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African Queen
8 Chestnut Grove
South Devon

2010 Monthly Report/News

For anyone who is interested, you can find the previous years diary's here.
2011 2012 2013      

February/March. Slow start again because of the windy weather, and very cold water in the Bay. 6.5 degrees C only at the moment, the coldest it's been for 30 years. Some nice Plaice though when we have managed to get out, but no great numbers yet.We had a dozen on a cold blustery day recently. The Pollack fishing on the wrecks has also started slow but the fishing is picking up now as we get into the year. Click on pic's to enlarge.


And a few pics from last year that never got put on the diary page, just to whet your appetite.



Sunday 21st. March. What a cracking day on the Plaice with the Pot Black SFC. 73 Plaice to 3lb 9oz, loads around the 2 - 2 1/2lbs. We reported last year that the early Plaice fishing was the best we'd had for some years, well this year has started just as well so we shall wait and see if it can equal or better last years fishing. I have been pleasantly surprised with the above average size of the fish we've been getting. As you probably know the Plaice have only just spawned at this time of year, so they are thin and come onto the Banks to fatten up. The 2lb plus fish we are getting now would all be well over 3lb come the Autumn, the 3-9oz would have been 4 plus. Let's hope that between the Anglers, Trawlers and Netter's there are some left that have 'fattened up' for later in the season. Anyway we had 10 very satisfied anglers go back to Plymouth tonight.

Saturday 27th.
Cold blustery day again. Fishing was reasonable until the tide turned, then the fish seemed to go right off the feed. We ended the day with 22 Plaice, biggest about 2 1/2lb. We were pretty disappointed with the final tally after last weekend's effort's, but a guy that fishes with us once or twice a year was out of Weymouth on the same day, fishing the Shambles Bank which is also renowned for its  Spring Plaice fishing the same as the Skerries, they caught 2 only all day! So perhaps we didn't do so bad after all. All our good catches come when its light winds and bright conditions.

Sunday 4th. April. Yet another cold and windy day, but at least it is fishable, more than can be said about the last week and the rest of the one  ahead if the forecast is anything to go by. Only 5 anglers out with us as 2 regulars let us down at the last minute, I wonder if they will understand why they are now at the bottom of my phone list when we get stuck into some good fishing later in the season. The end result was 28 Plaice, 4 over 2lb with 1 just under 3lb. Winds were over 20 knots for most of the day, but were from the N.W. which means it was choppy rather than rough, but because of the speed and angle of drift it did make it awkward to catch Plaice. One of our anglers on board, a Guy visiting from Belgium, ended his day with the best individual tally of 10 fish. He did not have a lot of experience but listened to our advice on the best way to catch Plaice on the Skerries and he out fished with our hire tackle everyone on board. Another comment he made, (I have also heard the same from a Dutchman a year or so ago) was how 'big' the Plaice were compared to what they catch on their bit of coast in the North Sea, perhaps we are better off down in the S.W. than we know. A lesson I learned many years ago when Club Charter Boat fishing, was to listen to the Skipper, wherever you are fishing, and no matter what boat you are on, the Skipper wants you to catch, his reputation depends on it, so he's not going to offer bad advice is he? Listen and learn, you will catch more!

8th. April. Two trips today, an 8-12 with a group of 4. Only 5 Plaice between them but 2 didn't catch at all, 3 of the 5 fish we crackers, see pics above. Lack of experience, small tide and not enough time to find the fish I guess, but they enjoyed the short time they were out. They said they will be back for a full day. 12.30- 8pm 34 Plaice with a group cobbled together at short notice. It is certainly a magical time to be out in the Bay watching the Sun go down over Start Point. Best Plaice just under 3lb.

Sunday 18th. April. Still not managing to get out much, A blown head gasket on our Port engine stopped one trip, and persistent Easterly winds continue to can cell other trips. We did manage a day out in reasonable conditions this Sunday in a boat I had to hire for the Day because I was waiting for delivery on some seals I needed to fix the dodgy engine. We did manage 22 Plaice. Pics of the best two above, 3lb 2oz and 3lb 9oz. Decent Days weather this Wednesday with a full booking for College students, cancelled due to teachers being stuck in Spain because of the flying ban. Booked Thursday, cancelled due to more Easterly winds. We'll see what happens this Saturday and Sunday.

April/May. Some cracking Plaice fishing at the moment, we are getting some good catches when the conditions and tides are right. Most days we are seeing 30+ fish. Had only 22 on a very blustery day on Sunday but some nice 2lb plus fish among them. We had our first ever 5lb plaice on the boat last Thursday, one of a catch of 42 with the best going 5lb 3oz. another at 4lb 3oz a 2lb 12oz and a dozen over 2lb. They won't be around for too much longer in these numbers so grab an individual day and come and have a go. Mackerel are showing in ever increasing numbers, a few Gurnard and a lone Black Bream. Bass are just moving in. Summer can't be far away now.

June. Some good fish on the wrecks when we can get out there, still catching good numbers of Plaice on the Banks, although the bigger fish are much harder to come by now.

July. Plaice fishing continues to be excellent, Mackerel in abundance. Some very big Whiting to 3lbs. but some days there are thousands of little 6 inch blighters that will grab every bait put down. The first of the Ray are showing but no big ones yet.

Caught a small Angler fish on the Skerries when Plaice fishing, a first for us but the third caught on the Skerries this season. The kids from South Devon College had 2 good days out of their 4 days annual trip with us, the wind spoilt the other 2 days for them, same as last year, shame.
Overnight trip. Organized a trip out overnight in an attempt to catch a Sole, we had 7 anglers booked of which 4 let us down! We started out at lunchtime and set off for the Skerries to fish for Plaice untill anchoring overnight for Sole. My chosen overnight anchoring ground proved to be vacant of Sole but plenty of Doggies, Pout and a nice Bull Huss. At first light we headed back to the Skerries to continue the excellent Plaice fishing we had enjoyed the previous afternoon. Returned to port again at lunchtime with the total bag of Plaice at 55 fish to 4lb 2 oz between 3 tired but very happy anglers. The lads that bothered to turn out are keen to try again, but with a different overnight fishing spot. I have another plan, so if you fancy a go, give me a ring and I will see what I can arrange given sufficient numbers to make it viable.

August. Getting out with our half day holiday makers but with some pretty wet and windy conditions again this year, we have had 4 years on the trot with not very Augusty weather. Still when we ar getting out there are plenty of fish to keep every one happy.

Some better size Ray are now beginning to show when we get 'proper' anglers on board, some cracking Whiting and the odd Bass.

September. Ground to a halt end of September, the engine i'd been nursing all through the Summer finally gave up the ghost just before we'd planned to change it (them). The engines had done 48 years hard graft so I suppose it had to be time. Sourced a pair of 'more modern' (mark 6's) Foden engines, rebuilt by Rolls Royce for the Navy, one in 1975 the other in 1978, filled with preservation fluid and then abandoned to a warehouse shelf, unwanted and unloved. The engineer up in Lincolnshire where we bought them from drained and re-filled the engines with fresh oil and water, connected them to a battery and we heard them roar into life as if they had been rebuilt yesterday. Transported them to Devon and spent 3 hard weeks getting the old ones out and the new in. Hopefully they will prove to be an investment for the future. More modern replacement engines of the horsepower we require would have been £13-£16000, more than we could afford, or the business stand. We live in hope that these two last as long as their predecessors. When I sort out my phone and manage to download the pictures I took of the engine change, I will post them onto the web site for anyone who might be interested. The few times we have managed to get to sea since for sea trials have been 'all good'. We will run them in gently for the first hours and keep our fingers crossed we made the right decision.