South West England

Babbacombe Pier
Babbacombe Pier © David Hawgood

Babbacombe Pier – Good mark for a range of species. Float fishing or spinning can produce mackerel and garfish, plus there is the chance of a pollock too. Mackerel strip on a size 1 or 1/0 seems to be the best method for float fishing, with baits set just below the surface for garfish and deeper for mackerel. Bait fishing can provide dogfish, pouting, plenty of whiting and potentially school bass in the summer. Because the pier is quite compact there can be issues with anglers getting in the way of each other and the pier can get very busy in the summer months. High tide is generally seen as the best time to fish this mark. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hope's Nose
Hope’s Nose © Derek Harper

Hopes Nose – A very popular mark that allows short casting into deep water. Towards the right of the mark there is deeper water over rockier ground, while to the left the ground is mixed with fewer snags. In summer mackerel can be caught here on feathers, daylights and spinners, they will also go for float fished baits, as will pollock and garfish. Rockier areas will also produce wrasse, and potentially conger eels to large mackerel, herring or squid baits. Red mullet and black bream are other summer species caught here. Dogfish and pouting can be caught all year round, and whiting and cod come in during the winter. Try casting 4/0 hooks on a pulley rig baited with a big lugworm, squid or mussel bait into the rockier areas for a big cod. It is a long trek down to this mark so bear this in mind before setting off and anglers should be careful of rising water levels if fishing here as the tide comes in. This mark can be busy with anglers when fish are in and the local council has brought in restrictions on how many mackerel can be retained and other activities such as lighting fires and barbecues. View this area on Google Maps here.

Princess Pier, Torquay
Princess Pier, Torquay © Jonathan Billinger

Princess Pier, Torquay – Princess Pier is a popular and easily accessible fishing mark. Many anglers coming to this mark in the summer are holiday anglers and the pier can get packed with people on a summer’s night. Spinners, feathers and daylights will catch mackerel and potentially garfish and pollock. Float fishing is also extremely popular here with all of these species also being caught by this method, and wrasse taken as well. Dogfish, pouting and bass may take bottom fished baits such as ragworm, lugworm, mussel, mackerel strip and squid, and the seabed is mostly snag-free. One of the main complaints is that the pier can get too congested and too full of anglers who end up getting in the way of each other. There are also restrictions on casting into the harbour. This is strictly banned and all casting must be done into the seaward side. View this area on Google Maps here.

Brixham Breakwater
Brixham Breakwater © Tom Jolliffe

Brixham Breakwater – A very popular angling venue that can produce a wide range of species. Many anglers head towards the end of the breakwater which does indeed produce great fishing but decent catches are also made closer in. Summer float fishing a mackerel strip will produce the usual species of mackerel, garfish and pollock, with these species also going for spinners or lures. Black bream can also be caught here, as can mullet in the summer months. This area is quite rocky and can be snaggy but this means that wrasse are present here and conger can be caught close in. Small strap conger often take a mackerel strip meant for other species but there is a chance of catching a much bigger specimen by using size 6/0 hooks and a large herring, mackerel, squid or cuttlefish bait. Dogfish are a constant catch all year round, and winter sees the codling, flounder and whiting coming in. View this area on Google Maps here.

Berry Head
Berry Head, Brixham © David Stowell

Berry Head, Brixham – The rock marks and ledges around Berry Head offer good summer fishing for a range of species, although most can be dangerous in bad weather and walking a long distance may be necessary to reach some fishing marks. The Breakwater and Platform produce summer mackerel and garfish with wrasse and pollock present as well, along with black bream. Spinners and lures will catch the predatory summer species here, while float fishing sandeel, ragworm or mackerel strip will also produce wrasse, garfish and pollock. Presenting a large mackerel bait on the seabed can catch conger, while other baits such as ragworm and lugworm, mackerel strip and peeler crab can catch dogfish or bull huss, with cod showing as well. Many marks around here have deep water very close in, although the tide can be very strong indeed. The seabed can also be very snaggy for anglers fishing baits on the bottom. The UK record shore caught mackerel of 5lb 11oz was caught from nearby Berry Head Quarry in 1982. View this area on Google Maps here.

Memorial Tank at Slapton Sands
Memorial Tank at Slapton Sands © Jim/Oxyman

Start Bay – Start Bay is made up of a number of different bays and beaches and includes some rockier marks. Pollock and wrasse will be caught around the rocks, and there are always plenty of dogfish here. Pouting also show in numbers at times and there is always the chance of a big summer smooth-hound to a peeler or hardback crab bait. The flat sandy beaches can produce plaice in the spring and summer as well as flounder in the winter. The beaches around the Slapton area can produce all of these species, with the mark known locally as ‘the Tank’ (as it is near a memorial Second World War Sherman tank) being particularly good and Start Point at the southern limit of the bay is another great mark. Big winter cod and plenty of whiting are found throughout the bay in the winter months and it can be worthwhile using a pennell rig with 4/0 – 6/0 hooks and large baits to target a big fish. View this area on Google Maps here.

Salcombe Estuary
Salcombe Estuary © John Stumbles

Salcombe – The Salcombe Estuary provides a range of species. The mouth of the estuary has sandy areas which can produce flatfish such as plaice, Dover sole and flounder, as well as thornback rays and bass. Keep hooks small (size 1) and use ragworm, lugworm and peeler crab to target the flatfish, while upping the tackle and hook size to 2/0 – 4/0 with sandeel, mackerel or peeler crab baits to go for big bass and rays. The rockier areas can potentially produce wrasse and some pollock to float fished baits, while the pollock will also go for spinners and lures. Mackerel can be caught from many marks using daylights, feathers, spinners and float fished baits. Further up the river plenty of flounder can be caught, as well as school bass and mullet in calm conditions. Black bream can also be caught from some marks around the mouth of the estuary and there are reports that gilt-head bream can also show from this area. View this area on Google Maps here.

Tregantle Fort
Tregantle Fort © Tony Atkin

Plymouth and Whitsand Bay – Mount Batten Pier (Breakwater) can produce mackerel, garfish and pollock to float fished baits in the summer, and they will also be caught on lures. Bottom fished baits will receive interest from dogfish, pouting and gurnard (which can also take feathers or daylights) and there are wrasse present around this area as well which will take float fished ragworm or mackerel strip. There are plenty of fishing marks around Plymouth Hoe with mackerel, garfish and pollock also caught here on float fished baits and spinners, while ragworm, lugworm, peeler crab and squid baits fished on the seabed will catch school bass, various flatfish species and dogfish. However, this area can be busy with passers-by as well. Bass, flounder and some cod and whiting can also be caught from marks up the River Tamar on bottom fished baits, and sea trout also a possibility to spinners as well (although a licence is needed to take these). Nearby Whitsand Bay is a great bass fishing mark, especially when some sea is running and dogfish, plaice, pouting and whiting can all be caught as well. The area around and in front of Tregantle Fort is said to be the best for large bass. View this area on Google Maps here.

River Looe
River Looe © Roger Geach

Talland Bay and Polperro – Rocky marks around Talland Bay offer good spinning opportunities for bass, with mackerel and pollock also caught here. Live baiting or bottom fishing with sandeel baits could produce big bass, wrasse, dogfish and rockling may also be caught here. Banjo Pier in Polperro produces similar species to float fished and bottom fished baits in the summer, although recent years have seen fishing restricted on the pier over the summer months. Mullet can also be caught in the harbour and further up the River Looe. Whiting, flounder and decent sized cod can be caught here in the winter, and it can be worth stepping up hook and bait sizes to seek out a big cod. Failing that the whiting and flounders can be caught on size 1/0 hooks and ragworm, lugworm or mackerel baits. High tide is the best time to fish this mark. View this area on Google Maps here.

St Catherine's Castle
St Catherine’s Castle © Derek Harper

Fowey and Gribbin Head – Fowey has a number of good marks for the intrepid angler. St. Catherine’s Castle at the mouth of the River Fowey has a number of rock marks around it. Access can be very difficult but fishing can be great with large pollock and conger eel the species most anglers target, with wrasse, mackerel and dogfish also present. Further up the river can provide great fishing for mullet, flounder and school bass. Although it is also difficult to access Gribbin Head is a great rock mark where a range of species can be caught on spinners, lures and bottom fished baits with bass, wrasse, pollock, conger eels and many other species all possible catches. View this area on Google Maps here.

Nare Head
Nare Head © Rabbi W.P. Thinrod

St Austell Bay, Megavissey Bay, Narne Head and Carne – St Austell Bay can produce good flounder and bass from the shore, as can the Pentewan area of Mevagissey Bay. Mevagissey Breakwater can also have plenty of dogfish present, with flounder, plaice, pollock, gurnard and even conger eel possible catches as well as mullet when the weather is calmer. Narne Head is another heavy rock mark that produces pollock, wrasse, conger eel, dogfish, and bull huss. Mackerel and garfish may also be caught on spinners and float fished baits. The nearby Carne beach offers cleaner ground fishing for bass and various forms of flatfish. View this area on Google Maps here.

Mousehole Harbour
Mousehole Harbour © Rich Tea

Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole – Penzance Harbour and piers offer a number of different species over high tide. Flounder can be caught on ragworm and lugworm baits and the combination of warm summer weather and calm seas can see mullet come into the harbour, but they can prove very difficult to catch. Other species such as school bass, wrasse, dab, rockling and gurnard will also be caught from here, as well as some cod and whiting in the winter. Pollock, mackerel and garfish will all also be caught on spinners and float fished baits. The North Pier at Newlyn offers similar species, as well as the chance of a conger eel to a fish or squid bait on a 6/0 hook and wire or heavy mono trace dropped straight down alongside the pier. The pier has been switched between being closed and open to anglers in recent years, and when it is open there are restrictions on the areas where fishing can take place. Mousehole Harbour offers flounder around the mouth of harbour, with bass, wrasse and pollock also caught here. View this area on Google Maps here.

St Ives Harbour
St Ives Harbour © Olaf Tausch

St Ive’s Bay – Porthmeor beach offers flatfish such as plaice, turbot and flounder (in winter) to ragworm, lugworm and peeler crab baits. Dogfish can always be caught here and there are large bass present when the sea is running – use sandeel or peeler crab baits as bait. There is also a chance of a ray to mackerel fillet or sandeel baits cast a long way out. Some cod can also be caught here in winter. This venue can be packed with tourists and surfers in summer so very early morning or late night is the best time to fish here. Carbis Bay to the west of Porthmeor beach offers similar species. St Ives harbour and piers also offer good fishing with mackerel caught on feathers and spinners and flatfish (plaice, flounder and possibly turbot), dogfish and bass all caught on bottom fished baits. View this area on Google Maps here.

Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay © Proper Handsome

Newquay – Fly Cellars is a platform which provides a safe and accessible angling location. Summer will see mackerel caught to spinners, feathers and daylights and various other species are also caught such as pouting, Dover sole and gurnard. Codling, whiting and flounder are caught in winter and dogfish are always present. It is best to fish from mid-tide up to high and then a few hours back down again. Watergate Bay can produce decent bass when the sea is running as well as various ray species to long casts. the nearby rock areas can produce wrasse, bass and pollock, with spinning an effective tactic for the latter two species. View this area on Google Maps here.

The Rumps
The Rumps © Andy F

Padstow Bay, New Polzeath and The Rumps – Padstow bay and New Polzeath have plenty of marks that will offer mackerel to spinners, daylights and lures. They will also take a small silver strip of mackerel fished under a float. Pollock are also present here and will take bottom fished baits but spinners and jelly lures are the best method to catch them. Rumps Point and the Rumps area has plenty of rock marks which provide pollock, wrasse, cod, dogfish, bull huss and potentially very big conger eel. However, be careful fishing here as access is difficult and it is a potentially dangerous place to fish. Always best to go during daylight with someone who has local knowledge of the area. View this area on Google Maps here.

Widemouth Bay
Widemouth Bay © Trevor Rickard

Widemouth Bay and Bude – Widemouth Bay is a mark that offers small-eyed and thornback ray to sandeel and mackerel baits cast at range. Bass can also be caught to peeler crab, ragworm and sandeel or mackerel baits cast just behind the breaking waves. Plaice, sole and turbot are also a possibility from this mark. Rockier edges of the beach also offer the opportunity to spin for bass as well. Anglers should  be aware that the area can be busy with surfers and tourists during the day. Bude has a number of good marks. Lures and spinners can be used off the breakwater to catch pollock, bass and mackerel and bait fishing can also produce decent bass from the harbour and breakwater, as can nearby Flexbury beach. Try fishing for rays at range or much closer in for the bass and various flatfish species. View this area on Google Maps here.

Ilfracombe Harbour
Ilfracombe Harbour © Tom Pennington

Westward Ho! and Ilfracombe – Westward Ho! Has a number of beaches and rock marks which fish well at low water. Species such as small-eyed and thornback ray, bass and smooth-hounds can all be caught here, with sandeels the top ray bait and peeler or hardback crab accounting for the bass and smooth-hounds. Anglers should be aware of the incoming tide as it is possible to get cut off at some locations. Ilfracombe Harbour and pier offer a range of different species. Big mackerel baits can catch a conger eel from here, while dogfish, pouting, cod, bass and whiting will all also take bottom fished baits. Pollock, mackerel and garfish can all be caught on floats and spinners. View this area on Google Maps here.

Baggy Point
Baggy Point © Ben Gamble

Baggy Point – Rocky headland which can produce spectacular fishing. However, access to fishing marks involves climbing down rocks and this area can be extremely dangerous and should never be fished in anything approaching bad weather as swells can swamp fishing marks and even light rain will make rocks dangerously slippery. These marks are best fished in daylight and good weather with someone who knows the area and has fished here before. A huge range of species can be caught here with bull huss, dogfish, pouting, gurnard, codling and many others taking bottom fished baits. Some big conger will also go for bottom fished mackerel flapper or squid. Mackerel will be caught on daylights or feathers in the summer and pollock and bass will be taken on both spinners and bottom fished baits. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station
Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station © Richard Baker

Minehead, Watchet and Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Stations – The wall at Minehead Harbour is a high tide mark which offers codling, flounder and whiting in winter, plaice, dogfish and school bass in summer. Plenty of other species are caught sporadically here, and there is also the chance of something a little more interesting such as a thornback ray. Similar species can be caught from Watchet Harbour, which is another high tide mark. There are two nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point. Power station A (the two blue reactors on the left of the picture) were deactivated in 1999, but power station B (the grey building on the right) is still operational. There is a path around the power station which can be followed to reach the fishing area. This is a low tide mark with fishing generally possible three hours or so either side of low water. In the summer decent bass can be caught here, as well as some conger eels to large fish or squid baits. Dogfish are also caught here and winter sees whiting and cod. The ground is fairly rough so most anglers fish here using rotten-bottom rigs, but there are some cleaner patches. Be aware that in some areas the tide can come in behind anglers. View this area on Google Maps here.

Lower Light
Lower Lighthouse © Steve F

Burnham-on-Sea – The beach at Burnham-on-Sea to Berrow produces a range of species. Bass are caught in the summer along with Dover sole, plaice, dogfish, pouting and thornback rays, while cod, whiting and flounder show in the winter months. Most anglers find this beach fishes best at low tide and fish a few hours before and after low water. The beach is muddy and the tide comes in fast which can make fishing hazardous. The tidal run can be fierce on big tides so many anglers prefer to fish on a neap tide. Brean Down is a rock mark that sticks out into the Bristol Channel and offers good winter cod and conger eels to large fish baits on 6/0 hooks and wire traces. The Lower Lighthouse (the Lighthouse on Legs) is another good mark. Summer sees Dover sole, bass, pouting and possibly thornback ray caught, and winter brings cod, whiting and flounder. Again, watch out for incoming tide and soft mud and sand. View this area on Google Maps here.

Sand Point
Sand Point © Ordnance Survey Data / Crown Copyright and Database

Weston-Super-Mare – Sand Point is a peninsula along the coast at Sand Bay. This mark can produce good conger eel and thornback ray catches. Bass are also caught in summer along with pouting, dogfish and bull huss. Cod and whiting also show in number in the winter. Despite its name points around Sand Point itself are rough ground marks and lots of tackle can be lost. Most anglers fish this mark around low tide. Birnbeck Pier at Weston-Super-Mare has been closed to the public for many years and is now inaccessible as it is sealed off as the structure is unstable and highly dangerous. View this area on Google Maps here.

Clevedon Pier
Clevedon Pier © NotFromUtrecht

Clevedon Pier – This pier offers easy access to deep water and a comfortable fishing position. The pier is only open during certain hours and anglers must purchase a ticket to fish from this pier. Winter sees cod caught here with dab and whiting also potential catches. The summer months can see larger species such as thornback rays and smooth-hounds being caught here, as well as school bass, plaice, Dover sole and dogfish. Anglers should be aware that large amounts of weed and the strong tidal flow can make this mark challenging to fish in certain conditions. View this area on Google Maps here.

Battery Point
Battery Point © Steve F

Portishead – Portishead Pier offers decent winter codling and whiting to the usual baits, and there are big thornback ray caught here every year. Be careful as tides over 11.5 – 12 metres on the local scale can come over the top of the pier. Mullet are also present in Portishead Marina in the summer months and can be caught to small bread or earthworm baits and stealthy tactics. Nearby Battery Point is a famous mark which can produce both a range of species and some large fish. It is fishable at most stages of the tide, but during a spring tide, the power of the tide can make holding the seabed impossible. Long casts can produce the best fish but water is still deep close in meaning good catches can be made with short casts. Cod and whiting are here in winter and it is wise to step up to size 4/0 – 6/0 hooks if targeting a large cod as there is a real chance of catching a sizable fish here. Silver eels, conger eels, flounder, dogfish, bull huss, rockling and flounder will all also be caught from this area. View this area on Google Maps here.

Severn Beach
Severn Beach © William Avery

Severn Beach – There are a number of marks around the Severn Beach area which provide good fishing. Fishing can take place off the beach itself or along the wall area. Many anglers fish this mark at high tide as it can be risky walking out to the water at low tide. The reason for this is that the tide goes out a long way and comes in very fast indeed, meaning that it is possible that the tide will come in faster than the angler can get back to shore. Tidal flow can be strong and grip leads are usually used to hold the bottom. Large cod, conger eels, Dover sole and thornback rays, along with several other species can be caught here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Goldcliffe Beach
Goldcliffe Beach © Gill Stott

Chepstow and Newport – [Now on the other side of the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary] In Chepstow there are good cod fishing opportunities around the Beachley and Severn Bridge area. Plenty of cod are caught here with some decent specimens among them, as well as flounder, school bass and silver eels. Worm baits are always a good choice here, with lugworm and squid cocktails also worth a try, as is peeler crab. Two hook flapping rigs with size 1/0 hooks will catch all of the smaller species while hook size should be stepped up and pennell rigs used to target the larger cod. Goldcliff beach near Newport offers conger eels, large cod, and thornback rays, as well as flounder, dogfish and rocking. It is best to fish over high tide from the sea wall. The tidal flow can be very strong and grip leads are usually necessary. View this area on Google Maps here.