Devon and Cornwall Fishing

The West Country provides the best big-fish fishing of the British shoreline. It is at its peak in summer with a magnificent range of specimen fish of many species being taken annually.

Wreck fishing first made its impact in South Devon and boats based on Brixham, Torquay and Plymouth regularly bring in catches top-ping 2,000 lb. These include huge conger eels, many of them weighing more than 60 lb., some topping 80 lb. And two outstanding conger have exceeded 100 lb.

Pollack, ling, coalfish and cod, as well as angler fish and turbot, have been taken both in and close to sunken wrecks laying infrom 25to 42 fathoms. Red and black bream fishing is also highly productive over wrecks.

The Skerries Bank, located out from Dart-mouth, is the most productive plaice ground yet discovered and yields fish to over 6 lb. Each summer, together with occasional turbot and numbers of blonde ray.

The south coasts of both Devon and Cornwall contain some excellent bass-holding areas, with The Manacles and the Eddystone reef the most productive. Trolling imitation sand eel lures is the proven method and this takes literally dozens of 10 lb. Bass every year.

Shark fishing in British waters first began off Looe and this resort remains the headquarters of the Shark Angling Club of Great Britain. Fishing is for all four shark species found in our waters – blue, porbeagle, mako and thresher. The latter two species are by no means common and most of the sport comes from the blue shark. Shark boats are based on Plymouth, Torquay, Brixham, Mevagissey, Looe, Fowey and Falmouth.

In recent years though there has been a marked change in the ground favoured by the porbeagle shark. In the mid-1960s the best porbeagle fishing was off the Isle of Wight but the fish appears to have vacated this area and moved in strength on to the North Devon ground.

In 1976 shark boats based at Padstow and Appiedore had great success, taking more shark topping 200 lb. Than ever before. Among the many big fish was a new British record porbeagle of 465 lb. And there are high hopes that both the thresher and mako shark records will be broken in this area quite soon.

The shark season begins in May and extends through to late September with the best results usually coming in June and July.

The northern coastline of Devon and Cornwall differs greatly from the southern section. There is more rock and a greater depth of water inshore. Lacking the protection of the land mass, it is vulnerable to south-west winds which bring the Atlantic swell inshore. This has an irritating habit of forcing boats to remain in port but offshore angling out of all northern

Lynmouth harbours yields fine catches of ray, pollack, tope, bream and even turbot.

The West Country’s shore fishing is equally dazzling. It is at its best for wrasse, mullet and bass but also produces good returns of ray, mackerel, pollack and flounder.

The rocky headlands produce the best wrasse results, with Rame Head, near Plymouth, and Trevose Head, near Padstow, the most popular. Other, equally good areas exist wherever the shoreline offers a combination of rock and tide.

These same headlands also offer good pollack fishing even though the size of these fish in no way rivals those taken from offshore wrecks.

Bass are widespread through the entire area, although local anglers are far from happy over the big catches of bass taken commercially, claiming this is seriously affecting the stock.

With such varied terrain there is ample opportunity to fish for bass by many methods. Surf casting from the sandy beaches with worm and soft crab baits produces the best results after dark, with autumn the time for the biggest of the specimens.

The rock fishing for bass is more costly in terms of lost tackle but offers exciting sport, while night fishing in what might seem most unlikely hotspots, Torquay, Brixham and Plymouth harbours, also yields big fish.

Inshore trolling produces big catches late in the summer with the southern shoreline perhaps having the edge since it offers the more sheltered water needed for small boat fishing – a point worth bearing in mind by visitors bringing their own dinghies.

Exmouth:

Shore fishing marks at Orecombe Point, Bull Hill Bankand Shelley Gut for catches of bass, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, red and black bream, sole, whiting and wrasse. Exmouth Pierandthe Old Jetty are also favoured sites.

A boat gives access to additional bass, black bream, cod, conger, dogfish, mackerel, pollack, pouting, red bream, turbot and whiting. Lug and rag from Shelley Beach.

Dawlish:

Shore fishing from Boat Cove Wall and along Dawlish beach is for bass, cod, conger, flounder, plaice, pollack and wrasse. Prime offshore marks include Dawlish Rock, Parson and Clerk, Horse Rocks and The Wreck. The main species caught are bass, cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, mackerel, pollack, tope and wrasse. Worm bait available locally.

Teignmouth:

Shore fishing from the sea wall, Teignmouth beach, the Point and in the Teign estuary for bass, cod, conger, flounder, bass, mullet, plaice, pollack, pouting and wrasse. The pier can no longer be usedforfishing.

Offshore grounds can be fished profitably-prime marks being the Ness, Bundle Head, in the bay and the Teign estuary. Main offshore species to be caught are bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, mackerel, plaice, thornback and sandy ray, tope and whiting. Lug and rag from the estuary shore above Shaldon Bridge.

Torquay:

Shore fishing marks at Hope’s Nose, Maidencombe, Watcombe, Anstey’s Cove and Abbey Sands, for bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, garfish, mullet, plaice, pollack, pouting, sole, tope, turbot and whiting. The harbour contains piers and jetties which can be used as fishing sites, as can Babbacombe pier.

Main species to be caught from a boat include bass, black bream, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, sole, tope, turbot, whiting and wrasse. Lug and rag at low tide from Torre Abbey Sands.

Paignton:

Prime shore fishing marks at Hollicombe Head, Paignton Sands, Roundham Head, Goodrington Sands, Saltern Cove, Broadsands, El berry Cove and Churston Point for catches of bass, cod, conger, dogfish, general flatfish, mackerel, pollack and wrasse.

A boat will give access to additional numbers of all species available from theshore. The Ridge is a particularly good markfor pollack, while Roundham Head is good for bass, conger, dogfish, mackerel and pollack. Lug and rag at low tide from the sands at Paignton, Goodrington and Broadsands.

Brixham. Prime shore fishing marks along the local beaches for catches of bass, cod, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pouting, sole and whiting. In addition, fishing from the Pier Head and Victoria Breakwater is worthwhile for bass, mackerel, mullet, pollack and wrasse.

Inshore boatfishing around the Seven Quarries, Shoalstone, Berry Head, Penny Rock, East Cod Rock, West Cod Rock, St. Mary’s Bay and Mudstone Ledge can yield catches of bass, conger, dogfish, flatfish, mackerel, pollack, pouting and wrasse. Brixham is also noted for its superb deep-sea and wreck fishing. Catches include giant coalfish, conger, ling, pollack, shark, tope and turbot. Lug and rag at low tide from Broadsands.

Dartmouth , Good fishing in the River Dart estuary for flounder. Other shore marks are at the Embankment, the Castle, Compass Cove, Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands for dab, mullet, plaice, whiting and wrasse. The nearest available pierfishing is three miles away at Dittisham.

Boatfishing around such marks as Anchor Stone, Redgates, Blackness Rock, Castle Ledge, Mewstone, Homestone Ledge, Western Blackstone, Eastern Blackstone, the Bull and Combe Rocks for bass, red and black bream, conger, dogfish, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, turbot and whiting. Lug and rag available from local stretches of muddy shore.

Salcombe,

Shore fishing from the beaches that form Salcombe Harbour- in particular at Splat Cove, Lambury Point, Rickham Sand and Prawle Point -for bass, dab, flounder, plaice, sole and wrasse. Boat fishing around marks at Poolworthy Point, Salt Stone, The Bar, Bar Reach, Blackstone, Bass Rocks, Rickham Rock, Mewstones, Prawle Point, Meg Rocks, Lannacombe Bay, Gregory Rocks and Ham Stone.

Main species from deep water are black and red bream, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, shark, turbot, whiting and wrasse. Lug and rag are available from many parts of Salcombe estuary.

Bigbury

Good shore fishing from the Sand Flats, the Narrows and Bantham Rocks for bass, flatfish and mackerel. Boatfishing in this part of Bigbury Bay consists mainly of slow trolling for bass, with some pollack being taken near rocky shores and around Borough Island. Lug at low tide from the shores of the estuary.

Newton Ferrers:

Superb fishing centre, with the nearest harbour to the Eddystone Reef. Other marks include Cellars Cove, Mouthstone, Gara and Stoke Point, which fish well for bass, mackerel, pollack and wrasse. Also good conger, shark and skate fishing in deep water. The River Yealm offers fine sport for bass, flounder and mullet. Worm bait available locally.

Plymouth: Good shore fishing marks on rocky headlands between Stoke and Gara and between Penlee and Polhawn. Other sites are at Wembury Beach, Whitsand Bay, Bovisand, the mouth of the River Yealm and the Erme Estuary. Species caught from the shore include bass, conger, flounder, garfish, mullet, plaice, pollack, turbot, whiting and wrasse. The West Hoe and Bovisand Piers and the Barbican area can all be fished, and tidal stretches of the Rivers Tamar, Yealm and Plym are popularvenues.

Boatfishing around such marks asStaddon Point, Mallard, Tinker, Melampus and Hamoaze produces bass, conger, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pollack, whiting and wrasse. Also, superb deep-sea fishing for bream, cod, conger, pollack and shark. Rag from the shores of the Hamoaze at low tide. Lug can be dug from Bovisand Bay.

Looe:

East and West Looe straddle the estuary- Good shore fishing marks along the beach between Rame Head and Fowey and also between East Looe and Rame Head. Point Nadler is also popular, as is fishing from East Looe Quay and from many points around the harbour. Species to be caught from the shore include bass, black bream, cod, conger, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, pollack, pouting, red bream, sole, whiting and wrasse.

Looe is the centre of British shark fishing -the blue shark is the main species, but there is the chance of the occasional mako, porbeagle or thresher shark. Shark fishing comprises the main boat sport, but angler fish, bass, black bream, cod, conger, dogfish, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, red bream, skate, tope, turbot and whiting can also betaken. Worm bait can easily be obtained from the estuary. There are numerous boats availableforhire.

Fowey:

Good rock and beach fishing at Crinnis, St Catherine’s Point, Par Beach, Polruan and Polridmouth Cove. Harbourfishing in the river up to Lostwithiel Sawmills, China Clay Jetties (local club members only), Fowey Harbour and Albert Quay. Main species to betaken from the shore include bass, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pollack, sole, whiting and wrasse.

A boat gives access to angler fish, bass, black bream, bull huss, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, skate, sole, thornback ray, tope, turbot, whiting and wrasse. Rag from Point Pill and lug from Penpoll and Penquite.

Mevagissey:

Good and varied fishing from beach, rock and boat. Shore fishing from many rocky outcrops between Mevagissey and Dodman Point, and from beaches at Polstreath, Port Mallon, Pannace and Blackhead. Species caught from the shore include bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pollack, pouting, sole, whiting and wrasse. In addition, the outer harbour wall isa popular venue for bass, conger, mackerel and mullet.

Boat fishing in the bay-around such marks as Dodman Point and Gwineas Rock-for catches of anglerfish, bass, black bream, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, haddock, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, thornback ray, tope, turbot, whiting and wrasse. Worm bait available locally.

Falmouth:

Shore fishing is generally poor, but Penryn harbour is good for bass, flounder and mullet. There is also good sport forf lounder in the Penryn estuary. Boat fishing can yield good catches of angler fish, bass, black bream, blond ray, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, garfish, ling, mackerel, monkfish, plaice, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, thornback ray, turbot and whiting. Rag and lug can be collected at low tide.

Coverack:

Small harbour with good bass fishing from surrounding beaches. Offshore the Whiting Ground sand bank is a favourite venue for turbot. Other species to be taken from boats include bass, blonde ray.

Conger, dogfish, mackerel, mullet, pollack, red bream, thornback ray and whiting. Worm bait available locally.

Porthleven:

Superb variety of inshore and offshore fishing from beach, rocks and boat. Main species include bass, blonde ray, coalfish, flatfish, dogfish, mackerel, mullet, pollack, thornback ray, turbot and wrasse. Worm bait available locally.

Penzance:

Main angling centre for fishing the Land’s End peninsula -17 miles of beaches and rocky coves. Popular marks are at Ayr Point, Eastern Green, Logan Rocks, Loe Bar, Porthcurno, Sennen, St. Michael’s Mount and Treen. Species caught from the shore include bass, cod, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pouting, sole, tope, whiting and wrasse. The three piers at Newlyn provide good bass fishing.

Boat fishing is worthwhile for bass, black bream, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, ling, mackerel, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, ray, sole, tope, turbot, whiting and wrasse. Lug availablefrom most local beaches.

Stlves,

Situated to the west of the m outh of the Hayle River, St Ives offers excellent shore fishing from the Gwythian and Porthmeor beaches and from several rocky promontories. Species caught from the shore include bass, cod, flatfish and mackerel.

A boat will give access to more bass, as well as blonde ray, cod, dogfish, garfish, mackerel, mullet, pollack, shark, thornback ray, tope, turbot and wrasse. Worm bait available locally.

Newquay:

Good shore fishing marks along nine local beaches: Crantock, Fistral, Great Western, Lusty Glaze, Porth, Tolcarne, Towan, Watergate and Whipsiderry. Species taken from the shore include bass, cod, dab, flounder, garfish, mackerel, mullet, pouting, sole, tope and whiting. Harbour and promenade fishing is available at Fly Cellars, both quays of Newquay Harbour, Gannel Estuary, Pentire Head and Towan Head-mainly for bass, flounder and mullet.

Good offshore grounds yield catches of bass, black bream, cod, conger, dogfish, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, pouting, red bream, shark, skate, tope, turbot and whiting. Worm bait available locally.

Bude

Noted forfine sandy beaches-Summerleaze Beach, Crooklets Beach, Widemouth Bay, Northcott and Sandy Mouth -which provide fine surf fishing for bass. The Summerleaze Breakwater is also a popular bass venue. Other species caught from Bude Bay include cod, conger, dab, dogfish, flounder, garfish, mackerel, plaice, pollack, pouting, silver eel, sole, tope, whiting and wrasse. Lug and rag from local beaches.

Clovelly

Limited as a sea fishing centre, but bass, conger, pollack and pouting can be taken from the beach and harbour wall. Offshore fishing in the bay is very good, and the nearby Hartland Point is noted for porbeagle shark. Worm bait available locally.

Bideford:

Good shore fishing marks between Appledore and Bideford and at Greysand.the mouth of the River Torridge and near the Iron Railway Bridge for bass, cod, conger, flounder, garfish, mullet, plaice, pollack, pouting and wrasse. Harbourfishing along Bideford Quay and at Appledore.

A boat gives access to further numbers of bass, black bream, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, ling, mackerel, monkfish, pollack, red bream, shark, ray, tope, turbot, wrasse and whiting. Worm bait available locally.

Ltfracombe:

A wide variety of fishing available from beaches, rocks, promenade, pier and offshore boats. Catches include bass, cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, mullet, pollack, ray, shark, tope and wrasse. Worm bait available locally (bait digging in the harbour is prohibited during the summer).

Lynmouth,

Poor sport from local beaches. Lee Bay offers the best cha nee for bass, conger, cod and flatfish. Tidal conditions can be dangerous for small boats. Bait scarce locally.

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