Where fishermen are concerned it can be difficult to meet expectations as we often forget that fishing is a pastime to enjoy and catching comes second, merely icing on the cake.

This was something that came to mind when I was recently asked by some local solicitors from Steele Raymond’s dispute resolution team and their friends to arrange a day’s boat fishing. A couple had experience in different areas of fishing yet most were complete newbies to boat fishing so I knew I had my work cut out to meet all of their needs.

I opted to take them on ‘Ocean Runner’ from Poole as I had heard that the skipper, Ryan Jones, was very attentive and Poole has a wide variety of inshore marks that would offer a great number of fish and different angling methods, ticking a few boxes for everyone on board.

As many summer boat trips start, we headed for bait, in this case mackerel, just outside of the harbour entrance. This was almost certain to put a smile on peoples’ faces and get them fired up for the day’s fishing ahead! However, as you are probably aware, mackerel were thin on the ground at the start of the summer and I was nervous. Nevertheless, we were determined to catch and on the very first drift we had caught a couple (sigh of relief). After a slight move for the second drift, allowing us longer over the correct area, there were enough mackerel coming up to keep me constantly busy unhooking fish and helping others to learn. After catching roughly 20 mackerel by the time of the third drift, the competition was on and Ryan decided to take us to a mark called ‘the Betsy’.

Armed with our fresh mackerel as bait, we quickly began to catch. I had the privilege of catching the first fish which was a beautifully coloured Undulate Ray. Unfortunately for me, the privilege was soon passed on to Lindsay who had already hooked into something bigger. After struggling for a while, she landed another Undulate Ray of 12lb 8oz which was much bigger than mine. A great start to bottom fishing; two fine fish within minutes and just as I thought the start couldn’t getany better, Scott ‘Scottydog’ was into a fish and it was a different species. Yes, you guessed it. A dogfish. In fact, he staked his claim to the first three dogfish as well as the most caught throughout the whole day. Simone used a larger piece of mackerel with great effect catching a Tope and whilst not a massive one, it was great to see as well having ticked another species off the list.

Undulate Rays

Simone with a tope

Brad with his ray

Shortly after, I caught a Smoothound giving everyone an oppourtunity to see the difference between Tope and Smuts as many beginners are easily confused between the two. Brad was not having such a good time after having a good sized Tope fight all the way up only to release the whole mackerel just below the surface. His perseverance was rewarded with an Undulate Ray after downsizing his bait. The biggest fish was yet to come and on his first time fishing, Rob caught a Conger Eel. This fish on the right gear are great to catch as they can really fight back and make you work for it.  Not so delightful to look at but a great catch none the less (you wouldn’t get me holding one).

Rob and Conger


The tide began to pick up which prompted a move to another inshore mark where the current wasn’t as strong. Here, we caught some of the same species on the previous spot. After some time on this mark the tide had eased allowing us to drift in between Boscombe and Bournemouth pier in the hope of one or two Plaice. This was not to be as the tide was probably too slack, prompting another move.


With roughly an hour left, Ryan took us to a small wreck that would produce Pouting and he wasn’t wrong. Within 5 minutes of arriving we were getting bites although a few of us struggled to hook them at first but then we all managed to land a fair few each.

A great end to a great day with everyone enjoying themselves whilst catching a variety of species throughout the day! I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of fish we caught and the quality of the fish, with the varied locations allowing everyone on board something different to experience.

We would highly recommend ‘Ocean Runner’ to anyone wishing for a great days fishing regardless of ability, the day couldn’t have been better.

Ocean Runner Charter Boat