Tag Archives: Rays

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!

VMO Boat Trip – Round 2!

VMO Boat Trip – Round 2!

After the success of the recent trip to Wales in pursuit of shark’s, the team had a taste for life on the high sea’s and so headed for the west Somerset port of Minehead last weekend with the intention of targeting the multitide of species the port has to offer at this time of year.

Friend of VMO, Dave Roberts, was the chosen skipper for the day and Dave’s boat Aly Kat Too was to be the teams platform. Starting off not too far away from the infamous White Mark, The fishing was a little slow but it wasn’t long before a steady stream of pesky dogfish were coming over the gunnel. Knowing full well that the best bet would be a change of location, after half an hour of doggy bashing, Dave pulled anchor and headed a little further offshore where with the tide slackening all the while there would be a better chance of finding something a little lumpier.


Like all good skippers, Dave’s decision proved to be the right thing to do and within twenty minutes of dropping anchor, Karen let out a whoop as her rod arched over and line was pulled from the clutch. Like a number seven bus, on the opposite side of the boat Chris also had a good fight on his hands and before long a pair of nicely marked small eyed rays graced the deck of the catamaran.

A Brace Of Ray's

A Brace Of Ray’s

Karen Is In !!

Karen Is In


Before long, Steve had added a conger as had Joe, together with some small ray’s and even more dogfish, but all eye’s were soon on Andrew who’s uptide rod was groaning as an unknown fish made several good dives for the sea bed. Harry observed that the line on Andrew’s reel looked a little tired and familiar and Andrew confirmed that it was indeed the very same he had used almost two years ago on their last visit to Minehead.

But it did the job, as before too long the fish was safely in the net. A lovely blonde ray of mid double figures in weight was the highlight of the trip and despite the Bristol Channel having one of its off days, a good day out was enjoyed by all. With the ebbing tide rapidly getting underway, Dave called time and the team headed in for a well deserved pint!



Blonde's Are Beautiful

Blonde’s Are Beautiful

A Fitting End To A Great Day

A Fitting End To A Great Day

Kayak fishing here there and everywhere

I havent actually been on a great number of kayak fishing trips this year. But I have mixed it up a bit, and done quite well. The results I have had in just a hand full of trips show just how effective kayak fishing can be. I never could have experienced that level of fishing from either the boat or the shore….

Now, I know you guys love the salt, but I am a bit of an all-rounder, so excuse me for chatting about the “dark side” (freshwater !). I also love lure fishing, especially small plugs and soft plastics. My first trip combined all of these. I took the kayak to the beautiful Llangorse lake in the Brecons. I set up my stall with very light tackle – 6lb varivas braid and wire traces, and a lightweight LRF type rod. I was also using the Tokushima GraphX reel – a very solid peice of kit indeed. To cut a long story short, I never managed to catch the legend of Llangorse (google it… go on !). I did manage to catch a lot of pike.

I can tell you that they don’t half scrap on that gear. I was using weedless soft plastic lures (the pike love to hide in the weed).

Best part of the trip was the capture of a really nice perch, which fought all of the way to the net. A lovely looking fish…

Anyone who tells you that lure fishing doesn’t work in cold water, is talking absolute rubbish. Give it a try and you will find out for yourself.

Next trip was going to be fly fishing from the kayak (Flyaking) at Wimbleball lake on the edge of Exmoor. Another really scenic location. I was lucky enough to be joined by my friend Alistair – great company and a great fisherman. The weather was hot and still, and the water was clear – not ideal conditions for trout fishing. But the fish were there, and when they started to bite, the action was intense. You could see every movement of the fish in the clear water.

We had the whole lake to ourselves – not another boat or bank fisherman in sight. It was a special day, in so many ways. One of those trips which cheers you up when you are having a bad day at work.

I ended up with my limit. And the Hobie kayak performed absolutely flawlessly – it was a joy to be afloat.

So on to the salt ! I was umming and ahhing as to where to go. Then my good friend James contacted me to tell me that the bream were in early, and there were some good ones being caught. So that made up my mind, and soon I was driving down South to the bream mark.

I was again blessed with fantastic kayak fishing conditions  – light winds, a decent sized tide and bright sunshine. I pedelled the Hobie Revolution 11 kayak out into the middle of the bay, and tied up to a pot bouy. I had been studying the surrounding ground on the fishfinder, and there was a nice mixture of reef, rock, stone and sand – a nice bit of mixed ground.

I was going to try something a bit different. A swimfeeder containing frozen fish oils and other assorted goodies. This was very similar to the SeaScenter…


…And I was convinced it was going to work, if, and it was a big “if”, the bream were around.

As it happened, I didn’t have too long to find out…. on my first cast, I managed to hook into a huge bream which sadly straightened the hook of the squid baited shrimpers I was using. The fish flapped on the surface for a split second, and then it was gone.

It mattered not, becuase over the space of the next few hours, I managed to catch lots of bream, including a couple over 3lbs. The biggest was a new personal best for me… a shocking 4lbs 2ozs. All those years I fished fromt he shore in Alderney, I never thought I would beat my personal best in the UK – but that’s kayak fishing.

Any fish over 4lbs is a cracker – I was over the moon.

Then just to make it an even better day, I managed a lovely looking spotted ray.

Three very different trips and different styles of fishing. All great in their own way, and why I love kayak fishing so much.

If you want to see more, watch the video Kayak Fishing for Bream.