Where to catch: Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
If you want some superb mixed fishing for big fish like smoothhounds, rays, tope and bass, then take a look at the two marks featured here out of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.
If you want some superb mixed fishing for big fish like smoothhounds, rays, tope and bass, then look no further than the wrecks, reefs and sandbanks in the prolific waters of Freshwater Bay
The Isle Of Wight is less than a couple of miles off the south coast county of Hampshire and is perfectly situated to access the awesome, weather-protected fishing of the Solent and the vast fishing grounds to the south of the Isle of Wight. These include wrecks, reefs and many sandbanks, which are famed for their winter run of cod.
It’s not cod that we are after this month, but rays – big blonde ones! The IOW is famous for both big cod and big bass but most people don’t realise that it is a great place to target a monster blonde ray.
From most places in the UK, the IOW is relatively easy to get to. From the north the quickest route would be to take motorways to the M4. On the M4 turn onto the A34 at Newbury, change onto the M3 at Winchester and then hang a right onto the M27 westbound at Southampton. From junction 1 of the M27 pick up the A337 south and straight to Lymington. Once at Lymington follow signs for the IOW ferry, which departs frequently and goes direct to Yarmouth, but I suggest you don’t use it! The IOW ferry is renowned for being one of the most expensive, per mile, ferries in the world!
Lymington has a great slipway and plenty of parking for both car and trailer and, after launching, Yarmouth is only about two miles across the water almost due south. Once you’ve steamed across, you should easily be able to pick up a visitor’s birth in Yarmouth marina.
The ride out from Yarmouth is pretty much danger free if you follow the channels. The only thing to watch for is other pleasure craft and water users, of which the Solent attracts many. After leaving port, the quickest way to the south of the island is around to the west and past the famous needles lighthouse. From the Needles, extending west, lies ‘The Bridge’ reef. Although this isn’t shallow enough to be a danger to small boats, it does have a wreck on it, The Varvassi, which can be dangerous at times so look for this on your paper and Navionics charts before sailing. The waters above The Bridge can also get a little messy in wind against tide conditions.
Mark One – The Ridges
The Ridges are shingle and shale banks that lie in 30-50ft of water just a couple of miles south west of Freshwater Bay. Here you can target some monster blonde rays, with fish to 30lb a real possibility. You’ll also catch some decent bass here too. The best bait to use is a fillet of launce, but fresh mackerel will also work well.
Mark Two –The Outer Spoils
The Outer Spoils is an area of broken and mixed ground, including some rock and some shingle in roughly 100ft of water. This area of mixed ground doesn’t produce one species but, like it’s sea bed, a ‘mixed’ variety. In the winter it produces cod, ling, the odd pollack and conger, but in the summer it produces bass, the odd undulate ray and some sporting tope fishing. The best bait to use here is fresh mackerel.
Facts and Figures
Mark 1 – The Ridges
Latitude 50° 38. 390’ Longitude 001° 31. 050’
Ebb and flood tide for blonde rays and bass
Mark 2 – The Outer Spoils
Latitude 50° 36. 190’ Longitude 001° 34. 105’
Ebb and flood tide for tope, conger, cod, bull huss and rays
Accommodation – The Jireh Guest House, St James Square, Yarmouth, IOW. PO410NP. Tel: 01983 760513
Local Contact – Scotties Tackle. Tel: 01938 522115
Shop – Scotties Tackle, 11 Lugley Street, Newport, IOW. Tel: 01938 522115 or visit: www.scotties-tackle.co.uk
Launch Site – Bath Road slipway, Lymington. That is unless you can afford to cross the Solent on the IOW ferry!
Tides – Standard port Lymington
Safety – Solent Coastguard VHF channel 16
Weather – Met Office shipping forecast – sea area Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis.
Warning – The Solent is a busy commercial and recreational stretch of water. Beware of shipping, yachts and other water users.
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