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 WEEKLY CATCH REPORTS 2016
Monday 2nd January 

               
 

December was a fantastic month of weather for us down South. The Christmas week carried on the trend. Bryn is first up with a nice Thornback from Thursdays TOFFS trip. Bryn also beat a big Eel to the boat, where it nearly pulled my shoulder out while trying to T-bar it off!

The next day was very foggy on the way out and on the way back. Crookham SAC found the Whiting feeding better with some nice ones amongst the twenty caught. Richard above shows a 3lb'er, David had the best one weighed at 3lb 4oz and Keith with the first Whiting of the day, as the Needles came into view. David then relaxed after reeling in his nice Undulate Ray. Congers, another Ray, Dogs and Pout also kept the competition sheet lively.

Below is another picture of White Maiden 2. She is still sporting her original name that was changed that afternoon. It has been non-stop, I can tell you.

I have the change of owner Survey on Tuesday and so there are still a few jobs to do. So that's it for now. Another brief update.

 

Happy New Year and Tight Lines as always, Les

  

Tuesday 20th December
 
    

Above right is Dave from the Sunday before last with a specimen Undulate Ray. Dave caught the Ray along with five or six Congers, for a busy day. Next is a picture of myself with a large bottle of Bison Beer kindly sent by Garry of Loni's Fishing Tackle, New Milton. This will be empty very shortly! Next is Ian and Pat with Bass from Wednesday's evening trip, last week. We fished a massive tide with a big full moon and the lads witnessed a really stunning winters evening on the Solent, just off Park Shore.

Below is Rob with his Conger caught during the Highfield Fire Fighters trip from last Thursday. One fella came straight from the big Services fire at Junction 6 on the M25. Next is Russell with one of the best Conger caught on Saturday during his first ever charter trip. Then there is George with a nice double figure Thornback from Sundays trip. This Ray was a bit odd, as nearly everything, bar one more Thornback Ray were all Conger Eels. We estimated the lads boated well over 35 Eels at an average of around 18lb. So that was around 600lb of fish hauled up and released during the day. The Cod as you can see from the last four trips pictures are playing hard to get, although there are a few around. There are spaces on Thursdays trip if anyone fancies a fish down the Western Solent.

 

Tight lines and a very Merry Christmas to all White Maiden anglers and friends. Les Jones

Saturday 10th December

                     

I have been very busy with a new boat purchase over the last two weeks along with some fishing trips too. Note that 'White Maiden' is still the boat that we will be fishing on until changeover time, early in January. On Wednesday my new boat 'Emma Jayne' was delivered by the owner due to poor weather forecasts and limited travel options. After mooring up and a quick lunch in the Haven Bistro, I took the owner/skipper and mate back to Itchenor, near Selsey. 'Emma Jayne' is soon to be renamed 'White Maiden II'. 'White Maiden II' is now tucked up on a winter berth while I get all the necessary changeover steps put in place. I now need a few practice trips as she is a lot heavier, much higher on the water, more powerful and a bit longer. So on Thursday, after insuring her, I had a test drive in the Solent with Hugh as crew, followed by some close quarter manoeuvres. Hugh also knows the Raymarine Navigation Systems very well too, so we had a really good play. I really appreciated his help. This short handling session resulted in a perfect berthing, without a touch on either side. Very relieved and a bit more relaxed now.

The fishing has been great on some days but certainly not consistent. Last week the lads did well with Ken and his 16lb Cod, Alan with his 9lb Bass and Wee Man with his 3lb Whiting. On this trip there were also three Thornback Rays and about fifteen Congers to 25lb.

The next day within 100 meters of the Wednesday trip but a meter deeper we had the same catch less the Cod, Bass and large Whiting... frustrating. Then on Monday this week the fishing was harder again off the Needles with a few Eels, Whiting and Pout plus dogs. A couple of nice Cod were caught nearby but not to our baits. On Friday we had a short Solent trip for some decent Whiting plus Pout, a small Bull Huss and Dogs but not 'yer man'!

'White Maiden' is now on the market and the advert can be seen at http://www.findafishingboat.com/bwseacat/ad-82645

Tightlines, Les.     

Monday 28th November

 

The British Cod Championships - Wednesday 23 Nov.

Ten boats left Lymington on Wednesday and managed to be ready for a 0900 start South of the Needles. We fished the first day in a comfortable sea but the second day was cancelled due to a 'near gale', a F7 from the North East.

Eight Cod were caught on seven boats. Kev Sampson on Wight Osprey was the top skipper with two Cod and the biggest caught by Ian Selby at 14lb to earn a respectable 1000. Each Cod was also worth 100 in prize money plus an Abu reel for the biggest on each boat. Not a bad payday for Ian.

Left is Pete Carnham who won the White Maiden boat prize, a 100 cheque for the most Cod, one, plus a reel. Two private boats fishing the same times not far away both  boated Cod over 26lb!  The Congers were a pest.

On Saturday the crew of individuals on White Maiden caught mainly Congers plus a few Whiting, Pout and Dogs plus a couple of Thornback Rays. Bob on the right is showing the best of two, at about 8lb, both released.   

 

Today we ran down the Solent to dodge a pending F6 that never blew. The fishing was OK but slow. The guys caught a couple of nice Undulate Rays, the first caught by Woody, left at 14lb and then Tony chipped in with the biggest fish of the day, at 16lb, both were released.

Phil caught a small conger and there were pout, dogs and the odd whiting but I now wish we had gone out to the Needles.

Tomorrow I'm off to inspect the hull of another boat. This is the next stage of my plan to upgrade to a bigger vessel, a lovely BWSeaCat SPEED 11. I will share news as I confirm proceedings.

As sad as it will be to see her go, 'White Maiden' is now up for sale. Please see the advert below if you know of anyone that could give her a good berth.

http://www.findafishingboat.com/bwseacat/ad-82645

Tightlines, Les

 


Monday 14th and 21st November

Not so many trips over the last two weeks but I have been very busy all the same. First up is Sean and his 19lb White Maiden Record Turbot. It is a cracking fish and he left it for the skipper! It's really nice to have it packed up in the freezer, cheers Sean, really appreciated that. The Tuesday guys had Bass and Whiting for their BBQ and the Turbot needed to be cleaned and stored. The army guys on a days leave couldn't do that. Also pictured is Nathan with the first Bass of the day and John with one of the millions of Whiting. John lost a monster fish on a big bait.

Then there is me with a nice Cod, also destined for the freezer, caught on Sunday last week. Note all of these better fish were caught on a Whiting bait!

      

 Below is Mitch Jones who caught the first Cod on Sunday at 11lb and in great condition. It took traditional double squid. Next is Steve is showing his 19lb Undulate Ray. A second boat record within a week or so. This big ray also took a Whiting bait. Below right is Andrew with one of the Solent (false Cod) Congers caught this Saturday just gone.

        

 Phil below is showing another rare fish for these inshore waters a 5lb Ling, caught on Monday. While Jeff showed the rest how to do it with a Bass. Steve chipped in with a Plaice on the turn that fell to a day glow muppet and black lug. Cod never showed up but dogfish and Whiting were ravenous in the 5 meter tide!

                          

I will hopefully have some great news to share with all my customers very soon. Keep an eye out on my weekly updates.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 7th November

           

     

A cold winter's week of fishing in pictures only,........... for now.

Me with a 15.5lb Pollock on Tuesday, Kevin Witt with an 11.5lb Cod from Saturday and Steve Miller who caught everything but a Cod on Thursday!

I have some job's to do so will catch up with more words tonight.

I'm assembling a crew for Tuesday (tomorrow) as its a good forecast, sod golf!

Tightlines, Les

2016 Cod Championships entry deadline is about to expire end of this week, please call Kevin Duell on 07843 208597.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 30th October

                                  

 Amazingly this week we found Mackerel on all three Needles trips, erm its nearly November! Matt above is with his small but target species Cod, James with a bonus Bass and Dave with a decent 14lb Undulate Ray. These were the stars of the show. All three pictures are from Saturday's trip as the quiet and benign conditions and high pressure kept the 'fishing' officially hard all week. There was the odd Hound and decent Whiting plus lots of Dogs too.

The day before on White Maiden, a good crew found two 17lb Congers, two Thornbacks, two Spotted Rays and a couple of Smoothounds and too many dogfish, Andy caught 17 dogfish on his own! Note, not one Pout, Whiting or Cod! Now that has to be caused by high pressure surely?? On the Wednesday it was similar again, with quiet conditions only giving up Rays and Dogs, along with the Mackerel odd hound, tiny Congers and a few Whiting and Pout.

Monday was the hardest as we explored the Western Solent. We probably had too many moves in the SE 5/6. We caught a couple of Hounds, plus Pout and Dogs but the best fish was Steve's Whiting just shy of 2lb. Glen Greaves in his boat called 'EI', close to our fourth and last mark, caught a nice Cod of 21lb, at the end of the tide.

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 23rd October

 What a fabulous week on the water. Saturday was a cracker again with again some good fish too. Steve caught the first Cod, surprisingly on a freshly caught mackerel, that had the fillets off, so head and bones, quite amazing. Tom caught his lovely Undulate Ray on a poor cod bait while Lee caught his Cod more traditionally on squid. Other fish were Rays and Congers plus Whiting, Pout and Dogs.

                      

  Friday with the Keith Peto crew started as the coldest so far but ended up in a warmish sun and a decent catch. Peter nailed the first Cod of the year for White Maiden at 7lb. Ruben soon beat that with one just short of 13lb and his first ever. Peter then followed that with a 6.5lb Bass. Whiting were abundant, along with Pout and Dogfish. Other species were Congers, Hounds and Rays.

                                            

  Thursday was a lovely day and fish included everything but a Cod with Whiting, Conger, Thornbacks, Hounds, Pout, Dogs, Mackerel. While Wednesday evening was a cracking evening that completely defied the forecast with hardly a breath of wind. Alan caught one of the best Thornbacks of the year with a 14lb crackert in 10' of water. Other species were small Hounds, Bass, an Undulate Ray and lots of bait bashing Pout.

         

 Tightlines, Les

Monday 17th October

 

Only one trip last week due to strong winds and, by the weekend, plus huge tides. On Friday TOFFS had the calm slot with an Easterly 4/5 on a ebbing tide and took advantage of the small congers and marauding dogfish, exactly NOT what we wanted. I was fishing too due a small crew and a pending birthday. Within minutes of the drop our pennel rigs were being chewed and often a bait blocking doggie would be hanging in there until retrieval! If you had a small conger too that would provide some hope but in the end I lost patience, after two double hook up's of both species! We moved about 5 miles for the last two hours. Inshore we found the fish feeding really well with better species like Bream, Plaice, Rays and Hounds all making the rod tips come to life. Great sport on light gear.

This coming week is looking much better after today and tomorrows SW's swing to the NW.

I have spaces on Thursday for two people, so time to take advantage of those great eating fish that are moving back into our area now.

Tightlines,

Les


Monday 10th October

 On Thursday we dodged into Christchurch Bay and close to Milford found the fish feeding well in a strong Easterly. There were too many bait robbing scad and a few mackerel plus dogs, bream, hounds, conger, thornback and spotted rays. Below left, is Michael with a 10lb Thornback Ray, the biggest fish of the day. On Saturday we had much less wind and the guys were fishing for lots of species again with congers, hounds, tope, whiting, pout, dogs, poor cod, scad, mackerel and a thornback all taking the smallish baits readily. Katharine caught the biggest fish of the day this 15lb conger, that she wasn't too pleased to hold! Sunday was same forecast and same mark, well within a couple of hundred meters of Saturdays spot. The lads fished big baits all day for a couple of hounds, rays, dogs and whiting. It was a quiet and relaxing day all round as the guys set their stall for the big fish that couldn't be caught. Gary is holding up one of the thornback rays. There is a good mix of species about and a few Cod are being caught round the Light with the best at 13lb that I am aware of, while down the Solent there are more Cod being caught in the 10lb and 6lb size groups.

                  

 Tightlines, Les

Monday 3rd October 

 The fishing last week around the Needles was blown away. Most were postponed, all except for Saturdays trip, that we could move to Sunday, yesterday. The weather was great although there was a bit of a swell and chop to start with that got to the lads a bit but they never succumbed. The fish seemed to fix that.

Dave is showing his cracking 'double shot' of an 8lb Undulate Ray and a 7lb Bull Huss. Craig caught the best and biggest fish of the day a nice 16.5lb Undulate Ray.

Other fish caught were Hounds, Tope and Small Eyed Rays. A few mackerel are still about but they take some effort.


All fish were returned to fight another day.

 




The pictures to the right were sent to me from last Friday's trip. Frank is with his 15lb Undulate Ray and Tim 'the fly fisherman', who, on his first boat trip, caught Conger, Undulate Ray, Small Eyed Ray, Thornback Ray, Dogs, Pouting and Tope! Needless to say he was chuffed to bits. His secret? Well he was very busy and did exactly as asked, re-baited his hooks often, at least every 15 minutes, and occasionally nudged his bait back down the tide. Tim picked up our 'downtide fishing at anchor' technique really quickly.

I'm going to get a new phone this week, only to improve my pictures, as my iPhone has the 'purple flare fault' and its starting to annoy me!

There are spaces available and some midweek days, in October, in the week after next, please see my diary.        Tightlines, Les

Saturday 24th September

 Fishing by day and by night with the weather ideal for this time of year. Night fishing shallow has been great fun with Bass, Hounds, Bream and Rays. Fishing in daylight has been tougher although there are a few Bass about along with Hounds Rays and Congers. One or two Cod have been reported too.

 On Saturday we fished around the Needles for a mix of species with Congers, Pout, Bass, Rays and Tope. Stuart is showing one of two Bass. On Monday the tide was massive and the lads struggled a bit with big leads although we still found Rays and this nice Huss for Derek. On Wednesday a short trip found a few species and Darren boated his first ever boat caught fish which went like a train in the tide. The Thornback weighed 12lb and was released.

                                 

 On Wednesday evening we drifted for Bass with no joy in the mid ebb tide, then fished in 7' of water at the bottom of the tide where the fishing was very busy with 25 plus smoothounds, 15 plus Bream, Bass, Pout and Silver Eels. Great fun on light gear! On Thursday evening we tested the Bass again with a different approach for no luck then anchored in 12' at the bottom of the tide. The Undulates went well with three caught to 16lb plus ten or so larger Hounds . There was a Bass and lots of Pout and a Silver Eel. Again plenty of life.

Friday was a stunning day for the Doveguard crew. Darren shows one of nine species caught, a fiesty hound. The best fish went to Frank another nice Undulate Ray.

      

 Not such a good weekend now for boat fishing due to strong winds from the South and South West so have given the fish a rest. Tightlines, Les

Saturday 17th September

 

 Back on the water, after a proper job. Look at those shiny bows!!! A big thanks to Vincent Cooke, Martin Cox and Andrew and the hoist team for doing such great jobs. The engine servicing and anti-fouling was by yours truly. After another busy week, following a great but very active week at Padstow, I really need a rest.

Well that didn't happen as the first trip post re-launch went ahead on schedule and we found fish in 'strong winds' sheltered in Christchurch Bay. Not lots of fish but a couple of good specimens plus usual culprits. And no weed! Richard caught the best specimen a nice 16lb Undulate Ray. Then Paul followed that up with a 10lb Thornback Ray and an Undulate Ray of his own. Other species were mackerel, scad, small conger and bull huss, plus dogfish. All non-bait fish went back to fight another day.

 Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 30th August

 Busy, busy with fantastic weather and a few fish too. Tuesday evening was tricky as the Bream have disappeared and been replaced with marauding dogfish. In the end we found a few Bull Huss with Dave turning 80 years old, catching the best of the week at around 9lb. Wednesday was a patient day as the fishing was OK but not easy. The best fish was another Undulate Ray of 13lb to go with Spotted and Thornback Rays, small Congers and Tope and plus a Bass. Fire fighter Dave is showing his best of the day. Wednesday evening was fun fishing a mark round the Needles into the night but the Rays were the better fish again, with Tristan catching a cracker just shy of 18lb. The sunset was incredible.

 

 Thursdays trip was full of banter but not so many fish as the conditions started to bite into the catch rate. Very still, hot and quiet. Duncan won the Prossecco with a 6lb Thornback, yes a very hard day! While Thursday evening found plenty of fish. Mainly dogs and Pout and Mackerel but also a couple of nice Huss, for Eric and a nice Undulate for Robin. Then right at the end something huge took Eric around and then under the boat to break the line. I suspect it was a big stinger.

                         

 Friday evening was one of the better trips of the week as far as fish were concerned with the first Whiting of the year. Also the short trip accounted for three Small Eyed Rays and a good Undulate Ray for Sean, plus small Congers for a tally of nine species.

     

 Saturdays trip was targeting Plaice originally but due to the lack of those we searched for other flatfish, and drifted all day. The lads fished long enough for fresh bait but we couldn't track down a single Mackerel! Then, eventually, after targeting Brill and Turbot for five hours we managed a target Brill, caught by John, on the way home.

Meanwhile, the other John, John F, boated a 14lb Blonde Ray which if was a Turbot, would have made it a different day. The lads set out their stall and unfortunately the conditions were against us. It was during this trip that I learned how to fix the camera problem on my phone. I have to place it screen down for a short period!

We never stop learning with this fishing lark. Marine Biologist Sam Hook explained that Rays excrete waste through their skin and that's why they don't taste so good if eaten fresh. It's also best to leave them about four days to relax and help get rid of some of the excreta and then skin them. Of all the Rays caught this last two weeks only one was killed for the pot. The big ones are magnificent animals.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 22nd August  

 Undulates, it's been a busy Ray! Different marks but same species. On Monday we started off outside the Needles Light only to seek a calmer sea from 1100 behind the shingles. Robbie caught the first Undy with another coming at the other end of the day for Roger. There were also Bull Huss, Bream and Dogs, along with Gars, Mackerel and Scad. On Wednesday we drifted for a few Macky and Scad plus a Bass and small Tope, at Anchor the lads caught three Undulate Rays and a few Bull Huss and Bream and lots and lots of small Tope. On Thursday we were fishing for the Undulate Rays for Sam's PHD project and managed to catch nine! Along with them we caught five Bass, a number of small Tope, Mackerel and Scad. The star fish of the day was Rogers Allis Shad caught on feathers. It was huge, not touched or even weighed and as they are protected we slipped it back in. I reckon it must have weighed 1lb 2oz, maybe more. If you touch them they die.

      

         

     Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 16th August

 Hang on, can someone pinch me, is this really England? We have had some stunning weather on the south coast and some exceptional fish too over the last week. Top of the list was Peter's 16lb Turbot caught on Friday. That came along with four Undulate Rays all swabbed and measured for a Manchester University study. Nick an ex-commercial fisherman from St Ives caught two Undulates with the best of the week weighing 17lb 8oz. Then to cap it off on Friday when we ran down the Solent, after the sea kicked up outside, we caught big (38cm) aggressive Mackerel on Bream rigs and Mike caught this 6lb 8oz Bass on his last drop.

                                 

 Saturday was a re-run of the Friday, where we found four more Undulate Rays with Ian and Mike boating two at the same time. All Undulates were swabbed and measured again. Bryn also tricked a Small Eyed Ray and a Thornback Ray. Then after running back down the Solent again off Pennington a lovely coloured 4lb Bass fell for Ian's squid along with a nice Hound to Bryn's rod, also liking squid.

                      

 

On the Wednesday we found a bit of ground that was an Undulate hideout. The lads caught seven beauties all 16lb to 17lb in weight! They also caught Tope and a Small Eyed Ray.

Mackerel were everywhere.

This was only a short trip, followed by an evening trip. Unfortunately after we swapped around crews at 4pm, the wind got up and doubled in apparent strength to a F5+ against a small neap tide which caused havoc and completely spoilt our evening. The lads still managed six species but it was an early night.

Tightlines, Les

 

 

 Sunday 7th August

 
It has been a breezy week which meant we lost a few trips but got out on two. On Friday a full day was shortened to a morning before the wind chuffed up,. We had a nice time with a good crew and a few fish inshore. I saw a plaice at the surface, as I put the anchor down but we couldn't catch one. The lads regularly caught small Bream along with a Thornback Ray, and Dogs and Mackerel and Scad to keep the scoreboard going. In the big tide there was a bit of weed.

Saturday was a warm day again and fishing was interesting with nine species. There were two good Undulate Rays, Paul is showing the slightly smaller one at 13lb 8oz. While Phil caught the best with a nice one of 14lb 8oz and also a target Plaice, on the drift, at around 2lb. There were seven small Tope, a Small Eyed Ray, Dogs, Mackerel, Scad, small Conger and this crazy mixed up Ray held by Tony. I don't know what it is but it wasn't one of our usual six species, so my guess is that it was a hybrid eg part Thornback / Blonde or Spotted Ray.

There is the odd space left in August but only a few, see diary above.

Tightlines, Les

 

Sunday 31st July

 
I skippered a few charters either side of a testing Okehampton golfing holiday this week. It's been another tough week again, he he he ! Last Saturday the Trident lads and guest Steve fished a bank for Bass and did OK with a dozen or so Bass all caught on live baits. A long drift found a couple of starfish and a Tub Gurnard. We then relaxed at anchor, still in thick fog, for some Rays, Dogs and a few more Bass. Mackerel were all over. It was a good day of simple fishing. George caught the biggest Undy at 16lb and another Bass at anchor. Bob shows another Undy.



 

                      

 After the golfing break had nearly broken me, the Andy Waterhouse crew,  a stag do for Ian was to go ahead, based on a radically changed last minute plan due to the strong westerly wind. Well after some bumping around looking for live baits the lads managed to catch five sizable Bass for Beanie, 'Ian the stag' and Matt.

 Yesterday the Paul Baker lads wanted big fish. The forecast and small tide meant we could fish for Tope and Eels. Steve caught the biggest Tope at 33lb and the best Thornback at 10lb and a Conger. Matt caught a Conger or two and the best Undulate Ray at 15lb. It was a good day out in ideal conditions. The others chipped in with Tope. Quite a few were lost half way up, which made for an exciting day for all.  Tightlines, Les

 

Sunday 24th July

                     

 Last Sunday was a nice test day on a bit of sheltered ground in the Solent. This is a stunningly beautiful and comfortable fallback area on a breezy day! Well it worked for us with some Mackerel where they should be and then at anchor, as Matt and Sarah prove above, using mackerel heads and strips, we found some nice Tub Gurnards too.

 Monday was a cracker and the Micky Evans crew were up for some patient drifting. The tide and weather was ideal to search for a flat fish and catch some incidental Bass. The Bass weren't there this time but Tony did catch one real nice Brill at 4lb 5oz. George caught and returned the first Brill. Phil accounted for two small Turbot (also released) and a couple of Small Eyed Rays. It was slow fishing but enjoyable along with some nice fish and plenty of mackerel.
     
On Thursday and Friday I 'hosted' a Belgian crew who came along with a refrigerated van, six large freezer boxes with ice and a tonne of rubby dubby. Well the inevitable happened and we struggled. They wanted to take everything, for some reason, even Dogfish and Congers and guess what...... they couldn't catch one dogfish!

Too many rods, too many tangles and too many tackle changes, generally away from what I had suggested, after they didn't catch immediately, which didn't help. It wasn't their fault or mine but trying too hard along with a massive expectation often backfires. We found some good specimens with a 9lb Bull Huss and a 9lb Bass plus one another reasonable Bass on the drift to a live bait plus the odd Pollock, Small Turbot, Ray and lots of mackerel. Fishing at anchor included 120lb braid mainline, a tad excessive. Leo called his gang the 'Crazy Belgians' and I think their fishing tactics were a bit crazy but they were a great bunch of guys. They had some great weather and a good couple of days fishing, not catching.

I'm saving yesterdays Trident report for next week. Needless to say with relaxed anglers that returned most of their fish, as usual, we had a good day. Maybe Neptune has a say in these things as well?

Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 19th July 

Sorry for the late update. Last week was best described as a proper 'summer mix', with an evening trip, an 'offshore' trip, a Mackerel session and a 'half and half'! It was good fun having a variety of crews, chasing fish and at times, a good test for all. Here's some pictures with a very brief back story.

             

   Above Left to Right (from Wednesday's evening trip) Peter and nice 16.5lb Undulate Ray, Nui with one of three Thornbacks and Simon with 14lb Undulate Ray. also caught were Tub Gurnard, Bream, Macky, Scad, Dogs, Pout etc...
   Above far right and left below (from Thursday 'inshore/offshore' trip) Bob with the best Tope of about ten at 22lb and Andy with a Bass, also caught were a Pollock, small Brill, Blonde Ray, Thornback Ray, six Small Eyed Rays etc.. there were thirteen species caught.
   Below left (from Friday's Needles/Solent trip) Charlotte with a decent Bream from the Solent, one of three good ones. Not an easy day but they also caught small Tope, a Smoothound, Dogs and a some Mackerel. it was comfortable for most of the time and very enjoyable.

                                       

  Tightlines, Les

Sunday 10th July        

What a good week of fishing it has been with three days past the Needles, fantastic. Ask the Weymouth commercial Bassing boats, they were here all week! Monday's weather was OK with a bit of mist and drizzle, while Wednesday was a cracker with little wind and lots of  sunshine. Thursday was a good fishing day too but Friday had a brisk breeze from the South West. The Solent was a challenge again in the light, although the weed situation is still fine.

Peter started off Monday well with the best of 19 Tope. His lively Tope weighed 32lb. Later in the day he caught a nice Undulate Ray of 14lb. The guys were staying at the Southlawns Hotel near Milford and about 4 miles away from the boat. They recommend the location and the food.

On Wednesday we went further offshore in search of Pollock, Bass and Flatties. One wreck showed up some decent Pollock with the best again falling to Peter's twin tail, weighing a hefty 14lb. The lads were joined by Glenn, Rod and Pete. Glenn caught another nice 15lb Undulate Ray at anchor, while Rod caught a nice double figure Pollock. The lads took some back to the Hotel. The Southlawns Hotel chef cooked up a Pollock dish for them, great service.

On Thursday we used knowledge gained the previous day, eg we know what didn't work for the Bass! So this time we went armed with live baits and more time and Richards luck was changed on its head as he caught the best Bass, on the drift, at 9lb 12oz and the best two at anchor later on at 6lb 8oz.  However after our Bassing session was disturbed by a Weymouth commercial, we headed back inshore for Peter to catch and release the biggest Undulate Ray of the week at 17lb. Richard found this decent small eyed ray, just before the end of their three day holiday.

                              

                          

 

On Friday the wind got up and was more than promised from the start and so a trip down the Solent was prudent. Fishing was very comfortable on the flood tide. There were a few small Bream plus this nice Smoothound for James but the biggest Hound by far eventually wore through a patient Andy's 30lb trace. We moved across to the Island side to be buzzed by racing yachts and catch a few more Bream and another Hound with Anya showing the lads how to do it.

A good feathering effort for mackerel failed but we will keep trying. That's why we calling it fishing not catching! The day finished early just before the ebb got away against a WSW F6+.

Saturday was cancelled and again the forecasters underestimated the actual wind speed by a factor of 30%. I think they need an even bigger computer!!

Tightlines, Les

Saturday 2nd July

       

 On Monday this nice 14lb Undulate for John, was caught in 20' of water in a small tide, on a spinning rod. Great fun and quickly released to fight again. Out a bit deeper and the same spinning rod caught this 10lb Thornback Ray, also for John. More great fun. The fish came along with small but the odd keeper Bream and Dogs plus two well marked Spotted Ray's.

 On Thursday John caught the first Bream at 2lb 2oz, on the firs drop. Then close to the end, after a very quiet 'excluding dogfish spell' Adam nailed this 2lb Bream. What a contrast to Monday.

 So another tricky week, due to more challenging British summer weather. On the Monday we anchored alongside Richie Cooper of Ashlett SAC. He was in a Kayak! Just before we arrived he caught a 4lb 1oz New Club Record Gilthead Bream, what a cracker! This was weighed officially ashore so no pretend bouncing fish record. Well done Richie! It was fishing well as we had two Ray's plus small Bream and a Dog. As the tide eased we moved out deeper for a nice 10lb Thornback and two spotted Rays plus a kennel of dogs and more Bream, a busy short day and good fun. Then the next trip, a two boat comp, along with Kev Duell in Voyager, to the same marks, fished completely different in a similar but smaller tide. The guys got their one off, short day, fishing competition fished but this fish chasing can be extremely frustrating!

Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 28th June                                    

           

 On Wednesday the weather was perfect and the lads had a good day with a couple of Bass of which the best was caught by Rod at 8lb 4oz returned. The guys also caught 19 Tope with the best around 12lb. Note the tiny one above, caught by Stuart, must have only just been born! There was also three Hounds, of which the best Starry Smoothound went 12lb 8oz for Ali. There was a Ray and a couple of nice Bream plus dogs. Friday was not an easy day for beginners in the brisk breeze but a Hound that fell to crab was very stretched and pregnant. Darren skilfully retrieved her and released her.

                                    

Sunday was another breezy one with the South of the Island Ok until 1230 before a move to finish the day off in the Solent, where the weed was no problem at all. Early on Duncan caught the 12lb Undulate below while right at the end of the day Trev weighed in with a male Undulate Ray of 10lb. Other fish caught were Spotted Rays and Bream plus dogs. Looking forward to some better weather soon, fingers crossed.

Tightlines, Les

Monday 20th June
  
                
 
Another busy week with some inclement weather to work with at times but that beautiful Isle of Wight did the trick again providing sheltered fishing on three separate occasions.

On Wednesday we tested a deep mark further East in the Solent after finding a Bass early on near Yarmouth. It was a quieter day but small Bream with the odd keeper plus a couple of Hounds and plenty of Dogfish gave the guys a chance to practice their fishing and compete, like you do, for a good day, enjoyed by all.

On Wednesday evening Lee Tovill and school friends competed for 'Roger' the annual gnome trophy fishing comp. We 'anchored up' and caught some decent Bream and big Pout plus three Rays and the ever present Dogfish for a busy evening. Glyn caught the biggest Ray to secure 'Roger'. I had to 'leave' my anchor which I recovered successfully over slack water on Saturday.

Thursday was a day spent fishing alongside another boat 'Hermit' and the Grant Thornton team and clients. After a nice big breakfast at The Haven Bistro we headed West to the Ledge to find Bream a Red Gurnard, Rays and Dogs. Paul catching the Gurnard and Chris a decent Bream. A sortie deep in the afternoon failed to find a Tope but the very neap extended slack water didn't help.

On Friday the Keith Peto lads did well with some good Rays plus Tope. Good looking Charlie with the best picture, made the report, sorry Keith, you have huge hands! We headed next for some nice Bream along with more Tope, to make a good day out in very comfortable seas. Chris had the best Black Bream at 3lb 8oz.

On Saturday TOFFS were again catching Tope and Bream but the highlight of our day was a leaping Thresher Shark a mere 100m from the boat. Well spotted 'shark man' Pat who also caught the best Tope this week of 25lb and 17lb, both on full Tope baits. Pat is holding the smaller as I didn't boat the biggest Tope as it wasn't worth putting it through the stress. I will boat a bigger Shark if the angler insists, as its their fish but all have to be released following MAFF and AT guidelines anyway.

On Sunday the annual 'BAM two boats trip competition' was competed for at the Ledge and then back down the Solent as the wind got up. Jeff put his Lazy Daze on a nest of Black Bream. At the 'weigh-in' even I hadn't expected him to do as well in the fairly short session, luckily my guys and gals found some Hounds in the afternoon for the biggest fish prize. A windy, rainy and mizely end to the day didn't dampen the BAM spirit.

Tightlines, Les

 Sunday 12th June

  

What a day, Trident SAC had on Saturday, with the Pollock showing up well for us. Bob and Steve tricked the best two both weighing 11lb with many more to go along with them. Then, as some of the guys were pooped, we looked for a Bream only for Chris to catch a successive haul that consisted of a 4lb 8oz Spotted Ray, a 9lb Thornback, a 40lb Conger, a 7lb Bass and a Tope, all returned to fight again. Others chipped in with Tope and Rays too!

 

On Friday Dave caught a new White Maiden boat record, a nice Small Eyed Ray and the best I have ever seen at 11lb 4oz. She was 'purse showing' and so returned quickly. Dad Paul was photo bombed while presenting one of two Undulate Rays and Andy weighed in too with this lovely 8lb Bass, returned as per current legislation. Other fish caught were many small Tope, a Blonde Ray, Thornback Ray plus pout and dogs.

 
On Thursday Dan caught this lip hooked Tope weighing 18lb. Rick guided a feisty 30lb Conger to the nest on a small hook and George caught this very nice 14lb Thornback Ray (Skate). Other fish caught were many small Tope plus Pout, Whiting, Undulate Rays and Dogs.

Again the Bream didn't show on an inshore mark we tested but the Tope were there too quite close in, near the cliffs at Tennyson's Monument.

Not many spaces or dates available now until the beginning of August, so if you have gift vouchers please book your spaces asap.

Interestingly we still only managed a couple of Mackerel yesterday but quite a few Cuttle are showing up on the surface. These cuttle fish make a good sliver to add to your bait to attract all sorts of species.

On Saturday the Pollock were coughing up small squid.

Tightlines, Les

 

Monday 6th June

 The last week in pictures. This is a brief report as I'm now on a short break...... on the boat, in Yarmouth, doing some cleaning jobs!

   

 Plaice inshore for Larry and the first Tub of the summer for Ken. Hounds by the shore with a nice one for Liam. Richard and Harry with another hound.

 

  Best Bass for Amanda, helped by hubby Phil. A very nice specimen Brill at 4lb 12oz for Dave. Nice Bass for Chris, these were all returned to catch another day. Yes, that's a ship wreck alright.
                                    

 A rare Tadpole fish for Tony. This is only the second one I have ever seen and a first for top angler Tony Riddout. A nice Bream for David. Plus another nice Bream for Ryan both nearing the 3lb mark and turning black very quickly after a knock on the head.

 Tightlines, Les

Tuesday 31st May

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a busy week again inshore with some fine weather and good fishing. Last Monday, Rod's Small Eyed Ray (below), was the best fish on the day, when the dogs were rampant, while searching further offshore. On Wednesday, very local, Davina showed the lads the way with a nice Tope and then a Pollock on a simple Bream rig with size 6 hooks! Ken again proved the Hounds were there with his biggest going a tad under 11lb.

 

 

 

On Wednesday evening Bob (left) had the best of the Bream, while on Thursday evening Jason (above) caught a well marked Undulate Ray, amongst other Rays, Bream and the odd Hound.

On Saturday Chris (above left) had the best smoothound of the day at 14lb. On the warmest day on the sea yet this year.

Tightlines, Les.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 22nd May

    

 Plenty of fishing this week. Monday started well on the Bream with Tom below showing one of the best of two he kept before releasing the rest, good man. While Alan with our target Hound proved they were there after Andy picked out this nice Dab. Tuesday was Kens day with a double figure Hound and a 7lb Pollock the best two fish by far. On Thursday we found a few Bream, with Steve above catching the best before nailing a 7lb Bass on the drift for Plaice! He flicked it back before the photo. I don't like this catch and release for all Bass but most anglers don't actually seem to mind. Friday found us some bits including a Plaice and a Bream on one drop for Ken, a small Hound, a big fish smashing up for Peter, Dogs etc but it was hard work in the Solent so we finished early and had a pint! After the difficult week it was hard to talk Crookham SAC down the Solent in a F6 plus rain having given it a test already on Thursday and Friday, so Saturday was cancelled Sorry guys but I'm saving you for later!.

Tightlines, Les

                  

Sunday 15th May

The slow start on Monday for Shane and Julie, notched up a couple of gears by Thursday for Mike & Co, Kev, Will and Malcolm and the week finished with another good day on the Bream on Saturday. Bream were steady but the Cuckoo Wrasse stole the show, with Jeff's the best ever for White Maiden. Along with Bream came Ballan and Ballions Wrasse, Dogs, Bull Huss, Pout, Gars, Pollock and Edible and a Lobster plus a couple of Mackerel.

 

 Thursday started OK with some reasonable Pollock, but we chased around for the Bream again and headed for Southborne before Malcolm spotted a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins around a potted baiting his pots. The first a snap was through the window, the second from the deck but to see the full show click here!

       

 .    

Bream caught from one area were all hen fish, a move found mostly males but the Dolphins made the day, awesome.

On Monday the forecast was spot on and the fishing comfortable but a plague of Dogfish spoilt the first mark. The Plaice were quiet before we moved for a Bream and that was hard too with just the one for Shane.

It now looks like the weather will change for Wednesday so I have moved the Wednesday boys to Tuesday but not all could make it so there are now some spaces on Tuesday, on a great forecast and before the strong Westerly wind kicks in on Wednesday morning.

Tightlines,

Les

 

Sunday 8th May

            

Some pics from this weeks catch; above Pete Hellyar with our best Bream today at 2lb 8oz, Garry of Loni's and Glenn with the best of four Plaice. Bellow is Chris from yesterdays trip with a nice Pollock caught same time as my Ballan Wrasse, on the drift, on lures. Julia caught the best Bream so far this year, a 3lb 12oz hen, returned. Next is Liam with one of the best Bream from Friday at 3lb 5oz, along with me holding a massive cuttle, caught at the surface down the Solent.

             

Below Brian is holding his best Plaice from Wednesday, then Dink is showing off one of his eighteen quality Bream all returned, while Dean caught one of the biggest at 3lb 5oz. A great week's fishing! Tightlines, Les

        

Monday 2nd May

 

Had a good day out yesterday on White Maiden hosting and observing some of the England Boat Team members with Matt Osborne catching the best Black Bream at 3lb 2oz. Steve Batchelor proved they were there, at our second mark, with Black Bream getting bigger through the tide. Gary Galbraith caught his contender followed by Martin Bobbet but both were pipped by Matt just before we moved off, for a go at the Plaice. The better Plaice showed up in the end with Gary taking a few small ones before this double shot and then again, at lines up, Cots took the money with the biggest Plaice at 2lb 2oz. Other species caught were Pollock, Bull Huss, Ballions and Ballan Wrasse, Dogs, Pout and Garfish.

                

 

Earlier in the week we had the best Plaice of the year so far, caught by Peter Hellyar on a razor fish bait. The good condition (non) red spot weighed 4lb 2oz! The short session accounted for some double shots and plenty of quality Plaice. Most were released and even some found to be strong at the end of play, in the fish box, were put back to swim off strongly. If you fish for these lovely eating fish and want to release the small ones or extra ones like we do, then you must get the pencil disgorger with what looks like a rugby ball with a split at the end as they work really well. All the England boys used them too, so quick and safe for the fish. Micro barbed hooks help too!

On Thursday White Maiden passed a rigorous mid-term survey with a couple of Cat C observations to be complied with before taking Guy and crew out for a half day. We missed the best part of the day but still managed to find a couple of Plaice before being forced back inside by a F5 to F6 Westerly that was building steadily. Still a very social and friendly trip to finish off the day nicely.

Great start to the season, as you can see from reports below, I hope this continues along with some better and warmer weather.

Tighlines, Les
 

Monday 25th April

                               

 Yesterday we had a friendly Pub competition between two boats and the team above of Steve, Callum, Jenny and Kim fishing with me on White Maiden whooped the fellas on the other boat with fourteen Plaice, six Bull Huss, Scorpion Fish, Bream and lots of Dogs. Below is myself showing a normal and a strangely coloured plaice. Middle is Dave with our only Plaice on Thursday, among too many Dogs with the Tim Mason crew. Bottom right is Andrew Nunn with the boat record Lesser Spotted Dogfish of 3lb 1oz. Not interested, well I was, as its the only one I have ever seen over 3lb and measured 71cm. The big dog, came along with Plaice, and following a move Small Eyed Ray and small Conger. Things are warming up but still hats and sunglasses time! Tightlines, Les

                         

Monday 18th April

 
  
Yesterday was one of those special days where a good crew got what they deserve; plenty of fish and a calm sunny day.

The final count was 19 Blonde Rays with the best tricked by Ian King at 22lb. A cracking Smoothound for Clive Wall weighed at 14lb, a nice Undulate Ray also for Ian at 14lb plus a lovely double figure Spur Dog for Chris Smith. Other notable species were a couple of Small Eyed Rays, two Thornback Rays, six Congers, around 10 Whiting best 1.5lb, and the first Tope of the season, plus usual Pout and Dogs.

All were returned except the best Whiting and one Blonde Ray.

On Wednesday we tested the same bank but on the drift for three hours with bait. It was a proper session but we only caught one fish so we moved on and tested wrecks as far as 15 miles from the Light only to prove they weren't there yet. There are plenty of Pollock in the shipping lanes mid channel but that wasn't our plan.

On the Wednesday evening we found lots of life close inshore that included Plaice, Hounds, Whiting, Pout, Dogs and a Spotted Ray, that is until they ran out of bait. What a cracking day!

On Wednesday and Sunday, three of us positively identified a 'Great Skua' as it fed on our discarded bait along with the gulls. It was a biggish thing, bit stumpy, black with white banded wings, triangular tail, a strong looking bird, made a strange noise. Well pleased to have seen it twice and to have others on board that took notice and were interested.

Oh and there's a few Bream about now, so it looks like its all kicking off again with some style! Tightlines, Les

Monday 11th April
 
 

Its a 'hats and sunglasses' time of year, as who knows what the weather will do next? Today was half a day of rain and a flat calm followed by a half day of sun and still flat calm.

The Martin Harris crew were great at catching dogfish but that wasn't what we wanted.

Plenty of Dogs and small Pout plus a useful 44cm Bass was returned while trying to catch a plaice. Then at the end of the session on our 4th dogfish mark 'Brian the Bass' also caught a 16lb+ Conger.

It was a funny old day with little to show for the good soaking received in the morning on the plaice mark. The Bream didn't play either.

But what a cracking afternoon, it was just like summer, except no one told the fish that.

Looking forward to more of this great weather on Wednesday when I have spaces on the day trip chasing Pollock and Turbot a bit further off.

Tightlines, Les

 

 

 

Monday 4th April

          

On Friday we started on the Plaice with a small crew. They came slowly amongst Pout and Dogs. We had six of reasonable quality around 2lb, before we moved off to fish for Ray's. I was shocked at the first fish following the move, while fishing a bit deeper at 45', as Ken battled a huge fish on a light rod which turned out to be a Conger at around 40lb. He id well to get it to the boat before it bit through under the net. It's very odd to see such a big eel, so shallow and at this time of year, when the water is at its coldest. On the Ray mark we also found an edible crab and three Rays plus the usual Dogs for a very nice day out. Andy (top right) caught the best two Plaice both around the 2lb mark. Liam lost a nice fish too, that looked like a Cod to me but who knows? Meanwhile out on the banks Spurs to 23lb, Congers and Blonde Rays to 27lb were also caught on Friday's small tide.
 

On Saturday, our intended distant banks trip, was kept local due to a F6 in the forecast. Again 'slow but sure' best described the Plaice fishing. The guys don't mind a good half day on them but we often (not always) move for a change of scenery. Gavin (top left) is pictured with the best Plaice of the weekend at 3lb. This one fell to 2 live lug on a 3/0 with no bling just before we moved. A total of six Plaice were caught with the others between 12oz and 1lb 12oz. Priscilla showed the lads how to catch them with the first Plaice of the day and a nice 4lb Spotted Ray. Our move to a 'Cod mark' failed to find a fish other than a Doggie but I suspect it was the state of tide, as a few boats have caught spring Cod, which is very nice to see.

Tight lines, Les.

Monday 28th March

 A very happy Easter to all. We are now ready and raring to go, following my annual White Maiden maintenance work and routine. First proper trip back was on Good Friday when we found a eleven Plaice to 1lb 12oz. The afternoons efforts, fishing deep and then drifting didn't work great but it wasn't for trying. Anchoring was best in the murky seas. Ryan, left, caught the first Plaice of his four on a home made rig. The lads did on the Plaice but fancied a change and we had a move. Star man was our Stag, Tony Lewis, who also caught one of two star fish.

                                  

               

Bookings have been steady but I still have plenty of spaces and dates available and now really looking forward to a great spring and summer, Tightlines, Les

Sunday 6th/13th March

My maintenance period is going along just fine thanks to some lovely dry weather.

Monday 29th February

              

Back to work again and its been great! Although finding fish is a challenge for skippers and anglers alike this time of year but all three trips tricked a few fish out so it was worth the effort in the murky seas and most importantly, kept those boat fishing skills tuned in! Top left is Dean with the best specimen, a 12lb male undulate ray, caught on Thursday, when we searched banks and wrecks on the drift, before anchoring on 10 miles. Ken bagged this Conger which was the biggest fish. Also caught was another conger, a blonde ray, a smoothound, along and plenty of dogs. It wasn't a great return but what a lovely day and good fun.

On Friday the predicted smooth to slight sea, first thing, was wrong by a few hours and the choppy moderate sea meant for an uncomfortable few hours for the lads before we tested a more sheltered mark. They did well to hang in there after losing a couple of good fish among the dogs. The comfortable mark found a thornback ray for Colin and a small eye for Odi (top right). Other fish caught was a Pout, Whiting, Dogs and another small eyed ray. It was a difficult day but with a good crew, its always fun.

                 

On Sunday we were forced close to the shore due to a strong Force 7 NorEasterly but we still found a few nice fish due to the guys all having quality bait provided by Garry of Lonis, who was also fishing. Richard started things off with a nice 2lb 4oz plaice. That was followed by another four but it wasn't exactly red hot and if we didn't have the right bait I'm not sure we would have caught much at all. Each angler had two wraps of black lug, 2 packs of sandeel, 50 ragworm, prawns, squid and mackerel! When we moved to target rays, John started off with a nice small eyed ray before Garry followed that up with another. Again not an easy day but good fun. Other species caught was a spotted ray, pout, dogs and two star fish.

Tightlines, Les

Wednesday 25th February

Total Sea Fishing magazine has recently got much bigger and better with a greater Boat Fishing content to fill the gap following the passing of Boat Fishing Monthly. TSF editor Paul Dennis contacted me regarding a regular article called 'Skipper's Spotlight' and has published my brief almost word for word. I am very grateful and now looking to fit Paul on a good forecast fishing excursion with a small group of my regular individuals. Also in the current March TSF is a Des Westmore article on wrecking with some good pictures of some of our locals and also Terry Smith picking apart and explaining 'slow pitching jigging', which like all lure fishing is completely obsessive, if you enjoy 'the chase'. Plus lots of other stuff.

                          

 
Meanwhile, we have been away on annual holiday, mainly to miss some crap weather but also for the wife to relax. This year we tried, for the first time, Cape Verde, Boa Vista.

We stayed in the Riu Hotel Karambola. Some days were cloudy and misty with a constant F6 to F7 NE which was off the beach but it was a nice 25 degrees.

Second week was much brighter and a bit cooler at 22 degrees with the wind never easing below a F5 and always blowing from the North East. This stopped me booking a boat trip but the beach fishing was great fun with some good bait provided by the Hotel kitchen staff.

In the first week I was casting feathers and lures for a few small exotic fish but the wind blew and the sea was crashing in and not ideal

We needed some heavy beach gear to fish the surf conditions.

Eventually in the second week when the sea had settled down a bit and I knew I wasn't getting out in the boat. I said to my mate that we were going to 'catch some sharks'. He laughed, as Biz is not an angler, as much as I'm not a builder.

Typically after baiting him up he caught the first shark, a beautiful baby sculpted hammerhead shark on a spinning rod!

We waited a couple of hours for my reef shark to come along at a handy 10lb. Although it was caught on an inappropriate 7' 30/50 travel boat rod, it went went crazy and was great laugh.

 

                 

The next day was a mere F5 (48/ 55 Km/hour NE) so on our second attempt I refined things slightly and on the same baits we caught six sharks and lost three. Again the first one out was a baby sculpted hammerhead, this time to my rod, ye ha! Then just before high water, with a crowd of Germans watching, the fishing went mad where we couldn't get a bait in the water without a shark hitting immediately! It's a good job I can cast 50 yards with a 7' boat rod and a shimano torium reel! Biz managed to sort himself out and in the end he caught his reef shark on the spinning rod. We knocked it on the head as it was getting dark. I was 'bent out' on one fish, my mistake, after the fish took a sinking bait, on a wound up drag! Next time I will take some beach gear. All you need are some 4oz weights and wire traces. Fish, look out!

              

 Tightlines, Les

Sunday 7th February

No fishing to discuss again this week as both trips were cancelled due to the strong to gale force wind. I don't fish those FCs! So, maintenance will start earlier from tomorrow now and for the next two weeks so no updates from me. If you do get out then I wish you all the best of luck and the tightest of lines, Les.

Monday 1st February

Recently, while considering an upgrade to a bigger boat, to be covered by a bigger mortgage and a much bigger workload, I saw the Light! I already have what I need; a great customer base of keen anglers, good moorings, a lovely quiet, quick and economical boat and more importantly I guess, my health. White Maiden is ideal for my inshore patch and on a really nice day the occasional mid-channel sortie. Although there could be a few more winter trips to come yet, I am already looking forward and preparing to fish for the Spring and Summer species. As you can guess, all trips were cancelled this week and this weekend due to the awful weather and persistent wind. A big thank you to all the crews that are rebooking their trips and leaving their deposit with me. It's most appreciated.

Sunday 24th January
 
Two trips this week, starting with Individuals on Wednesday. These guys checked the forecast and moved forward from the Monday trip, cancelled due to more wind and rain. Well it was not the flat calm that we were hoping for, with a brisker SE4 making it a surprisingly lively sea but the lads coped well for ten Congers to 20lb, a nice 7lb Pollock for Liam, a 10lb arse hooked Thornback that needed a team effort to boat and a Spotted Ray. Whiting were scarce. The sun was shining and it was a nice day but with one fella, recovering from a broken ankle and another waiting for his ankle operation (footballers ankle), it made sense to move into sheltered waters at about 1pm. Inside it was comfortable and quiet except for dogfish. A couple of Cod were caught nearby, on Wight Sapphire.

Yesterday the Trident SAC lads were desperate to get out, after a string of cancellations. The changeable worsening 'coastal bbc/met office forecast' made me defensive, so we tested the Solent. We found Whiting keen on Mackerel, best 2lb and the odd Pout and Dog off Sowley but otherwise it was quiet for us. Ryde middle was 'dead'. Andy Stevens however fishing solo nearby recorded two Cod and a released Bass, so there is still some life down there.

On Tuesday, Jamie fishing on his own boat out from Lymington at the Needles, recorded one of the best land weighed Cod I have heard about this winter with his lunker Cod dragging the scales down to 31lb 3oz. What a super specimen Cod, well done Jamie!

Tight Lines, Les

Monday 18th January

        

 Three trips this weekend. Report pictures starting from top left and finishing bottom right. On Friday Colin caught the best two fish of the day with a nice Solent Whiting and a Solent Cod. The Devizes lads fished the Needles for the first ninety minutes for three Congers to 30lb but it was lumpy at anchor, so we shot back to the sheltered waters off Sowley. We still had a great day with wall to wall sunshine over a comfortable sea. This enthusiastic crew provided plenty of banter plus bread rolls, bacon, eggs and sausages, to make it a great day out. On Saturday Crookham SAC fished a winter species competition. Keith is shown pictured with his Undulate Ray, Pete with the first of four Cod, Paul with the biggest Cod at 12lb and then Sid with his cracking 4lb Whiting. Other species caught were a dozen Congers, a Thornback Ray, Pout, Dogs plus more quality Whiting. On Sunday the wind veered to the ESE which made it a bit uncomfortable after the first couple of hours so we sheltered up off Alum Bay in 80' of water. It was warmer but felt colder than the previous days and the Easterly wind quietened down the fishing. The lads did well though with Lee Watts catching the first Conger outside soon followed by a 10lb Cod. Inside the Light Lee caught another Cod. Dave chipped in with a nice Whiting of 2lb 12oz, Colin a Spotted Ray and Lewis a small Conger. The Sholing lads did well against the odds and were well prepared for the conditions to make it a reasonable day in the end.
             

Tightlines, Les

Sunday 10th January

 
We had a great Needles day out on Wednesday with a crew of local individuals that needed to stretch their fishing muscles and test their gear. Well that is certainly what they all did. I fished some of time catching six Conger Eels and a Thornback Ray while trying to get to the Cod. The Congers were feeding too well as the other five all caught more, making a total catch up around 40 Eels!  That's a lot of 'T bar' shoulder work I can tell you.  Glenn showed us all how to catch, with two nice plump target fish, amongst his Eels. The best Thornback of three at 10lbs was a nice change for Rod too. The sea started off a bit lively but flattened right off to a perfect day at 12 degrees with some needed sunshine.

I lost all trips last weekend and all three trips again this weekend to the SW F7's and unfortunately one of those included Paul Dennis the Editor of Total Sea Fishing (TSF). Since Boat Fishing Monthly has stopped being published TSF appears to have increased their Boat Fishing content to keep us all happy. Those that get TSF should see my Skipper Spotlight at some point so book your trips soon if you have only been thinking about it.

Happy New Year to all and a big thanks again for making 2015 the best year ever on 'White Maiden'. I hope to see you all again in 2016 to improve even more Personal Best's.

Tightlines, Les


 

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 tide. 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 only a guideline at best and wrong otherwise.

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