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January in normal circumstances is a very good month for fishing from our shores, somehow though, somewhere, someone has removed the circumstances and to be fair it has been pretty dire. Sole, Red Mullet and Bass which we normally see good catches of have disappeared, well not quite disappeared. The commercial nets are doing very well so maybe the colder than normal water temperatures have comatosed the fish not to feed. That's a great shame for our sport and we also watch helplessly on as tons of roe'd up Bass each week are landed and transported around the island on the back of lorries, that's not good for future stocks for the English Channel. It is the belief of our commercial fleet that the Channel Islands 'only' have 10% of the catch from area 7E. Most of this comes from within 2 square miles of shoreline and area 7E is thousands of square miles. Typically short sighted of the commercial man who 'has to earn a living' totally disregarding others and the consequences of their actions to even themselves. Enough said.

This current situation though has made the few anglers that are fishing re-focus how they are approaching their fishing. Roving angling with lures has over the last decade become more popular. Normally this is done with hard lures, that being metal lures or plastic ones. Todays anglers are casting light jig heads, say around 3 to 10g at most, with bits of rubber attached simulating small fry or lesser objects such as shrimp or crab. The amazing technique which I have seen work is the use of this method in a static way. It's simply cast out across clean ground and twitched back to the rod. This creates small puffs of 'cloud' on the sea bed which predatory fish come to investigate and then bang, fish on! It's great fishing and a totally different concept to how my generation got brought up to fish. One local angler who I have mentioned in this column before, Dick Smith, is very forward thinking in this style of fishing and he now almost solely concentrates on this method with his beach rods only coming out for the Festival and a few other rare occasions. It has accounted for many big Wrasse to 7lb, Pollack to double figures and good sized bass. This month alone when I was with him on one session he had a Garfish around 2lb, far bigger than what we were catching conventionally on floats and spinners. Having just mentioned Dicky there and how rare his beach rods do come out he did celebrate New Years Eve with a Bull Huss of 12lb 4oz and one of 9lb odd, cracking result. So even when it is difficult fishing, armed with the right knowledge of when to do what you can still be catching fish.

Having said that though you won't change someone like Nigel Bowditch, bait through and through and whack it, well whack it most of the time. He, like most, has struggled despite the enormous amount of time he puts in. He did though manage to land some Bull Huss to close on to double figures but his best fish he landed was a Pollack which was well over 10lb. Other anglers not doing so well and with the lack of visiting anglers from the other Channel Islands and UK there is little fishing activity. The bright spot is the squid fishing, that's been fun when the weather allows with blank sessions rare and to get past half a dozen in a short session is a good catch.

On a personal level I set myself a challenge this year as regards a species hunt. I thoroughly enjoyed my fishing last year apart from the lack of time. A big reason for this enjoyment was taking part on the forum of BeachandBoat in their species race for 2010. I always thought I would do well due to the species available around Alderney and the second half of the year I did particularly well having been quite lazy in the first half. What it did for me was to focus my fishing on species I wouldn't normally go for but better than that it MADE me go fishing when otherwise I wouldn't have done. Sounds really mad to say that but that is the truth of it. So this year I started on New Years Day with gusto, my target for the year is 50 from Alderney only!! My first objective was to catch the species that were there, obvious eh? Last year though I made the mistake of not fishing for Red Mullet and Thick Lipped Mullet when I should have done because by the close of the year they were not part of the 42 I did catch from UK waters. My strange thinking was that 'there was no need to as they will be caught in November or December', so wrong was I. This month then my target was to get these two species, a Sole and in that I would catch other species. After three sessions it became clear to me that the targeted species weren't there to be caught so I quickly dropped those and selected four other targets, Small Eyed Ray, and the three Rockling here, 3 Bearded, 5 Bearded and Shore Rockling. This involves different baits, different rigs and different venues. After 5 sessions I have still not caught a Small Eyed and four of those sessions have involved 4.30am starts (see what I mean, you fish when you wouldn't normally!). My mate Rob Blondin went one evening, the only time he has fished this year and caught one first cast. I was devastated!! See how much fun this species hunting is? Of the three Rockling I have only managed to land the Shore Rockling, I did though drop a 3 bearded of around 2lb hauling it up the wall of the inner harbour, that'll teach me for not using a drop net!! I've still got the rest of the month to go and these targets will carry till next month which again will be quiet. The Thick Lipped and Red Mullet may well come in to contention again on the next set of tides. The list below shows where I am at the moment, I'm on 15 so far.

1. Ballan Wrasse 2. Corkwing Wrasse 3. Tompot Blenny 4. Black Bream 5. Pout 6. Poor Cod 7. Scad 8. LSD 9. Smoothound 10. Garfish 11. Golden Grey Mullet 12. Shore Rockling 13. Squid! 14. Giant Goby 15. Pollack.

Basic rules I have set myself is that obviously rod and line only, no hand lines. Smoothound count as one species due to the difficulty of identifying them. They need to be laboratory tested to prove inconclusively that they are one species or another. I am though including Squid and Cuttlefish. This is because they can be targeted on rod and line with lures or bait. Some purists reading this might curl their noses up J. However nothing else included, crabs, lobsters or welly boots, I'm not that shallow ;-).

Alderneys fishing consultation has issued the first green paper for public discussion. It did include a netting ban in certain locations for the island, a ban on trawling, log books for charter boats and pleasure vessels but I will shout this, THIS IS ONLY THE NEXT STEP IN CONSULTATION AND NOT YET SET IN STONE. I say it like this as one or two of you have been getting carried away and spreading false rumours, TUT…TUT. March is the deadline that has been put on this consultation so watch this space or better still our States of Alderney website. Please contribute if you wish, details are on the states website or email me on and I can forward to you the email addresses you need to write too.

It just leaves me too thank those of you that do visit our beautiful island, the tourism generated is so beneficial to the businesses here and much appreciated. Lots of you have booked up for summer trips which seem so far away when the weather and news is all doom and gloom, but hey, it is only a matter of weeks now!!


Returns next month


Returns next month

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We have a pile of Sprats around Ramsgate at the moment! Whilst this must be like heaven for the Cod and Whiting, it makes life difficult for the angler as the fish come up off the bottom and follow the Sprats around drinking them, so thick are the shoals! Also Velvet crabs are here, we know that because so many are being washed up on the beaches, they are a good fish food too so as the sprats disappear the better fish should get back to bottom feeding making them more catchable. The Skate fishing is at best patchy. The Cod that are around are of a good size but thin on the ground but we are having some action inshore with Dabs and Whiting!

The sea is always changing so we are hopeful the fishing will improve soon. The Sprats start to thin out towards the end of January and should be gone by mid February. We normally get a good run of spring Codling starting as the sprats disappear. Also heading our way Thornback ray that shoal around The Goodwin sands and Thames Estuary to breed and with the protection they now get we hope for some good catches! Bookings are down for now, the poor weather we have been getting along with the difficult fishing hasn't helped so a big thank you to the stalwart anglers who have braved the elements, for without you many boats would not survive! On a more positive note, spring is just around the corner and as the water warms up all the summer species will be heading our way so now is the time to check all the fishing tackle, make your plans and bookings!

Check out our website for a trip out on Duke IV.

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As per normal for this time of year, the weather has kept most of the fleet in port,but on days when conditions allowed, the fishing has been suprisingly productive, good quantaties of Bass have shown falling to lures along the reef system when water clarity has been good. Plenty of Channel Whiting on the softer gound along with the odd Conger and Ray. Cod have finally arrived having pushed up from the East, and anywhere along the 7 mile contour has produced good numbers up to 20lbs, predominately on cuttlefish fished on sliding ledgers. Most of the boats are now being lifted and prepared for the start of the spring season and we wish all crews venturing to the port a Happy New Year.  Tel 01243 582299, Mob. 07831 848561, Fax 01243 585294

WEST WIGHT REPORT by Arthur Savage, Private Venture

The cold weather we have experienced over the past few weeks has really slowed down the fishing and pushed some of the fish into deeper water. For those hardy anglers who continue to brave the snow and ice it has become a real waiting game, with big baits hard on the bottom providing the scent trail and some good warm clothing to see the day out.

We haven't been disappointed with the size, or quality, of the fish, with our best Cod so far this month weighing in at 33½ lb. This fish took a multi squid bait on a Penel rig. We have also fished with a 3 hook rig for Chanel Whiting, which are still on the area but very scattered. However, when you do pick them up they average around 2½ lb to 3½ lb, which is the perfect size for the table.

On the offshore banks, over the smaller tides, it is also slow; but if you look around you should find the occasional Blond Ray or Thornback, Spurdog and elusive Ling.

Myself, I shall be lifting the boat out over the next few weeks and make it ready for the wrecking season.


Boat Report

It'll be not much of a surprise to say that the weather has played havoc with charter and private vessels getting out to sea. Being a regular visitor to myself it would seem that 'Mother Nature' seems to be dishing out an unfair proportion of the wind down in our region and even more so to our neighbours further south in the Channel Islands. Despite this when the boats have been able to get out there have been some quality fish coming aboard.

Regular emails received from Dave Harrison and Ian Noble, both charter skippers out of Dartmouth have been reporting Ling, double figure Pollack and still some Cod coming in from the mid-Channel wrecks. One very successful angler, Stu Beattie from Plymouth, who you may recall had some cracking Black and Red Bream earlier in the year has landed an excellent Tub Gurnard of over 5lbs on a recent trip aboard Ian Nobles, Dartmouth based charter vessel, Samuel Irvin 3. Well done Stu, keep up the good work.

Most of the wreck fish have been caught using the Sidewinder and Redgill Evolution, internally weighted, soft body sandeel lures on a long flowing trace. If you get out fishing the mid - Channel wrecks make sure you take an assortment of colours

John Tandy and his wife Tania kindly wrote with a fishy tale of a trip aboard their private boat "French Lady" out of Dartmouth. Here's what John wrote:

"Woke up this morning and what a lovely day. It was our first day off together in a few weeks and as we looked out the window the sea looked flat calm. We were up and out around 10am on the "Skerries" banks, out of Dartmouth but by 11am the fishing was slow and we only had a couple of Whiting. We steamed out to an in-shore wreck and caught shed loads of Pouting, some more Whiting and a couple of Pollack, What a result!! Tan's Mum loves Pouting. Then, hey presto, as the tide turned a cracking Ling of 22 lbs came aboard." Well done John, a good fish by anyone's standards.

Personally, I've managed to get out twice in the last couple of weeks in my own private boat and have had a pretty successful time. My first trip at a local inshore mark produced a really good number of fish. Fishing at anchor off the rough ground at the seaward side of the Orestone, using a simple running ledger rig and the most favoured bait at this time of year, the Peeler Crab resulted in a total of 31 Codling and 2 Bass plus the usual Whiting, Pouting, L.S.D's and an unusual male Dragonet with his beautiful electric blue colouring. Many of the Codling and both Bass, even though they were legal size, were nicely lip hooked and returned alive to breed and fight another day along with the other species. Around half of the Codling were in the 1lb - 1lb 8oz mark with the rest in the 2lb - 4lb region. It's really good to see an abundant number of juvenile fish, which hopefully will mean some good quality fish in years to come.

The second outing was pretty much just as successful as the first. Fishing on an inshore wreck during the flood tide accounted for a dozen nice sized Pollack up to 7lb, some big Pout of well over the 2lb mark (the cat is very happy) and a welcome surprise 3lb Codling. All fish came to a six inch Rhubarb and Custard Sidewinder soft lure. The fishing was abruptly ended by the arrival of a pod of Pilot Whales that played around the boat for over an hour and chased the boat as I moved up for other drifts. Yes, the fishing was put on hold but what a pleasure to see some magnificent mammals playing in their natural habitat. Eventually, I moved back inshore to the mark I fished on my first trip. Using the same tactics and bait the Codling didn't fail me and showed in good numbers again. It was full on action with a total tally of 20 codling in 90 minutes. Sizes were the same as the first trip and over half were returned alive to breed and fight another day. Sadly, I had to return to port a little earlier than I would have liked but the wife was going out. Come on guys, you know what it's like, you've got to keep the 'Brownie' points coming in! Plus it was a Burlesque night so there was a method to my madness. Kerching!

Other reliable reports I've received have said Codling of up to 8lb are being caught. It makes me wonder who's going to be the lucky one this year to get a double or a magical 20lb 'er?

Hopefully, by next month the big Pollack will be moving up the Channel so with any luck we should have more great boat fishing to report on.

Shore Report

The weather again has hampered the fishing but again the Die Hard anglers have been out there catching some quality fish. As reported in last month's edition the Flounder season should be under way and some of the local shore anglers have been out and about with some good success. Whilst the rivers' Dart, Teign and Exe will all be producing these lovely fat flatties most of the reports are coming in from Kingsbridge. The best Flounder reported so far is by junior Brixham S.A.C. angler, Ciaran Farley with a lovely fish of 3lb 7oz 8dr, which set a new Brixham S.A.C. Junior Club Record. Well done Ciaran.

Dave Fortune, also a Brixham S.A.C. member, has had the 'midas touch' when it comes to Flounder with several successful sessions. His catches include specimens of 2 lb 8 oz 5 dr, 2 lbs 14 ozs 6 dr and 3 lbs 1 oz 13 dr. Most were returned to fight another day. Well done Dave.

Great news for the ladies as Shinta Nilawatti has also been getting in on the action with her best fish of this year, a fine specimen of 3 lb 1 oz 11 dr. She was very pleased with her fish and commented that Flounder are her favourite fish. Well done Shinta.

But it not all been about the Flounder as other species have been coming to the scales.

Adam Slack fished a North Devon mark and was very pleased to catch a fine specimen Cod of 16 lbs 2 ozs 4 dr. Most people would be happy to catch this one from boat let alone from the shore. Well done Adam, a great achievement.

Jason Hemmings has put in countless hours trying to catch a double figure Bull Huss and after a great deal of effort he has been finally rewarded with a lovely specimen of 11 lbs 13 ozs 12 dr. This is a prime example of patience and dedication, which has been rewarded. Well done Jason.

Alex McDonald who works for Exeter based fishing tackle wholesaler Swift Tackle Ltd, distributor to the trade for Sakuma hooks and line plus the ever popular range of Redgill lures has been at it again. Recently Alex caught a superb 45lb Tope from a North Devon rock mark and after a concerted effort he has also managed to land two more specimen Tope of 28 lbs 8 ozs and 30 lbs 6 oz. Both were caught on a fillet of fresh Flounder as bait, offered on a size 8/0 Sakuma hook, attached to 100 lb wire trace and 18 lb BS Sakuma Nite Crystal line. Goes to show that patience pays off.

And, last but not least for this months shore report I do have to mention that, after his recent thrashing, Russell Farley, proud father of Ciaran Farley, who I reported on earlier has redeemed himself a little. Here's what Russell wrote:

Brixham had the 3rd and final heat of 2010's Triple Fluke Series on Sunday 12th December. Many Anglers fished across the Kingsbridge Estuary and several fish were caught. Leader after round 2 was Andy Halliday with a Fish of 2 lb 0 oz 12 dr, but he was beaten in the 3rd round by Dave Fortune with a fish of 2 lb 8 oz 5 dr and then by myself with a fish of 2 lb 13 oz 13 dr which ended up being the overall winner.

Shay Upham headed the Junior Section with a fish of 1-10-4.

Andy Halliday and I had 6 fish between us of which 4 were returned immediately.

Zyg Gregorek awarded 2nd Certificate by International Game Fish Association for Bill Fish Grand Slam

Most big game anglers have a distant pipe dream of catching all the species of Bill Fish, such as Black Marlin, White Marlin, Striped Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, etc in their angling lifetime. Zyg Gregorek, who owns the famous "Anglers Paradise" in North Devon, has travelled the world for many years and has succeeded in catching his second "Grand Slam" of all the Billfish species, which are recorded by the Florida USA based International Game Fish Association.

This is almost unheard of and is of even more significance when you consider that Zyg already holds "Grand Slam" certificates for all species of Tuna, and all species of Sharks too. This is a fabulous achievement and unequalled by anyone else in the world of big game sea angling.

Well done Zyg, you truly are a master at work.

OK guys, that's it from me this month. I hope you've enjoyed my first ever column as a fishing journalist as much as I've enjoyed writing it? Please keep all those fishy tales and catch reports coming in to


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Hurry up next month so that I can push off to the Caribbean for three weeks on a cruise, as this winter weather is getting to me at last. We have managed to get to sea on only two occasions since our last report, and for what we caught we may have stayed in bed. On our last trip we ventured out some 53 miles to check the deep-water wrecks, and after visiting 7 wrecks finished up with 7 Ling to 28 lbs and 4 Pollock to around 8 lbs. Not what we would expect at this time of the year. Whether it is the cold spell that has caused the fish to stay out deep or whether, as last year the large fish are late once again in turning up, I can't say. But whatever is the cause; it is being experienced all along the English Channel.

Mackerel are also hard to find and anglers would be well advised to bring a supply of squid with them. Boats which have been fishing on the rough ground to the east of the port have been finding plenty of Codling, but nothing over 5 lbs has been reported. It looks as though once again we are in for another hammering this weekend with more gales forcast, and we can't see much change coming our way for some time.

I have been watching a programme on channel 4 showing the amount of fish being put over board from a trawler in the North Sea. It's sickening as an angler to see fish like this being trawled up just to be thrown back dead because of quotas. It would be far better if fisheries had closed seasons, and when closed boats would not be allowed to fish in that area. But when open would be allowed to catch what they want. I am hoping that by my next report fishing would have improved and boats are reporting some good catches.



On Monday 6th December The Nomads held their 2nd cod and whiting match, with 13 anglers fishing at Langney Point and whitehorses. The winner with 32 whiting for 15lb 6oz 6dr was Ian Hopper. Second place went to Phil Chapman with 14lb 11oz and third Luke Grote with 12lb 14oz 4dr. Luke also landed the heaviest fish an excellent whiting of 2lb 1oz 8dr a new Nomads club record!

On Wednesday 21st December the nomads fished their last match of the season, the 3rd and final cod and whiting match with 12 anglers fishing at Langney point and Pevensey Bay. The winner with 5lb 4oz 8dr was Dan Wood, including the biggest fish a nice codling of 3lb 13oz 4dr. Second with 3lb 13oz 8dr of whiting was Ian Hopper and third Phil Chapman 2lb 15oz 8dr.


On Tuesday 20th December Anderida club held a beach match with 15 anglers fishing in very cold conditions. The winner was Marco Marsiglia with 3lb of whiting, second Kim McGreevy with 2lb 14oz and third Jim Whippy with 2lb 3oz. The biggest fish was a flounder of 1lb 4oz for Paul King and the heaviest round a whiting of 13oz for Dennis Puttick.

Twenty four anglers fished the final Anderida club match of the season was fished on Thursday December 30th with the championship in both seniors and juniors all coming down to this last match. On the day the match winner was John Ryder with flounders and dab for 2lb 5oz, second was Glyn Morgan with 1lb 15 ½ oz, including the biggest fish a flounder of 1lb 3 ¾ oz. Third was Jack Wiltshire with 1lb 13oz and fourth Keith Hesling with 1lb 4 ½ oz. The club championship winner was Tom Jarrett, pipping Paul King by 10 points and the junior champion was Jack Hayes, and runner up Jonathan Lee. (Jack and Jonathan were lying in 3rd and 4th place respectively before the last match).

On Monday January 3rd Anderida club held the first club match of 2011, with 30 anglers fishing in calm cold conditions. The winner Jim Whippy landed flounders and dabs for 1lb 13 ¼ oz, second was Mark Underhill with 1lb 12oz, third Phil Metcalf with 1lb 9 ½ oz and fourth Derek Vine with 1lb 3 ½ oz. The heaviest flatfish was a flounder of 1lb ¾ oz for Jim Whippy and the heaviest round, a whiting of 8 ¾ oz for Fred Brown.


The final results of the Terminus match season saw Peter Fountain becoming the new Terminus club champion with 284 points. Gary Windeat second with 263 points and third Dennis Puttick with 249 points.

On New Years Day The Terminus club held their annual open usually fished on Boxing day, a good turnout of 34 anglers fished at Whitehorses in flat calm conditions. The winner with 2lb 5oz was Marco Marsiglia, Marco's catch included a flounder, a whiting (the joint heaviest round at 5oz) and some dabs. Second with a flounder and dabs was Paul Parsons with 1lb 14oz, third John Ryder with 1lb 11oz and fourth Derek Vine with 1lb 10oz. Sam Samson landed the heaviest flatfish with a flounder of 1lb 6oz and Colin Isaacs shared the heaviest round with Marco with a whiting of 5oz.


On Thursday 16th December The 3rd leg of the Daiwa sponsored Eastbourne sea league was fished. Five sections fished in Pevensey Bay with mainly whiting and a few flounders caught. A section winner Jim Whippy (Anderida all Stars) with 7lb 6 ¾ oz, second John Ryder (Zziplex match) 5lb 13 ¼ oz. B section winner Colin Sargeant (Anderida all Stars) with 5lb 14oz, second Bill Sims (Sussex Cars) 5lb 7 ¼ oz. C section winner Brett Green (Zziplex match) with 7lb 9oz, joint second Ian Hopper (Anglers Den) and Paul Parsons (Anglers Den Piscatorials) with 5lb ½ oz. D section winner Kim McGreevy (Anglers Den) with 7lb ½ oz, second Joe Plumstead (Zziplex match) with 6lb 15 ½ oz. E section winner Jamie Morgan (Anderida A) with 11lb 8oz, second Gerald Sargeant (Anderida all Stars) 9lb 4oz. Top team on the night were Anderida all stars with 44 points, second Anglers Den with 41 points and third Zziplex match with 40 points. Over-all after 3 matches first Anglers Den with 123 points, second Anderida all Stars with 115 points, third Zziplex Match with 114 points and fourth Anderida A with 105 points.

On Wednesday 5th January The fourth round of the Daiwa sponsored Eastbourne sea league was fished, in cold biting winds. A section winner Colin Isaacs(Anderida A) managed a large flounder plus a whiting for 2lb 2oz, second Jim Whippy (Anderida all stars) 1lb 2oz. B section winner Budge Booker (Anderida all stars) 1lb ½ oz, second Karl Gatward (A.S. Tackle) 15oz. C section winner Steve Gatehouse (The Terminus) 1lb 3oz, second Ian Mostran (Sussex Cars) 15oz. D section winner Martin Sherwin (Piscatorials) 1lb 4oz, runner up Colin Sargeant (Anderida all stars) 1lb 3oz. E zone joint winners Phil Metcalf (Piscatorials) and Nick May (Zziplex match) with 1lb 13oz. Top team on the night were Anderida all stars with 39 points, second Anglers Den Piscatorials with 31 points and third Anderida A with 26 points. The new leaders with 2 matches to go are Anderida all stars with 154 points, second Anglers Den with 146 points, third Anglers Den Piscatorials with 134 points and fourth Anderida A with 131 points.

The Cod Festival organised by Phil Metcalf over the Christmas break attracted 31 entries fishing from 14 boats but only produced 5 cod. The competitors had to cope with thick fog throughout the day and the fishing was hard with few bites. Heaviest fish fell to Nick Rye fishing in Graham Latimer's boat and weighed in at 17lb 10ozs. Second and third places went to Colin Mason with a fish of 16lb 11oz and Nigel Harris fishing in the same boat had one of 14lb 1oz. The remaining two cod were landed by Jim Whippy 12lb 14ozs and John Filsell taking the 5th prize with a fish of 8lb 3ozs.

On Wednesday 22nd December Mike Perfect organised an over fifties match in Pevensey Bay. Fishing proved difficult but the winner David Lloyd managed whiting and dab for 1lb 12oz. Second was John Ryder with 1lb 6oz and third Sam Samson with 1lb 5oz. On Sunday 20th December Colin and Ian held their annual Christmas open in Pevensey Bay, with A section in Pevensey Bay and B section in Whitehorses. The over-all winner fishing in A section was Sam Samson with 5 fish for 2lb 10oz. Second fishing in B section was Phil Metcalf with 1lb 14oz 8dr, including the heaviest flatfish a flounder of 1lb 8oz 4dr. Third was Joe Plumstead with 1lb 11oz 8dr and fourth Jamie Morgan with 1lb 7oz 4dr. The pairs winners were Sam Samson and Peter Cornwall with 2lb 10oz and runners up were Joe Plumstead and Terry Taylor with 2lb 4oz 4dr. The heaviest round, a whiting of 8oz 6dr for Terry Taylor.

Gary Wingrove fished approximately 6 miles off shore from Newhaven recently and managed to catch two more nice cod on cuttle fish. The biggest at 21lb Garys best of the season with his other fish at 13lb.

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Up until now the cod fishing had seen increasing catches week on week from charter boats but these last set of small tides has been difficult and with a sprinkling of sprats about it will make fishing testing however some of the cod we are catching have been very good fish with many in double figures and in top condition most off these bigger fish have been caught offshore.

The bigger tides towards the end of this week will be better inshore without a doubt and we expect some more good catches up to five and six pounds with the odd fish in double figures, whiting have started to move away now as they do this time of the year but the bigger fish should return in the new year it really has been a good season for whiting with plenty of large fish, skate have been few and far between since the cold weather and heavy snow and unless it warms up we probably will not see any more until March.

An unusual catch for this part of the Thames estuary has been a few coalfish a few in the commercial netters catches and one from Paul Normans boat Tria from Walton-on-naze weighing 12 pounds.

A few dabs being caught from the sand banks and several in the Blackwater estuary along with plenty of whiting and a few codling.

As we come to the end of 2010 which has been a very good year after a poor start, we had a fantastic spring with some fantastic catches of skate a very hot calm summer with the best bass season for us for many years, not such a good tope year but a great season for hounds it all seems to have gone all to quickly however we look forward to 2011 and I would like to wish all our anglers and the new owners of SAN a happy healthy and successful new year.

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January and February used to be all about offshore wrecking for Pollack. The main problem over the past few years has been the weather. Many people argue that the weather patterns have changed and, from the charter pint of view, it seems that the ‘season’ starts later each year but goes on for far longer. November and December have become very popular months because of the excellence of the bass fishing combining with the arrival of the whiting.

The trips that have taken place this January have been centred on the inshore fishing. There have been stacks of good sized whiting about with the Adamant Bank particularly productive. Apart from whiting to 3lb, anglers can realistically expect a cod or two, rays (spotted and blonde), pout and dogfish.

Anglers all enjoy different sorts of fishing. Those who enjoy a day out and will fish for the sheer pleasure of being at sea and fishing for whatever species are around are of a decreasing number. Fortunately there are several boats in Weymouth who have a following for this kind of ‘general’ fishing and it is to these boats and those anglers that this report refers to.

So’ as there is a good chance of cod, it pays to fish for them. Cod require a running leger rig. It is advisable to use a pennel set up with 4/0 or 6/0 hooks and seriously load the bait on. Use half a dozen kalamari squid and try to present the bait in a neat, streamline fashion. Including a shiny metal flounder spoon fairly close to the hooks can make a massive difference especially in dirty water (which we have now). Go for a decent strength traceline…..60lb mono at least. It’s crazy to set up such a cod rig on 20lb line only for a cod to bite it off or snap the trace through sheer weight against tide. Imagine the size of a double figure cod’s mouth. It’s big! If playing such a fish in tide with its mouth open, the ‘weight’ of the fish is dramatically increased. The trace needs to be able to cope with this.

Also, it makes no sense to set a lighter ‘flying’ trace above the rig for whiting as the smaller fish will be on the bait before the cod has a chance and the tackle will be continuously retrieved to deal with that smaller fish….thus the chances of a cod will be reduced to virtually nil. Concentrate on the cod. Don’t ‘mix’ the rig. Better to fish for the cod when the tide is at its hardest and then switch back to the whiting rigs as the tide eases.

The cod rig will also take the rays. Conger are often ‘wandering’ around on open ground at this time of the year and this rig will also cater for them although pennel rigs and conger are a bad combination for the person trying to unhook an angry eel.

The Kidney Bank to the west of Portland is well known for its large blonde rays. The January to March period can often produce the biggest rays but the Bank can also be productive for cod. The Weymouth/Portland area is a great place to fish because of the amount of tide that rushes around Portland Bill. If the Kidney Bank is the chosen venue, then anglers MUST be prepared to fish the tide and have the tackle to deal with it. Expect to use 2lb lead on braid. Use a butt pad for comfort!

Marks to the west of Portland are at their best now for whiting/cod fishing. The area around the wreck of the M2 submarine is usually very good. Again, it’s all about whiting but as the ground is a mixture of shingle and then rocky ledges, the cod, rays and conger are all likely to be there.

When the weather is calm, the Weymouth boats will make the long trip to the west (20 miles from Weymouth) to aim or the whiting and cod grounds off West Bay. It’s only worth doing this in certain situations because of time and distance but be confident that if your skipper is making this lengthy trip it is because he really believes it will be in the anglers’ best interests!

There may be a few trips out to the wrecks over the next few weeks. The target species will be pollack. It is VERY unlikely that cod will be caught from the wrecks in the winter. The cod run out of Weymouth on the wrecks is usually in the May to September period….but as we all know with angling, anything is possible so you MAY pick up a stray cod. The pollack fishing will take place using lures. It is highly unlikely live eels will be available.

This report is being written from Thailand. It is based on the information the Weymouth charter skippers have supplied. It is useful to scan the Anglers Forum page on the Deepsea web site and click onto any of the links to their own web sites that other customers have been good enough to provide. Dave Pitman, skipper of Atlanta, has one angler in particular who provides a very informative service and has constructed an excellent website which is of great benefit to anglers fishing over the winter. Check the forum; look under Atlanta and access the ‘madpolka’ site. Many thanks to the author for his hard work and constant updating of material.

Visiting Thailand is Charter Skipper Colin Penny. Colin has been in the news a good deal lately. You may have read about him in Total Sea Fishing and Boat Fishing monthly. Colin has been awarded Charter Boat Skipper of the Year as presented through the Charterboats UK website and is based on a survey of anglers fishing from 400 charter boats around the UK.

Colin will be launching his new charter boat Flamer IV in February. The new boat is a 39’ Pro Charter with massive deck space. Colin’s anglers will be in for a real treat on the new boat…………..just make sure you don’t bash the gleaming new sides of his vessel with those horrible lead weights!!!

As ever, thanks to all of you for making the effort to come to Weymouth. The Weymouth skippers fully appreciate your support at this traditionally difficult time of the year. Let’s hope your booking coincides with favourable weather and you manage to get to sea. And, of course, let’s hope you have a successful 2011 with your angling.

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All recognised marks now producing cod and some good ones at that! Lug and squid has been the killer bait taking up to 40 fish per trip. It seems that the closer to the beach we can get, the better the fishing is. Fishing aboard the "Mary Ellen" skippered by our gallant editor Adam James, The Thresher family from Minehead braved a bitter Easterly wind and an unfriendly 6am start to land 23 cod between them with 55yr old Roland taking the best of the day at 18lb. Rays still showing on some inshore marks with thornbacks being the mainstay. With the cold snap now easing, we are finding conditions a lot easier though it is still essential to wear full protective clothing when going to sea. The whiting fishing has also been quite good with many fish reported over the three pound mark. Mackerel and squid is favourite for these fish, though this bait will also attract the few dogfish that are still lurking. Conger are now all but disappears which is traditional for this time of year. With luck, the present run of cod could well continue well into the new Year so if you fancy a crack at them, contact one of the charter boats advertised in the Minehead and new Watchet pages of SAN!

Minehead boats as always on and


The exceptional run of codling had to slow up at some point and going on current form I would have to say it is round about now! There are still fish to be had, but they are certainly thinner on the ground than they were a month ago and are harder to locate in good numbers.

Clevedon to Portishead has given far fewer fish up than it did prior to Christmas, undoubtedly as a direct result of large sprat shoals bringing the fish up in the water to gorge on an easy meal.

Thankfully, the sheer volume of Codling on offer this season means that it is still possible to coax some fish to a bottom fished bait ,as anglers competing in the recent Weston Outcasts S.A.C Cod open were to find out. The match competed along the coast between The piers at Clevedon and Portishead attracted anglers from as far a field as Southampton in a bid to weigh in a fish or two and get onto an admirable prize table. A calm sea and an ebbing tide made for interesting conditions, but as the sun made its way over the Clevedon Ledges a modest smattering of codling did show. The only pattern to these catches was that there wasn't one; a stroll along the coast path for a good few miles revealed that the fish were evenly distributed along the stretch, even if the majority of these were under size.

The winner on the day with two Codling for a bag weight of 1.9kg was Bristol Channel regular Derick Bristow who chose to fish from the start of the ledges at Ladye Bay and also bagged the heaviest fish pool in the process Having spent a little time chatting to Derick on the beach and witnessing him land his second fish, his absolute enthusiasm made him a true winner in my book and I hope I'm still heaving tackle around and swinging leads when I reach his age!

The general vibe back at the Moon And Sixpence pub was that the competition had been a huge success and an enjoyable event for all involved. I'm sure everyone would agree that the sociable hours of the match and the exceptionally fine weather added to the day's enjoyment and more than made up for the lack of serious fish numbers.

The club even had time to provide a generous raffle table which by the end of the day had produced a charitable donation of some £250 to the Portishead lifeboat, as ever a most worthy cause, so a big well done to all involved.

Away from the match scene, some better fish are showing from the reefs to the West of Burnham. Fish to 12lb have been reported together with reasonable numbers of smaller Codling and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a large Thornback coming from this area over the next few weeks. The cold spell of Christmas and New Year is a fading memory now, at the time of writing the temperature in my back garden is 9 degrees and there is a mild blustery wind blowing up from the south. The fact that it is peeing down is besides the point-this is the weather we need to get everything on the move again, not the weather for fisherman, but certainly the weather for fish! Sprat shoals should be dispersed and the inshore waters will be turned over by big swells and lumpy seas encouraging the codling- and other fish- back inshore and onto anglers baits. Quite soon, crab baits will take over from the currently favoured worm and this is when there could be some seriously good Cod fishing on the cards once again.

Codling and Thornbacks are not the only two species to respond well to a period of heavy seas and a good southerly blow, those venturing further down channel and across the border into Devon could find themselves a specimen Huss at this time, but substitute the crab for mackerel and squid baits to be in with a chance and fish tough snoods and needle sharp hooks.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves though ,we have to hope and pray that winter does not return with a vengeance and set things back any more, as facing facts, it is only the second week of January and there is more that enough time for round two (or is that Three?) of the big freeze!

Tight lines all.


Happy new year i hope its a fishy one for you all.The fishing in west somerset remained very good throughout december and over the new year. One report that stands out was from Dave Nicholls from the Blackdown s.a.c that is exceptional,Dave and his 11year old son having a touch of cabin fever after being snowed in on the Blackdown hills for a few days managed to creep out on to the main road and get to blue anchor ,deciding to fish the beach it was not long before both dave and young scott proceeded to catch codling and ending the night with 9 codling each between 2 and 3lb which was a great catch for scott fishing 30 to 50m out,but nothing prepared them for when they returned on christmas eve ,after setting up in the same spot as before a steady flow of 2 to 3lbers kept them busy but then things started to hot up with several better cod between 5 and 8lb being landed with Dave landing a cracking cod of 13lb8oz,but not to be out done by dad young scott beaches a stunning cod of 11lb3oz on his last cast ,what a way to end a superb session on christmas eve ,scott alone this session caught two 8lbers,two 5lbers,four 2-3lbers plus his 11lb3oz and dad two 8lbers eleven 2-5lbers plus the 13lb8oz for this exceptional 23 cod catch.The fishing in general now into the middle of january has slowed up in places with pockets of codling and whiting here and there and being in the right place at the right time playing a big part ,with the sea temperature dropping away and the fishes natural larder of brown shrimp and crab moving into deeper areas now is the time to fish these deeper marks.A few of the shallower beaches have remained consistent over high water with stolford,blue anchor,Minehead's golflink and st Audries all fishing well on the bigger tides.The low water reef systems from Hinkley to Watchet have fished well at time with reports of up to 17 codling in the 2-5lb bracket but it has to be said it has slowed up in general but now is the time for a big cod and not big numbers of smaller fish here.Something i feel i must add ,if you are planning a session on any of the reefs over low water day or night care must be taken as they can be dangerous not only from being cut off in places but also tripping and falling over and doing yourself a nasty injury or worst ,safety is paramount ,if you have not fished the area before seek advice first.Back to the fishing and the whiting fishing has been better than the past few years with good numbers of 1to 2lbers being caught with catches of up to 40 being caught in a session from a few ounces to 2lb but a dozen fish being the norm.Its great to see the happy go lucky angler enjoying themselves catching these fish and even better when sizeable codling join in the fun and keep spirits high on a cold day or night,Minehead harbour and the gas works have been the hot spots for these catches day or night with the sea rough or calm.White mark and Grenaleigh beaches have been fishing well over low water since the new year and should throw up some bigger cod any time with a big squid bait and there is every chance of a big blonde ray as they tend to move in about now.Moving on down to Bosington and Porlock and the fishing here has been very good with good bags of codling,whiting,dogfish and several thornback rays from 4lb-9lb being caught ,myself lucky enough to land 3 in two trips and Minehead angler Paul Hyde landing one of 9lb10oz also a fellow club member landed a 16lb2oz blonde ray ,these two beaches come into there own this time of year with the deeper water and strong tides.Hopefully by the end of the month into february we should start to see the bigger female thornbacks return to the reef marks from Hinkley to Watchet ,last year they were a little late and its possible the pattern could be repeated but the early sighs are good. Tight lines and happy hunting.

POOLE REPORT By Steve Porter

Well, here we are at the start of another New Year. It hardly seems possible. It seems only yesterday that we were catching the early run of bream and yet in little over two months, we will be targeting them again.

The past month has seen a steady decline in the amount of cod landed from within the bay with early January providing further evidence that this year's inshore winter fishing scene may be coming to an end a little earlier than usual. The bay is full of baitfish at the moment and many of the whiting that are landed are full of sprats. Some people believe that catch rates are reducing because our target fish are not taking the baits. Instead they are gorging themselves on the abundant supply of sprats in the bay. This is certainly a theory that may hold true, but I believe that fish such as cod, whiting and certainly conger are moving offshore early because of the colder than normal sea temperature.

Thankfully there were still enough cod around at the end of December to attract a good entry into this years Poole cod competition. The event, which took place on the 28th December attracted over 140 anglers. 14 cod were weighed in; the biggest at 21lb was landed right at the end of the day and fell to an angler fishing on board Mistress Linda. Top boat was Silver Spray with 4 cod. Trueblue was unable to enter due to a previous commitment.

As the cod numbers have declined, so to have the whiting, although reasonable numbers of the smaller fish are still abundant in the bay. Dabs are also worth targeting with several reports of reasonable numbers being caught. I've not done any flounder fishing this year, but reports that I have received also indicate an earlier than normal decline in harbour caught fish.

Despite things coming to an end a little earlier than usual inshore, it is not all doom and gloom. There is still some good fishing to be had. In fact there is some great fishing to be had offshore. Banks fishing during January and February can be awesome and last year saw some awesome catches of blonde rays along with conger and the odd ling. Given the right conditions, the wrecks can also throw up some memorable catches of pollack. But, it is all about getting the conditions right. Certainly for the offshore banks fishing we need those small tides. We might only get half a dozen chances each month and if the weather is not good, then we lose the opportunity. Here I am, writing this on the 13th January. It's a Thursday and the following three days are perfect tides for getting offshore. The boat is booked and we are ready to go. Sadly forecast gale force winds mean that all three days will be cancelled. Ah well, at least it is warm now.

Steve Porter, Owner / Skipper of the Shakespeare sponsored boat Trueblue.

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Returns next month

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