THIS area offers some
tremendous fishing. You can expect everything and anything from thornback rays to bass, smoothhounds and double-figure cod around here.
Gosport is a true peninsula, which forms the western side of Portsmouth Harbour. The town is steeped in naval history and is traditionally the home of British naval submarines. There are some excellent exhibits and museums in the town. Access to Gosport is from the A27M junction 11 via Fareham and the A32. For the Stokes Bay marks, take the B3385 to Lee on the Solent and follow the coast road to the left.
There are some great marks along this stretch, one of the most popular being the Millenium pier, which offers free fishing.
The Millenium Pier
This is adjacent to the Gosport High Street and there is adequate parking signposted. Dave’s Tackle shop is at the precinct nearby. The pier can be found behind the large blocks of flats opposite the pedestrian shopping centre. Something is always happening here as it forms part of the entrance to Portsmouth harbour. Opposite can be seen HMS Victory and more modern naval vessels. Bottom fishing, float fishing and lures produce mackerel, pollack, wrasse, bass and bream. The larger bass fall to live joey mackerel or small pouting. Nearby pontoons also harbour some big bass.
The Haslar Wall is a concrete harbour fortification, which forms the western side of Portsmouth harbour. Turn left down Haslar Road after the flats and it can be found behind Haslar Hospital. There is a small car park, which presently has a ‘Road Closed’ sign attached to it, but it still affords access and parking for the wall. It is a very popular mark for summer mackerel. Other species include good thick-lipped mullet on bread, and cod and whiting in winter. Expect to find foul ground occasionally here. Early morning and late evening is the time to try spinners and plugs.
This is the most southerly extension of Portsmouth harbour. Access involves a half-mile walk from Stokes Bay Inshore Lifeboat Station. Walk to your left when facing the sea from the car park. The point is next to Fort Gilkicker, which cannot be missed. This is a fairly deep venue where strong tides can be experienced. On a spring tide expect to hold bottom with an 8oz lead. Smaller tides can be fished with a 5oz breakout. Many species are encountered here. Thornback rays, smoothhounds, bass and mackerel in the summer, and double-figure cod are taken every winter.
Ragworm is the favoured bait, but lugworm and squid account for most of the cod. Peeler is productive for the ‘hounds’.
The Inshore Rescue Lifeboat Station
Access is best from the Lee on the Solent end. Just continue through Stokes Bay ‘till a painted roundabout is found, just west of the Military Training Camp. Turn right towards the sea. To the left is Fort Gilkicker. The Stokes Bay beaches are packed with holidaymakers, so pick your times. From August until October this is a fine sole mark. Use small hooks (2s and 4s) with ragworm bait. Plaice appear in April and May with cod and whiting in the winter. Generally on Hampshire marks, ragworm is the summer bait and lugworm is the winter bait.
This is a concrete wall opposite the entrance to the Alverbank Inn and in the middle of Stokes Bay. Getting to this mark is easier via Lee on the Solent and turn left when you reach the sea. This is a good mark for bass and sole, and it can be frantic on calm summer days for mackerel. Fish squid or pouting close in for bass after dark. Fish two hours around the top of the tide. Car parks are plentiful throughout Stokes Bay and are free through the winter months.
This is the point just east of Lee on the Solent. Getting there involves a walk from Stokes Bay Western Car Park, which is found as soon as the B3333 leads you to the sea at Stokes Bay. Walk about a kilometre to the point where deep water and strong tides produce numerous species. There are large cod and good whiting in the winter and big shore smoothhounds in the summer. As with Gilkicker, expect to use 8oz grip leads in rough weather. Dogfish, rays and bass all turn up at this deepwater mark.
Dave’s Tackle (Dave Ellis and Bev), 1 The Precinct, Gosport, Hants. Tel: 02392 529107
TF Top Tip
Try using a drilled bullet lead to roll your baited hooks around in the surf when searching out flatties like the soles and flounders. Fresh or frozen mackerel can be a killer bait through the summer months. Try it for the bass close in.
Article by Adrian Farley