I’ve not been to Brighton Marina for a few years, and I was keen to take the opportunity to revisit a venue which usually delivers a variety of species for me. I popped into The Tackle Box to stock up on a couple of rigs and a double helping of ragworm, and was out on the East wall, for the high tide just after eight a.m.

I was trying out two new rods; an 11’6″ Penn Rampage Bass for distance work, and a 9′ lure rod HTO Luregame for more active fishing.

Firstly, I set up the HTO with a floating rig, baited with a strip of herring to try to tempt a garfish or mackerel, and on the Penn rod, I baited a rig with ragworm and blasted it out as far as I could.

The surface of the water was covered with a dirty scum, so I wasn’t that hopeful for mackerel or garfish. After nearly a hour of nothing happening on the float, and the tide dropping, I swapped to a two boom scratching rig , which I’d modified to have size 4 hooks, baited with ragworm. This quickly gave a gorgeously coloured Corkwing Wrasse, and a small Pollack.

Corkwing Wrasse, Crenilabrus melops
Corkwing Wrasse, Crenilabrus melops

By mid-morning the wall was filling up; mackerel hunters hemming me in on both sides. They were having no luck at all, and were constantly casting over my lines. Although, I took it all in good humour. I did notice a suspected bite on the distance rod, but ignored it thinking it was interference from a neighbour (again). When I reeled in, I had a small starry smoothhound on the end of the line. Length around 18″.

Starry Smoothhound, Mustelus asterias
Starry Smoothhound, Mustelus asterias

Another corkwing wrasse and a couple of tompot blennies also came to the scratching rod. The Japanese guys to my right, also caught a blenny. They eyed it with suspicion from a cautious distance. “Is dangerous?” they shouted across. I reassured them it wasn’t. The blenny took its chance, unhooked itself and jumped and wriggled over the wall back into the sea.

Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine
Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine

Looking around at my fellow fishermen, I couldn’t see many fish coming to the wall. A few hand-sized flounder, a small smoothhound pup, and some wrasse were all I witnessed.

As the ticket collector came around to collect the £5 for two rods, another bite came to the Penn rod. The collector thought a plaice; it turned out to be a Tub Gurnard. My first ever of this species, easily distinguished by the bright blue on its pectoral fins.

Tub Gurnard, Chelidonichthys lucerna
Tub Gurnard, Chelidonichthys lucerna

The last hour before low tide was very quiet. The bait was constantly being stripped from the distance rod, so I snipped off the hooks and swapped them for size 4s. Still no hook-ups.

At one o’clock, the sunburn was starting to be a problem, and I called it a day. Five species in all from a great, if crowded, venue.


Total Catch:

  • 2 Corkwing Wrasse
  • 1 Pollack
  • 1 Starry Smoothhound
  • 1 Tub Gurnard
  • 2 Tompot Blenny