Sharks in The Solent!?

After about ten days of not getting the opportunity there was finally the chance to get out on the yak … if only for a short session. Recently there has been an annoying spell of stiffer south westerly winds which coupled with other commitments have curtailed my fishing opportunities so Saturday morning it was nice to wet a line in lovely calm conditions.

My pal Nobby was going to join me but let’s just say he may have been on the sauce a little longer than intended on Friday night and missed the starters gun completely!

Still, unperturbed, I was up with the larks again down to my now local haunt at Lee-on-Solent. I was set-up and ready to launch at around 4:30am with the first signs of light showing on the horizon – more predominately was one of the large ocean going liners destined for Southampton.

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I got to my spot and cracked on with the fishing  – a crab bait down on one rod, a bream rig on the other and a cheeky hand line loaded with feathers for the mackies just under the surface. Again, similar to last time, it was quite quiet to start with but then the old saying of “no buses for ages then two come at once” kicked in and let’s just say I had one of those ‘calamity moments’……

First of all the hand line which I had tucked under my leg, not leashed down I hasten to add, starts to go berserk so bringing that up I could see two mackies on, at this point the rod with the crab bait starts going for it so I grab that and the hand line gently slips from under my leg, mackerel and all attached, into the water …… I just managed to grab it whilst holding on to the other rod. Decision time…..I decide to get the hand line in as the mackies were just under the surface and I safely get them aboard the yak and despatch them into the cool bag. At this point the hand line is now on my lap, still unattached, and I attend to the other rod that is still going for it with what I suspect to be a smoothie pup …… and so it is. I get the feisty pup on the yak, nothing big, and it does what a smoothie does best – beats the hell out of everything on board and yes, you guessed it, it knocks the bloody hand line into the water! This time I can’t get to it – all I can do is look on as it unravels, floating away in the current. You really do need to leash everything down! Anyway, here’s the innocent looking culprit……

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Still, I managed a chuckle and carried on but that was the one and only smoothie which was a shame. After all that excitement the bream then started to come on the feed – nailed 4 or 5 in total all on squid strips……

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It was only a short session as I say so for the last hour I switched the bream rig for feathers and managed three more mackies, two of which I experimented with live baiting for bass but to no avail. I was nearing the end of my session and decided to chuck down a whole squid while I de-rigged the feathers and just as I’d finished doing that I had a cracking bite which I connected with and what felt like a smoothie snatch and grab but I was wrong…….

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…… a small Solent tope! Not exactly Jaws at around the 3lb – 4lb mark but a first for me so I was well chuffed. Then to top my morning off, as the tide had turned, what came floating right towards me – yep the hand line – fully intact! Picked it out of the water and paddled in after that as I had to be back by 11 a.m. When I got to the shore I got chatting with a chap who I’d seen out there in his boat and he’d also had a tope in the same weight bracket so the smaller ones must be about at this time of the year.

A pleasant session again and a few mackerel smoked for tea – delicious!

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Happy days… until next time……

Dawn raid lands bream

Some people enjoy their fishing in the evenings as the sun is heading down but for me the best time to fish is at the opposite end of the day watching the light change before the sun appears above the horizon. This is the sunrise I experienced on the water this Friday just gone – a real corker of a dawn with mist just lifting from the coast:

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I had a welcome few hours to try and stock up on some mackerel which I know were now showing and, buoyed by my last trip down to Lee-on-Solent, to try for some black bream… on one count I was successful but on the other strangely disappointed… and it’s not necessarily the way round you would think. As usual I was fishing two rods, one was set up initially with feathers and the other with a baited hokkai rig. Despite near perfect conditions and being on the water by 4:30 a.m. it was strangely quiet out there and it wasn’t for a good hour before the welcome rat-a-tat-tat bite of a bream was felt on the hokkai rig and even that I missed! Eventually I managed to hook into one though, nothing big but I had broken my duck for the day:

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After a couple more bream came aboard I up anchored and deployed the recently purchased drogue for a slow drift in the current but there was still no sign of mackerel which was strange so I reverted to anchoring up again and switched the feathers on rod two for a Pennell rig a with a whole squid on to see if there was anything a bit more decent down there that could be tempted. Within minutes I had a nice knock and connected with something a bit better which turned out to be a feisty smoothie pup that had greedily gobbled up the whole squid.

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Meanwhile, on the other rod the bream were beginning to hit the baited hokkais again at a regular rate of knots, so quick in fact were their bites that I was probably only connecting with one in three – next time I’ll try with an even smaller hooked hokkai rig I think! Still, I did manage one keeper of about 1.5lb in the end out of the ten that came aboard the yak.

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The wind got up around 10 a.m. and chopped the water up so I decided to have another few drifts with the feathers before heading in and bingo………at last I broke my mackerel duck for the day with a  solitary fish which was destined for the smoker when I got home (sorry no picture!).

My final picture on this report is of the recently acquired fishing drogue in action, and it’s something I will definitely be making good use of – really did help slow down the drift in the current – great bit of kit that I need to play with a bit more yet to get the best out of it.

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Another pleasant few hours on the water in smashing early morning conditions and good sport on light gear with the bream. The lone mackerel aside the other surprise was the lack of dogfish which made a pleasant change if I’m honest – I’ve certainly had my quota of these in the last couple of months so I can’t say I missed them on this trip.  I later learned where all the mackerel were when I got a call from my pal Nobby on his way to work who kindly informed me there were birds working huge shoals of them in close to the shore – typical eh?! Oh well…….

Might have to have a local evening session for the mackies after work this week (weather permitting) and hopefully a trip to a different venue could be on the cards in the next week or so.

Until next time……

A better session….

Managed to get myself out on the water on Saturday morning for what proved to be a hectic little session. The venue was once again Lee-on-Solent launching from the Elmore slipway. I like to catch first light which mid-June means a very early start. The alarm was set for 3 a.m. and I was on the road, rigged and ready to fish by 4:15 a.m. just as the sun was coming up. Conditions were near on perfect…

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I fished in the same vicinity as my last trip off Browndown and to begin with the results were the same …… dogfish greedily taking any of the baits I was putting down there namely mackerel strips, squid and ragworm.

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So I switched bait to the limited crab I had and it brought an instant change in fortune with the more definitive bite of a smoothound – nothing huge, still a pup, but a hound nonetheless.

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Another followed shortly after much the same size. One thing about catching smoothound on the yak you really must make sure you have your kit tied down as even these smaller one’s go nuts when they’re on board and it would be easy to loose bait, tackle or worse overboard in the pandemonium of trying to get the hook out!

As I say, I only had limited crab so had to switch back to squid, ragworm and mackerel and inevitably the dogfish returned to readily take my offering. However, I then had the tell-tale bite of something different – fast knocks that were hard to connect with so I scaled down my hooks and that did the trick as I was in to some bream – none particularly big but they’re good sport nonetheless.

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These were my first bream of the year and very welcome they were too…… as was the next fish to land on my lap – a nice bass – only a couple of pound but a beautiful fish nonetheless taken a on a ragworm/squid cocktail. This one put up a great scrap before I was able to get it on board…

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Very satisfying but shortly after the tide changed and the bites dropped right off with weed becoming more of a problem. It was still lovely out there though……

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By 9:30 I decided to call it a day and pulled the rods in and began my paddle back but as I reached about half way point I noticed fish jumping on the surface…… mackerel! I didn’t have time to set the rod up with feathers but luckily I’d brought a hand line along loaded with a 6 hook hokkai rig for just such an eventuality. The minute I lobbed the line in I had one on, then another and another and another all just under the surface…… four in about 2 minutes before they moved on again.

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I paddled the rest of the way in very contented with my early morning session. Compared to the fishing a month ago when all I could muster was a couple of pups and a bucket of dogfish it was nice to add the bream, bass and mackerel to the bag – amazing what a difference a bit of warm weather can make.

Until next time……