Salcombe fishing 101

By Ross Purdy on June 14, 2016

We’ve put together this Salcombe fishing guide to help you get your hooks in the water, whether you’re interested in shore fishing, chartering a vessel or becoming the skipper of a hired cabin cruiser.

Salcombe beaches - Soar Mill Cove

Picking up tackle for a day’s Salcombe fishing

The best place to pick up tackle and bait in Salcombe is Phoenix Charters, located a stone’s throw from our Salcombe office on Island Street. There you can pick up everything you need for a day’s fishing.

Another excellent option is Devon Angling Centre in the nearby village of Chillington, which has an extensive range of tackle and bait for very good prices. This is convenient for Salcombe fishing or for carrying on towards Start Bay and its hugely varied coastline.

There are plenty of other generalist retailers in Salcombe and other South Devon towns that include some tackle in their stock.


Boat hire and charters in Salcombe

As relaxing and enjoyable as shore fishing can be, even the most experienced angler can strike out on a given day at any location. If you’d rather even the odds and fish from a boat either in the Kingsbridge Estuary or out to sea, you have a range of options in Salcombe. The following three providers take you out on your Salcombe fishing adventure.

Salcombe Boat Hire & Fishmongers, based in Clifton Place, offers a fleet of fibreglass motorboats for you to take out yourself. You can hire tackle from them or bring your own and then head out into the Estuary on the hunt for bass, plaice, pollock, flounder and plenty of other species. Your chance of success will depend on local knowledge to some extent, so ask around before setting off and be aware that fishing in certain areas is prohibited.

See details about the relevant bye-laws here.

Phoenix Charters offers a range of charter options for small and large groups. You can make it a short mackerel fishing trip if you only want to be out for a couple of hours, or head out to a variety of wrecks and reefs, led by local expert skippers who will take you straight to the most productive marks.

Whitestrand Boat Hire offers mackerel fishing trips in addition to a fleet of boats you can take out yourself, for fishing, wildlife watching or just for the fun of cruising around the Estuary. For the mackerel fishing trips you can either join a trip or hire the boat and skipper for your exclusive use – booking is highly advised.


Shore fishing around Salcombe

When it comes to shore angling, Salcombe itself is best known for leisurely crabbing, but there are some popular spots near the town that are known to fish well.

East Portlemouth beachOn the other side of the Estuary, East Portlemouth attracts anglers during times when there are fewer beachgoers around. Millbay, next to East Portlemouth beach is another good option outside the busiest periods. The more accessible rock formations on this side make for good fishing, but do proceed with care.

Staying on the west side of the harbour, you can walk up from Salcombe through Batson and along the headland towards Snapes Point, which is a favourite mark with local anglers. South from Salcombe will take you to the North Sands and South Sands beaches, which are too shallow and ‘snaggy’ for most anglers, and also very popular with holidaymakers. This makes fishing inadvisable except early in the morning and late in the evening.

Bolt Head is known as an excellent spot for anglers but its popularity is limited by the challenging walk you’ll need to undertake to get there. Even from the Bolt Head car park there is a steep climb, particularly strenuous if carrying heavy kit. Bolt Head is considered one of the most productive Salcombe fishing marks – indeed one of the best in South Devon – so well worth the effort for the more committed angler.


Fishing elsewhere in South Devon

If you have put a few days aside for fishing whilst on holiday in South Devon, why not load the car and take a short drive to some other excellent fishing spots along Start Bay, like Blackpool Sands, Slapton Sands, Beesands and Hallsands? The port town of Dartmouth also offers some productive marks, both along the harbour itself, at some rock formations beyond Dartmouth Castle, and upriver (although ensure you familiarise yourself with the restrictions first).

More guidance on fishing in South Devon here.

and details about Dartmouth fishing options  here.


If you love being by the water, take your next holiday in Salcombe , making the most of South Devon’s miles of unspoilt coastline, ranging from easily accessible beaches to rocky headlands.