The area I have called West Dorset includes any marks West of Chesil Beach right down to the Devon coast. This dramatic coastline often has the tendency to be slightly overlooked with anglers preferring the lure of Chesil. Having said that this area has some fantastic fishing locations with a wide range of habitats. If you are holidaying in the area or live close by then really do explore the beaches, harbours, estuaries and cliffs around the area.
There are a lot of fishing locations in the area of West Bay to be exploited. You have the choice of fishing the East Pier, West Bay Beach, the Harbour, the Jurassic Pier or at nearby Eype. The pier fishing is similar to that of most pier fishing in the UK with the usual species being found. The area is a tourist hotspot over the summer months, so try to avoid the large volumes of traffic, and remember to read all the relevant angling signs on the piers and harbour.
Bait: Mackerel, lures, ragworms, lugworms and sandeels
Tactics: If fishing the piers float fished mackerel and ragworms is great fun particularly for the kids. You will catch pollack, mackerel, garfish and wrasse using these tactics. From the beach use standard beach gear adapting your approach depending on what you are fishing for. Try flapper rigs mounted with worm and fish baits fished at distance. To avoid the crowds during the summer fish an incoming tide during the evening for best results.
Getting there: Take the A35 heading west towards Bridport continue past Bridport until you arrive at Bothenhampton, from here take West Bay road heading south. In West Bay you will find areas to park, and then choose your location accordingly.
Seatown is not to be confused with the larger town of Seaton in Devon. Both are good fishing locations but are different places. The area is close to good public amenities such as a pub and toilets making this a popular fishing location. The beach is shallow but during the summer offers some great sport to anglers of all abilities whilst throwing up some good fish during the winter months
Bait: Lugworms, sandeels, mackerel and ragworms
Tactics: Fish large sandeels on a clipped pulley rig fished at range for best results for the rays and bass, mackerel also works using this technique. During the night the baits can be kept close in less than 50yards out with bass being the most likely takers. For the smaller fish try paternoster and flapper rigs baited with worms over the clean ground. Float fished mackerel strip in the summer can be good sport for mackerel and garfish
Getting there: From the A35 take the exit signposted Chideock. Seatown is reached down a narrow lane from Chideock. There is a car park close to the pub.
Lyme Regis Beach
You have the choice here of fishing to the east of the Cobb on this stretch of the beach or going west of Lyme Regis on to Monmouth beach. Although these areas are very close together they pose entirely different fishing prospects with Monmouth possessing very ruff ground and the area east of the Cobb being very clean. Both are worth a try during the summer with some excellent fish caught along these stretches every year.
Bait: Ragworms, squid, mackerel, maggots and sandeels
Tactics: Fish the ruff ground at Monmouth with strong hooks and line using a pulley rig or rotton bottom rig to minimize tackle loss. Large sandeel or squid baits work well for the large huss around this area with ragworms picking up wrasse and other smaller species. To the east of the Cobb try fishing for the mullet that seem to eat the maggots that live in the rotting weed on the beach, be warned this can be extremely frustrating. Failing that standard 2 or 3 hook rigs fished at range will pick up flatties and other summer fish. During the winter fish Monmouth on a pulley Pennell with either lug peeler or squid, or cocktails for the codling that move in.
Getting there: Follow signs to Lyme Regis before choosing to head east or west depening on the beach of your choice. Both have good parking close by and are close to public amenities in the town centre.
Lyme Regis Harbour
Lyme Regis is a stunning small town in the west of Dorset. The area is a honey pot for tourists and can be heaving in the summer months. There are a few locations to fish in the town with the favourites being the harbour walls or the beaches, both highlighted on this site. Be prepared to travel fairly light as it is not always possible to park close to the harbour in the peak of summer.
Bait: Ragworms, mackerel and sandeels
Tactics: Fish from any of the harbour walls for the typical array of summer species. The Cobb is a particular favourite location of young sea anglers with easy access and lots of fun to be had on float fished worm and mackerel strip as bait for wrasse, garfish and mackerel. The small area of beach behind the buildings close to the harbour wall offers some good fishing and would be my choice during the winter months. Ledgered worm baits seem to pick up the majority of fish, with a large squid or mackerel bait fished close to wall s worth trying at night for the bass.
Getting there: Follow signs in to the town of Lyme Regis and making your way towards the sea front. The harbour cannot be missed. Park in the pay and display car parks, which can be very busy during the summer, for best access.
Eype is a very small village situated just to the east of Bridport. The area is almost entirely shingle and therefore does not experience the crowding that other beaches in the area do over summer. The fishing is typical beach style tactics with long casting a must during the day. The relatively difficult access makes this a far from ideal location for the less mobile anglers.
Bait: Ragworms, mackerel, lugworm, sandeels and peeler crabs
Tactics: This is a typical beach mark where a good cast is paramount to get amongst the best fish namely some good size rays and hounds. Fixed paternoster rigs fished with an impact shield for better casting should put you amongst the fish. Fish sandeels for the rays and crabs for the hounds whilst ragworms is a great universal bait if you are struggling for bites. Mackerel will show in the summer and can be caught on float fished mackerel strip. Fishing at night produces the best results although you may have to work through the pouting.
Getting there: Turn of the A35 from Bridport signposted lower Eype. Parking is available in a large field over the summer months with a short walk to the beach. During the winter it is difficult to find a good parking spot to access the area.