Hi guys,

I caught a Topknot whilst fishing the inner harbour from the Breakwater at
Dover (Friday May 3rd 2002). It was a sunny bright day, with a cool North
Eastly of around Force 4. Having not even heard of the species before, and
sure that my mates were pulling my leg over its name, I looked it up on the
WEB and found your request for info on the British Marine Life Study Society
Site. Not too sure what data you are after exactly, so here's what
information I have, plus the usual fishermans photo of yours truely grinning
with the fish ... sorry ;-)

It was caught on the bottom hook (Size 2) of what's known as a Wessex Rig.
The flowing trace in this case being about 3 ft long, with a final hook
length of about 10 inches. Sorry I haven't gone metric yet ! It fell to a
whole freshly peeled peeler crab which was about half the size of a credit
card. A small whiting (about 4 ozs) was caught at the same time from the top
hook, which was also baited with a similar sized crab on a size 2 hook.
Therefore, although the bite seemed to suggest that a flattie had taken the
bait, it is impossible to say which fish actually registered the bite on my

Strong currents run along the Breakwater which is a about a mile out to sea.
As the tide comes in, so the current runs strongly West, then there is a
very short slack period (20 minutes or so) before it reverses and runs East
for a short time (30 - 45 minutes). It then seems to realise that it is
going in the wrong direction and so goes slack, as if checking its compass
for around 20 minutes, before heading off like a steam engine directly back
West again. It continues going West until high tide, when another slack
period of around an hour or so is experienced. The currents on the inner
side of the seawall where I caught the Topknot, follow this same pattern but
are not quite as strong as those experienced when fishing the outer seawall.
The fish was caught during the 'compass checking' slack period which
occurred about an hour before high tide.

The Topknot was weighed on the club scales and came to exactly 8 ozs. It was
identified as a Topknot by the steward of the Dover Sea Angling Club who
said that one or two got caught from the Breakwater every year. In fact he
made specific mention of one caught just a few weeks ago that he thought was
about 3 times the size of my fish. After weighing the fish was returned to
the water, where it arched its back and headed in a steep swift dive for the

Trust that some of this stuff is useful to you !

Gary Beard
  ful to you !

Gary Beard