Mobile: 07885 246061
Booking Diary
Monthly Report
River Dart
Boat History
Bits & Bobs
Sea Fish Records
Boat Reg No's
Where Are We?
Tide Times

African Queen
8 Chestnut Grove
South Devon

2011 Monthly Report/News

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

October 2010. I'm starting this years diary in October as our season ground to an early end due to one of our engines giving up in late September. We had been planning to change them both in October anyway as it had become obvious that after 48 years they were becoming tired and we could not take the risk of one of them letting us down early in the year and messing up the entire season. We had already sourced a pair of re-con engines up in Linconshire. The boat was fitted with her second pair of engines back in 1962 when the Navy upgraded the original 1946 lumps to more 'modern' Foden FD4's. It is not easy to find engines to suit our sort of boat these days as most modern engines are lightweight and fast revving to suit the new breed of glass fibre craft. We are 30 tons and only need to swing our huge props at 500 r.p.m to cruise at 8 knots. With a 2-1 ratio gearbox we need an engine that will produce its power at 1000 revs only, not an option for the modern engine. So having sourced 2 Mk 6 re-con Fodens we spent a few days in Lincolnshire sorting them out and duley had them delivered to Darthaven Marina where we undertook the massive task of swopping them over..... Click on pic's to enlarge.

Old engine out

March/April Plaice fishing has been fantastic this season, we have broken the boat record with a Plaice of 5lb 8oz caught by Nigel Curtis a regular with us. We have had 2 days in excess of 100 Plaice and many up around the 80's. The average size of the fish are down on last years, but are more than compensated for by the sheer numbers on the ground. You may put a lot of smallish fish back but will still end up with some good size fish for the table. Most days we see a good few in the 2-3lb bracket with the odd bigger fish as well. The first of the Mackerel are now showing and we had our first Gurnard on Tuesday 12th April. Summer is not far away.

May I have included a chart taken from the data recorder from our local 'wave bouy' half a mile or so off of Slapton Beach in Start Bay. This graph record's wave height. As you can see we had swell peaks close to 4m on this day (1st May), we have suffered from a long run of easterly winds that have seen us cancell more trips than we have been out on. Any one who understands the weather will know that when the wind is in the East it normally means we have sunshine. As we all know April/May has seen bags of it, the uninitiated will stare in amazement at the boat tied up on her moorings when they are stood on land in glorious sunshine, wondering why I am not out 'raking it in' as they have put it, I have had emails and phone calls from well meaning people asking if 'I am all right' because they do not see us going out to sea when they imagine the conditions are perfect for fishing. As you can see from the above graph, conditions can be far from perfect when the wind is in the east, even if the sun is shining. When we have managed to sneak out between blows and fish the Skerries Bank, the fishing has still been reasonable despite the rough conditions, a bad day will see in excess of 20 Plaice, a good day up in the 80's. Wednesday 11th May saw us out on one of the nicest days weather so far this season, the winds finally out of the east and blowing gently from the West. The lads managed to boat 73 Plaice with the average size up on previous trips. Mike Brown caught the best brace, 3lb 4oz and 2lb 12oz, 3 individual anglers beat their own personal best Plaice records (size) on the boat today with fish well over 2lbs. Plymouth Joe thought he was in with a chance of beating his personal best tally of 23 (caught with us on a day of 111 fish), but due to a slow finish and dropping a few fish only managed a 16 Plaice bag to his own rod. I don't think he was too dissapointed  with his day. A few nice Whiting starting to show with an ever increasing number of Gurnard, a few small Ray coming to the Plaice baits and causing any amount of excitement as the anglers are pulling them in thinking they have a huge Plaice on, then dissapointment as they realise it's only a small Ray. We will be seeing the first of the Bass soon I hope.

A few pics of our new van just sign written by the Deep Blue Sign Company of Dartmouth.
13th/14th/15th May. Plaice fishing continuing to be reasonable despite the bigger tides and breezy conditions. Winds are from the West at the moment (best direction for us) but if they are too strong will make the fishing on the flood tide difficult because of the increased speed of the drift. Catch rate down after our bumper day on the 11th. (73) Friday 13th we had 45, Saturday 47 and Sunday just 27 but all days see some super fish up into the 3lb bracket. We lost a good one at the side of the boat yesterday that would have been in the 4-5lb bracket. Next out on Thursday.
19th/20th/21st May Plaice fishing continues to be excellent for the anglers who make the effort to book a trip with us. Thursday 19th saw 7 anglers take 30, Friday 20th 5 had 34, and Saturday we were out with only 6 anglers who shared a bag of 54 Plaice to over 3lbs and 4 Dabs, 2 of which were over 1.5lbs. These, along with the Whiting, Gurnard, Mackerel etc. that we are now picking up on the banks make for a great day out. And all this for only £25 a day each.

June. Plaice fishing still excellent. We were out last Sunday and broke our record for numbers of Plaice boated. We finished the day with 121, 10 more than last years record of 111. I will post some more pics of the day when I get a bit more time, but in the interim click this link to see what one of the lads put up on the world sea fishing forum about their day.

Late June/July Plaice fishing still good but very dependant on the weather. We are still getting good numbers when the weather is settled, light winds and sunshine are the order of the day. Recent trips have seen days of 38, 58, 45 Plaice boated, one afternoon session saw 20+ Plaice to 3lb 9oz along with a couple of 4lb Bass. Wrecks are fishing well with some cracking Pollack and plenty of Cod in th 5-8lb range but one that stood out at 19lb 8oz.

Good days fishing the wrecks with various group's. Some nice fish with the best Cod at 19lb.8ozs Pollock to over 10lb, a reasonable summer fish.

August. Lots of fish around most days. Wrecks still producing well when we can find the anglers to get a trip out to them. Summer holidays are on us again, so most of our trips are restricted to half day 'Mackerel bashing' with the holiday makers. There is always a chance of a good bonus fish anytime you have a hook in the water, we get kids hooking into nice Bass when feathering for Mackerel. Put a bait down for a Plaice and you might end up with a Turbot, We had 2 small Turbot and a Brill in 3 days doing this with our inexperienced holiday fishermen. A group booked us for 2 days at the back end of August and one of the lads bought his girlfriend along for the ride, best fish of the trip, a cracking 5lb 6oz Plaice for her (sorry I can't remember your name) the third 5lb plus Plaice this year. Her boyfriend did manage a nice Bass on the day so His pain was not too bad to bear.

September. Now getting back to some serious fishing with the School Summer holidays over. Plaice have made a return as they always do at the end of August. Most days will see in excess of 30  plaice,, a good day in the 60's or 70's. Had 77 to 4lb 6oz on one good trip when conditions were right. Lot's of 2lb plus fish with most days seeing one or two stand out at 3lb plus or even over 4lb. We get lot's of other species grabbing the Plaice baits and you never know what wil turn up next, an average day will see 12-15 different species of fish come aboard.

October. Plaice still with us big time. Some realy good days when the weather is fit. 4th. Went out with a small group fishing for Plaice, only 5 on board so a couple of the Lads put out a secnd rod to try for something bigger. Nigel (the captor of the 5lb 8oz Plaice back in the Spring) managed to find a 12lb Angler fish that had found it's way onto the Banks, a fish to remember, but not one we expect to make a habit of catching, although we, and other boats have had small one's in the past. Final tally for their day was 40 Plaice 2 Dabs, all the normall bits and bobs plus the Angler fish. Nice one Nige. Out on the 8th, had 54 plaice to 4lb 14oz, one at 3lb 5oz, one at 3lb and half a dozen over 2lb 8oz with the majority of the other fish well over what would be considered minimum table size. All these to just 5 anglers who had booked the boat for themselves.

Below are some pictures that never made it onto the diary pages last year. See if you can spot yourself.