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Catch Reports 2012 

Sunday 30th December
 

Christmas Caption Competition - Email ltjones2004@yahoo.co.uk your caption for this picture of Millie fishing with me last week.

TWO PRIZE's -  there are two spaces to be won on any Individuals White Maiden Mackerel Trip or Evening Trip in 2013. There are plenty of trips to chose from and you must pick your date(s) before the end of February. Closing date will be 6th January 2013. I'll post winning names and captions after that time.

As far as the fishing is concerned.....there's nothing to report as there's no chance of getting out really with all this wind. So I will leave you to service your tackle and plan next years fishing trips.

Good Luck, Tightlines, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Les


 

Sunday 23rd December

After cancelling the Toffs trip today Saturday, and with the pending Christmas period forecast to be very wet and windy, I went for it yesterday, Friday. I have to run the boat as I need to maintain charge in the batteries and force oil round the engines, so I took the day off work. With a late decision to go at 7am, there was no point trying to muster a crew, so I nipped out to the Needles Light and fished for Whiting and Cod 2 miles off. My 'flyer' for the Whiting worked well with some nice 3lber's coming throughout the flood tide. Whiting hit hard and their sharp teeth chewed up my big cuttle baits fairly quickly. I got through a 4Kg box of cuttle, a box of squid and a pack of bluey too. Well it is Christmas! There are plenty of Congers further out but I set my stall for a Cod and missed. Another solo angler fishing close to my previous mark did very well with two Cod, a nice Skate, Congers plus some big fish dropped, one believed to be a big flattie just under the surface! The swell increased in size and steepness around 1pm, onto the port side which made it a bit uncomfortable at anchor even on White Maiden, which is unusual but there was a lovely end to the day when it sat back down.

Tightlines, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Les

Sunday 16th December

Blown off with gales and a rough sea state outside and big springers making the Solent a hard choice but there is some fish in there if you look around. one interesting theory from an expert this week was that the lack of Flounders is due to the protection of the Bass in the same fisheries. The Bass are chomping on all the young flatties, a staple diet! There's food for thought.

This week I sourced 5lb boxes of dirty squid and 4kg boxes of cuttle. Now that I have got the new bait to test I'm all ready and raring to go again. Mind you the lack of freezer space prior to Christmas was not a good idea.

Not sure why I like winter fishing so much, it could be because I'm not spoilt by the summer offshore fishing, who knows? What I do know is that getting on the sea in the winter properly dressed and in good sea conditions is a treat and we have not had any Nora Virus on White Maiden so far!

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 9th December

Yesterday, Trident SAC, fishing on White Maiden had a cold but spectacularly beautiful winters day, around the Needles area. The biggest and best fish was a mighty 2lb 4oz Whiting! Steve even managed a Conger that must have only weighed a pound! Considering we were on the same numbers as last week, the only difference was the high pressure and the strength of tide which was much smaller and benign. It was not for the want of trying and other reports were similar. In these smaller tides, very heavy baits on big heavy hooks will anchor on the seabed and fail to attract. The better fish in high pressure conditions become finicky too but the marauding Pout and Dogs chew away at everything still.

Hence discussion point; live baited Poor Cod or Pout are an ideal bait alternative and we discussed this during the day. Then back at my moorings I met Kevin Duell on 'Voyager' who was anchored close to us all day. They had one Cod and guess what, that fell to a live baited Poor Cod!

Last Saturday while we did OK on White Maiden, Voyager failed to find a Cod but on the Sunday their best of three Cod went 31lb 2ozs! Yet the same mark yesterday was hard to fish, as was ours. As ever I am still working this game out and maybe a hair rigged live bait is the answer. We will experiment and test. Elsewhere yesterday among the 50 odd boats fishing the Needle was Gary who boated a 23lb Cod while Bob on another Raider caught three Cod plus a 13lb Turbot on Cuttle fish.

Tighlines, Les.

Sunday 2nd December
 
Happy days! At last the water temperature is dropping, now around 11 degrees, and we have some frosts. The weed is gone and the fishing is picking up! Yesterday on White Maiden the Church Crookham SAC fished a competition where the final tally was two Cod at 21lb and 8lb, 11lb Thornback Ray, two Congers, fourteen Whiting to 3lb, eighty Pout to 3lb, eleven Dogfish and one Poor Cod. I recorded every one of them on their score sheet. Their points scheme is complex but very good; basically lots of points for target species and more for specimen fish.

Paul won the competition with this 21lb Cod, a nice Thornback and a jammy Conger, plus Pout, Whiting and Dogs. Below is Richard (left) and Peter, who were also well in the reckoning, until the 'reeled in Congerette', when untangled was found to be on Paul's hooks. Paul was distracted from his 'other task' and advised politely :-). That's the way to win a comp! Peter's biggest Pout made an escape through a scupper, before weighing but would have exceeded 3lb easily. Best Cod I heard of yesterday was a 31lb Cod landed on Greg Woodford's 'Southern Star'.

Meanwhile on Thursday the Western Solent proved hard work on a big flood tide and a smelly sea, assumed to be sewage and rainwater washed out from the rivers, following the rain we had four days before! Us three boats only found Dogs. The next night John Skeggs had a 22lb Cod and a 5lb Bass in the same area, while Tommo boated a 14lb Cod. It's all about timing.

Tightlines, Les.

                      

Sunday 24th November

Boat fishing this week was blown away and washed out. Even the Skippers, boats and crews fishing the Cod champs on Wednesday were forced from the Western Solent back into port! That is bad weather. The Thursday was a too bad to consider and so all was cancelled. My Wed and Thurs evening trips hade no chance as did today's Saturday trip. I went down to the moorings to check up and do some jobs, refuel etc and White Maiden is primed and ready to go.

Tightlines
Les

Sunday 18th November
 
Yesterday the Trident SAC had a big tide with a nice flood until midday. We were very expectant in these conditions, unfortunately the red weed has taken up residence in one of the favoured Cod holding areas for this time of year so we were forced to fish a bit further off. Again Chris showed them how to catch Cod with a small 6lb'er, shown on the left. We believed this was the start of good things to come but it never happened. There were many small 12oz Pout and lots of dogs. There was also a Whiting and a couple of small Congers but the fish all remained on the small side.

On Tuesday evening down the Solent the small crew on White Maiden fished in ideal 'night trip' conditions. The tide was big and the red weed still a problem but it was very fishable. We started shallow for a couple of hours, then moved out over high water for 3-4 hours in 65 feet. Two Congers, a dozen dogs and couple of Pout made up the catch but we certainly gave it a good go.

Last weekend the Lymington Cod open winner was club member Bob Miness with a nice 19lb 8oz Cod fishing Milford Shingles on his own 16' Strikeliner to claim the £500 first prize. Second place prize of £250 was won by Southampton angler Russell Saunders on his own boat for a 17lb 1oz Cod and third was a Cod of 16lb 7oz caught by Robin Lane of Lymington fishing with Vernon Everitt on 'South Today'. John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' was the top charter Skipper  with two Cod for a total of 22lb 10oz. 'Samantha M' skippered by event organiser Richard Rickman was the best private boat after weighing in two Cod totalling 21lb 11oz. The heaviest other fish went to R. Burgoyne for an 11lb 9oz Blonde Ray.

The event was sponsored by Loniís Angling Centre, England Boat Angler and Lymington club member 'Stainless Steve' and Skipper John Skeggs who runs Last Laugh. 144 anglers fished from charter boats and private boats to make this a record entry. Fishing had proved difficult with only 13 Cod weighed in despite the excellent weather conditions.

Tightlines, Les


Sunday 11th November
 
Yesterday started sloppy round the Light where plenty of boats were seeking a decent Cod. Bexhill SAC crew included young International angler Jack of the England beach youth team. They all fished comfy on White Maiden and again no one succumbed due to the stable deck afforded by a catamaran. As it happened the Cod didn't come out to play for most boats including us but Lazy Daze found 2 small ones and Last Laugh had a nice one at 21lb. There is a Lymington Cod comp today so we will keep an eye on their results. Without the Cod there were still plenty of fish with nine decent keeper Whiting around 2lb with others returned plus plenty of Dogs and Pout falling to the smaller hooks, plus a small Bull Huss and small Smoothound. But we were after the Cod.

The Thursday evening Individuals crew fished hard for just the one small Cod caught by Wess, pictured on the left. We found a dozen dogs too but we were there or thereabouts and the weed was fishable on the small tide.

For that reason I decided to put in another trip on Tuesday evening. It is a big tide but I want to see how it fishes, all spaces are still available at £30pp inc bait and rods if you need them. The forecast is looking good so text me on 07977241355 or e-mail me on ltjones2004@yahoo.co.uk

Interesting conversation in the club last week where a couple had retuned from holidays roughing it on a beach only surviving off the fish they caught for three weeks in Ningaloo, Exmouth, Northern Territories, Australia. They were spoilt by the riches of the sea along this part of the coast but the conservation is rigorous http://www.exmouthwa.com.au/.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 4th November
 
Yesterday (Sunday) Trident SAC, who can put up with a bit of weather, were cancelled from the Saturday, which blew a gale from the North. Sunday was much less breezy but according to the one boat that went out on Saturday, far more uncomfortable. We also got plenty of light rain to make it an even better test of character.

The fishing was 'OK' though and if a couple of the big fish that broke up tackle, had been boated, it could have been even better. We started at 7am new time, where early catches were two small Congers plus a few Whiting, Pout and Dogs before Chris caught this reasonable 8lb Cod just at the start of the ebb.

We thought that was the start of good things to come but the fish were either shy or lost to parting tackle, or put off by the weed. The F5 Westerly over the ebbing tide did not make the fishing easy and the weed was a thorough pain but the crew fished really hard for another Conger plus more dogs.

Well we were there! 'Last Laugh' fished the Saturday and found 6 Cod to 31lb just round the Needles Light and another 5 Cod down the Solent, for another crew, in the evening!

Check out my Diary for Solent Cod trips on the next two sets of neap tides for individual spaces, at £30pp inc rod hire and bait. Looking forward to next weekend.

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 28th October
  


Wednesday evenings' trip for the Pat Warne crew was another murky night down the Solent. The weed was there still but less and fishing deep was quiet. When we were forced to move in shallow, this proved to be a bit more interesting with Dogs and Pout plus a Hound and a nice Cod.

Stuart had this 17lb Cod 30 minutes before the end in shallow, while Paul caught the Spotted Ray 45 minutes from the start out deep.

 

 

 

 


 
 

Tuesday evenings' trip for the Paul Hayward crew was a very calm, warm and murky evening which proved to be fairly lively at the start with plenty of Dogs, a couple of Hounds and Pout.

When we were forced to move in shallower and out of the tide, and heavy weed, Marina caught the Conger, which went like a very good Bass. This turned out to be the nights biggest fish. It is shown here held by partner, Sergi.

I didn't realise they were fishing for a £25 prize for the biggest fish. Maybe it was a coincidence that both these fish came on a bait prepared and cast by yours truly and reeled in by Marina.

Marina deserved every bit of the prize because as well as hauling up fish and occasionally weed, she put the burgers together and served the crew!



On Monday we returned from Gatwick at 0115 in the morning and I was up again at 0615 to take out the Paul Baker crew. The weather was ideal and warm too although a bit misty with visibility down to less than a couple of miles all day. 

Alan Headley is showing his Thornback while Mike on the right is showing his.

We also found four small Congers plus a few Whiting to 2lb, plus plenty of Dogs and a few Pout. We missed out on a Cod, but others nearby caught them. The best report was one of 18lb.

Tightlines, Les


 



Sunday 21st October

 
This week my report is very late as we have been away on holiday, sailing (and fishing) in the South Ionian, Greece. Guess what, I caught two baby Marlin (or Swordfish). I missed them on two other days, after they bashed the bait then lost interest.

They were both very small and cute but still the real deal.

The damaged Marlin pictured here with a broken bill, was dispatched, gutted and handed over to our Sunsail flotilla hostess, Sara, who prepared cutlets for the BBQ on the beach, in Abeliki Bay, Megannissi, in the evening. The taste and consistency was similar to Silver Eel and very nice.

The other baby Marlin was allowed to swim free!

Tightlines from Greece, Les


Sunday 14th October

Yesterday was cancelled. I went down to the boat to see all bar one boat, still on their moorings. I called some others too and was relieved not to be in the minority with our forecast interpretations obviously similar. One that did go out, managed the whole day round the light and found a small Cod, three Bass, a small Skate and plenty of Dogs for his crew.

Wednesday evening was fished in a tiny tide down the Western Solent. We had two small Congers, a small Hound, a couple of Dogs and Pout but it was the weed that spoiled the fishing. A couple of small Cod were caught the night before in the same area.

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 7th October

The conditions on the favoured inshore mark yesterday was ideal, with surprisingly little weed and a nice flat sea afforded by the North Easterly coming from behind the Island. Pouting, lots and some large, made up the bulk of the catch along with, poor Cod, Dogs, Scad, a mackerel and a strap Conger making up the rest. I definitely dropped a nodder, attracted by a large cuttle and squid bait, while Ray Pitt on Sunrise  netted a nice 12lb well conditioned Cod for one of his crew. Jeff on Lazy Daze found similar to us plus another Conger, plus a Bull Huss and a Whiting. Others reported that things are picking up, so weather permitting we will have a nice autumn to get out and catch some early winter species. Looking forward to the mid week evening trips and next weekend. Tightlines, Les.         

Sunday 30th September         
 
On Saturday, the Toffs crew from London, had a big tide and so the Bay was ideal with the wind in the North West.

The high end F4 was supposed to ease off towards the end of the day, it didn't. First stop for a flatfish failed but that does not mean they are not there
as the next tide gave up some nice Plaice and Dabs to another boat in the same area. Hopefully we will have another go for them in the week.
 
 




After 45 minutes of nothing with the tide starting to ease we moved out to a rocky mark and immediately found plenty of life. The three Ballan Wrasse above all came on the first drop hence the picture before release.

We had Pout and Bream plus more Ballans before Brian caught this fairly rare Cuckoo Wrasse followed by  Ian with a big Corkwing Wrasse, probably the best specimen at around 8 ozs! Looking to get the species count up we moved out deeper to find a scad, Mackerel and Dogs, before moving again for the biggest fish of the day a Small Eyed Ray for Bryn.
 

Accept for the six or so BBQ Bream and a few large Pout everything was released to fight another day. We recorded nine species in total with very little weed caught all day.

 


Midweek was not great weather wise but we managed to get out on Wednesday evening where the weed and very heavy slow moving showers made for a testing session in the dark down the Solent. BUT we were there and you cant catch them watching TV. The sea was flat calm and the potential felt good but the weed was a problem for us, even on the last mark fishing in 16' of water, in the ebb, during the last hour before 11pm.

The evening produced a dozen or so Dogs plus a couple of Pout and
a couple of Bass for Pat but all in all it was a hard night. All the fish were released.

Pat is pictured with his second Bass that was returned to grow and hopefully be mother to many more little un's.

Tightlines, Les

 Sunday 23rd September

A good forecast and reasonable mid range tide allowed the Trident SAC to  test Atherfield and Chale area. We tried a bank at the end of the ebb for 90 minutes for no bites at all. We then went into a deep but rough ground area and found a few more fish but it was not easy going. Final count was four Bull Huss to 8.5lb, some Pout at the start of the flood if fishing small enough and a few poor cod. Six mackerel were caught throughout the day enabling for decent baits along with the squid and black lug and frozen mackerel but the fishing didn't pick up at all and the end of the flood produced nothing. The same as the end of the ebb. We escaped the weed, fished heavy most of the day, lost some gear and had a hard fish but it was one of those days. A few reports from other boats were of a hard but nice day. I will blame it on the Easterly wind.

For those that know Dean and Julie Nash they are visiting form the States and are having a gathering on TUESDAY evening 7ish at the OLD MILLl. Contact Candy Huxham.

Next week is looking like a write off for the evening trips but I will keep you all posted. Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 18th September

 Sad news, for those that knew Geoff Wheeler. Geoff passed away on Sunday, after fighting to the bitter end. I guess that's not an easy characteristic to shake off, that 'last cast optimism', that makes for a real good angler, monster vegetable grower and fine bowler. His funeral is on Friday 28th September at 11am at the Crematorium East Chapel, then back to the  'Esso Club'.

Geoff made 80 years and was the wise man of local sea angling. He taught me a lot of what I still use now. He fished with Jack Hargreaves on the 'Out of Town Episodes' on ITV. He won £1000 for the best specimen, on one of my old boats. It was a Ballan Wrasse just under 5lb in the Lymington open. He knew where they were and we went and caught one! Geoff still holds a fair number of Ashlett Club records from the boat and shore and was a lifelong member of Lymington SAC.

From what I can remember Geoff always seemed fairly old to me but he was as strong as an ox and had the eyesight of a shit house rat. His flat fish angling skills were second to none on boat and beach, with the Ventnor plaice one of his favourites. By the way, Geoff was the only fella to comb his hair before every photograph. A great character, who has been sorely missed for sometime now on beach and boat but will now rest easy and learn what is being landed from a better place, no doubt.       

  Weekending 16th September
 
A specimen 16.5lb Smoothhound, for Paul King on White Maiden. This cracker was caught at slack water, fishing a bank, five miles South of the Island, yesterday. The big fish collected lines and became part of a cats cradle under the boat but stayed hooked and swam into my net when asked. Good boy. One note was a mass of hermit crabs that came up on a launce. I think this is what the hound was scooping up on the squid bait. Les (another Les) added a Thornback of about 7lb and Paul a small Tope but the fishing was quiet. There are Mackerel but they cant be counted on from now. September is a time for specimen fish and this hound proved it again. Two miles off in the strong ebb tide we found Dogs and a dozen Mackerel. The red weed was only just evident on that line. The weather was fantastic again although high pressure may have put the fish off. Reports were of one or two inshore Cod being caught during the week and some good Bass amongst the weed.

Wednesday evening was hard as red weed made Sole fishing nearly impossible in the Solent. The Alan H crew worked really hard, used lots of worm bait and proved that Soles in red weed were very difficult to catch. On the island side we had a Hound, small Bream, Dogs and a Spotted Ray in the light. Now waiting for a sharp blow to get the weed up on the beach. 

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 9th September

Back to normal now, with our Okehampton, Dartmoor golf Holiday a mere distant memory. The inclement weather made the courses play long and it was hard going but we still enjoyed the change of scenery and both of us definitely improved.

This Saturday was perfect on White Maiden. September is a good specimen fish time, for inshore marks and although we never had the quantity, we certainly got the quality with Steve catching Blondes of 23lb and 19lb plus a good 9lb Bull Huss. Alan (first timer) had a Bass of 10lb exactly and a 6lb Bull Huss. Kev had six Bull Huss to 6lb and an 8lb Bass. Bob caught a feisty 32lb Conger, a 14lb Blonde and a 2lb Bream and a Lesser Spotted Dogfish (only one!). Dave caught Bull Huss to 4lb and a 4lb Small Eyed Ray. Robin managed a nice 2lb+ Bream and a small Blonde with John catching bits and pieces as did most of the others. Bits and pieces included  Poor Cod, Mackerel, Scad and Pouting. The species count came to eleven for the day, all in lovely sunshine, a slight breeze and a flat calm sea, now that makes a change! Note the majority of fish caught on the day were returned to fight again, including the 23lb and 14lb Blonde, most of the eight Bull Huss and most of the smaller fish.

                                               

                  

 The Wilts Farmers Wednesday evening trip was a cracker as far as weather and sea conditions were concerned. We found a couple of nice Plaice and a nice Bream and one Sole after dark but the shallow inshore trips are being spoilt by the copious red weed, maily on the bigger tides. Below is Clive with the best Bream along with Richard and his Plaice and then Ian with a slightly bigger Plaice of around 2lbs.

                                               

To see next years available dates click on 2013 Boat Diary.

Tighlines, Les.

Weekending 26th August

I have been on Holiday but the Bass are going well when you can find them this week. Along with the Bass fishing, Soles will be number one or two in the charts for some, at night and well into the dark, which does not suit everyone. Along with the Soles come all sorts of species with some Stingers hitting 50lb last year!

I am now working on next years boat availability and will publish my 2013 fishing schedule over the next two weeks, after advising my regular crews first.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 19th August

Funny week this one as it has been very hot and very humid but quiet on the fishing front. The Mackerel trips on Thursday around Yarmouth was OK weather wise but we struggled to find a total of six caught Mackerel plus a few Scad on the first trip, matched by a similar return on the second trip.

Then today the Trident SAC, with me having a go too, well I am on 'holiday', struggled to find a decent specimen while drifting the banks. I managed two Turbot and an Undulate Ray all very interesting fish but very small too. Andy, after recovering from the swell, had this Thornback on the drift and Chris caught a small Bass the same way but apart from Mackerel and Scad, it was a very quiet day. Bling and bait seemed to put the fish off, as I guess the water must be clearing all the time. The live Mackerel completely failed to catch but the ''vanish' flurocarbon nylon traces with small size 2 hooks and small slithers of belly mackerel worked for me.

Tightlines, Les.

                                                      

Weekending 12th August

Yesterday was a bit breezy from the East and so we fished Christchurch Bay on a species hunt. The rocky areas held fish while the sandy marks seemed almost devoid of them even a dogfish wa snot interested in fresh mackerel and worm! The rocks claimed plenty of tackle but catching rather than not was the order of the day.

We started with nine species from the first snaggy mark, then nearly duplicated the same species count when we returned in the afternoon, after our sortie to look for a Plaice along Barton and more Bream and a Ray off Milford. We failed while drifting at Barton and while anchored at Milford but managed a comfortable day even with the wind at 18 knots. On the left is Dave and Ian showing two of the four Bull Huss. These were attracted to simple baits along with Black Bream, Pollock, Mackerel, Scad, Pout, Poor Cod, Tom Pot Blenny and Ballan Wrasse. Garfish would have been caught if they were fished for and a ground bait net hung off the stern. Maybe next time. Mackerel were easily caught on the way back on the flood.

There is a species comp this week, I think Tuesday, Tim Doswell, on Ocean Lass is the competition secretary. It will be interesting to see what is caught. I have been denied leave from work as we are too busy and half staff.
 

On Thursday evening the 'Chas crew' fished an the ebb tide which means the Mackerel disperse from the usual haunts found on the flood. In the end, after a really good evening, which included the 800m and 200m Olympic finals, watched on White Maidens flat screen TV, we managed to find just sixteen of them searching on a thirteen mile round trip. Now that's fishing and not catching! We had a great evening though in fantastic summer weather.
 

On Wednesday evening the Alan Headley crew found a few species too, only out deep this time. We nipped out to three miles on a good forecast. If other people did this for £175 per evening charter I wouldn't have ever got my own boat! The evening started with three School Bass and finished with three Congers to around 20lb. There was also the odd Pout, Poor Cod, Scad, Mackerel, Dogfish and a rare 1lb 2oz Three Bearded Rockling, for Ben on the left. The fishing wasn't blistering but John Bellamy proved again that cuttle draws in the Congers in the summer too.

Next week is looking annoyingly 'changeable' but note that there are some spaces still on Mackerel trips on Thursday.

Tighlines, Les

 

Weekending 5th August

Sorry, nothing to report from me after all three scheduled trips this week, were cancelled due to Strong South Westerly Winds in the forecast. Note that strong winds were also recorded during the times that we would have been out there. The forecast has been pretty much spot on which is good as it has saved us all wasting lots of time and effort.

Here's looking forward to next week. Note that I just added two Tuesday evening trips planned on small tides in September targeting Soles and other species.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 28th July
 
We went to Weymouth today, Sunday, to watch the first day of Olympic Sailing. It was a great day out and the racing was better seen from the Nothe than it was on the big screen. My binoculars were handy though, keeping an eye on Big Ben. This was very well organised and well run event, with the Park and Ride spot on. We had such a good day out we may return to watch a final or two with GBR interest in Gold, as that would be a fantastic experience. We will have to keep an eye on the results.

                  

 
 

Yesterday, Saturday. the Trident SAC crew from Watford found a dozen Bass early on with 8 keepers amongst them while drifting in perfect conditions. Mackerel were more available in the top layer too today, for a change. Moving out to a wreck with the wind picking up and tide easing we tested both sides and over the top for a few Pout before anchoring up the bottom edge of the face of a bank. Here John caught two Rays in succession first a 13lb Blonde Ray and then an 11lb Undulate Ray, both were returned to fight again. A few dogs and a Bream was all we could find over slack water. The wind picked up and the sea built and the anchor dragged on a fairly short rope. While doing a small job I had forgotten that I had kept the anchor short, anyway it was time for a change so on the way back we had another drift and found another Bass and plenty of Mackerel.

Thursday's evening Mackerel trip of Individuals was well attended. The Mackerel were not over abundant but they were on the large size. There was a Bass and a Gar too making up the catch and the evening was as good as it gets this time of year with Alum Bay and the Needles, before sunset, as ever an awesome site.


 

 

 

Wednesday's evening trip was one of the quietest ever with the Pat Warne crew, less Pat. We really did struggle to find the fish, with just a couple of Small Eyed Rays and a couple of Dogfish, a few Mackerel plus a single Pollock and a single Scad making up the catch. It was not for the want of trying either. The evening was flat calm, beautiful, still hot at 19 degrees at 11pm but incredibly quiet, unbelievable.

There are a few spaces left on the Thursday evening Mackerel trip but we will have to see what the weather does.

Tightlines, Les.


 

Weekending 22nd July

                            

About time too! A weekend with a bit of decent weather. The high pressure made for a really lovely day round the Needles area with light winds and partly cloudy skies making for a decent summers day. The fishing for the London and Cardiff Toffs gathered by Bryn was not so good on the morning flood and while on the drift but we tested a few likely banks, a reef and a wreck, with no results excepting the odd Mackerel and Scad. On anchor over the slack water and start of the ebb we found a few species with Bass, Bream, Dogs and a Thornback livening things up. Star men were topped with Chris and his Bass of 5lb and 6lb. He's shown above with his two good Bass that preferred whole squid to fresh Mackerel. Then came Shane with his Tope and Thornback while Ian also chipped in with a Tope. I didn't like to say too much at the time but young Chris had the best specimen, a big old Lesser Spotted Dogfish, not far short of 3lb. Well I had to weigh it didn't I... thanks for the good clean up on the way back lads.

There's just a few spaces coming up, on Mackerel trips, a space on a Saturday and one evening trip free in August. Here's looking forward to summer!

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 15th July

Wind and rain stopped play. The forecast this Friday was the same and turned out as inaccurate as the previous Friday and I wasn't getting caught out again so decided to cancel. After talking to one or two boats that tested the Needles on Saturday it was a good plan not to have gone out. Thursday evening was just as bad.

Of the boats that went out today Sunday, they reported Mackerel to be found but the shoals have been split up by the weather inshore, 4 miles off and there is loads. There are Rays and Bass plus the odd Turbot out on the Banks and Bream inshore plus lots of Hounds down the Western Solent. So if you can get a nice day, it is definitely worth a bash pretty much anywhere at the moment.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 8th July

Yesterday, Saturday, the Church Crookham SAC crew and I learned that the forecast had changed from that given the night before. Instead of the F4 - F5 with slight seas, we got a F7 mid morning which was not very nice with the continuous rain on it too. The fish played along for their competition though with Bream and Dogfish keeping Paul and Richard in for a shout right up to the end when the sea had built to a point where we had to leave for home. They tied first place with 6 Bream and 6 Dogs each. We had some very hard rain with winds that averaged 28 knots at 11:30 gusting to 38 knots. Not ideal and so the trip was restricted to a 1pm finish.

There was no way I was getting the camera on the deck for any of this. The mackerel were playing hard to get. And the Gannets seem to be getting braver over the last couple of trips hitting the water right around the boat and stealing anglers bait. They are the last things that I want to unhook being twice the size of a Herring Gull!
 

On Thursday evening Rick Godwin and the Carnival House crew were blessed with perfect weather, absolutely flat calm, no wind and brilliant visibility.

The fish didn't like it though with Mackerel still hard to catch in numbers and the Bass shy too compared to the day before.

The huge amount of rain we have had must have affected them somehow. We managed to find some Pollock and also recovered an anchor that was buoyed off fine but also had 80' of brown warp floating off of it.

The picture on the left was taken at 9:30pm on a really cracking evening.




 

On Wednesday the Stuart Young Fireman crew had a favourable forecast for their inshore Bass trip. The first mark we drifted produced 14 Bass and needed some time before we could move away from it. This threw timings slightly but we got to a deeper bank heading South just before the tide eased right off for a couple of drifts for just one small tope.

 We anchored up for a 90 odd minute period over slack water and at the start of the ebb caught Tope to 15lb, a couple of Thornbacks to 8lb and this cracking Small Eyed Ray for Bill at 10lb 8oz weighed prior to release.

On the right Paul caught the best Bass just under 6lb towards the end of the day.

Below is the crew showing off their catch, each keeping one Bass and releasing the rest. The two commercial boats hitting the same banks wont thank us but a couple may escape them, we hope.

 

Tightlines,
Les

Weekending 1st July

 
These strong winds are becoming very annoying now. If it was not for my Tuesday evening trips throughout June I would have hardly got out at all. So yesterday, (Saturday) and also Thursday evening fell foul to strong winds, again.

Tuesday evening with the Wiltshire Farmer crew, was a bit misty to start with but we ended in dense fog. I wish I had returned a little earlier as approaching the Needles Light from the South in a bit of sea, in the pitch black, shrouded with fog was horrible. Slightly worse, was the leg from the light down to Hurst in a following sea but we were OK with the Garmin RADAR overlay doing its job again, allowing me to 'detect' two trawlers on my return track.

The fishing was OK too with plenty of Mackerel, far too many at one point, some good eating size Pollock, a Bass and a Thornback plus two really big Scad or Horse Mackerel for Justin and myself. They were between 1lb 13oz and 2lb and were the biggest specimen Scad that I have seen. It was nice to get the Bass and this week the plan is to target them, if we get the chance that is. I am all prepared and ready to go, lets hope the weather plays it's part. Justin, on the right, is showing off his specimen Scad, while Richard's Thornback was returned.

Meanwhile the Solent is producing some good double figure Hounds to worm and crab and the Bream are still on the feed. There is the odd sole too.

If anyone is looking for a boat trip over the next eight weeks, I have spaces on evening Mackerel Trips 19/25 July and 2/9/16 August at £15 pp. Also I have a couple of evening individuals trips on the 11th July and 8th August at £25pp.

The 4th August and 11th August are both available Saturday individual trips at £45pp. All these dates can still be booked as whole boat charters if all spaces are available still. My admin was a bit lax after leaving a couple of trips showing booked when they should have been showing as available. I also added an extra evening. 

Looking forward to less breezy conditions in July and August.
Tightlines, Les

Weekending 24th June
 

 

Today, Saturday and then again on Thursday evening, both charters fell foul to strong SW winds. Annoying but this pattern is bound to break soon, isn't it? It has to be the law of averages that turns the summer round for us surely?

However, earlier in the week we did manage an evening trip on White Maiden on Tuesday evening, this time hosting the Alan Headley and Bryn crews.

We were blessed also with loads of Mackerel, and plenty of Pollock all caught on the drift. These Pollock are not big but they are a great eating size and are plentiful when you find them, a bit like the Mackerel. During our anchored time, which coincided with the footy England 1 - Ukraine 0, the lads caught a nice Brill, a small Tope, a Whiting, a Small Eyed Ray and lots of Dogs.


   

 It was such a clear night there was even enough light to see us back round the Needles Bridge at 10:20pm, the picture above was taken from the helm. That's what it should be like this time of year! If the government did align our clocks with Central European Time (GMT +1hr) that would mean in the summer we could have an extra hour of evening sunlight and activity would certainly increase all around the country after work on these light evenings! I have to mention the excellent boat clean up lads and thanks for the fish, all cleaned and bagged-up ready for the fridge.

Tighlines Les.
 

Weekending 17th June

Long time no update! Well the weather has been awful, however we did get out to the Ledge last Tuesday with the Pat Warne crew and found the water temp down at 12 degrees again and the Bream fishing gone quiet. Just Wrasse and Dogs were taking the bait selection. Back in and on another mark we fished into darkness for more dogs, it was unbelievably poor fishing, considering the tide and weather conditions were perfect. The Sunday that before a few good fish were taken on the banks with Bass and Rays taking the fresh Macky. There are one or two good plaice showing now too. Tuesday looks good again so I have another chance then. Sorry no pictures from last Tuesday as I think you know what a wrasse and a dogfish look like :-)....

Weekending 2nd June

Yesterday, I hosted a local crew in a F5 Easterly, with an ebbing tide and a nice bit of weather, to learn that the better Bream have now started to move in and be caught more easily. The sea temperature is still low for June but is getting up to a heady 13 degrees! I am convinced it is necessary for these spawning Bream in our area to have the sea temperature up and over 12.5 degrees. Pictured below are some of the crew who accounted for a load of Mackerel, about 20 odd Bream to 2.5lb, Wrasse, the ever present Dogfish plus a small Tope. For some this was the first Bream they have had and so the quality along with the weather made for a reasonable day out. My first aid training came in useful too after a small accident. While I was putting a spoon of sugar in a mug, some wash forced boiling water out of the kettle spout and onto the back of my hand. Regular immersions in the 'cold' sea water appears to have done the trick. Time will tell but this morning all appears to be OK.

 

On Tuesday we got out round the Needles Light with the Wilts Farmers crew. They caught plenty of fish with the biggest ones biting off the hooks. Some small Tope were in the area and we were alongside some rough stuff again. There was plenty of effort but the better specimen fish never gave themselves up easily and so the camera was not called into action. Species were limited to copious Mackerel, Pout, Dogs and a small Tope. I struggled with the wind against tide as it prevented us exploring more ground while on the drift but when the tide got going we settled nicely at anchor. The bigger fish could not be 'lip hooked' and the Mackerel kept jumping on their baited Mackerel feathers on the way down, well they would wouldn't they ;-)....

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 27th May

Yesterday the Paul Johnson crew were camping at Hurst Spit for the weekend and wanted a morning trip. As it turned out this was ideal in the strong sunshine and brisk force 6 Easterly. The wind set us beam on, wind against tide, for the whole time at anchor. As we were protected by Milford we still had for a comfy day on White Maiden a BWSeatCat catamaran. Even the wind was ideal, taking the edge off the heat. This was like fishing abroad, fantastic. The fish obliged too with plenty of Bream, some large Mackerel and the trusty dogfish making a show. The guys kept and cleaned just enough to take back for a BBQ and released more than they kept. A very enjoyable but rare half day trip for me.

 

On Thursday evening the Chas crew were blessed with sunshine and no wind only we were surrounded by fog, sometimes down to 30 meters vis. We found some Mackerel first and then when we anchored on a rough mark where we found lots more mackerel! Below the Macky were Tope, Dogs, Pout and a Whiting. The colours of the evening in the fog as the sunset was 'truly awesome'. The company was great and the fishing good. It was a relaxing trip with the Garmin 'High Definition' RADAR overlaying the 12" electronic chart plotter, guiding us home safely. It's for these occasions that we invest so much money into this navigation equipment that makes it worth while for both the skipper and the crew.

Tighlines, Les.

Weekending 20th May
 
Yesterday we had great conditions and found lots of fish for a busy Church Crookham SAC competition.

There were plenty of Mackerel plus one Herring and early too, when we needed them. Over some rough ground we found a couple of reasonable Pollock and a load of Pout which made chalking the board a busy job. Then after just one Bream and a building ebb tide, we chased the Bream closer inshore, only to find more Pout and Dogs plus a few Whiting. One Whiting was retrieved 'alive' with at least half of it bitten off but at this mark we still failed to get the high points scoring Black Bream. After a third move, back out deeper again, as the tide eased right off, we found more Dogs and Pout, and eventually more Black Bream. The target fish came more or less on the final whistle. We ended with seven Bream most caught in the last fifteen minutes, that's fishing! However, this made the competition one of the best these guys have had with myself, as Richard piped Paul, right at the end of the day.

The Bream still feel like they are making their way inshore. The hen fish are rowed up and  in good condition and I suspect that finding them will become easier from now as this week warms up and the sea clears.

Note that I have just removed an incorrect voice mail on my advertised phone number. I do still have some trips available in 2012!  Note too that I have written a fuller report about Guernsey and added a few more pictures.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending13th May

On Saturday the Simon Moody crew were blessed with perfect weather with a Northerly dropping off to nearly nothing. The pressure was right up there at 1038mb but the fishing was quite good. We found our first decent Mackerel and Bream, probably about 4 weeks later than last year but now they are here!

In the end the crew of six caught seven species, mainly quality Black Bream between 2lb and 2lb 12oz. Then there were the skippers favourite tea, specimen Pouting up around the 3lb mark plus a Bull Huss, Whiting, Mackerel, Dogfish and Gar, to make seven species in all. How we never got a Skate, Pollock or Conger, where we were sat, I'll never know. That's saved for next time out.

                                 

Guernsey 2012 with Trident SAC - Over last weeks bank holiday weekend, I was away with Trident SAC in Guernsey. Pictures say a thousand words so here's the story in pictures to be scripted when time permits! Thanks for a nice time lads and for some good fishing with Richard Keen on the Margaret K, St Peter Port, Guernsey.

      

                                      

 

                            

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 5th May

 

Dreary, murky, damp, cold and quiet and that's not just the fishing, that's the weather too! On Thursday the Johnny crew had a 'flat calm' all evening, with a bit of drizzle, a plague of Pout, some dogs and a solitary Bully. A pleasant trip but nothing to set the world alight. The Solent is chocolate brown in places as is Christchurch Bay with a big tide line extending a mile off Barton with brown water one side and greener water the other. Unfortunately the sea temperature is still down at 10 degrees.

Those bream must come back on the feed soon.

I'm off to Guernsey with the Trident SAC in the next half hour where we will be fishing on a Lochen outt from St Peter port called 'Margret K' with Richard Keen. The weather looks crap but I am looking forward to it in a masochistic sort of way:-). The only let down is that spotty dog tackle could not get my order through to me within ten days of the order. So I have to rely on my existing stock of shads, rappallas, eddystone eels and sidewinders. The plan is to experiment with speed of retrieval and colours and see if I can catch anything special.

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend and Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 29th April

A washout, with gales, as predicted by the 'law of averages'. John Skeggs reported a hard day in the Bay on Friday with the sea the colour of tea. This can only mean the fish are saved up for when we can get at them.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 22nd April

The TOFFs, a crew from London and Cardiff, were blessed with perfect weather to test the Bay for Bream. We spent the first 90 minutes over a rock and sand area before trying another 90 minutes on a deeper mark, before trying a more inshore mark, before running down the Solent to a fourth mark to finish the day with no Bream! The best time was before the end of the flood on the deeper rocky Christchurch Bay mark where we found a few Pollock, Pout, Dogs, a Tompot Blenny and Wrasse but nothing to set the day alight. The win was for this crew is that they were on their holidays and managed to get some practice in and although the wind increased all day we stayed comfy and competitive with good Bream traces and bait somehow failing to capitalise on the conditions. It was not for the want of trying. Other reports from the others boats were much the same, so obviously it was one of those days. Maybe the heavy showers and hale that we have had this week has cooled the water down enough to put them off. Anyway these were the first Pollock of the inshore season so not all bad, especially as they left them for me.

The fishing was not easy this weekend but we are expecting the bait fish to come closer again next week and the tide will allow us to push off further if the weather is kind again. I have five spaces next week so if you want some fresh air and banter call me on 07977241355 or e-mail on ltjones2004@yahoo.co.uk we may even find some fish!

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 15th April

 

This quickly assembled crew allowed me to have another good go at the banks with conditions inshore eminently viable. We probably could have pushed out even further in hindsight but the comfort factor had to be included. Two Blonde Rays went 19lb and a third 10lb which meant they were good fish but interestingly all caught more or less the same time. I estimated that all three were hooked within four minutes of each so they must have been moving as a small 'shoal' across the face of the bank we were fishing. However after this hectic period we struggled with only Dogs, pin Whiting and Pout taking an interest. We had our first inshore Mackerel of the year after just one fell to a string of feathers left out for the duration.

A tactical move inshore to some rough ground found more dogs a Pout and a big fish that bit through believed to be a very big Conger because of how it fought and where we were. So not great yet but a couple of good fish all the same. Pictured from left to right is Ian, myself and Kev with three nice Blondes all live and kicking.

Steve Davies on 'Agay' fishing solo a few miles East of us had a great day with Blondes to 21lb, two Undulate Rays of 13lb and 14lb a couple of Congers and a Tope that was bigger than 35lb plus Dogs and Whiting. In Christchurch Bay the Bream are starting to show along with a few Pollock plus other species.

Fingers crossed on the weather next week for a first go at the Black Bream during some of the evening on Wednesday and Saturday morning.

Tighlines, Les (Rugby season nearly over!).

Weekending 8th April

 

Happy Easter. This is serious 'scratching' around time of year, particularly in these big tides, while we wait for the bait fish, the humble Mackerel, to find their way inshore. There are a few fish around including some early Bream but none are easy to catch as they concentrate on their spawning. On Saturday the Trident SAC had perfect conditions, good bait selection and put in plenty of effort but it was difficult and returns were poor.

The Dogfish were prevalent and only Mike left could find something bigger than a Dog with this small Hound and then Roy caught the only Pout! I told you it was hard work! Still we actually had a good day of banter and weather along with a well earned bacon butty. So a big thanks to the lads for their perseverance working through the Dogs.

During the day we tested a bank in two places, drifted some rough stuff and also an inshore wreck. We all tried hard to no avail.

Sometimes, that can be fishing, for us.

Friday's crew of inexperienced anglers organised by Paul fared slightly better with a Bass for Sam, a Small Eyed Ray for Paul and a Smoothound for Billy plus another hound and a couple of Whiting and of course plenty of Dogfish. The weather was perfect again. Thanks for a great day on the sea and see you next on the Good Friday, which will be later in the month.

              

With some nice small tides coming up next weekend, weather permitting, we will aim to get offshore and exploit the banks and wrecks further out.

Note on Saturday 28th April I have 5 spaces. This is a small tide so Plan A will be to get offshore a bit but we will also have a good Plan B down the Solent on that tide, so basically we have a really good chance of getting out and finding a few fish. Around the beginning of May is a good time in our fishing calendar.

Happy Easter again and Tightlines, Les

 Weekending 1st April

 

What a lovely day to be back out there again with Trident SAC, and hardly anyone else except for Skeggsy on Last Laugh and the dinghy boys. We never saw a wave all day. It certainly didn't feel like summer as the Easterly breeze was cool and seemed to keep the fish down too. Reports from everywhere were of a slow day.

We tried a couple of banks about ten miles South and it was quiet out there with a small Conger, Dogs and this big looking Whiting caught by Chris, which looks much heavier than the 2lb 4oz showed by the scales. In the end we anchored just up tide of a large wreck and lured the Congers our way with about 8 released to 20lb and around the same number lost. This at least tested their gear.

Other reports were of some good Rays with one boat that drifted our wreck saying that he found a nice Blonde at 28lb, although apart from that they too had a very quiet day. There were few good Spurrs found but not on the line that we chose to fish but then we may have moved around a bit too much to let them find us. Super angler, aka 007 or Cuzzy, Mick Cousin caught a nice 25lb Cod from his own boa 'Black Hawk'. Well someone had to catch one as there is always a couple swimming in our area. Next week we have very big tides over the Easter weekend so we will be species hunting in and around the Bay and eating chocolate eggs and some decent bacon sarnies.
 

Tighlines, Les


Weekending 25th March

Two weeks of hard graft! Thanks largely to the extended Jones family 'White Maiden' is now back on her moorings, as good as new and all ready to go.

Last year was a fairly quick job and so this made this years effort twice as hard!

This weekend for those on the water already, the bigger tides either made for a mid-channel sortie for Pollock or for an inshore chance your arm with some lovely weather. T Shirts and sea in March, this is bloody awesome weather for the UK before the clocks spring forward.

Some nice Rays were caught on the inshore banks and a few Bass were caught up the Solent.

The Shambles are giving up some lovely Turbot for the Weymouth and poole boys, with Dave Wilson catching a new Wessex Record, heading out from Poole, a tad under 30lb. Dave is not slow coming foreward so I am sure you will see alot of him and his Turbo in the angling press.

Not only is the boat in but the Mullet are in early too, see below, some of them are massive, not these mind these were only a few pounds.

              

Tighlines again, Les (looking forward to next weekend).

Weekending 17th March

Bloody back breaking! Thanks to Brian and Mitch, Rob and Alison, I will still get all the work done. Tightarse, Les.

Weekending 11th March

 She's out! All hard work form now on. My back was bad before she came out and now it is really solid. I got a couple of hard weeks ahead of me, not a nice thought. Tightbacks, Les.

               

Weekending 3rd March

The only trusted report I have is of three solo boats that tested the ground more than a few miles off on Friday. They found Congers at slack water and a couple of nice Blondes both over 20lb with the best at 25lb plus a cracking Ling of 23lb. So when the tide is small there are still some good fish to be caught out deeper.

White Maiden is coming out this week and so my work on her begins in earnest. The Fawley U16's rugby tour to Guernsey this weekend is now becoming a treasured memory. Guernsey is a truly great place to visit so now looking forward to my fishing holiday out from St Peter Port in early May. I'm with Trident SAC, on Richard Keens 'Margaret K', which he recovered himself, after a new engine and complete refit and after she had sank, all for £1000.

Tightlines, Les

Weekending 19th February

True to form Trident SAC coincided with a F6 - F8 SW forecast again on Saturday, so we cancelled. A few boats got round on Sunday. Inshore two solo skippers found one Cod each but it was quiet. On the Thursday last week another skipper found the Congers a bit further out, while on the 10 to 12 mile banks there is some excellent fishing still to be had if the tides and forecast allow for it. Look out for Ryans Blonde Ray below, in this weeks Thursday echo.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 5th February
 
Yesterday, (Saturday) I took a local crew out on the coldest start I have possibly ever had, with temperatures showing -6 degrees! The deck was iced up and we needed to pour on warmer Solent sea water to clear it off. Once out round the back we found the Channel was like a mill pond with a slight and chilly breeze but the sunshine took the edge off that. The first stop produced a Conger for Kev of 26lb plus a dogfish and after ninety quiet minutes, I gave the option for a move. It was a small tide and I was torn between the Whiting inside me or the bigger fish that I assumed had started to move offshore, outside me. In the end we went out deeper. The move worked as the lads caught another seven Congers between 15lb and 25lb and a nice Ray. Mike is seen doing the Conger on the right. On the last drop Ryan who persevered well latched into this very pretty Blonde Ray of 21lb. A lovely fish. All the Congers and the Ray were returned to fight another day.

Tight Lines, Les

Weekending 28th January

 
Yesterdays (Saturday) crew found the conditions good for this time of year. Not as cold as promised, no frost, a bit breezy from the North, so only small waves when inshore, and a nice bit of sunshine. The first big fish broke me off, this was later caught by Dave in the stern, with my trace hanging out of the Congers mouth. I messed up another heavy bite. Off the wire and now on braid the next big hit felt like it was hooked on, so basically ignored I my own advice when fishing big baits, and struck and missed. You must give line and be patient and feed the fish. A few Whiting came on the feed at the end of the flood, the first being shown by Colin here. Alan caught a reasonable one maybe a tad larger but generally the Whiting were playing hard to get. At the start of the ebb a very big fish, nodding and fighting just like a Cod, broke Mike's leader, as he tried to stop it taking line. So all in all, if you take out the forty odd Dogs fish and Pout, not the best fishing but we had a chance and who knows what Mike lost, it was big.

Inside of us was Eric on 'Wight Rebel' who found two Cod for his crew around the 12lb mark, John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' found four Cod for his crew plus Whiting. Another boat near John lost a huge Ling, well over 20lb, initially believed to be a Conger, which was left in the water while a tangle was sorted, only for the Ling to shake the hook, as it was noticed, not to be a Conger! They even up anchored to chase it down the tide but the big Ling went back down again. They also has plenty of Whiting to 4lb. Stainless Steve, had a Spurr Dog, a Smooth hound, a Cod and good Whiting in the same area.

You Just got to get out there and test the ground.

Looking forward to next week, Tightlines, Les.


Weekending 21st January

Too breezy this weekend so I used the day well and changed my engine oil, oil filters and spark plugs on both engines while still on the moorings. It was gusty which didn't help much but not too cold and I never dropped anything. After a quick test drive out to the end of the river and back I was home watching the Rugby. Hanging off the back of the boat for 5 hours was more akin to gymnastics than engine maintenance, I was shattered.

John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' fished the Needles on Tuesday for three nice Cod and some big Whiting, so they were still around then. He also tested the Solent last Sunday with a crew that needed to get out, and they pulled a nice Cod out of there too, so fingers crossed for next week.

Tightlines, Les.

Weekending 15th January

Yesterday morning the ice was on the outside of the windows at first but when cleared off, it began to freeze up on the inside,  before I left my moorings to pick up Church Crookham SAC. It was their January Needles competition. This was the first genuine frozen 0800 start of the winter so far. We got to the mark just as the flood got away against a F4 maybe even a F5, coming straight at us from the South East. Luckily the sun helped take the edge off the cold breeze at a time when White Maiden swung from side to side on anchor. Not very nice for the anglers.

Fishing was slow but very fishable in the 85% spring tide. First to show was a small Thornback, followed by a few dogs but not a sign of a big fish. This signalled the trigger for plan A to maintain it's course with a pre-determined move at 'half time' when the tide was easier for the crew. We nipped out another mile, probably 30 minutes late with hindsight and found a bit more life but it was still fairly quiet. The barometer read 1034mb, possibly a reason for the slow fishing?

Paul added some nice Whiting, a 15lb Conger and Dogs to his small TBR to take the competition honours. Peter fished hard all day on wire and when a really big fish pulled hard away, very shortly into the scrap, the obvious monster simply let go.

Keith caught the first of the Whiting at the end of the flood on his Cod bait and is pictured right. Paul seemed to be the only one to find them consistently at the start of the ebb, which was frustrating for the rest. It felt like a fairly hard day as the fishing was slow and we we never found a Cod.

After talking with some of the other skippers, there was the odd double figure cod caught on some of the other boats. The previous day two boats caught 10 Cod between them while the wind was from the West. Today we had high pressure and Easterlies not a nice combination but sometimes we still buck the trend. Here's looking forward to another go at them next week.

Tightlines, Les Jones.

Weekending 8th January

After three hours of fishing, a few miles off, over the top of the tide for very little, we came back in a mile or so and soon found the fish feeding on the ebb. I managed to coax a 20lb Cod onto a massive bait of cuttle and squid, presented on two 10/0 hooks. The bite required plenty of time as I gave it lots of line. Next came Steve's Cod which believe it or not was not as big as it looks but more clever perfect camera presentation. This is Steve's 20th personal Needles Cod this season thus far. After the first two Cod, two Congers at around 30lb and a 15lb also fell to Steve's baits and just to prove that some of the bites being missed were Cod, I boated another one of 12lb. The other lads worked hard and stuck at it but on these high pressure days it is best to feed the Cod rather than strike early. Having said that, we all still lose them.

The squid and cuttle combination was deadly but is not inexpressive and very messy but works well. The trick is to get that ink leaking out down the tide. A good cuttle can be used for three drops. One Cod coughed up a sea mouse which had a fluorescent hairy back. The local nickname is 'mermaids snatch'! The actual translation of it's latin name is just that a 'Mermaids Vagina'! Here is a picture of the belly at about 70mm long it looked almost prehistoric.


 Thanks to Steve Forster, we believe this little bird to be a juvenile Black Guillemot, a member of the Auk family and not a member of the Diver family. Guillemots cousins include Puffins and Razorbills. We often see Guillemots in small 'flocks' swimming on the surface often directly above the mackerel and Bass, useful to know.

When I returned this 'anchor' the Manager of the chandlery shop was a bit dismissive. Surely if you buy and test something and it doesn't work you can get your money back (see last weeks story on 2011 link below). Anyway after an extended conversation he agreed to swap the Delta copy (that looked like an anchor) for a Bruce (or Claw) copy anchor. I now have two Bruce copy anchors and White Maiden is better prepared now. After reviewing the August 2011 PBO article I found that the PBO team didn't even test a Delta copy. Is that because the results may have been too controversial? If you have one, you may as well throw it away. I noted that most sailing boats in our Marina use a Delta copy, Plough' or CQR type anchor. If only they spent more time anchoring in a bit of weather, rather than tying up in Marina's, they may not bother with them either. I suspect the original Deltas work much better.

Note I have added a new link, to Ben Creasers sea angling blog at his 'WightWaterAngling' website, check out my Angling Links page.

Reminder that I added 'Buoys' as a regular and useful link on my FrontPage. 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.
 
Happy New Year and Tightlines, Les.

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