Shark hunting in the Solent! (kind of)

VOS went fishing with Black Rock Charters last week…. Here’s an account from onboard:

“Both my wife and I were so thrilled when we had the opportunity to take to sea again on a fishing trip, you see it all follows on from my background of once representing Great Britain in many Sea Angling events all over the World, with a great deal of success. In relation to the GB team Angling, back in 1981, I established the Tri-Service Sea Angling Championships, each year being held in a different venue which included: Ascension Island, RAF Valley Anglesey, Plymouth and Gibraltar to name just a few places which hailed good catches of fish!

“Sadly, since running out of time with my 30 years in the Army, retiring in 1992, my health started to suffer and being able to take to the sea again was quickly only a dream of what had gone before.

Friday 10th June dawns – The Fishing Trip awaits us, with a pleasant drive down to Lymington by our host Pippa! Just a short wait and our “Black Rock” vessel arrived for the afternoon. We headed out of the harbour on the hottest day of the year so far, and hung a left along the coast.

“Skipper ‘Steve’ dropped the hook at the first mark and within minutes we had “FISH ON!” — a Smooth-hound appeared, then “FISH ON” almost simultaneously — another Smooth-hound (sharks to you and me)! In total we caught 3 on the first mark, then Skipper took us back into deeper water as the tide eased back a bit. He set the mark and we began fishing again. The fish started immediately. And they were getting bigger! Before you knew it, Josie hailed “can someone help me, I’ve got a big-un on here”.

“All the veterans were more than willing to give a hand but then Josie took back control in time to land the fish in the net; it was a Whopper, coming in at just on 17lbs, giving her the gladiatorial title of “Champion of the day”.

2.5 fish later (one got away as we landed him in the net… it was mine, and I swear it was truly the biggest of the day!), we stopped for some lunch and later made our way back into harbour. What a day; thanks to VOS and to Black Rock Charters who were excellent.”

(Written by T. Stewart)

Scores on the doors:

  • Army = 2, by MR and 1.5 by TS (the one that got away!)

  • Marines = 1, by SB

  • Civvy = 1, by JS (biggest fish of the day, 17lbs)

  • RAF  = non-attendance (perhaps they had a lunch somewhere?)

  • Royal Navy = none caught. Let’s not talk about it, but accusations of being given a “vegan rod” were thrown around



If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email

VOS is immensely grateful to the Veterans’ Foundation, as without their support and funding we would not be able to provide activities such as this one.

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