Dorset fishing marks: Hamm Beach, Portland harbour

Sean McSeveny
  · Sean McSeveny  · August 7, 2013

Hamm Beach runs from the National Sailing Acedemy on Portland beach road, to the entrance of the Fleet at Ferrybridge. It runs parallel with Chesil Beach, and it acts as the drainage point for Chesil in flood conditions.


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It is a very different beach compared to Chesil, which is less than a couple of hundred metres away, and it is certainly not as exciting. However it can be a great mark to fish especially when Chesil is being battered by storms. The shoreline is mainly small pebbles that quickly give way to sand at the waters edge. The sand extends as far as you can cast and then some. The water is shallow and fairly safe, making it an ideal mark to introduce children to fishing. It is a comfortable mark for anglers that are less mobile, as you can park fairly close to the beach and unlike Chesil, there is no steep incline to get to the water. It is also much favoured by wind and kite surfers, which basically means that trying to fish it during the day at the weekend is a waste of time. Though you can tuck yourself into corner near the sailing centre, as they tend to keep away from that area.


There are a number of different places to park, very close to the beach. If you don’t mind paying you can park at the Chesil Beach visitors centre and cross the road (which is fairly busy), or you can park at Ferrybridge Marine, which gives you direct access onto the beach and to Ferrybridge, which is another mark. Both parking sites are at the Weymouth end of the causeway. At the far end of the causeway, you can park for free near the Sailing Academy.

Species: This is not the best mark in the area for different species, but it is one that can produce the odd Gilthead Bream. Black Bream also feature in catches during the summer. The most frequent species caught are Flounder and Bass, though the Bass are normally small. Flounder can be caught from there most of the year, with the first Bass normally showing in late April. They can be caught right up until January. It is a mark that has thrown up some nice Thornback Rays in the past, but normally only a few a year are caught.

Bait and techniques: As the ground is clean you can fish light. There is no need for long casts. A short lob with a 2 hook flapper rig, baited with Rag or Lug worm on size 1 hooks, will do for most of the species. Peeler Crab is good in April and May, but after that worm baits are just as effective.

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6 Responses to "Dorset fishing marks: Hamm Beach, Portland harbour"
  1. Avatar john may says:

    Decided to give Hamm Beach a go after reading your article.

    Arrived to find boat netting well within easy casting range so did not bother

    Have now over past couple of weeks on way to Portland seen boat netting same area and even one morning working across Fleet entrance!

    No doubt targeting small bass as they leave the Fleet and damaging/killing undersize schoolies in the process – if any are returned at all!

    Fishing can be so good on chesil/Portland consequently attracting so much revenue from anglers and their families so why do the powers that be not realise this and manage the fishery so netting is not allowed within a mile of the shore.

    Anglers would be encouraged to visit even more in the knowledge that they will not be casting towards nets and the netters would still be able to target the fish as they move in and out of the area.

    One boat netting destroys a fishery venue that would otherwise attract hundreds of paying anglers who in any case return much of what theycatch

    Most importantly the fish would have a better chance of survival and increase the breeding stock which in the long term we all need

  2. Avatar Rob.Trippass says:

    Thanks for your report John, I was contemplating a trip down that way next week , what you say does not suprise me at al netsmen are just greedy thay don’t give a thought to other people looking for a few hours enjoyment I have seen netsmen run nets from pier to pier up north and even longlineing in harbours in wales,I often wonder is it worth spending good money to travel (I live in coventry) but the thing is I love fishing and you never know the netsmen,trawlers and longliners might of missed one. R.T

  3. Avatar Dave says:

    I’m lucky in that I live by the sea but even here we get frustrated by the netting practices. There is no thought given to the future. We are destroying our childrens heritage.
    The EU really need to step and take measures to protect the European Bass stocks.

  4. Avatar Jack says:

    I live close to the Weymouth and Portland area and enjoy the many fishing venues. I have met and talked with several local fisherman who net the areas which you refer to and have listened to their side of the story which I found very interesting.
    Most of these guys have a long family tradition of fishing this type of method and in one particular case he had been doing this for nearly 60 years. They have all said that fishing stocks have dropped drastically in recent years and catches in most areas are poor. I have witnessed this personally and only just the other day with after a lot of hard work they caught nothing in their net.
    Most fishermen are like farmers, they know how to manage their stock and more importantly they know how to preserve this fantastic natural resource. The truth of the matter is that when you have factory ships waiting in ambush for the fish as they move towards our waters, they will not only destroy the habitats but will take almost everything they catch. They are the main culprits to causing this very sad problem.
    Next time you go to the venues along Chesil, take note of all the rubbish being left by people visiting the area and also the dead fish being discarded by fishermen and fishing rubbish, all of which contribute to the demise of our very special part of the country.
    The future of coastal fishing is not bright unless we all contribute positively towards it. On a good note, there are many marks around this coast line which have yet to be fished and if you plan your trip carefully you can avoid the netters and enjoy them. If you fail to catch at one location then discover another location, this is what fishing is all about. Incidentally I also course fish and catching a large carp or lure fishing for pike can be just as rewarding. Until the powers that be are forced to take action across the board with regards to the preservation of fish stocks then it is down to all of us to make this happen. Tight lines, Jack

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