Mevagissey harbour has two walls, both a minutes walk from the town. Easy to get to, hard to leave. An early morning or sunset seen from the harbour wall is glorious. Catch the Mevagissey harbour on a day when the water is azure fresh blue and you’ll see why the area is a UNESCO Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Crabbing & Fishing
You’ll catch extraordinary numbers of crabs down the side of Mevagissey harbour wall if you dangle a little bacon down the side. Perhaps the numbers are so high because, for the crabs, being caught is basically a free meal in a crowded restaurant – not a bad deal… They sit and wait hungry to be taken hostage, to the delight of families with children.
If you think trading bacon for crabs is a bad deal, you can grab a rod and target the abundance of fish species lurking and hunting around the harbour wall. Fishing kit and crabbing equipment is available from a tackle shop on the water front, but your best bet for catching mackerel for dinner is to go out of one of Mevagissey’s boat fishing trips.
Having said this, in early summer, it’s not uncommon to see four mackerel pulled out on a single line cast after cast. The buzz and excitement can be intense as rows of anglers stand with curved rods. Mevagissey harbour’s outer wall has a pleasant, fresh breeze and even on busy summer days has remarkable tranquillity combined with the energy and life that only a working harbour can generate.
In the harbour mouth dogfish lie on the seabed (a member of the cat-shark family cannily rebranded as ‘Rock Salmon’ for fish and chip shops) and wait for fish innards to be thrown over the side of the Bessee Vee. Of course, few people know these fish are there, they are part of the hidden scenery beneath the water’s surface only local anglers are aware of…
In winter it’s possible to catch squid from the harbour at night and if you dare, there are conger eels to be caught too. Happy swimming!
Mevagissey Boat Trips
The boat to Fowey leaves from the inner harbour in the dock, and the Bessy Vee for chartered fishing trip leaves from the outermost harbour wall.
History of Mevagissy Harbour
Mevagissey harbour was built on the site of a medieval quay. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1774 allowing for a new port to be built, which is the one that stands today forming the inner harbour. An outer harbour was later added in 1888, but was partially destroyed just three years later in the Great Blizzard of 1891. The weather that March was responsible for the shipwreck of the merchant vessel Bay of Panama, which lead to the deaths of 23 people. Other accidents from the same blizzard lead to an additional 187 fatalities and an estimated 6,000 animal deaths. The wall was completely rebuilt by 1897.
The harbour has had charity status since 1988. Today, there are over 60 registered fishing vessels in the inner harbour area and about seventy fishermen. A wide variety of fishing techniques are utilised with a wonderful variety of fish caught out of the harbour; mackerel, sole, ray, lobsters, crabs and numerous other species are caught from Mevagissey harbour. Fish from Mevagissey are sold all over the world, but Fish For Thought, a local company, will deliver fresh local fish straight to your door and some of the best local restaurants source their fish locally.