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Catch Reports 2013

Sunday 29th December

Well we got one day on the boat over Christmas and that was today Sunday. With the inshore forecast for Selsey to Lyme giving Moderate to Rough seas we tested Cowes for a very quiet day at anchor in the Ryde Middle area, along with about twenty other boats. There were a few dogs and a nice Thornback Ray for Andy shown left who returned the Ray. Reports of one or two small Cod were close by with Whiting conspicuous by their absence.

There were shoals of sprats showing all day around the boat. Most fish were probably feeding mid-water.



Meanwhile Lee Price shown above took on the elements and caught this cracking 34lb Christmas Cod from his own boat, that's commitment! It's a cracker. So they are there and there's still time to have a go, we just need the wind to ease back and the sea state forecast not to have the the word Rough in it!

Happy New Year and Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 22nd December
Merry Christmas to all those that fish with me and all those that take a moment to connect to my website and read up what's been caught. This is a hobby that went much bigger. Well we all like to see a good stock of fish and most do their best to look after them.
Some fish are good to eat and photograph like Cod, Bass, Whiting and Bream while others are best just photographed like Congers, Wrasse and Rays but good specimen fish are great to see and deserve weighing and photographing and then showing off somewhere like this.

Looking at the F7's and 8's in the forecast I will be spending the start of this Christmas Holiday ashore. That's how it is but the wind will change and I can't wait to have another go when it all settles down.

There are spaces on Friday 27th December . This is the IOW Cod, Whiting and Pollock only competition based at Yarmouth. It's £55pp which includes competition entry. The prize table is being organized by Bob Gawn and Kev Sampson at Yarmouth, obviously weather permitting. I'll pickup and drop off at Lymington Yacht Haven and the competition results will be shared after the weigh-in at a pub in Yarmouth. This promises to be a great way of working off the Christmas Turkey!

Merry Christmas, Les

Sunday 15th December

No trips this weekend due to F7 SW but on Wednesday a small crew of four individuals found no Cod on our mark, while John Skeggs not far away, netted seven 14-15lb Cod for his crew! I warmed myself up on a feisty 40lb plus Conger as did Bob on another slightly smaller right at the end. Kevin and I chipped in with a strap Conger each but the Cod were not where we were. Dogs and Pout and a Whiting made up the catch. So on Thursday with a six man crew I didn't fish but expected a better return as we believed we were on the numbers but again Cod alluded my rods again with Pout, Poor Cod and Dogs plus a Conger, a Whiting, a Spotted Ray and a Bass for Don (left). Seven species in all but a quiet day. Oddly the wind never went more than a mere breath but the sea built up all day, which was a first for me.  It's a bit weird feeling 'the sea' get bigger and bigger, while at anchor, without any breeze at all.

Meanwhile just down tide from us, as he started the engine at the end of the day, Yarmouth's Kevin Samson on 'White Osprey' netted a 14lb Bass for one of his anglers. So the potential is still awesome but most fish are gorging themselves on the sprats this week. Sprats are showing all over the sonar! The Solent is reported as 'very quiet'!

Please note next week there are 3 spaces on Wednesday 18th Dec and White Maiden is now only available on FIVE dates before the New Year. I can change from charter to individuals, if required.  Tightlines, Les

Sunday 8th December

A small crew on Monday fished a big tide on White Maiden off the Needles and found Whiting, Cod, Pout and Conger. It was cold but comfy and the fishing was good for the skipper as my cuttle and squid tempted this 12lber and some nice Whiting. Paul battled a Conger of around 20lb. The best days of the week were either not booked up by enough individuals or I was committed elsewhere. Today we cancelled by committee, an understandable decision by a crew made up of mainly skippers. No one like's fishing on the 'threshold'. My boat diary is looking busier towards and over Christmas so I am looking forward to more Cod and Whiting for dinner. Note I have now opened up most of March for Pollocking offshore wrecks on the big tides or species bashing around some rocky spots inshore or on small tides fishing the banks for Spurs and Blondes.

Other skipper reports are of similar catch make up to our Monday trip with more Whiting showing closer inshore with some finding two or three double figure Cod.

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 1st December

Yesterday, Crookham SAC recorded 83 Pout, 40 Dogfish, 21 Whiting and 10 Poor Cod. Not one big fish came out to play but the lads kept busy and made a good competition out of it.

On Thursday I fished with Steve in his Merry Fisher called 'Agay'. It was a quiet 12 hour day as we fished 10/0's for most of the day. Steve tricked this 18lb Ling with a Cuttle, on the small ebb tide.

On Tuesday's early start Paul fished hard while I baited up his rods for 25 Dogs and a dozen Pout up to the last drop. This is when 6 squid did the trick tempting this cracking 17lb Cod!

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 24th November

Saturday update: This was the Paul Baker crew plus two. Alan on the left caught a 15lb Cod on conventional double squid, Paul a 19lb Cod on Jelly worm and single squid, Sam a 19lb Cod on a filleted Pout frame fishing for a Conger! These prime fish came along with another 11lb Cod for Paul plus 7 Congers, one a feisty 30lb'er for Geoff, plus inevitable Dogs and Pout.


Sunday update: This was an individuals day and Chris in the middle below caught another 19lb Cod on squid, Ian a 4lb 15oz Spotted Ray and then Jamie Miller who we met at the fuelling pontoon. Tony caught his cracking Cod during an afternoon session in the Solent, in his own boat fishing solo. This lunker pulled the scales down to 27lb! Note other reports form the weekend; a 32lb Cod on Mike Cottinghams 'Challenger' and a 33lb Cod on Arty Savages 'Private Venture'. Sunday was a bit quieter than Saturday but the quality is there. Also there were three reports of double figure Pollock showing up too.

With this flow of North Easterly air we get slight seas inshore and cold conditions, proper winter fishing. On Tuesday a local crew found the Whiting starting to feed better at slack water, with a dozen or so towards 2lb. A Conger and a kennel of Dogs plus a few Pout made up the rest of the catch. We put plenty of bait down but missed the Cod so it was not for the want of trying! With no other boats out, I have no explanation, except that we fished the wrong two marks!


Tightlines, Les



Sunday 17th November

A weekend of two half's with Saturday, bright and even warm at one stage, plus some good fish. While Sunday was drab and quiet on the fish front.

The TOFFS came light handed on Saturday and let me fish. That was a mistake. I caught a jammy 35lb Conger on Hokkais, a species bashing setup, plus a 15lb Cod in quick time. Ian followed my Cod with a nice 14lb Cod. Other than that a few Whiting, Pout and Dogs plus one more Conger for me.

On Sunday the fishing was easy and comfortable but the fish played hard to get. While I was scratching for a Whiting I hooked another big Conger on Hokkais that Olly fought to the surface. It bit through but I let her swim into my ready net, maybe she knew I was going to get the hooks out of her before release!


Olly is left holding a lively Conger by the ears that he fought to the surface and beat on a Fin-Nor Sports Fisher 60 fixed spool reel and a light Grauvell Anaga rod, perfect at slack water and a massive experience that I shared the day before. Awesome fishing. It's not what you do, it's how you do it!

But generally the fishing was quiet all round us on Sunday. The Swindon crew worked hard and kept their baits fresh and on the bottom. A few Whiting, Pout and Dogs came to the boat but the bigger bites just faded away to nothing.

I reckon the SIXTY NINE boats that I counted on the Saturday had caught most of the Cod that are turning up at the start of the season and then spooked the rest but it was great having a good go at them this weekend.

This is just the start of the winter fishing this year as we are four weeks behind so we are expecting the bulk of fish to come in over the next 6 weeks. Sprats are showing well on the sounders and something is forcing them to the top for the gulls to have a share of them too.

On the right is a 'giant squid' caught by Eric on 'Melady'. The squid was sucking on a Whiting and he was not aware that it was there until Brian had a fright at the net! Another experience but we are all now waiting for the Whiting to show in numbers along with some more Cod.


On Wednesday the weather was perfect for the first day of the British Cod Championships. We set our stall out for Cod and only Cod, with big, no, huge baits on 10/0 hooks.

I chose a mark to win all the prizes but as it transpired, Rod who fished up by the cabin bulkhead, had a reasonable Cod of just under 14lb that took 7th place. The 127 anglers, fishing on about 17 boats and caught about 30 Cod. A few boats blanked while others had three. I reckon on a small tide our baits could have been too big, where they sit too heavy and without movement on the seabed but that's just my opinion.

First was a nice Cod of 21lb caught by Doug (Bob Miness's mate!) which earned £1000. The heaviest Cod bag overall was won by fishing superstar Ray Barron with three Cod for about 32lb, also winning £1000, fishing aboard 'Phosphorous'. Ray dropped another Cod on the way up and used the following bait to catch his fish; 2x5lb box of squid, 1x5lb of dirty squid, 10 packs of cuttle and 100 Black Lug! Ray fished hard.

Best Skipper was Sam on 'Silver Spray II', a BWSeaCat from Poole, with about 35lb of Cod while Eric Elliot on 'Wight Rebel', an Offshore 105, was just a few ounces behind! Not a massive weigh-in but the Cod are starting to show this week and just in time. Thursday was cancelled due to the forecasted F6 - F7 with the anglers getting their boat fee returned.

These two pictures below show the contrast between the two days. On the left is Kevin Duell on Wednesday heading to the Needles . On the right is a hovercraft on Thursday being tested off Lepe. Thursday was cancelled. The decision was made by 1200 Wednesday so that everyone knew what was going on and back ashore, the prizes could be setup, along with bar staff etc for the presentation.

It was a good competition due to a big effort by the West Wight Charter Skippers Association (WWCSA) organising crew Tim Doswell and Arty Savage, plus helpers Kevin Williams, Rob Thompson, Len Osborne and Roger Williams.


Tightlines, Les

Sunday 10th November

Saturday was cancelled on the forecast but today we managed to fish the Needles in the Lymington & District SFC Cod open. Fortunately I had space for some of the Saturday crew and so it worked out well for most.

After sign on we were anchored at 0745 for an 0800 start. Steve caught a small Spotted Ray and Chris a 20lb plus Conger. A few dogs and a Smoothound around 7lb preceded the biggest fish of the day, again for Chris, another Conger weighed and released on the boat at 41lb. As the flood started to ease back Wayne caught our only Cod at 15lb 13oz but at least we had an excuse to attend the weigh in.

Wayne tied equal sixth with another Cod at exactly the same weight. Likewise the two winners shared first and second prize as they both weighed in Cod of 17lb 7oz. Nineteen Cod were caught by 105 anglers. Biggest other fish (Excluding Congers, Undulates and Tope) was an 11lb Bass. The pairs prize of about £300 was not awarded and rolls over to next year. The best Cod of the day was caught by a non-competitor on Kevin Duels 'Voyager', that was a monster that weighed 35lb on the boat. Kevin was nestled amongst the competition fleet and just goes to show that those fish of a lifetime are there.

There are more but smaller Cod down the Solent this week, after Due South boated three Cod on their last 2 trips. Another indicator that this winter season appears to have been pushed back by four weeks. The water is still very warm for mid-November but is cooling and we will see what that does for our Cod and Whiting.

Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 2nd November
What a poor run of weather!  Horrendous hurricane force winds, then mere gales with just one or two short breaks. In Lymington there was hardly any storm damage partly due to the neap tide. On Wednesday my booked crew didn't make their holiday due to the weather but father and son duo Mark and Christopher were looking to 'scratch the itch'. Last minute they travelled down from Buckinghamshire for a short, early morning session. That's keen!

We fished first light on the very last of the flood in the Western Solent, leaving at 0600. Slack water was very quiet. After 40 minutes of no bites I moved a short distance and we started picking up Dogfish as the tide began to ebb away. Surprisingly the weed was almost non-existent but the sea was the colour of tea. More Dogs took our baits, so I got twitchy and called John and then Brian who fished the same mark the night before. Brian had caught an 8lb and a 13lb Cod with the first hooked at 2230. Sure enough at 1028 our Cod came along! The fish took a single squid with a couple of worms, on 5/0 Pennel hooks, no colour and was luckily lip hooked. Young Christopher did a good job of pumping the fish in the hardest part of the ebb tide, to the net. It weighed 11lb.

So, at last we find some Cod and are looking forward to some settled weather, although as you can see, the Solent is a valid 'plan B', on the smaller tides, if the crews don't mind a bit of weed.

Tightlines, Les.

 Saturday 26th October
Weather forecasts that are easy to make a decision on! The gales have kept us on our moorings for most of the week except for a quickly mustered crew on Thursday. This was to take advantage of a lull and no booking for an early morning Solent session. Sorry for not telling many of you but my 'contacts list' is chaotic after changing from Samsung Android to an Apple iPhone this week. FYI - I like the iPhone, AS IT WORKS!

Back to the fishing; on Thursday morning we started in the dark on the ebb and fished through the tide change and first light but only found Dogs and Pout. We were fishing deep in the Western Solent. A weed warning should accompany this report. My 10/0 hooks loaded with squid or cuttle or cuttle/squid failed to catch anything, with expectations running too high. The baits were hammered though by Pout. Hokkais worked well though on the Pout, to catch dinner. Bob finished the short trip with a 3lb Bass to save the day.

White Maiden is reserved for the WWCSA Cod Championships on Wed 13th and Thurs 14th November. All spaces are drawn. To get your name 'in the hat' you will need to call Tim Doswell 07944 660889 and pay £140 for both days. There's £1000 cash prizes for each day, plus other prizes.

I'm now booked but if you can find a space on a boat the Lymington and District SAC have their Cod Comp, sponsored by LONI's, on Sunday 10th November. Charter and Private boats can enter, there is a cash prize of up to £600. See you there.

Note there is an individuals trip next Wednesday with spaces

Another story accompanies these pictures sent to me by the Trident SAC 'boys' Chris and John that went to the 'Canaries' two weeks ago. Chris has been to Feurteventura for the last four years and this was the best fishing by far. Here's some fish to whet anyone's appetite. Two Dorado's at 60Kgs swam around the boat and were both hooked out on live baits dropped in front of them by the skipper, shown left, at the same time!  While John caught this huge Blue fish at 35Kg the day before.

Please don't compare Bobs Bass with these fish, thank you!

Oh and note Chris I didn't mention the man over board drill! You can catch the fish but you may not live to tell the tale! I can expand if you let me :-)...

 Tighlines, Les

Monday 21st October

The fishing is improving quickly. Reports of Bass, Cod and small Congers in the Solent on the smaller tides and some decent fishing round the Needles will make it all worth while when we can next get out and have a go at them. See My Diary for your fishing options on White Maiden plus Cod Comp dates.
Last week we sailed and fished the South Ionian Sea, Greece, on a budget, end of season flotilla with Sunsail. A Jeanneau 36i sailing boat all to ourselves at £490 per person including flights. A good holiday in the sun this time of year. It was fun plus an opportunity to learn additional seamanship skills. A bit lively one day and certainly a proper test of our very basic yachting skills. Fair to say we are still not proficient at managing sails in 28 - 30 knots of wind and a choppy sea. It was exhilarating and we survived. Another day we had a 2m swell on a four hour passage (trolling session). While the other days were flat calm. It was on one of these days that we found a lot of tuna feeding, the birds gave them away. There were many Tuna plus one or two other species over a meter long jumping while feeding in tight shoals but we couldn't get the lures through them often enough to catch one. Each time the boat approached the fish dispersed quickly. Next time we will experiment driving near to the fish, cutting the engine and casting lures. That's another two sets of tackle to pack but with 20Kgs allowance that's not a problem!        Tighlines, Les

Saturday 12th October


This week we never had a Cod but a couple were caught today (Saturday). We did find our first Whiting on Wednesday.

On Guy's Tuesday Sole trip we caught a couple of Soles plus small Hounds, Red Mullet, Pout, Dogs, Silver Eels and a Spotted Ray. John is showing a Sole and the Red Mullet.

The Wednesday evening trip was switched due to the weather to a Bryn and Chris morning trip. At first light we found a Whiting, Dogs and a Tope on a bank before moving under the cliffs. Here we caught a number of Pollock, a nice Bass, lots of Wrasse, Pout, plus a Mackerel and a Scad. Then today, again with Bryn and Chris (below) we had Wrasse, Pout, Mackerel, while out deep we found small Congers and Dogs.

Tightlines, Les




Monday 7th October

This week the Solent fished better than the Needles area while we are still in this 'between seasons' changeover period. On Saturday the TOFFs crew really struggled in the big tide, as did other boats, to find quality fish round the Needles. We had Pout over the wrecks. When anchored we found the odd Pout, Dog, Scad and Mackerel but it was quiet. On Friday the Matt Pheasby crew had a F6 SW but did reasonably well sheltered off Cowes with small Hounds, a Spotted Ray, Bull Huss, Dogs and Pout. While the mid week Pat Warne evening crew found seven small Hounds, a Spotted Ray, Bream and Pout rattling their light sole tackle. We are still waiting for the winter fish to appear inshore, is it still too warm for them? Maybe. Tightlines, Les


Sunday 28th September

The fishing for my crews was quiet this week but we got out and it was comfortable fishing. Saturdays trip, was cancelled. The expected mixed bag at this time of year was not too mixed. As usual I am keeping news of my catch returns honest to make the report useful. Having said that at the start of the week Fog and then at the end of the week strong Easterlies stopped us testing preferred marks.

The inshore fishing proved the summer species are thinning out and the winter species have not turned up yet. On Friday there were a few Bream down the Solent in the blustery F6 Easterly. Shelter from the Island's North shore enabled us to test three marks on the very small flood tide but it was quiet and as you can see with Karen's Bream and Dickie's Spotted Ray that it was good to see fish at all.

So the Bream are hanging on still down the Solent and the weed is negligible. Worm and squid proved best baits. One fishy friend caught a Thornback Ray on Monday that was completely black across its wings!
On Wednesday afternoon the fog didn't clear so at 2pm we 'went shallow' in search of a Stinger off Sowley. Well as you can see pictured right an only just sizable Bass for Simon and a Bream for Paul went home for tea. The best Bream unintentionally released was the most hilarious incidents of quite a few. The best Bass was lost at the net as tangled with another line, it looked around 4lb, not so funny. A couple more Bream and a few dogs made up the bag. There were no Sting Ray and no Smoothound but note also very little weed.

On Tuesday the fog cleared in time for the afternoon trip for Richard pictured left. It was very hot and humid. His Hound put up a good scrap, while on the same light rod a suspect reasonable Blonde smashed him up half way to the boat. A small Blonde, a few dogs and five mackerel made up the rest of the bag.

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 21st September

The Mackerel have definitely decided to swim South, as my Saturday crew struggled to find just the one yesterday. Anyway we settled down in Christchurch Bay with plenty of squid, sheltered from the huge flood tide, to catch lots of Pouting plus the occasional Dogfish. As the tide eased we moved South to find a couple of small Congers more Pout and Dogs over slack water. As the tide began to ebb hard we came back inside the Bay again as the mist thickened up to find a Bream, a Thornback Ray and more Dogfish. Left is Alan who caught the biggest two fish of the day.I

On Wednesday, I reckon the 'Gill crew' from Lymington caught the last two Mackerel in the Solent, so without live baits we trolled shads and drifted Hurst with King Rag, for no reward.

We anchored up in the shallows off the banks as we lost the light, close to the top of the tide, to find a reasonable Bass for John, three feisty Hounds including the one held by Mario, three Silver Eels and a Dogfish. We were lucky to get the trip in this week but the weather was fantastic for the Western Solent. Thursday evenings trip was cancelled due to strong SW winds.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 14th September

 TOFFs Saturday charter began in bright sunshine although breezy from the North West, with a bit of a swell. We drifted a couple of banks and a couple of wrecks. The trip ended with an afternoon of intermittent drizzle on the bow. The fishing wasn't great in the small tide but it would take more than a lack of fish to stop these boys enjoying themselves at sea. Mackerel are now very scarce inshore, so take more bait.

We found the Bull Huss began to feed on the flood tide but would only take fresh Mackerel, refusing everything else. Bryn's best Bully had clamped onto a bait pushed up the trace by a hooked up Lesser Spotted Dogfish. The two similar species were netted side by side. Better fish were expected all day but never came. Brian caught the best Bull Huss at around 7lb. A lone Bream, a few Pout, a Scad and a dozen Mackerel, added to the Dog fish and five Bull Huss made up the catch. 

Both mid-week evenings were cancelled due to the rain and mist as I considered the safety of my anglers and my boat.  Tightlines, Les.
Sunday 7th September


This is more like early autumn, eighteen degrees and 24 knts of SW wind plus showers and a change in the fishing.

Yesterday, my Trident SAC crew were keen to go and so we went round the light and had a nice bank all to ourselves until 1330 when we were forced to come back inside. Three Tope to 7lb, three Bass to 5lb and two nice Small Eyed Rays the best at 8.5lb made the shallow area with a big tide and a little weed worth fishing. Mackerel can still be caught along with scad.

Inside the light we avoided the weed in the ripping ebb tide for a few Mackerel, a couple Pout and Gar. Steve is pictured with a Bass and the best Ray while Chris shows the first Tope that came up at the same time as the best Bass.


On Friday afternoon a local crew wanted to expand on their previous Mackerel trip and managed a reasonable bit of weather although it was still blowing twenty knots when we got to our first mark which was blighted by weed that forced a change of plan. On the second mark we found some Bream and a Dogfish with very little weed, before going back on the drift for Mackerel, a Gar, and a Herring. Liz is showing her Bream, the best of the catch.  

On Tuesday evening I took Guy and John along to fish for Soles. Well we found one but it was in the dying minutes. Up to then it was Bream and a Bull Huss that rattled the rods. Here is Guy holding Johns dinner and not looking too pleased for John! The trip back was under radar plus track back with no visibility at all in the pitch dark plus fog.

As the BBC forecast fog for the Wednesday night from early on I cancelled only to find it actually stayed fairly clear so apologies for that.

On Monday a half day trip with Tristan and Mal crew, started a bit bumpy but flattened off lovely with a Thornback being the biggest and best fish for Mal. Lots of Mackerel and Scad at anchor and a handful of dogs made up the rest of the catch in the short session.


Tightlines, Les.



Sunday 1st September


I was away on Holiday in Portugal last week but on our return I managed to get out fishing the following morning with the Wiltshire Farmers crew and the weather was as good as Portugal, the sea comfortable and we had a small tide.

It was ideal to search for deeper and larger species.

The fishing wasn't easy but we found 15 to 18 Tope all between 7lb and 9lb. Plus there was a Bull Huss, Thornback Ray and Dogfish. The Mackerel are still abundant.

Back to Portugal, if you want a 'close' destination for a Marlin fix then this is THE closest! Read my story to give you an idea of what to expect. TL, Les

Sunday 25th August

Mondays family Mackerel trip found plenty of Mackerel plus this Gar fish for Grandad from Australia. The Blackwood family took some Mackerel for the table. I flicked most off and kept the Gar for flatty bait.


While the evening trips were lovely evenings the fishing was not easy. On Wednesday the Peter Devizes crew caught five Bream, too many Scad and Pout, Bull Huss and Dogs at anchor with Mackerel, Pollock and Scad on the drift. Still they managed to find some fish, on a quiet night. It was a big tide and we avoided the weed.

Harder again was our Bassing with floated live baits. We had a laugh and some mega tangles but no Bass on the boat. One was lost by the boat. On the feathers there was a Wrasse, some Scad and Mackerel. Ted from Florida got stung on the lip by a wasp after swigging his Cider bottle! It came up like a balloon but more Cider seemed to sort it out! It was a nice evening with a warm fresh Easterly breeze.  Tighlines, Les

Sunday 18th August
A week of extremes in angling ability and weather. Today I cancelled TOFFS on the forecast F6/7 SW. Yesterday England internationals Colin Searles and Kevin Sampson showed some of my regulars what you must do to win a species competition nowadays. To be fair this is not what we normally do as we went about catching the smallest sea fish I have ever seen on marks that I have fished many times before!

Species included Gold Sinney Wrasse, Ballions Wrasse, Corkwing Wrasse, Ballan Wrasse, Pout, Poor Cod, Sand Blenny, Tom Pot Blenny, Dogfish, Bull Huss, Bream, Garfish, Small Eyed Ray, Smoothound and Mackerel. We were second the Boat with Kevin winning on ours 'White Maiden', just beating Colin by a few points with a total of 240 points. Ray Barron fishing home territory on 'Foss' skippered by Rob Thompson, stormed the comp with 430 points! Rob did well to put them over enough Pollock, Wrasse and Bream to max out their score sheets. It was a horrible day with 25 knots of wind at one point and heavy rain, a day which would be cancelled for my regulars! Pictured from left to right is Kev, Dean, Jim, Alan, Don, Colin and Richard gathered for a quick picture at the end of the comp.

On Thursday we had another F5 to F6 that meant the Solent was our refuge for the Lucy crew and although they thoroughly enjoyed their half day boat trip, the weed spoilt fishing at anchor. Mackerel however were many. We kept a few of them for tea and flicked the others off with a T bar, to swim free again.

On Tuesday, as we went West and away from the Solent the wind picked up to 23Knts and caused problems, with a choppy sea that pulled the anchor out. I have resolved my anchor problem now! Anyway after some Mackerel and a Bream the wind picked up another notch, so we came all the way back into Yarmouth to find Bream and Smoothounds at High Water when the weed was not a problem for us. Young Rowan caught two Smoothounds and at 11 years old did very well to master this one himself and release it to the water.

On Monday we chased for a Conger round the Needles in a fairly big tide and another breezy SW F5 day. We found the Pout on a 'lump' (small wreck?) that we targeted but no Congers! We moved to a bank and that was 'dead'! The lads caught a few Tope and Dogs back on our original 'lump', plus the Pout again, otherwise it was a very quite day on the fishing front, which to be fair, except for the England lads and Dean catching plenty of whitebait sized fish on the species comp, Monday was a reflection of the whole week since last Saturday.

Tightlines Les.

Sunday 11th August
Saturdays (yesterday) Trident SAC plus Gary the guest searched hard for reasonable bait sized fish as the Mackerel we caught inshore were all big/huge. They were everywhere and taking small baits off the bottom too. On the first drift Chris latched into a nice 2lb Tub Gurnard on Macky strip and John a small Bass on feathers. Then it was go search time after the bank became locked up by anchored boats over a 20 minute period. So off we went and tested some areas without luck before anchoring a bank, on the deep side waiting for the tide to ease.
The biggest Tope fell to Chris's Macky flapper, it was around 15lb. Smaller tope were T barred off. There were Dogfish as usual. The afternoon drift was in 25 Knots of wind against the tide which was hampered again by those huge Mackerel. The Bass didn't show up! 

Fridays Macky trip found 25 Mackerel and could just see the Red Arrows!

On Thursday a family holiday crew caught plenty of Bream, the best about 1lb 6oz, mostly on the last of the flood, plus Mackerel and lots of Dogfish. Sevi on the left is holding up a double shot of Bream. They kept enough for dinner and released the rest. The other highlight of the day was when we were flagged down by a solo fisherman, as we up anchored, he needed a tow back to Lymington. It added half an hour to our return trip but was a good deed done.

Wednesday evening was lovely and the crew found Mackerel, Bream, Dogs and plenty of Pout into the dark. There were fish to keep them busy throughout the session with most returned. I have noted in the last few days fish leaping in the river, marina and out at sea. After a discussion with a Salmon angler, who caught two Salmon yesterday (Thursday), he thinks they are Sea Trout.

Wednesday day time with the Stuart Young crew (above) proved that small baits work during the summer. In the morning drifting session after the Mackerel, we found a small Thornback Ray, a Tub Gurnard and a John Dory. The John Dory was a first for my boat but it dropped off before netting, due to lifting clear of the water. At anchor the lads caught nine small Tope up to 8lb before going back on the drift again for 30 odd Bass, the best around 3lb. A third of these Bass were returned. The crew of mostly fire fighters above, are showing part of their catch.

On Tuesday evening a small group of four anglers wanted to try float fishing for Bass and we had a good session with some reasonable fish. The best Bass was around 4.5lb with another eight falling to live baits. The lads are showing their catch on the left.

Dates and spaces are available, see my Diary Page for details.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 4th August

Well that's it, I am now a full time Sport Fishing Charter Skipper!

The day I left NICE, Wednesday last week, we found some good Bass on the Wednesday evening trip, fantastic! But, then the next day, my first day as a full time skipper, I was let down by a new crew, and only for the second time in seven and a half years! Anyway the New Forest Show on Thursday was a great alternative!
Before the start of yesterday's (Saturday) trip I was anointed by Chris, as a fellow member of TOFFS, The Old Fountain Fisherman's Society! TOFFS are based in the City of London and like to spend time in the New Forest, oh and Los Angeles! To celebrate the honour the small crew of four went out on White Maiden on a breezy day, averaging 24 Knots at times and exceeding the forecast, and still caught a few fish. The best was a nice Bass just under 7lb for Ian. When anchored in a very comfortable bay we found some Bream for Pat, three Rays for Bryn and a Smoothound for Ian. Chris had the best Bream to make the day reasonable for all. The biggest surprise, there were no Dogfish!

On the right is Mike Callus with a nice brace of Bass, the best, again was 7lb. These were caught on the Wednesday evening trip. Pat, who organised the lads, caught five himself but  returned most of his to fight another day!

Friday evening with the Dad's and Lad's from Milton Keynes was ideal with a SW breeze on the nose. Typically, for a beginner crew, they caught well, boating a Plaice, Thornback Ray, Tub Gurnard, plenty of Black Bream and Dogs. The Mackerel competition at the start was a bit frenetic after finding loads, immediately. Harrison, on the left, needed help to get the Thornback Ray up off the bottom and onto the surface but he still lured the biggest fish while a nice Bream around 2lb was the best specimen caught by young Jason. All the fish were returned alive except for a few Mackerel that were used for bait.

For trips throughout August check my Diary page and then the Prices page and if you need help to work out what I am trying to explain, give me a call.

Tightlines, Les


Sunday 28th July

This superb weather is breaking now but Saturday started well with 14 Bass on the feathers amongst some large Mackerel. The best Bass went a couple of pounds and although one or two others may have been acceptable for anglers they all went back to grow. Commercials would have taken most of them. This was a comp so we then looked for Rays and then drifted for a Pollock etc. In the end they caught 9 species with Tope, Smoothound, Gurnard, Pollock, Bream, Bass, Mackerel, Pout and Dogs. On the left is Peter larking about with his first Tope as each new species gave them bonus points and Tope were worth quite a lot of points.

On the Evening trips this week, weed is starting to show inshore on the very big tides and the Bream are still shy. Next week is small tides. The weather was good though and species caught included Small Eyed Ray, Pout, Dogs, Scad, Bream and Mackerel. The Mackerel have gone patchy at the moment so take extra bait.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 21st July

Nice and hot still but these Easterlies and high pressure have kept the fishing quiet. Yesterdays crew of Toffs from the City of London worked hard right up to the final whistle, for mostly a dozen Bream that came one at a time during the day from all three marks that we tested. The Bream were shy. The best and biggest fish was an Undulate Ray caught and returned by Chris on the left, it was a cracker. That good fish along with the Bream and typical Dogfish and Mackerel was it. Very quiet but nice in the sun and hot breeze.

On Thursday evening the Devizes crew found a dozen Tope, not big but gave a lively account of themselves, each one disguised as a potetial Bass. The other species on the night was a 4lb Thornback Ray plus the Dogfish. Mackerel are still very easy to find. It was flat calm and so nice I had to add the picture below of this sailing boat heading into the sunset.


Sunday 15th July
Trident SAC have been fishing with me for about six years now and this was a rare occasion when the weather was kind to us, they had a full crew and were willing to fund more fuel allowing us to search marks further offshore. Well it paid off with four Cod and six Pollock.

To be fair the day was perfect for easy fishing and motoring around the marks but it was hot and the high pressure always put the fish off, so in the circumstances the boys did OK judging against other reports. The best Cod was about 6lb the best Pollock about 7lb but we lost two big fish over the Cod when a rod was pulled sharply down onto the hand rail, bouncing off the fish, half way up in 190 feet of water. The other big fish parted the braid, also a fair distance up off the bottom. Other fish caught on the drift were Pouting and Whiting.



Wednesday evening was fished in a warm F5 from the North East. See there are Plaice out there! This is the best of two small ones but a different species all the same. Some Bream also made a show on the carp rod on the drift. 

We then went out to the bigger Bream spot of the previous night and struggled to catch them, well Guy did anyway, sorry Guy. John caught ALL the fish. Quite unbelievable. The Hound went about 6.5lb and was followed all the way up to the net by another. Still if he hung around they would have met up again. Just to rub it in as well as a handful of Bream John caught a Bass on the last drop.




 Tuesday evening, on the Bream, on a hot summers day, lovely. An early catch was a small Undulate Ray by Richard. Don't tell the crew but we tried for a Plaice mainly to get away from the many Bream, only I didn't know they'd already used all the worms and the weed ruined the plan . We moved out deeper and away from the weed only to find plenty more but bigger Bream, with most released! There was also a Tope and a Spotted Ray.

Tightlines, Les.

Monday 8th July


Above are the Sunday crew pictures of Ali with his two Thornbacks, plus a picture of a yellow Ballan Wrasse and a huge Jelly fish just to the left of it in the sea behind. The jelly fish is seen better in the next picture. This was a very hot day. We drifted for some of the day but with no luck. The Tope never found us but a nice Bream for Bryn made a change from the Dogfish. Mackerel were plenty and we had four Bass amongst them. Most fish were returned alive with the better Thornback Ray above about to release a purse.
The Saturday crew started out with me at 6am, with the weather perfect. First stop found lots of Mackerel and then eight Bass. Out deep drifting never worked for us so we went to anchor. A 21lb Blonde Ray put in a good fight on Paul's line just before the end of the flood tide. Sam caught a couple of Tope and lost a much bigger fish, lively like a Tope or Conger. One other Tope was also caught. On the Ebb slightly inshore the Dogfish were interspersed by a nice 4lb Spotted Ray for Tim and a Red Gurnard for Alan. Except for six Bass and the Mackerel, everything else was released to fight again.


 There were plenty of Mackerel in the Solent during the week which worked well on a Mackerel trip, when fog threatened to ruin the evening but moved away from us as we approached the Island. We also found plenty of Mackerel at the start of the evening trip, the day before.

On the Wednesday evening, the Pat Warne crew also found Dogs, as they are everywhere at the moment plus a Spotted Ray for Paul plus a Bream and a Bass for Stuart, shown on the right. The biggest fish, which was huge, was well played by Bob, for around 10 minutes, until the hook pulled out straight!  Bob had baited with fresh Mackerel so I suspect that this lost fish was one of the monster Sting Rays being caught down the Solent. One of these has been weighed on the boat at 80lb by a local angler!  While a trawler photographed and released another Sting Ray well over 90lb.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 22nd June

 The weekend has been blown away again but mid week evenings were great. It was better late than never on the Wednesday evening trip after Bob caught the biggest of the first three Tope caught on White Maiden this year. We were a few miles from the Needles Light. Other species included a Spotted Ray, too many Dogs, Pout and plenty of Mackerel.

Following a report of trawling all day over the same area on the Thursday we went to another area more due South of the Needles Light again in the evening, this time with the Paul Hayward crew.

We caught ten species that included Mackerel, Herring, Pollock, Conger, TBR, Hound, Tope, Pout, Dogs, Bream. The Thornback Ray on the right caught by Pete 'The Rat' was the biggest fish.

Both evenings were awesome as far as the weather was concerned. This is what summer should be like and ideal on one of the longest days, with some light still while going up the river at 10:15pm!

Tightlines, Les

Monday 17th June


The Saturday trip was blown away but the keen crew organised by Don and staying over in a Southampton Hotel wanted the Sunday.

Luckily both myself and Jeff on 'Lazy Daze' were expecting a day off on Sunday so were free both to swap over to Sunday. The plan early on was to let the sea settle down outside and fish the morning in the Solent. The best specimen of the day was a 4lb 2oz Spotted Ray and the biggest fish was a Hound of around 8lb both landed on White Maiden. Jeff's crew managed to find Bass where we had lost two, just after we moved on to another mark. He then found some Pollock also on the drift to add to their species count. I reckon Richard on the right must have had the best Bream on White Maiden too. All in all it was a good day in ideal conditions. Jim 'the chef' and 'champion Spotted Ray catcher' made some cracking breakfast wraps.

Between our two boats we estimated the crews caught over 20 Smoothound and Bream and Pollock plus Dogs, plenty of Mackerel and ten or so Bass. The fishing was reasonable and there was very little weed to worry about, which makes a big difference when tackling the Solent.


 The midweek was unsettled and chilly but we managed to find Guy and Joy some fish on a lovely Tuesday evening including Bream, Hounds, Dogs, Bass and Pout. Guy was fishing a very simple rig with small baits. A long flowing trace with a 2/0 circle hook that worked well. Every single one of Guy's fish which included two Smoothound to 9lb, two Bass to 3lb, two Bream, a Pout and five Dogs were all caught on a 6lb class rod, with the circle hook in the scissors of the mouth. This allowed for a simple release, a good conservation measure as no lost hooks. Joy caught a Bass and Dogs on her special pink beads!

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 9th June

This week was a cracker with lots of sunshine and clear skies as high pressure held across the country giving us North Easterlies in the Channel all week. Due to the difficult fishing outside in recent times the Solent seemed the best area to target fish. The Smoothound were a good bet on Tuesday evening. We only had three but the best Hound caught by Dave went 11lb. Dave also had a small Ray and also the first Mackerel of the drift at the end of the evening, his catch took the money. Along with the Hounds there were some small Bream and plenty of Dogs.

On Wednesday evening a small crew on a Mackerel Trip were inundated with them down the Solent. The five anglers accounted for around 190 Mackerel with two weighing over 1.25lb. There were also three Herring caught.

On Saturday there was a strong breeze still blowing from the NE at the Needles but over the top of us as we fished along the cliffs. We found plenty of Mackerel and a few Pollack too.

Due to the wind blowing hard for longer than expected we drifted for most of the morning and found Herring, Gars, Wrasse, Pollack and were returning all Mackerel in the end. At anchor we found mostly dogfish and a couple of Wrasse, so we went back on the drift for another ten or so Pollack.





Sunday 2nd June

Yesterday the Trident SAC crew on White Maiden caught up with the Round the Island fleet at the Needles Lighthouse which worked out well for us. We soon found fish. A few Herring are still showing up amongst the Mackerel. Here is the best one that looked big but only weighed 10ozs, the boat record is only 1lb 1oz. While John held up the Herring his static rod sat in the rod rest caught two Pollock, the only double shot of the day, now there's a clue! Then later on one man band John found the only Huss off Chale in a strong tide. The snarling 7lb Bully was returned. The day was bright and breezy and the lads fished hard but returns were low with 6 Pollock, 5 Herring, lots Mackerel. Pout and Poor Cod, plus the one Bull Huss.


Right is Peter with a nice 3lb 8oz Plaice. The mid week Old Codgers returned for a monthly get together. Bream, Plaice, Ballan Wrasse, Corkwing Wrasse and Pout were caught but again the fish were not giving themselves up on a cold, blustery day, all from the North which kept the sea flat. They enjoyed the day out but like me want the fishing to improve.

Wednesday evening was worse. A crew from Devizes fished round the Needles for a Conger. We found one amongst lots of Pout and Dogs but it was a Congerette and took the money. The rain continue to come right through the evening and was finished with some poor visibility and the Needles Lighthouse moaning for us to come back. We did on time after practicing retrieving a black bucket that was dropped over board in the near dark! This outside working crew of farmers and pest controllers, said they enjoyed the evening and didn't mind the rain but the fishing is harder this time of year than it should be. Those Devizes sausages were awesome though!

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 27th May

The inshore fishing is cool still with these weird unseasonable temperatures appearing to put the fish off their dinner. There are a number of species to be caught but they are certainly not giving themselves up yet as the sea temperature is still down on the time of year.


The Paul Baker crew above worked really hard all day for small returns only to be inundated with fish in the last 20 minutes when we spotted some birds over a mass of fish. In the end the days fishing produced a Bream, a couple of Conger, a Poor Cod, a Hound, a Wrasse the inevitable Pout and Dogs but no Bass although we did work for them before finding lots of Pollock, Mackerel, Herring and Wrasse all feeding on presumably a bait ball. We filled buckets and boxes quickly in the last twenty minutes before returning to Lymington.
During the week we found some Hounds down the Solent falling to crab, plus Pout, Dogs, Mackerel and a Herring. Here is Jim with one of the best females all released with the best weighing around 12lb.

The following evening was good enough to test the Needles early on before fishing the last 90 minutes in the Solent. Outside we found plenty of Mackerel and a few Pollock, while back inside off Yarmouth it was very quiet with a few Pout and Dogs plus a small Bass.

The common theme in all the pictures is hats and coats and not your normal end of May T's and Shorts weather.

Still lots of room for improvement.

Tightlines, Les.


Saturday 18th May


The inshore fishing is starting to warm up and there are now a number of species to target but Mackerel are still scarce. Saturdays Church Crookham SAC competition started on our Thursday Bream spot. After one Garfish, a Corkwing Wrasse and Pout we moved out deeper to find a specimen Red Gurnard, a couple of decent Whiting, a Hound and Dogs. We then moved out deeper again for some large Pout and a couple of Pollock on the drift followed by another Hound and a Tub Gurnard and more dogs at anchor again. Fishing was not red hot but after 9 species and a tight contest it proved to be a good day out on a very comfortable sea. Below is Dave with his specimen 1lb 8oz Red Gurnard and Keith with a Pollock around 6lb.

On Thursday I organised a quickly arranged Bream trip. We found five quality Black Bream plus Corkwing and Ballan Wrasse.

My specimen Bream pulled the scales down to 3lb 10oz and took a head hooked rag presented on a size 1.

Bob also managed a quality Bream too but they are finnicky while spawning. We kept the males and released the females. This was a test trip to run the engines after a filter change and to see what was on the mark in readiness for the coming weekend.     



Mick McNamara is holding the best Hound caught on a midweek evening Solent trip. It was blowing a good F6 Westerly when we went out there but that died away to nothing by around 7.30pm. The no wind, tide change around dusk was the settings for the start of the action where the lads found 4 Hounds, a plump female Black Bream, returned to drop her eggs plus 4 Pout and around 15 Dogfish.

Next we should expect to see a few more Mackerel and some Bass again!

Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 11th May

Blown away this weekend and the sea is gradually warming up and now 11 degrees in the Solent! Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 4th May

The sea temp is still down below 9 degrees out of the Solent. Dogs are prevalent inshore along with Pout and a few Small Eyed Rays on the right marks. Offshore Pollack are a target species. More of this sunshine, a slightly warmer sea and you will see a marked improvement in the inshore catch rate. Tightlines, Les

Wednesday 24th April

The inshore sea temperature is still down at 9 degrees! This will slow inshore fishing activity without a doubt, with many now starting to look for the first Bream, we will see when they arrive. Offshore, recently on these small tides, the banks have fished very well for Rays and the mid-channel wrecks for Pollock with the odd Bass and Cod coming to the various latex lures too. Tightlines, Les.

Thursday 18th April

There's very little to update you on, as inshore is still quite with the sea temperature very low for the time of year and is now only just starting to warm up. Last  weekend was limited due to the weather and big tides but there have been a few boats finding Pollock mid-channel fairly consistently when they have got out over the last couple of weeks. The weekend before was quiet on the banks on the small tide but has to switch on soon, so this weekend looks good for those that can push off a fair distance and fish a bank or wreck on nice small tides. At last I have updated my boat diary! Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 31st March

This freezing weather and nagging Easterlies are persisting and keeping most boats on their moorings. John Skeggs crew on Last Laugh had a good Blonde Ray catch of 31 fish on one of the small tides last week with the best going 26lb. No other species made a show on these banks out towards mid channel. Arty Savage on Private Venture 2 also found Blondes plus some Spurs on the same tides, also right out towards the middle. So it is fair to say that the fishing is fairly quiet which is no surprise with the un-seasonal cold conditions that we have this year so far. It is only 20 degrees colder in the afternoon on the same day than last year! Happy Easter and Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 17th March

A few Turbot and Plaice have been reported by Poole boats fishing the Shambles. Plaice have been caught in local boat marks too, and from the beach, so get some rag and lug worms plus some white rag to tip off or use a tiny bit of mackerel on your yellow and red beaded traces, and go get them, from anchor or on the drift. A nice way to break up the day is to change tactics so have a drift too. Tightlines, Les

Sunday 10th February

We had a cold one Saturday and damp too but on the slight sea the anglers could still have a real good go at catching the any stragglers. Returns were poor though as we were restricted fairly close inshore on the big spring tides. The reports from a surprising number of other boats were very similar to ours. Fishing at five miles South in the morning for two and half hours produced a few whiting and pout all falling to Dave's tactics. On the afternoon inshore mark the dogfish were more prevalent but Dave caught the biggest of his four whiting and Paul took the money for the best specimen, a Spotted Ray, caught in the very last minute. That's it for me now for the next six weeks as I have to prepare White Maiden for the new season starting Easter week. See boat diary for full boat charter availability and spaces. I can turn any available full charter into an individuals trip if there are only three or four of you interested.


Tightlines, Les

Sunday 3rd February

I cancelled Saturday on a worsening Northerly F5-F7 and cold forecast. I then cancelled Sunday on the F6-F7 SW forecast. Ideally we need to get offshore in February. The opportunity was created for a better weekend and again we never got one. John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' tested Saturday and kept close inshore to find four Congers and a Skate but returned early due to an unwell angler.  Tightlines, Les

Sunday 27th January

The forecast kept everyone in port this weekend both Saturday and Sunday. Tightlines, Les

Sunday 20th January




Alum Bay and January Snow.



Saturdays trip with Crookham SAC was due to be fished on a F5-F6 Easterly against a small flooding tide, along with temperatures around freezing point, all day! Obviously this made for an easy and sensible cancellation as most others did. I offered Sunday which was declined by the Saturday crew so I offered out to a wider group of contacts by text seeing they gave a Northerly F4, and soon assembled a small crew.

The last of the ebb tide and slack water produced a dozen Whiting with the best around 4lb for Alan, while Bob winched up a 6lb Cod. Pout and Dogs hit the bigger baits and we persevered as it was F,F,F,F Freezing.  The fishing at 2 miles went quite into the mid flood tide, so with 2.5 hrs to go I headed South another 2 miles. Out there the fishing was still slow at the end of the ebb, with only a dog, a Pout and a Conger making a show! Maybe we should have fished smaller? Anyway we gave it a proper go and had some nice eating fish to bring home.

Meanwhile further out John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' found a couple of nice specimen Spur Dogs and Arthur Savage on 'Private Venture' netted a Whiting of 5lb for one of his crew and believed it was probably the first five pounder he has seen for a few years now. So the potential is still out there, let’s see if it warms up a bit though!

Tighlines, Les

Sunday 13th January

Saturday was blighted by 24knts from the SE first thing, along with rain for the rest of the day at 5 degrees and a massive tide. An easy decision to cancel! I am aware of one boat planning to go and will update this report.

Christmas Caption Competition Winners - Please pick your individual trip dates before end of March.
Mike Bryant - Feel like bloody Santa, in this stupid outfit.
Stephen Banks - ‘Here, kitty, kitty.......’

Others considered

Mike McNamara -
“That's the cat sorted out now what can I have!”
Dave Wilson - “Any more dogfish on this boat and I’m OFF!”
Clive Wall’ Whatever happens, don't lose sight of that bloody tree! Only one for miles!

My caption
: 'If I don’t get a catfish soon, I’m going to dump on the deck again!”

Note there were others and some sent multiple caption efforts, cheeky but inventive.

Tightlines, Les.


Sunday 6th January


 Yesterday, Saturday around the 'Needles Light' the drizzle, at around 10 degrees, gave poor visibility at times but on an easy to fish tide and sea, which made for an easy day at anchor. The fishing was OK too. We started with a slack water period where Pout, Whiting and the odd dogfish hit the baited hokkais but as soon as the first Cod of 8lb was aboard they upped their tackle. A small Conger came to the boat too but not quite enough action, except for a huge fish that chewed through a relatively light 50lb trace, so we moved out at half time and during the mid flood. This big fish could easily have been one of those big gut hooked lunker Cod but to find out you have to have at least 130lb traces.

First drop out deeper was another Cod of 12lb after 2 minutes. This was followed by a 4lb Whiting and a 5lb Bass. At that point I thought we were in for a really good end to the day but the fishing went quieter towards the end of the flood, except for a flurry of eight very small Congers, the odd decent Whiting and lots of Pout if hooks were small enough. Best boat report I heard of was Arthur Savage with six Cod, the best going 35lb. While Brian had three Cod on at the same time the best going 17lb. He also caught a 10lb Bass. Skeggsy today, Sunday, on 'Last Laugh' found four Cod with the best weighing 24lb. So a good time to get out there and have a go at them.

Above is Ian with the best Whiting at a tad under 4lb with Steve who accounted for both Cod and also lost the monster fish. Mike had the Bass along with some quality Whiting too.

Tightlines, Les

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