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Thursday 1st January 

 Happy New Year!

We managed to get out twice over the Christmas Holidays. Icy starts but lovely days out in the channel. On Monday the Crookham SAC had their Christmas Comp. Richard won with 21 Whiting accounting for a large part of his score. While Ryan top left caught the best specimen a 5lb Spotted Ray. Conger, Thornback, Spotted Rays, Pout, Dogs, Poor Cod recorded too.

On Tuesday TOFFS limbered up in the cold after I took them to a wreck. Fish remained fairly small with the odd decent Pout and Whiting. We baited the end of the ebb and start of the flood before moving out to four miles where Chris caught this 11lb Thornback and a 10lb Cod. Pat weighed in with a 6lb Hound and 43lb Conger plus a strap that went home for the pot. Great day lads.

You may have noted my website offline for two days. Apologies but it was a DNS lookup error at UK2.net that was fixed quick but needed some admin to finally clear up. All is good now. Thanks for the reports telling me there was a problem. This will be the last post for my 2014 Boat Report. I will start a new page next week.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 21st December


 Yesterday, Saturday, a small crew for Lee Tovell and family caught a couple of plump Codling to 3lb 8oz, a nice 4lb Bass plus Whiting and Pout in a brisk NW4/5. It was cold but bright and slight and very enjoyable down the Western Solent. Lee can be seen top left with his two best fish. While the day before on the same mark the John Wardropper crew caught five Codling plus lots and lots of Whiting and Pout, in exactly the same wind and tide as Saturday. Rich is holding up his two Codling while John shows one of his strings of Whiting. The ebb fished well while the flood, when underway, went quiet. Interestingly not one dogfish was caught over the two days. Well done to Lee Price who braved the Needles yesterday for a 26lb Cod, well deserved on that forecast.


My Monday and Tuesday trips were fantastic this week in slight seas and sunshine plus we caught a few fish.

The Monday trip with Bogdan and mates started just behind the Island but were inundated with dogfish. There were some reasonable Whiting and small Pout but the flood went very quiet except for the dogs, so we moved out to get away from them. It worked, only to fish a 'very quiet' two hours. Baits were chewed and the better Whiting came onto the feed at the end of the flood tide and just before we up anchored.

On Tuesday a quickly rescheduled trip, due to a poor mid/end of week forecast, fished better than the day before at the end of the ebb, first thing. Don caught a Thornback Ray first drop, before the rest of us all had a Conger each. There were some reasonable Whiting and some large Pout came along but the flood was again quiet in the very small neap tide. I managed to tempt a Codling at 4lb in the middle of the flood. No tricks just lots of squid, and changing baits every 10 minutes. I used a 5lb box easy, with no scraps and I think that's still the answer to the Cod dilemma, lot's of bait to beat the small stuff!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


 Sunday 14th December


This is a quick update as we only managed a rescheduled successful Solent Codling test trip on Tuesday and a TOFFS cracking Saturday, yesterday.

Congers, Eels, Straps whatever you like to call them are marauding around the Needles mostly averaging 10lb - 12lb with the odd 'forty pounder' amongst them. We caught around fifteen average Eels yesterday on a lovely day with an easy tide. The trouble with them at this size is that they can simulate a Cod in a small tide or a Bass. It's good sport all the same. Ian hooked and beat the best fish, a nice Undulate Ray, around 17lb. Again the best fish was tricked by a small live bait. No Lunker Cod for us but privateer Steve on 'Agay' fishing close by caught a cracking 24lb and 13lb Cod amongst his share of Eels.

On Tuesday John let me out fish him by four Codling to two! Quality little fat Codling and lovely to eat. We learned how to catch them and proved they were there.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 7th December


Today's trip was postponed until early January due to a Westerly Force 5 to 7, while yesterday, the weather, sea and tide was perfect. Trident SAC had the best forecast for a change and fished hard for an 11lb Thornback Ray for Bob, a good Whiting at 2lb 8oz and a Conger for Chris, plus some big Pout, otherwise the Dogfish were again marauding and blocking off hooks to the better fish. Inside us, two close boats both had Cod of 22lbs, while further East 'Wight Osprey' sent this picture of a 35lb Lunker Cod! Well done to the angler, who's name escapes me but fishes hard with big baits. He fished with me during the recent WWCSA Cod Championship, and dropped a reasonable fish on Day 1.

On Friday a local crew of Individuals suffered quite a few tangles at optimum periods but Len Hopkins beat the best Whiting of 2lb 12oz on his Hokkais, while Lee and Chris Town caught Thornback Rays to 9lb. Otherwise again it was a load of old dogfish. When will Jamie Oliver start coming up with some good recopies for these faithful 'rock salmon'!

Wednesdays trip round the light was postponed to next week but we should have targeted the Western Solent Codling as Dink on 'Due South' caught reasonable numbers of Codling on that day, and the previous day.

On Saturday 27th December you can fish with me on White Maiden at 50pp for the boat space, maximum 7 anglers on my boat, plus 15pp entry to the IOW Winter Species competition. Included species are sizable Cod and Whiting. I will pick up at Lymington Yacht Haven at 0615, with fishing from 0800 to 1500 and weigh-in at Yarmouth. After a beer at the prize giving we should be back at Lymington by 630pm. Minimum Cash prizes will be 1st 300, 2nd 200, 3rd 100 plus a heaviest Cod Bag, then minimum of 150, 100 and 50 for the top three heaviest Whiting.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 1st December


 Some nice days and some wet days but at least we've had a proper go at searching for a lunker Cod. They are there but hard to catch. There are now better Whiting and Congers of all sizes in reasonable numbers but the Cod are not so easy to find. Some real quality Cod occasionally turn up in ones and twos with Tommo's best going 32lb on Saturday and Dave Wilson's Cod of 23lbs on Thursday! So some good ones are around the Needles with smaller ones falling to squid and Black Lug down the Solent, in the daytime

 Yesterday an IOW crew organised by Lee caught Congers, large and small, lots of Whiting, Pout, Dogs and Poor Cod plus a Spotted Ray. The best Conger went 40lb shown by Lee above. Lee's next Conger was another tackle tester around 30lb and many others were biting on rigs around the boat and often taking hooks. Whiting went to about 2lb 4oz and there must have been 20 odd good ones and another 20 on the small side.

 On Saturday the Crookham SAC had a good competition that was won by Paul and although Cod were caught by boats anchored near us, we missed again. Strap Congers, Whiting, Pout and Dogs came to the score sheet throughout the day in the easy tide which made for a tight finish all the way to 'lines-up'.

 On Thursday Adrian and friends started in perfect conditions but finished in pouring rain. Some personal best Congers plus an Undulate Ray along with a couple of nice Whiting were boated. The sea was comfortable and we had an enjoyable day except for a couple of other boats, very happy to report that they both had two Cod 15lbs and 22lbs. It is hit or miss and we missed again!

 On Wednesday I fished on an individuals day to show them how to do it. Well we really struggled with too many marauding dogs. There were a few Pout and an odd Whiting and a Ray too but generally Wednesday was a dogfish day! Why that tide? Who knows? This can be a frustrating job but satisfying when the goods come along. I'm certainly owed a few Cod now so one of my December crews will fill their boots that's for certain!

 Tightlines, Les

Monday 24th November 


    Stuart with 10lb Undulate Ray.         Lepe Friday 9am South Easterly F6.           Ben with 3lb 4oz Whiting.          Sun out just before dusk on Sunday!

On Wednesday evening we returned to the same mark as Tuesday daytime to find lots of Dogs and an Undulate Ray for Stuart at the end of the trip. The lads fished only squid and worm baits for the Cod and the Whiting were not interested. The Whiting are gorging on the Sprats and by the end of the trip we learned that only Mackerel will lure them. Maybe that's what we should have baited with for the Cod too? What a contrast from the day before.

We postponed Friday's trip on the South Easterly 5 to 6 forecast with rain. I could have run a shorter Solent trip but the tide was getting bigger plus a high risk of disappointing a good crew. On Saturday the sea was up first thing and the rain was forecast all day, I was happy to go but it wasn't nice, the vote by the experienced loyal crew was not to go. John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh' netted a 14lb 9oz Bass for one of his crew on Saturday fishing at anchor baiting for Cod. After weighing they released the monster Bass to fight again another day, fantastic!

Yesterday, Sunday, the F5 dropping to F4 was from the North and although rain had been forecast for most of the day, the sea was very comfortable. The lads caught three Spotted Rays the best a tad under 5lb and a couple of better Whiting the best at 3lb 4oz for Ben plus lots of dogs but the Cod didn't come out to play. The lads fished big squid baits getting through 25lb of squid. There was one big fish dropped after a hook slipped but who knows what that was. There were lots of small fish hitting the big baits all day. Towards the end the rain eased off and believe it or not the sun came out for the first time since last Tuesday, just as we were coming down the river at the end.

Oh, and well done to Lee Price and mate who boated three double figure Turbot on the Saturday before last, what a haul! Best Cod this week was caught on Kev Duell's boat 'Voyager' at 27lb on Wednesday. In his words 'it was a bit snotty out there'.

 Tighlines, Les

Wednesday 19th November


Sorry for the late report. I've had lots of trips, most with lots of fish but nothing very special yet. Its been a difficult run for me but that happens and it wont be the last time. Other boats have fared better but last Saturday when I couldn't get out, that was the 'red letter' day. On Sunday the fishing was dire as everyone really struggled. Obviously the fish switched on properly on the Saturday flood for some reason, then rested their full stomachs!

The Lee Frampton crew caught a few fish on Sunday, but it was hard for the experienced crew. We caught a couple of Congers and Rays plus two Hounds the best for John at 13lb and late leaver for mid November. The sea is still at 12.8 degrees C. A point of interest was a Porpoise sighting by my crew, plus the odd Turbot, Ling, Pollock and Spurr Dog caught on other boats over the weekend.

On Monday the Owen Lightfoot crew found a couple of proper Whiting up around the 2.5lb mark plus lots small Whiting and Pout plus a Ray but still the bigger fish were scarce. A squid grabbed one bait but fell through the net to escape! The morning was horrible and not anticipated but the lads did well to record their lots of small fish catch.

While yesterday the Solent fished really well with a 7lb Cod for John, five Rays and lots and lots of Whiting and Pout and Dogs shared between the rest. They left me 6lb of Pout and Whiting fillets. It was certainly nice to have a warm sunny day and no rain for a change. We had a medical incident but I'm pleased to report that only 18 minutes expired between the fella becoming ill and a paramedic seeing him on the Cowes Royal Yacht Club pontoon. We even beat the lifeboat to the pontoon! I'm more pleased to report that the fella is fine and him and his mate got back from the Island late last night. Also as a point of interest, when you press the distress button make sure the VHF Radio is set to High Power! I left it for 30 seconds before using Ch16 and standard operating procedure.

Last week the Lowrance British Cod Championships was fished in some horrible weather! But the Western Solent was perfect. The saving grace in the Force 7 near gale was that the wind stayed in the South giving us a very comfortable competition and seventy one Cod.

1000 Best Cod Day 1 - Archie Andrews with a 25lb 8oz Cod caught on 'Last Laugh', Skipper John Skeggs.
1000 Best Cod Day 2 - Gavin Jackson with a 19lb 4oz Cod caught on 'Challenge
r', Skipper Mick Cottingham.
1000 most Cod overall - Jeffrey Bond with 6 Cod weighing 17lb 10oz on 'Phosphorous', Skipper Rob Thompson
2nd - Clive Web 5 Cod (21lb 8oz) 3rd Glenn Tomms, 5 Cod, 4th Mike Teague, 4 Cod.

On a personal note we dropped a couple on day 1 and on day 2 one smashed up a wound down clutch. It wasn't our time. There were plenty of small Codling in the Mid Solent area stuffed with sprats. Note on Day 1, the 12 Charter boats looking after about 100 anglers caught 23 Cod, on day 2 there were about 48 Cod caught. Note that Codling were counted as Cod for this event. On that note what is the definition of a Codling? Is it a Cod smaller than 5, 6 or 7lb? If that is the case what size are Basslings or Raylings or Houndlings . Looking forward to next year :-).....

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 9th November

 Not much to show you this week but have some reports. On Wednesday after my teeth had been drilled and repaired a late start for five individuals meant we had the best of the tide on the best forecast of the week, in my opinion. It was lovely out there but there were a lot of other boats, which is unusual for midweek. I think Cod fever is setting in. Anyway Barry had the best Whiting at 2lb, Paul lost a Lobster at the net and Roger caught the biggest fish in the shape of a strap 5lb Conger. Otherwise it was Pout some large and a few dogs. Most other boats registered one or two Cod that were caught at the start of the ebb, which is the part of the tide we missed!

Sunday was blown off but my Tuesday evening trip was plagued by Dogs down the Solent with Guy and John. Guy had the best fish of the evening a Spotted Ray. The sea was flat the moon was bright, the chill was more normal for November but the squid came back warmer than when we put them in! A colleague who put a short session in found 2 Cod and another at the start of his evening trip all about 7lb. Arthur Savage reported a nice fish of 27lb caught last Saturday. Fred on his very nice Rodman caught a 22lb'er near us but earlier on Wednesday, so there should be some prize earning Cod around for this weeks Cod Championships wherever we end up fishing it!

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 2nd November 

Saturday's Paul Baker crew tested the Solent as we had 24 knots of wind for most of the day from the West on the flooding tide. We had some nice sunshine and warm conditions for November but we struggled to find the fish with just a couple of Dogs and Pout playing along. A Merryfisher mate nearby had Cod of 10lb and 5lb plus a 2lb Codling and a couple of small Bass, while others blanked! Funny old game but the trend of this week was a very quiet flood tide. That will change no doubt but that's what happened.
On Friday the Paul Butson crew started with a bang when Paul caught and released this well presented 35lb Conger. There were lots of small Whiting a few Pout, Poor Cod and Dogs plus a specimen 4lb 12oz Spotted Ray but as the sea built up from the South East we went back inside to get one fella back on his feet again. We went to the most productive mark of Tuesday but only found a couple of Hounds. They created some rod action but as I said it was a bit quiet in the outstanding weather.

An Individuals crew on Tuesday suffered from the sloppy sea from the offset but found some nice fish both outside the Needles Lighthouse and tucked up nicely inside. Wee Man caught this lovely Bull Huss at 11lb plus there was the odd Conger and Dog. As the sea built up and a second man struggled we went back inside to get them up and fishing again to find the best Cod so far at 17lb for Luke, a 5lb Hound, a nice Undulate Ray of 12lb for Geoff and another Undulate for Roy plus a specimen 4lb 8oz Spotted Ray for Luke.


John Wardropper's crew fished hard to develop a species list throughout the day in the Solent. The first on was the reliable dogfish but the list also included a Whiting, a number of Pout and Dogs, a small Smoothound for Helen and a Codling for Mike near to the end. I was hard pressed to resolve the best fish award but Helen's unseasonable Hound was the winner. John bagged the first fish and shared most fish with Kat. It was a lovely day of wall to wall sunshine the first of four great crews to fish with me during the week.

For those thinking about the Cod Championships this year just do it. There are only about 60 anglers booked on and they are fishing for three 1000 prizes. If you don't, I might be able to!

 Click on the West Wight Charter Skippers picture to find the details.

               Tightlines, Les

Sunday 26th October 


An early start for TOFFS on Monday found us at East Lepe for a 12lb Conger but fishing was quiet up to the top of the tide. So we moved to a deep mark near West Ryde Middle, to fish the ebb only to find it just as quiet with a dogfish, Pout and Whiting making a show. Birds were feeding and the sonar showed what looks like lots of sprats. The Wednesday trip for TOFFS was good enough to get round the Needles Light which was contrary to the forecast. Anyway as the crew were down on holiday then a cancellation was turned around and we went out. No Cod but a 40lb Conger for Bryn plus a couple more smaller eels and a few Whiting, Dogs and Pout but it was still fairly quiet.

On Saturday the Graham Trood gang on their first ever boat trip was on a day where more wind was around than expected but fished OK. Jason or Neville, not sure now boated a double figure Bull Huss, at 10lb on the nose, Graham a Conger weighed at 25lb, plus others tipped in with a few more Congers plus Whiting and Pout to the Hokkais. Dogs and a Poor Cod was caught but no Cod for us. There were a few 20lb Tope boated. Other skippers nearby found a double figure Cod, others none. One boat had three.

Click here for the German Wetterzentral Weather website for the 10m above sea level wind chart forecasts: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten/fsavneur.html

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 19th October 

Not much to report this week. We did get out on Tuesday evening and moved around the Western Solent for a Spotted Ray, two Hounds, a few Dogs, a Whiting and a Conger about 18lb. A boat on the mainland side off Sowley had Cod of 15lb, 6lb, 5lb and 2.5lb plus two Bass. Single squid long flowing trace and big hooks to avoid the dogs was the method. All four Cod went to one of the two anglers and as sometimes happens all to the guest angler. Another boat had one of 11lb, so we missed.

My birthday this week was reserved for a day off. I was assuming a busy week and that I would be out on the other days that were eventually cancelled. So I nipped out to test a couple of changes to the boat and while out there I experimented with a few rigs! Well there were no Cod but it was very comfy on the small flood tide. My single crew was very demanding though as you can see. After a Spotted Ray, 5 Dogs and 3 Hounds it was time to go.

On Saturday again it was forecast wet and windy and a regular crew didn't fancy the Solent in that forecast so a few other boat owners tapped me up for a short session. I couldn't resist another fish so another quick test trip found another Spotted Ray, plus Dogs, Hounds and a Pout but no Cod. Therefore due to the lack of fish on the small tide I cancelled today's trip in the South Westerly 6 forecast.

Tomorrow we will try Ryde Middle, then batten down the hatches for Tuesdays Gales.

Tightlines, Les


Sunday 12th October

We got out today but only just, as the Coastguard informed us of a gale warning followed by a 'securite' again twenty minutes later that warned of a Force 9 soon in Wight and Porrtland. Well the guys preferred to return and pay for a shortened day rather than wait to see what happened.

Before we up-anchored John lost a couple of reasonable looking fish at the bite before boating this Conger of 22lb. Along with a few Dogfish, the tide was ramping and some were not prepared for the bigger tide. A private boat, met back at the pontoon, that was fishing on our stern caught two Cod at 10lb and 6lb, three Congers and a Thornback Ray in the same short time. So I am looking forward to some settled weather now.

The rest of the week I was down in Padstow where the boats remained on their moorings. So no holiday fishing for me this time. I have just published my 2015 boat diary so its first there first served. All diary pages can be found from all diary pages.


 Tightlines, Les

Sunday 5th October

These inshore open ground Eels keep getting bigger! The early Whiting are small but they are now definitely in and the Mackerel and Scad have all but gone. Some Bream are finding it hard to swim South for some reason probably because of the the water temperature being high still. Cod are being caught with the odd large fish between 15lb and 20lb, more around 7lb and some Codling at 2lb.

On Monday the Stuart Young crew of Fireman bagged the biggest inshore Conger so far for Stuart at 47lb plus a nice 6lb Bass for Colin at the first mark. Our second mark produced four Small Eyed Rays, the best for Mark, plus a small Bass. The third a couple of small Congers, before heading back to our original mark where the Whiting went mad. So a good day on a nice sea.

Monday evening down the Solent found six species in a shortened trip due to a persistent Westerly that remained 17knts into the dark but the Bream, Spotted Ray, Hounds, Bass, Dogs and Pout made for a good little short trip.

Thursdays individuals trip of 4 anglers was flat calm and belonged to July, not October! It was a stunning day. The fishing went quiet though with a few small Congers, Pout, a nice Hound, plus lots of Whiting and Dogs.


Due to the fish chasing the day before, on the Friday the Individuals trip of six anglers was more relaxing, fishing the same mark all day. The guys fished well for loads of Whiting and Pout plus the inevitable Dogs. They also had a few Hounds plus a small Conger, and two very nice Undulate Rays. The biggest at 14lb fell to Tony's rod (left) with the 12lb'er falling to Sharky. These Rays seem to stay in pairs, its nice they are protected and nice to see so many quality Rays returned now. The private boat anchored alongside us netted a cracking Cod that looked to be in the twenties while a 14lb'er was apprehended on Ray Pitts, 'Sunrise'.

This is a good time of year for inshore fishing in the Needles and Solent area, boat and beach, so when the weather permits get out there! Note the British Cod Championships this year are on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th November.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 29th September

What a lovely week for September, very warm and hardly any wind. On Sunday the Dave Extance crew 'new boy' Darryl played out two big Eels in succession within fifteen minutes of each other. The best at 37lb was followed by another just a bit smaller. Five smaller Eels made up the catch along with a Thornback Ray for Clive and some Whiting for Ian plus a few Pout and Dogs . Darryl is holding up the best Conger on the left. 

On Saturday TOFFS started well with a big Eel of 38lb for Bryn, held up by myself and a nice 17lb Undulate Ray for Chris. We then moved around a lot for a few Pout, more Eels and a Thornback. A real big fish wouldn't let go of a big Pout until just below the surface, leaving an 18cm semi circular bite mark, probably another stonking Eel.














The Thursday evening trip with Charles and friends was almost the same forecast as the perfect evening that we had the day before but turned out to blow 20 knots all night from the West. This forced us into an agreed and slightly early finish but there were still some fish to be caught along with very little weed. Aaron on the left caught the biggest Hound out of about five plus Bream, Dogs and Pout.


Wednesday evening was lovely down the Solent with the Pat and Bob local crew. This was one of the best Solent catches we have had with two nice Undulates both at 13lb, a Spotted Ray, three Bass to 5lb, five Hounds, Bream, Pout, a Codling, plus plenty of Dogfish. We were anchored in just 28' of water to avoid some of the tide. It was equally amazing to fish an 80% Spring tide with hardly any weed in it, for this time of year. Below is Bob and Pat showing off the best fish. The only fish kept for the pot were the two small Bass, the Pout and a Codling. The rest were all released.












The Tuesday Individuals day time trip last week saw the first of some big inshore Eels not far from the Light. Mike Callus above left holds up his biggest Conger at 40lb. Centre is Dan with a nice Hound and Ian on the right with a Tope. Other Congers were caught along with more Tope, the odd Whiting, Pout and Dogs.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 22nd September 

 On return from our holiday the all important test on White Maiden was to run the engines but as I approached her I thought she looked dirty and later learnt that while ashore an old trawler chocked up alongside had been rubbed down and welded. My nice white boat was covered in tiny rust specs and lots of dust but after a quick and successful engine test and a good scrub and wash down I was reasonably happy with all the work. We were up and running with a nice clean anti-fouled hull. This made the week a lot more enjoyable at full speed and cutting travel time. We have also resolved my intermittent overheat alarm, ye ha!

  Yesterday the Lee Frampton crew of experienced anglers had a breezy 18 knots from the NE, beam on all day. I picked up the Island crew from Yarmouth and fished a deep inshore mark towards Chale for Pout, Dogs and a couple of Bull Huss and Mackerel. We moved out to the banks and found a Ray and a Conger plus a few Bass to 5lb. The biggest Rays came in the middle of the tide and were too big to get to the boat. After a lot of hard work they managed to loose the hooks and win the battle. John on the right caught this Tope which put up a fair scrap estimated at around 22lb. 

On Saturday we fished the same mark for most of the day as the wind and tide was much easier. The Trident SAC did well with six Blondes to 18lb and four Small Eyed Rays to 6lb plus a Bass, Conger, Whiting Scad, Mackerel and Dogs. It was a fantastic day weather wise and made a very nice change getting out onto the more distant banks.

David right holds up the best Blonde, while Bob and Steve are showing below.

There have been a couple of good looking birds on the boat this week. Sorry Kat! This beautiful looking bird I can show you in detail. I think it is a little Siskin and it stayed with us resting for about half an hour, flitting from rod to net to arial. I guess it was building up the courage to either fly back to the Island or risk going over to France. Lost in the fog maybe?



On Friday although we started with thunder crashing around just North of us and a foggy vista we had a lovely day. Along with a small tide and a flat calm sea it was too hot to wear a shirt at times. Amazing for late September!

Pete on the far left caught a well marked near specimen Spotted Ray and fished well for some pan sized Whiting. John added a couple of Congers while the pin Whiting and Scad came easily to the baited feathers plus a few Mackerel. Kat fished well and sent me the 'Bucket of Whiting' photo. We moved out to a bank in the afternoon to find a couple of Blonde Rays and briefly drifted a wreck for some large Pout.

On Wednesday evening Alan Headley and refinery colleagues fished the Solent deep at first and found the Bream on the feed plus a 6lb Hound, lots of Dogs and a Bass before going shallow for a Sole. There were no Soles this time but some some small Bass, Dogs, Silver Eel and small Hounds kept the interest there until we ran out of worm bait.

Tuesday was our first day back from holiday and the morning trip was a short five hour session with Marcus and friends. The local inter pub worker rivalry was fierce with Whiting, Mackerel, Scad and a nice Conger making it a good competition just round the Light. Marcus from the Oak at Bank caught the Conger on the left just before the sea got up a bit too much for the lads so we went back into the Solent for a peaceful end to the trip.

As soon as we got back it was straight out again but this time down the Solent with Pete and Devizes friends. The fishing was better in the Solent with twenty plus Bream to 2lb plus Hounds and Dogs. Keeping the guys busy into the dark.

No Cod for me this week but we did try and on the Friday a mark we had baited up with squid in the morning fished for Alan on Hermit and he bagged a Cod in the afternoon.

Lets hope for a good Cod season this year. I intend to look for Cod, Bass and Bream again in the evening this week down the Solent, fingers crossed.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 15th September

Tavira, Portugal, a brief story about my three hours fishing for 50 Euros (including a 5 Euro license). There was just two Portuguese holiday makers and myself on this very adequate Sports Fishing 'Luhrs'. She's a nice 17 year old American Boat with twin GM 275Hp engines. What an overkill, as we fished an inshore reef with hardly any tide. We caught two small Bream, two Orange Scorpion Fish, two Orange Wrasse a huge Spanish Mackerel and an Octopus. The cost of Sharking is 55 Euros while chasing the Marlin is 250 Euros. Maybe next year, as this year Antonio couldn't get the anglers when I was there. This Saturday morning short trip was all I could get on. Below left is a hard to handle Octopus and a poisonous Scorpion Fish. Antonio and Marta can be contacted on +351 961 304 826 or http://ocean4you.net

This was an expensive week for me as while I was away I took advantage of the boat time to get my Yamahas serviced and White Maiden anti-fouled. She's now all good to go again. While away I received excellent reports of the Bass on the bigger tides last week but live baits still hard to get.

Tightlines, Les















Sunday 7th September 










 Last week was lovely, with a few fish caught in warm weather and flat calm seas making for a nice change. On Tuesday I teamed up with 'Voyager' and Kevin Duell for a big fish four hour competition with ATR Winchester. Neal above caught a nice Thornback but not heavy enough to beat Voyager's best Conger of 51lb. Our best Conger of four boated looked like it could have been a challenging size but broke free, half way up! In the evening the Guy Strange crew had lovely weather for a few Bream, four Small Eyed Rays, a couple of Tub Gurnards and a lot of Dogfish just off Milford.
Friday's four hour trip was in a flat calm and a bit spooky to be honest. The guys caught two nice Rays, six Whiting, Scad and Mackerel for a reasonable two hours fishing, just off the Light.

Saturday was a perfect weather day that made fishing really hard work around Freshwater Reef, and not just for us. The Bish crew from Northwood London eventually caught a few fish with eight species for the day that included three Spotted Rays, two decent Bream to 2lb 8oz, two Tope and a Bass plus Dogs, Scad, Pout and Mackerel. Most fish came in the last 90 minutes and at the start of the flood.


Picture of the week, in my opinion, is of this huge and fantastically coloured Barrel Jellyfish that got confused with directions after I gently spun it around a bit while pulling up the anchor on Saturday. This is a really big Jellyfish about the size of a dust bin. Note that my gunwale is two meters from the sea.

I have a week out of the water next week with a boat lift, scrub and anti-foul plus engine services. Expensive but necessary. As I often remind my crews our job is to get you out there and back again safely AND find the fish.

Tight lines,






Sunday 1st September






Yesterday (Sunday) the Darren Shawyer crew fished for Mackerel as the Cowes Torquay Power Boat Classic raced by just 50 meters away. After that we found the fish shy but ended the day with three Small Eyed Rays, plus a 6lb 12oz Thornback, the days heaviest fish for John, plus Dogs a few Bream, two Tub Gurnards, Scad and Mackerel. Darren is shown with his 5lb Small Eyed Ray. Pete lost a better Small Eyed on the surface while waiting for the net, after biting through a Bream rig. Others struggled in a similar ways while some nice Bass were reported from two boats.

Saturday was a bit too breezy from the South West with a big tide to tackle the Solent in August for a full day, so unfortunately Tridents SAC trip was cancelled along with most if not all of my colleagues.

On Thursday we fished the Solent on a six hour trip for some decent Bream and a 2.5lb Bass on a live joey over the top of the tide and at anchor with a brisk F6 Westerly picking up as the tide turned. With wind over tide we chased Bass on the drift with live baits for no luck, and part of the reason to cancel Saturdays trip.

Today, (Monday) is perfect but my crew couldn't make it down from London, one of those things so looking forward to continued settled weather for the rest of this week.

Next month there are still individual spaces on 19th and 23rd September with a full boat charter available on 30th September.

 Tight lines, Les

Sunday 24th August


Some nice fishing this week with various crews that ranged from a short family charter to a short individuals trip, to a small group evening charter, a Mackerel trip plus two all day club charters. Each have there own challenges to find fish in the time available and the ability, tide and weather variables given. Some just go to plan, while others turn into proper fish chasing charters. We found the fish, sometimes eventually, on all this weeks trips.

On Tuesday the fishing was red hot. Three small groups made up a four hour individuals trip.  They caught two cracking Undulate Rays in just 48' of water. James left had the best at 17lb while Mark the first at 13lb, both protected and returned. Other species caught were lots of Bream plus Mackerel, Tub Gurnards, Smoothounds, a Spotted Ray and Scad, on the return trip we had strings of Mackerel.

The Tuesday evening trip hit the Mackerel first for bait, caught Thornback and Spotted Rays, Smoothounds, Bream and Dogs over slack water and a couple of Bass on the drift at the end. This was the end of a perfect day of weather with fish feeding everywhere. Pete the Rat top left caught the best Hound at 14lb and Bass at 3.5lb.

On Wednesday Jake, top right, and his family fished the same mark and tide as the day before. We caught Bream eventually, a small Smoothound, a Small Eyed Ray and a Mackerel, an amazing difference between the two days. The evening Mackerel trip for Chas and his 'ladies' saw over 200 Mackerel caught with 170 (counted) and now in my freezer, bagged up for the winter!

On Friday the Keith Peto crew let me chase the fish for them, around the Solent, with a brisk Westerly F5/6 keeping us 'inside'. We bagged up on the Mackerel and then found a Small Hound a Dog and a Scad on one mark and a lone Bream, on another mark, at anchor in the morning. We moved to find a single Bass on the drift, before testing the North side of the Western Solent. Here they bagged up on 17 keeper Bream and a 3lb Bass and returned 20 Bream. Top centre is Peter and Tony with their Solent Bass.

Saturday was a better forecast for my regular TOFFs crew and allowed us to travel further. On a bit of rough ground we found some big Pout and a lone Tope out deep. Then drifting for a Bass we failed but tried hard and lost a good one of about 4lb that slipped the hook at the net. We came back down the Solent on the brisk Westerly to catch enough Bream at the end, to make up a good bag of big Pout, Bream and Mackerel for the pot.

Got a few days off now so Happy Bank Holiday.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 17th August

Most trips were cancelled this week due to gales and strong South Westerly winds but we did get out a few times, for short sessions. Yesterday the Emily Boyce crew had a three hour afternoon trip that coincided with a Westerly that peaked thirty knots on top of the tide, as we cast the first lines, not ideal. After a boat ride and a practice at fishing that was pretty much it with just a Dogfish to show for all their efforts after the trip ended early.

On Saturday morning an early start for the Zoe and Sam Tillotson family crew found flat calm seas and warm sunshine. The fishing was good too with plenty of Dogfish, a Spotted Ray and a new born Hound creating most of the rood bending action but the best specimen was the lovely marked Undulate Ray that weighed 12.5lb, caught by Zoe and Sam, left. A short move found some Bream feeding, enough for tea. Edward, Samantha and Jake show some of their catches below and right.

 On Friday the Claire/Tom and Sarah/Lily teams fished for three hours to catch their first Black Bream, a Spotted Ray, a new born Hound and some Dogfish. The successful short session, through the flood tide and shallow in the Solent, gave them some good photos of their nippers with fish. A good reminder of their New Forest staycation. Again, surprisingly there was very little weed.

Tighlines, Les

Sunday 10th August
A quick summary is as follows; 'plenty of Bream and lots of pack Tope when you find them' but generally if you target other species then it has gone a bit quiet inshore. Or 'hard' depending on your interpretation of a 'relaxed boat fishing trip'!

On Friday the Kevin Murphy crew did well on the Bream until the heavy rain hit us. Keeping dry was then more important, which gave the Bream a chance! They still caught thirty keepers. Sorry no pictures as I forgot and it rained until the end of the trip.

On Thursday evening Guy and John searched for a Bass off Freshwater to find no fish wanting a live Scad, frozen Sandeel or lively king rag worm. The firework display combined with a cracking evening and sunset plus a couple of Wrasse and Pout drifting Alum Bay made up for it. Well nearly!

During the day on Thursday both 'Hermit of Hythe' and myself looked after Grant Thornton Accountants for a friendly boat fishing competition with weather and tide perfect. The first half found a dozen or so keeper Bream, a Bass and a Dogfish before heading South for a 10lb Thornback Ray for Nick shown on the left. It was a really nice day although a bit quiet out deep with just another Tope of 8lb and a handful of Dogfish but the guys fished well to make 'White Maiden' top boat, ye ha!

On Wednesday a young family crew, above, found a few Bream and a lively Smoothound off Sowley before we were aimed at by a fleet of racing yachts. One took a rod from the stern, although saved, it shows how close they came to us. Then following lots of shouting and arm waving I just managed to push two others wide of our anchor, rope off our bow. I sail myself and I know that sailing so close to other anchored boats 'day shaped at anchor' and 'obviously fishing' is not necessary, particularly on a very long tack. Still there will always be a minority that don't really understand what risks they put on their crews and others. We call them WAFI's, Wind Assisted Flipping Idiots or something like that!

On Monday the Phil Kent crew from Oxford had an easy tide with some decent weather to tackle a morning Tope/Conger session, before heading back inshore for a go at the Bream. We motored four miles South West of the Light and after catching a few Mackerel we anchored the end of the ebb tide. The lads proceeded to catch seventeen Tope all between 7lb and 10lb plus a Conger about 20lb and a smaller one. After that we headed back into Christchurch Bay for 20+ Black Bream to 2lb. Surprisingly we had another five Tope too, in just 40' of water. Nothing special but plenty of action before heading home with the tide. A good day out and the most successful fishing of the week, so well done lads.

Tightlines, Les


Sunday 3rd August 

Well after all the recent great weather, this weekend we had wind and rain although still not too bad for a UK summer, the morning wind over tide forced two cancellations. The fishing has gone a bit harder too this week with Mackerel really hard to find, unless you know where. Unfortunately for the dinghy boys I'm having to go off a few miles to guarantee them and even then they still take some effort.

On Wednesday the RMT Graham Knott guys had a good start weather wise before being forced down the Solent by a brisk South Westerly that reached 'a six' with the sea breeze on top of it. Outside we caught enough Mackerel out past 3 miles before coming back into a reef for a nice Undulate Ray at 16lb for Andy and a Tope for Paul. Dogfish starred as always. Then we nipped out to a rough patch were Congers and Pout were the main stay. The biggest fish suspected to be a Conger was far too big to get to the boat and although Andy fought well with some assistance the biggun finally bit through.

Back inside at Totland on the drift for the last hour we failed to connect with anything and the Solent colouration was again that of dirty water.


On Tuesday Stuart and Eve had the boat to themselves. After a load of Bream, mainly 1lb 4oz (the last two weighed exactly 2lb), we moved out deeper and struggled to find a dogfish at first. The Undulate Ray came right at the end of the tide to Andy's rod and a Mackerel strip. The nice Ray weighed over 12lb. She was returned of course to fight again. While Eve lost a Tope it was fairly quiet except for the odd Scad. After slack water and after Stuarts famous words 'I'm surprised we haven't had a dogfish yet!' you guessed it, we caught about fifteen of them and nothing else!

Apologies again to those that missed out this weekend but I have certain limits and when they say Moderate to Rough and that's where I want to go, that's certainly enough for me to cancel.

Tightlines, Les


Sunday 27th July


Yesterday Crookham SAC wanted to target Bass and so my inshore Bass circuit took us over a few Banks where two of them held fish with two Bass on each plus a Brill. The day was an official 'hard' days fishing, as other skippers reports were a lot worse than ours. When anchored deep over slack water the lads caught four Tope, another Undulate Ray, Dogs, Pout and Poor Cod. We found about 12 Mackerel which I think was why in the end we did 'OK', on a hard day. Organiser Keith who caught most of the Mackerel early on won their comp with a Bass and three Tope, which was fair. It doesn't always work out that way.

Another business lesson this weekend. I must be more vigilant with admin after I couldn't confirm today's trip with a group of three booked in on a rare Sunday individuals trip. So with the lack of communications and only three people confirmed by 7pm yesterday, I got an unintended Sunday off.
This is the start of the school holidays and the weather has been too hot even on the sea, along with no wind and no cloud cover at all. Very unusual for this part of the world but sufferable, just.

The fishing was hard on Friday with the fishing 'very slow' for a family trip down the Solent. A Smoothound fell for a peeler crab to Hectors rod and reeled in by Jack on the left. A few Bream were interested in the baits and two were caught but the fish were shy.

While William and Edward on the right show some Bream and Mackerel caught on a three hour trip on Wednesday, when fishing was a bit easier out in Christchurch Bay.

Tuesday evening saw a sortie out deep for the Devizes crew on a flat calm. We targeted Congers and Tope. No big ones but we had enough action with seven Tope and three Congers mostly in the 8 - 10lb bracket plus Pout and Mackerel.


 On Monday a crew of Tree Surgeons from Oxford organised by Greg brought along their local bar man George for his first ever fishing trip. Big Andy hooked a good Ray early on and handed the rod to George, both shown left. Well you guessed it after the first 16lb Undulate Ray, a 22lb Blonde Ray and another nice Undulate plus the biggest Tope that well known saying 'Beginners Luck', rang true once again for George.

The other lads also had a few more Blondes 14lb, 9lb and 6lb plus a Thornback Ray and six or so Tope to 18lb. While on the drift a nice Bream and a Tub Gurnard made for a very pleasant day out.

These Undulate Rays are now common. It shows what happens when we protect a species by catch and release, they flourish.

A thrashing Tope, banging around on the deck, while I was on the toilet, caused a bit of an emergency. I came back on deck to find a Tope being wrestled by Andy and a 6/0 hook stuck deep into in his calf!  Andy has served in Afgan and performed first aid 'in the field' and luckily for us he pulled the hook out himself, without any blood. While later in the week I too managed to get a Mackerel hook embedded deep alongside a finger nail! It hurt so much to touch it I had to get on with the extraction myself and luckily removed it first go. I made a full recovery thanks to a few big applications of antiseptic cream in a poultice.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 20th July
The weather has been great over the last week and the recent set of huge tides however the 'springers' have stirred up all the silt again, displaced by the winter storms, making the sea very discoloured at times. However the fishing has been good in the main. Yesterday's trip with Trident SAC found not one single Mackerel out between 3 and 6 miles! But Roy caught this cracking 11lb Bass on a Scad fillet! There's a first. We caught Hounds, Tope and Dogs over slack water and a Thornback but a drift over a wreck produced nothing at all! Still it was a lovely day with a great Bass and fantastic weather and flat sea.


Simon Fee took Dad Peter and Brothers Kirk and Jono for a day's fishing. The lads happened to be professional acrobats and did very well on the Bream, on the Friday following a Wednesday evening where the sea was the colour of tea and the Bream never showed up!

Bream were caught to mainly squid and the best falling to Simon at 2lb 4oz. But the fresh Macky made the difference. A Tope and a Small Eyed Ray also made up the catch. After a bit of drizzle and a wind over tide start, the day finished hot and flat, ideal!

The Pat and Bob evening trip, less Bob, had the rub where the sea in Christchurch bay was that horrible sandy colour and the fishing was affected by it, without doubt. The worms and squid never worked for them but a move closer to shore found this cracking Undulate at 12lb for Paul as the sun was setting. A Bass was caught by Pat in the last ten minutes but the Bream never came out to play.

 Lee Tovell and friend's annual boat competition, fishing for THE 'Roger the Garden Gnome' trophy went ahead as planned although the sea got up a bit again towards the end of the day, it didn't upset the diary.

The trophy is awarded annually following their trips that started with Roger Bayzand, thirty years ago, then continued with Vernon Everett more recently, and now myself. By the way, Vernon is coping well, he say's, with his ongoing treatment and fight against bone cancer that originally gave him a bad back! Meantime the guys below caught plenty of Bream, for the pan, a couple of Plaice and couple of Spotted Rays that won the prize for the biggest fish, it was one of those days again! John below show's his Ray and 'Roger' the trophy.                       






Owen Lightfoot and family did well on the Bream on Monday and added some Mackerel while fishing at anchor. No pictures of this trip as the fish were all much of a muchness but ideal for the pot. The flood was fantastic with great weather and fishing, however we were forced back to Yarmouth by a strong breeze from the West against a big ebbing tide, for the last hour. It was hard to hold bottom in the 130% spring tide but it was comfortable and a great place to clean the Bream. It is handy to have a top fish Chef aboard! Well fished lads.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 13th July


Lots of fish this week with Bream, Rays, Hounds and a few Bass too. On Tuesday Evening, after a 'no show' and 'no apology' by a half day group, we had a session on the Bass. The Devizes crew of three managed three Bass with the best lost near the boat. The bait fish were hard to find and the lightning and hale made for an interesting trip but the evening ended lovely and the rain stayed away and out in the Channel. Wednesdays evening trip with a local crew was rounded off with a nice 12lb Thornback Ray for Lee, top left. The evening was great with lots of Bream, a few Rays plus Smoothounds putting up a better fight for the crew of young sparks from the local Refinery. On Thursday a Mackerel trip for Chas went OK considering how hard they have been to find recently with nine Mackerel and four Scad showing up for us on a lovely evening again. The Ladies showed the Guys how to catch them! More Mackerel would be good but they are a proper challenge this year.

On Saturday the TOFFS crew found another 11 species with a couple of nice Bass for Chris, top centre. He is holding up his best Bass at 6lb 4oz caught on a whole squid set up at the start of the ebb. Today's trip still included a Bass but Gary proves that a White Maiden Christmas Voucher can be turned into a decent fish. Gary booked onto today's individuals trip for a good 2lb 12oz Bream and the best Black Bream of the week.

Just a few spaces left this month now and note the next full day that I am available is towards the end of August, with demand high in recent weeks.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 6th July

This week has seen a lot of fish close to the shoreline. We found them at the end of Tuesdays trip and the mark fished well through the week until we tested the North shore of the Island yesterday and that fished well too. There was no weed on the flood tide either. The only sortie deep yesterday morning proved the Bream are moving closer in now. There are loads of pack Tope out past a few miles off.

Below is the Polish Londoners crew organised by Bogdan, that fished with me yesterday, Sunday. Ben holds up a typical Tope while Patrick on the right shows off the biggest Red Gurnard I think I have seen at 1lb 3oz. In the middle is Bogdan with a 13lb Undulate caught close the Island after we moved back inside the Solent. There were small Bream, Dogs and a Conger plus a Hound and a Spotted Ray, for eleven species. Mackerel are scarce still out deep.


Saturdays trip was cancelled due to the Force 6 SW wind against tide with rain forecast. While Fridays trip was fun after we hit the same spot as the Wednesday evening for Hounds and Bream plus loads of Scad. Dogs and Rays too. Again Mackerel were under the boat. The weed then became too annoying so we went on the drift for a Plaice to find 4 Bass to 3lb in the last hour.

Below is the Richard Nunn family crew that came along on Wednesday evening and we had a cracking trip with the weed a little annoying but fished through by the majority beginner crew. Richard caught the Thornback Ray of 9lbs and his Brother a nice 4lb 8oz Bass on a Mackerel head, while all caught Hounds typical of that held up by Emma on the left. Tabby on the right is holding her Undulate Ray. Bream made up for a good catch. Mackerel could be caught under the boat. What a lovely evening.


Last Tuesdays Individuals trip saw Mark catch a nice 11lb Undulate Ray on the first drop only for the fishing to go off a bit. After that with the fresh Easterly blowing the boat about on the flooding tide a few fish chased the baits and even the sea anchor didn't help much. So we chased the fish around until we got closer to the shore when activity picked up and the fishing became much more interesting with Hounds coming to the boat regularly.

Not big in the main but Kev's at about 9lb on the left was the best.

Bream for the pot and Mackerel under the boat at anchor meant we had to test this one a gain on the next trip.

Getting out more regular seems to have upped my catch rate as I am keeping in touch with the fishing much better than when I was part time.

I have two dates left in July now and some choice in August so if you are thinking of coming along with me, please take a look ASAP, particularly those holding vouchers still.

Tightlines Les

Sunday 29th June

Please note - I have spaces tomorrow, Tuesday, at 50pp fishing the Bay for mixed species including Hounds, Bream and Tope, then a shorter trip targeting the same on Friday at 39pp.

The Sunday Hopp Inn charter started at the same mark as the Saturday trip in the Bay but the water was very patchy and coloured. Probably due to the heavy rain over night. We struggled to find the Mackerel but soon had seven species off the bottom. A Conger, a couple of Hounds, a Ballan Wrasse, Pout, Bream, a few Mackerel a big Scad etc but it was slow, so we moved out.

Once further off the sea cleared again and we found a few Pollock and some nice Black Bream up to 2lb 6oz at anchor. Three Congers messed up their Bream gear but they were all brought to the boat well.

On the left is George with a nice 10lb 8oz Pollock, this was the best fish and took the money.

On Saturday Trident SAC found fish activity immediately in the Bay with ten species recorded by the end of the trip with forty Bream, seven Tope, Ballan Wrasse, Red and Tub Gurnard, Pout and Dogs, Scad and Mackerel all making for a very busy flooding tide. Bob is showing the always remarkably marked Tub Gurnard.

The Friday started even more bouncy but settled before a fresh breeze meant the pub was the best place to be in the afternoon. Our morning Bass fishing found two Bass both returned after falling to live mackerel. It was finding live mackerel again that was the initial challenge again.

 The dive boats are complaining about poor visibility too. I personally think that the dredgers that are making Southampton Water deeper for the pending super tankers are causing this problem for us.


The week continued well with a small TOFFS crew chasing Bass and the catch was reasonable with a couple returned. The live bait was still the biggest problem but when they were on the hook well they caught well.

The best Bass at about 4lb 8oz fell to Iain's live Mackerel. We moved to anchor for some Bream and lost my anchor in a load of lost pots or a cable but that happens.

Its nice to see the Bass now making a show although catching Mackerel is still patchy they have been more available this week in the usual spots. For example on Wednesday evening Chas and his crew found about forty Mackerel in the race.

At anchor in the Bay they caught Bream, Dogs and Pout. A fairly busy session with yours truly unhooking lots of dogs but a very pleasant evening all the same.

Tuesday was a cracking day for some of the TOFFS crew, still down on Holiday. Chris started the day at 0630 with the first Hound at Sowley that went 14lb. It was caught on a hard back crab. The fishing was slowish but Iain and Bryn also caught a double figure Hound before we had a move out to Freshwater. There I cast a watch lead 'up tide' to allow it to work back down the bank and down tide in an arc for a Bass, a 4lb Blonde Ray, a couple of Dogs, a huge Mackerel and a 14lb Blonde Ray. Bryn skill fully brought the lovely marked Blonde to the boat for netting. I used three sandeels and two very thin cut 5" Mackerel fillets and only twice failed to reel a fish in. Bryn is showing a nicely marked Blonde Ray.

On Monday a half day afternoon trip with an Individuals crew saw us start near to Totland Bay but finding it very quiet, at a good state of the tide, we quickly moved to Milford to find more fish with six Bream, a Hound, a Spotted Ray, Dogs and a few Mackerel making up the catch.

Last Sunday I fished a boat species competition with TOFFS one of my regular crew who live and work in the City of London. Being my regular crew I had a distinct advantage over Kevin Sampson, White Osprey from Yarmouth. Kevin hosted half the boys, well seven in fact, while my six guys fished really hard knowing we were up against an England International Boat Angler. Well I am pleased to gloat, that we only bloody won! One of my guys, Steve, a freshwater angler caught two different rays and a rarer Wrasse to give us a distinct advantage. Note they were on my traces too :-).... I don't have pictures as there was nothing outstanding but as soon as I saw the Spotted Ray close to 4lb I thought we had a good chance. I didn't expect a 5lb Thornback to be the biggest fish though! Species caught were Bream, Dogs, Tope, Hounds, Spotted and Thornback Rays, Mackerel, Scad and Gar, Tub and Red Gurnard, Corkwing and Ballan Wrasse. A Conger bit through, at the boat.

FYI - there are still spaces on Tuesday at 50pp on an all day trip and Friday at 39pp for a six hour Friday special.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 21st June

 A day Skippering in the middle of our weeks holiday was just the job, with ten species coming to the boat for the Adrian Walker crew. They included a nice Tub Gurnard, six or so Mackerel, plenty of Pout, a Bream, Conger, Smoothound, Tope, Spotted Ray, Poor Cod and lots of Dogfish. The best specimen was the trusty Spotted Ray caught by Adrian at 4lb 6oz. Andy's Conger shown off by Rod (don't ask!) was the biggest fish at about 14lb.


 I have 5 spaces on Monday's four hour trip so if anyone is interested at 30pp, I need three more to go.

 Tight lines, Les.

Saturday 14th June

Hi All,

Well, what a week this has been! Its nearly too hot on the sea, can you believe that, in the UK in June! We have had some exceptional fishing with short trips of just a few hours throwing up some nice fish. Best was the Monday morning trip with the lads from Devizes. The first three Hounds were caught at the same time, on our second mark, with the best for Pete going 22lbs! A monster freak hound! This 22lb  Smoothound was released unharmed after being apprehended on very light tackle in shallow water. Awesome fishing!!! Below is Tim with a mere 16lb'er!


 Next up, on Wednesday, were 'Upshot UK' on a Corporate day out. Upshot UK are a Lymington based yacht manufacturer. They had a few hours fishing the Solent followed by a few hours enjoying a meal at Saltys, Yarmouth. We had fantastic weather with some good fish too, all caught on live hardback crab. All four anglers latched into and boated double figure Smoothounds on very light gear, with David catching four, how's that for a first timer! Mark and Dave caught these two hounds pictured below first. While Louise caught the last to round up the fishing nicely. A lovely day out for all. The evening trip on Wednesday was with a local crew who wanted Mackerel, Bass and Pollock, who doesn't! But after three hours searching along the Cliffs down to Freshwater we proved again they have not yet turned up ! We came back down the Solent for some Hounds caught on squid and worm baits.


 Another Evening trip on Thursday for Guy and his crew found some nice fish although it was slow on the flood tide. Dave holds a nice 4lb 12oz Spotted Ray caught just off Lepe, but when we got back to Sowley and it got dark the non-believers sticking to live crabs found the Hound fishing frenetic for the last hour. Guy on the right had the best and last at 13lb just before we came back at 22:30.


Last but not least is last Sundays crew. Who had Bream, bream and more bream, out deep past the Needles. All quality fish. On teh right is Elvis Boswell and the Bream Team.

Note these were all 2.5lb to 3lb 2oz and caught in deep water.








Saturday 7th June

Yesterday we had 20+ Knots of South Westerly wind all day on an Individuals trip and we hung on in a small tide fairly deep to catch some cracking Black Bream again plus a couple of Pollock, Tope, Smoothound, Pout, Poor Cod and Dogfish. The Bream were quality with the best falling to John and weighed in at 3lb 12oz.

There were many Bream over 3lb and they are very Black and blue flecked when pulled up from over 100' deep. They were truly spectacular specimen Black Bream and a privilege to find them in such good numbers.

Be aware that the Mackerel were hard to catch and that was a surprise so don't gamble on finding them yet and take a box of squid!



On the TOFFs Saturday trip, last weekend, we started at the Ledge with a few Bream, Wrasse and Dogs.

It was another 'flat calm' and the boys got bored so we headed South to a very good Black Bream holding mark with some very nice specimens to 3lb 8oz and plenty over 3lb. Also caught was a feisty Tope, a Conger, big Pout, Poor Cod, Mackerel and a Pollock. Here is Bryn with the Best Bream and the others Pat, Brian and Chris all showing theirs too.

Last Friday I took a small crew to the Ledge for a Friday Individuals Special (6hrs only 39pp) on a flat calm. The four anglers caught Bull Huss, Conger, Bream, Poor Cod, Dogfish, Pout, Ballan Wrasse, Garfish and Mackerel. The sun even came out for a moment. Pictured is Don with a Bull Huss and Jim with one of the Congers. We were there for the Bream!

Jim prepared a pre-cooked chilli cooked up the day before, along with pre-cooked Garlic Bread and Tortilla Chips. This was all brought along in pots ready to be warmed up on the stove. It all went down very well indeed. Cheers Jim!



Friday 30th May

It was a busy week starting last Sunday with a local crew in a F6 South Westerly fishing the Solent, followed on BH Monday by a London crew out on Christchurch Ledge in the pouring rain, then on Tuesday a Southampton crew on four miles and the Ledge and another local crew Wednesday evening again in the Solent and in the rain. With this rain water draining off the Forest and into the Solent the sea has turned brown again making the Solent a challenge at the moment. If you try it, take lots of smelly baits and coloured rigs.

This cracking Black Bream is potentially White Maidens Fish of the Month, a nice 4lb 1oz specimen caught by first time angler Martin from London. He was with the Sigis Bank Holiday Monday crew. The big male was caught near to Christchurch Ledge on a miserable day that had rain for about 5 hours. In the conditions the lads fished well and even wanted an extra hour that I couldn't give them due to a prior arrangement. That's keen!

On the BH weekend Sunday the Gary and Jeff crew took full advantage of the F5/6 SSW breezy conditions that was across the Western Solent. They did well to bag 19 Bream to 2lb and 10 Hounds to 11lb. Gary is shown with the best Hound on the left. All 5 anglers caught at least a Bream and a Hound.


Tuesday's 'Individuals crew' had a very good forecast and took full advantage. The first mark was South of the light for some Mackerel and some cracking Bream to 3lb, plus Tope, Whiting, Pout, Conger, Poor Cod and Dogfish, before moving to the Ledge for another 16 Bream most quality to 3lb plus Pout and a couple of Brown Edible Crab. Most remarkable was Paul Daniels tiny Conger Eel! Ady is shown with one of the near 3lb Black Bream.

My Wednesday evening crew however were unlucky with a dry forecast turning wet and the Solent the colour of tea. A handful of dogfish and a Spotted Ray meant that the 'banter' was key.

Tight lines, Les

Sunday 26th May

Funny bit of weather this, with crews put together on a good forecast, cancelled last minute on a changed forecast much for the worse. Then a regular 'never say die crew' asked me to check the weather late the night before and that forced me to cancel, partly forecast and partly their obvious lack of enthusiasm for the rain promised and I wont blame them for that! I still have plenty of trips coming up to keep me busy. If you fancy some Bream fishing I have Wednesday afternoon and Thursday free and there are individual spaces on Tuesday (1 space 50pp), Friday (3 spaces, 6hrs, 39pp), Sunday (5 spaces, 50pp). Note that I have just 'freed up' a week in June. Anyway more to the point here's what we did get up to this week:

On Wednesday, 'Individual White Maiden Voucher' holders (both Christmas Gifts) Ady and Alan got a few more friends together to make a crew of six. We had a good forecast and headed West. Black Bream were consistent with forty caught through the day, the best shown below tricked by Andy at about 2.5lb. Andy also chipped in with a tasty Plaice. Other species caught were Ballan Wrasse, Spotted Rays, Dogfish and Mackerel.

On Tuesday Roy and Sue Whittaker fished the Solent with me for a shortened day trip. A well marked Undulate Ray, a Starry Smoothound, a Spotted Ray, Dogfish and Ballan Wrasse plus eight or so Mackerel was our catch. The variety of species and a flat sea made for a very pleasant day, that provided their main ingredients for a couple of BBQ camping dinners. The sun never really came out to play but the rain held off nicely. Sue definitely had the better day, showing off both her Undulate Ray and Hound catches, returned to fight another day. A Spotted Ray, Dogfish and some Mackerel were not so lucky!


Tightlines, Les

Sunday 19th May 

I have just returned from a proper busman's holiday. A week Skippering close family around the South Ionian Sea in a Sunsail 39i. We had good winds for sailing with only one day less than a F5. We had patchy rain during the week and conditions were too chilly for the shorts and T shirts we mostly wore along with a brave face. However it was a very sociable good fun holiday with very decent sailing. No one was happier to be in their own bed than I was last night!

I am pleased to report that the fishing in our area is far better than that in Greece. We definitely have more fish in our sea still. Bream, Hounds and Mackerel plus a few Bass are now are being caught along with Pollock on the reefs too. I'm looking forward to finding some of them this week.

I have a busy period on the boat coming up and we decided to free up a week in June too so check my boat diary. Thursday and Friday was free this week so I have added two Individuals six hour trips, 39pp, aimed at Bream and Hounds with a chance of a Bass.

Tight lines, Les

Sunday 11th May

Apologies for a late report last week, I was a bit busy. Anyway this weeks update is easy as the wind has not eased off so the fish have had the sea all to themselves at a good time of year for them. As previously reported Tuesdays 'windy forecast' half day crew came along on the Monday. We had an early 0630 start. This time was fine by me so we snuck out in the morning for more Bream. Most Hen Bream are in spawn and are dropping eggs so they went back. Young Eddy on the right is holding a nice hen fish.

As mentioned last week it takes 3 to 4 male Bream to fertilise one female Breams eggs successfully. We release the females and some males too, if the crew agree. It would be good if some guidance could be introduced for all of us to follow!

Another conservation discussion last week in the news was the release of 10,000 helium balloons to celebrate the three Queens.

Look at this picture sent by Rick, do these beautiful ships really need the 10,000 balloons? The argument against was the littering effect and although latex does bio-degrade, if a fish, bird or animal swallows them before they bio-degrade they will die a slow death. So there's another moral option for us. Anyway I wonder if Cunard provide a fishing platform!

Tight lines, Les

7th May
The Bank Holiday weekends settled weather was fantastic for us all.

Saturday's crew were after the bigger fish with Rays our first target species. We had one decent 7lb Small Eyed Ray caught on a bank and lots of Dogs.

We moved off to a wreck for Congers to 20lb before Billy nailed this cracking Bass on squid, at the end of the trip and the start of the ebb.

Paul is shown right, with his Small Eyed Ray, returned to fight again.

Above is Billy with the specimen Bass and what a cracker! 'Double figures', at 10lb 3oz.

On Sunday the Dyer family had another great forecast which enabled us to head for the Bream grounds. It was all very competitive as Ballan Wrasse, Bream, Bull Huss, Whiting and Dogfish took the various small baits offered.

 The snaggy ground caused a few problems at the end of the flood so after a short move we avoided the snags and found more Bream. Left is a picture sent by Mark who decided that a dogfish was the best picture, or was it the ladies? Becka and Bee are very happy on LSD. That's Lesser Spotted Dogfish!

It was a sociable but busy day for me but the lovely weather sealed it for all.

Interestingly an expert advised that it takes 3 to 4 male Bream to fertilise one female Breams eggs successfully. We release the females and some males too, if the crew agree. It would be good if some guidance could be introduced for all of us to follow! Come on Anglers Trust, what are you going to do?

Another conservation argument this week in the news was the release of 10,000 helium balloons to celebrate a special occasion. The argument against was the littering effect and although latex does bio-degrade, if a fish, bird or animal swallows them before they bio-degrade they will die a slow death. So there's another moral option for us.

With plenty of fish starting to show and lots of dates available give me a call if you fancy a full or half day or evening trip.           

Tight lines, Les.


Monday 28th April

The poor weekends forecast forced us to cancel Saturday's trip whereas Sunday was fishable but restricting. Myself and Daffodils SAC tested the Solent and East of Christchurch Bay where it was comfortable fishing which resulted in a final tally of eight Bream, the best around 1lb 6oz, plus the faithful dogfish. Nothing special so no pictures this week.

I am now looking forward to the Mackerel and Herring moving in closer and shaking things up a bit. We expect more Bream to follow the early Bream. Inshore Pollock on the reefs and wrecks. Hounds to show down the Solent, particularly on the evening tides, maybe with the odd Stinger. We should see the first and biggest Tope in early May. Bass will start to show up too.

Tight lines, Les.

 Sunday 20th April


Above are the best fish caught yesterday for Mario and the Lymington Gill Precision Engineering crew. Left to right are John with a 4lb 8oz specimen Spotted Ray, Connor with a near specimen 4lb 7oz Spotted Ray, Mario with an early Starry Smoothound.  Otherwise, it was a load of Dogfish really plus a big Pout for dinner, Tuesday!

Right is my Good Friday boat trip for Naveen (left) and his family visiting the New Forest for their Easter holidays. They had the best of the weather, with a perfect flat sea and sunshine, all the way to the Needles and back. Admittedly there was a chill in the air, well it is mid April. A good hand from competent crew daughter Sarah, a big thanks, and a very nice afternoon out.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 13th April

The Bream are in! All be it in low numbers at the moment. This is the time when 'pb' potential is at its highest so it's definitely worth a gamble for that 4lb'er! The first inshore Black Bream aboard this season was caught by Bryn Dye on Saturday. That beautifully marked Bream was caught along with the first inshore Pollock by Ian, along with a Bull Huss by Chris, all TOFFS members. There were a couple more Bream and Pollock plus other bits and pieces caught. While on Sunday we had a better day weather wise but we caught about the same with the best Bream so far just under 3lb falling to Alan. A sortie out deep found mainly dogs but also a nice fat female specimen 14lb 8oz Thornback Ray for Steve. Obviously she was released as this is the spawning time for them. Note all Rays and Congers have been released this week again, well done lads!


Thursdays individuals trip was a cracking day weather wise that allowed us to explore. We found Rays and Congers on deep banks but nothing on the wrecks. Wee Man Billy caught and released the best Blonde at 22lb; Roy a nice Blonde of 16lb and the biggest Conger at 36lb; Scott with another nice 16lb Blonde.


 Tightlines, Les

Sunday 6th April

A lovely week (including four Calshot Lifeboat Launches) was followed by a miserable weekend which looked OK for the Saturday Trident SAC crew. In reality the mist, drizzle and a building sea followed by proper rain and a lot of voracious dogfish made for a hard day for the keen regulars. It wasn't cold though and we were in the right places and you certainly can't catch anything sat at home! Bob managed to break through the dogfish for a decent Spotted Ray but there were far too many dogfish on the Ray marks.

A possible excuse for not catching, I believe, is that in a sloppy sea and shallow water (less than 45') the waves that bang the hulls increases the scare zone around the boat. Up-tiding is easy with long rods and fixed spool reels and is the best way to get out the scare zone. Otherwise working a very light lead well down tide is good. Or you could add a balloon to float your bait down tide, then jerk it free but in my opinion that can't be good for the environment and is basically littering the sea. Maybe a bit of wood will be more environmentally friendly (I'm serious about that).

Yesterday John Skeggs was on an early start and went 9 miles but as the tide and sea built they came back inside too. Out deep were Spurrs, Blondes and Congers!

Tightlines, Les.


Sunday 31st March

Time of year, no takers, Life Boat duties, big tides and cloudy water have kept me ashore this week. Meanwhile John on 'Last Laugh' tested the waters inshore on Friday and Saturday and found lots of Rays and Dogs for his crews, with an Undulate Ray caught on both days too.

Sunday 23rd March

Today (Monday) we had a reasonable enough morning forecast to venture out for a decent fish on a small tide before the wind picked up as promised. The total catch ended with Congers of 40lb, 35lb, 23lb, 21lb 12lb, 7lb, 6lb and nothing else. So just Congers and some good fun was had by most. Pictured left is Simon with his 40lb'er expertly controlled to take a fiver from the other five anglers for the biggest fish.

With a bit of wind over the weekend and most of the others still working ashore on their boats, there's not much to report except for another nice 17lb Undulate Ray for 'Hermit' that fished the Solent. Chatting to a Plymouth Charter Skipper I was told they are struggling to find Pollock in the best time of year for them due to the dirty water. The netters down there however are having a great time as the fish cant see the nets coming! Also Pollock are being netted in areas where they are not expected, and being caught over their flatfish marks.

Point of interest I have just completed my Professional Practices and Responsibilities course and passed the assessment. Actually it was very good and really worthwhile getting to grips again with the legislation around our boat work. The outcome for me is a more detailed safety brief and a request for signatures from the anglers to accept the risk before we cast off.

The PBA AGM on Wednesday was interesting too; another directive is in the pipeline for all newly built vessels to have accommodation quarters for crews if they intend to go over to France and the Channel Islands! Be warned, be aware and be a PBA member, their fighting fund is to support us in our professional roles.

Tightlines, Les






Sunday 16th March
With a cracking forecast, regular crew TOFFS (The Old Fountain Fishing Society) from the City started three miles off for ten or so dogfish over the slack water high on the fairly big tides. The Congers weren't there. During the start of the ebb it remained dogfish only so we moved over to a reef while the breeze freshened to the promised force 4 to 5 from the West.

In the middle of the ebb Pat hooked a cracking Undulate Ray on squid that stripped braid from the reel. It was a three man retrieval effort as we took turns to walk backwards up the deck with the spool locked before winding down walking back to the stern, to get the big ray to the net. Weighed at a massive 18lb, pictured and released it was by far the best fish of the month so far.

Then due to a further flurry of dogs and a building sea we and another charter boat decided to move back down the Solent where there was absolutely no wind at all! What a difference. We finished the day in a flat calm with more dogs and a sun tan!

I'm amazed to have seen four specimen Undulate Rays on the last four trips with Pats Ray a massive 18lb to 19lb fish being a new Boat record for me.

This week I completed my Professional Practices Roles and Responsibilities course preparation and now look forward to the assessment on Wednesday at the Professional Boatmans Association AGM. Next up is my First Aid Course certificate renewal. Who say's this is a quiet time of year!

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 9th March


At last on Friday we had a decent forecast and a crew to go with it. The F6 SW was a bit too much in the morning so we fished comfortably in the Solent. Roy caught his first ever Ray, a cracking very well marked specimen 14lb Undulate Ray. The very nicely marked and protected Undulate Ray came at the end of the flood tide and was soon followed by Gavin's specimen 4lb 8oz Spotted Ray. Both Rays were released.


The lads also caught six dogfish and two Pout which was not too bad in an early March short session just down the Solent.


A point of interest was a huge container that was floating end up off Newtown. It was reported by another Charter Boat to the Coast Guard but they didn't seem too excited about it. Packs of Cigarettes were in the tide too.



Saturday was a better forecast again, so regular crew Trident SAC boarded White Maiden and we headed for the Needles Lighthouse only to carry on and duck behind the Shingles for the first couple of hours. It was a bit too bouncy 'outside' at the start of the day. This first mark was far too quiet so as the wind eased off we headed South and found two cracking fish with another nice Undulate Ray this time at 15lb 4oz for Steve and a big male 20lb Blonde Ray for Chris, both were released unharmed. Steve then caught a nice 6lb Small Eyed Ray and Chris a 5lb Thornback Ray which both were quickly dispatched and went home for dinner! Other species caught were a small Hound and a Conger and lots of Dogfish. It was good to see more nice Rays.

Sunday today, was a better forecast again so we pushed out about ten miles South of the Needles, a big ask for the beginner anglers but  we went as a buddy boat to another Charter. The fishing was good but hard work pulling in some big fish up from 130'. David caught the Bull Huss, while the other pictures are of Tom who did very well with the best Undulate Ray at 17lb, plus a Blonde of 11lb and a few Congers the best weighed at 26lb but another lost, after tangling its hooks at the net which was easily 35lb. Steve had the biggest Conger weighed on the boat at 27lb. Steve and David are pictured below.

It was nice to get out and have a proper fish for three days in a row and the fishing was actually a bit better than expected.

Note that I also saw the first Mullet on Friday and a shoal of them on Saturday, that is early!           Tightlines, Les


Sunday 3rd March
I have been very busy ashore doing all the horrible jobs that comes along with having a boat sat on moorings for most of the year. The bigger the boat the more horrible the jobs are. Feeling like I am back training and playing rugby again! Still the work is getting done and 'White Maiden' is getting back to her best again.

Rumours of a 12lb Cod caught off Yarmouth Pier and some caught round the back of the Wight. There should be some fish there as the water is warmer than usual and very few people have been able to get out and fish for them. Hopefully this weekend coming we will find out!

Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 23rd February

No fish reports this week again as I cancelled all bookings due to the strong winds and rough seas. We very nearly went on a reasonable Friday forecast but I cancelled late after noting 50mph gusts in the 6.30 BBC forecast, that was backed up by the Coastal and that translated on the day to a gale again from the West. I used the worms fishing off my moorings while lashing more fenders to the wave screen posts, for added protection. On Saturday common sense prevailed and I cancelled again. They gave less wind but the sea state was still Rough to Moderate until 6am and a F5 between F8's was not ideal. Anyway the wind got up again by 1130 and would have been too much for our 5 mile plus plans. My other bookings had no chance with steady F6's to F8's, so the life raft is now off the cab roof and on it's way to be serviced! It's that time of year again now with the boat lift, engine servicing, antifouling, polishing and re-launching. But it's great getting your boat (mistress) looking sparkly new again and having time to do it all.

Hurst shingle bank has had a bettering this winter and these pictures show you how much is left after the last storm on Friday 14th / Saturday 15th February. Unable to show the full extent of devastation over the full mile or so of shingle bank here are some pictures to give you an idea. I would guess that 30 to 40% of it has gone and where the height is still there in places the 4 meter wide 'top' is less than 1m wide now. All the boats in the lake behind have since been moved as the beach has been pushed right up to their moorings. In 1996 Hampshire County Council spent 50,000,000 re-building the bank and was expected to withstand another 50 years of weather. It actually lasted 18 years. This will cost all Hampshire County Council tax payers again that's for sure.

But finishing on a positive note, the fish are getting it all to themselves at the moment so that should help their numbers, and the temperature is still quite high at 8 degrees for the time of year. Tight lines, Les.


Sunday 16th February

White Maiden survived the onslaught on Friday night and Saturday morning, while sat on her Lymington moorings, that came along in Hurricane force winds from the South West, on a Spring Tide! Some weren't so lucky but damage was mostly superficial but insurance claim territory all the same. It's literally a nightmare this time of year and a proper test of a boat owners resolve. The sea is still big today in the Channel and so I cancelled a small crew but the next couple of weeks before my boat is lifted, looks better.

Lepe was smashed this week, here's thinking of all those not so lucky in this years winter storms!        Tightlines, Les

Sunday 9th February

There are fish out there, with one commercial crew doing well on the Bass in an area I have been waiting to fish for Spurs and Blonde Rays. We now need the weather windows to extend and align with some bookings over the coming weeks. Its been a new record for me as I have now lost 21 trips of the last 25 bookings since 14th December to Strong Winds, Gales and Storms with not even a sniff at getting the boat over some fish on those days. No sympathy please, as I have plenty to do but I must get out there soon and 'scratch the itch'!

Today, Saturday, in the 35 - 45 knt SW gales as measured at the Brambles, the Bembridge All Weather Lifeboat picked up the Calshot Lifeboat crew and took us all over to Cowes, where we met up with the Yarmouth, Lymington and Cowes crews. It was a great day and a very good opportunity for some pictures. Right is the Calshot 'Max Walls' 8.5m Atlantic helmed by Pat. Below left is our 'lift' the awesome 2010 Bembridge Tamar AWLB. Below right shows the Yarmouth AWLB following up the Lymington, Cowes and Calshot Atlantics.

Tightlines, Les


Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 2nd February
No trips for me again this week with all my charters blown away due to gale force winds that are stretching into next week too. Meantime Malc (Dink) Lemoignan has been fishing Poole Harbour in his 10' rubber dubber and after six fishless trips plus three trips with just one flounder each at 2-6, 2-9 and 3-10 Dink has finally, after 27 years of fishing Poole Harbour, that includes twenty five 3lb plus fish, hit the 4lb mark! This massive flounder was weighed in at 4lb 7oz and is the new Ashlett SAC boat record.

Only one report of a boat fishing the Needles this week when Kev Samson on Wight Osprey from Yarmouth had a crew on Thursday and found 10 eels, a couple of Whiting plus Pout and Dogs. While another boat, a solo angler fishing the Bay, found a nice 6.5lb Bass, plus Pout, Dogs and Whiting.

So now we I am looking for a decent forecast to line up with a booked crew to see what is out there.

This week I was involved in a Calshot Lifeboat rescue after a fella fell out of his tender under Northam Bridge, the Atlantic crew picked him up and delivered him cold but reasonably well to an ambulance.

Also this week I have taken on the Treasurer role for the West Wight Charter Skippers Association. You should know that if you paid for the second day of the Cod Champs that was cancelled due to the F7 then you are owed a 50 refund. Check out the link to the WWCSA on my links pages to see how to get your money back.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 26th January

Not much to discuss on the fishing front as all four trips Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all cancelled on the forecast. As it transpired we could have gone Friday down the Solent as the wind and rain didn't get to us until later on but those just to the West of us took it for us.

Click on the image to the left to watch a video of this incredible fisher the Little Egret. This species has become common in the area over the last ten years and as you can see is a very efficient feeder. Dave Wilson as a nipper, was a fisherman at Mudeford Quay and he was telling me that forty years ago Cormorants and Shags were shot for their beaks at 50p each. Now they are left to feed and breed and so along with all these Little Egrets they are left to decimate the fry that are growing in the salt marshes. Now they would be useful if they preferred and could catch Dogfish!
Tightlines, Les

Sunday 19th January

On Saturday the weather was still blowing F6-F7 from the South so the trip was cancelled because on a big tide the Solent is hard work but Sunday was a different story and forecast for the Dave Wilson crew.

Dave battled the biggest Conger to the net early on. That first and biggest Conger weighed a tad under 30lb while young James just nine years old shows off what can be caught on 2lb of lead if you have a Saltist dual speed reel, plus a bit of help supporting the rod!

Ten or so Congers came to the boat with Wayne accounting for at least five of them on his wire which is useful to have in these bigger tides. Cod were hard to come by but 'Last Laugh' had a couple the best at 20lb and 'Make My Day' chipped in with two at 13lb and 9lb. 'Hermit' nearby caught a 13lb Ling. Everyone found Congers feeding.

Today I had a crew that started at 0630 am. We were there in good time for the start of the flood and again Congers were the biggest fish to take the baits only they were either far too big when hooked to get to the boat or around 10lb,so no pictures. Other big bites were missed that could have been what we really wanted. As yesterday Dogs made up the catch along with a couple of Pout. We fished the flood through to the end and the lads were back in time for work.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 12th January

A perfect day of winter fishing round the Needles gave Crookham SAC six Congers with the first and biggest weighed at 22lb. That Eel was followed by five strap Congers, plus Dogs and a couple of Pout. Not great on the ebb but at least we were out there for a change! We moved at slack water closer to the Light but still no Whiting. Cod were caught close by; 'Sea Hunter' had one of 15lb, 'True Grit' had two Lunker Cod at 27lb and 31lb, 'Melady' and 'Last Laugh' both had a double figure Cod each. So they are there still.

On Sunday XCWeather showed a F6 from the South but less over the Solent. The sea was flat near the Island but the colour of tea and didn't look good! The first mark was dead bar one Dogfish but the second mark fished OK. First up were big Pout, then a small Whiting, then a lost 'big fish', then a 10lb Conger for Bob plus a sizable Bass. With a couple of Dogs this was OK considering the forecast and time of year. It went dead at slack water but the start of the flood was quiet so I re-anchored the original mark for a 3.5lb Bass, Dogs and a Pout. I enjoyed the challenge again of getting bites first, plus watching D033 a new Portsmouth built destroyer on sea trials. To catch fish in the dirty water 'very' luminous muppets and very smelly Gar fish wrapped onto the squid plus rag worm definitely helped. As did up-tiding. Oddly well presented black lug/squid, cast well up-tide didn't seem to work though. Tightlines, Les.

Sunday 5th January

All Skippers beware of large floating objects that could damage your hull following the recent and ongoing storms. My Nephew Mitch visited Hurst Shingle Bank on New Years Day to find railway sleeper sized timbers littering the shoreline. They were huge so beware!

Nothing to report on the fishing front, as we never had a forecast that gave us much of a chance. Hopefully by the end of next week we will be able to test the Needles again! Happy New Year and Tightlines, Les.

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