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Southampton Water

Southampton WaterThe City is in the lee of the Isle of Wight and at the confluence of two famous chalk streams, the Itchen and the Test. Whereas, nearby Portsmouth, became the major base of the Royal Navy, Southampton became a centre for shipbuilding and became the ‘cruise capital of the world’.

Two events in history, one infamous and one victorious, add to the history of the City:

  1. The fateful departure of ‘The Titanic’ in April 1912 and the development and manufacture of R.J. Mitchell’s fighter plane, the ‘Spifire’.
  2. The marine environment is so varied as to offer the sea angler a huge choice of species, venues and methods. Species such as bass, mackerel, garfish, soles, bream, smoothhounds, red and grey mullets, whiting and cod can be targeted by season and venue.

Warsash on the River Hamble

Take Junction 9 from the M27 and follow the signs for Titchfield and Warsash. There is a convenient at the end of the Warsash Road. Walk behind the toilets to the Ferry pontoon. This is a good High Water mark for flounders, eels, bass and grey mullet.

The bass are around all year, but the best of the flounders show in December and January. Sadly the flounder and eel populations have drastically declined over the past 10 years. Ragworm is the main bait here and currently sells for £12 - £14 a pound. In the Summer months, early and late sessions should produce thick-lipped grey mullet to float-fished bread and mashed bread groundbait. You can fish light with waggler gear, so grab your float rod and look forward to some rod-bending action.

Hamble Common

Leave the M27 at Junctiom 8 and take the B3397 to Hamble-le-Rice. Hamble Common is signposted to the right, in the middle of the village.There is a car park near the mouth of the River Hamble. Summer can produce school bass, eels, an occasional plaice or sole with mullet in the River. There is plenty of weed and crabs to contend with in the warmer months. The best time for flounders is generally the colder months. A favoured area is below the preserved gun emplacement. Spring can be very good when the crabs begin to peel. Try a cocktail of ragworm and half a peeler crab for the chance of a good bass, plaice or early smoothhound.

Weston Shore

This is a very popular match venue. Exit at Junction 8 from the M27; this time take the A3205 and turn right to Woolston just south of the Tesco roundabout. Look out for the left turn signposted Netley a mile or so down the A3205. Go past Weston Church until you come to a roundabout and go straight across. You’ll come to a sharp right turn leading to the shore. There are several car parks along the sea front. Expect flounders, eels, school bass and the odd plaice. Autumn is best here. Rag and peeler are the top baits.

Northam Bridge

Again take Junction 8 from the M27. This time, when you get to the big roundabout, take the A3024 to Bitterne, Southampton. Keep going and look for Northam Bridge. If you cross the bridge, you’ve gone too far. You need the right turn into ‘Centurion Park’ before the bridge, then bear left into the industrial estate. You can fish out of your car her. You’ll see the old Meridian TV Centre opposite. Two hours either side of HW with ragworm on size 2 hooks is best for flounders, bass and eels. There is a good head of sea trout which run up the River Itchen, but you need a migratory species (salmon and trout) EA licence to remove any of them.

Magazine Lane, Marchwood

This excellent deep-water mark is found on the western side of Southampton Water. You can find it by taking Junction 2 off the M27 and following signs for Hythe and Fawley. When you see signs for Marchwood, take the left turn into Jacobs Gutters Lane. A mile or so on is the narrow left turn called Magazine Lane and Public Hard. Do not follow the road all the way to the Public Hard as its impassable except with a 4x4. It’s better to park on the verge near the first cottages or turn left into a small estate and yacht club. The biggest problem here is the rocks for 30 or so metres out, then you will find deep, clear ground. The use of a lead lift is recommended.

Fish a two or three hook flapper for a very mixed bag of species including pout, bass, pollack, soles, eels and flounders. There’s always a chance of a good bass, ray or smoothhound to peeler crab baits.

Hythe Marina and Wall

Take Junction 2 from the M27 and head down the to the Fawley/Hythe toad. Turn left off the A326 to Hythe and follow the signs to Hythe Marina.

Parking can be a problem since the Marina closed its park to the public. There is parking on newly reclaimed land nearby. This is one of the best of the few remaining flounder marks from October to January. Fish over the concrete blocks from the wall, if you can. The Marina is very busy in the Summer months, so plan your trip for very early or late evening. Ragworm is the main bait throughout the Southampton Water area, but peeler crab will score, if you can get them!

Tackle Shops:

Poingdestres Angling
1-5 Cannon St
023 80 772958

Home Stores
68 High Road
023 80 1974

The Tackle Shop
10 Bridge Road
023 80 906816

Tightlines Angling
1a Rumbridge St
023 80 863068

Sammys Tackle and Baits
The Cabin Boatyard
023 80 406378

© Adrian Farley 2010

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