During the summer months Hayling Island can be one of the best fishing marks on the south coast both from the beaches and off the boats. This week I was invited on a boat to join my good friend Ian on a Bass fishing trip with a difference. Ian has been a keen angler for many years and has tried every method of fishing you can think of, more recently he has turned his hand to fly fishing in the sea which is a becoming a huge sport within the industry.
We set out from Hayling Island at 2pm not long after low water, the sea conditions were perfect, a light SW breeze around 8-10 knots, the sky was overcast, which is ideal for fly and lure fishing as it reduces the shadow of the boat and the lines. We headed straight out into the the harbour entrance, just past the local mark Sandy Point where we were on the look out for flocks of gulls and Terns feeding off the surface. This is where the shoals of whitebait are driven to the surface by the shoals of Bass chasing them from beneath, this is exactly what we were looking for.
I couldn’t believe how huge this shoal was and how fast it travelled. We positioned the boat south of the feeding frenzy in order for the boat to drift slowly over them and it wasn’t long before we were both into our first Bass of the day. I had a set of 6 mini flasher feathers with size 4 hooks and I also had a sidewinder sandeel bloodhead lure on the bottom hook. Having spent all my working life digging bait and pushing the idea of using worm baits for Bass it was a huge eye opener to see how effective the fly and lure fishing worked.
The feeding frenzy lasted around 10 minutes and soon they were gone. We continued to follow the gulls around the harbour entrance and we also tried a few other marks in the shallow estuaries inside the harbour, we managed to catch several Bass with the biggest just under 4lb.
The technique Ian was using on his fly rod was a real pleasure to watch and a skill to be admired.
He was using a simple 8 weight fly with red and white feathers attached, and was landing one after another, all my fish were caught on the bloodhead lure not the feathers, by the end of the session my lure was battered and was ready for the bin. We had a fantastic afternoon, a very active few hours and for me, as a first time lure and fly experience, definitely one to remember.
Hayling has always been a fantastic Bass spot and conditions over the next few days look ideal for fishing. Windspeeds are light 10-12 knot NW over the weekend with stronger winds expected early into next week. High water falls perfectly in darkness hours this weekend with it being 11.02pm Saturday and 11.45pm Sunday.