Well here we go again competition 8 for 2017. Weather had been iffy to say the least over the previous few days and I really thought we would lose this one. But being in Weymouth we have shelter with the Isle of Portland providing a fantastic natural barrier to blows from the south west . As we are now in August there should be plenty of fish and species close in, so we look forward to a decent species match.
As usual we meet for breakfast, this time in the Sailors Return and do the boat and position draw. Eighteen anglers have come to board Als Spirit and Snapper.
I am on Alls Spirit with Adrian Brown our main man in Weymouth he has entertained us for a number of years and knows lots of inshore marks to give us plenty of fish.
We start at the Portland Harbour entrances, aiming for numerous species but Mackerel, and Pollock are our fist targets – fresh Mackerel for bait is very helpful later in the day. I am fishing position no 4 which is a pretty good place the way the tide was running on the drift, some others on the opposite side of boat find their lines running under the hull which is less easy to fish.
Mackerel are not showing in large numbers, but some are had, together with small Pollock, Ballan and Corkwing Wrasse, Scad, small Black Bream and Tompot Blennies. Stephan Baker fishing next to me brings in a small bream, which I catch out of the corner of my eye. Just before he puts it back I say ‘wait a sec Steph’ that looks different to the other bream and on closer inspection by a number of the crew, we all agree it is a young Red Bream and that’s the first we have ever had in the Species League, so well done that man.
We now move over a wreck in the north entrance, the famous HMS Hood – in World War 1 intentionally sunk to prevent ‘U’ boats entering the harbour. This is generally a great fun place to fish and you never know what may come up from here. It is also Andy Selby’s (Weymouth Angling Centre, who also provided all the bait- rag worm, squid and frozen mackerel) favourite mark as we always loose masses of tackle here. Fish are coming up everywhere adding Gobies, Scad, Cuckoo and Goldsinney Wrasse to the score sheet. Generally, rigs are two-up paternoster style with small hooks, sizes 6s down to 10s and sections of rag as bait. Brian Moss seems to be doing well on the Pollock and the trick seems to be use an orange delta eel as the top hook – mental note must tie some traces like that for next time we are on the Hood.
The wind is still pretty strong south westerly and this means we are limited to staying east of Portland, we now move and anchor up for bottom fish. Using two hook flowing traces we are lucky enough to find, Dogfish, Thornback Rays, Conger, Bull Huss and some more Bream. Plus, I manage a small Red Gurnard. A further move and again at anchor produces more of the same. I was having a quiet time here while others are landing lots more biggish fish including Undulate Rays. I decide to change tactics putting down smaller hooks and smaller baits, lighter rod shows knock, knock and I reel into another uncommon fish from Weymouth and my first ever 3 Bearded Rockling.
Gary Dennis was having a good day, bringing up various species adding a Tub Gurnard and a Smooth Hound to his list and was at this stage leading, despite having a hangover from the night before (don’t ask how many Pints of Guinness he had).
One final mark before we finish over the mud off Chequers, more Dogfish small Smoothies, Pouts. 18 species in all were caught on on Als Spirit, considering the weather we did pretty well. When sores were totalled, Brian Moss won the boat with 12 species and 215 points with Richard Ferre winning on Snapper with 10 species.
On Snapper, Andy Smith also had a notable catch a rod and reel fully loaded with line that had been lost on the Hood, have a look at photo above. Turns out this was lost by Mike Patten in another Species competition two years earlier – might need a little bit of a clean!
Next trip is off to Poole on Friday 8 September a 12-hour trip including the evening after Gilt Head Bream and Sole.