Bass fishing in Dorset, or at least around Portland and Weymouth normally bursts into life on this set of spring tides each May. Well those spring tides are building up right now, and I for one hope that the Bass follow the same pattern that they have been doing so for as long as I have fished in this area, which is a long time. It really will be a matter of days before they should take up residence for the summer. I will certainly be trying for them over the weekend and during most of next week.

I will be out with my lures to try and tempt them. Not only is this one of my favourite methods it is also my most successful. I will be hoping to repeat my best year which was two years ago, when I managed to land 437 Bass on lures from the shore, including this 9lb beauty.


Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) Smaller sizes are available!

It won’t all be lures and Bass this weekend, as I have some plans to go for a Plaice and Ray or two if I get the time. I had hoped to fish the Swanage Kayak Open Fishing competition this Saturday, but I didn’t manage to fix my kayak or get a dry suit, so I wont be attending. Good luck to those that are.

I am delighted to say that there are some great reports and articles either side of this one. I fished onboard Snapper this week with Luke Pettis, so make sure you have a look at what was one of my best wrecking trips for a few years. Add to that an article for Hazel at Hookers Baits, on a recent Bass fly and lure fishing trip she was on in the Solent. I don’t want to overload everyone all at once, so her article will come out on Saturday.

Sea Conditions: Water temperature 11.6°c

Chesil Beach:  Almost 2m swell, with lightly coloured water.

Portland:1.5m swell, with lightly coloured water.

Portland Harbour: Calm with clear water

Weymouth Bay: Calm with lightly coloured water

Chesil Beach forecast: The dreaded May water is with us, and we have  bit of a swell today, though this should die down by early Saturday. I am hoping that the early part of the weekend will see the Rays still hanging around. They seem to be all along Chesil at the moment, with Sandeel, squid and Peeler Crab being the most successful baits. Despite the poor water clarity it, it is worth having a go for some Mackerel.

If the Bass do turn up this weekend then it is well worth trying a big bait in close. I know it is hard to think that big fish come so close to the shore, but with Bass they really do. A full squid or a Mackerel head cast no more than 15yds out will catch far more Bass than one blasted to the horizon.

If you are heading to Abbotsbury or Cogden in search of the Plaice, then make sure you use plenty of beads to try and attract the fish in the coloured water. Crabs may be a problem.

Portland: Although the water clarity is not great at the moment, I would expect to be able to find Wrasse on the East side of the Island.Marks such as Red Crane near the Bill and all along towards Church Ope Cove and beyond should fish well. Not only for Wrasse, but expect to see some Bass as well.

Try either end of the beach at Church Ope, where the rocks and pebbles meet. Bass love to use those colour change areas to ambush there prey. I like to use lures that just fish under the surface such as the Tackle House Feed Shallow or IMA, Sasuke’s and Komomo’s. You could also try The Rapture range of lures, especially the SMile and Wave Dancer that are very similar to the ones I just mentioned, but at a fraction of the cost.


Portland Harbour: This is my go to mark when the Bass first arrive. I love to set myself up nice and light with just a lure rod and reel, and a handful of lures. I just wander all around the bay looking for signs of Bass and bait fish. Keeping mobile is the key to success when lure fishing. If you stay in just one spot such as Ferrybridge you will cut your effective fishing time down to very little.


Weymouth Bay: This set of tide also brings large numbers of Thick Lipped Mullet into the harbour. Although tricky to catch, they are well worth the effort. Put the time in with ground bait and light tactics and you could be rewarded with a lovely Mullet like this one Steve Gannon managed last year.

Steve is at it again with another good Mullet. THis Thick Lipped went 4lb 8, and was caught on float fished bread

Steve is at it again with another good Mullet. THis Thick Lipped went 4lb 8, and was caught on float fished bread


I am now taking bookings for plaice trips as well as some basic fishing workshops for the next month. In the workshops I teach all sorts of skills, that will give you a good grounding for your fishing adventures for the rest of the year. I am happy to do lure or bait sessions and the workshops are 2 hours long and limitied to 3 people. If you are thinking about booking a guided lure or bait session for the later on in the year, then now is the best time to do it, to grab the best tides.

This year we will be offering boat guiding sessions from your own boat, from Weymouth and Portland and shore guiding in the Poole and Purbeck area. If you want more details then drop me an email to

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