New Forest

The New Forest is one of the most famous National Parks in the UK. An area of incredible historical significance this may not be a place that immediately springs to mind when you think of shore fishing. With large towns such as Beaulieu and Lymington situated on the shores of the New Forest the area does have some great locations. The area of interest for this page runs from Hurst Castle round to Calshot, close to Southampton.

 

Lymington Harbour

Lymington is one of the largest towns in the New Forrest. The Isle of Wight ferry regularly leaves from here and the harbour also houses a large array of sailing and fishing boats. This is a typical harbour/estuary fishing habitat with the expected species caught here such as bass and mullet. Be prepared to move around this location as there are many different swims in the area. If mullet fishing is your thing this is a great little spot that is not to heavily fished.

Summer Species: Mullet, bass, eels and flounders

Winter Species: Mullet and flounders

Bait: Ragworms, maggots, red worms bread, spinners and lures

Tactics: For the mullet make sure to get the mullet’s confidence up and get them feeding by pre baiting the area you are going to fish with ground bait. Try free lined bread or a waggler style float set up with maggots or worms on the hook bait. Light line is essential and use size 6 or smaller hooks. For the bass try lures where the water is deep enough or ledgered ragworms or maddies pick up schoolies and flounders.

Getting there: From Southampton head west towards the M27, before getting there you will see Lyndhurst signposted take this exit and follow signs. At Lyndhurst you will pick up Lymington signs follow these and park on the high street with a short walk to the harbour and river side.

Local Tackle Shops: Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 

Pennington Sea Wall

Pennington Sea wall is situated just to the west of Lymington as is a popular fishing spot. The area requires a shortish walk to get to but can produce good fish all year round. A favoured spot for bass and flatties with Gilthead Bream caught during the latter summer months. This area offers something different to the more popular Hurst shingle bank with conditions often more suited to shore fishing here. Give the area a go during the winter months for the chance of codling, whiting  and good sized flounders all taken on flapper style rigs.

Summer Species: Bass, gilthead bream, mullet, flounder and dogfish

Winter Species: Codling, flounders and whiting

Bait: Ragworms, lures, mackerel, peeler crabs and squid

Tactics: With summer fishing generally considered the best time at Pennington you are probably best targeting the bass. There are a lot of schoolies caught here which can be great fun on light gear. For the bigger fish, fish a flood tide at night with large baits such as mackerel, squid or peelers. You will also pick up bream and the occasional smoothhound during the summer employing similar tactics. During the winter fish with small 1 or 2 fine wire hooks with worm baits to catch the flounders with the better fish falling to peeler crabs a lot of the time. Be warned that during the summer crabs can be a real problem stealing your bait, floating beads can get you around this problem however.

Getting there: Follow Lower Pennington Lane south out from Pennington until you reach a cull de sack. Park wherever you are able and walk south on the footpath down to the wall. There are many spots along the wall and beach to try.

Local Tackle Shops:  Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 

Bucklers Hard

Bucklers Hard is situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River. The area is famed for producing large vessels in the 18th century. There is now a maritime museum situated in Bucklers Hard as well as the original houses from the period. The fishing here is fairly uncommon despite the large numbers of good sized mullet weighing between 3 and 5lbs. Be sure to check whether a rod licence is needed on the stretch before fishing here.

Summer Species: Mullet, bass, eels and flounders

Winter Species: Flounders and eels

Bait: Bread, maggots, ragworms, spinners and lures

Tactics:  For the mullet make sure to get the mullet’s confidence up and get them feeding by pre baiting the area you are going to fish with ground bait. Try free lined bread or a waggler style float set up with maggots or worms on the hook bait. Light line is essential and use size 6 or smaller hooks. For the bass try lures where the water is deep enough or ledgered ragworms or maddies pick up schoolies and flounders.

Getting there: From Beaulieu take lodge lane until you reach a tee junction. Turn left then follow this track all the way down to Bucklers Hard looking for signs as you go. Parking is available and it is not hard to find it for free.

Local Tackle Shops: Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 

Beaulieu

Beaulieu is probably most noted for its incredible classic car museum that is situated close to the village centre. Less well known perhaps is the outstanding fishing along the tidal river here, with large numbers of mullet, flounders and bass being caught here each year. Hidden away in the New Forrest this is a beautiful location close to some great walks and cycle paths. A nice day out in the summer for all the family and an excuse to wet a line.

Summer Species: Mullet, bass, flounders and eels

Winter Species: Flounders and eels

Bait: Bread, maggots, red worms, ragworms and spinners

Tactics: For the mullet make sure to get the mullet’s confidence up and get them feeding by pre baiting the area you are going to fish with ground bait. Try free lined bread or a waggler style float set up with maggots or worms on the hook bait. Light line is essential and use size 6 or smaller hooks. For the bass try lures where the water is deep enough or ledgered ragworms or maddies pick up schoolies and flounders.

Getting there: Follow the signposts along the b3056 to Beaulieu, I like to fish a little way down Dock lane where there is a large bend in the river. Parking is free and easy to find with a short walk to the river.

Local Tackle Shops: Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 

Calshot

Calshot is well known for its castle and outdoor activity centre, but for locals it is also known for its fishing. Although the area can be slow during some of the colder months, the opposite is true during the summer. Be careful to obtain the correct information here, as Calshot fishing club own some of the water close to the activity centre and membership to fish there is required. The stretch of the beach that is not under control however produces some fantastic fishing on its day.

Summer Species: Bass, rays, smoothhounds, dogfish, pouting, flatties, sole, mackerel and garfish

Winter Species: Whiting, codling, poor cod and rockling

Bait: Squid, lugworms, ragworms, mackerel and sandeels

Tactics: Classic beach fishing tactics are the order of the day. One-up one-down rigs work well with size 1 hooks or pulley Pennell rigs for the smoothhounds. For the smaller fish try 2 or 3 hook rigs with size 2 hooks, on either a loop or flapper rig. The mackerel can be caught spinning or float fishing as can the garfish during the height of summer.

Getting there: Take the A326 out of Fawley before taking the B3053 following signs for Calshot. There is a large area to park and you then have the option of a long walk along the spit or to fish close to the car.

Local Tackle Shops: Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 

Lepe

Lepe sits on the eastern half of the New Forrest and is well known for its country park. The fishing here is done from a promenade built as a sea defence in an attempt to protect the sandstone cliffs here from erosion. The area can get a good whacking from the weather so do plan your trip accordingly.

Summer Species: Bass, rays, dogfish, mackerel, smoothhounds, bream, sole and pouting

Winter Species: Whiting, pouting, dogfish, codling and poor cod

Bait: Bluey, ragworms, sandeels, peeler crabs and mackerel

Tactics: Fish from the concrete promenade during high water and move around accordingly at different times. The idea here is to have a plan what you want to catch and stick to it. 2 or 3 hook rigs with size 2’s or 4’s will catch the majority of fish here using fish and worm baits. Pennell rigs should be used when going after the rays and hounds with a long cast definitely advantageous. Make sure to use a grip lead as the tide can run fairly fast here, and as the ground is mainly clean you will struggle to lose any gear.

Getting there: Take Hampton Lane out of Fawley heading south before it becomes Lepe Road. Follow the road all the way down to the sea front ignoring signs for the country park. Parking is available close to the shore with a short walk to the fishing.

Local Tackle Shops: Lymington Fishing Tackle, 27 Saint Thomas Street, SO41 9NE, tel: 01590 689203

 


 

 

 

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