Tag Archives: Cod

Book a boat part 2- Channel Explorer, Portishead

Chris Buxton, skipper of Portishead based vessel Channel Explorer tells us about the kind of fishing we might expect to see out of the coastal Bristol Channel town of Portishead, in part 2 of our ‘book a boat’ series…

As a keen angler I was very lucky to have grown up right on the coast of the fast flowing waters of the Bristol Channel in the small Somerset town of Clevedon. I learned my trade on the rich fish filled waters of the upper channel around Clevedon for nearly 30 years before taking the plunge and running my first Charter boat- Channel Explorer. 

Plenty of deck space equals comfortable fishing

I’ve been privileged to have received some help along the way, particularly from Daniel Hawkins who runs ReelDeal charters from Ilfracombe-  Dan is a great guy and highly respected skipper. 

I now own Dan’s original boat, a 10 meter Colne Catamaran twinned with 150hp mercury’s on the back that can get us going to speeds of up to 42knots, so getting to the marks takes next to no time. We have some very good fishing from the beautiful marina at Portishead which is 3 miles up the coast from Clevedon or junction 19 of the M5. All our fishing is done at anchor with the majority of anglers opting to uptide in the fast waters. Winter fishing can be excellent and we are very lucky to still get a decent cod run in the Channel. From September to May is when these fish run with bags of up to 84 sizeable fish having been taken so far this 2019-20 season. 

A typical bag of cod aboard Channel Explorer

We also catch plenty of Rays ,Congers ,Whiting and odd dogs amongst the massive Cod shoals. 

May through to September is a time we can pretty much target anything with all the ray species available, hounds in excess of 20lb, tope, bass more cod and my favourite- the Dover sole. 

The sole fishing is something I’d like to think we specialise in as they are large fish with 90% of fish landed over the 2lb mark and up to a few ounces short of 4lb. 

I’m after a 6lb fish and pretty certain they are down there in the murky depths. 

Channel Explorer runs pretty much everyday weather permitting and can take 10 Anglers with plenty of space, so when we can get back out on the water why not book a trip with us and I’ll doe my best to put you on the fish.

Contact Chris on 07804 241017 to discuss your booking

Chesil – the year so far – part 1

Today we welcome Ben Stockley to the blog. Ben enjoys regular success on Chesil and we knew that his year so far would make for a good read. Look our for part 2 coming soon…

Chesil – the year so far – part 1

Wow, where is 2016 going, already we are into July, the longest day has passed and the nights are drawing in a little earlier every day. I have packed in a lot of fishing so far this year, many of you will already know that I am expecting the arrival of Stockley Junior in early August and I have made it my mission to do as much fishing as possible ahead of a very busy end to the year!

Samalite league champion 2015

Samalite league champion 2015

January Prolonged bad weather and the usual post Xmas fish famine on the Dorset Coast meant I only managed a couple of pretty slow trips out. The 1st round of the new Samalite League season was held at West Bexington in heavy rain and a strong Southerly wind. A limited bag of Dogs, Pollack, Whiting and Poor Cod helped me limp home to a 4th in zone but I was pleased as it meant I’d made the prize table and started the defence of last year’s league title in a positive manner.

A plump cod from a cold Chesil

A plump cod from a cold Chesil

February More wet and windy weather did nothing to improve the prospects of what promised to be another challenging month although I did manage a few more sessions, albeit mostly honing my match fishing skills catching dogs and whiting, generally making the best of what lean pickings were on offer. One particularly pleasant sunny day was spent at the end of the month hoping for an early red spot on Chesil. The water colour meant that I had to be entertained by a steady stream of dogs and Whiting until a late season Cod of 7lb 2oz put a big smile on my face and sent me back home happy. He’d picked up a small rag bait on a size 2 hook intended for flatter, spottier customers. I also enjoyed a couple of trips to Jerry’s Point in Poole Harbour , the best of these trips resulting in 6 plump flounders to 1-12 and a few school Bass which was fun on the light continental gear I had used. With 2 days of the month remaining, I decided not to follow rumours of sporadic Plaice reports from the western fringes of Chesil and try a mark at the Eastern end of the bank for an early ray. It proved a reasonable decision and although the quality was not up to later in the season, I recorded 2 Small Eyed’s and a Blonde  along with the usual dogs, whiting and a bonus Dab all in daylight. Round 2 of the Samalite saw it moved from Chesil to the backup venue of Preston Beach. Fished to measure and release rules, I recorded a comfortable zone and outright match win by fishing lug, white rag and maddies to bag 1 small thornback and 8 whiting for 228cm. This was my 3rd zone win in a row on this venue which has been kind to me of late!

A small ray. Very welcome in February!

A small ray. Very welcome in February!

A match double shot...

A match double shot…

March The continued poor fishing locally saw myself and a mate venture over to Witches Point in South Wales for the 1st time. A beautiful spot but sadly it did not fish well and amongst a handful of locals I managed the only ray, a modest Small Eyed of just under 7lb. On the 12th, I gambled on an unfashionable area for Plaice fishing at the extreme Eastern end of Chesil although it had been consistent for me in recent years. I hoped the better water clarity at this end would fish better. I managed a couple of beautifully marked flatties and 3 small rays on the sandeel rod which promised better fishing to come. I had a great day out at West Bexington on the 20th. A slow start burst into life as the flood tide eased and I managed 5 nice Plaice the best weighing 1-15, 1-7 and 1-4 plus 3 Thornback’s up to 6-2, again all in daylight. The best 2 Plaice arrived as a double shot which was a nice moment after a few weeks difficult fishing. The month ended with a nice Spotted ray of 3-10 in Chesil Cove after a last minute response to perfect weather conditions and an unplanned session.

Perfect spring plaice

Perfect spring plaice

April The month came alive for me on the 5th, despite the murky water Chesil provided me with a cracking Small Eyed Ray of 10lb 3oz, a plump Dab and 11 prime Plaice. My decision to fish a Ray bait on a 2nd rod due to the conditions had paid off nicely.

10lb 3oz small eyed ray

10lb 3oz small eyed ray

3 Days later, I fished the exact same spot, the water was much more coloured and ruled out Plaice fishing so both rods carried fish baits hoping for more rays. To say I was battered by dogfish would be an understatement and eventually I switched to a 3 hook rig with stronger Varivas Aberdeen’s and 25lb snoods to give me 3 chances and the opportunity to sit down for 5 minutes!! This paid off handsomely and the result was another fine Small Eyed of 9-12 and 2 Thornies of 6-5 and 5-9, happy days!

A Thornback ray adds to the variety

A Thornback ray adds to the variety

The following week I decided to fish a Purbeck rock mark with my friend Simon. A horrible ground swell was present and as we were 50+ feet above the waterline, anything large that we hooked was going to provide us with a netting nightmare! I gave Simon’s netting prowess a thorough examination as a beautiful PB Bass of 13-6 graced me with its presence before a smaller sample of 4-10 also showed up. Pollack to 2-8, Huss and some nice 3 Beard’s iced the cake on a night to remember!  The rest of the month was filled with some reasonably good Plaice fishing on Chesil with some nice settled, sunny days to enjoy.

13lb 6oz of prime bass

13lb 6oz of prime bass- OK, that isn’t Chesil, but what a fish!

Penn Rampage Is Back!

We didn’t think it would be possible to improve on this fabulous rage of boat and shore rod’s, but that’s exactly what Penn have done. Give us a call on 01275 892000 if you are interested in upgrading your tackle for the new season or take a look at the new range on the website, veals.co.uk.

We will price match any genuine like for like advertisement on any of the Penn Rampage II range!

rampage-combo-image

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