Fishing on the Chesil Beach

The Chesil Beach is part of the Jurassic Coast which is part of England's only natural World Heritage Site. For more details on the Jurassic Coast click here.

Chesil Beach is approximately 17 miles long all of which is fishable but some areas are out-of-bounds as they are part of a nature reserve. It extends from Chesil Cove in the east to Bridport Harbour. The beach slopes very steeply especially at the eastern end so even a short cast will put your bait into deep water. Please also note that the tides are dangerous along the beach with strong undercurrents. Only very strong swimmers should attempt to swim here. Because this beach is so vast I will only describe a few marks where there is easy access and other facilities nearby.

During late spring and early summer, mackerel shoal along the whole of the beach in great numbers. Most people target them with a feather rig which can be bought cheaply from all tackle stores. Mackerel are most easily caught during daylight in calm weather and can come very close to the shore as dusk approaches. Look for signs of seagulls diving into the sea. This is a good sign that small fish are being chased to the surface by a shoal of predators.

Guided trips along the Chesil Beach and Portland can be found here GUIDED FISHING TRIPS

Chesil Cove

This shingly area is at the eastern extremity of the Chesil Beach where it curves round the Isle of Portland. Unlike the rest of the Chesil Beach the seabed is rocky in places so it is best to fish to the right (as you face the sea) of the Cove House Inn. Divers tell me that the rocks end about here.

Bass, pouting and conger are the species most commonly caught but black bream are also common at times. Night fishing generally gives the best catches.

There is a car park immediately behind the beach.

Adelaide and the Landing Craft

These sea angling sites are situated close together and are accessed from the main car park serving the Chesil Beach Centre just past the Ferrybridge as you leave the mainland on the road to Portland. You have to pay at all times (day & night!) to park here.

fishing chesil beach

For the landing craft site park at the far end of the car park (marked with a white arrow in the picture) and walk directly across towards the sea, that is towards the shingle bank and away from the road. When you reach the top of the shingle bank ensure that you are still in line with the end of the car park and then walk straight down to the sea. This is the site of an American landing craft that was lost during World War 2.

All the expected species of fish can be caught here but it is a very good spot for black bream. These can be caught here using ragworm bait during daylight hours as well as at night.

chesil beach fishing

For the wreck of the Royal Adelaide, park in the centre of the Chesil Beach car park, face the shingle bank with your back to the road, and walk at an angle of roughly 45 degrees to your right. Carry on walking on the top of the shingle bank until the 3rd lampost from the left of the Chesil Beach Centre (the building on the right of the photograph) lines up exactly with the light on Portland Harbour. An enlarged detail is shown below. At this point you should see a concrete block, also illustrated below. Walk over to the block and walk down to the sea anywhere from here or from 10-30 paces further on. The wreck of the Royal Adelaide lies some 100 to 150 yards offshore.

alignment detail fishing on chesil beach dorset

At the Royal Adelaide wreck most species native to this coastline can be caught but it is famed for being the best mark for trigger fish. This species is only present when the sea is warm, usually late summer. Target them during the day and they will accept most baits.


Chesil beach, Abbotsbury beach looking west

Abbotsbury beach (looking westward)

From Weymouth take the B3157 towards Bridport. As you enter Abbotsbury, at a sharp and dangerous bend, you will see signposted left the world famous Swannery. Keep right at this point and drive straight through the picturesque village. Shortly after leaving the built-up area take the road on the left signposted to the Sub-Tropical Gardens and beach. Go past the gardens and stop in the beach car park. There is a small charge during the day in summer but it is free at other times.

At this classic sea fishing site there is a walkway that takes you to the top of the shingle bank. Target species such as dogfish, pouting, scad, poor cod, codling, whiting, gurnard and mackerel etc. depending on the season.

If you walk to the left (eastwards) along a narrow footpath from the car park you eventually come to a series of large concrete blocks running across the beach down to the sea. These are known as the "Dragon's Teeth" but are really a series of tank traps that were built during World war II. It will take you at least 20 minutes to reach them from the car park; probably longer if you walk along the top of the shingle bank.

Although this is obviously quite a long trek many anglers think it worthwhile as the catches can be very good and some very fine cod have been taken at this mark. You cannot go past the Dragons's Teeth as the protected part of the beach starts at this point.

There are toilets and a refreshment kiosk in the main car park. Apart from the Swannery and Sub-Tropical Gardens already mentioned there are other main attractions in the village to suit the family.

West Bexington

This is a very popular beach and although there is a good car park, it will almost certainly be full during fine weather in the summer. Some anglers prefer to fish to the right of the car park, some prefer the left. I do not think there is a great deal of difference. After dark I have seen an experienced angler catch many sole to the right of the car park at a distance of about 120 yards from the shore. This is further out than is usually recommended for this species. I was fishing next to him and caught nothing!

All the usual species can be caught here and it is a very popular site for mackerel fishing during the warmer months when they come inshore in large numbers. During one fishing match the mackerel were so intent on chasing small fish inshore that they stranded themselves and could be picked up from the beach.

There is a café and toilet block next to the car park.

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