2017 CATCH REPORTS
Boxing Day 26th December
Saturday 16th December was the date that Pete
Hellyar below caught this cracking 25lb Cod. Well done Pete! Every trip
since then, for example Monday 18th, where David caught a reasonable Whiting
above, Wednesday 20th, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd where all anglers
expected at least one more good Cod, produced Whiting and Congers plus the
occasional Thornback. The last Saturday before Christmas saw Ryan Lewis
above, out-witting the best specimen just before slack water, a nice 13lb
Thornback Ray, to win the days 'free fishing' prize. Pity the works
Christmas party, the day before, spoilt his triumphant and glorious day :-)
Merry Christmas, Tightlines, and Happy New Year, Les
Sunday 10th December
Not a great run of weather this but we did get out
yesterday with Ashlett SAC in a sea that flattened off nicely for the five
charter boats that tested the waters around the Needles. We had wind with
tide and sunshine, a lovely winters day in the Channel. Congers are still
there in numbers with Stuart Dean the outright winner with seven plus a
specimen Undulate Ray plus dogs and Pout for a total weight of 140lbs. One
nice Whiting and a 9lb Thornback, intervened between the Congers, Pout and
Dogs. It was great to get out and a good competition but again the Cod are
lacking. I did hear of a small one caught on the Brambles but it is a worry.
Pictures are 'champion Stuart'.
Looking forward to some calmer conditions now before the holiday.
Christmas is coming and I have a few of these brilliant
fish ID books left, brand new and sealed, at a bargain price of £18.
Also have you thought of giving a fishing space as a gift
for Christmas to be used in 2018? Available at £50 per space, email at
Monday 4th December
Just a few trips during the last two weeks
due to weather mainly but we still had two good opportunities to fish the
Needles and one down the Solent. Conditions have become colder and medical
barrier gloves will help with the cold and wet when baiting up, so try them.
I tend not to take pictures of Congers or the smaller Whiting, so last weeks
trips never bothered the camera at all. However yesterdays charter started
OK but then the skipper (me) decided to gamble for a Bass over the middle
part of the strong spring ebbing tide. Well we failed to find a Bass and in
hindsight wished we had returned to the first mark. Below are the star men
with Paul and his released 5lb Spotted Ray, Robin with the best Whiting at
about 3lb and Marks released Thornback Ray. We should have stayed at the
first mark, where all three better fish were caught! I should stress that
Sam had the biggest fish, a 16lb Conger, one of five, also caught on the
Monday 20th November
contrast to the previous week, only one trip was affected by weather and
another by numbers, the rest went ahead in perfect conditions as planned. It
is all about opportunity and now the potential has just notched up a gear
with Andy's best Cod so far this season caught yesterday weighing 21lb.
Phil's inshore Ling went 10lb, Tony's 45lb Conger was by far the best of
about forty Eels caught on the day and Georges 14lb Spurr the best of two
big dogs. Added to that were a couple of Thornback Rays and Whiting, the
guys had a really nice day.
The day before was a contrast as the wind got up and the
fishing was quiet well inshore, still Trident had some practice and had a
chance. You can't catch them sat at home.
On Friday the Lee Frampton crew, collected from Yarmouth,
fished well for about 25 Whiting, a Ray, some big Pout (lovely) and then 17
or so Congers plus Steve's Spurr below but the high pressure was making it
difficult on a stunning day. Steve the 'Overner' nailed the Spurr for the
closely fought best fish pot, which almost paid for his trip.
On Thursday evening, down the Solent, Steve caught this
nice 6lb Cod plus a 20lb and a 7lb Conger while the others kept the dogfish
busy. During the day Dean caught Whiting, Pout, a Thornback Ray and a Conger
in a short session before we moved for a nice 7lb 8oz Bass, on a stunning
afternoon, well done Dean!
On Wednesday the guys put lots of bait down for Congers
mainly, some nice Whiting and a lovely Undulate Ray for Bruce, plus a
cracking 16lb Spurr for Clive.
I know the Cod are very patchy but we have some great
fishing with Spurr Dogs now making a solid return, and still being released
as they are protected, which is great to see. Undulate Rays are still being
looked after too and of course few Congers and Dogfish get taken for the pot
and so we have plenty of them too. We can't really moan, can we? Tightlines,
Sunday 5th November
This week has seen exceptionally superb weather, unless
you don't like a bit of fog first thing in the morning, that is. On Sunday
we fished the Loni's Cod Championship in ideal conditions. The guys fishing
for the £1000 cash prize, fished hard. They pulled up a couple of cracking
specimens but no Cod. Next year the 2nd December 2018 Loni's Cod Comp will
be fished for £2000. Four boats are already booked. Above is Garry of Loni's
with the monster Whiting and Mick with a 14lb Pollock. On Monday we edged
our bets for Blonde Rays while also hoping for a Cod. Well we found some
nice Blondes, Congers and Whiting but no Cod. Pete holds up the first and
biggest Blonde Ray (above) at 16lb and Graeme had a nice one too at 15lb.
Tuesday evening Rob Guppy (above) boated a Codling on the last drop. Kevin
also caught a nice 12lb Undulate Ray (above), other fish were three Spotted
Rays, a Conger and Pout and Dogs.
On Wednesday a family crew of beginners on holiday
booked onto a four hour individuals trip and were chuffed with the weather
and the fishing, as they caught well over 25 fish with the best a 7lb
Thornback for young Damian (above).
On Thursday a small crew set off in thick fog. They fished
well for a few Congers, some nice Whiting and a nice 13lb+ Undulate Ray for
Julia, pictured left. Julia also caught the biggest Conger and Whiting too!
Friday was thicker and calmer and we tried hard to find a
Cod but settled for 15 to 20 Congers plus Whiting and a couple of
Thornbacks, the best went 12lb for Simon (right).
Unfortunately the Saturday trip was cancelled on the
We are expecting the Cod to start showing in better
numbers soon. They are late again but this is a pattern that has been
followed for the last two seasons. The WWCSA British Cod Championship is low
on numbers and the prizes are big at £1000 per day for the biggest Cod and
£1000 for the most Cod caught over two days. The dates are Thursday 23rd and
Friday 24th November, so call Kev Duell on 07843 208597 for an application
form ASAP. Tightlines, Les.
Saturday 29th October
Thursday was exceptional day. Boated was the best Spurr
Dog at 15lb (for Rob Guppy), best Huss at 13.5lb (for Sean Marsh) and best
Conger at 44lb (for Clive Webb) so far this year. Also there were five
different Ray species, a 6lb Bass (Richard Gosling), lots more Congers and
two more double figure Bull Huss PLUS two Porbeagle Sharks lost. It was a
very exciting day too! The next day we fished the same two marks with a
smaller tide and with different bait, large cuttle, and it was mainly
Congers with the biggest below at 51.5lb for Nick Dukes, wrestled and
released by myself!
Monday 16th and 23rd October
A couple of weeks ago now Rick Nunn and John Russell fancied Bassing with
fly rods, as that is their passion. Well after a bit of a search we found
them and boated about 25+ Bass mostly around 2lb or 40cm long and just under
the size limit, so all were returned but it was a great session. As well as
the fly we caught on Fiiish Black Minnows and other lures while trying to
find the bigger ones.
After that trip we were interrupted with some poor
weather before getting the Thursday in down the Solent. We tried for but
never found a Cod. A Conger was the closest thing to one, well its starts
with Co. We also had Bream and Hounds plus Dogs and Pout. We did manage to
get the Saturday Trident trip fished round the Needles. Well we had a good
day with a mix of species and some good fish. Tope to 27lb and a Porbeagle
Shark hooked and lost made it an interesting day. Also a nice Brill and a
Bass along with a number of small Blonde Rays that were feeding
aggressively. On the right is Robin with a nice Brill. Below is Kev with the
biggest Tope which looked much bigger than it weighed. Then Mark with an
example of the many small Blonde Rays and Bruce with his Bass.
Last week was busy with boat maintenance jobs, poor
weather and a family wedding so we only got the Wednesday trip in, before
the storm Brian came along.
On the Wednesday trip Mick beat the best Conger, shown
still in the net. This one weighed 38lb before it was released, super fit
with no gaff holes in its chin. Another 20 Congers came along for the guys
that tried hard to catch something else but the Eels were in a feeding
We moved for a nicer sea and to get away from the many
Eels, only to find more!
it was a funny old day, after a funny old week. We had a
1m storm surge and orange skies at the start of the week, then 85mph winds
at the end of the week!
Sunday 8th October
Just one trip this week, due to the breezy forecasts and
my cancelled sharking expedition down to Mevagissey.
Here is yesterday's 14.5lb Turbot caught on White Maiden
II by RAF Neil, in just 10m of water. Four Lymington Catamarans hosted the
RAF national species final.
We anchored a reef for the first two hours, drifted
another reef for two hours and then anchored a shallow bank for the last two
hours. We had an ideal sea with a great crew. All four boats fished within
1/4 mile of each other all of the time. The points system was a bit odd
mind. This lovely Turbot was worth half the points of a 4 cm Pouting......
no seriously, just one point. Pout were worth two points!
White Maiden II found over 120 Pout, 30 Wrasse mainly
Ballan but also Corkwing and Ballions, plus Mackerel, Gars, Poor Cod,
Tompots, Dogs, Bream, Turbot and Gobies. There was also the odd Cuckoo
Wrasse and Small Eyed Ray caught on the day. This Turbot was an absolute
bonus fish and one of two fish off the mark, the other was a dogfish. We
moved a short distance to find more dogfish but certainly wish that I had
picked another area for the sake of the last two hours of the competition.
I am Bassing on the flood huge spring tide on Wednesday
morning's shorter trip, with spaces available at £50pp. Not that I also have
spaces on plenty of other trips this month, including a couple this
Saturday. See latest diary above.
Sunday 1st October
Top left is Mondays Robert with a nice oven sized
Bass about 3lb, perfect eating size. The pictured Gannet fed on scraps
around the boat for a good hour or so on the same trip. Wednesday was tricky
in the small tide but Rick and John caught lots of Dogfish and Pout, some
Macky and a last chance Bull Huss. On Thursday afternoon we found a lot of
small Congers plus a few Thornbacks and Mackerel on a lovely swelly and
sunny day a couple of miles South of the Needles. Thursday evening found
Chas catching a couple of Bream, a Bass, a Spotted Ray, a Conger, a
Smoothound and Dogfish on his small hooks, deep in the Western Solent. The
rest of us stayed large for a few Hounds and six or so small Congers.
On Friday the catch consisted mainly of small Hounds and
the odd Ray. We caught plenty of Dogfish and a few Scad down the Solent too.
Saturday was also wet and windy, so the small tide in the Solent was the
place for the lads to enjoy their fishing. Eventually the Undulate Rays
obliged for Paul, Danny and Jose. Black Bream and Dogfish, the odd Hound and
Scad also registered. I have not seen an inshore Cod yet on my boat but I'm
sure we will get one or two soon. I'm trying for a shark over the next few
weeks too, so some of the more suitable trips will have a shark rod set out
for the odd Porbeagle that we are and have been sighting this time of year.
Greg had one to the boat chasing retrieved fish four times on Saturday
estimated between 300-400lb.
Sunday 17th and 24th September reports
Four trips this week. Yesterday was a good day with Trident SAC after we
found the fish feeding well. There were lots of fish and different species
too. Above is a picture of Chris and Robin with an Undulate Ray and Turbot a
caught at the turn of the tide, the same time as a Thornback Ray and a Tope.
All were these fish returned! Friday saw myself and Dean catching 50 plus
Bass and keeping just the two. It was an exclusive charter and two was our
limit however the rest were a tad my 45cm minimum size, so they had to go
back. On Wednesday we were Bassing all day and the best for Paul Gray went
9lb, the pictures are on my face book page! See link
On Monday we fished in ideal conditions with the fish feeding only
occasionally. David is shown with his best Thornback from a personal catch
of five Rays plus a Hound and dogs,pout and mackerel etc.
Above is my original ,White Maiden, moored at West Cowes
this week. She is now called 'Cowes Unite'.
Below are some pictures of the only trip from last week
due to strong winds. We had a good Saturday out with Crookham SAC. Keith
caught the best Turbot at 6.5lb. David's Turbot came up on the next
retrieve. James fished big with whole Mackerel for this Tope which was one
of three. The fishing was patchy but one mark fished well with Tope, Turbot,
small Congers, Spotted and Thornback Rays. Another produced Bass, Small Eyed
Rays and a Blonde Ray. one mark, anchored three times produced nothing in an
hour. I think know why but will keep that to myself. No, I wont..... I think
the mark was covered in silt, dumped by the tides, following heavy rain. I
can argue the reasons why. Another little gem, leaked out exclusively to my
website readers! It was a good fun day and made for an interesting species
Sunday 10th September
It's been a breezy and wet week but still managed a few
trips out in the Western Solent. On Wednesday Sophie headed up a small group
of six from a London Corporate that were staying at the Chewton Glen Hotel.
Sophie then proceeded to show off her fishing skills with a nice Undulate
Ray and a Hound. James chipped in with the biggest Undulate Ray at 12lb. The
guys caught plenty of Mackerel on a day when we had the Solent to ourselves!
Yesterday I took ten South African and New Zealanders out
in tricky conditions mainly due to the wind and weed. I kept them out of the
spring tide, yes not an easy day. The guys had a laugh and larked about
mostly but still accounted for a few fish, ignoring small stuff, with the
best Tim's 14lb Undulate Ray. Pieter chipped in with a nice 2.5lb Bream,
that fell to whole squid on a 4/0 hook. When you get guys as big as these
fellas, they make a good fish look like a tiddler.
Immediately, after a massive wash down, I took a family to
Milford to scatter some ashes, petals etc. We went down to Hurst in fog type
visibility with RADAR and Nav Lights on, in a heavy shower. As we got to
Hurst the sky cleared, miraculously the sea off Milford was calm. The event
was a bit special for them and I was really pleased having expected some of
the worst conditions.
Below from left to right is Sophie again, Pieter and Tim's
Undulate Ray. Tight lines, Les
Tuesday 6th September
Last week the best days fishing, was on the worst
forecast, and the worst days fishing was on the best forecast. All the fish below, were returned, yes
even the Turbot! The pictures are from the Wednesday trip with Alan, Liam
and Peter all showing off their biggest and almost identical 17lb Blonde
Rays. All together the guys and gals caught twenty four Rays. Then Terry is
next, in the dark, with a nice 15lb Undulate Ray, caught very shallow. Next
is Aniya's Tope, also caught on the Wednesday trip and then there's Dave's
small Turbot caught on Friday. After the fishing it was my daughters
wedding. Saturday was a fantastic forecast that remained
true. We had a super day.
Tuesday 29th August
Lots of fish this week, here's some pictures.
Below is Saturday's Bass trip. The best weighed 6lb 8ozs. After one each the
session was followed by another 10 or so species at anchor. There were lots
of fish. On Friday Luke won the £40 pot with his best specimen 11lb
Thornback Ray, caught amongst a good number of Rays and Congers. While on
Thursday Robbie King found a good Conger after a couple of Bass, plus Rays
etc. Wednesday was a bit blowy but by the end of the day the two short trips
yielded mackerel plus nine cracking Undulate Rays (all released). Monday was
the hardest day but the 'nice lads' still managed 11 species including Ian's
target Turbot. Tightlines, Les
Tuesday 22nd August
No fish on the offshore wrecks for our Monday trip
last week but we found a few drifting the banks. Andy with the best Tub
Gurnard and Liam with the best Thornback Ray. Closer inshore there are
Mackerel, small Bream, Tope, Congers, odd Bass and Rays but you need to look
about. On Wednesday John and Pete both caught these Undulate Rays the same
time. Tightlines, Les.
Thursday 17th August
Undulate Rays are the main stay with some Bass about
too. Mackerel and Bream are still to be caught but require patience and
searching for at times. Last Wednesday was due lost to poor weather but it
was still a good test week for the rebuilt engine. The other trips
went ahead as planned, thanks to the BHG Service team, particularly Tony
Lewis and Tim Carrington.
Below is Ken Davey with a 15lb Undulate Ray caught during
a half day trip on Thursday. Stuart Passfield with a 17lb Undulate Ray
caught on an evening trip, also Thursday and Ash with a bonus 12lb Pollock
caught during last Friday's all day charter.
Wednesday 9th August
'At last back at work', there's not many
people say that. Yesterday we found Macky, Scad, Gar, Tope, Bass, Hound,
Spotted Ray and Dogs in the nice middling tide. John had the best Tope at
18lb, Kev the best Bass at 4lb and Rhys is also shown with a well marked
Back in the water, Tightlines, Les
Monday 31st July
On Thursday, after the engine was fitted and during
pre-launch tests, we learned that the valve fault now fixed, disguised an
injector fault. A dribbly injector is now believed to be the cause of the
faulty exhaust valves. So both injector sets were sent away for test or
refurbishment, which takes a week. Launch was postponed until next week.
What can I say, obviously sorry. note too that the wind this week was a bit
keen for the majority of the booked crews too. Tightlines, Les
Wednesday 26th July
Frustrating, very frustrating but hopefully we will be back on the water
today or tomorrow. On Monday I skippered 'Manta Ray' on the first day of the
Services National Species Competition. I was booked on for the whole week!
The RAF team on board my charge for the day, caught around 170 fish. it
looked like they caught about 18 species, not easy to gauge, as all mini
species and some wrasse are lumped together on the score board. It was good
fun but a bit bouncy in a 'beam on', stiff Northerly. Alan, Tom and Paul on
Manta Ray will also look after these guys for the next three days but the
forecast is a bit pants, so it will be hard work all round. I hope they all
stay friends. Below are engine pictures, it's fingers crossed that BHG can
get it back on and working today or tomorrow.
Friday 14th July
Well it's all going on now with some good
fishing and great pictures followed by routine engine services that has
turned a bit nasty! Anyway all part of the job, so will start with the good
news first. Last week we had four more Turbot and some interesting fish.
On Monday the Essex boys had a bouncy start at
anchor. The sea was building and they couldn't catch fish in the swell so we
moved into the Solent for a Bass drift and a couple of Bream sorties at
anchor but we failed miserably. The next day off the Needles was much better
and the lads caught Turbot, Conger, Bream and Tope with plenty of mackerel
and bits and pieces to go with them. Their last day Wednesday was absolutely
superbly hot and calm which isn't ideal for fish bites but great for their
holiday and so the morning proved to be hard while on the drift. However, at
anchor the Rays obliged, as did the Tope and a nice Bass. The three days
were rounded off well with a flurry of three more Turbot.
Quick mention for newbie Martin. Yes, you guessed,
it he caught the biggest Turbot on day three and the best Tope, Conger,
Bream and Bass over the three days on my tackle. Also note that we didn't
venture more than six miles from the Needles Lighthouse.
On Wednesday evening a local crew did OK on a
cracking evening with a nice Undulate for Ian, plus a dozen or so small Bass
all released, lots of Mackerel and seven or eight Tope. While on Saturday
Peter caught the 1lb 7oz Mackerel below and Paul a 1lb 12oz Tub Gurnard
while drifting for Bass on their competition. Tope and Bass were the target
fish. The Crookham lads managed four Bass to 3lb 8oz and 14 Tope to around
16lb with the biggest lost to a line break.
As some will already know I have a dead port engine
following a very timely service. I can't thank BHG enough for their effort
in resolving the issue in a timely manner. Parts are on order and I am
expecting a re-launch at the end of next week, if all goes to plan. Fishing
trips have been rearranged or cancelled and my diary is updated. I will have
a further update Monday evening.
Fingers crossed and Tightlines, Les.
Please check diary
above for last available dates in August
Thursday 4th July
Another late report, sorry. Last week had a wet start and
a fantastic finish, then a conked out motor. The electrical fault appeared
as I manoeuvred at the end of the trip on Friday to drop the guys off!
That's luck for you, a bit of bad but mostly good luck as we were back on
time. I repaired the fault myself over last weekend where I had one booked
crew looked after by another skipper.
On Friday we had great weather and one of the best day's fishing this year.
Nick caught this 10lb Turbot on a live Mackerel. Guy a nice 12lb Thornback
and Rich a 16lb Undulate. Mackerel were under the boat all day. Rich also
caught the best Conger weighed at 30lb. Lots of Tope to 17lb plus
Smoothound, good Bream to 3lb, Rays and other fish made up a catch of twelve
Earlier in the week an evening trip produced a nice 16lb
Undulate for Paul Patrick, a first Conger for young Patrick and a Small Eyed
Ray for Alex. The rain never put them off at all, these were Fawley rugby
lad's mind. It's great to see young fella's enjoying catching lots of fish,
I nearly included a picture of a broken wire that stopped one of my engines
but it was just a wire that looked normal. The fault took some time to find.
Actually it took me two days in the end but it all works well now as I have
run four trips since!
I will save this weeks update for early next week, when
I'm out of the water having a mid season service and clean up, as she
deserves it! Tightlines, Les.
Thursday 22nd June
It's been a very busy period again with my
Yachtmaster Offshore (eleven hour!) examination on Monday. It was just me
being tested over that period, in my own vessel White Maiden II, in baking
hot conditions, but I PASSED!! Ye, ha. A big thankyou to volunteer crew Alan
Headley and Chris Bray. Plus over the last ten days or so I have also hosted
six crews, since my last web update. Some were easy days and some were
difficult but that's fishing for you. There's been some good fish and great
pictures. The trip of the week was with Trident SAC on Saturday, where we
could do what we liked in the superb weather. Sorry not to put up a better
report but I have run out of time once again. Tighlines, Les
Sunday 10th June
Only one trip this week due to the strong winds mostly up
from the SW for the majority of the week. Saturdays Crookham SAC trip was fished in a
strong southerly which meant that we had some shelter from the IOW, yet
still be out of the Solent, to catch ten species.
These included eight Black Bream, four Hounds to 10lb,
two Bull Huss, Pollock, Herring, Mackerel, two Congers, thirty Dogfish plus a
nice specimen Thornback Ray for Keith Newton.
Note there are still a few dates in July, literally three
dates only. August has more mid-week dates available but they will fill up
so please book up early if you can commit.
Wednesday 6th June
Sorry for the late posting again but its been very busy with all last weeks
anglers using my tackle and catching lots of fish. Yes I know, its a nice
problem to have! The Rick Nunn crew had a great days fishing on the Bream
catching 70+ to 2lb 8oz. Half were retained at about 5 fish per angler,
before we moved off to give the Bream a rest. While gently drifting, the
guys caught an aggressive Dab, a cracking 12lb Thornback Ray, three Small
Eyed Rays to 7lb, plus Dogs and Mackerel. What a great day, having also
released a Bass or two. On Friday the Polish crew found the fishing slower
but the quality better. The guys caught Bass to 5lb and Bream to 3lb 8oz and
sunk plenty of beers too, while changing tactics too often in the patient,
small tide. On Saturday the Murphy family crew organised by Kevin had a
stunning morning with clear blue skies and a lovely breeze. Mackerel were
harder to locate but we found some big ones plus we released a Bass, a Scad,
Dogs, a Bream, a Thornback Ray and a Tope. The wind got up when the
forecasters said it would, while we were on our way home, on the half day
trip. Another great family trip.
There are only a few dates left in July so if you are
planning to organise something with me, please make it sooner than later to
Sunday 28th May
Sorry for late post but its been very busy
with some great fish. Here's a brief report. Last weeks wreck trip on
Wednesday was great fun with some lovely Pollock to 15lb with a good crew
plus some fantastic weather. White Maiden II is terrific too with the recent
lift and scrub giving plenty more grunt against the tide if required with a
heavy load of fish and fuel aboard. John Wardropper shows a mid sized
Pollock below. On Monday, Eve and Stuart exclusively caught some nice fish
in a short session. Both caught Smoothound and Undulate Rays plus Mackerel,
Bass and lots of Dogs. An evening trip with Chas and friends immediately
after the wrecker was the hardest fishing yet most lovely session of the
week. James Newbold and friends did well on the Mackerel first thing Friday
on a breezy day that culminated in some good Hound fishing with Dave
catching a nice 18lb Hound. Bass and Tope were also caught. Saturday was wet
and windy but the lads did well again with Mackerel before sheltering for
some Rays, Tope and the odd Bream and Bass. We cut the day short due to the
freshening winds that were up round 30 knts. Sunday was flat calm but harder
on the Mackerel for the John and Graham crew but the lads caught some
cracking Undulate Rays, a nice Thornback, a bonus Bass and some nice
Smoothounds plus lots of Dogs and Pouting.
Sunday 21st May
Having 'White Maiden II' lifted and scrubbed on Wednesday,
in the pouring rain, was very timely as we are back up to speed now and
using less fuel. The fishing on Thursday was great with two lovely trips and
some nice fish too.
During the day the lads caught nine species with the best
a 3lb 7oz Black Bream on the left. All fish were good condition and well
marked. Some nice Pollock moved through and the lads caught steady.
In the evening the Smoothound fought hard and everyone had
fun catching them or the Bream. It was a cracking evening sunset.
Friday was slightly spoilt by the wind being stronger than
forecast and then by a lost anchor. I buoyed it off and will go back to have
another go at it next week. The lads did well before we dragged. We then
drifted for a few Pollock and found one mackerel.
My main lost anchor and chain has been replaced and we are
all ready to go again. Tightlines, Les.
Sunday 14th May
Three days of wind, rain and sunshine. It's
still spring and the inshore fishing is waking up slowly as our sea
temperatures begin to rise. Below is Paul from yesterdays trip with a
cracking Black Bream of 4lb 4ozs that came along very early in the tide. The
big Bream was spent and completely empty. The day was breezy and a bit lumpy
with very few other boats deciding to go but the experienced Hopp Inn lads
fished well for the best Black Bream of the season so far. Other catches
were another dozen Black Bream, a 4lb Bull Huss, Wrasse, Dogs and Pout.
On Saturday a crew of marine biologists really enjoyed their day despite the
wet start and then breezy conditions, all fished in comfortable inshore
waters to catch some good fish. Nick started with this well marked Undulate
Ray at 9lb 8oz. We tested for mackerel and caught a Garfish. In the
afternoon we found Smoothounds feeding well in the ebb. Nick below caught
this double before being upstaged by Matt above with his cracking 14lb'er.
All fish were returned to fight again.
On Friday a new lively crew fished too hard! The guys
tried for mackerel with baited feathers and baited pirks, at anchor with
huge lures some with three treble hooks all baited and hokkais with a lead
at the top and a pirk at the bottom and then a flowing trace off the end.
Tangles were immense and the fish were not interested but the guys enjoyed
experimenting, I think. The two beginners who fished simply and patiently
caught some nice Small Eyed Rays, now there's a thing. Unfortunately this
trip will force me to be more strict on alcohol and re-consider taking
non-English speaking crews. The combination is far too dangerous.
Sunday 7th May
week with some crews having to dig in and fish hard. That is until Saturday,
which is when the fish started to feed a bit better. Mind you, knowing what
doesn't work leads us closer to finding out what does work. On Wednesday the
small crew of four managed a dozen Black Bream to about 2lb 12oz before we
searched for a Plaice further a field. I proved they were there and also
lost one half way off the bottom but the fish of the day was Ralphs Turbot,
tricked as we dragged round slowly at slack water. Ralph also caught the
best Black Bream, below left. Further searching found a couple more Bream
and Dogs during a breezy afternoon.
On Friday a
regular TOFFS crew down from the City of London had a very hard day in a
strong Easterly that restricted us to a comfortable Christchurch Bay but
never the less the fishing was absolutely dire. Not their fault as a
colleague also had a similar experience with his crew at the same time, in
the same area. All I can say is that we really tried hard and the one Plaice
Chris caught matched mine from Wednesdays trip, which made my wife very
happy! Thanks Chris.
it was all change, as the Basingstoke crew, delivered by Taxi, brought more
beer than food and fished well all day and only a short distance from where
we struggled on Friday. We were the only fishing boat out on Saturday from
what I could see but we started with a dozen Small Eyed Rays to 5lb 12oz, a
Spotted Ray, a baby Cuckoo Ray and a well marked 8lb Undulate Ray plus lots
of Dogs. We moved as the wind dropped right off, to find a couple of nice
Black Bream rattling the light lined spinning rods. Chris is above showing
the Undulate Ray, which put in a great scrap on a hired light rod and also
tricked the baby Cuckoo Ray on the right. Neil on the left shows one of the
many Small Eyed Rays, all released, and Alex above is showing off the best
Black Bream. The lads ended up with eleven species during the day that
included the four Ray species, Dogs, Bream plus a cracking Corkwing Wrasse,
a Garfish, a Bass, a Pollock, a Pout and plenty of Dogfish.
Sunday 30th April
This was a proper 'fish chasing' week. We found some good Black Bream
plus the odd Ray, Hound, Wrasse, Pollock, Pouting and Dogfish.
The massive tides this week kept us inshore, although
wrecking is an option if the water out deep is clear, and this year, it is
very good. I have planned a wrecking trip on 11th May at £65pp with a
maximum of eight anglers. It depends on the weather and we will only go on a
I need a mid channel 'test trip' soon, as there are a few
cod now showing out there.
On Wednesday a short trip in the afternoon was breezy and
chilly and the fishing didn't improve the ambiance either but we had a good
go at the Plaice. Amazing how quick they have moved off or been scooped up
by a trawler. There was a bit of weed and the sea was clouded by silt again
due to the huge tide. Chas showed us all up with a Thornback, Bream, Hound
and a Dogfish while the rest of us completely blanked. See I told you I
always say it, just how it is! It's been a very long time since I have
blanked but it wasn't for trying. We anchored and drifted for the plaice and
I stuck to plaice baits which was my downfall!
Yesterday we had another go at the Bream and they are
there but need to be caught very precisely. It's easy when you know how.
David (above) caught the biggest Bull Huss at 4lb of the day and the biggest
Black Bream at 2lb 14oz.
Tuesday 25th April
Sorry for the late report. One just can't get
enough PR staff on the pay role.... I wish! The weather, crews and fishing
have been really good over the last five trips, starting with an Individuals
trip, last Wednesday. The lads found some nice Black Bream to 3lb 5oz,
before a drift for Turbot where Pete hit the target. We then had a go for a
Plaice but lost the tide. On Friday the lads found a few Plaice on the drift
plus a bonus 13lb Undulate Ray on Plaice gear, for Guy. In the second Friday
short session trip, the crew from Devizes caught our first Mackerel and
Pollock of the year. Then on Saturday the Sebastien and Simon crew patiently
fished very well for Mackerel and Herrings on a stunning day before
attempting to clear a wreck of large Pout. On Sunday we found a few more
Mackerel and Herring plus some nice Bream. Here's some pictures of our
excursions; Top pics Left to Right, Pete Hellyar with a 3lb 5oz Black
Bream, Pete Devizes with a 5lb Turbot and Vic and Guy with Plaice to 2lb
Bottom left to right: Guy Strange with a lovely 13lb
Undulate Ray, a good looking chap with a feisty Tope (that's me!), the first
Mackerel full house of the year and Chris and John with 3lb+ Black Bream.
The hen was quickly released but John's male went 3lb 5oz (note I didn't
write the word cock!).
Saturday 15th April
Well the sea is warming up nicely. A lovely 3lb 4oz
Bream for Tony, a 5lb Bull Huss for Chris, a pretty Ballan Wrasse for Tony,
all from Fridays trip. We caught Plaice on the Wednesday trip along with
starman John Wardropper.
There's settled weather for
WEDNESDAY 19th APRIL. This
trip is advertised as a last minute booking and so therefore I have
uncharacteristically dropped the price for an individual to £45pp. We have a
small tide too, so there are no restrictions. But, we will need to decide
amongst ourselves what we do on the day.
Happy Easter and Tightlines, Les
Monday 10th April
Wall to wall sunshine, bookings and no wind for three
days! That is odd but very welcome for this time of year. The fishing also
coincided with small tides so we went offshore for the big fish on the first
A small crew on Thursday found Spurdogs to 17lb, Congers
to 45lb and Blondes to 12lb plus a 7lb Thornback Ray, Pout and Dogs. We
tried with feathers to no avail but there are some herring about. Left to
right is Simon, Bartic and Sebastian. Bartic caught his Blonde Ray, expertly
retrieved, right in the middle of the ebb tide. It was a top effort.
On Friday the lads found Spurdog feeding again, plus
Blonde Rays to 17lb, more Congers plus another Thornback Ray, Whiting, Pout
and Dogs. Fishing at anchor for big fish was new to this crew but they
adapted well and kept changing baits and working the leads. Ben's big Blonde
Ray (left) fought well, luckily right at the end of the tide, so perfect
On Saturday the Trident SAC crew had lots of worm bait,
some left from the previous day, which enabled the lads to fish hard for
Plaice. They caught a couple of nice ones plus small Hounds and the usual
dogs and Pout but it was slow. Very calm and very warm but slow.
A change of tactics was called for, so we went exploring
on the drift for an early Mackerel or Pollock but failed to find one. Our
Bream mark produced more Dogs, Pout and some Wrasse. Unknown to us at the
time one crew got stuck into a shoal of herring not too far away. Away from
the snags and out deeper the lads caught more dogfish and pout plus a
cracking 4lb lobster for John. The lucky lobster was full of eggs and so she
went back to do her stuff.
There are still spaces on 'White Maiden II' on Wednesday
and Saturday this week!
Below - George with Plaice, Harry with Spur and John with Lobster (released
to let her 'berries' go!)
Monday 3rd April
Messing about with moorings and an Individuals Saturday fishing trip.
This is still a quiet time of year for us but the weather
is oddly feeling like summer. Moorings need looking after and the start of
the season is a good time to check them on the big tides. That's exactly
what we had last week. So a little test trip with the parents, to show them
what I keep talking to them about, lined up nicely with the biggest tide and
the only rain of the week! Anyway the moorings checked at the top of the
biggest tide certainly helped with some decisions. On Thursday additional
fenders and ropes were applied.
Back to the fishing. Only one trip this week on Saturday
in a big old tide.
The swell wasn't a problem in the new boat and we all had
a nice day catching various species that included Dogs, Pout, Plaice, Dab,
Conger, Hounds and Starfish. We tested three marks.
It was a good small crew and a nice day to organise some
light line tackle for this type of fishing.
Left is Paul Patrick with his interesting double of a
small dab and a big starfish.
I have added some code to the front page that allows a
quicker check on last minute bookings. Note there is an offshore Blonde Rays
and Spurdog trip this
Thursday, with spaces.
Tight lines, Les
Sunday 26th March
Better late than never, last weeks report! A couple of
breezy trips that started on the Friday out round the Needles in a small
tide. The lads were hammered by Dogs but at the end of the tide two Spotted
Rays and a the biggest fish of the day a Thornback Ray for Steve Hibbs was
netted, photo and released. A move to the Plaice marks found nice Plaice at
2lb 5oz for Steve plus an undersized Blue Whale for Duncan! Starfish, Dogs
and a small Hound made a show too.
On Saturday the wind was stronger but the sun brighter and
the crew even keener, so we tested the Plaice marks again, with very little
in the way of other options due to strong winds. The lads put plenty of bait
over but possibly not enough rag worm. A few Plaice, Rays, Whiting and Dogs
made a show plus another starfish but it was hard going in the very brisk
high pressure easterly winds. Below are my fish pictures of Steve and
Duncan, Tom Hibbs and John Wardropper with the biggest Saturday capture.
Here's a couple of John Wardropper pictures from Saturday. A great couple
days fishing, at a hard time of year. This is the type of bait selection you
need, plus rag worm! Plaice fishing with bait, in murky water, must contain
nice fresh rag worm, plus sometimes a combination of prawn, black lug, squid
strip, razor fish and even mackerel strips.
But whatever takes your bait, if you have the right gear
you will get a bend out of the rod. Mick, 'fish on!'.
If you want a weekend boat trip with me this year there
are a few dates left but not many, be warned.
Sunday 19th March
That's it.... our annual holiday is now over with more
experience gained. Madeira is a lovely place, as are the other Canary
Islands we visited. We were unfortunate to have bad weather on the return
trip and we did suffer a Force 10 Westerly through the Biscay! And now,
after a very busy last ten days, the decorating at home is nearly completed.
White Maiden II is now sat on my wave screen moorings, so
it's back to normal. White Maiden was sold the weekend before our
holiday. She is to be renamed and used as a yacht race start and club boat,
based in Cowes. It's nice to have her around locally still and hopefully we
should see her now and again.
I had a test run this week and manage to dip a line, only
for one hour and it was all for test purposes, as I could see the weekend
was looking poor. All went very well with the test trip and I am still
loving the new boat. Yesterday's fishing was cancelled because of the near
gale from the West. That's all for now folks. Plaice fishing is an option
now along with Rays and Spurs on the small tides, so if you fancy a spot of
fishing check my diary.
Sunday 19th February
Glorious February sunshine! What in the UK? You can't beat that right at the end of
the season on a new boat! The lovely weather also
coincided with two booked winter fishing trips, which makes a change too. On
both days we tested further off-shore in the calm seas and
Saturday was the warmest sunniest
day. We had plenty of time and ventured further off-shore where we had a surprise
species for February, a cracking 32lb Tope, caught by Steve Banks.
I thought this was going to be the biggest Spurr Dog ever seen at the net as
just before this fish I
netted a target 16lb Spurr Dog for Bob Clack! Between Conger Eels I also
netted a nice 12lb Undulate Ray
for Mark Kellett, as well as a Whiting and a Dogfish. These came along with
three target Blonde Rays and a couple of Thornbacks plus twenty Conger Eels to 27lb.
Saturday was also the day I
learned how useful the AIS feature was for me, while out in the Channel, as
displayed on the RADAR.
This is a feature I have never had before on a boat. I also tested
the auto pilot properly on the way back to the Light in ideal conditions. The
oldish but trusty Raymarine Classic (non-touch screen) Navigation equipment
was, in thick fog, first thing Saturday morning, an absolute joy to have. 'White
Maiden II' is definitely my ideal vessel for this job and I have no regrets
so far. She is a
proper upgrade, for both skipper and passengers. I'm very well set now
and really looking forward to the new season.
On Friday the Devizes lads also did
well for this time of year, on a closer bank, on a the shorter six hour trip with
two Blonde Rays, a
Small Eyed Ray plus eighteen Conger Eels to 26lb.
Friday 10th February
We managed to get out once this week in a nice tide and a
brisk but kind Northerly F4. The swell on the Bridge was impressive but
'White Maiden II' took on the breaking swell, off the Needles Lighthouse,
Out on our marks we found that the Congers are still
feeding hard. The lads caught and returned twenty two Eels with Ian Hewitt
counting seven and Alan Headley five. All six guys caught at least one
tackle testing Conger by the end of the day. The bag was made up by a couple
of whiting, a few Pout and some Dogfish. It was a bit 'samey' towards the
end but a good warm up. An 11lb Cod was caught well inshore of us.
Meanwhile, between decorating jobs, I have also been
working hard on spreadsheets, collating data from the 'White Maiden' Garmin
GPSMap and eventually uploading it successfully onto my 'White Maiden II'
Raymarine Classic Wide C140W and C90W's. It's been quite a task and now
completed, I am so relieved!!! I am equally excited about having a good go
at all these familiar and new numbers again. I have lots of wrecks to
explore both inshore and offshore in the new boat.
On Thursday I delivered 'Wight Maiden' to Cowes for a
Survey. Good fun except for the freezing cold hands, ropes and water. This
isn't my favourite time of year but it's still great to get out in the
elements! Thanks for the hand Alan.
Tight lines and stay well wrapped up, Les
Tuesday 22nd January
Everything came together with the new boat this last two weeks. I managed to
resolve the last survey defects and a MCA CAT 2 'Change of Owner' licence
was received in the post.
We have had three trips aboard White Maiden II in
the last four days, which was great. This was a proper winter test mind you.
All three days had a very icy start and end of day, along with freezing
North Easterly winds and sloppy seas off the Needles. Wednesday was the best
day. The local lads caught Congers to 25lb and Whiting to 2lb and a nice
Thornback Ray for Rod plus a nice Spotted Ray for John. These were the first
Needles fish boated on 'White Maiden II'. I had a little go too as I
couldn't resist it and I was chuffed with my three Congers and four Whiting.
A big thank you to John Wardropper for the pictures. I
only took one, as was preoccupied with rearranging items to go where they
fit best. I have a few plans for the galley, cabin and deck but so far
everything is working as intended by the previous owner.
Friday was harder for the Colin Butson crew as we
hugged the Island for protection against a Force 5 to 6 North Easterly. It
was freezing. I had to re-splice the anchor rope on the bow after a it
jammed tight in a roller, in a building sea. I could have cut and run but
she has an expensive 35Kg anchor on her. We finished up in the Solent to
find some respite off Totland Bay. While out off the Light we found Whiting
again, Pout and Dogs but nothing very big. The main highlight was practising
again with the new galley. We handled the two packs of Bacon, two packs of
sausages and a dozen eggs easily.
While yesterday we pushed off a bit further again and
found the Congers plus Whiting and a nice Undulate Ray for Bob. It was
bloody cold yesterday as the sun never came out to play. Bob is shown on the
left in the 'photo booth' and on the right, back in the stern, showing lots
of deck space on one half of the deck! She is a cracking boat.
All the guys stuck to the fishing really well this week
and I couldn't have asked for better crews in my first week on the new boat,
particularly at this time of year.
Going forward the fish will be moving further offshore. We
will target Spurrs, Congers and Blondes on the banks, where the Whiting and
the odd Cod and Smoothound will show up too. I will also be looking to do a
bit of wrecking if the weather allows. T
There are spaces on Monday, on a cracking forecast.
Tuesday 10th January
fishing and super weather for this time of year. To get so many trips in
during the winter is unprecedented over the last 12 years, for me anyway.
Yesterday I heard they were still catching Mackerel off Lyme Regis over the
last weekend! Our fishing was great on Thursday with Liam catching the best
Cod at 18lb, best Undulate at 16lb and best Whiting at around 3lb 12oz. Rod
also hooked a 12lb Cod. He thought it was another eel, so he gave the rod to
Pete so he could feel his Suveran 20/30. Pete reeled in the Cod held up by
Alan below! Great day out on the sea. On Friday we chased Cod round the
Solent and didn't get one but found a few nice Whiting a small Thornback and
a nice little Bass. While on Saturday we tried and failed to find fish on
our productive Thursday mark. My response was to move a bit deeper and it
paid off with another 14lb Cod for Tony and some great Whiting, more Eels
and a nice Thornback Ray.
Oh and the new boat.... White Maiden II has some work to
do on her before I get the 'change of owner' licence. All that work is in
progress. A few defects are resolved already. All marine surveyors are
stringent but it is for the safety of us all, so I wont grumble and I still
have my lovely White Maiden, which is still for sale.
in numbers - tba
As last year New Bass landing restrictions for Rod and Line Anglers
come into effect again on January 1st 2017, through to June 2017. After that its
one Bass per angler.
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
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
'White Maiden' is now on the market and the advert can be