You may or may not be aware, that Portsmouth is in fact an island! The island is separated from the mainland to the north by a narrow creek. This creek has three bridges that cross it thus allowing access to the city. Looking south from the mainland, on the right side of the island is the main shipping area covering the Royal Navy dockyards, ferries and commercial shipping. Also this is the area of the main city centre stretching to the centre of the island and south of this is Southsea. The left hand side of the island is Eastney. This area has beaches and inlet between Hayling Island and itself. This being famous for the Royal Navy, there is a lot of maritime activities on and around the water here including fishing. Portsmouth is the second most densely populated area outside of London, and I don’t mean the people are dense either. But as they say, ever village has one.

Mixed Weather

The day in question that I went fishing was a mixed bag as far as the weather was concerned. The morning was ninja rain, drizzle. Then the sun broke through and was very pleasant. Wind was 7mph westerly and 11 degrees.

I set up camp at Eastney outflow. The outflow was once used for sewage but no longer thankfully. The outflow is located behind Fort Cumberland to the south east of the island. The link here is for a Google map image. As you can see, there is a car park about 11 O’clock to the pier. The pier is the one that is white on the map with Cumberland Fort to the left. Access to the car park is from Ferry Road. This is the post code for Sat Nav users PO4 9LY. The post code will take you to Eastney Cruising Association, just turn right down a road that has hedges on either side, and that will take you to the nearest car park to the pier.

view from the Cruising association, past the car park towards the outflow.

I arrived at 10:30 that morning for a 13:14 high with a height of 4.90m. and by all accounts, this is quite a high tide for this area. I set up my two beach casters with 2/0 Pennel pulleys and 170g (6oz) breakaways. The breakaways were set to max strength as the current rips through at a good clip here. The tide has to fill the gap between Hayling Island and the Portsmouth Island and that is a lot of water. I was using rag and squid purchased locally and was very surprised to find 1lb of rag was only £10. Around my area, £16 is the norm. Please take note tackle shops of Bristol! Also, terminal tackle is around 15-25% cheaper here. I stocked up on a few bits, as you do.

I cast out one rod some distance and one in close. I had researched before coming and found Bass are around at the moment and wanted to target them. I fished to the right of the pier around two concrete encasements. I managed to get the weights dug in to the sand at first, but as the current increased they kept getting pulled out by the seaweed. Kelp and this brown stringy stuff was what was being caught for the first couple of hours. I took my camping chair in hope of having a nice relaxing session. That was not to be as the seaweed controlled the theme for the run up to high water.

Pier is on the left and the two concrete encasements infront. The up tide flows right to left across the picture.

I met a fellow worm drowner from Oxford whilst I was at this mark. He was retrieving his line that had been swept in to my area. He seemed to be having trouble reeling in. So I reeled in mine in hope that it might catch his line and pull it in. Not to be, So I re-batied and then went to help him out.He said that he seems to be caught up on the encasements and could not reel in. Offering assistance, I took the rod from him and began to reel in. Nothing was happening. Sure the handle was turning and the bail arm was spinning, but nothing else. No line was being pulled in and the line kept slipping to the wrong end of the bail arm.I looked at the reel, I knew something was wrong, but could not place it. So I placed his reel next to mine to compare.
The penny dropped. Graham as he was called, had wound his line on the wrong way around his spool. He said he did it by hand and that it all made sense. I fitted his spare spool on the reel and wound the rest of his spare line on. I also leant him two weights as he only had 110g and they were way too light. I wish I had brought 200g +. I made him another rig as the original was stuck on the encasements. He had only been fishing a couple of times and started last year. He was gratefull for my help and I continued to give him some tips etc whilst we fished. I only hope that Graham was not put of fishing by the events of the morning?

It happened again, as Graham departed for home, he gave me his bait that he had left over. So with a mackerel, 5 sand eels and a packet of squid. I decided to move marks having had no success at the outflow pier. I moved ¾ mile to the west and on to the beach along the sea front. There seemed to be something I missed. There were about a dozen others fishing along this stretch and looked like they were in for the duration.

Looking east towards the outflow pier, from the new mark. Notice the sea gull in the centre of the picture swooping down to try and steal my bait.

Looking west towards the Portsmouth, from the new mark.

I set up again and baited with mackerel on one and sand eel on the other still using a 2/0m pennel pulley’s. The pull on the tide was west to east on the down tide at this mark but only about 1- 2 knots. The beach here is pebble an sand. Pebbles are predominant at the head of the beach and then mixing with sand as you get to the water. There is plenty of space in this area so you could practice your pendulum casting should you wish. Dog walkers are popular so becarefull of your bait or worse still your baited hook does not end up being an expensive vets bill that the dog owner will probably say is your responsibility! It has happened to a fishing buddy of mine only a couple of weeks ago. He was lucky as the dog owner was not keen to push the matter as the tip of my buddies rod snapped during the canine feeding frenzy.

As the tide recedes at this mark, the beach slopes down gently and levels out. There are weed beds about 40yds out, the weed is fine brown weed and does not cause too many problems. I baited up frequently and used the variety that I now had. The sun was setting over the yard arm of HMS Victory sat not a mile away when I decided enough is enough and reeled in. At least I did not blank.

He was not caught up in the elastic cotton, but just hanging on as though it was the first meal this week. Not even a peeler, not that that would have made any difference.

With time ticking away and a promise of Domino’s pizza at home and a nice bottle of red (other pizza establishments are available), I decided to head for home. All in all, the day was without fish but as usual a friendly fellow fisherperson to talk to. Asked if I would leave my usual stomping grounds to visit part of the world again, I would have to say yes. The fish may have escaped me but the southern hospitality had not.

Till next time, keep hoping!

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