Weymouth report March 2021 by Paul Whittall
Last year I wrote: “Weymouth and Portland Charter boats managed to get a few days in at sea during the first half of March although a number of these trips just had skippers, crews and friends on board in the absence of customers either through lack of bookings or cancellations. The seriousness of the current situation we all find ourselves in makes this a very worrying and troubling time for everyone”.
Not much has changed…if anything this February 2021 has been much worse with nothing happening and not much to look forward to in March. Things change and those changes are often unpredictable…so we must ‘hang in there’ and hope for better things to come as they surely must.
IF any fishing can take in March place then the inshore reefs and banks will produce better than normal with plenty of species including turbot to 16lb, brill, spur dogs, blonde rays, smooth hounds, undulating rays, congers and huss. There’s usually plenty of baitfish about on the Shambles Banks which is a good sign for the spring and traditionally gives us all hope after the winter months.
When an extreme and unprecedented long lasting situation develops as it has now, business models collapse and those few who are in a happy state of self-sufficiency are at a massive advantage both financially and mentally. There are indeed many extremely worried charter boat owners out there right now.
This is when having a steady local trade can be an immense bonus. IF restrictions are eased, then it will be local anglers who can help to get the charter businesses running again. March often suprises with good showings of mackerel and herring plus good catches of very early bream up to 2lb on the inshore reefs along with huss, dogfish, pout and wrasse. There will be anglers who will not find these species (bream and mackerel apart) particularly alluring but then there are many who would just love to get out to sea and enjoy the day which, with these species, would involve plenty of bites and action.
Apart from the reefs, the Banks can also produce quality fish especially when specifically targeting turbot and brill with the possibility of plaice appearing. The Kidney Bank to the west of Portland is famous for some excellent ray fishing with blondes to 25lb possible.
Offshore wrecking trips are at their very best in March for pollack with drift fished mackerel good for finding ling on the neap tides at the end of the month.
The very first Channel Island trips of the year used to start at the end of March but it is extremely doubtful if a return to the Island is likely for some time yet.
We are all hoping for a reversal of fortunes and long for ‘normality’…let’s hope it returns soon.