Oh how I wish I had great news of loads of fish being caught all along the Dorset coast, but I don’t. No point in lying, right now it sucks. Is that going to get me down? No! because I am hoping that the water will clear a bit more over the next day or two and allow me to get out and target some Wrasse and Pollock. The winter Wrasse tend to be the bigger fish and they can put up a great fight, especially of you target them on lures. Without a doubt it is far more difficult to tempt one out at this time of year on a lure, but when you do it is more than worth it. You have to use soft plastics, fished slowly.
I mentioned earlier in the week about me concentrating on species this year and seeing how many different ones I can catch in a year. I had an email from Phil Robson, who is also very keen to catch as many species as he can. He tlod me that in his lifetime his total number of species for UK sea and freshwater fish is 99, and he is very keen to get number 100. He supplied me a list of the following that he has not yet caught, and wondered what the chances were of catching any or all of them to break and exceed that 100 barrier:
– Shore rockling
– Rock cook wrasse
– Gilthead bream
– Gobies other than Rock and Black
– Thin lipped mullet
– Any shad
In reality Phil, you should be able to quite easily break that 100 barrier from the shores around Portland and Weymouth. Shore Rockling have to be your number one target species at this time of the year. I can give you two exact marks that I know of the top of my head that hold Shore Rockling, both at Portland Bill. The first is straight down the Southern side of Pulpit Rock and the secend is down the side of the ledge with the crane. Shore Rockling can be easily mistaken if you are not familiar with your Rockling species. It only has 3 beards, or barbels and unlike 3 Bearded Rockling, it is darker and has a solid brown colouration. 3 Bearded Rockling have distinct spots and bars on their flanks and although 5 Bearded Rockling are very similar in colour they have 5 barbels (surprise, surprise). The best bait to catch them is Peeler Crab or Mackerel strip. They will also fall to LRF style lure fishing. The following is probably one of the best pictures I have seen showing the differences. The picture was supplied by my friend Steve in Cornwall the Shore Rockling is the top fish.
RockCook Wrasse. A far less common fish and quite possibly one of the hardest on your list to target.
Gilthead Bream: We are lucky that we have one of the few resident populations of Gilthead Bream in the country. They can be found in Portland harbour and can be caught from the shore. To the left of Ferrybridge on the broken and weedy shallow water. Peeler Crab, Mussels and Ragworm are the best baits.
Gobies: Weymouth Harbour, Portland Harbour and Portland are home to so many different species of Gobies. If you are going to target these the most exciting method is using LRF techniques.
Thin Lipped Mullet: Weymouth and Christchurch harbour are full of them from March onwards. A baited Mepps spinner with the trebles removed and replaced with a size 6 hook on a small length of Fluro carbon baited with a small ragworm is by far the best method. Unlike Thick Lipped Mullet they are easy to catch.
Shad: I did catch a Twaite Shad this year and from other reports you can regularly get them on Chesil in the late summer. I caught mine on a Seaspin lure.
Most of the above fish can be targeted using LRF techniques and I will (I promise) get round to explaining all about LFR.
Chesil Beach: A 1m swell, the water is coloured.
Portland: Waves up to 1m and clearer water
Portland Harbour: Calm with clear water.
Weymouth Bay: Calm but the water has a bit of colour especially around the harbour entrance.
Chesil Beach forecast: With calm conditions you should be able to pick up plenty of Whiting and the normal Dogfish and Pout. I wouldn’t hold my breath for any Cod. Dabs and Rays should feature to the West of Chesil, especially around West Bexington.
Portland: The water has cleared slightly which will suite the Wrasse that are still around. Portland is a good mark for several of the Rockling species that I will be targeting in the next couple of weeks. East side marks will still be good for Bull Huss and Pollock.
Portland Harbour: Another area that has gone very quite. All you can really hope to catch from here are Flounder at the moment.
Weymouth Bay: The piers are fishing well for Whiting, both during the day and at night. Plenty of Pout are also being caught with the odd Flounder and Pollock. Rockling are showing up in decent numbers for those looking for different species. Preston is good for Flounder and Whiting.
Poole Harbour: I am hearing more reports of School Bass being caught than Flounders. It looks like the Flounders have moved off to Spawn.
Species Hunt: I think I will create an album to show the different species that I catch this year and see how many different ones I can catch. I know that species hunting is very popular on a number of forums. Why not join me and see what different fish you can catch over the year. I am going to set myself a target of 30 different species. Drop me an email and let me know your targets and how you get on throughout the year. I especially want to see your pictures of some of the more unusual species that you catch.
Guiding & Lessons: I know it is the heart of winter, but now is a good time to think about booking a 1 to 1 lesson or get on one of my fishing workshops. This will give you plenty of time to practice the techniques you learn before the fish turn up again in the spring. Have a look on the guiding link at the top of the page or drop me an email for more details to [email protected]