What can I catch on Chesil and other South West fishing marks in July? This year I want to look ahead at what we can expect to catch from Chesil Beach in July. I always look forward to July as it marks the start of the better fishing. Most of the summer species have moved inshore and the more exotics, such as hard fighting Trigger Fish will be in place by the end of the month.
The Mackerel should be around in far greater numbers, allowing you to be fairly confident that you can catch some on every trip and with the Mackerel come the Bass. This often produces feeding frenzies with each species being predated on by the species further up the food chain. Bait fish and Mackerel are smashed up and the dead and dying fish drop to the sea bed. Lying in wait on the seabed are numerous species of Ray that are happy to mop up an easy meal. Through out the South coast Ray numbers seem to have increased considerably over the past few years, with Chesil in particular producing good specimen fish. Top local angler Ben Stockley has managed a number of different Ray species over the past few weeks.
Ben consistently catches Rays and other species from Chesil and being able to cast a good distance helps for the Rays, but not every one comes at distance. I know several anglers that have used a Mackerel head for Bass and caught Rays at less than 15m.
Sandeel, Mackerel and Squid are the best baits for most Ray species.
The Bream have left their spawning grounds and are gradually making their way various marks along the coast. One thing Bream need is structure, whether thats a wreck or just a few rocks and some weed in an otherwise barren mark on beaches such as Chesil, you will find them tightly shoaled and ever keen to take a strip of Squid. Mackerel can work for them as well, but I have found over the years that fairly small strips of Squid produce a lot more fish. You often don’t have to cast far to get into the Bream, I have caught them as close as 40yds on Chesil, but it is about finding a mark. Once you have found one make sure you can recognise it again, because they will stay on that mark.
Some other species that I enjoy targeting as good eating fish are Red Mullet and Gurnard. Both fish will happily take small strips of Mackerel fished on or close to the bottom. Gurnard can often be caught on Mackerel feathers, especially if you add a strip of Mackerel to it. In my opinion Red Mullet are one of the most delicious fish that I have had, although they tend to be fairly small if you catch a couple of them, they make a good meal.
Gurnard and Plaice can often be found on the same grounds, with Gurnards being more widespread, as they will feed on rougher ground as well as the clean ground that Plaice prefer. At this time of year the Plaice normally feed at the Western end of Chesil, especially Cogden and West Bexington.
July is when I normally start to target Bass, with some good numbers already showing at various marks around the South Coast, I am hopeful that my previous prediction about this being a good Bass year will come true. I am happy to announce that I have taken on a couple of new writers recently and one of those Muhammed Assi has a huge amount of experience fishing for Bass all over Europe and North Africa. He will be sharing some of his top tips with us. As well as that I will be giving away some of my knowledge that I built up as a Bass Guide. I am in the process of doing a number of articles and short videos, focusing on Bass fishing.
Guided Fishing: This brings me to my next point. Due to popular demand I have decided to open up a few more guiding sessions over the next 6 weeks. I am happy to do bait or lure guides, but I specialise in lure fishing for Bass, Wrasse and Pollock. I also offer lure and fly fishing for Pike and fly fishing for Carp. I can host these trips in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. The main areas for Dorset are Chesil, Portland and Lyme Regis. If you are interested then drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org but the number of days are limited and filling up fast.
Fishing Forecast until Friday:
Water Temperature: 16.5°C
Chesil Beach: South Westerly winds building over the next few days. The sae state is choppy with 1m waves turning a little rough towards Friday, the water is slightly coloured
Portland: 1m waves with clear water
Portland Harbour: calm with clear water
Weymouth Bay: Calm with clear water.
Chesil Beach forecast: The SW wind may cause a few problems if you are trying to hit long distance, but it won’t be too rough to stop you trying for most of the species mentioned above. The SW wind pushed bait fish and Mackerel towards the beach, making them easier to catch. Plaice fishing may be a little more difficult, but Bream Gurnard and Bream don’t mind a bit of rougher conditions. Expect a few Smoothound on Crab baits and as previously mentioned the Rays are a good shout, especially after darkness. Lots of Pout and Dogfish can also be expected when the light fades.
Portland Harbour: I expect to see small Pollock and Wrasse from Ferrybridge and Sandsfoot Castle as well as quite a few Bass. Mullet can be taken on bread from Castletown and the Marina.
Portland: Wrasse, Pollock, Bass and Mackerel can all be caught on lures around the Island, with Wrasse plentiful.