South Coast of England

Brighton Marina

Brighton Marina © Ian Stannard

Brighton Marina – Great venue made up of East Arm and West Arm. Wide range of species caught here. Summer sees great sport to light tackle. Float fishing a sprat, ragworm or mackerel strip bait on a size 1 – 1/0 hook will see mackerel, pollock, black bream and garfish caught, while spinners, daylights and feathers will also catch most of these species. A lugworm or ragworm bait fished on the seabed will see decent sized Dover sole and plaice caught, as well as other species such as silver eels, gurnard and dogfish. Whichever method is used try fishing close to the structure of the arms as most fish are found here – don’t cast too far! Stepping up the hook size to a 2/0 – 4/0 and using a large peeler crab, mackerel fillet or ragworm bait could catch a big bass, as would live baiting a small fish directly down the side of the marina. Winter sees decent catches of cod, whiting, flounder and rockling. A pennell rig with 4/0 hooks or bigger, baited with a full squid, black lugworm or frozen peeler crab will potentially catch a big cod, while 1/0 hooks baited with mackerel strip or ragworm/lugworm will catch the rockling, flounder and whiting. It is also possible to catch squid from this mark using a rod and line – see this page for more information on this fishing technique. Ground around the marina is mixed with some snaggy patches. There is a charge for fishing on the marina and this area will be busy with tourists in summer. Rough seas can see waves crash over the structure so take care! View this area on Google Maps here.

Worthing Pier

Worthing Pier © Geoff Harris

Southwick, Worthing Pier and Littlehampton – Southwick beach can be good for bass when there is a good sea running. More common in summer but catches made in winter as well. Other species such as silver eels, dogfish and various flatfish also caught here, as well as the chance of a smooth-hound to peeler crab. Worthing pier can provide great sport with many species such as black bream, mackerel, garfish, wrasse, bass and dogfish caught all summer. Winter sees cod, whiting, rockling and flounder caught. Two or three hours either side of high tide is best time to fish the pier. Pier has opening hours and is locked shut outside of these. Drop net advisable. Littlehampton has Climping Beach and the beach at East Preston. Both can fish well for whiting and cod over winter, while other times of the year can see sole, dogfish and big bass turn up. There is also the chance of a thornback ray or stingray from these marks in summer time. Mullet can be caught from Littlehampton harbour and along the River Arun. View this area on Google Maps here.

Bognor Regis Beach

Bognor Regis Beach © Jan

Bognor Regis – Beaches can produce decent fish with dogfish, pouting and Dover sole providing good catches and the chances of something more desirable such as a large bass (when the surf is running) thornback ray or smooth-hound in calmer seas. Two hook rigs with size 4 – 6 hooks baited with ragworm will catch the sole, while stepping the hooks up to size 1/0 would be better for the dogfish and pouting. Peeler crab will get the smooth-hound, whereas mackerel fillets or sandeel fished at range will provide the best chances of hooking a ray. The pier at Bognor Regis can also produce a wide range of species such as mackerel, bass, black bream, pouting and Dover sole, as well as whiting and cod in the winter months. Two hours either side of high tide is the best time to fish this venue. View this area on Google Maps here.

Selsey Bill

Selsey Bill © Nilfanion

Selsey Bill and Selsey Beaches – Selsey is a great area for sea fishing. Selsey Bill is a headland jutting out into the English Channel. Can be good to lure fish with plugs or spin for bass at this point. Bottom fishing can potentially produce big cod in the winter. However, tidal flow can be fierce, to the point that keeping a bait on the seabed is difficult or even impossible. Selsey East and West beaches are either side of the Bill. In summer large smooth-hound are a real possibility in the summer to peeler crab and hardback crab baits. Bass can also be caught by casting peeler crab or ragworm baits cast just behind the breakers. Dover sole can be caught to worm baits mounted to small hooks fished on the bottom and dogfish, flounder and pouting can be caught most of the year round. Whiting and big cod turn up in the winter to the usual lugworm, frozen peeler crab, mussel and squid baits. Certain areas of these beaches can be snaggy and masses of weed can present a problem in certain conditions. View this area on Google Maps here.

Bracklesham Bay

Bracklesham Bay © Mark Tranchant

Bracklesham Bay, East and West Wittering Beach – Bracklesham Bay can produce bass to ragworm and peeler crab baits. Pouting, dogfish, flounder and Dover sole are all on the cards as well. Chance of a smooth-hound in the summer months to the hardback or peeler baits and thornback ray can be caught to mackerel or herring fillet or sandeel fished at range. Similar species caught further along the beach at East Wittering and West Wittering, although again weed can reach fishing-stopping proportions in the wrong conditions. View this area on Google Maps here.


Portsmouth © Utilisateur Steff

Portsmouth and Southampton Marks – Langsdown Harbour is a good high tide venue. It can hold school bass and some much larger specimens. The larger bass can be caught on mackerel fillet, king ragworm or large squid or peeler crab baits. This harbour is also a flounder hotspot with ragworm and lugworm baits on size 1 – 1/0 hooks on multi-hook rigs the best method of catching them. Victoria pier offers mackerel and garfish to float fished baits and spinners in the summer, with mullet also a possibility in calm summer weather. Eastney beach is a steeply sloping shingle beach which can produce a range of species. Smooth-hound are a possibility, as flounders, plaice, gurnard, red mullet and black bream, whiting, cod and pouting. Try varying casting ranges as bass and flounder can be taken close in, but sometimes casts may have to be at longer distances to put a bait amongst the feeding fish. Mayflower Park in Southampton is a mullet hotspot. Groundbaiting will bring this species to the area and fishing a bread bait on a free line is often the best way to hook this species, although an earthworm, fish flake or maggot bait can also pay off as well. Plenty of other species can be caught with conventional bottom fishing. Try a two hook flapping rig with size 1/0 hooks and flounder, whiting, school bass and pouting could all be caught. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hillhead Sea Wall

Hillhead Sea Wall © Pierre Terre

Hillhead, Hampshire – Hill Head beaches/spit can be fished at low tide, while Hill Head sea wall is a comfortable and accessible platform to fish from at high tide. This area is seen as a hotspot for smooth-hounds in the spring and early summer with some justification – the British record smooth-hound of 20lb 3oz was caught from the sea wall in 2000. Crabs are the best bait to catch the smooth-hound with peeler and hardbacks both catch and some anglers making a cocktail bait of half peeler, half hardback to hedge their bets. A number of different species of ray (including sting rays) can also be caught here, with sandeels the best bait to catch this species. The popularltity of these marks mean they can get very busy with anglers, especially when the smooth-hound are around, or on weekends/public holidays. Other species which can be caught from this area on general rigs (i.e. one or two hook rigs with size 1/0 or 2/0 hooks and ragworm, lugworm, mackerel strip baits etc) include whiting, codling, flounder and plaice. View this mark on Google Maps here.

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight © Bohemian Arcade

Isle of Wight – Ventnor Bay in south of Island can produce bass from the beach and mullet are also found in this area when the sea is calm. Ryde Pier is a great mark for light summer fishing. Pollock, mackerel and garfish will go for spinners and floatfished baits, while black bream, wrasse, bass and silver eel will also be taken and there is always the chance of a summer smooth-hound on peeler crab or hardbacks. There is a small charge for fishing from the pier and some restrictions on when and where fishing can take place. Rocky marks around Bembridge Harbour (and any other rocky marks around the island) can hold decent sized conger. Used 4/0 – 6/0 hooks and large mackerel fillet or herring as bait. Bembridge Harbour will also hold wrasse, bass and Pollock, while Cowes Harbour is good for mullet in calm weather. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle © Ian Stannard

Milford Shingle Bank and Hurst Castle – Can be good for various species of ray to sandeel baits fished at long range. Dogfish, pouting, brill and black bream are also found here and whiting and potentially big cod can also be caught from this mark in the winter. Hurst Castle is a venue that allows short to medium range casts to find deep water. This means that in winter big cod are within range with large 4/0 – 6/0 hooks on a pennel baited with a whole squid or large black lugworm being in with the chance of catching a very big fish. Other times of the year can see big wrasse and pollock from the rocky areas, and there is also large bass around here. However, be aware that in big tides and certain conditions the tidal flow can be absolutely ferocious and fishing is often very difficult or at times impossible. View this area on Google Maps here.

Christchurch Harbour

Christchurch Harbour © Don Cload

Christchurch Harbour – The Christchurch area offers some great fishing venues for the sea angler. Christchurch harbour is a unique natural harbour which, due to the unusual and unique tidal characteristics of the English Channel means that this area has double high tides. Outside of the harbour the clean, sandy Avon beach fishes well for bass in summer, with Dover sole, dogfish, pouting and silver eels going for the usual baits. Thornback ray also a possibility. Avon beach is generally seen as fishing better in summer but some cod, whiting and flounder can be about in winter. Inside the harbour Mudeford/Mudeford Quay can fish well for bass in the summer to ragworm, sandeel, peeler crab or mackerel baits, again quieter in winter but (small) whiting and cod can be about. All of the harbour area fishes very well for mullet, a fact underlined by the UK record for golden grey mullet coming from this area. However, the usual small hooks, stealthy tactics and groundbaiting methods are needed to catch these species. View this area on Google Maps here.

Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth Pier © Graffity

Bournemouth and Poole – Bournemouth Pier is a good high tide mark which can produce Dover sole, wrasse, pouting and dogfish, as well as the chance of something bigger such as a ray or smooth-hound. Mackerel will also be caught to spinners and lures in the summer. This mark will be packed with tourists, surfers and other water-based events in the summer and pier is locked at certain times. Winter will see flounder, rockling, cod and whiting caught. Poole harbour has a number of locations where school bass can be caught to baits or spinners. It is also something of a flounder hotspot – use size 1 or 1/0 long-shanked hooks and worm baits. Silver eels will also be taken with peeler crab the top bait for them. Poole Harbour is a nursery area for bass – shore fishing is still permitted but fish should be returned. Nearby Studland Bay has can produce decent catches of flounder as well as school bass to peeler crab baits, mackerel strip and ragworms. View this area on Google Maps here.

Swanage Pier

Swanage Pier © Mark Murphy

Swanage Pier and Peveril Point – Swanage Pier is a good venue for summer fishing. Floatfishing can produce garfish and wrasse as well, set baits at 3-4 feet under the surface for garfish and 8-10 feet for other species. Bass and larger pollock may will go for spinners as well as the usual mackerel. Bottom fished baits will produce a range of species from bass and plaice to rockling, dogfish and pouting. It can be worthwhile trying for a conger eel with large fish or squid baits presented on larger size 6/0 hooks. The pier does have opening and closing times so check there prior to travelling, and obviously expect this area to get very bust in the summer, and the area is also very popular with divers who can get in the way of anglers at times. There is also a small charge to fish on the pier (approx £2.50). Nearby Peveril Point can be a good alternative option when the pier is too busy or closed. This is a rock mark which can be fished with spinners, lures or floatfished baits for very good bass and wrasse. Mackerel can also be caught on feathers or daylights. Various different species can be caught by fishing baits on the seabed, including potentially large conger eels, but be aware that it is very snaggy indeed and large tackle losses will have to be tolerated. View this area on Google Maps here.

Dancing Ledge

Dancing Ledge © Ben Gamble

Dancing Ledge, Dorset – This is a good mark which lends itself to light gear – bass or spinning rods – and float fishing or spinning. Spinners will produce some mackerel and garfish over the summer with decent pollock also providing sport. Float fished mackerel strip or ragworm will also catch wrasse which are plentiful around here. Steep descent to this mark and a long walk so be aware of this before setting off. Bass also caught from around here and reports of rays, but the seabed is extremely snaggy indeed so many anglers stick to spinning or float fishing to avoid the tackle losses which will be inevitable if presenting baits on the seabed. Once the sun begins to set a strong 6/0 – 8/0 baited with a mackerel flapper or squid/cuttlefish could tempt a decent sized conger eel, but the unforgiving snags of the seabed need to be taken into account so strong beachcasters and multipliers should be used if this species is targeted, and rotten bottoms incorporated into rigs. View this area on Google Maps here.

St. Alban's Head

St. Alban’s Head © Jim Champion

St Alban’s Head – St Alban’s Head is a rocky headland approximately three miles southwest of Swanage. Access to fishable marks can be difficult here with a little climbing and scrambling over rocks necessary, and anglers must take care – especially in wet and slippery conditions. In fact, it is best to fish this mark with someone with local knowledge for the first time, and only attempt to fish here in calm and settled weather in order to stay safe. Spinning and plugging for bass and pollock can be very productive here, and some very good wrasse take floatfished worm and mackerel baits. Dogfish, bull huss and a variety of different rays will also take bottom fished baits, as will large conger eels. However, the ground here is very snaggy indeed so suitable tackle and rigs with rotten bottoms are needed. Some anglers prefer to stick to float and lure fishing here in order to avoid the frustration and cost of the constant tackle losses which are inevitable here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Weymouth Stone Pier

Weymouth Stone Pier © BrideValley

Weymouth Stone Pier – This mark has a reputation for being a child-friendly mark for mini-species but it actually produces a range of species – some of a decent size. Casting into the harbour side is cleaner and has less snags, while the seaward side is slightly rougher ground. Mackerel and garfish can be caught to spinners and lures, and will also take float fished baits, as will wrasse, pollock and black and gilt-head bream. Sprats, mackerel strip, ragworm and small sandeels are the best baits to use with a float. Bass can be caught from here to bottom fished ragworm and peeler crab, as will silver eels. Dogfish are also caught and will take most baits, although mackerel strip is probably the best choice to specifically target them. Ringstead Bay a few miles to the east is another great mark. From the rockier section here conger can be caught to mackerel fillet, mackerel head, whole herring or squid mounted on big hooks, while wrasse and pollock are also found around the rocks. Try float fishing mackerel strip on a size 1/0 or 2/0 hook to catch the latter two species. Decent sized bass can be caught here to peeler crab, sandeel, ragworm or mackerel baits cast just behind the breakers, while general fishing on a two hook flapping rig with size 1/0 hooks will catch dogfish, pouting and flounder. Bull huss are also a possible catch here. A number of different ray are also caught here to sandeel baits fished at range. Can be full of tourists in summer so go fishing very early in the morning or after the sun has begun to set. View this area on Google Maps here.

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock © Jim Champion

Portland Bill – Portland Bill is a rocky headland that makes up the most southerly point of Dorset. It is extremely rocky and snaggy ground that provides some excellent fishing. Pulpit Rock is a popular fishing mark towards the end of the headland, and there are also rock ledges which are also popular fishing marks. A wide range of species can be caught from the Portland Bill area: there are very good wrasse caught to worm and crab baits (try floatfishing or freelining down a rock ledge) as well as bass and pollock to baits and spinners and other species such as a bream and garfish. Large conger can also be found in the rocks and heavy fishing gear and mackerel flappers, herring or squid could tempt a large specimen. The British record shore caught wrasse was caught here – a massive specimen of 9lb 1oz in 1998. The tidal flow can also be strong and make fishing difficult in certain conditions, and many fishing marks can involve having to haul fish a long way up from the sea so think about how large fish will be landed (and ensure it is safe to do so). Be aware that the nature of this mark means that access can be difficult and that bad weather and rough seas make this mark too dangerous to fish. View this area on Google Maps here.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach © John Armagh

Chesil Beach – Very famous angling venue. Chesil beach is an eighteen mile long strip of land (known as a tombolo or barrier beach) with water either side of it. It is also known as Chesil Bank. Made of steeply sloping shingle so that fairly short casts can place a bait into deep water. Abbotsbury side of the beach is very popular in summer with mackerel anglers and can get packed, however, in quieter times fishing from this point can be excellent. A huge range of species can be caught here. Cod and big whiting are caught in the winter, along with flounder. Summer sees smooth-hound, thornback rays, Dover sole and gurnards. Pouting and dogfish can be caught all year round and other species which can be caught here include trigger fish, turbot, brill, scad, dab and bull huss. Area around the dragon’s teeth (anti-tank defences left over from WW2) are seen a top winter cod mark. Chesil Cove, on the other side of the beach is rockier and offers pollock to float fished baits and potentially conger eels to mackerel fillet, whole herring or squid. Certain parts of Chesil Beach are protected and cannot be fished from. View this area on Google Maps here.

Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton © Enotayokel

Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth – Shingle each at Budleigh Salterton offers a number of species. Dogfish can be caught to most baits on size 1-1/0 hooks with a number of bull huss also turning up as well. Dover sole will be caught to ragworm and lugworm baits fished on small size 4-6 hooks and pouting are also around in numbers. The rockier marks towards the east of the beach can produce wrasse and pollock to float fished baits, and, potentially conger to the usual mackerel, herring or squid baits presented on large hooks and wire traces. Mackerel can be caught along the length of the beach to feathers and daylights, although it can get very busy. Similarly, tourists can be a problem when trying to fish during peak season. Estuary of the River Otter also holds mullet which can be caught to stealthy tactics and bread, earthworm, fish flake or maggot baits. Exmouth Harbour/Docks also holds mullet, as well as mackerel and garfish to spinners and daylights. Pollock will also take lures and spinners from here, as well as float fished baits – try mackerel strip, sandeel or sprat. Silver eels can also be caught to bottom fished peeler crab, mackerel or worm baits. Nearby sandy beach can produce good catches of plaice and Dover sole, as well as bass when there is sea running. View this area on Google Maps here.

Teign Estuary

Teign Estuary © Derek Harper

Teignmouth – Mouth of the River Teign is known to produce good bass catches. Sandeel, peeler crab and ragworm are the top baits to use. It is a bass nursery area but bass can still be legally caught from the shore. Anglers, however, return all bass in order to protect numbers and allow the nursery area to maintain stocks. Mackerel, scad and garfish can all also be caught here on spinners, daylights and feathers, as well as on float fished baits. Mullet are also a possibility here when the weather is calm. Absolutely excellent flounder fishing here with specimen sized fish caught (national flounder competition also takes place here). Flounder can be caught on ragworm and lugworm but peeler crab is the top bait for them here. They travel far up the river and big flounder can be caught surprisingly far along the river, and it is no surprise to pick up decent bass quite far inland as well. View this area on Google Maps here.

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