in the Needles area this week was caught on Arthur Savages charter boat 'Private Venture', a cracker at 30lb. The Cod champs on Wednesday and Thursday recorded Cod to just under 25lb taking the prizes, while others at 24lb were not big enough to get on the prize table! Mike Cottingham on Challenger was top skipper over the two days.

I just added two short Saturday trips during the Christmas period. A five hour trip on Christmas Eve and another on New Years Eve. Both are 8am to 1pm and are set at £30pp. Come along for some Christmas Holiday 'fresh air', weather permitting, and a good chance of a specimen Cod.

Note also that the Tony Lavington crew, who have been among my most loyal and best customers since I started, have now invested in their own boat. They have a very nice 'Parker' boat called 'Nosey'. Before they purchased 'Nosey' we reserved some dates for 2012. I will be re-arranging these dates as Individuals trips. Note there is now a January and February Saturday trip available, listed as an 'Individuals Trip' in the diary.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 12th November 2011

Big fish alert. Yesterday the Trident SAC found and lost some big fish. Lee was the star with an early Cod at 15.5lb while Steve wrestled and beat a Conger around 30lb. Both are pictured below. The others shared a few smaller Conger and there were some good big fish lost, four on the flood and three on the ebb. Slack water was fairly quiet. I put the lost fish down to the large hooks, huge baits, big fish with hard mouths, and 'heavy leads' fished on fairly light rods. Big strikes are required to set the 'cold steel' in these circumstances. I recommend you feed these monsters, give them line and let them gorge on their diner first, so that the hooks are set deep before taking them on. Anyway we had a lovely day and the Cod are in now, just in time for the IOW Cod Championships this week. Some boats had four Cod others five Cod up to 19lb and it is just starting really.

I am out again on Thursday during the day, 0730 to 1600 and have 3 places for those interested at £45pp. We are not fishing the Cod Comp due to circumstance i.e. a booked training course, lack of leave and a long standing commitment to a regular crew of mine. I hope we leave some of the better Cod to be recorded in the competition but still look forward to the day and wish all the skippers and anglers the best of luck.


Tightlines, Les

Weekending 5th November 2011

At last, the fishing is switching back on again, with the winter species now starting to make a good show. Yesterday we caught reasonable Whiting to 1.5 lb, six congers between 25lb and 36lb, Pout to 1.5lb, Poor Cod and the odd dogfish. We never found a Cod but many boats did in our area, reported weighing up to 16lbs, with the odd boat finding three. Note the Solent is now holding some good Cod this week too, after dark mostly but some coming during the daylight hours too.


Pete accounted for two of the Congers, including the biggest at 36lb. This one went home for tea! Recipe for Conger - Place Conger in large pot with ten, six inch nails and boil for six hours, throw away the Conger and eat the nails! This is in jest, as I know that, skinned and with some culinary expertise they can be made to taste real good but they are not for me. I would rather take home the two Whiting that I did catch for my tea.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 30th October 2011

We went, we all got bashed about in the F5 South West breeze but they caught a few fish, mainly Pout and Dogs plus better Whiting, a small Conger plus a bonus Edible Crab. We were restricted to the Back of the Shingles mind. Other boats in the same area reported worse, while one better, with a similar catch to us plus a couple of Bass too. The weed was OK and a nice change. My two Whiting came in less than a total of ten minutes of fishing and went down a treat for our starter at dinner tonight!

Be prepared to tussle with lots of weed on the bigger tides if the weather lets you fish the inshore Needles Cod marks this week. Hopefully next weekend on the smaller tides the wind will allow us to test wherever we fancy but the Cod and Whiting marks will still be preferred. It appears the winter fishing is delayed by two or three weeks as it is nearly November and the sea is still warm for the time of year. Bream and Hounds are still being caught in the Solent.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 23rd October 2011

The Solent is fishing OK but only after sunset, with White Maiden recording our first inshore Cod of the season on Thursday evening. It appears one Cod to a boat is normal, with some getting two or three, while others none. Alan Headley caught ours at 15lb, which was at the top end, with others reported at 6lb, 8lb, 12lb, 15lb and 18lb so all these Cod, chomping on the Solent crabs, are from different year groups.

Along with Alan's Cod we found a 2lb Pout, a 3lb Conger, a 4lb Hound and quite a few Dogs but still fairly quiet. The small tides meant the weed was less of a problem but we moved three times to avoid the bulk of the weed and the hard work that comes with it.  The evening was perfect and the potential for an excellent trip is improving every day now.


On Wednesday evening the Rick Godwin crew had another reasonable forecast and a few more fish but no Cod. Outside of us was John Skeggs who found three Cod his crew. So it just depends where you fish and how. On Wednesday we fished smaller and shallower and easier and there was a bit more life there. The Thornback for Sam was the biggest fish caught out deep, at the end of the ebb. There were a few very large 2lb plus Pout for Rick plus a Bream or two. Tim had a 4lb Hound and the Dogfish were more prevalent.

I get the feeling that this warm sea is keeping the summer fish around and not letting the winter fish in yet. It still feels like summer today but with a strong winds warning today and gales tomorrow, and with the Solent fishing really hard during the day, I stood the crews down. We re-arranged for an extra trip in a couple of weeks time. After making a few calls, the decision not to fish the Solent was spot on. Next week it could be a different story.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 16th October 2011

Day off for me today for the Rugby World cup semi-final. What a cracker. Talk about losing a match rather than the other side winning it. Wales gave the game away but they had every chance to nail it. Pity they swapped their 10 at half time, Hook would have done it for them IMHO. Come on you frogs, lets spoil the Kiwi party.

Those out there today (Saturday) found the fishing difficult still with one or two big early Whiting, the odd, Bass, Hound, Tope and Bream. Hopefully we will get out Monday and have a go ourselves but the forecast looks to be against us, we will see.

On Thursday evening the Alan Headley crew of locals fished well at Barton and tested a cracking forecast. The lads landed five Soles and a Dab with Dave (Browner) catching the best Sole at a 1lb and a bit.  Rod accounted for three Soles and the Dab, while Alan landed his first Sole too. The target species accounted for the most fish with the odd Dog and School Bass making up the numbers but as nice as it was, the fishing is still slow.

I tell you how it is, but the good thing about getting these slow trips out the way, it makes the next trip more likely to be a good one. That's why we call it fishing and not catching.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 9th October 2011
Monday's trip was arranged as a last minute charter for Jonny Ex before he went back to Thailand and just in time to benefit from this late Indian summer. The wind was due to get up during the day but the start was a cracker as we tested a mark that produced Mackerel, Dogs, Scad, Pout and Whiting but all small stuff so we moved out. Here we found weed at 2.5 miles off plus lots of Dogfish. With a first drop Thornback at 10.5lb for Dave, it felt better to me, however the annoying weed and the tide made it hard work for some of the crew, so we moved and got back inside where there was more weed on less tide. At the end of the ebb we moved out again, as it was still quiet but apart from a Pout or two and a small Hound it remained quiet. We stayed out the back all day as the threatened wind started at 1300 and then died back off, only to turn horrible as we tied up to the pontoon. This was definitely one of those between seasons weekends.

We lost Wednesday and Thursday evening trips to the gales. Saturday (today) was an improving 'on the cusp' forecast, that improved again last thing Friday, and tuned out to be better on the day too! Very annoying but a bit more time wont hurt the fishing. So now I am looking forward to some Whiting and Cod and there are plenty of trips coming up. Let's hope the weather plays along.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 2nd October 2011
The TOFFs crew of three yesterday (Saturday) had a lovely forecast for a days fishing round the Needles. We found a couple of mackerel on the drift then anchored a mark in enough water, out of the big tide and hopefully avoiding the weed. Due to lack of bites I soon re-anchored by just 40 meters and we started to find some life. A couple of Pout showed up first then we lost a couple of big fish, the wire traces not being enough to hold them. As the tide eased back and the fishing still slow we moved out to 110'. Here four Tope obliged, plus a tiny conger, a dogfish and a few Pout... so still quiet. Again we lost the biggest fish, deep right under the boat, in lots of tide, not far from the surface. It was nodding too. Anyway with a quiet slack water, and start of the ebb, we moved to a bank for a drift which only produced a big spiky Scad. So a quiet but stunning day weather wise. Other catch reports were very similar. The weed on the big tide made it harder unless you out past 1.5 miles and took on the big tide. Those that persevered for a Bass found a couple of good fish.

Hope you all enjoyed the weather. I am off to coach a rugby match now in 25 degrees and pleased that I am only coaching! A local crew wanted a trip this week fortunately soon after another local crew had their shifts changed. So I have to go back out round the Needles tomorrow again on what could be argued a better tide. We will see and I will keep you posted.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 25th September 2011

FYI - I have added two evening trips, both neap tides, on Thurs 20/10 and Wed 2/11. This is for a trip down the Western Solent, targeting Cod, at £28per person. I fancy these tides for a fish myself, and will go anyway, if the weather is favourable for a night trip. To book you can e-mail me on ltjones2004@yahoo.co.uk or text or call me on mob 07977231355.

Yesterday's Saturday crew of Wiltshire Farmers plus a couple of local anglers quickly found around thirty odd Macky, plus a Bream, a Scad and some Pout while drifting a small wreck. Then after a good start we had a day of two halves with a very hectic morning session of mainly Tope and a quiet afternoon, finished off by another small Tope.  The fishing got quieter as it got warmer and the sea flatter, over slack water low. It was a superb day to be out on the sea. The  best specimen was won by Clive with this cracking Brill of 5lb 12oz . Clive also caught a Tope of 13lb which turned out to be the biggest fish. The Tope were marauding with about fifteen or so coming to the boat, mainly around the 5lb mark. Note they are a sports fish and are not allowed to be landed, so they all went back to maraud for another day. Can't see this crazy guideline lasting much longer, as these sharks are charging around eating everything they can set their teeth into. A couple of Cod have been reported but after the next set of spring tides we are more likely to see the first of the Whiting and the early Cod.

Pictured above is Clive with his winning Brill, while Richard shows his small Blonde Ray and a near big enough Tope, then Clive again with our biggest Tope of the day.


The Thursday evening Pat Warne crew had a good forecast that turned against us. After a word with a skipper returning from a day trip I made the decision to stay in the Solent. There was too much wind at 21 Knots to go round Hurst into the dark and have an enjoyable fishing experience so we fished the very small tide out deep in the Western Solent. It would have been my plan A to be honest but the crew fancied another favoured mark which we couldn’t practically fish due to the wind and very small tide.  Fishing the Western Solent we found a Bream and a Mackerel (to my size 1 hook flapper rig) fished for fifteen minutes but the other guys fished big and so accounted for the copious Dogs, four Hounds plus a Spotted Ray, caught on the fresh Macky. The whole ebb was fishable in the neap tide with but the final fish tally was disappointing. We were fishing comfortably on a nice evening as the wind eased back about an hour after dark. Jeff and his crew on ‘Lazy Daze’ was a mile up-tide from us, and recorded a very similar catch, with no Cod or Bass. Another boat to the West of us did very similar too.

Left to right is Paul, Stuart and Bob, with the best of a quiet evening, particularly in the middle of the ebb.


Tightlines, Les

Weekending 18th September 2011
A crew from Wiltshire cancelled due to 'transport issues' the day before, which was just about enough notice to muster a new crew. The forecast was too good not to go. In fact I would have gone on my own and so prepared myself, with worms, easily dug at Lepe, the evening before. We started in deeper water during daylight and the fish soon rattled the rods. I caught the first Bream to prove they were there and then went back to tea making duties. Other species included a Pollock, a few Pout and plenty of Dogs and a small Conger. This was easy fishing with light rods and no weed. They were small fish mind.

As it got dark we moved to a Sole mark to find four other boats already in the vicinity. They must have seen this weekends forecast too! Here we caught eight pin Whiting, a few Pout, a few small Bream, three Gurnards, a checker Bass, a Scad and YES one Sole! Well done Dan. That was ten species in total for the evening. There was no weed, no waves, and plenty of moonlight. We could have done with some more soles though. Dan is showing our target species, from the first and second marks.

There's a new trip in the diary for this Wednesday. Nice small tide for Solent fishing deep, weed permitting. Followed by a move in shallow for a Sole, etc. Various species on the cards with early Cod showing in the trawler nets already. £28 pp on an individuals basis. Call me or TXT on 07977241355, first come first served basis.

Tight Lines, Les

Weekending 11th September 2011


On Thursday the Alan Headley crew from the Refinery went out in a F5, fishing in what I would consider a good time of year and a reasonable tide with good baits for a decent Sole, but we never found our Sole. The evening was fishable without too much weed considering the time of year but with the breezy conditions the baits were probably moving too much. Sole prefer a still bait because they can't see very well! Anyway we failed.

On the competition sheet though was a nice Bream, a Checker Bass, a Thornback Ray and some Dogfish. It was tricky but the lads stuck to their task. The wind never eased back while we were out. Dave is holding the biggest fish, a 5lb Thornback and deserved his Foster's prize. Alan caught the best specimen, with a Bream over 1lb 10oz (ish) and deserved his Foster's prize, while Tom caught the most fish with just three dogs, deserving the Strongbow prize.

Sorry for the poor picture but I have found that the Galaxy Tab does not cope well with dim or dark light conditions as the lens is exposed for longer and a moving deck can be seen to cause the blurring. I need to use another camera for night shots.

The truthful poor return hurts a bit as this was a slow night but at least you can see how hard it can be now! Anyhow we were there and had a chance of a decent Sole and White Maiden was comfortable well into the dark and throughout the trip. This weekend is too breezy for me. Well it would be, as the Trident SAC are booked with me. And Ray Pitt is on holiday!

Instead I went down the Old Mill at 830am to watch the Rugby and eat a good fry up. I avoided having anything with alcohol in it, although it was very tempting. The rugby was nearly as frustrating as Thursday's fishing, but likewise too, still very enjoyable.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 4th September 2011
Saturdays trip started late, 2.30pm in a F5 SSW with 'slight' seas. The late start was due to my holiday but I couldn't wait to get out in the boat again. After a couple of jobs I was ready to go, it was sensible not to rush. The evening improved to a F3 SSW with clear skies the forecast was spot on again. The crew originally made up of six individuals became four which meant I could fish too. We found enough Macky and a Gar for fresh bait, if we needed them and then drifted a small bank before moving further off. We found two boats already drifting this one and soon had a decent Bass netted and in the box. The fishing saw good quality Bass coming to the boat, in ones with the occasional second, lost but this culminated in a 9lb 8oz Bass falling to a pirk, on Rich's hire rod. I even managed a nice one myself around 5lb and dropped another on the way up. Having caught enough smaller Bass already, this biggest beauty, was returned to fight again, along with another. A few big Scad joined the party too but as the tide eased back, the fish stopped coming. In hindsight the next move was a mistake, as we anchored a shallow mark in very little tide, mainly to avoid the weed. Next we rounded the Light, just as darkness fell at around 830pm. We tried another shallow mark just off Lymington while I tidied up and they cleaned their fish. We caught a Silver Eel, before getting back to the pontoon, as the breeze freshened.

Above is Richard holding his specimen 9lb 8oz Bass caught on only his second boat trip ever. Below is Cliff, Alan, Rod and Rich (again) showing four of the five 'keepers'. While cleaning, Cliff found two of the keepers had their gut stuffed with a recently swallowed, whole Whiting. Does that count as another species?


BTW - we had a fantastic 14 nights on the P&O cruise ship Ventura and will recommend their Mediterranean cruise to anyone as they cater for literally, everyone. Also refreshing was to see so many Dolphins, more than off Mexico last year, and we sighted one Whale on the way down and five Whales on the way back.

Happy Days and Tightlines, Les

Weekending 21st August 2011
 On Tuesday evening I wanted to get the crew out of the inshore weed, prevalent on the big tides now inshore. In the end, after lots of deliberation, I cancelled. We actually got a SW F5 until 8pm, so in my opinion justified as South of the Light would have been too uncomfortable into the dark.

On Thursday evening although the weather was horrendous during the day which forced the West Wight Skippers Species Comp to be an even bigger challenge to the anglers the forecast for the evening was supposed to be better, so we went for it. After drifting Scratchells for a short while we found enough Mackerel and moved on to briefly drift for a Bass, then a Pollock. After a fruitless forty minutes or so testing a couple of fancied marks, we moved out and anchored in 80’. Almost immediately Paul caught a reasonable Conger, a shade under 20lb, that took a liking to his boot. It left teeth marks in the leather toe. Cause? The Conger was allowed to briefly head out of the landing net. A mistake and not one for those wearing sandals!  

Slack water was predictably quiet with just the odd Scad, Poor Cod and Pout showing. All along the drizzle persisted and the wind was still fresh as we were now a mile or two off the cliffs. The sea was comfy however this did feel like a winter fishing trip in mid August! At the start of the flood Bob caught a really good 9lb Small Eyed Ray, Chris a 1.5lb Bream and most connected with the Pout or the bottom as the gusty wind pushed us around in the building flood tide. But as the coastguard on Ch23 started to advertise strong winds with a F7 to the East of us, with more drizzle, and it was getting dark, the sensible thing was to get back down the Solent. The trip back at 845pm in quickly fading light was perfectly fine but better safe than sorry. I anchored a mark off the Pennington/Lymington Banks where the lads caught two Bass, with Bob accounting for the best one at 4lb, plus two Silver Eels, which are the first I have had for a few years now, a Dog and a Pout. On this mark we even avoided the weed!

FYI 1 - I have updated and published my 2012 boat diary. If you see any mistakes, please drop me a line if you could be so kind.

FYI 2 - Saturday September 3rd is re-arranged as an individuals charter and there are now 4 spaces left at £30 per head. Fishing is from 15:00 – 22:00. Please text me on 07977241355 if you are interested, please don’t call me. If on the Friday they give a bad forecast F6 or more from the East, or South or through to the West we won’t go. If it is F4 or less we will. If predicted F6 but mainly F4/F5's I will let you know by 9am on that Saturday morning after I have had a look. Hope the next two weeks are as kind to you as I plan them to be for me!

Tightlines Les

Weekending 14th August 2011
On Tuesday evening the Duncan Easton crew found Mackerel were easy to find and we were anchored probably about 35 minutes later than we needed to be, due to a tardy get away. The missed opportunity at the end of the flood was compounded by an extremely long neap  slack water when nothing was caught except for a Herring Gull, untangled and released by gloved hands. The crew however went about their fishing in high spirits in the bumpy sea. As dusk fell and the tide began to ebb the breeze held us beam on for about an hour or so. It was during that time a few Pout plus a 23lb Conger came to the boat to liven things up. Unfortunately the buoy came off during anchor retrieval, in the dark, which was a good test but it could have been an easier night, all the same. The lads managed to hand haul the anchor and chain up, as the wind against tide helped us sort out the situation. We managed to get the fender buoy back too thanks to a sterling job by the crew. The cause was a broken stainless anchor ring. Right is Justin showing a feisty Conger weighing 27lb (less 4lb for the net) that wouldn't be quiet for the camera but swam strongly, on return, back to the bottom.

Today (Sunday) we had a good start with a reasonable sea first thing and enough Mackerel for a decent bait box plus a small Pollock returned. Note that at one and a half miles South we had that red weed making a nuisance of itself and lots of Dogs, while on 'the three' there was no weed to contend with. Out there the lads caught four Red Gurnard, five Tope to 12lb and five Black Bream plus more Dogs. We had to make a move as the wind got up to a good F6, 24knots by 130 pm, which was fine on the Bridge when we rounded the Needles Light. There was some nice shelter from the waves down the Solent but it was still breezy. We drifted Totland Bay and Alum Bay for a solitary Mackerel and a Gar and that was it. The forecasted F3 to F4 occasional F5 later was not quite right and was a bit too much at F6 but we did have a front seat for the early stage of the Fastnet race!

Left is Chris holding up the first of the four Red Gurnard, all returned.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 7th August 2011

On Tuesday evening the Pat Warne crew learned that drifting over a wreck is tricky and that tackle loses can be high. There was plenty of life, although the big fish were still difficult to catch. Pout shrouded the wreck and a few Pollock resided above them but apart from incidental Scad and Mackerel taking the baits and artificial lures, it was mainly Pout City but still a cracking evening with perfect conditions. We even managed a pint in the Haven Bar at 11:15pm as they don't close now until midnight. It was warm and still but we really needed more fish battles to reminisce about. One free lined Pout would have accounted for a Tope that was scooping up our returns but they didn't try for it. Again lots learned by all of us and in hindsight, more warning to the crew for tackle ideas and me testing another wreck, may have helped. Thursday evening was too breezy for me from the SW on an ebbing springer, so I cancelled.
On Saturday the Tony Lavington crew were taken to the same bank as fished by last weeks Saturday crew and we had a completely different day, recording 11 species by the end of the trip.

The best specimen was a 5lb Spotted Ray for Norman, which is the best Spotted Ray I have ever seen. Norman, left, released the well marked and weighty Ray to fight again another day. Other species caught were a Blonde Ray, Small Eyed Ray, Bass, Tub Gurnard, Smoothound, Tope, Bream, Dogfish, Scad and plenty of Mackerel. The main species were Tope with eight caught up to around 18lb. The dogfish were back in anger too, so plenty of life on the banks. The trick was small hooks and baits and flourocarbon single hook traces. Apart from a small Bass, drifting was a fruitless exercise, as we tested a 6 mile wreck and a 5 mile bank in perfect conditions to no avail. I think the commercials have a good go.
Tightlines, Les

Weekending 31st July 2011

On Tuesday evening the Alan Headley crew had a great forecast for what we wanted to do, find Congers and Tope. After an easy half box of Macky we anchored a small wreck and battled with the millions of Pout. Pout were eating Pout, one after the other. The Macky flappers disappeared quicker so as we caught the Pout we put them on big hooks as a flapper and fed them back to their mates! The odd Macky flapper went down too and in the end this fooled one of the resident Conger, as big Al reeled in a handy hard fighting 36lb Conger. It was a good battle in the small tide near the end of the flood. More Macky and the odd Bream were caught too. Some large Pout and the left over Macky went home for tea. Here is Alan Headley showing the Conger that was released to fight another day.

On Thursday evening the Amanda crew of two Mum's, two 15 and two 12 year old lads was an enjoyable teaching challenge. I am not sure what they feed these guys but they were more excited about catching a fish than I am about winning the lottery. Interestingly whatever I said, appeared to be interpreted as something completely different, must have been the excitement.

Anyway after a few strings of Macky and ALL lines involved in unmanageable tangles, we switched to an anchorage inside Alum Bay in 60' as the sea was more acceptable there for them, and to be fair it was sloppy while drifting. Unfortunately there was a bit of weed in the tide that would challenge the lads and probably too much for them.

Question: if a hook is tangled at the end of a rod do you; 1 Stand and stare at it wondering what to do next? 2 Shout 'Les'? 3 Give up? 4 Just shake the rod until it becomes more tangled? You are correct, as anyone of these answers seemed to do, on the night. I enjoyed the evening immensely and I reckon these guys learned more in a few hours fishing than any of my crews have done as they started from zero. What was annoying is that this week, the weed has drifted out deeper and as usual in July, even the dogfish have been hard to find. Anyway better luck next time lads and hopefully see you all again next year.

Yesterday (Saturday) the Tony Edwards crew of Wiltshire farmers had a great forecast and smooth seas. It was a very late start. I didn't ask why but enjoyed the time doing a couple of jobs. Mackerel were easily found again. First off we anchored a deep bank, with big baits and small baits, for just a few huge ground Mackerel and a Bream. Then along with 5 other boats we drifted the same bank with lovely strip baits and small sandeels on small hooks to flourocarbon traces but the fish were still hard to catch with Dave tricking one nice Bass. The fine weather has meant the visibility on the bottom is now very good and ideal for fish and divers. The best results were around a wreck where Richard had a nice Pollock on a shad. There were also a few Pout and more Mackerel on baits. I lost a lovely fish half way up but it could have been a Tope. Basically the result was a great day out but slow and tricky fishing. Note I have now had five inshore trips in succession without a single dogfish coming to the boat.

Tighlines Les

Weekending 25th July 2011

On Thursday evening the Tony Edwards crew of Wiltshire Farmers had a lovely forecast with a warm evening promised, on a small tide. So after the Macky box was near full we went looking for a Conger on a small wreck. We failed, so won't go there again, only joking but it goes through your mind. Just one of those nights a couple of bites went tight in the wreck were possible Congers but the large Pout, occasional Bream and Tope made up for them. On the downside there were other marks to try but you can't chase your tail round all evening. A good catch of Mackerel and Pouting made up the freezer bin destined for the pot.

Today (Monday) we went for a beginner trip to a bank on a small tide and another lovely forecast. Rob caught a nice Brill at nearly 3lb and Paul caught this small Turbot that he released to fight again and grow a bit bigger. We found plenty of Mackerel and saw Bass chasing them near the surface but basically it was a slow day at anchor. Below is Rob and Paul with the only two fish caught at one of my favourite marks on the anchor. Not a dogfish, a Tope, or a Ray to show, which was quite staggering and a first for me there.


Tightlines, Les

Weekending 17th July 2011

We could have cancelled Tuesday evening on the forecast given the night before but the Alan Headley crew had a gentle NW by the time we went out, so were very comfortable indeed. We were lucky too as the evening remained dry throughout. On the way out there were loads of Mackerel to be found down through Hurst. When we anchored the Bay, the Bream obliged right from the start. There were enough reasonable sized Bream for everyone's BBQ by the end of the night, including mine! A nice Tub Gurnard was also caught along with a few Scad. The weed was minimal on the 3.0m 50% tide. Here is a picture of the crew before it went dark showing some of their catch.


On Thursday evening the Pat Warne crew had a F6 Westerly at the start of play. Mackerel were again easily found through Hurst before we went into the Bay and anchored the same mark as Tuesday evening. The wind at 24knts pushed up the sea and it was a bit uncomfortable at first but eased back, just as they said it would. The weed was a problem too for the first 45 minutes and the crew confided in me later that they thought it may have been a mistake but our results proved it was a good decision.

The Bream were even more obliging than Tuesday evening with the odd Bream around the 2lb mark taking 6/0 hooks. Bream were caught throughout the evening along with Bob's two Bass, the best going 5lb 8oz and Pats Thornback Ray, towards the end, which was a cracker, at 15lb 4oz. This was one of the best Thornback Rays to hit the deck of one of my boats and a very good specimen for our area. The big female was returned to fight another day. Added to the species list was a small Conger, some Scad and even more Mackerel caught at anchor.

Unfortunately this weekend is a washout.
Tighlines, Les

Weekending 10th July 2011

This was a breezy week with the Tuesday evening and Saturday trip falling to the strong winds however today the Tony Lavington crew had a better forecast and so we decided to try for a Bass and then anchor a bank. The Mackerel were hard to find at the start and the small tide made drifting the tight Pollock holding marks harder to hit, then the Bass decided not to play either, great. This was hard going with the Rays and Tope also keeping their heads down. In the end a flurry of fish prior to the end of the ebb with a couple of small Blondes and a Tope livened things up but apart from the dogs, another small Tope and a smart looking Tub Gurnard the fishing remained slow and testing for all. The weather was great although a bit bumpy towards the end. Better luck next time with the fishing. Jon Richards returning from France yesterday and a week of Carp fishing continued his catch routine with one of every species caught today; Mackerel, Pollock, Gurnard, Tope, Dogs and a Blonde Ray. Below is Jon with the Gurnard while Johnny Ex and Vicky show off the small Blonde Rays.


Tighlines, Les

Weekending 3rd July 2011

On Tuesday evening the Pat Warne crew didn’t have a great forecast but that felt wrong as soon as I got down to Lymington as it was a lovely afternoon. Once all aboard we agreed to test the Needles area, in spite of the Strong Winds Warning, and explored down to Freshwater. There were loads of Mackerel plus a few Gars and plenty of Pollock with the odd wrasse too. The Pollock get spooked like the Bass do and become shy to your tackle, so it pays to move or change tactics. We anchored deep for a couple of small Tope and little else, so another move to a small wreck finished off the evening nicely with lots of big Pout. The wind and weather remained fantastic all evening and not what was forecast for us at all.

On Thursday the Farmers from Devizes (Tony Edwards crew) had a superb forecast so we went for the same plan as the Tuesday crew but fared differently. The Needles Bridge was horrible and the sea outside was certainly not wavelets as promised. First we struggled for Mackerel but on the Pollock mark we caught too many Mackerel. It was difficult to get down to the Pollock. Still there were a few reasonable Pollock below them to be caught, with all the smaller ones going back. This was like a replay of an old memory I have of a holiday in Southern Ireland, literally fish galore.

Next, a move out deep, found a nice Spotted Ray for Dan, a weird looking Blonde Ray for Clive that was crossed with a Small Eyed Ray plus a couple of Tope. Note that after seeing another of these hybrid Rays you can understand why our British Records need to be validated with the actual fish! The catch and release records list could possibly a complete mis-representation of some species. The picture of Clive and Ray below makes it look like a British Record Small Eyed Ray but it was more of a Blonde, definitely. Like the majority of our Rays caught on White Maiden, this one went back to fight another day.

Strangely, the supposedly windless evening, was actually up around a F5 SW to start with against an ebbing tide. The wind eased back but the sea stayed quite lumpy. Left to right is Dan. Tom and Dan and Clive.


Tighlines Les

Weekending 25th June 2011

All three trips this week were cancelled due to 'Strong Winds' in all three forecasts.

Interesting that the Round the Island race went ahead today. I know a couple of people that were crewing so I hope that their skippers made the correct decision. Seemed that Dame Ellen even called it wrong for her young crew members! This just goes to show that it is not easy to call. But safety comes before fame and fortune. I always smile at anyone who boasts or wears a T-Shirt that says 'any day at sea is better than one in the office'. I know for a fact that is bollocks.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 19th June 2011

On Tuesday evening the Alan Headley crew started on a long drift for Mackerel, with a chance of a Bass. There were plenty of Mackerel, no Bass. The next drift found more Mackerel and a Gar fish, and still no Bass. We then headed East and found some reasonable Pollock to 2lb, and after some fun with them and enough for a feed we went out to a mark where just a few weeks ago was alive with fish. This spot would be ideal for Congers as we went into the evening and dusk. How wrong could I be, with just a tiny Conger, a couple of Pout and a small Tope making a show. The evening was very still but I am not sure how we missed the bigger fish in such ideal conditions.

I am convinced that I spotted a pair of Frigate Biids, flying 100' above us from Hurst going West over the Shingles. I recognised them first as odd to hwat we normally get and then second from our Silver Wedding Cruise last year through the Panama Canal and up to San Diego. I reported to a local twitcher.

Both Thursday evening and Saturday charters were cancelled due to strong winds forecast, which we got with interest.
Click on the pic to see this video from last weeks Trident SAC trip, quite amusing and well sorted lads! 

Tightlines Les.

Weekending 12th June 2011

On Thursday evening the breezy forecast persisted longer than expected and was a bit fresher than expected and so we opted for an extended Mackerel trip. We found them in the end and the Pat Warne crew shared exactly 100 Mackerel between them for this weekends BBQ.

On Friday evening the Balmer Lawn Honda lads had myself and 'Lazy Days' booked for a competition. The forecast was much better than what we got, with the rain hammering down in a squall that forced most anglers inside the cabin at one point. Jon and Ben stood their ground through out the squall.

The evening started great, wind with tide and then slack water. Some good fish found the baits quickly with Tony catching the best specimen an 11.5lb Thornback Ray, soon after the first Hound. Adam had the next Hound, there were lots of Dogs and at least a dozen Bream. As the ebb tide picked up, against a F5 we went for a drift for a Mackerel and found a few before re-anchoring at Yarmouth, where we were hit by the squall. Jon (right) held firm throughout the driving rain to catch a Bass, a Hound, a Bream and a Dog while the sensible ones stayed a lot drier inside. Adam finished the evening off with another good Hound. As we landed at the pontoon there was not a breath of wind!


The Saturday crew from Trident SAC club were supported by three local lads. They had a reasonable but chilly day of bright sunshine, that ended in a fresh breeze, averaging 22 knts. At the start, the Mackerel were of a perfect live bait size and so we tanked and drifted them live over a bit of rough stuff. Ian caught this fantastic Bass on a Joey Mackerel that weighed 9.5lb, which, with a full belly, would have been a good 10lb plus. Ian could have held Billy better to show off the full length of the big Bass, you need more practice :-).

After this we lost gear, for just a few Pout, so went for a safer drift on a bank but to no avail before anchoring up. Here the lads found two 10lb Thornback Rays, a couple of Tope to 15lb plus and a few dogs but it was generally quiet. So we moved back inshore, a couple of miles but still well off, to look for a bream.  Bob hooked a Bream immediately. This was followed by more Bream, a Whiting, Poor Cod, and the best Thornback at 11lb by Steve. The anchor then tripped and so the last move, back inside, over a lumpy 'Bridge' to Totland for the last hour, found a more comfy sea and a nice Crab for John but a distinct lack of anything else!


Tightlines Les,

Weekending 5th June 2011

I have three trips at the end of the week and there are three places up for grabs on the Saturday at £45 each. You will be fishing with a regular crew, Trident SAC. Just give me a call or drop me an e-mail, first there.



Tightlines, Les

Weekending 29th May 2011

On Wednesday evening the Charles Stanswood crew had a nice evening for fishing the Solent and a nice easy tide to chase the Hounds and Bream. During the first hour we were able to fish deep and fairly soon Chas and Nigel were both into a reasonable fish. They are pictured below as their timing allowed me to frame both of them prior to fish release. Then towards the end of that hour as the ebb tide picked up, another Hound came to Nigel’s rod, also shown below. This week is obviously the week when you will catch the heaviest Hounds, as both small females were weighed down with pups. These two fatties went 10lb and swam away strongly. The Bream were hammering at the baits but we stayed 'fishing big' so never boated a Bream there.

The next move was to get out of the tide and weed so we headed into the 'Piles' but on the Sowley side, in shallow, the weed was really bad and so within five minutes we soon moved again over to the Island side. I chose plenty of depth at 48' but unfortunately the weed was nearly just as debilitating on the contour that I picked and anchored. The last stop was at the end of the tide was in plenty of water still at 48' and not far from the beach at Newtown, and as it got dark Kevin caught a small Hound while Chas caught a small Conger and a Dogfish. There was the odd Dogfish throughout but all in all it was fairly quiet evening and the weed spoilt the fishing, as we chased round for them.

However it was a lovely evening on the Island side and nicely sheltered from the South Easterly breeze. I stayed in the Solent as the forecast was for lots of wind towards midnight and sure enough by the time the boat was cleaned off at the pontoon it was chuffing up as promised. A good evenings fishing to get in during a breezy week. The Saturday trip (today) was cancelled due to a F7 South Westerly in the forecast and the tide ebbing from 10am so now I have to get back to the decorating......


Tighlines, Les.

Weekending 21st May 2011

Last Tuesday evening was awkward with 20Knts of wind from the SW (plus drizzle) and a very big tide and so that one was cancelled as there was nowhere to hide from the wind or tide and still have a decent chance of hooking some fish.
While on Saturday the Rick Godwin crew started the day bait fishing just round the Needles lighthouse. The Mackerel came along one at a time we but soon collected 20 plus for the box. The next drift was for a Pollock which produced just the one but a move further East found a few more plus a Pout on the drift; not big but they were there. As the tide was around 80% springs, I opted for a deep but easier mark for the relative beginner crew. The anglers were set up for big fish with their pennel rigs taking a whole squid plus a long Mackerel fillet hanging off the bend of the bottom hook, the 1lb 4oz lead made for some early, heavy work.

It was not long before the guys were testing my knots and hire tackle in the hardest part of the tide as the big fish obliged. Barty boated the first Conger while Rick who was fighting a real monster, gave it a bit too much stick and after a good battle the 'formidable and probable eel', was lost while it fought to get down away from the light. But that was just the start, as a stream of large toothy fighting fish came to the boat, one after the other and often in pairs. The final count was hazy but there were definitely three Thornbacks to 9lb, loads of Tope to 20lb, with the bigger ones caught during the flood with the smaller Tope at slack water. Plus they caught at least five Congers to 35lb, a nice Hound of 9lb, plus Dogs and some large Pout. On the way home we drifted for a Bass and found one that was undersized and released but again they were there. Then lastly a quick go for the Mackerel found a couple more, plus two gars. The sea remained slight throughout the day and although not cold, it didn't get too hot either. This was possibly a perfect day but for the lack of a few Bass and Mackerel at the end, only joking as that would have been more of a Derren Brown day!



Top left is Rick with the best Tope. This was nothing as big as the early monster fish that he lost. It was a pity we didn't see what it was. Top right is John with a dispatched Conger, destined for the pot. There's probably a years supply of Friday fish there!

Far left is Zybszk holding his Thornback Ray, the Polish way, and then again Zyb is showing another Tope caught at the same time as Gary's Thornback.

I reckon this was the first day that I properly needed a crew to give me a hand. My penance of not having one was the loss of Ted's T-Bar that was fondly preserved from Due South, not to worry though as I will get another. All the Tope and and the majority of the other fish went back to fight again and amazingly the ebb tide, on the same mark, towards the end of the day, hardly produced a bite. That's fishing!

Tightlines, Les.            

Weekending 15th May 2011

On Tuesday evening the Alan Headley crew had good weather and tides to explore the cliffs, and so we tried for Mackerel and Pollock all the way to Freshwater Caves but there were none to be caught. The divers and others blame a Southerly ground swell restricting vis. We anchored 'inside' at Alum Bay for a kennel worth of dogs and then back at Yarmouth we found a small Conger, more Dogs and Pout, which were regular and a suspect decent Hound was lost but all in all the fish were not too obliging. The newbie anglers had a great time and the condemned gas hob was not missed too much as they were busy and active all evening.

On Saturday the Tony Lavington crew had a new gas hob prepared and all ready to go and it did a great job supporting the anglers through a lively day. Early on we drifted a wreck at slack water and the fresh consistent breeze made for a few good drifts. Phil hooked a Cod on Mackerel feathers while others some large Pout. Anchoring near the wreck only brought a load of dogs to the boat, plus a Bream and when the tide was a bit too strong for half the boys, we moved inshore. Soon Norman caught this nice double figure Hound and then Mike brought up a huge Lobster. At the same mark we caught Pout, Dogs, Whiting, more Hounds and Tope, so not a bad day in the end plus the Mackerel are again to be caught. Here pictured, left to right, is Phil and John, Norman and Mike.


It appears that the Bass are now in too, after Steve Davies ignoring the Bream, fishing solo on 'Agay', found some decent Bass. Two to long flowing traces, up to 4.5lb and a jammy one of 7.5lb on his mackerel feathers, while anchored at the same mark, bait fishing! The Bream are still there if you want them though.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 8th May 2011

On Thursday evening I managed to get the Pat Warne crew round the light. We headed that way because we had a biggish tide for the Solent and the weather was too good, not to. On the first drop Bob put down a fancy rig of 3 hooks and a pirk all red and gold and within seconds he was struggling to pull it back up as four Pollock, best about 2lb 12oz, snagged every lure on his rig. A few more drifts found Bob take another two Pollock while the other five anglers only managed four between them. The colour to have, on this night, was orange and gold. With the ten Pollock and only one Mackerel we moved on and anchored a wreck. It was slow! Some big Pout, bait stealing Dogs and a Garfish plus a nice Spotted Ray, was all we caught for our efforts. As it was dark, I put us on a mark closer to home in 28' off Sowley and found too much weed and tide for them although a Dog in the dorsal made it hard work for Robbo. We up anchored and made the quay around 10:25pm. Apologies for the quality of the pictures but my mobile was the best I had for the evening, after leaving my Tab at work.

On the left is Bob, wondering where to start, while Stuart shows the Spotted, before returning her alive.

On Saturday the Steve Forster crew forecast was a bit foreboding with rain, squalls, thunder and lightening plenty of breeze. The only option I was happy with, was down the Solent, so we set our stall out off Sowley. The first mark was very shallow at 17' and so all the anglers had to cast away from the boat, both up tide and down tide.

Only a small Bass and a Dogfish took the baits, so after an hour we moved out to 26' and found a bit more life in the form of a double Bream strike, a 5lb Hound and a 6lb Thornback plus some Dogs and then the odd small Bream but then collectively, except for the Dogs, they seemed to switch off. So another move to 45', now easily fishable, still found the going slow, with the odd Bream, Pout and Dog, not what I was expecting.

A mate fishing nearby came for a chat and said he was going deeper, with perfect timing on the tide. Dave on 'Trio' found three big Hounds over slack water high, with the best, a specimen of 16lb. So they are there, its just finding them this week. For the last couple of hours we went in search of a Mackerel or fifty, well after the favoured time to fish Yarmouth. We really struggled and after lots of effort we managed to avoid any that were there! All reports were similar, for some reason they have gone, or are spawning, it looks like they are there on the sonar. A trip that I could have easily cancelled and kept clear of the boat, the crew caught six species and enjoyed testing the Solent. We were possibly just a week or two early, for the main run of Western Solent Hounds.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 30th April 2011

On Friday the Ryan Matthews crew quickly filled half a box with Mackerel without too much effort just round the light on the way to a bank. With good bait we targeted Rays of which we managed four nice Small Eyed Rays all between 7lb and 8lb at the start of the ebb tide, until just after half way through, although the first non-dogfish to show was a small Tope. Interestingly the launces accounted for three Rays. All were returned including the males, with one female just about to drop her purse. It was a bit quiet so we pushed out to a small wreck and hit loads of Pout, some nearer to 3lb. The odd dog plus a Bream and bottom feeding Mackerel were the other species to show between the Pout. We had a lovely day out there and managed to watch enough (to satisfy) of the Royal Wedding too, on the 'cab ceiling mounted', flat screen TV! Thanks to a great crew that used the provided tackle very well although having said that I have never changed so many rigs back and forth in one day :-). The food provided by Ryan and fried-iup by yours truly, was very good too. It is amazing what you can do with one frying pan! Below are the videos:


On Saturday the Tony Lavington crew had a much better day than the Friday forecast was predicting with an early F5 Easterly peetering out to a F3 with an ebbing tide making Christchurch Bay marks very comfortable indeed. We found a few Mackerel first and then on our morning mark we caught Pout, a Dog, and a couple of Garfish, Pollock and Bream but it was a bit slow. So we moved a very short distance to another spot that was more productive with plenty of Bream mostly around the 1lb 12 oz weight but good Bream all the same.

Then as the tide eased back the bites slowed so we moved out to a bank to look for a Ray. We found two small Small Eyed Rays, Dogs plus plenty of Mackerel. It was lovely out there.

Thanks to Mike again for bringing along all the food and to Jon and Tony for the quality bait and entertainment.

This trip concludes one of the best Aprils that I have had in the boat over the last six years with incredible weather and some reasonable early season fishing too.

Tightlines, Les


Weekending 24th April 2011

 What an unbelievable Easter. On Friday the Alan Headley crew of Alan plus 6 rod hires found the Black Bream in a fussy mood but still managed one of near 3lb in amongst the seven quality Bream boated. On the Bream mark we also found Wrasse, Mackerel, Dogs and Pout. A move out deep found a couple of Hounds, more Dogs plus a Whiting and loads of Mackerel at slack water high. One of the strings included a Herring or a Shad but a little late to save as it was not noticed at the time. All in all a good day with eight species but proved that the quality Bream will take some effort and once again that the lads still enjoy bashing the mackerel.

On the left above is Alan and James with their Bream boated at the same time, most were released. Some of the Hen fish dropped row as we unhooked them. On the right is Big'n making a small Hound appear like a biggun.

On Saturday the Church Crookham crew went back to the same Bream mark to find the fish still fussy but bigger and slightly more obliging. The day was hotter and calmer and that was the biggest challenge, avoiding the burn, what a cracker though. The flood tide trickled along with a steady stream of quality Black Bream, twenty four in all, with Keith Newton boating the best at 3lb 5oz. There was also a few Ballan Wrasse, a Corkwing Wrasse, Pout, a Gar and a Pollock.

David right is showing a decent Gar, in hindsight we should have weighed it. As this was a species hunt then a move before the slack water out deep found a Hound, some Whiting, a couple more Bream plus Dogs and Mackerel. In all there were ten species recorded.
Just click on this picture. Richard can be seen on You Tube on this link reeling in one of his ten Black Bream. Along with his Bream there were Pout, Wrasse, Whiting, Dogs and a Hound that gave Richard the win on the boat. Below is Keith Newton with the best fish of the weekend a nice 3lb 5oz Black Bream.


Weekending 10th April 2011

It is hard to believe how quickly the last few weeks have gone by as it feels like we are already back in full swing. White Maiden has been out, scrubbed, anti-fouled, re-launched and caught a few fish too.

During that great weather, before this weekend, I managed to get to the boat two times while she was out, and that turned out to be in thickening fog at 7pm in the evening, that's how weather works!

What a cracking weekend just gone though, with the only drawback on Saturday, an Easterly F5 in the forecast, and true to form that's what we got, for a couple of hours around 2pm. The fishing was not easy, with a whole day of wind against tide swinging the boat at anchor and forcing a drogue to be hung from the stern to keep us straight. Also you had to be on the right spot and we weren't, and in hindsight, I probably moved at just the wrong time, in an effort to find more fish. But we went out further and deeper with good intention.

Some others were more fortunate but not many as the Blonde Rays did show for them if you got out very early and deep and for the slack water low.

Bob managed to catch a nice Hound on White Maiden, the first of the season at around 9lb while Arty on Private Venture found a good one too of 12lb. We did catch some big Pout up around the 3lb mark, that were filleted for my Sunday dinner. I still don't understand why others don't do this, we made a fantastic dinner with them Pout yesterday! The only other fish to bother us was a strap Conger and some Dogs. Still it blew away the cobwebs. I didn't hear of any spring Cod this week.

Those that got out on Sunday had a better day and a smaller tide, so the 10 mile banks were viable and fished quite well with some decent Blondes and the odd Spur and Conger..

While another report of a Solent session found a few nice Bass shallow, and so the crabs must be moving now too. One or two Bream have been caught in pots already, so all in all a good and early start to the season.

There is an evening trip up for grabs on Thursday 21st April and before Good Friday, so if anyone wants a go then drop me an e-mail, first come first served. I will confirm by e-mail and phone.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 20th and 17th March 2011

We were in Dublin last weekend, drinking Guinness and watching Rugby, it was hard work. Actually watching England, was hard! That Aviva stadium is awesome, those Irish players were incredible and on their day and game. What a game, I think our fresh new England team, learned more in that eighty minutes than they did in the previous six months. Mainly, that sometimes as good as you think you are, you have to fight fire with fire.

The boat is being prepared by Ropewalk this week, during this fantastic weather.

There are a few reports that there is now 'a bit more life showing' which is local lingo for, fishing quite good with respect to the time of year, marks reached etc. Can't give too much away but basically you may NOT be testing your patience, so much now. The Mullet are shoaling in the Haven and so all looks and bodes well for the spring season.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 6th and 13th March 2011

I got my life raft serviced this week. This was after calling around various places my local guys at Ropewalk (based at Lymington Yacht Haven) came up trumps. Ropewalk took the raft in from me last Friday, it was picked up and serviced by Ron Hale Marine (Fareham), before being dropped back today (Friday 11th March). What a great service and at a fair price too compared to some fantasy numbers being floated by Ocean Safety, who it was purchased from! Thanks again to Angus and Sam at Ropewalk and Roy at Ron Hale Marine.

I also completed another First Aid course this week too, through work, that gave me three days worth of practice. This is a good reminder of ones First Aid duties plus some time spent at bandaging, treating shock, drowinings, CPR, recovery positions oh and yes a test. You will be pleased to know I didn't kill my professional actress but it was an almost lifelike scary experience while being tested, by a wise old owl (some lovely American lady). I recommend the St Johns training course at £250 for three days. This will obviously help us at work and on the boat but also at my rugby matches too, where we have plenty of incidents, as the lads knock each other stupid.

Fishing? Pass. I know that last weeks very high pressure even kept the few Plaice on the hot spots, very quiet. I am not aware of anyone else going out except the 'Ashlett SAC' die hard dinghy boys. I believe that Exbury die hards have a Plaice comp this weekend.

Anyway tightlines to you all, if you do get out, and it's back to making a mess of the decorating jobs for me, so she doesn't trust me to do it again :-)...

PS - My scheduled dates are being booked up quickly, with only 4 weekends and 14 evening trips free before the end of this year.


Weekending 27th February 2011

No trips this week, it is that time of year. Thursday was a lovely day to prepare my head for a day of decorating on the Friday, so I went down to my moorings to give the engines a run.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the YouTube Vids, you were so complimentary, here's another short one, to help keep those fishing pangs at bay. You have seen Wallace and Grommet, now here's Mike and Tony! Oh and just before you go and watch that, if you can get out there, you may find a Plaice in shallow plus some similar fish to these Videos if you go to the 10 mile banks or further. Tightlines Les.


Weekending 20th February 2011

I've practiced with YouTube this week. And with my Galaxy Tab can video your best fish catches in high definition (HD) and publish them onto YouTube fairly easily. Please email and tell me what you think about these videos. To view them just click on the picture and watch it in your browser in a new YouTube window. This is 'work in progress' but I found I can do some basic editing within the browser and online, so YouTube is nice and easy to use, free and quick.


I am now decorating without any pressure from my better half, as this is taking my mind off the boat a little but the mistress still needs to be run against the ropes and there are a few jobs to be done before the first April trip. Ropewalk of Lyminton, in the Yacht Haven, are doing most of this work when lifting, antifouling and fitting a deck wash / live bait pump in March.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 13th February 2011

A brief respite in the weather and a nice small tide allowed the Tony Lavington and John Richards crew to get out and fish a nine mile bank. Nothing secret as they are showing on the chart. The swell at times during the day, was probably the biggest that I have taken White Maiden over the Bridge in. On the way back the odd wave broke on the Needles Light and went two thirds of the way up! As we crossed the Bridge the breakers crashing into Scratchels and Sun Corner were huge. Awesome stuff! Anyway back to the fishing; the distance trip was worthwhile with a specimen Spur Dog, a near specimen Conger and a good Blonde Ray, plus another five double figure Congers. All the fish were over 12lb and released but it was slow, with just eight fish coming to the boat, one about every half hour with a two hour period of 'didley squat' during slack water. The anchor was not easy to retrieve and seemed to be stuck fast into some rubbish. I couldn't break it out and in the end we pulled it in by hand. If the anchor buoy had come up before it did I would have said it was me being a plonker but I reckon it was stuck in some netting (there was some orange nylon on the chain) which prevented me breaking the trip and prevented the buff coming to the surface after we settled back on the rope. Anyway we got it all back in the end as the buff exploded to the surface after coming free. Here are some pictures of Mike who had the most fish including a 14lb Blonde Ray and a 14lb Spurr weighed before release. Note I also have some good videos taken on the Samsung Galaxy Tab that I am trying to upload to YouTube. Here's some stills of Grommet, I mean Mike, catching the first fish, a Blonde at 0930, after casting off from Lymington at 0800. Not bad in February! Note that I am not sure if this works but does this test video of Mike (I know, again!) where he reels in a strap Conger - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sgI43MYQlg


Last weeks comp, answers are 1. Oriana, 2. Ruby Princess, 3. Sea Princess, 4. Carnival Dream, 5. Oasis of the Seas, 6. Celebrity Solstice.


Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 6th February 2011

No fishing this weekend with gales keeping everyone at home, although I did go down to the moorings and run her up against the ropes, to keep everything checked out. Mind you the boat alarm, remote control, disable button, decided to stick fast and that nearly deafened me, until it was sorted!

Here's an interesting picture to rekindle the odd dream or two and create a winter competition. This picture was passed on by Rick, who has been out fishing on White Maiden, with his crew from Carnival House. First spot the 'Oriana', she used to be considered a big cruise ship and then, if you can, name the rest. Answers in next weeks update.

Weekending 30th January 2011

No fishing Saturday with the occasional Force 6 NE, and 3.5 degrees top air temperature on the cold sea, stopping me and most others from heading out to the distant banks. It has to be a good day this time of year. After calling round Saturday nobody that I knew went out.

However yesterday was a better forecast and a few boats went (Sunday) and had a nice day, although the fishing was slow still, Ray Pit found a 17lb Cod, Steve Davies a 35lb Conger, Andy a nice Thornback plus Whiting, so there is some life, although again the wind forced those fishing, to stay inshore.

Below is an interesting graph from the CEFAS website. You can see this is now officially the coldest sea water we have had since 2003. The fishing reflects this inshore temperatures.

Something else to play with is the AIS website. Those French trawlers are working very tightly, every day, mid channel, between Dungeness and France. It is amazing to see their positions live and so consistently in the same area. They are there every day, up to 15 Trawlers at a time. Checkout out the site by googling marine traffic.

Weekending 23rd January 2011

Yesterdays crew worked hard and deserved more than a single 20lb conger. Apart from that fish plus another conger lost close to the bottom, and two dogs lost on the surface.... that was it! The weather was good enough for sure, with a bit of sun at midday around slack water and hardly any wind. This time of year the sausage, bacon and eggs go down a treat too, so it was not all bad.

The barometer showed the highest it has ever been on the boat, which kept the big tide down, and I am sure is probably what kept any inshore fish that are there, down too! Steve is seen with the only fish to seriously attack our baits.

Next week we have a much smaller tide and therefore, weather permitting, we will aim for a 130' mark at 6 miles or go to the ten mile banks, in search of some life, targeting Blonde Rays, Conger and Spurs and hoping for a Cod and maybe finding a jammy Bass. One thing for sure is that you can't catch 'em watching Tightlines on Sky, you can only get more frustrated simply mulling over it.

FYI - I attended my first West Wight Charter Skippers Association (WWCSA) AGM and with no pre-conceived ideas, I was pleased to find such a well run meeting, attended by such an experienced and knowledgeable group of people, all working in yours and our interest in Boat Angling. You should be aware that the Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ's) subject is very hot at the moment and groups like ours with the experience and the knowledge are the ones that can test the illogical ideas and plans that may end up being adopted. If you don't want to be completely shocked at what might happen in 2012, I suggest you keep up to date by entering 'Balanced Seas' into Google and have a good read of their website, particularly the newsletters. This is a good time to get into a fishing club and become involved, be heard and counted in the best way you can. This is our futures and our 'rights' that are being toyed with by Government. There has to be some control and there is no arguing that, but the plan has to be based on logic and a sound argument, as to why some areas WILL be chosen over others.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 16th January 2011

No trip due to gales this weekend so nothing from me to report.

I have moved around a booking, as requested by Trident SAC, so I now have an early May weekend 'Big Bream' date available, Saturday 7th May.

Weekending 9th January 2011

No trip due to gales this weekend so nothing from me to report.

Next weeks, Saturday 15th January, trip has two spaces free at £45 each. It is a nice small tide so if the weather is kind we will push off to the 5 mile banks or possibly further. If the weather is not good enough we wont go out.

In two weeks time, Saturday 22nd January, there are six spaces free, all be it in a massive tide. That will restrict fishing to a mile or two from the Needles light, where we will set our stall out for a 'Lunker Cod' and some of the last and biggest Whiting.

Weekending 2nd January 2011

Today the Tony Lavington crew had to go back and fish the mark where we caught ten Cod on their last trip. But it was too quiet around two miles today, so after the anchor had dragged on the hard, flat sea bed we tested four miles. Even here in the middle of the ebb, the fishing was just as quiet, with more lead required. The anchor held fast in the not-so-flat sea bed, so we settled down waiting for the tide to ease off. I cooked up a good Sunday breakfast that was washed down with a cup of Champagne (Cava), thanks to Mike Long.

Whiting were boated to 2.5lb with Jon showing the best at 3lb. It had been attacked by something on it's travels. There were also some large Pout to 2.5lb.  At dead slack water Tony caught a 10oz Dab on Hokkais; there's a first time for everything. So no Cod for us today but we found some good signs of 'life' around four miles.

Jeff Semple on 'Lazy Daze' was fishing well inshore and one of crew caught a 34lb Cod, while a report from another boat on the same inshore line found a 38lb Cod, so they are there! The anglers deserved their prize and the trick is to simply 'keep at it', working and keeping baits fresh. Jeff's Cod was spent but full of sprats. Other reports were of th eodd single Cod captures, the odd Pollock and the odd Ling plus a few Congers. John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' found a 24lb Ling for one of his crew just before the weekend. While Arthur Savage on 'Private Venture' a week or two ago found a spent 18lb 4oz Pollock for one of his crew!

The Solent is now very hard to find fish in, this is probably due to the cold water or the lack of bait fish. So it is South of the 'Needles' or nothing from now on with the 4 mile line and further being the preferred destination  through to the middle of February. It is more complicated in bigger tides but a timely move can make for a good days fishing still, with specimen fish a genuine prospect.

I am testing the Navionics Chart (App) on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and will write a reasonable report on my findings, so far the jury is still out and I am having to learn a few things still.

Happy New Year and Tightlines,

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