River Hamble

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River Hamble Empty River Hamble

Post  KFF on Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:07 pm

As Yakdiver says, the best option for access and parking is Lower Swanick Shore road, right next to Moody's yard in Bursledon. The parking is free, there are always places available (at least I've never seen it full up) and it offers access to the water at all stages of the tide.

From this launch point you have the dual options of two satisfyingly long paddles in relatively benign conditions, even if the wind gets up it never seems to create much of a sea. You can head upstream to Botley at high tide and the surroundings become very rural once the main marinas and M27 bridge are left behind after only a ten minute paddle. The river becomes very tranquil with dense trees on either side and is full of wildlife. There are also some monster mullet cruising about if you are good enough to catch them!

The other alternative is the long paddle out to the river mouth and Southampton Water where you have the option of keeping to the deep water of the main boating channel which usually has a pretty constant flow of yachts and motor crusiers departing from and returning to the various big marinas dotted all along the river. The alternative is to keep to the shallow margins which is obviously one of the huge benefits of the yak and you will be constantly aware of big boils on the surface as you disturb browsing mullet; some of these fish are very big!

If you have read my occasional catch reports reports you will see that I have over the last year caught bass (mostly small), black bream, small smoothounds, wrasse and the odd decent flounder. I generally use ledger tactics although I have caught very small bass on a sinking fly and the other day had a session with a small Mepps spinner with the treble removed and replaced by a short length of mono and a small hook baited with short lengths of ragworm. I was hoping that this well proven tactic for mullet would have connected me with one of those grazing torpedos but almost every cast seemed to result in the tiniest of bass so it's back to the drawing board on that one.

I never use the anchor on the Hamble as there is simply no need given the sheer volume of pontoons, buoys and marker posts to tie off to. From my experience the Hamble is not a big fish water (mullet excepted) but it does provide almost guaranteed action from schoolies and also the chance, in season, of the other species I have mentioned. There are definitely sizeable bass there but my best is no more than two and half pounds.

One of my favourite ways of fishing is to nudge gently into the numerous little creeks and inlets that are formed only towards high water. This guarantees isolation from all the boating hubbub of the main channel and is a wonderfully relaxing way of spending a couple of hours. There is no need to worry about anchoring or mooring, simply allow the prevailing breeze to edge you gently into the grassy banks and then fish the calm shallow waters with spinner, fly or on the bottom; big mullet are ever present plus hordes of schoolies. The really magic ingredient though is that the shallows and wetland margins are stuffed with birds which don't seem to get spooked by yaks too easily, thus affording some really close-up views. There are, to name but a few,oystercatchers,curlews, swans, herons, shellduck and all manner of waders on show. Buzzards and kestrels are also a common sight as they soar or hover on the look-out for prey or carrion: pure magic!

My next plan is to troll the Hamble entrance with plug, spinner or redgill to see if I can tempt one of the many decent bass which run through on the flood. Obviously you need to keep a wary eye out due to the volume of leisure craft which get concentrated into the relatively narrow channel so I prefer to keep my paddle across my knees so that I can quickly get the bow pointed directly into any significant wash thrown up by the occasional inconsiderate gin palace 'skipper' (I use the term loosely!). On a calm day it would also be a realistic prospect to head across to the Calshot side which is not a particularly long paddle but consideration would obviously need to be given to the occasional very large ocean going craft, plus the regular IOW ferry and Fast Cat traffic.

Tides are pretty much in line with nearby Solent marks such as Hillhead and Lee and bait is available at Sammy's Tackle which is fairly close to the launch point.

Give me a shout if I can be of further help, hope this rambling contribution has opened up some possibilities for you.

DaveB (AnglersAfloat.com)

Posts : 70
Join date : 2008-11-04
Age : 72
Location : Southampton UK


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