Down Your Way
Holiday angling guide to Devon & Cornwall.
Nowhere is the holidaying angler better served than on and off the coasts of Devon and Cornwall. Shore fishing enthusiasts have the choice of a multitude of places that offer a real chance of catching a variety of species, while boat anglers encounter some of the country’s best sport.
The Ness on the Shaldon flank at the mouth of the Teign estuary is a good mark for bass, during the second half of the flood and the first hour of the ebb.
Bottom or float-fishing with lives and eels obtainable at nearby Teignmouth gets the best result. Plaice and flounders are also available as they make their way through the narrow neck into the estuary.
Hope’s Nose at Torquay is a renowned mark. The long-abandoned sea quarry is beneath Marine Drive and has rock platforms from which ballan wrasse can be caught with bottom gear, while spinning or float-fishing accounts for garfish and mackerel.
The Nose is also good for mullet, mostly on the right-hand side of the spit, but they are wily, and groundbaiting is necessary to bring them within light float-fishing range.
Congers are very active at night in the area facing the conspicuous Thatcher Rock. Fish a leger to a size 8/0 hook carrying fishbait, ideally squid, which is obtainable at Torquay tackle shops.
Torquay’s Princess and Haldon piers may only be fished from their seaward sides, and fishing at the end is prohibited due to the amount of small boat traffic.
Tor Bay is a major holiday destination. The small harbour at Paignton has several boats that visit the Bay wrecks for congers, ling and black bream.
Torbay’s 54th Sea Angling Festival will be fished over nine days (and nights) in September. Initially set up to attract holiday anglers, many trophies were donated by hotels. It is a rich event, with a prize list worth more than £10,000 offered in dozens of classes, thus giving every entrant a chance of an award. Holiday anglers have won its big cash prize a good number of times, so upholding the competition’s primary objective.
Paignton SAA has its headquarters in Cliff Road, and temporary membership is offered at low cost.
Holiday anglers are made very welcome to what is a fine facility. The hundreds of pictures on the walls are testament to the quality fishing available in the area. It also has the mounts of two British record coalfish.
Justifiably popular is Brixham’s long breakwater (pictured left), which offers bottom and float-fishing on the outside edge. Float-fishing at the lighthouse end gets mackerel and garfish.
Mullet haunt the inside edge, but a light approach with bread or mackerel flake is necessary to catch them.
The harbour also produces other species of mullet, such as thin-lipped and golden grey. You can get temporary membership at Brixham SAC’s Castor Road premises for just £1 a week. One of its attractions is the mount of the British record conger of 133lb 4oz.
This is the setting-off point for fishing the Skerries Banks, where plaice and blonde rays are the main species. Already this year fine catches of spurdogs have been made, with two fish topping 15lb. Trips can be booked at booths on the main quay, and close by is the Dartmouth Angling Club headquarters that welcomes holiday anglers.
Start Point and its many rocky inlets provide a very good shore fishing area, and a sliding float or bottom set-up will take wrasse and rays.
PENZANCE NEWQUAY MEVAGISSEY FALMOUTH
TEIGNMOUTH TORQUAY LOOE PLYMOUTH PAIGNTON BRIXHAM SALCOMBE DARTMOUTH
Brixham’s long breakwater is popular