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Ahoy Shipmates! Aaron Baker here, I’ve lived on the Isle of Wight most of my life and fished for as long as I can remember.
Where the passion started
My love for fishing started when my father took my brother and I out on the south side of the Island to show us how’s it’s done well.
And those first trips always seemed to be big waves and no fish until we moved to Yarmouth pier. On the pier it was much, much easier for a young novice fisherman to catch fish with a lot less tackle and a lot less hassle.
The first catch
My passion really kicked in for fishing and understanding the sea from this point onwards. The incredible feeling when a bass decides to take your bait and run with it. Like the excitement of Christmas morning wondering what surprises are hiding under the Christmas tree.
Thoughts would run through my mind; ‘What has taken my bait and how big is it?’ Then the needle point focused concentration keeping the rod tip high and tension on the line. The moment seeing that beautiful silver bar rise to the surface of a 4 lb bass. That feeling will stay with me forever, absolutely unreal.
And it didn’t end there, the same evening my father (a highly trained chef) cooked it up for dinner. Spoiled with the fresh flavour’s of bass, buttered rock samphire and Isle of Wight new potatoes. Simple but insanely tasty and yet another amazing memory that has stayed with me 30 years on.
Summer’s at sea
That same summer my father bought Stargazer a 21ft Sunray sailing boat. He would pile Mum, my brother, myself and two jack Russel’s on board where we would regularly go sailing in the Solent and where we learned how to sail and catch mackerel on feathers.
Catching fish on feathers seemed like a very odd way to catch mackerel for my young mind to comprehend. But it worked so well and it seemed so easy. One or two on the line, then hitting a mackerel shoal and watching in amazement the frenzy of fish going for the feathers. Pulling up six mackerel at a time created a huge adrenaline rush and another great new experience in my young fishing career.
Then again, Captain Baker would cook them up on board that night and we would enjoy another fresh banquet from the Solent.
There’s nothing better than fresh fish cooked the same day, no need to add much to enhance the natural flavours, just a subtle hint of butter and seasoning. The freshness is all the flavour you need. Just magical memories created forever.
Fishing with friends and family
I’m no expert fisherman but I know the basics. I love to fish although I’m really a fisherman that likes to catch his dinner more than sport fishing. If it’s not the right fish or right size it goes back in the sea with care.
Weather permitting, I try to get out with my best friend Ben (since school!) at least once a week. We are both real foodies and love to experiment with fish dishes and our catch. He’s really a much better/luckier fisherman than me and fishing with a friend makes it a much more fun experience.
As it’s not called catching, it’s defo called fishing for a reason! It’s not as easy as you might first think. Fair weather fishing is good fun but when you’re fishing all year round there are a lot of variables in play; wind speed and direction, tides, moon phases, what set up and tackle to use, baits and time of year are just some of the things to consider when fishing.
Whether you’re a novice or experienced fisherman we’ll have something for you on the Shipmates YouTube channel. Whether you’re looking to glean some expert local knowledge with hints and tips on what equipment to use and at what time of year you can catch what species in the Solent. Or looking for some advice on how to cook your fresh catch with local recipes by local chefs and other talented culinary friends we’ll have it covered. Currently we’re concentrating on the Solent and around the island for all your fishing needs.
I’ve always felt fishing is a great way to have fun outdoors while connecting with nature. With the added bonus of being able to feed my family with the fruits of the sea creating a good wholesome feeling.
I’ll always be thankful to my dad who introduced me to fishing and setting my taste buds alight with the natural flavours of the sea. Something my own son and partner are getting to love just as much as me.