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A bass from Portishead

Portishead has a number of marks, the most well known being battery point to the northeast. Further along the coast again is the old pier and new marina, both productive spots, but not ones I'm too familiar with. To the southwest of Portishead are a number of low water marks running from the slipway at the lifeboat facility towards Clevedon.

Battery point fishes both high and low water on neap tides. On bigger ones the tidal pull becomes too great, except for over slackwater on the top of the tide. You can, however, on the bigger tides, get out onto the sand to the east of the point to fish. Like most places in the channel, it's best to take a look at low water on a big tide to see what you're fishing onto. Don't be fooled, either, by references to "point" thinking you fish right out on the end. No, the best marks are on the northeast side facing up channel. The ground becomes progressively cleaner as you head to the east -- take a look at low tide.

Battery point turns up just about anything; even dogfish can be taken here (not that you'd want to), that's about as high up the channel as they're taken on the shore, I think. It's best known for big cod, but it's also a useful thornback mark, and produces some good dover sole, too.

The marks from the slipway downchannel, produce the same fish as Battery, although you get less fishing time as you're restricted to a few hours either side of low water. You're fishing from shallow rock ledges onto a mixture of mud rock and sand, it can be snaggy, but it's less busy than Battery. I've had some good catches here; one trip I had five or six ray over 3 hours, and I've had similar numbers of codling on autumn trips. Years ago it used to be good for dab in November and December, but last time I tried -- a few years back -- I only caught codling. Like most places in the channel, don't come here expecting to catch every time. It's possible to have half a dozen trips catching nothing but snotty green eels and the odd strap; then, you'll get a good session, think you've cracked it, until you go back again and blank. You've just got to keep trying, and hope one of your trips coincides with the fish being infront of you.

When fishing these marks don't get carried away with wanting to cast to the horizon, or mess about with fancy rigs. There's really no need. A pulley rig is all I use -- useful because of the snags -- and no bait clips. When the tides really pulling, you're often best cutting the distance you fish at. A big chuck is worth a try when the tide slackens, but to be honest you're just as likely to catch at 80 yards. As far as hooks go, I generally use two 2/0s in a pennel type configuration. These are small enough for the sole -- and channel sole are generally pretty big anyway -- as well as big enough to land a decent ray, bass, cod or conger. I remember going down for a trip one time in July hoping to specifically target sole. So, I fished 3 hook rigs with size 2s. All I ended up catching were ray, and although I landed several to nearly ten pounds I decided it would be best to avoid the smaller hooks in future.

The day after I wrote the above, I thought I'd go down and see if I could get some new photos. Look what turned up! The bass in the photo on this page; caught on rag, 1 hour before low. It went back, and swam off OK. And the day after that, I thought I'd try pushing my luck, and caught the ray in one of the other pictures. That was returned, too. I'm due a few blank trips now!


Looking towards Battery Point A lone angler fishing between Battery Point and Portbury Dock
A Thornback ray from Portishead, caught in late May. A nice Dover Sole from Portishead, caught in early July.