Simon Homes compares fishing off Brook in 2009, with earlier years:

Fishing at Brook today is much as it always has been. Even with lighter boats and modern equipment, the rough sea and huge Atlantic swells still limit the days you are able to launch safely. Over the last four years spring and summer conditions have been dictated by a busy Atlantic which keeps throwing areas of low pressure in our direction. If a swell arrives you can normally guarantee the arrival of wind and rain in a couple of days.

A day’s fishing for bass and mackerel can be very exciting. Brook, Freshwater, Compton, Sudmore, Dutchman’s, Atherfield and Blackgang still attract huge shoals of mackerel and bass which usually arrive in May or when the blossom starts to fall. A good sign is when you see birds including gulls, gannets and guillemots following the shoals and feeding on the smaller fish (sand eels/whitebait). A friend of mine even saw puffins early one morning. Other fish that provide great sport include ray, wrass, pout, cod, tope, brill, turbot and plaice. The past few seasons have seen the arrival of warm water species such as squid and sunfish. You may even spot a porpoise or dolphin. Sunrise and sunset on a calm day are usually when fish come to the surface. This can look like a ‘feeding frenzy’ with the sea bubbling and fish jumping all around you. Twice, whilst fishing in the summer I have noticed such a feeding frenzy come to a sudden halt and the oily, eerie sea turn lifeless. Then a thresher shark has surfaced after feeding on the mackerel and bass!

Nowadays boats are often made of aluminium which makes launching easier and nets and pots are made of modern synthetic materials. Many boats use rod and line fishing, which is described as ‘sport fishing’ and often release the fish back into the sea to aid fish stocks. Electronic aids can now provide data on where fish could be found and, while it may sound easier, catching fish still requires a great deal of skill and knowledge.

PIC WITH CAPTION BELOW

Simon Homes with his boat and a catch outside Hole
Cottage, Mottistone