VMO Guide to the marks of the Bristol Channel

Fancy a days fishing in the Bristol Channel?
Listed below are a few of the popular local marks with details of how to get there and what you may catch.

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The Bristol Channel is subject to the second highest tidal range in the world and therefore a degree of care is needed on some marks. Fishing at high tide is normally fine but if you fish some of the low tide marks you must be fully aware of the rising tide and ensure that you exit is not cut off by the incoming tide.


The upper channel marks are particularly dangerous and we would not recommend venturing out on to any of the mud banks and sand bars without expert local guidance.

Fancy a day on Chesil? The VMO Chesil calander helps you to know what you may expect to catch.

Aust

Aust

SAT NAV - BS35 4BG

Exit the M48 at Junction 1. Take the A403 (Severn Beach) and after approx 1/4 of a mile turn right. This minor road takes you towards the sea before bending to the left and running parallel to the shore. The easiest place to park is just as the road turns back in-land. Access to the foreshore is through the gate and then walk across the fields to the sea. Fishing is anywhere between the bridges but be prepared to get a bit muddy! Many local anglers choose a small sharp hook such as the Varivas Saltwater Super Match to cover all bases at Aust. IMPORTANT - There are some low water spots in the Aust area but these can be extremely dangerous and we would advice leaving well alone unless you are fishing with a local who has considerable experience of the area.
Tides:Medium sized tides offer the best fishing but very large tides are best avoided as they push too far up the grass. Best times are 1 1/2 hours either side of high water.
Species:Codling, flounder, sole, eels, whiting, conger, mullet and occassional bass.

Severn Beach and New Passage

Severn Beach and New Passage

SAT NAV - BS35 4PQ

From the motorway take Junction 1 on the M48. Take the A403 (Severn Beach). Follow signs to the Sea Front, approx. 4 miles from junction 1. Alternatively follow the coast road northwards from Avonmouth. Reasonably comfortable fishing from the sea wall means that this is a popular mark especially on autumn evening tides when some good bags of codling can be taken. Varivas Big Mouth hooks in a size 1-3/0 will handle any cod you are likely to encounter here. New Passage is the area of sea wall to the north of the second severn crossing and can be reached by either walking up from Severn Beach or Parking in the small Village of Redwick (signposted off of the Severn Beach road). Parking in the village is limited so please be considerate with where you park. Fishing is much the same as Severn Beach.
TIDES:Fish on spring tides 2 hours either side of high water.
SPECIES:Codling, flounder, eels, whiting, conger, mullet and bass.

Portishead

Portishead

The most famous mark in Portishead is Battery point which is noted for the big cod which have often been caught here. Access to Battery Point is as follows. Leave the M5 at Junction 19 and follow signs to Portishead and Sea Front, Parking is available along the sea front near to the open air swimming pool. The Point is clearly visible to the left (light) and fishing is possible from a number of spots from the Point back towards Bristol where a large sandbank uncovers at low water on Spring tides. Heading south you reach a couple of other noted marks, the Slipway and Black Nore Point. Both of these are good, if muddy, spots for codling and rays. There are a number of other possible spots along the coast between Portishead and Clevedon and a walk along the coast path can lead to some quieter fishing marks. Footwear with adequate grip such as the Snowbee Rockhopper boot is essential if you intend to tackle some of the marks found at Portishead.
TIDES:Battery Point is best on neaps while the Sandbanks should be tackled on springs.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, thornbacks, whiting, conger, sole and dogfish.
Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier

Leave the M5 at junction 20 and follow the signs for the sea front. Once you get to the sea front you cannot miss the pier. Free parking is available along the sea front or in one of the many side roads. Fishing times on the pier are restricted but day tickets can be bought at a quite reasonable price and as you would expect access is very good. Clevedon Pier has it's own club and their website http://www.clevedonpierseaanglingclub.com/ is very informative. The club organise regular matches, mainly on Sunday's and Wednesday's, and on match days the pier can get very busy. If you are planning a visit it may be worth checking on their website to see if your visit will clash with a competition. Although a limited number of drop nets are available on the pier, it could be wise to take your own, just in case
TIDES:Can be fished at most times but 3 hours either side of high water on a neap to mid range tide would be the most popular time to fish and the ebb is often the best time for codling
SPECIES:Noted for whiting, codling and dabs but all-sorts can turn up with conger, sole and dogfish reasonably common. Bass and smoothhounds can at times be present during the summer
Clevedon - Layde Bay

Clevedon - Layde Bay

Another famous Bristol Channel mark noted for its good cod fishing. Access is as for the pier but carry on northwards from the Pier following the coast road towards Portishead and turn left at the Portishead sign into Bay Road. Park as far down the road as possible. From here take the coastal footpath towards Portishead and this will soon bring you to the ledges. At high tide fishing is off of the ledges whilst at low tide you can, with care, climb down onto the rocks at the bottom of the ledges. Take care if you venture on to the sand banks which show on big tides as these can at times be very soft and unstable. Litter is a perennial problem here so please take your rubbish home. If you do not then be aware that you will be generally despised by other anglers. This mark is very popular and you may have to walk some distance. The tide pull here can be very strong and an up-tide style lead should be used at this time to ensure your baited trace stays on the sea bed where the fish are feeding.
TIDES:Can be fished any tide any time but the tide run on big springs can make fishing difficult. Best times are 1 hour up, 3 hours down, or 3 hours down and 1 hour up.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, whiting, flounder, conger, sole, dogfish, dabs, thornbacks and eels.
Kingston Seymour

Kingston Seymour

Leave the M5 at junction 21 and head north on A370 towards Bristol. In Congresbury turn left on to the B3133 and drive straight through Yatton. About 1mile outside the village take the left hand turn to Kingston Seymour and look for middle road. Drive along here until you reach Channel View Farm where you need to park on the side of the road. The track besides the farm leads to the sea wall which is about a 1/2 mile walk. A trolley can make transporting your tackle to the venue easier. PLEASE NOTE. The access mentioned is NOT a public footpath. Anyone using this spot does so with goodwill of the property owner at Channel View Farm. Visiting anglers are requested to park sensibly at Middle Lane on the verge well away from corner.
TIDES:Springs are best but try to avoid tides much higher than 12.5m Fished 2 hours either side of high water or the field behind the sea all will flood and you may get wet feet!
SPECIES:Cod, codling, whiting, bass, flatties, conger, thornbacks, eels and the occasional sole.
St Thomas's Head - MOD

St Thomas's Head - MOD

Leave the M5 at Junction 21 and follow the signs for Kewstoke and Sand Bay. Keep going on the Queensway until you reach the Old Manor Pub, turn right and follow the narrow road towards Woodspring Priory. When approaching the Priory turn right, just before you reach it, along the gravel track, go through through the gate (making sure to close it after), and park in the National Trust car park at the end. Walk up the steps and follow the path that will begin to climb up on to the top of the hill. From here, the cliff edge lined with gorse bushes to the left of the MOD base will become evident and narrow rabbit paths will guide you down the cliff. The ground here can be quite rough and it's advisable to use a rotten bottom clip on your rig to keep tackle losses to a minimum. Pulley rigs work well here.
TIDES: Low water is the most productive time to fish with most anglers opting for 2 hours either side.
SPECIES: Cod, conger, Thornback rays, bass, flounder, eels and some smoothhounds.
Sand Point

Sand Point

Leave the M5 at J21 (Weston Super Mare). Follow signs for Kewstoke/Sand Bay/Sand Point. Once at Sand bay, Drive to the end of the seafront road and park in the National Trust car park, noting the closing times. Take the steps to the summit and head west along the point. Fishing is on the North (Clevedon) side, anywhere from the seaward end of the Point eastwards to Middle Hope bay. Access down the cliffs can be difficult so take great care. A rucksack makes life easier and consider lightening the load if you plan to walk all the way to the end of the point. The best fishing is over low water.
TIDES:Can be fished on most tides but neaps are preferred by most locals as springs run very hard. Fish 2 hours either side of low water.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, whiting, bass, conger, and thornbacks.
Sand Bay

Sand Bay

ACCESS:Directions are as for Sand Point and Sand Bay is the beach you drive beside on the way to the point. There are a number of car parks along the beach so access is not a problem. Fishing times are limited but it is nice easy fishing and lugworm can be dug here. A three hook flapper rig scores well here when fished at short range and baited with lugworm or ragworm.
TIDES:Best fished on spring tides for 2 hours in and 1.5 hours out
SPECIES:Mainly Flounders and silver eels with odd codling in winter and bass and rays in the summer.
Kewstoke Rocks/Toll Road

Kewstoke Rocks/Toll Road

From Weston take the old toll road towards Sand bay. Park in one of the small lay-bys and access the rocks down the well definded but sometimes steep paths. Fishing is from rock ledges on to clean sand.
TIDES:Best 2 hours either side of high tide on spring tides
SPECIES:Good for Whiting plus some flounders, codling, congers and odd rays
Anchor Head

Anchor Head

Anchor head is the promenade that runs between Birnbeck Island and the marine lake. Fishing is from the promenade casting onto mud, weed and rocks. Angler's are requested not to obstruct the promenade with tackle and tripods. Pulley rigs and two hook clip down rigs work well here but the addition of a leadlift can help to get your rig up off the sea bed which can be a little tackle hungry in places.
TIDES:2 1/2 hours either side of high tide
SPECIES:whiting, codling, eels and a few bass and rays
Weston Town Beach

Weston Town Beach

Once in Weston just follow the signs for the sea front. Pay and display parking is available all along the front. The road is closed at 9pm each night but provided you have parked before 9pm you can still get out.
Best fishing area is between the Grand pier and the southern beach access point. Weston town beach is a very under-rated venue and can throw up some good bags of fish at times. A local trick is to fill a large capacity reel with braid and walk back a big bait on the flooding tide, leaving it in deeper water than even the biggest caster could reach.
TIDES: Fish 2.5 hours in and 1 hour back on any tide but medium springs are generally more productive.
SPECIES: Good for flounders and eels but codling, bass, rays, and conger can also show
Brean Down

Brean Down

Leave the M5 at J22 and follow signs for Burnham. At the Esso garage turn right and just keep going for about 5 miles. Brean Down is at the very end of the coast road. Plenty of parking is available during daytime but both car parks are locked at night. Access to the Down is by climbing the long (200+) flight of steps and turning left towards the fort. Access the water by following the small paths which lead down on the north (Weston) side. Some of these paths lead to very steep access points so extreme care is needed although access at the far end just before the fort is slightly easier. If fishing from the high tide mark, a landing net is essential should you wish to successfully land a big cod.
TIDES: Can be fished any tide both high and low water
SPECIES: Cod, bass, conger, smoothhound and ray

Brean - Berrow beaches

Brean - Berrow beaches

Follow the same directions as for Brean Down and look out for the beach access points. The access to Berrow is opposite Unity Farm and the entrance to Brean beach is about 1 mile before the Down. Parking is available on the beach during the daytime (Normally free during the winter) but once again the car parks are locked at night greatly restricting access. Despite their shallow appearance, these beaches can fish very well but you are always on the move as the tide pushes you further back up the sand. Don't attempt to fish any more than three hours before high tide as the mud can be quite soft in places. A bucket is useful to store all of your tackle in and enables a speedy retreat when the tide is on the make.
TIDES: Fish 3 hours in and 1 hour down. Springs are generally best and an old local guide was the bigger the tide, the nearer to the Down you should fish.
SPECIES: Cod, whiting, bass, conger, flounders and ray
Burnham Lower Light

Burnham Lower Light

Leave M5 at J22 and head into Burnham. Follow the coast road as for Brean Down but after approx. mile turn left into Allandale Road. Parking is on the roadside but take care not to block any entrances. Fish anywhere along the beach but do not go too far past the lighthouse as the mud can be very soft and there are some deep gullies which at times fill with soft mud making them impossible to see until you start to sink! A tall tripod is useful as a conventional 6' model will sink into the mud meaning that your reels are closer to ground level where they risk a smattering of gloop!
TIDES: Best fished on neap tides from just after low water until high tide.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, conger, whiting, flounders, sole and occasional rays and bass in summer.

Burnham Sea Wall

Once in Burnham follow signs for the sea front. Best area to fish is from the jetty (opposite B&M) south to the Yacht club. Parking is on the roadside and is free from October to March. This is a very easy access mark and can be very popular on Autumn evening high tides when some reasonable bags of whiting can be taken along with the odd codling and conger eel. The ground here is mostly clean sand leading to some quite deep mud in the river channel. There are some rocky patches but if you arrive 2 hours or so before high tide you can easily see where the snags are and avoid them.
TIDES:Best fished on spring tides for 1 ½ hours either side of high tide when you can fish from the wall itself. The mud in front of the wall can be very soft.
SPECIES:Whiting, conger, flounder, sole and odd codling. Bass can show in the summer
Huntspill Wall

Huntspill Wall

The sea wall is on the south side of the River Brue and is about a 1 mile walk from Highbridge. During the day it is sometimes possible to drive to the venue by following the water board road next to the Huntspill River. BUT make sure to check the closing times on the gates! An easy spot to fish and you are casting from a concrete wall on to mud.
TIDES:Medium tides best. Neaps do not reach the wall and springs come over the top
SPECIES:whiting, codling, eels and a few bass
Stolford

Stolford

Leave the M5 at junction 23 and follow signs for Bridgwater and then A39 Minehead. At Cannington go into the village and turn right at the war memorial, sign posted to Hinkley Point. Follow this road for about three miles and Stolford is sign posted on the right. Carry on down narrow lanes until you reach a T. junction, turn right and then at a V in the road take the left hand fork. This will take you to the beach where there is a small car park. Fish from either the sea wall towards Hinkley Point or the shingle beach to the right. If you arrive early you can see where the sandy areas are and therefore cut down on lost tackle.
TIDES:Best fished on spring tides for 2 � hours either side of high tide.
SPECIES:Codling, whiting, silver eels and bass.
Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point

- (PLEASE NOTE - Due to the construction works for Hinkley 3 access is liable to constantly change as many footpaths are closed/redirected)

As Stolford but rather then turn right into Stolford stay on the main road which will take you straight to the power station. There is limited roadside parking outside of the gates.(DO NOT PARK INSIDE THE POWER STATION) There is a stile just to the right of the main gate. Cross this and follow the footpath around the perimeter of the station and it will eventually bring you to the foreshore to the right of Hinkley and Shurton. You will see the reefs to your left. The best areas are either straight out in front of the power station or the long reef which runs off to the west (Shurton reef) You can also access Shurton reef by turning right in the village of Shurton and driving down the track by Knighton Farm. Park at the end of the track and the reefs are about a miles walk over the hill.
TIDES:Can be fished on any sized tide for 2 � hours either side of low water. Weed can be a problem on large tides and take care not to get cut off by the rising tide.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, thornbacks, conger, whiting and bass.
Lilstock

Lilstock

Take the A39 Minehead road from Bridgwater until just after Holford where there is a sharp left hand bend. On this bend a lane goes straight ahead and is signed to Lilstock. Follow the lane to Kilton and by the church turn left. Keep on this lane and just past Lilstock farm the road bends sharp right and a track on the left leads to the beach car park. Walk up the track past the gate and this will take you to the beach. You can either fish over high tide by the pipe or walk to the left and fish off of the low water reefs.
TIDES:The reef fishes best 3 hours either side of low water on spring tides whilst many prefer to fish for 4 hours in and 2 hours out on neap tides by the pipe as a very long cast is needed to clear the rocks on spring tides
SPECIES:Cod, codling, conger, thornback, dogfish, pouting , whiting and smoothhounds
Kilve

Kilve

Kilve is on the A39 between Bridgwater and Minehead. Turn off by the shop and the lane will take you straight to the beach car park. Walk through the gate and over the stream and go across the grass keeping the stream on your right. Fishing is from any of the reefs over low water. This is a bit of a tackle graveyard so take plenty of leads.
TIDES:Spring tides are best and most reefs are Fishable for 2 hours either side of low water
SPECIES:Cod, codling, conger, dogfish, smoothhounds and thornbacks.

St. Audries

Turn right off the A39 just past the Windmill Pub, signed for Watchet. After about ½ mile there is a S bend. Right on the bend is a right turn to Home Farm holiday park. Go down the track and the pay and display car park is marked on the right with the path to the beach opposite. At the bottom of the steps turn right and walk past the waterfall. The best fishing is over high tide from the shingle bank in the main bay. There is a low water reef to the far side of the bay but extreme care is needed as the tide will cut you off very quickly.
TIDES:Medium high springs are best. Very big tides and strong winds can push the tide right up to the cliffs so care is needed.
SPECIES:Dogfish, conger, pouting, whiting and codling.

Doniford

On the same road as St Audries if you go to the bottom of the steep hill and over the bridge there is a bus stop on the left. Just past here is a hidden entrance on the right which leads to a small car park. If you get to the railway bridge you have missed the turning! Best fishing is over low water either from the sewer pipe or the reef in front of the holiday camp.
TIDES:Neap tides are best for the pipe whilst the holiday camp can be fished on springs.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, conger and pouting with a few bass in the summer.

Watchet

Sign posted off of the A39. Drive through the town and park in the big car park opposite the West Pier which is the best spot to fish. The pier offers easy fishing for 3 hours either side of high tide. It dries out at low tide and this gives an ideal chance to see the ground you will be fishing over.
TIDES:Neaps are best as the strong ebb tide makes springs hard to fish.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, whiting, conger and dogfish.
Blue Anchor

Blue Anchor

From Watchet follow the coast road westwards and it will bring you onto Blue Anchor sea wall where you can fish from the car boot if you wish. Parking is available along most of the wall but do not block the pavement or you may find your fishing interrupted by a visit from the police. The wall itself others easy fishing for 2 ½ hours either side of high tide or you can fish from the shingle beach past the café. A walk to the stakes between here and Dunster can be rewarded with good bags of codling in the autumn
TIDES:Can be fished on all sizes of tides but small neaps are generally not very good.
SPECIES:Codling, dogfish, conger, pouting, whiting, bass and occasional rays.
Dunster

Dunster

On the A39 go straight through the traffic lights by Dunster Castle and look for the sign to Dunster Beach on the right. Take the first turning left and turn right when you go over the bridge. Follow this lane to the beach pay and display car park. Good fishing can be had from directly in front of the car park or you can cross the river and fish the beach to the right.
TIDES:As this is a fairly shallow mark a good sized spring is needed to give you about 2 hours in and 1 � hours out.
SPECIES:Codling, pouting, conger, dogfish and bass.
Minehead

Minehead

This popular sea side resort is on the A39 and well signed from junctions 23, 24 and 25 on the M5. When you reach Minehead turn right at the first roundabout and this will take you on to the sea front near Butlins. There is pay and display roadside parking along most of the sea front. Since the work finished on the sea defences the area from Butlins to the Carousel now offers good easy fishing during the autumn and winter for 2 ½ hours either side of high tide. If you park at the Butlins end of the front and walk eastwards along the path in front of the golf coarse there is good fishing over high tide anywhere between the club house and the chalets at Dunster. If you turn left at the Butlins roundabout and then turn right by the railway station it will lead you to the harbour wall which can be fished for about 3 ½ hours either side of high tide. If you carry along this road past the harbour to the end and park the beach in front of you is Gasworks beach. This used to be a favorite cod hot spot but since the redesign of the towns sewerage system the cod fishing is not as good as it once was. Gasworks can still however fish very well at times and is best over low tide and for about 4 hours in. The area between the shelters and the lifeboat station can also be fished over high tide as the sand is much closer here. White mark is another popular low water mark and is reached by walking westwards from gasworks and taking the last path onto the beach before the footpath goes into the woods.
TIDES:Spring tides are best for the high tide marks whilst the low water marks tend to fish best on neaps.
SPECIES:Cod, codling, dogfish, pouting, whiting, rays, bass, smoothhounds, flatfish and mullet in the harbour.
Bossington

Bossington

Take the A39 from Minehead towards Porlock. Look out for a sharp left hand bend on which there is a right turn marked Allerford. Turn right here and follow the lane through the village and carry on to Bossington village. There is a national Trust Pay and Display car park in the village and the beach is about a 10 min walk from here. (Please note it is no longer possible to drive down the track to the beach) The beach is a very steep shingle bank and can be fished at any state of tide but the area in front of the access track is very snaggy at low water and best fished over high tide. This is the furthest up channel that you can find clear water so it does allow the chance to fish for different species. The clear water also means that bottom fishing is often best at night.
TIDES:All tides are fishable but the flood tide on big springs is very strong.
SPECIES:Any fish in the channel is possible here but the most common catches are dogfish, conger, codling, pollack, pouting, smoothhound, rockling, bass and in the summer some mackerel and garfish.
Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir

Porlock is on the A39. Drive through the town and Porlock Weir is signed on the right. Follow the lane and there is a large car park right by the beach. The best fishing area is if you walk around the harbour and over the footbridge and then fish anywhere between the cottages and the point to the left. The beach is made up of mixed pebbles and rocks and is easiest to fish over low tide but good casters can fish any state of the tide. As with Bossington night fishing is often best.
TIDES:Fishes on both springs and neaps.
SPECIES:As for Bossington but possibly even more dogfish!

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