Weymouth is one of the largest towns in the county of Dorset. The isle of Portland sits to the south of Weymouth and provide excellent fishing all year round. With Chesil Beach close by to Weymouth the area truly can boast to have some of the best shore fishing in the country. On this page I am paying particular attention to Weymouth and Portland themselves and have given a whole different page to Chesil Beach itself.
The area has fantastic beaches awesome harbours and incredible rock fishing locations all of which produce great fish. Portland itself holds the British record for Wrasse and Chesil boasts several other shore caught records. With the Olympics coming this year the profile of this area is only going to increase so give the area a go soon for some excellent sport.
The isle of Portland sits at the end of Chesil Beach to the south of Weymouth. The area is famed for its strong tides and spectacular scenery and marine life, with dolphins often spotted here. The Pulpit Rock is probably the most famous landmark around, and it is from here some of the best fishing can be expected.
Bait: Crabs, ragworms, sandeels and mackerel
Tactics: This area is most famed for its huge wrasse, with divers reporting seeing fish close to 10lbs. The best chance of catching these fish is on ledgered crab baits. Use a strong size 1/0 or 2/0 hook, which I find works best on a simple rotten bottom running ledger, as the ground here is extremely rocky. You can also fish a float rig baited with live sandeels which will catch the bass and pollack that lurk around the rocks. For the mullet fish with a bubble float and make sure you take a lot of bread, and are prepared to move around.
Getting there: Take the A354 from Dorchester heading towards Weymouth. Stay on the A354 until you have reached Weymouth Town centre, follow signs for the Weymouth quay, or marina. Once you reach the marina you will see signs for Portland. Follow Portland Bill Road all the way to the car park close to the lighthouse at Portland. The fishing is to the right of the lighthouse.
Stone Pier (Weymouth)
Weymouth has long been synonymous with tourists, and now has the Olympics to boost as well. There are two main piers here, Stone pier and pleasure pier, and both produce a lot of fish during the summer months. The area provides easy access for both disabled and young anglers with a real chance of many species of fish, although most are small.
Bait: Ragworms, lugworms, peeler crabs, sandeels, mackerel and squid
Tactics: For the numerous micro species that can be found in and around the pier fish very basic rigs, as you are bound to lose some in the weed and rocks along the pier, float fishing can also work for avoiding this problem. Stick with floats fished with mackerel or sandeel strip for the mackerel and garfish and maybe even small bass. With a relatively short cast you will find a sandy bottom and this can produce the flatties and dogfish on standard beach tactics.
Getting there: On the road heading out of Weymouth toward Portland you will see the area of Northe signposted, this is a peninsula jutting out to of Weymouth. The stone pier juts off the end of this peninsula, with large areas for parking although they are pay and display.
Pleasure Pier (Weymouth)
Situated close to Stone Pier this area again is a typical seaside town pier. The fishing here throws up the usual array of shore fish and quantity is more likely than size here. The fishing during the summer can be very good, and when the wind is blowing and it is a struggle to get on Chesil beach this are makes a good second choice.
Bait: Ragworms, lugworms, peeler crabs, mackerel and sandeels
Tactics: This fishes like most piers along the south coast of England. The best results will come close to the pier with float fishing or touch ledgering. The mackerel and garfish are caught on floated mackerel strip, or sandeel as are the pollack. Try a large squid bait fished close in for the chance of a good bass fixed on a Pennell rig. Standard paternoster and flapper rigs will work over the clean ground for most of the usual summer species.
Getting there: Situated next to Stone Pier the directions follow very closely with Pleausre Pier sitting to the south of Stone.
Preston Beach (Weymouth)
Preston Beach extends from Greenhill to Bowleaze Cove. It is a shallow shingle beach that offers fantastic shore fishing. The ground here is relatively snag free and has been known to hold matches along it. The access is good although the best parts of the beach are usually at either end of the bay, so expect a walk to the final location. There is a reef that is close to the beach at the Bowleaze end which is worth noting.
Bait: Peeler crabs, hermit crabs, mackerel, sandeels, ragworms and lugworms
Tactics: Standard beach fishing tactics work best here. If you are fishing during the day expect to fish at range due to the often clear and shallow water. Fishing at night produces the best results with a good mixed bag of fish often caught in the matches. Ragworm seems to be the bait of choice for most here although the smoothhounds will take crab baits. Standard beach rods and reels that can be cast at relative range will work best here. Fish one rod with a larger bait on a Pennell, with the other using smaller worm baits on 2 or 3 hook rigs.
Getting there: Follow the A353 signposted for Wareham before looking for signposts for Greenhill. There are pay and display car parks here although it is better to look for free areas within the town, which do exist.
Ringstead Bay is a relatively unfished area. The area produces good catches all year round but is shared with holidaymakers and surfers alike. The area has large reefs that run out from the beach in places so obtain as much local knowledge as possible if you want to avoid losing a lot of tackle, although the reefs also hold a good number and variety of fish. This area is definitely worth a try during the winter months when Chesil seems impossible to fish.
Bait: Ragworms, peeler crabs, sandeels, mackerel, squid and lugworms
Tactics: Float fished sandeels will catch garfish mackerel and bass close to the reefs. Try fishing to the far west end of the bay at range. The small numbers of codling and whiting that visit during the winter seem to hug the reefs at this end. Standard beach fishing tactics work well here with long casting essential during the day but not so important at night. Flapper, paternoster and pulley rigs all work well here with the latter particular good for avoiding the ruff ground.
Getting there: Take the A353 from Weymouth through Osmington and on the right should be a drop away turning. Follow the road though the village and follow signs for Ringstead Bay. Park in a large field which is free during the winter but not in the national trust car park, otherwise you have gone too far.
Ferry Bridge links the area of water known as the fleet, on Chesil beach, to Portland harbour. The strong tides here make fishing challenging yet rewarding especially during the summer when the area fishes at its best. Access to the concrete promenade close to the bridge can be obtained from near the pub. The area is fairly popular amongst locals and lends itself to being fished during the late evening and early morning for bass on artificials.
Winter Species: Flounders and eels
Bait: Ragworms, sandeels, lures, flies and spinners
Tactics: This is a classic bass fishing area and I therefore fish it using spinners and lures. Be prepared to come in to contact with weed a fair bit but stay patient using all range of lures and spinners to cover the relatively deep water. If you chose to fish on the bottom again watch out for weed in the string tide and be prepared to battle through small wrasse to get to the better fish. Try spinning frozen sandeels fairly slowly for the chance of small pollack and bass.
Getting there: Follow signs out of Weymouth towards Portland. There is a large pay and display car park on the right when you are driving across the Chesil stretch of road. Ferry bridge is on the opposite side to the car park and can easily be accessed by foot.
Church Ope Cove
The stunning coastline along the Portland coast is very popular amongst walkers’ bird watchers and fisherman. Church Ope Cove attracts all three and also tourists who have their beach huts close to this part of the beach. Be prepared for a strenuous walk to and from this location with over 150steps to be combated. This location is probably best suited for fairly experienced anglers as children and older anglers may struggle with the access.
Bait: Ragworms, mackerel and peeler crabs
Tactics: Fish from the centre of the beach for the cleanest ground either side of the beach and you will find snaggy rough ground which is best fished using a float with either mackerel or ragworm for bait. The water here is very clear and can make fishing on hot summer’s day fairly challenging. Fish shore fishing rods at range for the best results with pulley rigs to avoid any snags with the most likely catch being dogfish and rays at the right time of year.
Getting there: Follow signs from Weymouth to Portland. Having gone through the town of Portland itself you will reach a sharp right bend in the road with a large stone arch in front of you. Parki in the car park close by and then walk through the arch and follow the coastal path down the steps to the cove.