from Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight
Hi, at the time of this report, December is going fast, so there are not many more trips for this year.
The weather has allowed us to get out for the Cod, catches are not so good, few and far between; the Cod have been hard to find inshore, offshore this year, due to continued dredging, some of our usual shingle bank marks are now barren. A grey sludgy mess of gunge comes up on the anchor, the ground has been stripped of all shingle, like a ploughed field, previous dredgings have taken over 10 years to recover.
The weather, most importantly has been good this year, far fewer cancelled trips, and catches good, but seem to be declining year on year, Mackerel were late this year, with some large shoals early season, but towards the end thinned out, and became hard to find. Early Pollack made up for some of the illusive Mackerel, Gars, Pout, Herring making up the catches. Tope, again good early season, with less fish through the summer, Smooth hound the same, with no fish over 20lbs.
Tope also to 36lbs, Tagging still continuing, but not many returns, although one from Spain, as the skipper of a trawler hoped for reward for a tagged fish. 53, tagged fish, Best Smooth 18.5lbs, Tope 36lbs, A good Spurdog of 21.5 lbs the best specimen.
Good catches of Blonde rays, more Undulate rays than Thornbacks, several spotted, and Small eyed, All rays returned. Fewer Conger than normal, due to fewer wreck trips, weather was not always good for distant offshore marks. Not so many Congers on the open ground, as we normally catch them when after Cod, a good number of small eels means some of the species are continuing to breed, It's thought a virus has entered the breeding Congers, preventing reproduction.
Black Bream, good catches again in early season, but soon scattered, with only a few caught on each trip. Some catches of Dabs, gurnard, wrasse, along with the ubiquitous spotted Dogfish made up some catches. Bass again not so many inshore over rough ground, most out deeper around offshore banks & wrecks.
With Easter next year a little later, prospects for a good start to the season are looking promising.
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