Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Cod Are In!

It’s the words every sea angler wants to hear and thankfully even though it is still only September, we are starting to hear some tales of good bags of codling from the upper reaches of the Bristol Channel. Chris Buxton from Weston-super-Mare enjoyed a short but busy session fishing from the shore near Aust, where in amongst a bag of flounders, whiting and codling he found this cod that weighed 6lb on the nose.

Chris-buxton-6lb

Chris Buxton with a fine cod of exactly 6lb

A few day’s previous to this catch and a little further down the coast at Portishead’s popular Battery Point, Jeremy Salisbury also got in on the action with a fish of similar size that took a liking to a bait intended for sole.

I have heard other, as yet, unconfirmed reports of fish of a similar size also take from the upper reaches in the last week and it’s really good to see that the fish that visited us last year are starting to make a come-back having fattened up throughout the summer. What is surprising though is the real mixture of different sizes coming ashore and since the end of August I have seen fish ranging from just a few ounces to nudging double figures.

It will be very interesting to see what materialises this year, especially in the period around Christmas when there is the potential for a huge cod being landed. Where exactly is a bit of a lottery, but Hinkley Point, Brean Down, Sandpoint, Ladye Bay and Battery Point have all produced these enormous fish in the past and are very capable of doing so again.

I must admit to usually showing little interest in cod fishing until the new year when I find that the spring run of fish are generally heavier having spent a long winter feeding on sprats, but this season I may well be tempted into having a go earlier on. Large fish bait’s are just as likely to pick out the better fish later on but for the time being, straight lugworm will be the only bait worth consideration in the Bristol Channel.

You have to be in it to win it and everything is pointing towards the 2015/16 season being one to remember for a long time! Keep an eye on the VMO blog for further reports.

 

Jeremy Salisbury, Battery Point cod.

Jeremy Salisbury, Battery Point cod.

Cod Fishing On Chesil Bank

Cod Fishing On Chesil Bank

Apologies for the lack of blog post’s recently. We have a guest blogger this time around, in the form of my good friend Ben Stockley. Ben shares his thought’s on targeting our favourite fish from the UK’s premier venue this coming season…

 

This magical bank of stones stretching 17 miles from Portland through to West Bay is well known for a plethora of different species throughout the year but today I want to reveal some of its secrets for the nation’s favourite fish, Cod. For those starting out or travelling from afar, it can be an intimidating beach to fish, so where do we start?

Pristine Winter Cod

Pristine Winter Cod

In terms of location, the best catches are nearly always made in the deeper water between the sailing academy at Portland through to the Dragons Teeth at Abbotsbury. Water clarity is a big deciding factor on where I chose to fish. Abbotsbury tends to need plenty of colour from a big onshore blow to be worthy of consideration unless you decide to fish at night. The deeper Eastern end of the beach is a real breaker of the Cod rule book and can often produce incredible catches of fish in warm autumnal sunshine and flat, clear seas. This is due to the extra depth of water.

Personal ability is also a deciding factor in when or how you fish. Anyone that is capable of casting consistently over 100 metres with bait should really consider whether it is worth fishing for Cod at night unless other commitments make this a necessity. Shocked? I’ll explain why. As soon as dusk falls, Chesil’s ravenous packs of Dogfish, Pouting and all manner of other undesirables come out to feast upon your hard earned baits. Unless you are lucky enough to drop on a Cod’s nose, it could be hard work. Contrast this to a lovely autumn afternoon sat in sunshine where every bite is usually something of quality. If not a Cod maybe a plump Plaice or a tasty Bream, who knows! For those light on yards, don’t fret you will still catch at 50 metres on occasions, particularly in rough weather or at night. You will just need to wade through a bit more un-wanted by-catch to claim your prize.

 

Crab Bait Does The Business!

Crab Bait Does The Business!

Bait is a simple enough choice. My top 4 in order of effectiveness would be blow lug, peeler crab, hermit crab and fresh black lug. We all get days when we just ‘need’ to hit the beach for a short notice fix without the correct bait and although you’ll catch the odd Cod on frozen blacks or squid, it really is a very poor option compared to fresh.

 

In years like 2014 when there were incredible numbers of fish you may get away with it but even then you will be humbled by an angler next door who’s well prepared.

I am going to be controversial and say avoid tides over 2.0m on the Portland scale. They are too big and although there will be odd exceptions, 1.7-2.0 metre tides usually reign supreme. So when should you hit the beach? Chesil Cod, like most Cod enjoy some flow in the water. Based on the Portland tide times you should start fishing 3.5 hours before high and finish when you lose the right to left flow around 2.5 hours down. Invariably that last hour as the tide eases will be the hot time. You could also try over low water, get there 1 hour before and fish 3 hours back up. Again the last hour as in this case the left to right flow eases, will be key. These scenarios will vary slightly according to exact location, weather and size of the tide but will be a good starting point for most situations.

All the very best of luck for the 2015/16 season, I hope to see you on the beach someday”

Ben Stockley