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 Bristol Channel 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 advise leaving well alone unless you are fishing with a Bristol Channel angler 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 for fishing this Bristol Channel mark is 1 1/2 hours either side of high water.
Species: Codling, flounder, sole, eels, whiting, conger, mullet and 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 Bristol Channel mark especially on autumn evening tides when some good bags of codling are taken from local Channel anglers on a regular basis. Varivas Big Mouth hooks in a size 1 - 3/0 will handle any BC 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 and can be a very popular Bristol Channel cod hot spot.

TIDES:Fish on spring tides 2 hours either side of high water.
SPECIES:Codling, flounder, eels, whiting, conger, mullet and bass.

Portishead

Portishead

Sat Nav - BS20 7HD

The most famous Bristol Channel mark in Portishead is Battery point which is noted for the big cod which have often been caught here by local Channel anglers. 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 Channel marks found at Portishead.

TIDES:Battery Point is best fished on neaps while the Sandbanks should be tackled on springs.
SPECIES: Cod, codling, thornbacks, whiting, conger, sole and dogfish

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier

Sat Nav - BS21 7QU

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 its 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: Clevedon Pier in the Bristol Channel is 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 which is highly popular with Channel Anglers.

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

Sat Nav - BS21 6US

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 Bristol Channel 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 large sole

St Thomas's Head - MOD

St Thomas's Head - MOD

Sat Nav - BS22 9YU

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 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 like any other Bristol Channel mark ''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 smooth hounds.

Sand Point

Sand Point

Sat Nav - BS22 9UD

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. Many Bristol Channel anglers find 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, thornbacks and smoothhounds.

Sand Bay

Sand Bay

Sat Nav - BS22 9UQ

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 lots of Channel anglers dig lugworm 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

Sat Nav - BS22 9YD

From Weston sea front head north past Birnbeck island and take the old toll road towards Sand bay. Park in one of the small lay-bys and access the rocks down the well-defined but sometimes steep paths. Fishing is from rock ledges on to clean sand.

TIDES: Bristol Channel anglers find that 2 hours either side of high tide on spring tides fish best.
SPECIES: Good for Whiting plus some flounders, codling, conger eel and Thornback rays

Anchor Head

Anchor Head

Sat Nav - BS23 2ED

Anchor head is at the northern end of Weston sea front and runs between the old Marine Lake and Birnbeck Island. There is limited on street parking and a small pay and display car park near the old pier. Once parked the fishing is from the promenade so it is comfortable and clean. You are casting onto mud, weed and rocks and it is worthwhile arriving a little early so that you can pick your preferred spot. Anchor head is popular with walkers so please take care not to obstruct the promenade with tackle and tripods. Most Channel anglers prefer to use Pulley rigs or two hook clip down rigs depending on the species sought. The addition of a leadlift can help to get your rig up off the sea bed to clear the close in snags.

TIDES: 2 1/2 hours either side of high tide with Spring tides offering more depth and arguably better fishing.
SPECIES: whiting, codling, whiting, conger eels and a few sea bass and thornback rays

Weston Town Beach

Weston Town Beach

Sat Nav - BS23 1BE

Once in Weston just follow the signs for the sea front. Pay and display parking is available all along the sea front. The road is closed at 9pm each night but provided you have parked before then you are still able to drive 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 used by some of the top Channel anglers is to fill a large capacity reel with braid and walk back some big baits on the flooding tide, placing your baits 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 silvers eels but codling, bass, rays, and conger also show in good numbers

Brean Down

Brean Down

Sat Nav - TA8 2RS

Leave the M5 at J22 and follow signs for Burnham. At the Esso garage turn right and just keep following this road for about 5 miles and 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. Landing fish can be challenging from some marks so many top channel anglers take a landing net to avoid losing that specimen fish at the last minute.

TIDES: Can be fished any tide both high and low water but the landward, Weston, end dries out at low water on spring tides
SPECIES: Thornback rays, cod, bass, conger and whiting

Brean - Berrow beaches

Brean - Berrow beaches

Sat Nav - TA8 2RB

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. The one downside is that as the tide pushes in so quickly you are always on the move. This does however allow you to cast out and walk back leaving your bait in deeper water. A trick of some local Channel anglers is to fill a reel with braid and walk it back in the hope of picking up a lunker. It is this tactic which often catches the biggest rays and cod. Don't however be tempted to fish any more than three hours before high tide as the mud below the half tide line is dangerously soft in places. Another top local tip is not to take too much kit and many locals opt to just take a bucket to store all of your tackle and bait as this allows 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, thornback ray, whiting, sea bass, conger and flounders.

Burnham Lower Light

Burnham Lower Light

Leave the 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 gets very deep and also hide some deeper gullies which when filled with mud are impossible to see until you start to sink! Although the fishing at 'the light' can be very good it is normally a particularly messy place to fish and most regular channel anglers opt to wear

Burnham Sea Wall

Sat Nav - TA8 1LA

Once in Burnham the sea front is easy to find and is well signposted. You can fish the full length of the esplanade but the best area is considered to be the stretch from the jetty (opposite B&M) south to the Yacht club. Parking is on the roadside and is free from October to March (Pay and display operates the rest of year). This is an easy access mark and can be very popular with Bristol Channel Anglers 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. The sand and mud shifts after bad weather and this can expose some rocky patches but if you arrive 2 hours or so before high tide you can easily see where any snags are so that you can pick a spot to avoid any nasty look bits.

TIDES: Best fished on spring tides for 1 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 and odd codling. Bass and some reasonable sole 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.
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.

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