The lack of flounders continues to be a concern for anglers at Dell Quay.
After a really cold winter, the start of the 2011 sea-fishing season for members of the Apuldram Fishing and Boat Club was a challenge but as the weather improved there was the promise of a successful time ahead.
There was a full programme of events throughout the year. Members regularly fish from Dell Quay, on the shores from Fishbourne Mill to Copperas Point and Birdham, as well as many other locations in the harbour. The club also organise boat and beach events outside the harbour.
The early competitions always prove a challenge to land good-sized fish. Some members caught early bass as the waters warmed up. The run of grey mullet into the upper reaches of the harbour was very impressive. Some members caught mullet up to 5lb 8oz and had many good bites using rag worm tails and bread as bait.
Throughout the season there was almost a complete lack of flounders. Eels were also hard to find. The flounder population has been a concern over many seasons. A number of reasons have been suggested for their scarcity but it still remains a mystery.
When the bass ban came into force from April to October, members could catch them only from the shore in the harbour and fished in small creeks and in the early run of the tide.
A number of good bass were caught around 5lb. They were found in shallow water swimming with the mullet. The bass often don’t show themselves, unlike the mullet, who enjoy showing off, swimming fast and doing quick turns.
High winds were a feature of 2011 from early spring to mid-summer. This affected the out-of-harbour boat competitions and fishing in deep water. High seas developed on many days, which made the fishing unsafe. On one or two rare days some members caught mackerel, dog fish, smooth hounds and even a tope which was returned to the water.
On a calm evening in June in the harbour near Birdham, a member in a boat caught a large smooth hound, a very powerful fish, which when weighed was returned to the water. In the same area a few days later, a good number of mackerel were caught.
In June, the club and the harbour conservancy hosted a family and young people’s event at Dell Quay, with almost 60 participants. For the first time this included a crabbing competition. It was a great success.
The club have been invited to repeat the day on Friday, June 8, during half-term, and the conservancy who have offered a prize for the largest crab.
See the conservancy’s activities booklet for 2012 or their website for details.
In November, during a competition, a flounder weighing 1lb oz and a 3lb 1oz bass were caught by two members from a boat close to Dell Quay.
This was the first recorded flounder of the season. It was weighed and returned safely to the water because they are rare at the moment.
The club held their annual Christmas event at Dell Quay with members and friends from other sea angling groups, including the local Barnsea club.
A cup was generously donated by the fishing tackle shop in East Wittering.
It was a bright day and there were a number of bites. Despite fish having been caught by members a few days earlier, no fish was landed. The social event afterwards at the clubhouse on the Quay was enjoyed by all.
For more information about our club, see apuldramfishingandboatclub.org.uk