You can’t visit an island and not take advantage of the waters that surround it, especially when they are filled with some of the tastiest seafood around, as well as providing hours of relaxation and entertainment for those keen to take a closer look at what lies beneath…
If it’s adventure that you are after, then a fishing trip from one of the Island’s charter companies could be right up your street (or make that stream). Black Rock Charters and Fishing are based out of Yarmouth and offer fishing trips for you, your family, and even the dog! Climb on board their boat Alaminta, for a half day, full day or a speciality mackerel fishing day (available from May to September). The Skipper, Rob, is a qualified chef putting him in an excellent position to advise how best to cook your catch.
Over in Bembridge, Catchalot Charters is run by husband and wife team Chris and Priscilla. Ideal for the experienced right through to the first-timer, head out on their 34ft Starfish charter boat, the “Robert Mark” for short or long deep-sea fishing trips. In addition to the mackerel season during the summer, they also offer cod fishing in the winter months.
If you fancy something a bit more ad-hoc, then grab a rod/line and a crabbing bucket, as there are tonnes of spots to enjoy- in fact pretty much any beach works when it is low tide. Try local favourites such as Newtown Creek, Bembridge Ledge, Freshwater Bay and off the sea wall in Cowes. It’s great old-fashioned seaside fun for all the family- it doesn’t even matter if you throw them back in at the end or don’t catch anything – the thrill is in the chase!
If catching your dinner yourself doesn’t float your boat, then take a trip to one of the well-stocked fishmongers for a taste of the deep. Ventnor Haven Fishery is run by the Blake family who have fished local waters for decades. Renowned for their quality crab and lobster, the haven serves up a whole selection that varies with the seasons. Their love of food is so great that they have even created the ‘Island’s National Dish’. Crab on Chips has cemented itself on the map since first being put on the menu in 2010 when it was enjoyed by the Hairy Bikers on a visit. Order from the haven window and then enjoy whilst sat on the sea wall looking out across the English Channel.
Over in Bembridge, Shooting Star, a 26ft Cygnus Cyclone, is busy catching a variety of fish including bass, bream, plaice and dover sole. Crab and lobster is caught off an area known as Bembridge Ledge, sat very close to shore. Buy the catch from their shops on Bembridge High Street and Cross Street, Ryde, or treat yourself to one of their frozen meals made with local fish, a perfect dinner for a lazy evening. Day boats are restricted by weather and are only able to catch fish in their operating range, thus fishing in a more sustainable way.
Make the most of our seafood restaurants and cafes while you are here – there are plenty to choose from! The Best Dressed Crab in Bembridge is a floating cafe on board the pontoon used by Bembridge’s fishing fleet. Owner Graham has fished all his life, now preferring to cook it instead. The Seaview Hotel has retained its coveted Bib Gourmand award for the second year in a row for providing excellent dining at value for money prices. The focus here is on fish and shellfish and with dishes such as Bembridge crab macaroni or brill fillet served with king prawn risotto and lobster cream, it is easy to see why people keep coming back.
The Beach Shack in Sandown is the perfect lunch stop to break up a day on the beach or a walk along the promenade. They have won awards for their homemade crab-cakes for at least the last five years, as well as offering a tasty range of seafood salads and baguettes.
No seafood pilgrimage is complete without a trip to Steephill Cove. A hidden cove, it is only accessible by foot (or even better- boat) and is a bit of a local haunt with Islanders for all things fishy. Sit down on the sands and try the local crab pasties from The Crab Shed made with crab caught every morning from the waters right in front of your table; visit The Beach Shack for their legendary Thai crab soup; or for that special occasion you must try The Boathouse Restaurant. With only 30 covers (booking is recommended) it’s intimate dining at its best. Sit on the terrace overlooking the sea or book yourself onto the captain’s table, a table in a fisherman’s hut right by the beach – the perfect setting for a seafood platter and fresh crusty bread.
In our opinion there is nowhere better to enjoy fishing and seafood than the Isle of Wight. Explore the coastline, catch a crab and eat some of the freshest seafood around – dive in!