As an island, the Isle of Wight is naturally encircled by the sea, teeming with abundant fish. The island’s 64 miles of coastline boasts some of the best fishing opportunities for the visiting angler in the United Kingdom. Almost every species of sea and freshwater fish found in UK waters can be discovered in the Isle of Wight’s rich aquatic habitats.
The Isle of Wight is home to one of the most diverse shorelines in the UK, featuring a wide range of landscapes. From the steep shingle beaches at Blackgang and Freshwater to the sandy shores of Sandown, Shanklin, and Ventnor, the island offers a variety of fishing locations. Anglers can also explore the rocky terrain at Freshwater and Bembridge Ledge or visit the muddy harbors in places like Newtown and Yarmouth.
Best Times Of The Year To Fish
The Isle of Wight is a year-round fishing destination, but February and March are generally considered slower months. During this time, flounders are the most promising catch from the shore, while Blonde Ray and late-season Cod are better targeted from a boat.
As spring and summer approach, the shoreline offers rewarding opportunities for catching Smoothhound, Bass, Rays, and Dogfish. Numerous spots for lure fishing for Bass are easily accessible for visiting anglers. Boat fishing also improves during the spring, with inshore Bream, Bass, and Ray becoming more plentiful.
Excellent fishing spots abound for those venturing out to the Mid-Channel wrecks, with catches such as Pollack, Summer Cod, and Conger. Winter marks the beginning of the Flounder season from the shore, and occasionally, Cod can be caught as well. However, fishing from a boat is the best chance for catching Cod.
Bembridge boats typically report the first Cod catches of the year, but Yarmouth boats often yield larger specimens. Yarmouth is also the site of the annual British Cod Championships in November, hosted by the West Wight Charter Skipper’s Association.
Where To Fish
One of the prime locations for ray fishing on the Isle of Wight is Chale Bay, where anglers can catch thornback, blonde, and small-eyed rays. However, fishing during the day is best, as access requires navigating a steep cliff path. From late March through September, specimen small-eyed rays can be caught using frozen sand eel, particularly after a storm when the sea is murky. Chale Bay is also home to excellent bass fishing, conger, and mackerel in the summer, though pouting and dogfish can be a nuisance.
The Atherfield stretch has seen numerous record fish catches and can be easily accessed via a path alongside Atherfield holiday camp. This shingle beach, dotted with rocks, offers productive night fishing for bass, rays, and pout using mackerel, squid, and cuttle baits. Crab bait is effective for smooth hounds, while ragworm fished over the drying ledge to the far left of this mark can yield large wrasse and bass. Large cod are also present in late autumn.
Brook’s shallow sandy beach is popular for catching bass and smooth hound, and the occasional ray. The very shallow water mark is best fished when the sea is murky. Other species found here include conger, bass, pout, and cod during the autumn and winter months.
Ventnor offers excellent fishing, but surveying the area at low tide is essential to avoid heavy tackle losses. The beach is characterized by rocky ledges and gullies, making a rotten bottom rig the ideal choice. Night fishing can result in catches of bass, conger, pout, and rockling, while daytime fishing is more likely to produce wrasse and mullet.
At Freshwater, easy access and a variety of fish make it an appealing spot. Anglers can catch pouting, bass, small pollack, and a few congers, but it’s crucial to fish from the middle of the beach when rough waters are. Surveying at low tide and fishing after dark can lead to fruitful results.
Pier Fishing on the Isle of Wight
Pier fishing on the Isle of Wight is a popular and enjoyable way for anglers to access deeper waters and target various fish species. There are a couple of piers on the island that offer great fishing opportunities:
Sandown Pier is a popular spot for anglers of all skill levels on the island’s eastern side. The pier extends into the sea, providing access to deeper water and a range of fish species. Here, you can expect bass, mackerel, garfish, and various flatfish, particularly during summer. During the autumn and winter months, anglers can target whiting and occasional cod. The pier has amenities nearby, including a café, making it a comfortable spot for a day of fishing.
Yarmouth Pier offers a more serene and picturesque fishing experience on the island’s western side. This historic pier provides a vantage point for anglers to target various species. Fish caught here include bass, mullet, wrasse, and pouting. Additionally, Yarmouth Harbor, located nearby, is a popular spot for targeting flounder during the winter months.
Boat Fishing from the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight provides an excellent base for boat angling adventures, with numerous charter services that cater to anglers of all skill levels. Here are two well-regarded charter services offering boat angling experiences:
Situated in Bembridge, Cachalot Charters specializes in boat angling trips aboard the ‘Robert Mark,’ a 34-foot Starfish charter boat. The experienced skipper, Chris Solomon, leads the expeditions, and the boat is licensed for up to 12 passengers. The ‘Robert Mark’ is fully equipped for angling and features a toilet and galley. Rods, tackle, and bait are available on board, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced boat anglers. If needed, tuition is provided. To book a trip, visit the kiosk located in Bembridge Marina, just off Embankment Road.
Black Rock Charters and Fishing
Departing from Yarmouth Harbor, Black Rock Charters and Fishing offers boat angling experiences aboard their vessel, ‘Alaminta.’ Boats venturing out with Skipper Rob and crew member Nathan will guide you to one of several fishing locations, targeting various fish species depending on the season. As boats venture further, the charter includes Penn braided multiplier reels, Penn 30+ class rods, terminal tackle, and bait. They offer a range of fishing trips, with a two-hour mackerel trip starting at £30 per adult.
Freshwater Fishing on the Isle of Wight: Rivers and Lakes
The Isle of Wight offers exceptional sea fishing and a variety of freshwater fishing opportunities in its rivers and lakes. Anglers can enjoy the picturesque scenery while targeting different fish species. Float fishing is one of the preferred methods for freshwater anglers. Here are some notable freshwater fishing locations on the Isle of Wight:
The River Yar, located in the eastern part of the island, flows from its source near Niton to Bembridge Harbour. This river is home to various fish species, including brown trout, eels, and grayling. Fishing clubs mainly control the river, so it is essential to obtain the necessary permits before trout fishing.
Flowing through the heart of the Isle of Wight, the River Medina runs from its source at the foot of St Catherine’s Down to Newport and finally to Cowes, where it meets the Solent. This river offers a range of coarse fish species, including roach, dace, chub, and perch. The Newport Angling Club manages some river sections, so secure the appropriate permits and permissions before fishing.
Rookley Country Park
Rookley Country Park, located in the center of the Isle of Wight, offers two well-stocked coarse fishing lakes. These lakes are home to various species, such as carp, tench, roach, rudd, and perch. The park is open for day-ticket fishing, making it an ideal spot for visitors and locals.
Hale Manor Fisheries
Situated near Brighstone, Hale Manor Fisheries features two well-maintained fishing lakes. The lakes contain many species, including carp, tench, bream, and silverfish. This private fishery requires booking in advance, and anglers should follow any rules and regulations set by the fishery.