Fishing in Poole Harbour can be a bit daunting, with such a large area to choose from, where do you start? Well one man that knows is Leo Toms, the newest member of the Fishing Tails team.


Leo will be providing regular reports and articles from the Poole and the eastern areas of Dorset. Over the next few months, he will be featuring many of the popular marks in the area, as well as a few lesser known gems.  Not only will Leo be writing for us, he will be operating as the official Fishing Tails guide for the Poole area.  With years of fishing under his belt, Leo will be able to offer a first class service which will include Mullet Fishing guides as well as Bass and Flounder sessions. For more details of the courses that Leo is offering you can email him directly at



With over 100 miles of coastline poole harbour boasts a whole host of Fishing marks, species and fishing conditions. With many species available like bass,eels and mullet. All of these fish with the exception of mullet can be caught nearly all year round. But in the winter there is one species that comes into its own. The humble flounder!!
Poole Harbour is legendary for producing specimen sized fish every winter,and so far this year has proved no exception.
As the flounder pile on weight prior to spawning in late February the chances of catching a record breaking fish increases immensely. Several fish each year are caught close to that magic 5lb barrier!!
Tactics: If you can get to the waters edge you stand a chance of catching a flounder. No long casts required, flounders sometimes feed in just a couple of inches of water. They can be found at almost any distance, nearly any state of tide and nearly in any weather conditions. This is why kids, wives and girlfriends occasionally outfish the guys flounder fishing. The guys are trying to hit the horizon when a simple lob will do.
(see photos)
Tackle: Depending on how light you want to fish. There are many flounder/estuary rods on the market though a simple heavy spinning/carp rod coupled with a fixed spool reel loaded with 10lb line will suffice to get the most sport from these plucky fish. Beach casting gear cannot be ruled out as it will catch fish.
Rigs: A simple 2 hook paternoster rig is considered to be the easiest way to target flounder. Dressing the hooklengths with beads, sequins,pop ups and shiny spinning blades will all help to attract flounder to your bait.(see photos).
Bait: The main bait used in the harbour is ragworms though they can be caught on peeler crab, lugworm and slipper limpet.
Holes bay relief road:
A mark that regularly throws up specimen sized flounder as well as bass and eels.
This mark dries out at low water leaving exposed mud flats and is best fished from the middle of the flood up to high water. Ragworms are the favoured bait here.
There is parking next to the holes bay pub and access to the water via the underpass at the end of road.
Baiter park:
This mark can be found at the end of poole quay. The large pay and display car park closes at 10 pm. But there is parking on the road which is also pay and display!
This mark can can be fished at all states of the tide but can get a little muddy at low water especially near the slipway!
Again big fish are caught here including my P.B of 3lb 6oz. Big bass are regularly caught on spring tides here and very close in. Ragworms are the favoured bait here.
On this venue it is possible to fish from your car and has good wheelchair access.
Evening hill:
Driving through poole town and heading to sandbanks this venue can be found next to the East Dorset Sailing Club. There is a small car park which is free during the winter monthsand like Baiter it can be fished from your car and offers good wheelchair access too.
There is a promenade next to the sailing club which has good access to the water at high tide.
Like holes bay this mark dries out at low water leaving a large expanses of sand flats. Lugworm can be dug here and sometimes has the edge over ragworms as the best bait for the flounder and bass that can be caught here.
Shore road:
On the other side of the sailing club lies the shallow expanse of shore road sand flats. A popular windsurfing venue during the day but at night it again offers fishing from your car albeit pay and display. This venue offers much the same fare as evening hill.
Hamworthy park:
This venue can be found by driving out of poole.Over the twin sails lifting bridge into Hamworthy and heading for rockley park caravan park. There is a free car park at Lulworth avenue and after a short walk from the car park offers good fishing from the promenade. Again there is good wheelchair access and lots of beach huts that can offer some shelter from the elements. Lots of flounders are caught here the biggest so far this month 2lb 5oz. Interestingly seatrout are caught on this mark during March and April on ragworm along with bass and wrasse lately.
Lake pier beach:
Whilst all of the marks in Poole harbour are pretty. This venue is the most picturesque giving amazing views both up and down the harbour. The fishing isn’t bad either not a big fish venue but provides enough sport with flounders and school bass to keep 2 rods busy!The tide flow can be fairly strong here as the upper reaches of the harbour narrow channelling the racing tide across the shallow sand/mud flats. Obviously by its name there is a pier nearby which offers access to deeper water and with the same species on offer.
To get there,drive past Hamworthy park up Lulworth avenue to the yachtsman pub. Head for rockley caravan park,past monicornum quay. Keep going past the royal marine S.B.S Base and it’s first on your left. It’s a little tucked out of the way. But it’s a jewel in the harbours crown.
Hamworthy common:
This venue shares all the same attributes as lake pier. As it’s only half a mile up the beach but it can be reached by driving directly to rockley caravan park. Opposite the main clubhouse is a road on the left next to the tennis courts. At the end of this cul de sac is a free car park. Access to the water is down a steep gravel path. At high water there is no beach but a high embankment that offers comfortable fishing for flounder, bass and eels.
All of these venues fish well on their day and whilst some prefer neap tides and some springs. One thing is certain! One or two lucky anglers will come close or possibly break that record very soon.

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