This is one of the most underfished areas in the country where there is plenty of species to target, including bass, plaice, mullet and the ooccasional turbot!
The fishing marks along the southern edge of the Cumbrian coastline are home to a wide variety of species offering the travelling angler the chance of some tremendous sport. In the autumn and winter, night fishing will produce a mixture of codling, whiting, bass and flatfish with locally-dug lugworm the premier bait. In the summer, however, fresh peeler crab is the bait needed when sport is dominated by bass, flounder and plaice in addition to the occasional specimen turbot.
The whole area is underfished and you will generally have the beach to yourself. Following the A595 and A5093 down the coast you will access all the marks. The villages are well signposted and there are lots of convenient seafront car parks. The potential of these marks is still untapped, so get out there and have a go!
At Drigg, the Barn Scar is the main feature on the beach and over the low water period this area can give access to some brilliant sport. During the warmer months, when the seas are flat calm and the temperatures high, evening tides can produce outstanding catches of bass with fish to double figures taking fresh peeler crab and black lugworm baits. This area has the well-deserved reputation of being a bass hotspot. In winter, when onshore winds start to make their presence felt, bass catches drop away to be replaced by those of codling and whiting. The best catches are generally made at night when the two-hour period either side of low water can produce plenty of action. Black lugworm is the top bait, closely followed by frozen peeler crab and white ragworm.
The Esk estuary is a wonderful flounder fishery that can be relied upon to produce fish all year round. Ravensglass is a popular holiday resort and is an ideal spot to take a young family for a day out. During summer, as well as flounder and bass, the river is full of mullet that can prove very difficult to tempt. Fresh peeler crab will account for most of the flounder but black lug is the top bass bait. Mullet will generally fall to float-fished bread or bunches of maddies. In the winter, flounder sport can be outstanding with lugworm and maddies the best baits – often tipped off with a sliver of mackerel. Over high water, flounder move into the river and can be landed as far upstream as
The main action on this stretch of the coast is aimed at flounder and bass, with sport peaking during the summer months. Anglers who fish the beach area on a regular basis report taking the occasional thornback ray and also a few decent-sized turbot. The most successful baits are lugworm or peeler crab tipped with a big chunk of mackerel. As the weather cools in late September, cod replace bass and can show in good numbers. Flounder can still be targeted during the calm spells until the turn of the year when they move away to spawn.
The fishing grounds along this stretch are quite rough and the use of 30lb main line is recommended, to avoid tackle losses. Flounder and bass are the main quarry during the summer, with fresh peeler crab the only bait worth using. During the winter, however, worm baits are effective, with black lugworm, harbour ragworm and white ragworm accounting for most of the fish landed. The good old lug and squid cocktail for cod is still a big favourite here with the locals.
Over the past few years, Silecroft has been one of the most consistent bass marks on the southern Cumbrian coast. Bass are taken at most stages of the tide but the biggest catches are generally made over low water during the hours of darkness. The most consistent bass bait in this area is black lugworm followed closely by fresh peeler crab. Later in the year, around the end of October, codling and whiting move inshore and again black lugworm is the premier bait. The best fishing conditions are during or shortly after a good westerly blow, when the water is full of colour and cod are on the feed.
The shoreline at Haverigg is on the move and in recent years a high shingle bank has built up. This mark is proving to be very productive, with bass the main quarry. In winter, the shingle bank will produce good numbers of whiting plus the occasional cod to worm baits. In the bay adjacent to the lifeboat station, flounder and plaice make up the bulk of catches with lugworm, maddies and fresh peeler crab the top baits. Summer mullet fishing can be excellent with fish to over 5lb, using float-fished bread on freshwater tackle.
Cumbria Angling Centre, 5 Tangiers Building, Whitehaven. Tel: 01948 693233.
Angling and Hiking Centre Ltd, 275/277 Rawlinson Street, Barrow in Furness. Tel: 01229 829661.
TSF Top Tip 1
Using a brightly coloured spoon just above your bait is a great way of attracting flatfish like plaice and flounder.
TSF Top Tip 2
Make sure you pack a few small floats and your coarse fishing gear with you if you intend having a go for the mullet.