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Hayling Island


Hayling IslandHAYLING Island's long southward facing beach and mass of harbour channels provide some very exciting fishing for all manner of species. Hayling is situated on the south coast to the east of Portsmouth. It is roughly triangular-shaped with the longest edge forming the beach to the south facing Hayling Bay. It is truly an island and is joined to the mainland by a road bridge.

Visitors used to flock to the island in high summer for the four or five miles of white, sandy beaches. Sadly, the beach has been transformed by a shingle barrier put in place to ease the storm flooding, which had become a serious problem by the beginning of the'80s.

A decision was then taken to prop up the shoreline with ten metres or so of imported shingle and each year, in March and early April monster trucks can be seen re-distributing the shingle, which is displaced by storms and tidal movements. In early spring there is always a run of quality plaice and there is always the chance of fish to 4lb.

The summer months provide sport with bass, mackerel, garfish, smoothhounds and gurnards.

Smoothhound fishing has been excellent for the past rwo or three seasons. All you need is small hardback crabs the size of your thumbnail. Wrap two or three on a size 2 Viking or Kamazan Uptide hook (strong!) and fish a 10pm high water. In winter, thoughts turn to cod, whiting and flounders. Bass remain all year.

From the London area, take the A3M (not M3) through Guildford, and take the slip road to the left leading to Havant on to the A27. Then follow signs to Hayling Island. Once there, follow the single lane road onto Hayling and take the first left past Mill Rythe school, then drive to the centre of the seafront.   

The Lifeboat Station

This mark is accessed by following Southwood Road to its end, where there is free roadside parking. A short walk to the left, past the nature reserve, is the entrance to Chichester Harbour. There are powerful tides here and steep shingle banks, so be careful. Because the channel is both dredged and scoured, depths reach 80ft or more. Summer sport is good here with lures for mackerel, bass and garfish. It is little fished in Winter.  Steve Lacey caught the new record smoothhound next to the Hayling Island Sailing Club building in 2009. This giant smoothhound hit the scales at 28-10oz and was returned to the water. Tides are fierce and it’s a slack water (high and low) venue. 


So-called, because of the square architecture of the large block of flats. The groynes are at the east end of the bay only An 18lb cod was caught at number 23 recently.

In summer large shoals of mackerel show here especially at high water. A good number of large bass will follow and fishing a large fillet, 'joey' or 'flapper' gives a better than average chance of a bass 'double'. Fish at short range after dark around high water and the bass fishing can be explosive. Smoothhounds are caught on crab, but generally are smaller than the nearby Selsey stamp of fish. 

Coastguards Lookout

This marks the end of the seafront road when travelling east and is famous for some staggering catches of bass after a good 'blow'. Slipper limpets, a localised shellfish, are smashed and dumped by the waves and provide free bait for all. Five or six limpets on a size 2/0 hook cast 30 metres out has produced bags of up to twenty bass in a session. A local secret is to arrive as a low pressure moves away and the wind veers southwest or northwest. 

The Fun Fair

It's hard to miss this focal point of the seafront at the end of Beach Road. It has a large car park on the beach side, and immediate access to the fishing mark. This clean mark comes into it's own in March and April, when a good run of plaice occurs. Target these on calm spring days with ragworms fished at distance. Every year 3lb plaice are caught here. Flat leads will allow the baits to be 'twitched' for more success. This is also a good mark for short range, after-dark bass fishing with large fish baits.   

The Inn on the Beach

Positioned nearer the west end of the seafront road, and accessed by taking the left turn approximately 600 metres past the Royal Shades pub. It is signposted 'Par3 Golf Course' and is a landmark on it's own as it's name indicates  A well-known spring plaice mark with more tide run as you approach the entrance to Langstone Harbour. Clear water and calm conditions often favour the super-long casters.  Excellent for bass after a ‘blow’. Slipper limpet is the bait.  

The Ferry Boat Inn

We have travelled from east to west along Hayling Bay. At the entrance to Langstone Harbour you will find a multitude of species in summer including bass, mackerel, garfish, bream, scad, thick-lipped grey mullet, wrasse, flounder and plaice. Some of the locals have had tremendous success with lures and light rods for the bass here. Winter fishing was mainly for flounders, but in good years codling can show with bass all year round. Flounders are much diminished in numbers. 

Tackle Shops

Paige's Fishing Tackle
02392 463 500

Mannings Fishing Tackle
Eastoke Corner
Hayling Island
02392 463 444

© Adrian Farley 2010

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