Mackerel Mayhem

Sean McSeveny
  · Sean McSeveny  · August 4, 2015

At last the Mackerel have finally turned up in numbers. Having seen numerous reports from friends, it looks like the Mackerel have finally made an appearance. The Mackerel turned up fairly early this year, with the first regular catches coming towards the end of March, then it all went very quiet for ages. Now they are back, pushing loads of White Bait on to the beach. Behind them the come the Bass, Rays, Tope and Dogfish, to name but a few; all feeding on the left overs.




It is nice to see the Mackerel, but it is even nicer to see the number of Rays that have been caught over the past week. For some reason I struggle to catch Rays from the shore, but some people seem to have no problems catching big Rays. Steve Perry had this 7lb Thornback from Chesil.

Thornback Steve Perry


Not content with that he went on to catch a 12lb Undulate Ray.

Undulate Steve Perry


Sea Conditions: Water temperature 16.8°c

Chesil Beach:  Rough with coloured water

Portland: Rough on the West Side with waves exceeding 2m and lightly coloured water

Portland Harbour: Wavelets and clear water

Weymouth Bay: Calm and clear water

Chesil Beach forecast: It will be tough fishing on Chesil today (Tuesday) with a stiff SW wind straight in your face. Forget trying for distance, as you wont get any. With waves exceeding 2m at times a Mackerel head fished out at 10m will be the best option for a decent Bass. It is better to hold your rod in these conditions and keep the line tight. If it goes slack and you don’t take the slack up, you will get your tackle buried in the shingle. Take care not to get too near the water, as the undertow is very powerful and dangerous.

The wind will settle down a bit from Tomorrow, but conditions will still be a bit tough. I would not recommend trying to fish Chesil for the next few days if you are a novice angler. You will just end up frustrated.

Those that have a bit more experience should enjoy some Bream and Gurnard catches, and if you are lucky a decent Ray. Most of the Ray have fallen to Squid, Mackerel or Sandeel.

Portland: Avoid the West side of the Island today, as it will be rough. However the East side will provide shelter and plenty of Wrasse. As long as the water stays clear, you will be able to target the Wrasse on lures as well as bait.

Try Church Ope Cove at dusk over the next few days. The fishing can be superb with a lure rod, or a large float with a strip of Mackerel. Target species would be Bass, Pollock, Garfish and Mackerel. I have often picked up a Mullet on the mackerel strip.

Portland Harbour: This should be a good mark, with plenty of places to shelter from the wind. There are a few Scad being caught, along with a number of Small Bass. Flounder and Mullet are around in numbers, with Sandsfoot and Castletown being good spots.

Weymouth Bay: I have heard of several holiday makers having great sport in Bowleaze Cove and along Preston Beach. There seems to be plenty of Gurnard, Flounder and Dabs, as well as Red Mullet. A few Smoothound have been caught, but most of them seem to be under 4lb.

The piers will produce lots of small fish, with the odd decent Wrasse and Pollock. Garfish and Mackerel can be targeted on float fished Mackerel strip


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 [email protected]


13 Responses to "Mackerel Mayhem"
  1. Avatar Michael says:

    I was at Hive Beach Saturday and the beach was covered with white bait under the cliffs.

  2. Avatar john dean says:

    Great news about the mackerel. Does anyone know if they have appeared at west bay.

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      They are all along the coast John.

      • Avatar shaun says:

        Hi Sean – We’ve spoken before and you were kind enough to give some advice. What’s best for Mackerel off of Chesil, thinking of spinning or feathers? Any advice welcome….and also where we should pitch up.

        Many thanks

        • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

          SPinning and feathering both produce Mackerel. Spinning is more fun. At the moment the Mackerel are all along the beach, so it doesn’t matter where you go. Just turn up and start casting. You might have to wait half an hour or so, for a shoal to come through.

  3. Avatar john dean says:

    Thank you Sean. Do you do any guiding around Lyme Regis/ West Bay area. john.

  4. Avatar Paul says:

    Hi was thinking off fishing west bexington Friday afternoon and in to the evening any views on this bait or tackle been a couple time last month nothing perhaps someone could tell me what I’m doing wrong
    Thanks paul

  5. Avatar Michael says:

    What fish cruse the surf after the mackerel shole has moved further up the beach they look like mullet they come right in close
    if so what is the best way to catch them? Cheers Mike

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      Both Bass and Mullet come into the surf once the shoals have moved on. Mullet can be caught on small strips of Mackerel, or if there is any washed up Whitebait on the beach, use that.
      Bass will take a Mackerel head, or a lure.
      Other species such as Gurnard, Red Mullet and even large Rays will also come in to feast on an easy meal. THey are just not as easy to see.

      • Avatar Moo says:

        Hi Sean, Michael,
        They could also be shad you’ve seen.
        A friend and I caught 3 last week, one on float fished whitebait, and 2 on a small spinner.
        I believe a rare catch and as a protected species of course all went back. They were in amongst the bait shoals close in. At first we thought they were bass, until we caught one..!
        They are a delicate fish and need to back in the water quickly with minimal handling.
        Good to see them, hopefully making a come back..

        • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

          Shad never crossed my mind to be honest Moo.
          I have only caught one, and that was on a lure on Chesil a couple of years ago. Good to know that there are a few around.

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