If you like light-tackle fishing for flatfish, then with this information you might think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Find your way to Kingsbridge and follow the A381 to Chillington. From Chillington take a right turn and then follow the winding B roads to Chivelstone, then Goodshelter and finally
Warning! These are small, winding roads about the width of one car. During summer months road congestion can be abysmal, so fish early daylight hours or overnight to avoid tourist congestion. These marks are sheltered from most conditions apart from strong southwesterly and southerly winds.
All the following marks form part of the mainly privately-owned South Hams community. Please remember to respect the locals and local anglers who fish there, by picking up your rubbish and keeping noise to a minimum. Failure to do this could result in problems for future Portlemouth plaice anglers.
1 – Ditch End North
Upon arriving in
2 – Ditch End South
On the southern end to the beach you will find a smaller area of sand and some rocky outcrops. This area is not so different to the northern end except for the fact that the water is a little deeper. Fish two-hook rigs and running legers as before, but expect to pick up school bass during daylight hours as a bycatch of the plaice fishing. After dark, fish heavier snoods when using crab baits because Ditch End South can produce some good thornback ray.
3 – Ferry Slip
At the southernmost point of the Ditch End beach you will find the Salcombe/East Portlemouth ferry slipway. This area is off limits while the ferry is running but from late evening until the early hours of the morning it becomes an excellent venue. This is a top thornback mark, so don’t go undergunned! Fish a medium-strength beachcaster and belt baits as far as you can into the middle of the main channel. Pulley rigs, running legers and running Paternosters are the best rigs to use and peeler crab is by far the best bait. The ferry slip also produces plaice and school bass to flattie and bass tactics.
4 – Mill Bay
Leaving Ditch End behind, drive down the small, narrow lane until you reach the car park at the end. Park here for the next three hotspots. Immediately after stepping out of the car you will see a big beach in front of you – this is Mill Bay. Mill Bay offers some of the most easily accessed plaice fishing in the southwest and is an ideal location for disabled anglers. A short walk across the sand puts you at the water’s edge and a short cast puts you out among the sand bars and sand gullies. Fish two rods – one loaded with big worm and peeler baits on a running leger for the bigger fish and the second rod loaded with a two-hook rig and smaller baits for the many others. Tides can run hard here and it can pay to just fish two hours either side of low water.
5 – Wolf Rock
Park as for Mill Bay but after leaving the car turn right and head up the hill and through the woods on a marked track. There are many rock marks along this route but the last big rock before you reach the next beach is by far the most famous – this is Wolf Rock. A short scramble down the cliff will put you on the edge of the rock, where a light cast will put your bait straight into the deepwater channel.
This is a big plaice haven and accounts for quite a few specimen fish during a season. Fish big baits on simple rigs and sit it out for a real dustbin lid of a plaice. After dark, thornback ray can be caught using fresh peeler and casting out into the middle of the channel. The small to medium tides fish best.
6 – Sunny Cove
Just a few yards from Wolf Rock you will find a small, sandy cove called Sunny Cove. This is the ideal mark to fish if you find Wolf Rock is crowded. A few yards out into the water in front of you lies a shipping marker pole. This marks snaggy ground on either side, so watch your tackle. The pole is generally unfishable during big tides and can be hard work if there is a swell running. Adopt the same tactics as for Wolf Rock – big baits, simple rigs and sit it out for a decent fish. If the plaice don’t play ball, hopefully the many school bass in the area will keep you amused.
Devon Angling Centre, Unit 4-5, Orchard Meadow, Orchard Way, Chillington, Kingsbridge, Devon. Tel: 01548 580888.
TSF Top Tip 1
Add plenty of brightly-coloured beads and sequins to your hooklengths if you want to attract more flatties – especially plaice.
TSF Top Tip 2
When fishing for thornback ray, it is advisable to up the breaking strain of your hooklengths to 30lb or 35lb mono.