Beach fishing

Surrounded, as it is, by the sea Hayling offers a wide variety of sea angling possibilities and most species of fish can be contacted at some point in the year. From fly-fishing for bass and light tackle fishing for mullet in the summer to heavy beach gear for cod in the winter most tastes are catered for.

The aim of this guide is to give a run down on the main marks around the island and the fish that can be expected, but there are a multitude of good spots that can be found by the angler who is prepared to do a little prospecting, especially in the summer. The main South-facing beach is particularly good for bass following a good blow from anywhere between SE and SSW when large quantities of Slipper Limpet are washed up on the beach. Early morning and dusk/night is often best and care must be taken during the day in summer because of bathers etc.

Hayling Island Fishing Map

Langstone harbour fishing (1)

Please be aware that the mud of the harbour can be dangerous in some areas and extreme care must be exercised when crossing it. You are generally better off walking down the channels than trying to cross the banks. Much of the Harbour is only fishable at high tide but there are a few spots that can be fished through all or most of the tide. These are mostly at the top of the harbour. Generally speaking the top bait in the harbour is ragworm all year round and peeler in the spring though big bass can be caught on live baits, whole squid and large mackerel baits. In the summer it is well worth fishing the channels on a rising tide with plugs and spinners for bass but please be aware that towards the end of the summer we get quite a few shad in the harbour that will readily take a small lure and are good sport but these are an endangered species and must be returned unharmed.

The Bridge (1a)

There are four fishing platforms (two each side) on the bridge that joins the Island with the mainland there is generally not a lot to be caught at low tide. From half tide up Bass, eels and flounder can be caught and from August to October night fishing can be good for mackerel, Scad and Bass. There are also some large Mullet around the bridge pilings through the summer that can be tempted with bread if you are prepared to ground bait, though a drop net is needed to land them.

The Old Hayling Billy line (1b)

As you come over the bridge onto the island, if you look west you will see a line of concrete blocks which mark the route of the old railway line. Fishing from the point on the Hayling side can give good bass and flounder either side of the blocks.

Oyster beds (1c)

Just to the west of the Hayling Billy line are the Old Oyster beds into which a lot of mullet move as the tide makes. Inside the beds many birds nest on the bunds and islands and this is protected during the breeding season but around the outside of the beds good bassing may be had from low water up, do be careful not to get cut off by the rising

Langstone harbour entrance (2)

The tide run here can be very fast (up to 4 knots on spring tide ebbs) which can make ledgering almost impossible however the current isn’t nearly as strong on a making tide and this is generally the best time to fish it. Nearly all baits/methods work from here as you are generally fishing into deep water. Winter sees mostly pout and whiting with a few flounder and an occasional cod but this is a spot that really comes into it’s own in the summer. Generally mackerel are fairly reliable here from the end of May till Sept from low water up with early morning being a killing time and there are often a good number of scad and garfish mixed in with them. Don’t forget that there are often good bass under the mackerel shoals and a live mackerel fished under a large float can be deadly. Spinning for bass can be good fun all along this beach and although most of the fish caught will be small there is always a sprinkling of larger fish. There are also some rocky outcrops in the run, which can be found if you adopt a mobile approach, and these hold black bream, some of which are surprisingly large. Bottom fishing will also yield flounder and eels and a few wrasse. There is plenty of Parking in the main car park alongside the channel

East Winner bank (3)

This, mostly sand, bank extends up to a mile or so on a spring tide southwards from Gunner Point. Obviously this is a low tide mark with most of the fishing from the western side into the deeper water that extends outwards from Langstone Harbour. Bass can be caught on bottom baits, spinners, plugs and flies, indeed this probably one of the most prolific spots for fly fishing as the mostly gently sloping sand lends itself admirably to wading. A few turbot and brill turn up every year from this bank, mixed in with flounder and plaice. Access is from the car park  mentioned in the previous mark.

Warning  The tide can come in very fast on this bank and the stretch nearest the shore fills before the rest of the bank. Every year people get cut off and although this is not a particularly dangerous bit of coast when the tide is coming in, you can easily end up swimming. Which is not so good if you can’t swim!!!!

West of the Inn on the beach (4)

From the East Winner to the Inn on the Beach is usually unfishable during the day as this area is used by Windsurfers and Kite Surfers the whole year round, so it is best to stay away. At night however it is a different story and this stretch of shallow water can be very productive with plaice and flounder early in the summer, bass after a good blow, and all manner of species in late summer, early Autumn can particularly good with up to 12 species in a 4 hour session and quality sole can be caught at short range in the autumn. Although there is not a lot of depth whiting can be prolific here in the winter with worm/fish cocktail baits being best. There is a car park that runs along the whole of this section

Inn on the beach to the Coastguard Station Fishing (5)

This is a fairly featureless section of shingle beach that leads onto a sandy bottom at around the low water mark. There are however some shallow channels running along the beach which means that it pays to vary your casting range to find out where the fish are feeding. Spring sees flounder and plaice along this stretch during the day with the addition of bass especially at night and after a blow. Summer adds mackerel, garfish and bream with distance casting only rarely necessary. The two most interesting features are both at the Eastern end of this section ,the first being the rainwater outflow pipe which can fish well especially after a downpour and the second is where the groynes first start, which often fishes well when the prevailing SW wind is blowing.

This is a fairly featureless section of shingle beach that leads onto a sandy bottom at around the low water mark. There are however some shallow channels running along the beach which means that it pays to vary your casting range to find out where the fish are feeding. Spring sees flounder and plaice along this stretch during the day with the addition of bass especially at night and after a blow. Summer adds mackerel, garfish and bream with distance casting only rarely necessary. The two most interesting features are both at the Eastern end of this section ,the first being the rainwater outflow pipe which can fish well especially after a downpour and the second is where the groynes first start, which often fishes well when the prevailing SW wind is blowing.

Coastguard Station to Eastoke Point Fishing (6)

This section has groynes for it’s whole length and most of them are numbered in white spray paint on their east facing side. The three main areas along this stretch are Eastoke corner (31-35), Colditz (24-25) and Millers Car park (18-19).  Between these three is the deepest section of the beach and therefore the most popular section for winter cod and whiting. Eastoke corner has a large car park, (with a pub and a chippie across the road). Colditz is the local name for a small bock of apartments which front the beach and fishing can be particularly good in front of them for cod and whiting in winter and plaice in the spring. Access this mark from either Creek road car park or Eastoke corner car park.

West pole bank (7)

This is virtually a mirror of the East Winner bank at the western end of the beach and is probably even more popular for bass fly fishing as the prevailing wind is mostly at your back if you fish into the harbour entrance. Again early morning and late evening will be most productive. Access is as for Chichester Harbour entrance, Warning don’t get cut off by the tide

Chichester harbour entrance (8)

Access involves a walk here as most of the foreshore has been cordoned off by the sailing club but the fishing can be very good here especially in spring and summer with some very big smoothound and bass being caught, there is also a good chance of early summer tope here with low tide/early flood being the easiest to fish. Get there by parking at the end of southwood road, going through the gap between the houses and then and then turning left and walking about 400 metres along the beach until you reach the entrance.

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