The River Mersey provides access to sheltered fishing all-year-round, and is served by a number of marinas
The focus falls on Liverpool Marinas.
There is boat fishing all year round from Liverpool, with the charter trips departing from either the Coburg or Brunswick docks. Both are serviced by a lock system, which allows easy exit to the estuary.
These are among eight docks along the River Mersey, the others being the Albert, Canning, Salthouse, Wapping, Duke’s, Queen’s docks.
Most anglers flock to Liverpool during the winter to sample the superb cod and whiting fishing available within the confines of the River Mersey. It’s a five-minute steam from the lock gates to reach the best fishing grounds, so you get much more time for fishing with very little travelling involved.
This area is also well protected from the wind, so you can often get out fishing when other ports get blown off.
During the summer there is some excellent fishing found in the outer reaches of the river, with bass, smoothhounds and thornback rays featuring in catches.
The big attraction of the outer estuary is the training wall, which contains the main navigable channel on both sides for around eight miles out to sea. It’s basically a rocky reef put in place to prevent encroachment from the surrounding sandbanks. It’s a haven for crabs, prawns and small fish, which in turn attracts the bass.
Be prepared to lose some tackle here, but on the right day the fishing can be superb. The wall can show at low tide, so care must be taken not to run into it.
The fishing out of Liverpool can be put into two categories, winter and summer fishing.
For the winter cod, rays and whiting, you will need a standard uptiding set-up or 12/20lb-class downtide kit. The tide run can be fierce at times, so make sure you have a selection of grip weights from 6oz to 10oz, and downtide sinkers from 6oz to 16oz.
Many anglers prefer to use a braided mainline, which helps to combat the fierce tides. If you do use braid, it’s a good idea not to attach a leader. On some days the river can be full of detritus and weed, which can collect around a leader knot – there have been plenty of big cod lost due to a weeded leader knot in this area.
Rigs tend to be simple running legers tied with 20-30lb fluorocarbon and carrying size 4/0 to 6/0 hooks in a Pennell set-up. For the summer bass and smoothhound fishing, the Pennell hooks are replaced with a single size 4/0.
The real key to success is bait quality and presentation. Fresh peeler crab, mackerel and ragworm baits work well during the summer, while local lugworms and squid are the winter staples. Frozen black lug whipped into a sausage tipped with squid is a good bet to get plenty of scent into the fast-flowing water.