Given its beautiful estuary location it’s no surprise that fishing in Dartmouth is a popular pastime amongst both locals and visitors alike. As well as boasting such stunning scenery, Dartmouth attracts anglers with its huge diversity of fish species and angling locations. Inshore you’ll hook bass, wrasse, turbot and plaice (a species that Dartmouth is particularly famous for). Head out on a charter boat to the offshore reefs and wrecks and you’ll be tackling cod and conger eels among many others.
If you’re going to stay in one of our Dartmouth holiday homes then a fishing trip is a great way to see some of the beautiful local coastline. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Dartmouth fishing adventure.
1. Get the lowdown on fishing in Dartmouth
If you’ve never been fishing in Dartmouth before it’s a good idea to get some local information on where to fish and where to go for tackle and bait. Check out ‘Fishing Dartmouth’ and their Facebook page for information on what’s going on in the local area, including tide tables, weather forecasts and more.
If you’re interested in angling elsewhere in the region, take a look at our at-a-glance guide to fishing in South Devon here.
2. Rods and reels
Experienced anglers will no doubt bring their own rods, reels, hooks and other accessories, but if you’re starting out you’ll be best served by a specialist tackle shop. Several local outlets can kit you out for fishing in Dartmouth.
- A quick hop over the water and a short drive to Brixham Bait and Tackle. With a wealth of experience and local knowledge the staff here can help even total beginners get the right equipment for a great day’s fishing.
- A beautiful coastal drive to the Devon Angling Centre in Chillington, which from Dartmouth will take you past Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands – both good places for shore fishing – so you can explore your options for where to set up along the way.
- Sea Haven is a stone’s throw from the estuary, on Newcomen Road in Dartmouth. It’s not a dedicated, specialist fishing shop as such, but if all you need is to stock up on rigs, weights and other day-to-day essentials then it’s perfect. They also sell a selection of rod-and-reel combos if you’re starting from scratch.
- Local fishmongers like Moby Nick’s should be able to provide you with mackerel, which makes an excellent all-year-round bait for fishing in Dartmouth. (Indeed, many sea anglers claim that mackerel strips hold their own against the ubiquitous ragworm as a ‘catch-all’ bait for use across the country.)
3. Cast off
A great place to start fishing in Dartmouth is the Embankment, where you can catch a wide selection of fish from Pollack to flounder. The area by the canon at the town end of the promenade is the most popular spot, partly because there is less foot traffic from pedestrians. Watch out for rowers, kayakers and other river-users before casting out though!
From here you can move further up the Dart if you like, or why not head out to Blackpool Sands? This popular private beach is perfect for a scenic shore fishing session particularly during less busy times of the year, and it’s a great spot to take the family. It’s only another mile or so south on the A379 to Slapton Sands, which fishes similarly to Blackpool Sands but has a lot more beach to go around, allowing sunbathers, swimmers and anglers to enjoy the sunshine together. If you want to put fishing at the centre of your holiday, you could even explore all of Start Bay during your break. Beesands, Hallsands and Start Point are all popular with anglers – the challenging climb to the latter is well worth it if you’re looking for wrasse.
There are also some lesser-known spots you can reach on foot along the Coast Path from Dartmouth (park at Dartmouth Castle and walk up the hill) where you can fish off the rocks. We advise travelling with light tackle if you’re taking up this option, as the terrain can become quite challenging. As always when fishing near the water, do take due care as the environment can be hazardous.
4. All aboard
Your chance of a hefty catch will increase dramatically if you take a boat trip rather than fish from the shore. There are numerous charter vessels in Dartmouth, equipped with fishfinders and piloted by experienced local skippers, that can take you to some nearby hotspots. The Skerries Banks, located about four miles south-southwest of Dartmouth, is a favourite among local skippers. There’s a huge variety of fish here, but this is the best place to land one of the famed local plaice.
The companies offering fishing trips include:
- The ‘African Queen’ takes anglers to the Skerries Banks and offers wreck and reef fishing. The company even organises Shark fishing for customers with their own gear.
- The Gemini (formerly the Samuel Irvin 3) covers South Devon and the Channel Islands on fishing and diving trips.
- Saltwind takes anglers around South Devon as well as providing nature-spotting trips around the area.
5. Fish on a dish
If you’re not the angling type but want to find out why Dartmouth is so famous for its fish, then bypass the hard work and book a table at The Seahorse Restaurant whilst staying in your Dartmouth holiday home. This seafood restaurant is renowned as one of the best in the country, and uses fresh locally caught catch for its menu, so you can enjoy the fruits of a good day’s fishing without the effort.
Start planning your Dartmouth fishing trip today by viewing our extensive range of Dartmouth holiday cottages.