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Hi everyone! New to spearfishing and not having a lot of luck so far! Portsmouth - UK

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 14, 2020
I have recently purchased everything I need to safely spearfish and have access to plenty of water living in Portsmouth, South coast UK!
So far I have been in the sea with my kit twice.
On the first try I arrived just as the tide was reaching its highest point however as soon as I lifted my feet I was dragged majorly by current! This was off of Hayling Island's most SE point.
Last week after watching a great video of 'Bognor reef' I went to Bognor pier, Sussex. It was approximately 30 mins after high tide and I entered the sea on the west side of the Pier, going as far out as the very end of the pier. I could not see my hand in front of my face with dreadful visibility!!

I have seen the videos of Daniel Mann diving at Brighton Pier and again a video of someone diving in Bognor, seeing big bass from several metres away so I know its possible. I clearly just don't know where or when is the best time to dive...

If anyone can offer any advice I would really appreciate it. I would hate to spend so much money on kit for a hobby that I know I will love, only to get quickly fed up of dragging all my kit along for a 20 minute frustrating soak in the sea.

Welcome Joe. Where to begin! Probably best to stick to sheltered bays to begin with. Although bays are still subject to tidal flows and sometimes rip currents, so have a care. Also beware the Bristol Channel, second largest tidal range in the world.

Yes visibility in the UK is often poor or awful. Occasionally you can dive beneath it or swim beyond it but usually not. Visibility tends to improve the further west you go but it's no guarantee. Think Devon, Cornwall, Pembroke, Channel Islands.

Rain washes gunk down rivers and drains and strong winds blowing over the sea towards shore can spoil visibility for several days. In spring there can also be a green or milky bloom in the water. Algae or krill perhaps?
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Please continue to post your experiences to the forum Joe. We've had very few posts from Portsmouth area over the years and I for one will be most interested. One forum member used to have access to restricted areas near Gosport and regularly speared good size bass.

I tried diving near Portsmouth, might have been near Gosport, I forget. But the water that day was very shallow and opaque :( Also, the locals were quite inquisitive, as there were defence related sites nearby. :(
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Dorset can be good but it can be awful too, so I hesitate to recommend it.
Some of the spearos on the forum are also experienced anglers. One tip I recall is to dive bays around high tide (especially the period immediately before high tide) and headlands around low tide - be careful around headlands though, they are exposed and can be treacherous.

Another advanced trick is to time your dive so that you can drift with the tidal flow. It's an awful and tiring feeling when do the opposite and fight the current on the way out and then have to fight it again on the way in!

Enough to be getting on with?
When conditions are good, be prepared to make the most of them. I usually go out for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, sometimes 3 or 4 hours. But for a few days in Cornwall a couple of years ago, conditions were near perfect and I was fortunate to be able to stay out for 5 hours, twice. It was brilliant.

That said, my family insisted we stop and that I dive one evening on the way home for dinner in Devon. Conditions were the best we'd ever seen there, like a millpond. In 1 hour I had 3 big mullet and had missed two others! I left the water after 1.5 hours, not wanting to abuse my family's kindness hardly able to believe what I'd seen and experienced :)

And... :D
Hi Joe, sorry to hear about the bad start. Yes, current can be really bad, especially in the Solent, loads of tidal flow. And viz can also be really rubbish. Sometimes both at the same time. Get to know how the tide flows in your area (usually changes direction one to two hours before high and low tides, around that time current is weakest. Also check when neaps and springs are - much weaker flow around neaps). Tide will also impact visibility. As will weather - it can take several days of calm after a big blow to clear up. I've only fished the Isle of Wight side of the Solent a few times - terrifying current so I kept very close to the shore (as in 10m from the shore...) but still managed some nice bass and mullet. Re other spots to fish - go back through forum threads from previous years - for sussex, dorset (don't know if there was one for hampshire) - loads of good info there on locations, conditions, technique, etc. Keep trying but I'm afraid that the crap viz/ lots of current combo is always going to be a problem and you'll still have sessions that are a write off, but hopefully fewer over time.
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Go to the UK section on this forum & do another introduction. I’m sure there are still members of the British Spearfishing Association monitoring this group even if they aren’t posting & maybe they will message you some helpful info.
Stay safe & carry on.
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