Fishing in Fowey: A Locals Guide
Fishing Marks Fowey
Fowey is buzzing with aquatic life all year round, with an abundance of species that suit anglers with a variety of approaches. Whether you’re sea fishing, rock fishing or fishing from the beach, fishing in the river or on a boat trip further out, you’re in a for a treat. If you’re interested in guided fishing trips drop me a line at email@example.com.
You can fish from the railings in Bodinnick car park (which is close to the ferry) all the way to rocks where the estuary meets the sea. If you’re driving to Fowey, park in Bodinnick car park and then walk through the village to get to the various marks.
As you walk from Bodinnick car park through the town, the first fishing spot you’ll reach is a slipway with a good sized area of railings, which is pretty much exclusively used by fishermen, so is a great spot for those using beach casters and larger gear. If you’re after cod in winter, this is your spot. You’ll pick up a lot of dab, pollack and dog fish too, among more exciting species.
Past the slip way through the village, you reach a pontoon which you can also fish from, although again this is only possible with lighter tackle, otherwise you’ll annoy the boaters. Naturally being in a boating area it’s your job to get out of their way, rather than vice versa and with this attitude and light weight, mobile tackle, I have never been scolded for fishing anywhere in Fowey, not even during the Fowey festival.
Tips & Tackle Recommendations
- If you’re looking to buy a fishing kit to get started, visit a local tackle shop, do not buy one from the internet, there is too much crap online. However, Amazon does offer some excellent lures that I can recommend (note: I use the amazon affiliate scheme and profit from sales. I only recommend tackle I use and love).
- If you just want to catch a few fish on a day out as a beginner, you should either target mackerel with mackerel feathers like these from Amazon OR use a simple bottom rig like this, also on Amazon one with bait from a local tackle shop and a simple lead weight like these economical ‘sea bombs’ on Amazon in 10 packs.
- This surface lure on Amazon, the Patchinko is widely considered the best surface bass lure by experienced Cornish anglers and works wonders on boats outside the estuary or from the rocks.
- The Fish Black Minnow available here on Amazon is possibly in the whole of the UK by serious bass anglers and catches almost every kind of predator.
If you can’t get to a tackle shop to buy ragworm, consider using this strange but effective alternative bait from Amazon.
- Fish at night if possible, especially under lit areas
- For easy mackerel fishing for beginners, use Sabiki feathers from Amazon.
- In late summer and autumn, try fishing from the pool area near the outermost wall, it floods with pollack at this time.
- Be considerate of boat owners
- In summer time, consider fishing in Mevagissey
Fowey Town Quay
Further along, there’s the town quay, which is a good spot for those using lighter tackle. This area tends to have a healthy pollack population and also has flatties. You can also fish from the outer harbour wall which is visible from the town quay. It’s ‘prohibited’ and accessing it involves climbing around a gate with big, dangerous drops on both sides, so make up your own mind if this is a spot for you. Next to the outer harbour wall between mid and low tide there’s a giant square paddling pool with railings around it. Just beyond the railings is fairly shallow rocky ground which in autumn time is often an excellent pollack spot. You have room to set up a beach caster or use lures and floats.
Further along, there’s the town quay. This area tends to have a healthy pollack population and also has flatties. You can also fish from the outer harbour wall which is visible from the town quay. It’s ‘prohibited’ and accessing it involves climbing around a gate with big, dangerous drops on both sides, so make up your own mind if this is a spot for you. Next to the outer harbour wall between mid and low tide there’s a giant square paddling pool with railings around it. Just beyond the railings is fairly shallow rocky ground which in autumn time is often an excellent pollack spot. You have room to set up a beach caster or use lures and floats.
If you use a lure like this one on Amazon, you’ll do great off the wall.
There’s members-only fishing for the ECC angling club from the old clay loading pier. It’s famed among local anglers for its conger eels and is a living remnant of the Cornish clay industry. When I was younger I didn’t like falling out of sailboats anywhere near that place, because I’d seen pictures of what lurks around those pillars. The water in that area is very deep and almost opposite the old pier is the deepest part of the Fowey, which is a pit of similar depth to much of St Austell Bay itself. Bass like to sit in ditches and banks like this one in the river where they can conserve their energy while looking out for tasty morsels floating past. As for the congers, Fowey may have some role in their mysterious migratory lifestyle, but who knows what they are up to…
Rock and Beach Fishing from Readymoney
From Ready Money cove you can fish from the beach or clamber along the rocks on a low tide and fish over the rough ground there. This is a beautiful spot with nice rough ground buzzing with wrasse and other species. There are also several rocky spots within the estuary which get your line into the lively depths. If you explore the little alley ways you’ll find them. If you’re the type of angler that likes torpedoing 8oz weights to the horizon with a proud grunt, Ready Money beach is the place for you. Boost your chances by picking up a packet of Marukyu Isome if you can’t get to a tackle shop to buy the real thing.
River Fishing Fowey
Multiple rivers lead into the Fowey, including one that runs through the Lanhydrock estate which is open to members for targeting salmon and trout. Without a pass you can target slob trout in Golant and no pass is needed. Slob trout are the brown trout that are too lazy to become sea trout and so stay in the estuary. Further up river at the right time of year there is a salmon run, but you need a strategy for timing and gaining access to the river and this is challenging. I’ve met one person that actively targets trout from Golant with success, but can’t claim to have replicated his results.
Upriver in Golant there’s a bass sanctuary. It’s a good chance for the nursery sized schooly bass to grow, feeding off the abundance of sand eels in the mud up there. Fowey can be a good bass spot, particularly at night time or dusk and dawn.
The species caught in Fowey seem to change more than in most other spots nearby. One summer there were huge numbers of tub and grey gurnard and flounder. Bream and cod also sometimes make appearances, as well as the rare salmon, shooting up the river or the slob trout that never quite makes it to sea…
However, the mainstay of Fowey is bass, mullet, flounder, dab, pollack, mackerel, dogfish, poor cod, pouting, herring, smelt and conger. To get a better idea visit the Fowey aquarium as they have locally caught fish in there, including the very same Gurnard in the picture on this page. The UK record Flounder was caught out of the estuary, and my goodness you’ll know it if you hook into some of Fowey’s congers…
In summer, mackerel are an easy target from the pontoons. You could also consider taking the Fowey-Mevagissey ferry and fishing from the harbour there, which is more reliable mackerel fishing. In terms of tackle, I’d recommend using Sabiki’s like these one’s from Amazon which are smaller than readily available mackerel feathers and therefore result in more hook ups. The logic that a bigger hook means you’ll catch bigger fish is very questionable in most cases, smaller hooks may result in more hook ups with little fish, but they also do less damage to the fish. Sabiki’s are very popular for targeting Scad Mackerel in Japan where they are called ‘Aji’ and served raw.
Fishing trips & Boat fishing in Fowey
If you’re about to go boat fishing in Fowey, you’re in for such a treat. It’s a glorious coastline to fish, and you should pick up mackerel easily with a few feathers, and bass if you’re a bit more serious. Some of the deep-sea boats target sharks successfully from Fowey. There are a few different boats available for hire in Fowey as well of course of numerous private vessels. If you’re after some casual fishing, just dangle a mackerel line attached to a hand line off the back of the boat. You can also go bass fishing out of the Fowey, and this can be excellent.
Local History, Fowey
The severed head of the last King of Cornwall, Dungarth, was supposedly thrown into the river Fowey. According to the Irish, he was killed for conspiring with the Vikings. Fowey has a history as an up market holiday destination combined with a working estuary, though it’s not very industrial today at all. Daphne Du Maurier lived nearby as Fowey and the surrounding area inspired much of her writing. For hundreds of years, people have been getting absolutely plastered in the pubs in Fowey and it has been an escape from the outside world for a long time. Across the estuary is the village of Polruan, an old footpath runs through the woods which used to be one of the most dangerous in country and was frequented by bandits targeting merchants from the ships. Discover more maritime Cornish history here.