David Hookey of Downton Farm was one of the last Isle of Wight farmers to work both on the land and the sea. David’s speciality was prawn fishing; he grew his own withies, harvested them and then made his own pots during the winter months. The old fishermen kept their boats at Brook Point, not where the slip road is now; this is before the land slip. Dave kept his boat at home in the farmyard and would bring it down to the beach with his small tractor. He would then drive to Brook Point before he would launch his boat so he was fishing the same ground as the old men.

l am not sure but l believe that his old boat belonged to his father. It was clinker built (wood) in Ventnor and was about 16 feet long, Dave never sat down to row but stood facing the bow and pushed the oars. ln the autumn months we would take his boat and fish with a large net at Compton beach the same as the Chale Bay fishermen used to catch mackerel years ago.

When Dave was not fishing he loved to be under the water. He was a very good diver and loved to explore the seabed looking for anything of interest. He helped me out several times when l had a lobster pot stuck under a rock and could not get it up.


Chris Braund with lobsters caught at Brook in 1976.