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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Saturday 7th November
Another good week of three trips, all with Cod, Whiting, Pout, Dogs, Rays
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
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
Tipping off using Whiting skin, picked out the biggest Whiting again.
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
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
British Cod Championships, Lymington - Wednesday
18th and Thursday 19th November - Boats positions are drawn -
Application Forms at:
IOW Cod Competition - 27th December Yarmouth - Lymington -
Biggest three Cod and three Whiting Competition.
Now booked for this
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Dave, Alan and Malc, all showing Undulates prior to
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!
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
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
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%.
Friday 24th July
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
Monday 6th July
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
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
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.
Tues 29th June
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Well fished lads on a hard day inshore. It wasn't for the
lack of bait options. Better luck next time.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
lively on the Conger front in a flat calm sea with warm sunshine. This was a
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.
Saturday 14th February
a fantastic quiet spell of weather for February. Particularly when compared
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!
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday 10th January
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.
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,