Hurst Spit or ‘Shingle Bank’ is a local hotspot with the location producing a huge array of species so, regardless of your preference, this is’ the’ beach. Bass, Cod, Black Bream, Rays, Dogfish, Pout, Whiting, Plaice, Sole, Flounder, Mullet, Wrasse, Smoothounds, Turbot, Scad, Mackerel, Pollock, Congers, Triggerfish, Garfish and Gurnard (I think I’ve listed them all but let us know if you catch any other species) are all caught from Hurst year after year. Yes it will mostly depend upon season but the beauty of fishing is that you never really know.
Hurst has increasingly become known for its Black Bream fishing, mostly caught between April/May and September. These hard fighting fish provide some great sport and can really challenge you at times. Small hooks with Squid tipped Ragworm on a paternoster is a very successful approach. If you use floating beads, this can often produce better catch rates as Bream will feed in the mid water column as well as on the sea bed.
Late Spring, early summer should see a run of powerful Smoothounds. Often fished with crab and big Ragworm on a pulley or a 1 hook flapper rig using reasonable size hooks such as 3/0.
Hurst was famed for its winter Cod fishing through the late 70’s into the early 80’s and although Cod catches are not what they once were, more and more Cod are now being caught in the winter. Prime bait choices would have to be Squid and Lugworm. Of course, many have been caught on other baits but we would recommend the above if Cod is your main target.
As you may or may not be aware Hurst can present a couple of challenges. Firstly, the weed which can cause a headache in the summer months. We’ve worked on the rule that if you can keep bait in the water for 20 minutes then it is fishable. Secondly, and the most important thing to be aware of, is the tide. Hurst Spit is at the western entrance of the Solent and on a rising (flood) tide is virtually impossible to fish unless you make the trek to the end and fish the back bar so you’re facing into the Solent. On a falling (Ebb) tide it is the opposite, you’ll need to fish along the spit.