Good news or Bad?

Sean McSeveny
  · Sean McSeveny  · November 13, 2015

Lets start with the good news! The weather did break for a short period yesterday morning and a few lucky anglers managed to get on the beach at just the right time. I did manage to fish at Abbotsbury, but I could not get through the huge packs of Whiting and Dogfish. Pennel rigs were coming back after a few minutes with two and even at times three Whiting attached to them. Even using whole Squid as bait, did not deter Dogfish from hanging on.

Others faired much better with Chris Buxton and his friends Craig Pope and Richard Dean managing a few nice Cod, with Craig catching a lovely Bass as well.

Cod Richard Dean

Cod four

Bass yesterday

I know that there were Cod caught all along the beach, with some nice fish around Ferrybridge. The gap lasted a bit longer than I expected, so it was worth the effort to get out on fish.

The bad news is it looks like Chesil will be unfishable this weekend, due to strong SW winds. There may be a very short window first thing Saturday morning, but it will only be fishable by long range casters, if at all.

More news that could be taken as good or bad, depending on your way of thinking in the form of the European Commissions latest proposals for Bass fishing. The following is an extract from their latest press release:

7) What about sea bass?

Sea bass is a special case: real management measures for sea bass were only put in place in January 2015 and catch limits were only put in place in June 2015. The Commission is therefore building on the measures taken in 2015 to halt the dramatic decline in this important stock. Today’s proposal includes a complete fishing ban for commercial vessels and recreational anglers in the first half of 2016. For the second half of 2016, the Commission is proposing a monthly one tonne catch limit for vessels targeting sea bass, and a one fish bag limit for recreational anglers. It is also proposing to maintain the closure for commercial fishing around Ireland.

This proposal has not yet been formally accepted, but it goes to show the commissions present thinking.


While we think it’s great that the EC is taking action we are concerned that these actions will not be enforced or communicated in any meaningful way! Our recent survey shows that many anglers do not know the current MLS  of our most common fish (Cod, Mackerel,Bass and Plaice) with respondents on average scoring 54% in our MLS quiz. This shows the message is not getting through to the people on the beach and worse still there seems to be no enforcement of the rules for even the most blatant of offenders. Even more worrying is the great deal of outdated information we found while researching this subject on organisation web sites which should do better. All very well meaning but without an organised education campaign backed up with effective monitoring this will only hit responsible anglers and not the worst offenders.



Sea Conditions: Water temperature 14°c

Chesil Beach:Unfishable

Portland: Very Rough on the West side and a large swell on the east with coloured water.

Portland Harbour: Wavelets with lightly coloured water

Weymouth Bay: Short surf with lightly coloured water

Chesil Beach forecast: With the exception of a very short possible window on Saturday, CHesil will be unfishable all weekend.

Portland: Big swell and coloured water will make the West side all but unfishable. However shelter can be sought on the East side with the chance of Pollock, Wrasse, Bass and Conger. A lot will depend on how coloured the water becomes. I have often been tempted to fish the high ledges at Chine for a Cod. If the wind persists for a long period, I may well give it a try.

The beach at Church Ope will have a fair bit of surf from the swell. It is worth trying in the breakers for a Bass. As usual large baits work best. A full Squid or Mackerel head is a good choice.

Portland Harbour: With large tides this weekend the harbour is a good option. Bass fishing on lures for a large autumn fish is my first choice. Those that don’t like lure fishing then a whole Squid is normally the best alternative.

Flounders can be caught all over the harbour, but due to the windsurfers that will be around, I would opt of Sandsfoot Sailing club and castle area.

Weymouth Bay: Despite the water being a bit coloured there has been some nice Squid caught from the piers this week. I can see no reason why that will change over the next few days. Dusk and into darkness are the most productive times for the Squid. However if you turn up during the day then you will have lots of other species to target. Some large Whiting have been caught there, as well as the odd PLaice.

I did spend a couple of hours trying Preston Beach on Thursday. It was pretty quiet with only one very small Bass for a couple of hours of trying. Night tides will produce a lot more fish, especially Whiting.

Guiding: I have now moved into my winter guiding. This can be a great time to fish with lots of different species around. We are still very much in the best part of the Bass season, especially with lures. I will also be offering Wrasse fishing both on Lures and with bait to target the Big Wrasse that we will start to see soon.

Cod sessions will be starting from the 1st of November, as will general bait fishing sessions. Why not think about a short lesson to improve your casting and fishing skills.

If you don’t want to come to Chesil or Portland then how about choosing one of the other Fishing Tails Guides. Leo covers shore guiding in the Poole and Purbeck area and Anth Constable will be covering the North East. I also hope to add a guide in the Plymouth area very soon. If you want more details then drop me an email to [email protected]

Fishing Tails > All Articles > Reports > Chesil Beach > Good news or Bad?


10 Responses to "Good news or Bad?"
  1. Avatar Paul B says:

    It’s good that they are trying to do something to help protect fish stocks but communication is poor.
    It is only sine I joined WSF and also went on the mailing list for fishing tails that I have heard about updates and size / catch limits.
    But enforcement will be the second issue. I.E every year I update my uk fishing licence for the odd fly fishing trip yet over the years I have never once been asked if I have a licence. But I know it’s not worth taking the risk due to the heavy fines in place should I one day be asked. But I can see it being the pleasure angler that has no idea of legislation one day being the target of investigation and a fine. Sadly not the commercial fishing boats that are dragging stocks from our seas.

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      Hi Paul.

      The commercial boats are continually checked and when infringements are found, they are fined heavily. I have never seen the fisheries ever stop and search private boats that I know take undersized fish and also go on and sell their catch illegally.

  2. Avatar Andy_B says:

    Bass can be farmed, why is it still possible to have a commercial license for 1 tonne of bass? Limiting anglers to 1 fish is pathetic if boats can take 1000kg a month.

  3. Avatar Patrick says:

    One a day would probably be more palatable if we could fish for Bass all year. It would certainly be better for people like Sean working as a guide. For those ignorant about sizes or numbers (who probably should take up another pastime) it is probably easier to understand the concept of NO Bass allowed rather than complicated numbers like 36 or 42 or 3. I hope there will be checks. It will help those of us that are law-abiding to stomach the new rules a bit better.
    Commercial anglers have to live on their catch so it’ll be hard on them, but I hope in a few years there will be some relaxation to the rules, but not so much that there will be a boom & bust cycle that leads to more restriction a few years later. All fishing needs to be sustainable for all to benefit, not least the fish!

  4. Avatar Gerry Anderson says:

    Most bass caught on lures with three sets of barbed trebles will probably die anyway, bleed out once they are returned. Surely the answer is to remove two sets of trebles and debarb the other, About time the lure suppliers got on board with this one. Also the commercial bass boats just buy up licences from other boats to increase their tonnage. What is to stop a boat landing bass shoals of about 1lb average and them being passed off in the market as farmed Greek bass.
    Theoretical fishing trip of 4 hours, land 3 bass over 45 cms in 1st hour, do I go home or continue to fish? Next hour 1 75cms bass, do I return this or throw a 45cms one back etc.etc should of been no females over 45cms.

    • I’m migrating my lures onto single hooks as the trebles need replacing as I think it gives me a cleaner hookup and it’s less weedy! I’ve heard of one angler who has caught the same distinctive fish 3 times although I don’t recall him mentioning trebles or not! I’ve caught and released many Bass on trebles and I’m sure the vast majority lived to tell the tail as they are often hooked very lightly, the odd one who gets deep hooked in the gills comes home if legal.

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      Gerry, Bass boats can’t add to their licence by buying another one. I feel for the commercial Bass fishermen. Most of the Weymouth boats only have Bass licences, so they can’t go out and catch other white fish or shellfish. You can’t make a living on 1 tonne of Bass a month split between a crew of four. The fisheries are very hot on MLS for commercial boats, but I have never seen private boats stopped. I know for a fact that they sell Bass illegally to pubs and restaurants, thus driving the price of bass down.
      What I hate to see is commercial boats targeting Bass during the spawning season, and plenty of under 10m netting boats do that in the winter in Cornwall, not just the trawlers.

      I also disagree with your comment that most treble hooked Bass die. Bass are tough fish and unless they have been exhausted by catching them in tackle that is too light to land them quickly enough, or their gills are damaged they will survive. However what does kill Bass is mishandling them. Dropping them during photo shots or worse still holding them by their bottom lip and not supporting them anywhere else is a slow death sentence for them.

  5. Avatar Patrick says:

    I’ve changed all my lures to single barbed hooks earlier in the year. I catch less weed that way, I catch myself less too & on the kayak single hooks are safer.

  6. Avatar carl says:

    Hi there thanks good read, could you please advise me when and where to fish chesil,as i have been out of touchfor some time now due to illness ughhhh!
    i am thinking of going soon a little advice would help please

    tight lines carl

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      Hi Carl.

      THe when and where to fish on Chesil changes all the time. If you check out the forecast every Monday and Friday, I try to give you my best estimate based on my previous experience in the conditions at the time.

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