Langstone report by Neville Merritt
With the relaxation of rules on social distancing we have all been relieved to get out fishing again over the past couple of months. In fact, it almost feels normal again, at least, normal enough to be complaining about all the usual things! Top of the worries list in the last few years has been: “where are all the mackerel?” Our favourite local summer bait and a welcome addition to the BBQ, mackerel were a reliable presence in previous years and we could usually feather up a bucketful in any of the usual holding spots. In the last few seasons this hasn’t been as predictable, although with a bit of perseverance enough can be located. I have noticed that shoals are smaller, more scattered and less fixed in their locations which suggests that they may be the remnants of a larger shoal that has been taken by pelagic trawlers.
Tope usually arrive at the same time as the mackerel, moving inshore to drop their pups before moving off a month later. Those that reported early catches of tope noticed that the females had already pupped so although there was a run of good tope caught, none were of exceptional size this year so far.
Bream arrived on the rocky marks, spawned and the larger adults moved off leaving behind hordes of small bream which will be resident for the summer. Good for species competitions, a bit of a nuisance otherwise because bait size is no obstacle, they will tear away at anything.
We have heard mixed reports of plaice. There were some restrictions on anglers’ travel in place early in the year when plaice start to arrive, which might account for lack of catch reports. Others have since also reported that they are hard to find, although some have reported reasonable catches. I suspect that winter storms regularly rearrange the shellfish beds where they congregate to feed, so a productive mark one year may be barren the next. In my opinion it is always worth drifting to cover more ground and discover previously unknown hotspots.
Other than that, so far it has been a fairly normal summer with catches of bass, rays, smoothhound keeping anglers busy, with bass, pollack and a few cod off the Channel wrecks.
Southsea Marina Angling Club will be holding an Open Species Boat Competition on Sunday 15th August with a top prize of £500 and a generous prize table. Check social media for further details of contact SMAC.
Here’s a selection of photos from local anglers over the last few weeks.
Southsea Marina Angling Club