Charter Boat Reports January 2020


Paignton: Our Joe L: Sean Pedley

November/December: After a long-awaited break in the weather and only a couple of keen anglers, we set off for an inshore wreck. It was enjoyable having all of the boat to fish just 3 rods, but the boat needed a run and I fancied a crack at an inshore wreck I know fishes well in the weather that was forecast. The fishing started quickly on the flood tide. The biggest pollack went 13lb 10oz to Paul Cashmore. The biggest bass was estimated at 4 ½ lb – 5lb which was caught by me and was the first fish I’ve had on the Shimano Beastmaster 20/30, my Top Skipper prize from the Torbay Fishing Festival. Both were hooked onto a Sidewinder LureBy lunchtime we had decent fish caught most drifts and 3 bonus small bass to add to the fun. With the tide having turned and the wind increasing, the fishing slowed. We’d all had a fantastic morning, so I pointed the OUR JOE-L for the River Dart and were alongside filleting the pollack by 2:30. If only everyday was as easy as that >20mile round trip, life of a charter skipper would be so much easier. January: The winter wreck fishing has shown signs of improvement compared to the past year or so here on the south coast. I think everybody experienced a hard year for fishing in 2019 but that’s enough said about that. The Winter has produced some nice fish for us already (when we can get out between the storms). One wrecking trip ended up quite productive but the day stared off very slowly. Almost nothing was caught on the flood tide, we had to wait until the ebb before the pollack started biting. The biggest fish went to John Chester from Paignton of 11lb 10oz. . . . However the pool money was won by Chris from Gloucester and Eastington Deep Sea Angling Club.  There is plenty more Mid-Channel Wrecking available for the rest of winter from Dartmouth, we are now taking booking for our 2020 Devon Sea Fishing Holidays from Paignton.

 Our Joe-L Charters & Fishing Holidays  Social Media @PaigntonBoat 623 054

Poole: Silver Spray: Sam Cumming

Early Autumn

The inshore water temperature and clarity has now faded; as you would expect at this time of year. The fishing at anchor has picked up really nicely with a good variety of fish coming to the net. Whiting were around in good numbers and a variety of sizes. We have done better on the bigger channel whiting closer in out of the tide, but they will move further off after Christmas. There are plenty of rays around with all 5 species showing up that are available out of Poole, we have had several big blondes in the mid-twenties just a couple of miles off in recent weeks. On the last set of small tides, we pushed offshore to make use of some very nice weather. We had a few bream on one of the wrecks and also some early spurdogs and rays on an offshore bank. If I look back at 2019 the fishing has been very good considering the weather. Good numbers of pollack on the wrecks, the best year for bream I’ve ever had, the return of the bass in good numbers, great improvements in the turbot and brill fishing in the Channel Islands, our first encounter with blue fin tuna and of course some great success with the sharks. I’m excited for 2020 and keeping my fingers crossed for some better weather.

It’s always nice to get the New Year rolling with a really decent rod bending day out, the first trip of 2020 did not disappoint. We headed to the offshore banks south of Poole about 20 miles and fished comfortably all day with up to 24oz of lead. There was about 15 knots of wind so we would have had a good excuse if the fish hadn’t been playing ball. Luckily that wasn’t the case at all and other than re anchoring at slack water we pretty much had fish on for the entire day. We had a good mix of blonde rays, spurdogs, bull huss, whiting, congers and even tope and smoothound. Top fish of the day went to Darryl Morrell for his 29lb 8oz blonde ray which was one of 5 rays he had. This bodes well for the next couple of months as the height of the season is usually mid-March. Elsewhere we were pleased to get out every day between Boxing day and New Year’s Eve, with the tides being a bit on the big side we stuck to the fishing inshore. We had plenty of whiting in Poole Bay along with small eyed and undulate rays. Pushing slightly further out for the slack produced some better fish and even one small cod but we couldn’t get away from the congers which smashed a lot of the baits that went down. We are looking forward to our first wreck trip of the season in early February and hopefully some better weather at some point. 2020 bookings are up to date for Alderney and Guernsey trips so get booking now.

Call on 07787 375386 to get booked up.

Minehead: John Sherlock

Winter is well and truly here with cod high on many an angler’s wish list. Sunday 1st December saw the first of the seasons cod competitions, the Minehead Skippers Cod competition. This was won with a fine fish of 12lb 11oz caught by Kevin Sully a local angler, the same fish also giving him the prize for the best total length, 126.5cm. the winning skipper being William Webber with his boat Kingfisher.

Unfortunately, the winter storms continued through November and into December curtailing a certain amount of fishing activity. A rare calm day coupled with small tides allowed the Teddie Boy to travel further afield with a party made up of individual anglers. A few spurdogs had appeared and these were to be one of the target species for the day, they did not let us down and all anglers aboard landed these fish. The cod have continued to show on most days with the boats taking several fish, many of them well into double figures. Many of the days have been spent split between targeting cod and the other Bristol Channel species which are still showing in very good numbers. Blonde rays are being caught into the high double figure weights along with a huge number of congers. Exeter angler Pete Gregory landed a fish of 33lb on his up-tide gear, giving a great scrap in the tide. A few smoothounds have been landed, taking squid baits intended for the Cod. The inshore rock marks have continued to produce Bull Huss up to about 14lbs.The signs are good that this exceptional fishing will continue right through the next couple of months with the chance of that real lunker of a cod that the Bristol Channel seems to produce most years. Now is the time to book a day’s fishing either as an individual or as group. Teddie Boy Charters – 07894 536672 –

Osprey Charters – 07967 362132 –

Weymouth: FlamerIV: Colin Penny

The first trip of the year on Flamer IV was spent at anchor on a bank, the fishing was hectic with over 70 conger eels caught and released along with numerous whiting, also pout, dogfish, undulate and blonde rays plus a bonus 25Ib tope. All were caught on mackerel and/or squid baits.

Fish of the Month

The Sakuma/Flamer IV Fish of the month 2019 Winners competition was fished in nice conditions. Anchored sessions on a Bank and a Reef produced whiting, congers, pout, dogfish, smoothound, bull huss and a black bream which was the first I had ever seen caught in January.  Winner – Phil Harrison 134 points, Runner Up – Peter Minns 106 points, 3rd place – Steve Canham 96 points.

Thanks to Sakuma for their continued support with the monthly prizes.

We’ve already had eleven different species caught on Flamer IV on the first two trips of 2020.

Contact Colin on 01305 766961Mobile Telephone: 07968 972736

Brightlingsea: Sophie Lea: Lee Bolingbroke

We’re well into our winter fishing season now and I can report some good catches of whiting, these are in tremendous quantities in the Thames Estuary, so you won’t go short of bites. There was a smattering of codling early in the season, so fingers are crossed for a few more. Rays are not in the vast amounts they were last year as they have had a hammering from trawlers. Unfortunately, they have little else to catch so they are targeting them, and it seems a shame because the market price is hardly worth the effort. Plenty of dog fish and several
dabs have turned up but you will only catch dabs if you fish for them its just no good putting a large bait on expecting to catch these tasty flatties you have to down size to a smaller hook with a single lug and most boat anglers don’t think like that. We’re still catching a few bass and herring have made their usual appearance. Someone actually caught one the other day, you can catch these on shrimp feathers, but you need a small tide and fairly clear water which we rarely get this time of year. When conditions are right, they can be caught in the same way as mackerel with strings of them coming aboard. So, fingers crossed for a few more cod hopefully. Well it’s probably been the most difficult month for charter boat skippers around our area the Thames estuary to date and for as long as I can remember, with the wild weather not helping and anglers holding back with their bookings because of a lack of cod. There have been plenty of bites though with rays plentiful tons of whiting good sizes to, dabs dogs. What’s not to like?  OK, so the cod aren’t in the number we would all like but I think there is more about than you may be lead to believe but with all the herring and sprat around to feed on why would a cod want to be messing around on the sea bed, where our baits are, when they can get all the food they want mid-water. I believe the major problem in the Thames estuary at the moment just too muchfish. I suggest you come and see for yourself and help keep the charter boats going. Although our cod season wasn’t great with reports of one here one there as far down the coast east to Southwold and west to Kent., It does have an impact on the Charter business with many skippers suffering.

In some ways it’s a shame that so many anglers are so focused on cod because there is still so much to offer with lots of rays, whiting, dabs, flounders, and dogs to be had. In mid-February there will be fantastic spur dog run for those anglers willing to fish through our winter months. With cod scarce many charter boats are being laid up from December until March, its especially sad considering the thousands of pounds invested in the charter industry in our neck of the woods. We all have the weather to contend with scuppering trips however, when we are able to get, out anglers are having some great sport. But it’s not all doom and gloom plenty of good fishing to be had and support is needed by charter boats and angling shops if you want them around. Anglers will be queuing up when the spurs arrive and in May when it all changes with bass and hounds.  any way let’s hope we have a happy new fishing year and look forward to whatever it has to offer.


Galway, Ireland: Brazen Hussey2: John Fleming

More poor weather this month. It has been relentless, but we did manage to get out inshore and offshore sharking a few times. It has been difficult with small windows to get out but when we did, we had pretty good fishing.

The inshore fishing and general reef fishing has been very good throughout the autumn. Plenty of hard fighting pollack smashing sidewinders, jellies and jigs. Particularly metal jigs working very well.

There has been a huge number of tope around late this year which is great to see and we had fantastic days on them, with large numbers being caught most days. Wrasse have also been in abundance this autumn and we finally managed to get an Irish specimen with a whopping ballan of 50cm for local angler, Ger Heenan. We have had sessions with over 60 wrasse falling to rag and slim strips of mackerel.

We have also had some John Dory, plenty of haddock and whiting although nothing of good size, but it is a bit early for a better stamp of fish for these parts.

Email.  Phone. 00353(0) 877571320


The Deep waters are producing some fine spurdogs and bull huss recently, however, it’s been difficult to make many trips with the steady stream of fresh winds. When you want slack winds and Neap tides it can be difficult to get it right, but when you do its always amazing. A recent trip produced near 35 spurdog of which 14 were to Irish Specimen size. Local Club angler Jerry Dixon landed 4 spurdog over the 12lb threshold with his best reaching a whopping 16lb. Everyone caught a few spurs with many breaking personal best’s and recording Specimens. Danny Mc Devitt, Niall Burke, Dennis Morgan and Liam Markey recorded specimens to 15lb t while Dennis also landed a fine conger which was a big surprise on the clean grounds.

Kit Dunne, Wicklow Boat Charters, +87 6832179

For a full list of charter boats please turn to page 78

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