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Monday 30th December 

Well that's another fishing year over, already! TOFFS rounded off White Maiden's year yesterday in the Solent due to the forecast worsening overnight. We saw the Sun, it was dry and it was not cold. The potential was there with one Cod caught late in the day in the ebb tide. The guys mainly caught Whiting, Pout and Dogfish plus a small Hound, it was that sort of day, along with very little weed. Slack water produced Pouting and Whiting to Hokkais and the lads finished off with a tangled and released Herring Gull and the plump 8lb Cod for Pat. The best Whiting for Ian was a good 2lb 8oz. The London lads made for a good day out and limbered up their fishing muscles and skills. Note that the Cod had two 'sea anemone' in its gut!

Here's a quick round up of the White Maiden INSHORE year.

Please note too that MY numbers do not include any mid-channel fish, this year, with most coming within 5 miles of the Needles Lighthouse!

This was an outstanding year for Cod and Undulate Rays. Its been a good year for local Plaice too. Its been my best ever year for Bass, Turbot and Brill. Not because there are more but because I am learning where, when and how to catch them and getting out on better forecasts more often as bookings increase. Following one of the best years ever for Bream, this year was one of the hardest for our area, unless you were lucky.

2015 in numbers

Cod - 72 (Best 19lb) Bass - 124 (30 released, Best 11lb 8oz) Hounds - 70 (All released, Best 16lb)
Congers - 126 (122 released, Best 70lb) Undulate Rays - 75 (All released, Best 3 at 18lb) Thornback Rays - 66 (61 released, Best 15lb)
Blonde Rays - 12 (9 released, Best 21lb) Small eyed Rays - 20 (18 release, Best 9lb) Spotted Rays - 33 (All released, Best 5lb 2oz)
Tope - 106 (All released, Best 22lb) Plaice - 29 (some released, Best 3lb 8oz) Turbot 8 - (4 released, Best 4lb)
Brill 3 (2 released, Best 3lb) Bull Huss 13 (10 released, Best 12lb) Bream - about 125, Best 3lb 12oz)

Other species caught - Pollock (lots), Whiting (lots), Pouting (loads), Three Bearded Rockling (1), Cuckoo Ray (1), John Dory (1), Grey Gurnard (2) Red Gurnard (about 8) Tub Gurnard (about 20), Ballions, Corkwing, Cuckoo, Ballan, Gold Sinny Wrasse, Tom Pot Blennies and Gobies, Sole (3), Dab (3), Garfish (20), Mackerel (loads), Scad (loads), Allis Shad (1), Poor Cod (lots), Dogfish (more than 1000 easily), Spurr Dog (1), Cuttlefish (4), Squid (2), Octopus (1), Brown Crab (3), Lobster (2) and a couple of different types of Starfish!

The sea is a harsh environment and we were fortunate this year not to have a single boat or engine failure that disrupted a trip. This was in the main due to having time to keep on top of  repairs and also due to new Yamaha 70Hp four stroke engines that were supplied and fitted brilliantly by BHG. Importantly, for me anyway, I didn't get to the pickup point late once throughout the year. Also, unless requested, we never returned early and all passengers were returned to port safe and sound. This was not the case in 2014 when I rushed Steve, with a suspected heart attack, to Cowes. After an extended evening in Newport Hospital Steve returned by ferry after a good check up.

Another thought for when you have a hard day and the the fish wont take your bait or your like your bait presentation..... luck can nearly always be induced by working harder at the right things. One prime example is baiting up, really well, using a spare trace. This is sometimes called 'double patting' where you clip on your prepared rig and send it back down quickly between retrievals. Also, just like any physical sport, if you practice more than the rest, or are naturally fit and strong, you will be able to fish harder and better for longer. Then critically, you have to 'tune in to' and remember the good tips, 'filter' some of the social media chat, while keeping an eye on the lucky anglers on your boat!

All the best and have a Lucky and Happy New Year, Tightlines for 2016! Les

Monday 21st December

Two trips this week, both down the Western Solent. Yesterday, Sunday, I had an Individuals trip fishing a small flooding tide, in a brisk South Westerly F5/6, along with some feisty squalls. As you can see the guys fished well to boat nine Cod between 11lb and 7lb. All caught a Christmas Cod with the biggest falling to Glenn Tomms floated back big baits, winning a handy sum for his efforts. He beat his father Rod into second place with his best Cod of 9lb, which was the first of four plump fish caught on 'big baits' in the flood. The day started well with Richard on the right boating a small Conger and then this Cod, followed by another Conger around 20lb. A good start on the smaller baits in the early ebb tide. The lads fished well right through, proving to me that its definitely Black Lug that was their secret weapon and the common denominator. It's expensive but worth the effort, either pushing it up the line first, before adding a single squid (for the Solent) or wrapping it in or tipping off. Nearly all the Cod were lip hooked!

Other fish caught was another Conger, a Spotted Ray, quite a few Whiting at slack water mainly to Johns Hokkais, although the picture left proves he can catch Cod too. Note that a Solo Angler fishing on his own for three hours, a few miles from us, also bagged four Cod for himself, so they are still there!

Friday was another comfortable day down the Solent for Arlesford SAC. First mark close to the Needles Light found the swell pushing around 'the corner'. It was not a problem for us off a comfortable Alum Bay on the flooding tode. But, after two hours of only Dogfish we shot back down the Solent, for another quite hour and a half off Newtown before finishing the day near Sowley for more Dogs, a few Whiting and Pout plus a small Conger, Bull Huss and a Spotted Ray. We missed out on the Cod and any big fish again, very frustrating for all as we tried hard with the experienced anglers fishing well. So far we have only fished four times this month and always down the Solent. Its been OK when the Cod come out to play but I am honestly getting excited about January with this mild weather and getting outside the famous Needles Light for a good go at the Lunker Cod and monster Whiting, ETC!!!   

Merry Christmas everyone, good luck and Tightlines with that new Reel, Rod or latest fishing gadget.. Les

Oh, and if you are really stuck for emergency gifts try one of my £50 Gift Vouchers. I can normally email one of these to you within a few hours.

New Bass landing restrictions for Rod and Line Anglers come into effect on January 1st 2016, through to June 2016. After that its one Bass per angler. Surely commonsense begs for a minimum 1 Bass bag limit per angler for the whole year. My Club Ashlett SAC (formerly Esso SAC) had the Club Bass record broken just last week, with a cracker of 15lb 6ozs! The Club is 55 years old. What a travesty if the record is beaten again in January. I certainly wouldn't trust ANY boat weighed fish. A recorded boat weighed fish is a mere guideline.

Monday 14th December

Just the one trip this week, yesterday, with Luke and Co in perfect fishing conditions mid Solent. Using long trace our squid and black lug was readily accepted by Dogfish and the odd Pouting. At slack water around twenty Whiting to 1lb 8oz fell to fish baits on Hokkais along with more Pout and Dogs. The better fish were nearby but not close enough with a couple of boats catching three Cod to 9lb plus the odd Bass and Ray. Meanwhile and not far away from us, Andy Stevens fishing solo in the Western Solent boated a new Ashlett SAC Bass Record at 15lb 6ozs. The monster Bass was caught on a Cod bait. This was after Andy had to move off his first mark, due to a mate practicing anchoring his new boat. A windlass needs practice. He was drifting down towards Andy's bow, so Andy moved and shortly after bagged an awesome and independently weighed and verified Bass! Back to our trip, we moved around a bit to keep the guys keen and we tried hard for a fairly quiet day. The fairly young newbie boat anglers made the best out of a very comfortable and relaxing day on the water.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 6th December

Fridays forecast was a mere NW5 quickly going W6 then going SW6-7. We trusted the timing on XCWeather. It was the 'calm' in the middle of a consistent period of  South Westerly Gales, that wont go away. Myself and the Micky Evans crew of experienced anglers were not on their own as another Charter and a few smaller boats had read the same forecast and tested the Western Solent. Well the sky was clear and we missed the showers but the wind was chuffing from the moment we checked the middle. We anchored shallow at first to avoid the rough stuff and dropped a reasonable fish immediately. As we got to slack water I moved out deep and we lay with the wind for the rest of the day, moving once, a short distance, due to a dragged anchor. The guys threw loads of bait for a couple of small Congers, a few 1lb Whiting amongst smaller Pout and numerous Dogfish. We failed to find a Cod. Other boats found one or two Cod to 7lb and the odd Ray. It was a good day out with a good crowd but very little for me to do and little scope for options. I'm expecting more options next time, whenever that will be! Apologies to all those missing out on their fishing at the moment. Note the sea temperature is a staggering 12.8o C inshore and out at mid channel its 13.4o C still.

Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 28th November

We managed to get out three times this week and found some really great fishing. Yesterday we found six Cod for an Individuals crew with the best 11lb, four Bass best 9.5lb, lots of good Whiting best 2lb 14oz, five Congers best 30lb, plus a Ray and the usual Pout and Dogs. Left is Don and Liam respectively in seniority! Next is John with his cracking specimen Bass and Sam with the first of his two plump Cod.


 While on Wednesday two superb Bass hit the deck within three minutes of each other when Dean latched into the 10lb'er on the left and then another Bass, up around best again for this year at 11.5lb, for Jeroen. The Big Bass was Jeroen's first Bass ever. It already had five fish in its gut including a Whiting of around 9oz!


The fantastic fishing midweek carried on from last Sunday when the Paul Baker crew caught three Cod to 9lb and eleven Thornbacks to 13lb plus the odd decent Whiting, a few Congers and Pout. Remarkably all Thornback Rays were female and even better ALL were returned. Good lads!!!
                                        Left to Right - Mark, James, Mark and Paul.                        Tight Lines to all, Les!


Saturday 21st November

Christmas Gift Idea 1

' Identification Guide to the Inshore Fish of the British Isles' is a great tool to have on the boat and at home. It is ideal for preparation to understand the species we target. The book goes into detail about all our British species but for example when targeting Spurdog there is specific information about preferred food and bait and life history. Spurdogs mature at six years old but may live 70 to 100 years! Maximum length is about 4 feet or 120cm and the British Record is 11.056Kg or 22lb'ish caught in 2013. They feed on fish particularly whiting and poor cod and squid. This is a must have book for all keen anglers.

It's very handy for species competitions and those times when you catch something less common.

This book is so well organised, along with so much information about the fish we catch or or miss if the hooks we use are too big or loose if too small.

I can order bulk and source for you at £22.80 per copy inc P&P . Email LTJONES2004@YAHOO.CO.UK or text me on 07585335783 to order. You could collect from me in Langley and save £2.80 or at the boat in Lymington or I can deliver 'locally'.  The books retail at £25/copy + P&P. You can purchase them and view a Chapter extract at their own website britishseafish.com.

Christmas Gift Idea 2

Still stuck for Christmas present ideas?  why not buy a White Maiden Individuals Sport Fishing Voucher at £50 per person for an inshore, all day fishing trip? Click this for  Gift Voucher info

Back to this weeks report:



The Cod Championships were cancelled due to Gales on Monday. A wise early decision by the organising committee. It was horrible on the Wednesday and to mid day Thursday. Tuesday saw the beginning of the high winds. I had to move 'White Maiden' to a safer berth. I also had to cancel today, Saturday due to the Gales again causing me to stop the Trident SAC gang coming down from Dartford again. What can I say but sorry guys.

However on a brighter note we sneaked out yesterday down the Solent for five nice Cod. Left to right and top to bottom is Slava with a very well presented healthy looking fish. Then Dave with another nice Cod caught on his Dad's old solid glass boat rod, a promise he had made, and now kept! Well done Dave. Then me, well I had to show them they were there, with the first of the day. Next is John or is it Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull? I wish. John added a nice Undulate Ray at the end, on his last drop. Next is Brian who caught the last Cod to add to a Ray, Conger, Whiting and Pout. A great short session down the Solent.

Tightlines, Les

Friday 13th November


 Amazing, yesterday at the same mark as last Sunday's Lymington SAC Cod Comp and we catch plenty of fish! We managed to nip out early on Thursday for some good fishing. We shot up the Solent just before the crack of dawn to fish a flat calm for two hours before the wind picked up to a F5/6. I think I boated the first just as it got light, in a bit of tide and 2lb of lead! Then John caught one identical, or it was the other way round? I then tricked another Cod before Gav chipped in with his first ever Cod. At the start of the Ebb Gav's spool was spewing line to a nice 13lb Cod. Other fish caught were two Hounds, a nice Whiting, plenty of Dogs, a Spotted Ray, a Conger and plenty of Pout. A good day in the Solent.

Lymington SAC Cod Comp - sponsored by Lonis Angling Centre on Sunday was fished by 66 anglers all hoping to get their hands on the £400 first prize for the single biggest Cod. We were restricted to the Solent due to Strong Winds from the South South West. I love the Isle of Wight!  The sea was comfortable throughout. One boat found nine Cod. The England Boat team members fishing with me on White Maiden included Ray Baron, Matt Osborne, Martin, Ash Currier and Current World Boat Champion Gary Galbraith. Note his world champ story can be here. Gary was up-tiding and kicked off in form latching into a near double figure Cod early on. I thought we were in for a lot of fish. How wrong was I.... as the Cod stopped there for us and Gary weighed in third biggest for third place. Meanwhile Skipper Jeff Semple on 'Lazy Daze', fishing just to the East of us, cleaned up with a last minute 12lb Cod, added to one of Tim Daw's Cod for a 19.5lb combined weight to take the team/pairs prize. Also Whacker on Jeff's boat had 4th biggest and Tim Daw's 5th biggest Cod! So between the two charter boats we had 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th biggest Cod caught on the day. Skipper John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh', just to the South of us, also did fantastically well again, for the best total boat weight of Cod caught by his anglers on the day. Not sure that will happen again, as the dinghy boys will get their own back next year, for sure. Lee Price fishing on his own, part share 20' Quick Silver, did very well and secured second place with his best Cod of a nine Cod and four Bass haul. This was a great competition again Lymington SAC with some good prizes put up by main Sponsor Lonis Angling Centre's Garry Mann. Next year's date is Sunday 6th November. Pictured is Ash with a trawl net recovered from uptide. No wonder these England boys do well!!!

Tightlines, fingers crossed for the Cod Champs next week,


Saturday 7th November

Another good week of three trips, all with Cod, Whiting, Pout, Dogs, Rays and Congers.
There's a lot of small fish to fight through to get to the big ones and various tactics are used. The best is to fish two 9/0's with big baits. Don't strike a bite but feel the Cod onto the baits, for say four minutes and then lift into the fish and continue to retrieve in a steady, controlled manner. Easy isn't it? Well, actually getting excited anglers NOT to strike is difficult but 'we' learn eventually!

Pete didn't need reminding as he boated the biggest this week on Wednesday at 16lb. Another Cod of his had a 10" bite mark in the tail. Shark!

Also we saw two Harbour Porpoises, fantastic!


Following the day trip, we were straight out again down the Solent with a local crew. After a quiet start, as the neap mid ebb eased from gentle to not a lot, the guys caught Cod, Rays and Congers.

Pat proved the Cod were there, then again and again. His three 7lb Cod followed a nicely marked Undulate Ray. Greedy, or what?

Others chipped in with a Spotted Ray, four very small congers. One a strap, the others more bootlace! There were Dogs and Pout plus a couple of Whiting.

Tip - Needles Cod like a few squid. It also helps to wrap cuttle with them to build a resilient bait.

Solent Cod prefer a single squid on 6/0s wrapped or tipped off with Black Lug.



On Monday a group of Individuals trusted me to steer them out under RADAR and Plotter and Compass in thick fog on a flat calm Solent to round the Needles Light to a superbly flat calm English Channel. Note the Compass is your best tool, once you have your bearing, the plotter for reference and the RADAR for confidence.

When the sun came out it was glorious and the only Cod showed up early. After that the Whiting increased in size to the best so far this season at 2lb 8oz. At least six of the thirty odd Whiting were 2lb plus.

Tipping off using Whiting skin, picked out the biggest Whiting again.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 1st November

 Another good day round The Needles. Both Craig and Dave caught a 10lb Cod each and Dad Dave kept the pressure on with four Congers to Craig's one. Dogfish and Pout scoffed bait readily and so it was a matter of keeping ahead of those guys really.

We had a sensible trip with an early finish so that we (that's another 'royal we' Craig) could get back to watch the rugby. Unfortunately the school holiday week of trips all got blown and washed away. There are better places for six year olds to be, than on the sea, when it gets like that. The one day I had no booking was the best day of the week!

Tightlines, Les

Lymington SAC Cod Competition (Lonis) - Sunday 8th November. 0630am sign on, fishing from 0830 to 330pm. Prizes for the biggest Cod plus a prize for best other fish other than Undulate Ray, Conger etc, eg Bass, Pollock, Thornback Ray. Now booked for this competition. Details available at http://www.ldsfc.co.uk/next-club-open/4590744535

British Cod Championships, Lymington - Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th November - Boats positions are drawn - Application Forms at: http://www.westwightcharterboatskippers.co.uk/cod-comp-2015/4589994960

IOW Cod Competition - 27th December Yarmouth - Lymington - Biggest three Cod and three Whiting Competition. Now booked for this competition.

Monday 26th October

Some steady fishing again this week with ten Cod caught over three trips, mostly to squid. They are tricked along with Congers, Whiting, Pout, Rays, Pollock and the odd Bass. Whiting can be caught but generally a little way from my Cod mark and they are getting bigger. While on my more Coddy marks the best Pout are still hitting 2.5lb.


Best Cod this week on White Maiden was lured by Rod Tomms above with a nice one of 19lb. Rod can be seen grimacing as he sets his stall out for big fish only and it takes a real good one to get him to smile! John chipped in with three Cod with his best going 13lb. Andy and Liam also caught their first Cod too along with a well marked Thornback Ray for Liam.

Fridays trip saw two more plump small Cod to 7lb plus Congers to 10lb and lots of Pout and Dogs for the Lee Frampton IOW crew, on another calm but grey day. There were a few Pollock about on Friday too to 12lb, although we lost something that shot off and broke away, we never saw one ourselves. A neighbour of mine, also fishing nearby on Friday, caught a 12lb Turbot at anchor.

Then Sundays crew, who took a day off from the Golf course, brought the weather with them again and caught a couple of plump first Cod for Chris and Mike, a tasty Bass for Alan and a well marked Undulate Ray for Luke. In all eighty fish were caught, I only know this as they were counting them for the 'most fish' cash prize. Typical golfers, they had to count something all day and have a bet! Good day, finishing off a good week. Tightlines, Les


Saturday 17th October

Another good week, with lots of fish and great crews. Pictures left to right, top to bottom: Dave and Richard, John, John, Rich and Clive, Dave, George.

 Sorry, got to go and watch rugby world cup without England! Should put a claim in on my house insurance! Tightlines, Les



Monday 12th October

 What a lovely four days out in the boat, with some reasonable fishing and great crews. Below is yesterdays pictures in chronological order with John catching one of the best Undulates this year, a big female at 18lb. Graham caught a small Spurr Dog at around 3lb which is good to see. Beware, they have a sharp spurr on the dorsal and anal fins. Nine Congers were caught throughout the tide all 10lb'ish which kept the guys tuned in, along with some really nice Pouting until Graham's second Undulate Ray came along at 15lb, a nicely marked male. Then on the last drop, Des caught our main quarry, a Cod. A great day out with a lively and experienced IOW crew, picked up from Yarmouth.


Saturdays forecast wasn't ideal but with sheltered waters from the strong Easterly blowing along with an ebbing tide, the John Wardropper crew had a comfortable day in Christchurch Bay, with some nice fish too.

First to catch was Charlotte with a 2lb Plaice on a 7/0 pennel rig with single squid plus strips, meant for a Cod. Then Sigrun latched into this well marked 9lb male Undulate Ray, also on a Cod bait.

At slack water Graham caught a Cod on baited feathers before Charlotte chipped in again with a nice Bull Huss and then Adam with the best Bull Huss of the day at 9lb. Dogfish and Pout kept them all busy unhooking and re-baiting. Well, John mainly did the baiting and unhooking, actually. He did his mates proud. I assisted between tea and coffees! John setup all the crew except himself for a decent fish.

We had a plaice drift in the afternoon, after a quiet period at anchor and eventually latched into a 6lb Small Eyed Ray, at the end of the day, for Kat plus a few Pout just before slack water.

Great day out again.




More pictures from Saturday. Adam with a 9lb Bull Huss and Graham with his slack water Cod.






  On Friday the individual crew lads had a good day with perfect weather and four Cod. Richard England catching all four! Richard is shown with the first two. There were a few Congers and some very big Pout and the odd Whiting too.

Peter latched into this 'Cod simulator' a very nice 12lb Thornback Ray. The nice Thornback was released to fight again another day.

Interesting point on this trip was that the Cod all fell to small single squid baits. Black lug and cuttle baits didn't seem to work, although they may have just been a bit too large a bait, for the 5 to 7lb Cod to get their mouths around! Probably ideal ground bait though.

Most Cod going to the same rod often happens and you only wish you had changed tactics when it's too late. My single squid rigs with some day glow beads and lumi squid seemed to do the trick. Still we had a great day with good banter on a flat calm sea.



Thursday evening down (or up) the Solent with Gill engineering lads was a lovely quiet evening with no wind and a clear sky. The fish weren't feeding too hard until it went dark.

Rob caught a 10lb Conger before latching into this well marked male 12lb Undulate Ray, all around slack water. 

Another Conger smaller this time simulated a Bass for Jon, before right at the end of the trip, on the ebb, this Cod took his bait to round the night off nicely.


Tightlines, Les

Sunday 4th October

Well the Cod are in now for sure and a good size for eating too. Yesterday myself on ,White Maiden' and 'Hermit' had two small crews for a friendly competition, sitting within 80 meters of each other we caught six Cod between us from 6lb up to a healthy 12lb. All the Cod are plump well conditioned fish too. They came along with a nice 11.5lb Bull Huss for 90 year old Burt below, helped by Steve. Plus Congers, Tope and Rays, Whiting, some monster Pouting plus Whiting and Poor Cod. It is certainly fishing well.

On Wednesday we had a very brisk Easterly blowing F6/7 but we are well protected in Christchurch Bay from these winds and so a comfortable day was had by the Brimble family with a few nice fish too.

Nothing came easy and they needed some patience and dogged acceptance of the Lesser Spotted variety, that were around in abundance. Robbie caught the best specimen in the form of a 2lb 1oz Plaice while Sarah chipped in with the biggest Ray, a nice Small Eyed at 7lb. Other species were Hounds, Thornbacks, Pout, Poor Cod.

 I have spaces next week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The weather looks great again then, so please text me if I don't answer the phone. Signals are poor around the Island and many mobiles do not work well when switching between 2G, 3G and 4G. The trick, I found when out in the channel, is to manually swap the data setting and make a test call. It's poor software / hardware and we pay a lot of money for it but would still rather be with them than without them.

Tighlines, Les


Sunday 27th September
I cant believe that we are inshore Cod fishing already! The Individuals day trip on Wednesday in a small Solent tide failed to produce any specimens but we had some nice Bream to start with and then following a couple of moves we found a Spotted Ray, Hound, Whiting, Mackerel, plus Pout and Dogs.

Heading back down the Solent in the evening as dusk came on we found Black Bream, an Undulate Ray, Hounds and a Cod making a show. Quite a difference. The Solent fishes well this time of year in the evening. The wind cut us short and we came back early. The ebbing small tide and strong Westerly wind caused havoc as we rode up the anchor rope and swung side to side, tangling lines and losing hooks.

Unfortunately although Thursday was a very nice day I cancelled the trips due to exactly the same conditions forecast as the Wednesday Evening trip. I wasn't going to go through that twice again, or put others through it.

Well as it transpired the Thursday day cancellation was justified but the Evening turned out better than forecast and as I had expected the previous evening. Forecasts are frustrating.


Paul King and friends were my Friday crew and it was a glorious day with some specimen fish too. Greedy Martin somehow trapped the best two Undulate Rays and a Thornback Ray. Pure skill I hear him say, not bad for a first timer. The others all caught Mackerel and some big old Scad. There was also Pout and small Whiting and lots of Dogs. Paul chipped in with another Thornback Ray about 7lb. As most trips, all the Rays were returned.






On Saturday I had a smaller crew of Individuals. We started fishing for Cod and caught Whiting with the best around 1lb 12ozs. There were Scad and Pout too on baited feathers. A move found a nice Plaice for yours truly and a couple of Blondes and a Small Eyed Ray. The only fresh Mackerel of the day accounted for three of these fish plus a Cod for Rod! It was a cracking day out and I enjoyed having a fish myself for a change. Another move deep found a Thornback Ray, also returned. Today's Bass trip was cancelled as the plan was to get well off into the Channel where there was too much wind for the guys.

Tightlines, Les 

Sunday 21st September

Three trips lost to the weather last week and three days holiday watching the Rugby World Cup, so no White Maiden fishing exploits to update you on. I have reliable reports of some good Bass about and early Cod and Whiting are making a show already. The Mackerel are very patchy with just a few remaining inshore. This is a great time for mixed species fishing with some good specimens to be had if we can get to them and a reasonable bait selection / presentation. Fingers crossed for a chance this week.

I have spaces on Saturday on a fantastic forecast and on Wednesday and Thursday during the week. Looking at XCWeather and Wind Guru it looks like we will be fishing an ideal small tide in the Solent midweek, so there's good fishing, for those able to make it.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 13th September

What a great week of fishing we had, the week before last, and just prior to our Padstow Holiday. The Friday before we left for Padstow the John Wardropper crew had a nice day on White Maiden where we tested a mark early on for some Rays, a Conger, a Hound, Pout, Dogs, Tope and Poor Cod. Kat and Garry did well with a nice Undulate Ray kicking us off in good form. It went a bit quiet so we went out deep for a Bass. We didn't hammer them but a couple of nice 3-4lbers were caught to show they were there before Kris latched into this 9lb 8oz Bass on a big whole Scad after further searching and before the tide dropped off. Back on anchor we found more Congers and a Hound and bits before we ran for home.



Trident SAC had a wet start but on a comfortable sea last Saturday that fished well during the early start. Chris showed the way with some nice fish including a double figure Bull Huss just over 10lb and a 12lb Thornback plus others. By the end the lads had caught five Thornbacks and two Spotted Rays plus Congers, Bream and Tope plus Scad, Gurnard and Mackerel at anchor too. I fancied a drift but they preferred the mixed species at anchor. A very enjoyable day out just prior to my holiday.




Not an easy day on Thursday as it started a bit tricky for the beginners amongst the crew on the drift in a bit of wind. So tactics changed and we anchored for some Rays and Bass. The Bass remained illusive but Small Eyed Rays showed up along with a few small Tope and Dogs.

Louise and sons Benji and Gabriel caught their first Rays and Tope, while some of the experienced lads found out what was there easily but the Bass didn't happen.





So we moved deep for this huge 65lb - 70lb Conger. It was well over 65lb but I couldn't see the scales and lift at the same time. The Eel was reported over 70lb. We were close to shore, within 2 miles. Rod Tomms caught the big Eel very carefully on his 20lb Suveran. The Eel was lightly lip hooked with a 3/0 and so I netted it in and weighed it in the net. The hook came out easy. The big fish rolled back into the sea from the net without any harm at all, thanks to a Roger Bayzand / Sea Angler story about 25 years ago that explained that all you need is a very big bag on a large landing net. So that's what I do and it works great! There are no gaffs on 'White Maiden'.




On the Wednesday the Rick Nunn family caught some nice Bass prior to anchoring a bank. Rick caught the best Bass with this 4lb'er while  a few more at 48cms could go home too.

The rest chipped in with Tope and Rays with plenty of Dogs and Mackerel keeping them all busy, all day.



Last week did a bit of fishing with Lee Wicks on 'Emma Kate 2' out from Padstow. We caught a few Pollock on a very nice day. A good experience and a confidence booster as we have some very good fishing in our part of the world and we compare very well. My guess it's the varied depth of water and types of sea bed available to us, around the Isle of Wight, that makes our area special, who knows? I know that it's good for experienced and also beginner anglers if shown the correct tactics, tricks and methods.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 30th August 

Bass at their best. Two good days Bass fishing with some great fish caught, ending a wet and miserable week of cancellations, in spectacular fashion. Yesterday the Micky Evans crew caught some great fish with Bass to 9lb 8oz, Rays, Brill and a Turbot. Tony Ridout tricked the best Bass at 9lb 8oz on live Mackerel and George tricked another of 8lb on Macky strips and Sandeels on two different marks. Young Dave couldn't catch one of the fourteen Bass, he could only manage a Brill and a Turbot! Along with a couple of Rays, caught on the slow drift over slack water, the total catch made for a great days fishing. The Easterly hardly caused a ripple all day. We did get some rain though! The guys did well and released four Bass a tad under 45cm and a Turbot under 41cm, and all the Rays.


 Friday's Individuals trip started by fishing quite hard with no bites at all on the early tide, following our early start. At Slack water we anchored up at a bank which saw a nice couple of Rays and a few Tope. Young Callum took the honours by out fishing the adults all on his own. As often happens in these breezy periods the South Westerly picked up again, more than forecast, to a low end Force 6 and we went back on the drift to finish the day in spectacular fashion. Dean Graimes' best Bass was weighed at 10lb 8oz. A lovely fish.

Hopefully these quality Bass will stay around for a while. They are well spread too, so lets see how it goes next week.


Tightlines, Les



Sunday 23rd August

 I'm feeling sorry for all those New Forest holiday makers, this is horrible weather for August! Between some challening days where wind and rain made things more difficult on the boat, some days were perfectly warm and flat calm.


Yesterdays Saturday regulars Trident SAC had the Red Letter day of the month so far. A cracking day for weather particularly the sun, the temperature and a nice cooling consistent Easterly F2 to 4. Some say fish didn't feed on an East wind, well we proved they do. But note that the pressure was well down, there's a clue! Others were struggling all around but we hit a bit of ground that kept producing fish regularly all day. The guys finishing with twenty seven fish between 5lb and 12lb. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves catching and releasing Tope, Congers and Rays, right through both tides. All were released except for three Thornbacks and some Mackerel for the pan. The best specimen was the first fish a lovely 5lb Spotted Ray for Chris, while the biggest was a 11lb Undulate for Bob, and an 11lb Thornback for John Frith, all these fish were released. What a cracking day!


On Thursday Stuart Aitken and wife Eve fared better than the previous day with less wind and slightly less rain but more mist. Stuart kicked off with a Tope that should have been a Bass, due to the mark and tactics. That was backed up with a couple of cracking Undulate Rays for Stuart caught up-tide on mackerel heads and a nice Small Eyed Ray for Eve. Dogfish plus Mackerel and Scad came regular throughout the day at anchor before the wind got up again for a quick retreat back into Totland Bay for fish and boat cleaning.

After Mondays fantastic weather the rain came along an afternoon SouWesterly F5+ making Totland Bay a comfortable area to finish off the day for the John Wardropper crew on Wednesday. We started deep near a wreck for a couple of Tope with Fletch kicking things off. The anchor dragged unexpectedly, with hardly any tide, luckily away from the wreck, at exactly the wrong time, which didn't help. It was one of those days. Dogfish kept the interest going but the fish were generally saving themselves. Complicated baits like squid stuffed with Sandeel didn't make things happen either. A sustained drift in the heavy rain found more Mackerel and Scad and not the intended Bass and Pollock before our retreat back into Totland as the wind increased to a F6. Here the lads fished well for some Bream, a Hound and a Tub Gurnard. Happy Birthday Dan. The cake was great Helen!

The weather is certainly going to ruin all our fishing plans for the coming week by the look of it. I cant apologise as we Skippers take a big hit on these critical weeks and The Forest need's the rain and that's what make's this area so special to live in.

Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 18th August


It was a good day out on Saturday, although a bit bouncier than predicted, with TOFFS fishing a three methods chasing the Bass. The fish never gave themselves up easily. We tried hard for Bass and enjoyed the chase on a nice day.

Pat caught another lovely 15lb Undulate Ray and another was lost to Chris' braid on the surface but last drop with engines running we saw four lines with three fish on, a 6lb Bass for Pat, a small Blonde for Bryn and a Dogfish for Covo! Other fish caught were Dogs, Scad, Pout and Conger.



Yesterday (Monday) an Individuals trip fished a similar circuit to Saturday only it was a flat calm. The guys and gals fished well for two Small Eyed Rays, two Blonde Rays, two Spotted Rays and three Thornback Rays plus four Tope,three Congers, Scad, Macky a Bream, a Gar but no Bass, although again we tried fairly hard looking for a good Bass. From left to right is Scott with the best Small Eyed at 8lb, Paul with another, Andy with the best Thorny at 12lb and Liam with a 12lb Blonde Ray. All Rays were returned, well done lads.


 Tightlines, Les

Sunday 9th August
Apologies but UK2.net took three days to fix an FTP issue that I had alerted them to on Monday morning while attempting my weekly update upload.

Yesterday the Wayne Edgington crew wanted a bend in the rod so we fished back into a big wreck. Fish came slowly and surely getting bigger towards slack water low. Nearly all chipped in with a Tope and most with a Conger. Gary caught the best Tope at 17lb, while Tony did fantastic to get his 50lb Eel to the net. The afternoon blew up which slightly spoilt proceedings but the lads fished hard to the end in comfortable conditions at Totland Bay.


The day before we went in search of Black Bream to find a couple of Thornback Rays, the best for Keith below, and Gurnards, with this nice Red Gurnard for Tony. where are those Bream! A move out to a deep bank found a few Tope and a Bream but it remained quiet. We then returned to the Bream mark on the flood tide only for Peter to catch this big Conger at 38lb that must have been chased out of a nearby wreck by Dave on White Spirit and his gang of divers.


 The Friday was the best day of the week. Sims and Nick were set up to fish a shallow bank, in a short session, at the start of the flood and caught a few nice fish with this 4lb Bass making a great fight for Nick. He also had two nice Rays while Sims kept the dogfish at bay!


 Wednesday was an Individuals day where we had to search hard to find the fish. The best specimen was Gavs 1lb 9oz Scad. While Peter the German fished well to beat the English lads on weight with an 18lb Conger and a nice 15lb Undulate Ray. Other species were Bream, Gar, Small Eyed Ray, Dogs and Poor Cod. This catamaran sailing past is one of the perks of the job! Tightlines, Les


Sunday 2nd August

 Quick update in pictures, once I had struggled on Thursday to find the fish we hit a good mark for three trips to find a total of twenty three Undulate Rays, all weighed and released!


Wednesdays trip was moved to Thursday and was fairly eventful although fishing not easy on the fishing front. Mackerel however are everywhere! Young Luis showed the way with Tope, a nice Turbot and Thornback, while Dad Duncan caught a well marked Small Eyed.

Wednesday evening was beautiful and the cake even better but the guys struggled a bit with too many Dogfish before a few Bream got things going and a small Ray.





Thursdays short day trip found some good fish. The Undulate Rays were hungry along with Bull Huss and Tope, Tub Gurnard and a few nice Bream.

Alan with the best Undulate Ray at 16lb along with Roy and Bryn were picked as poster boys this trip!






On Friday evening, a rare concession trip for me as I like a pint, was an awesome evening. More Undulates, Tope and Bream for a local crew.

Dave, Alan and Malc, all showing Undulates prior to release.

Plenty of small Tope about.






 Below is yesterdays trip, with a record thirteen Undulate Rays. At moving time the wind got up and it made sense to stay where we were. Hence all the Rays. Steve the l;ast to catch had the best of Twenty Three Undulate Rays caught over two days with a good 16lb'er. Sereeta a nice Brill with James and Mark showing a selection of others. Paul, I didn't get a picture of you again! Sorry mate, unlike you karaoke singing I can save the general public from some things!











Tightlines, Les

Sunday 26th July

Bad weather and a golfing break only allowed for the one evening trip this week. The local Bob and Pat crew worked  hard for Bass, returning most but managing a few sizable keepers.

Mackerel and small Pollock also played along while drifting.

At anchor and into dusk Bob immediately caught the best Undulate Ray of the evening at 11lb. No Tope or weed to worry about on our spot in 90' of water but a nice Bass for Paul kept them going to the final whistle.

Hope this week's weather picks up, but looking OK from Tuesday evening and warming up on Thursday. I have a few spaces on Friday on a shorter trip.

Next years diary is now open. Saturdays are reserved for regulars for the next six weeks or so. I will have summer Sundays and Tuesdays off next year. If you book a midweek trip in December, January, February or March you will get a second date, any time of year, for only £275. That's a saving £60 or about 20%.

Tightlines, Les

Friday 24th July

 Apologies, last week I attempted an update for my reports page, very early Monday morning, only for the Microsoft updates to kill my spare time. So here's what happened last week!


We had a great time Wednesday with two father and son teams. Dylan and Duncan caught big, while Simon and Connor caught specimens. They lured Bass, Tope, Undulate Rays, a stonking Bream and a couple of Turbot making for a good day in perfect weather. Simon, thanks for the Turbot!

On Thursday the Tom Chance half day crew caught Mackerel, Bass and Pollock on the drift and a nice Bass at anchor for Lloyd at around 5lb.

Saturday was mad really. In the morning a small crew caught Bass but all the best ones managed to shake off, with the rest returned as undersixed. We dropped anchor into a load of weed, moved position quickly and then found some good Tope for the lads. Peter Tyrell spent all day helping me on his 82nd Birthday! Happy Birthday again Peter.

On Saturday afternoon we went back out again with Chris' crew of lively lads and eventually found Mackerel and a Pollock in a bouncy sea before anchoring but soon went to the aid of a sinking speed boat with four persons aboard some without life jackets. When found they were sat up to their waists in a swamped boat. They were very, very lucky but only after setting off a flare around twenty minutes after they had sunk which was very strange. There were multiple DSC alarms and chat between the skipper of 'Just Add Water' (seriously) and the coastguard on CH16 but it was not well received. I'd have set a flare off immediately, to raise attention to other vessels in the vicinity. BTW - Hand held VHF DSC radios are not the answer to a quick rescue. They are hardly audible at sea level. If you have one get an extension aerial. Until the flare was set off we were unaware of their close location, about half a mile away. on scene first the 'Sky Rose' rib, dragged them over his gunwale, and the Yarmouth Lifeboat, collected them and immediately rushed them back, as one guy was hypothermic. As we up anchored to assist a very rare three bearded rockling was boated, catch of the day!


On Sunday Micky Evans, Hopp Inn crew had a good start with Bass, the best went 5lb for Phil. We then sat on a bank for a couple of Thornback Rays for Chris both returned, the male Ray had lipstick on; must have come from Pompey way! A Spotted Ray was caught plus Tope and loads of Dogs on the bottom. There were plenty of Macky plus Gars in the surface. At the end of the flood a small pod of Porpoises fished near the boat and could be seen for eight or so minutes, about forty meters away. That always does something for me, fantastic. The wind got up as predicted and we attempted to drift but it was too bouncy to stay safe and we ended going back in earlier than intended. Jeff already had his early shower when a curling wave dumped right on his head as he sat back against the gunwale. Some saw it coming but said nothing, always hilarious (in the summer), sorry Jeff!

Tightlines, Les

Monday 13th July

The fishing has been good this week again along with a bit of breeze to keep things cooler. We can't really complain about the recent weather unless you were due to fish of course! Sunday and Tuesday are cancelled.

On Saturday Trident SAC fished for Macky and caught plenty plus the odd Bass to 3lb. Its nice to drift successfully before moving deep where the odd Tope, Dogs and this beautiful John Dory (for John Frith) took the best fish honours for the week. I have seen John Dorys before and they often drop off but John waited for the net. After a good photo it was released.

Well done John, it's a first for me and 'White Maiden'. It got quite bouncy by 1230 as per the forecast so we came back inside the Needles Light, where it was still bouncy, to find a couple of nice Undulate Rays, the best for Chris, small Bream, more Bass and Dogs prior to an early finish.

On Friday the lads from Chippenham found Mackerel fairly easy to catch. What a relief! Those lovely bait fish have been followed in by the Bass, very nice. The lads caught Bass and Mackerel on feathers to 4lb. Out deep along with Pout, Poor Cod, Dogs and some nice Bream they also caught a few Tope, a nice Turbot for Nick, a nice 14lb Undulate Ray for Colin plus a huge Edible Brown Crab for Paul.



Left is Andy with a typical Tope and Nick with a Turbot. The Turbot was caught on the same combination of sequins and beads that the last one was caught with. I am experimenting a lot with sequins and bead colour combinations. Amazing how many species prefer specific combinations. Tub Gurnards for example definitely prefer my 'saints rigs', a red and a white bead along with a red sequin.

On Monday a half day trip with a local family found twelve year old Luke latched into his first ever fish, a nice 8lb Undulate Ray.

Along with the Ray the guys caught Tub Gurnard, Spotted Ray, Bream, Dogs and small Tope.


Tightlines, Les


Monday 6th July

 Where have all the Mackerel gone? Frustrating, annoying but mostly concerning. That's all I'm saying, except that they are now considered an unethical fish to eat due their rapid decline in numbers. Google to learn more. Anyway bring some for bait next time, hang on that's not very ethical, I mean bring some Blueys!

Yesterday the Bogdan crew had a few fish along with a kennel of dogs but the star was this 16lb 8oz Undulate Ray below, caught on a Mackerel head. At the end of the day four of the six Mackerel provided were unused, it was that sort of day with Vodka preferred to tea or coffee. A small Tope and a Blonde Ray made for a change along with an Edible crab, that fell off! While on Saturday Bream and a nice Bass for Sid at 5lb 4oz, along with Dogs made for a winning combination for Sid below, in Crookham SAC's July boat competition, a small Pout that the Bass wanted and a Bull Huss also marked their score sheet.

On a lovely but hot individuals day last Wednesday, the three guys on the right below, Tony, Richard and Roy found fishing best at the end of the ebb tide, with Bream and Rays coming together. Dogfish were ravenous too.


On Tuesday, Rick Nunn and crew had a cracking day of sunshine with a nice breeze. Mackerel were scarce and the Bream shy. Dogfish were hungry along with this cracking Undulate Ray for Rick, I think we needed some worm for the Plaice and Gurnards. On Monday last week Stephen Taylor and family had the best day as the fishing began to get markedly harder than the previous week. The first two fish were Gurnards and that enabled the comparison picture below between a Grey and a Tub Gurnard. It was like fishing abroad as the sea was so clear with some exotic looking weed in it too. The varieties of Jelly Fish at the moment are unbelievable with more of these compass jelly fish showing along with the Barrel Jelly fish and many smaller ones. This crew were lucky as they could take a few Mackerel home. Stephen shows off the biggest Tub while Matt caught a big Star fish and a nice Plaice, with a smaller Plaice released.



 Tightlines, Les

Tues 29th June

 Some great fish this week in reverse order from today......Alan Jeffrey and LPE crew; Drew with 2lb10oz Plaice, Dave with 10lb Undulate Ray and Alan with Undulate and small Turbot, caught along with Spotted Rays, Thornback Ray, Small Tope, Dogs, Bream, Wrasse and Mackerel. A Lobster let go at the top!


On Saturday Black Swan SAC caught Undulate, Thornback and Spotted Rays, Tope and Dogs. Paul caught this massive 6lb Lobster. Steve right holds the best Undulate Ray while I caught my first ever Grey Gurnard trying to demonstrate catching a Bream!

On Wednesday evening Bob caught the first ever Cuckoo Ray (below) landed aboard White Maiden, while Nick caught the best Plaice this year so far a tad over 3lb. Other fish caught were Bream, Dogs more Plaice and a Dab.


Tuesdays trip, was the best so far this year. The session culminated in seven Undulate Rays the best for Sam at 14.5lb, three Thornback Rays, two Spotted Rays, Tope, Bream and Dogs plus a Tub and a Red Gurnard.  

Other fish caught were a nice 4lb 8oz Bass for Alan plus Pollock and some large ground Mackerel. Nice day.

A massive Allis Shad at 1lb 2oz attacked the static feathers. Unfortunately it was grabbed before my intervention and release was futile due to damaged scales.

Below is Tuesdays Sam, Peter and Alan. 
Tightlines, Les



Tues 22nd June



Soooo busy but here are some pictures.

Brief synopsis; much easier to find fish at the end of this week. Tope are now moving in, following the Mackerel, so watch your fingers! Lots more Bream about and inshore Pollock are a good stamp if you find them.

Thanks to Tony Riddout for showing me how to catch Pollock when they have already been spooked.

Lots of people to thank for a great days fishing this week, so will not name any in particular until my attempted 'wordsmith' update to this post, sometime later this week.


Tight Lines, Les


Tues 16th June


 Quick report in a busy period with big significant birthday celebrations and a short break in Guernsey. Our return flight was cancelled on Friday so we caught the new Condor Ferry to get back in time for Saturdays trip that was eventually cancelled too due to strong winds. Sunday was great though and I too Micky Evans Hopp Inn on a long chase round for nine species but not that many fish. Paul had a Cod on feathers, Tony lured a tail less Undulate Ray on the drift that looked like a good Turbot 20' down and George proved we could catch Bass. There were a few small Pollock and bits. At the end Hounds enjoyed Tony's crabs!   Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 5th June

I cancelled a Bass trip today, partly due to the lack of bait fish plus a sea breeze added to a F4/5 that would have made it very hard work for all. It's been a funny old week, with the Mackerel virtually disappearing!

Two more points of interest, the first; as I drove to the boat on Friday a net was being shot from the banks of Beaulieu River near to the bridge by the Estate team. The first go further down reportedly produced five fish; three Mullet and two Sea Troup at 3lb and 3lb 6oz. The second shot, partially witnessed by me, found nothing! While another net set along Lymington sedges last week, was reported as bulging with so many big Hounds, guessed at over 100, the net had to be cut, to manage them and to set them free. Only four perished, so a good job by the attentive fishermen.

On Wednesday the Smugglers Inn had a bright and breezy day that found us deep off Sowley catching six Hounds to around 11lb plus Dogs. Dave is holding one for the camera but it was Landlord Brendon that connected with most of them. We then moved to Alum Bay, for guess what, more Hounds, and to Brendon's rod again! He even managed one on Mackerel strip! Then with the breeze still puffing we eased around the Light to find about twenty or so Pollock and a couple of Mackerel to finish off a reasonable day of fishing, with a good crowd.
On Thursday I over did it but the results were interesting. During the day a group of individuals started over a wreck for the first fish of the day, another Cod on Mackerel feathers for Clive. Then a move out to a bank found a solitary small but sizable Bass, also to Clive, plus a couple of Mackerel and a Scad. A move out to a deeper wreck found nothing. Back inshore, on the hook, Rick caught our first Red Gurnard of the year. There was a nice 10lb Thornback for Paul and a 15lb Tope to Richard that went ballistic before tangling others, chomping through, then head butting my new engine! We next drifted another bank and some small reefs for a few Pollock. The day was a test, covering 45 miles, and trying too hard maybe but it was a nice day all the same. In the evening I was back out with Dave and friends for a 'pairs comp'. A Pollock was caught first drop but were scarce, next stop was all Dogs, so it was back near to the shore fishing into the dark for a few Bream, a Hound and 3lb Bass for Craig. These species livened it up a bit between the Pout and Dogs. The sea temperature should start to rise soon and I am sure we will see things change then.    Tightlines, Les

Monday 1st June

Above is Steve with Saturdays best of three Smoothound to 12lb caught by the Trident SAC while Chris shows a 4lb Bull Huss. These were part of a good species haul on a steady but blustery day. Other species recorded were Bream, Pout, Pollock, Thornback Ray, Conger Eel, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Mackerel and a lively Cuttlefish!

Sunday's Lonis Bream comp was cancelled, as was the Friday half day trip due to the gale force SW winds.

On Thursday the Bish crew fished down the Solent, on another blustery day but a small tide with very little weed. Hounds preferred squid and worm and there were about eight good fish caught to 13lb. At the start of the flood three Rays were caught in succession with Harry (right) catching the best specimen a 4lb plus well marked Spotted Ray. All the Rays and Hounds were released. Other species caught were a Bream, Mackerel, Pout and Dogs.

On Wednesday evening the increasing wind was against us really but we shot out for a drift to find twenty two Pollock for the Bob and Pat crew before returning to the Solent for a breezy evening, where dogfish were the only feeding fish, and before an early bath

On Wednesday afternoon an Individuals trip started well with a drift for Mackerel only for Kieran (below left) to catch his first ever fish a nice plump Cod of 6lb. All the others chipped in with good sized Pollock, before anchoring. Fishing a small reef Matt took the lead catching Bream with Ken (below right) expertly luring the best Smoothound on crab that weighed in at 14lb. All hounds were released.  Tightlines, Les


Monday 26th May


A busy weekend looking for fish inshore that started well with the Hopp Inn on Saturday. Mackerel obliged first thing on the 7am start in the Bay.

Next stop we found twenty two Bream to 3lb 2oz with Paul and Tony catching the lions share and Tony the best, making for a good start. Dave chipped in with a lovely marked 14lb Undulate Ray.

We moved when things went very quiet for an afternoon on Pout and Dogs where better fish should have been.





On Sunday a family half day found the biggest Mackerel caught by Migi weighed in at 1lb 6oz, a whopper! Migi was greedy by catching our only Hound on a hardback while Lily caught a Bream that she couldn't touch. Mackerel are showing, so that helped but it was a quiet short spell of fishing.




On Monday Mark Bateman and friends found Mackerel straight away and we headed out 5 miles to a nice bank. First drop was a Thornback for Rich. The guys worked hard for three Thornbacks in all to 10lb, plus Mackerel, Dogs a Gar, a Plaice and a couple of Bream.

The highlight of the day was Simons first ever fish a double figure Thornback Ray caught on the drift. It should have been a Turbot!

Well fished lads on a hard day inshore. It wasn't for the lack of bait options. Better luck next time.


 Tightlines, Les

Monday 18th May

We had some quality fish this week with specimen Black Bream and Smoothounds. On Friday Kev and Duncan teamed up to beat a 16lb Hound caught on crab. Tom shows his best Bream at 3lb 8oz. Andy eventually got one of his three Hounds in the boat with a 12lb'er. The lads returned quality Bream and all the Hounds, brilliant!  

Another good trip this week was with Rick Nunn and friends on Wednesday. We started after lunch and finished in a spectacular sunset. The Bream fed well, Plaice fed on the drift as well as a Thornback Ray! Nice Pollock were numerous along with some Mackerel for a change. It was one of those trips where everything went to plan and ran like clockwork. It helps when the fishing marks are quiet midweek and the weather does not dictate where and what we can do. Ricks Bream went a tad over 3lb but all were over 2lb.

In contrast a small crew on Monday evening had horrible weather with wind over tide throughout and 100m of fog from the start! It did clear however before dark. Guy and John battled on for a few species against the odds with Johns Thornback Ray, the best and biggest fish. Also caught were small Bream, Dogs and Pout. Well stuck to it, all the same.


On Tuesday the Environment Agency organised by Cormac had been rearranged for an early start due to the wind forecast showing a blow around 1400. The targeted Tope never showed up but Richard caught the first octopus to come aboard 'White Maiden'. We also caught a Cod amongst, a few Bream and Hounds, out deep. It was a funny old day but good fun. At the end Ian caught the first Blonde Ray I have ever seen from the Solent!

Crookham SAC on Saturday was not an easy day. A swell plus chop from the North West, wind over tide, created a sloppy sea, but the club stood up well for a few species in their comp. The big Black Bream seemed to have switched off. However John Skeggs on 'Last Laugh', came along later with a group that laid down lots of ground bait to attract 35 quality Bream to 4lb 8oz! They were only 100m away from us! We certainly gave it enough time before going to search for a big Hound in deeper water. David caught this heavily pregnant 13lb Smoothound, right at the end, just as the flood tide was getting away. Other species on the day were a Conger, a nice Undulate Ray for Sid, Dogs, Pout, Bream, Gar, Tom Pot Blenny, Ballan Wrasse and Corkwing Wrasse plus an edible crab.         

Tightlines, Les

Monday 11th May


The Hounds are in. Chris caught the best one at 11lb this weekend on Saturday, in a fresh SW, fairly shallow in the Solent on a strip of Mackerel intended for Bream! Just goes to show. TOFFS did well in the stiff breeze and returned four Hounds, Bream, Garfish plus the odd Dog. On Sunday Jon Neal and friends caught a few species in the shape of the first Tope of the year for Marcus (squid) , a couple of Hounds (squid and peeler crab) for Jon, Thornback and Small Eyed Rays (Sandeels) for Jon and Neal, plus a Whiting, Pout and Dogs.

Tightlines, Les.

Saturday 2nd May

Both trips cancelled this week due to unsuitable conditions. Annoying, frustrating but part and parcel of sea angling, particularly from the boats. Hopefully the forecast will improve. I have a couple of mid-week dates available (Thursday and Friday) after the May Bank Holiday. Note too that my next available Saturday is now at the end of September but there are some summer Sundays left but they will get booked up so be warned. Meanwhile the boat is running great on her new engines and we are well prepared and ready to go. Plaice, Pollock, Bass and Bream plus Hounds and Rays are all on our target list.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 26th April

Yesterday the New Zealand and South African Tim Evans Crew went for the 'big fish'. Early in the day and on the drift we found the first Mackerel of the year and in one drift found 15 Pollock to 3lb. Subsequent drifts probably indicated that we scared the crap out of them or we had caught them all! A move further into the Channel found a few Mackerel and another Pollock.

At anchor in 112', on the first drop, a Smoothound fancied Squid and Mackerel and after that the dogfish homed in on us. The final result another forty odd Dogfish. It was an enjoyable day with a great group of lads.

On Thursday I crewed for Jeff Semple on Lazy Daze, as we teamed up with Keith Woodnutt on Jack Black, a big rib. We were the start boat while they were the safety boat. I started all 16 Dragon Boat races in the river Medina. After we had a few beers with some of the lads from Boyzone, great time.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 19th April


On Wednesday evening the Bob and Pat crew drifted a net strewn area off Barton for Plaice, only to catch a single Whiting. We then anchored for a few fish but it was quiet on a warm flat calm evening. In the dark we found a couple of Rays, Pout and Dogs. Thursday fished better for a small individuals trip with a couple of Plaice (Alan above left), two Thornback Rays, a Dab, a Small Eyed Ray (Paul right), a Spotted Ray plus Dogs, pin Whiting and Pout. One Thornback for Paul left, had more thorns on its belly than its back! On Friday with another small individuals (below right) crew we fished the Plaice marks again, had a move, then went back, for six Plaice and lots of small Pout, a few Whiting, Dogs and a Spotted Ray.


On Friday the Colin Butson crew, group above lefty, stayed over in Lymington in preparation for the brisk near gale on the Saturday! As it happened they shook off a few hangovers and fished well but the fishing was very hard and pretty much everything just wasn't interested at all and similar to other reports. The cold Easterly only gave up a few Plaice, marauding small Pout and a couple of Dogs. It certainly wasn't for the want of trying.

While Sunday (top second left to right, Andy, Chas and Steve) turned out to be the best fishing day of the week on the Plaice. This individuals crew caught nine Plaice to 2lb plus a Dab, a small Hound, Dogs, Pout and Whiting. We moved out for Rays at slack water to find a spotted Ray, another Hound, too many dogs and a Wrasse. We never tried for a Bream but there were a few about today if you went further West.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 12th April

Saturday was dashed by the updated forecast on Friday evening. If I had an earlier call from Chris of Trident SAC we would have gone but I kept sensible and didn't let my heart (full of 'new engines') rule my head. Those that did go sheltered in the Solent until the front went through. Some then moved West and all those boats caught Plaice along with a few Dabs some Hounds plus Rays during the afternoon.

Yesterday I picked up the Lee Frampton IOW crew from Yarmouth on a forecast that worsened overnight to a SW F6, which kept us in the Solent all day. The wind was on the nose and the sunshine was lovely. Ideal conditions for the anglers. It was slow but there were five species caught by the end of play with a few Whiting, Pout and Dogs plus a tail wrapped Hound and a nice Bream at 2lb 8oz for Des. More Plaice were caught to the West so they will be on everyone's list this week.

I am staggered just how well 'White Maiden' runs on these two new Yamaha F70A's. Who'd have thought I would get such a big improvement in speed and control with just an extra 10hp per engine? I had no preconceived expectations so I am gob smacked. Anyway back to the fishing. Plaice and early Bream will be our target species this week and during coming weekend on the bigger tides. White Maiden spaces and dates are available as shown above or see my diary for more detail.

Tightlines, Les

Friday 10th April

Quick update. I'm back and up and running again on the brand new Yamaha 4 stroke F70A's. The engines were fitted by BHG over the last couple of days and BHG did a fantastic job, experiencing one or two hitches that were easily remedied by Big Sam in an extremely professional way. Thanks to Dave, Paul, Tony, Big Sam, Jordan, Del and Brian. All these guys and no doubt some others had a hand in my re-engine job (big for me). They have a great team at BHG.  The outboards have only done their first hour but are running very well and much better than I had expected on my original custom props. Here's looking forward to my weekend Charters.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 4th April

With all the hard work and preparation completed on 'White Maiden' before we went away, BHG are now primed to fit my new engines early next week. This will be followed quickly by a re-launch and sea trial's. Here's looking forward to the new Spring season, can't wait.

Well that's my holiday over for another year! What a great time was had by all on the P&O ship 'Azura', hoping Caribbean Islands before crossing the North Atlantic on what felt like a flat calm. We had a F7 one day, on a 4 meter swell, with 40+ Knots of apparent wind on the bow and over the upper decks but it was hard to believe. The huge 115,000 tonne ship hardly moved! Unfortunately our Azores fishing trip was cancelled due to a lumpy sea (for a small boat) but our skipper took us on a personal 4x4 Jeep tour instead, fantastic.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 15th March

Mostly this time of year it's all hard work on the boats. All is is going very well on White Maiden with lots of odd jobs 'work in progress'. There's a lot more scrubbing, deep cleaning and polishing required. I know now that I need to eat more fruit and spinach! With having my weekends back again for a short period its great being able to watch some local Fawley RFC rugby again and of course there's the six nations on the box. It's nice having a couple more beers too!

I would be targeting Rays and Spurs deep out at six to ten miles on the small tides and be looking for a spring Plaice and Codling inshore on the bigger tides. The Rays would have to go back as they are ready to drop their purses. Plaice fishing is really just to prove they are there as they are spawning too and any caught will be very thin and not worth eating. There should be a few Codling about if we get a spring run, so it's worth a two hour fish for them at some point in the day, with squid strip and black lug, as a tester.

Happy Mothers Day, to all the Mum's and Tightlines to all, Les.

Saturday 28th February

Just one Charter this week, due to strong winds. Yesterday I looked after a group that spend most of their time surveying boats all over the world. Although a late start we had another stunning winters day that was enjoyed by all on a comfortable but building sea. Michael caught a cracking 14lb Thornback Ray (released) and a tasty 4lb 2oz Codling. The others chipped in with a Spotted Ray, two Dogfish and three small Whiting. It was not the best day's fishing by far. We finished off in the Solent, deep off Sowley, in perfect conditions at the end of a small flooding tide for no bites at all. So we proved that Cod are around still but missed out on size and numbers.

Looking at the forecast I think that's it before my annual maintenance period, chosen to be March this year.

If I have anything to share I will.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 21st February


It's been a quiet week with one trip last Sunday with a crew of ex-colleagues from NICE Systems. We set off after the safety brief down the river and out into the Solent only to learn we were two boxes of squid short of a full bait quota. So, a quick U-turn and a visit to our very handy Nick Cox Chandlers at the Yacht Haven, quickly resolved our predicament. Flying out with the tide to six miles we soon got into some fish with a Blonde Ray and two Congers coming on the first drop to three of the five rods. The day continued lively on the Conger front in a flat calm sea with warm sunshine. This was a truly stunning winter mid-February day. We started deep on a bank where Mikes best Conger went 44lb, weighed and released, with Clive latching into a 37lb'er. We moved at slack water out to a wreck in 130' to catch a Skate and a couple more Eels in a quieter flood tide. A couple of charter colleagues tested the wrecks further off to find a few Pollock in a gin clear mid-channel. The best weighing 15lb. A mate fishing solo West of us caught similar to us plus a 4lb and a 6lb Cod (ling) on squid and black lug. On Saturday another mate caught five Codling up the Solent, on squid strips up-tiding, proving they are still there! There's been a few Spur Dogs caught if you are in the right spot at the right time and you have a suitable heavy trace to resist their razor sharp teeth.

What's most remarkable is that we are catching 40lb plus Congers regular inshore and around banks and in gullies but generally clean ground. So they are on the hunt for food, forcing them out of their normal snaggy summer lairs. Another noticeable change this year is the lack of large Pouting that we normally get on the run up to Christmas. The Whiting were quality and Cod patchy but all in all its been a good winter.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 14th February
What a fantastic quiet spell of weather for February. Particularly when compared with 2014!

Last Sunday the Exbury crew fished hard for a Cod with no luck before going deeper for two Thornbacks, a Blonde of 17lb for Glenn and eight Congers to 30lb. The flat sea, sun and some bigger fish made for a great day out this time of year. All were released and kicked strongly to fight again. In contrast on Monday we fished through a drab freezing cold morning only for the sun to make a show on the way back! After an early quiet spell culminating in a 5lb Hound and a few dogs inshore, we drifted a wreck for no bites out at nine miles. We fished the same bank as the previous day for a Conger and three lost fish. Back in the car park, one of my crew was still loading his car after a chat with a dinghy angler who'd caught two fish all day; a 30lb Cod and a 2lb Codling, both on single squid baits ! So the 'Nodders' are still there!

On Thursday we headed straight to a deep bank in a smooth sea. The Congers came out to play in the middle to end of our shorter session with five boated and a couple lost after a slow start. The biggest for Pete from Devizes weighed 26lb while a close second for another Pete went 25lb. All were released to fight again.

The sizable Whiting have now moved off leaving lots of pin Whiting inshore. Out at six to twelve miles offshore we can expect Congers and Blondes plus the odd Spurdog, Cod and Bass.

If the weather is superb next week I plan fishing six miles plus South into a bank or a wreck. Inshore we can plan a flounder or bird watching sortie around the outer sedges. Just give me a call. Its got to be a very good forecast for the fishing in these big tides,

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 7th February

Today's Saturday charter was cancelled but Sunday and Monday are looking good. Last week Rob of the EA booked a combination of mid week dates that ensured they would get out. The plan worked. Monday the best day of the week was very cold but very comfortable. Early on a Codling, some small Whiting and Dogs over the slack high water and the start of the ebb was our lot. We gave the two mile line a good go with plenty of time and bait before heading out deeper in the middle of the ebb tide. More bites plus a Hound for Adam straight away got us going again. Small stuff wrecked big baits down to slack water low. Two nice Pouting made my day and the guys fished hard to the last. Plenty of Tea, Coffee and a round of sausages kept them going but it was quiet and now I wish I had pushed off another two miles.

This week I started Beta testing the new Navionics Bathymetric Charts for Garmin. First impression is that most of the user collected sonar data has been provided by cross channel traffic. Interesting angling marks inshore but South of the Island from the Needles down to St Catherine's, for example 'Freshwater Reef' or 'The Ridges' (referenced different on the Island) is very basic and contradictory to my existing electronic chart. See example above from my mark at 4 miles South, where my existing and new merged charts show contour depth lines crossing! Early feedback is that I'd rather have the extra information than not. The charts merged fine after simply plugging in the new SD memory card. I do loose a couple of Garmin 'gimmicky chart features' and will feed all this back but I don't use those features anyway.

For the really keen I have a space on a good forecast on Sunday and 3 spaces on Monday. There's a few spaces on Friday too. The rest of the week has small tides and no wind and I'm ready to go if you are.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 31st January
Last Saturday we got out on a sea that was suitable for long serving experienced Trident SAC. The guys were all togged up with floatation suits and keen to get at the fish. We were one of two boats fishing the Needles Light area in the first few hours. The big flooding tide sat 'White Maiden' with the wind and although a moderate sea it was surprisingly comfortable. From 1130 the sea flattened off nicely as promised but then a stiff 20 knot North West breeze kept us on our toes. The first hour is always a test of fish and man. The guys fished well, with Roy catching what looked like a 20lb Undulate. She only weighed a tad over 17lb which was a surprise. A physically huge protected Undulate Ray. After removing the leaches she swam away strongly. Dogs continued to block hooks mixed with a few Whiting to 2lb. The start of the ebb gave up a nice Spotted Ray.  A beautiful winters day.

On Sunday I hosted John and Kat Wardropper and friends. They are a keen and quick to learn crew of local enthusiasts that appreciate the finer taste of fresh fish. Well the guys and gals fished really well in the big flooding tide. Early on John caught a nice 3lb 9oz Whiting to show the way and tease the rest. Through the main flooding tide dogfish made for some good heavy lead retrieval practice before the end of the tide when the Whiting, although smaller, came on the feed. Kat nailed the biggest fish, a strap Conger, on Hokkais. It was a very comfy sea at the start which built gradually from 1pm but they stuck to their fishing task really well and like Saturday deserved a bigger share of the better fish. With the sea temperature starting to drop to a January norm of 7 to 8 degrees inshore we will aim to get further off on a settled forecast to fish the banks for Spurdogs, Congers, Bass, Blondes and Rays.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 24th January



What a mixed bag of trips this week. Thursdays short two boat competition with ATR Winchester found two good fish in the huge tide, amongst the Whiting, Pout and Dogs. Ian above fishing on 'White Maiden' caught and released this cracking 'in-pup' Bull Huss that weighed a hefty 14lb. One of Johns crew on 'Last Laugh' caught a cracking 20lb Cod to win the biggest fish trophy.

On Wednesday an Individuals crew started outside the Light in an uncomfortable beam on sea for a few fish including a Bass, a 20lb Conger and some reasonable Whiting, Pout, Dogs and Poor Cod before the sea got to 50% of the anglers. Common sense prevailed and we ducked back inside Alum Bay for a well marked Spotted Ray for Bob and a nice plump Codling for John plus lots of Dogs.

On Tuesday David huddled in the cab keeping me company for the whole trip wrapped in a sleeping bag rather than disappoint his two 'not so young lads' ;-). One son fished right through wearing shorts in a good match type competition with his brother, who had only landed at Heathrow that morning at 6am, in from New Zealand. It was very cold day but a very sociable short session! The two brothers laughed all the way through and recorded an Edible (Brown) Crab each, a couple of Whiting and 15 or so Dogfish, a well matched competition.

On Monday we had arguably the best day of the week. I was experimenting with long distance floated balloons in the ideal tide. We tried hard for a Ray and a Conger at 2 miles and 3 miles plus we caught the occasional nice Whiting but compared to the previous day, it was an anti-climax but what a cracking January day.

 Tightlines, Les

Sunday 18th January

Hoorah, today we got out for the first time in 13 days! The fishing was pretty good with the first five fish a Codling, an 18lb Undulate Ray for Bogdan (left), a 5lb Spotted Ray, Whiting and Dogfish, all different species. A reasonable indication of things to come? They continued to catch two more Whiting at 4lb like the one held up by Chris (middle) and another Undulate Ray, the second smaller at 15lb held by Lucas (right), plus more Congers and good Whiting made it a good day. There were lot's of dogfish to feed and release but that's the game. Rumour has it that Arthur Savage found a 30lb Cod on his second mark just inside us. Cotty found three small ones for his crew.


New Engines

That's it, too much time thinking about it and too good a deal to ignore from BHG with their London Boat Show offer!  I'm going to re-engine 'White Maiden' with brand new, lighter but more powerful Yamaha 4 Stroke F70's. The new lightweight F70's are the lightest, most powerful 4-stroke in its class. For cleaner performance, maximum fuel efficiency and easy starting, the powerful 16-valve SOHC engine features EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) and Yamaha's unique PrimeStart™ system. They have 'High Thrust' gear boxes for 'getting out the hole' quickly, same as I already have. They are a tad lighter than my FT60's. They are compatible with my existing Yamaha Digital Network Gauges. So I have made a good timely decision and not one easy to make, particularly when she runs so well. But they will soon be seven years old and I don't want to let anyone down. The weather already interferes enough.

Tightines, Les

Saturday 10th January

While strong winds have kept us on our moorings for most of the week the Whiting are at their best now. Absolute quality with fish up around 4lb and six weeks later than usual, whatever usual means now! It seems that the Autumn has been pushed forward. The sea temperature in the Channel is still up at 12 degrees Centigrade.

Last Sunday we managed to get out. The Hopp Inn caught enough Congers and Whiting but missed a Cod. Two of the best Congers fell to baits presented by Phil and Tony that would have pushed the scales down to about 30lb, had we swung them in. Another eight Eels caught ranged from 8lb to 15lb. The best weighed-in Whiting fell to Chris at 3lb 12oz but others were close and may have been bigger. Left is a picture of Chris and right of Jeff who caught two fish on one bait. On Monday I tested the boat and Sowley on the ebb tide. No Cod but lots of 12oz to 14oz Whiting jumping on the baits. We had a dozen in a short session. The flood tide gave up two Codling to another boat in the morning.

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 3rd 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.

On Friday 2nd Rob Guppy and crew had a late start while a front blew through and we fished the Solent after the wind shifted to the North West. Well there were plenty of fish, all 10 to 14oz Whiting and lots of them. No Cod although everything was right, so will give it another go before deciding they have gone deeper.

You may have noted my website offline on 30th and 31st December, 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.

Tightlines, and again Happy New Year,


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