Weymouth report by Paul Whittall
Weymouth and Portland Port Report. June and July.
June saw some wonderful weather with flat calm seas allowing the Weymouth and Portland charter boats to reach the offshore wrecks in minimum time. Fishing has been lively with good numbers of pollack reported to 15lb taking the usual variety of lures including the latest offerings such as the Zinco Maggots developed by Allan Yates of Seabooms.com
There’s been a decent run of cod to 17lb which is what every wrecking angler hopes for especially after a couple of very quiet years in the Weymouth/Portland sea area. Hopper rigs are being mentioned again with orange or pink twin tails being effective but, as ever, it is best to seek your skipper’s advice as methods and lures vary in effectiveness.
Congering at anchor has started with some very impressive results. Mackerel baits at anchor intended for the eels are also taking a sprinkling of ling.
The inshore fishing has been excellent with a wonderful variety of species taken including plenty of the smaller turbot along with a few double figure specimens and the occasional nice brill. These prized flatfish have come from the ever famous Shambles Bank with western end marks showing a reasonable number of very welcome plaice.
The general reefing days at anchor are producing huss, smoothound, tope various rays including thornback, small-eyed, undulate rays and blondes, strap conger, gurnard, bass, cod, pollack, rockling, bream and plaice. The bream fishing has been superb with specimens to 4lb 8oz coming from marks to the east of Weymouth. Mackerel turned up for a few days in early June lost again which was very useful for lively tope sessions south of Portland Bill.
Before looking ahead to July, here’s a welcome to the latest vessel coming into the Weymouth and Portland charter fleet. Anglers, especially those fishing out of Poole, will know remember the superb South Boat Catamaran called True Blue. The boat has spent the last five years operating out of Guernsey under the masterful guidance of outstanding Channel Islands’ skipper, Richard Seagar. It has now returned to be based in Portland under new owner Danny Clarke of Fins-Up fame.
Danny has been quietly building up a solid and increasing large following of customers and has produced some remarkable results with sharking sessions off Portland Bill as well as the general wrecking and inshore fishing. Danny’s enthusiasm and skippering talents combined with this fabulous boat further strengthen the local fleet.
Danny operates out of Portland Marina rather than Weymouth. Both ports have their obvious strengths with Portland Marina offering plenty of free parking and excellent water-side facilities including Taylor’s Mess Deck for a fine breakfast and the Boat That Rocks hostelry to welcome anglers back after a day at sea.
And now for July… It’s hard to believe that we are already over half-way through this turbulent and unpredictable year but these next months are the best ones for continued variety, the best of the inshore fishing and maybe, just maybe, a chance to return to Alderney. Apparently there is even a predicted heatwave forecast with temperatures threatening to be in the mid-30 degrees Celsius!
Going on past years, pollack and cod should stay around in July and, if boats are able to venture south of the 50 degree line and fish wrecks that have been untouched for a couple of years, there could be some exciting fishing to report next month. There will be an increase in conger sessions on the mid-channel wrecks during neap tides which should see a few more ling reported. A return of the mackerel for fresh bait would be very welcome.
The general inshore fishing will feature bream which tend to cover a wide area across Weymouth Bay and into West Bay with the Portland marks providing the most consistent sport. These rough-ground ‘bream marks’ also produce the variety of fish for which Dorset is known including conger, huss, tope, gurnard, pous, dogfish….etc.
Boats will be working the Shambles, Adamant and Kidney Banks in search of more turbot and brill, mainly on the drift, plus blonde rays along with undulates and thornbacks during anchoring sessions. Again, these banks can turn up bonus species with a bass, pollack or cod likely and even stray conger or shark from the Banks to the west side of Portland.
There are many reefs south of The Shambles Bank to the south of Portland and to the west of the Bill running a couple of miles off Chesil Beach along with a surprising number of fish holding inshore wrecks in the 35 metre range that can produce lively fishing on light tackle with pollack and bass on lures or livebaits and bream on baited paternoster rigs.
There have already been some fine bass caught and this species is likely to feature more as the months progress. July will see bass arrive into the Portland Race on favourable tides as well as the more offshore marks are ledges well to the east of Weymouth.
So…there’s plenty to look forward to and no doubt a good deal of enthusiasm amongst skippers and anglers alike to get out to sea with some consistency.
Thank you to all of you who have continued to support the local angling charter fleet despite all the restrictions, limitations and other problems that have been thrown at you all. Let us hope now for a few good months of decent sport and fine days at sea.