Fishing in Looe
Looe offers estuary, harbour and rock fishing. You can target mullet while ledgering around the harbour area and can target bass from the rocks on the West side. Further up the estuary, there’s great flounder fishing to be had with worm baits, as well as Bream, more mullet, bass and perhaps gurnard. Read on to learn more, but do not use this guide to decide if a mark is safe.
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Looe is known for fishing and has a rich history of both commercial fishing and recreational angling. Places with estuaries leading to harbours often present an opportunity to target a huge range of species, given that you have all the usual coastal species along with others that favour brackish water and estuary mud flats. For most visitors, the best option is to use a simple mackerel feather rig and go after mackerel four at a time. If you have more specialist lure fishing kit, venture out along the coast. If you have a beachcaster, fishing on the estuary over the mud flats on the bottom at night is sure to turn up surprises…
FishMag received direct advice from a local that’s fished in Looe his whole life: Bizarrely, FISHMAG met this local not in Looe but in a bar in Turkey. Here’s what he said.
“Opposite banjo pier is ‘white rock’. The clue is in the name. Plug/spin here for bass on the outgoing tide almost all the way down. Tide is too strong for bottom rigs + weed from the river. At its absolute best when high tide is about 2 hours before sunset and you fish an hour into dark. Full moon even better. Shiny/silvery shallow plugs often best. When the mackerel are in you can grab them with your hands but they’re either in or they’re not. The bass will stay until the water is remarkably low.”
“Looe river – take the road up towards sand place and turn off at the tregarland bridge. Fish off the bridge but watch the phone line! 2 hours before low tide on a warm day the pool under the bridge fills with mullet that’ll take bread but they’re a nightmare – super thin line, single bb and a tiny circle hook. The guy at fishing mayhem in Liskeard swears he gets decent bass and sea trout here on live sandeel but I’ve never sussed when. The other way up the river (it splits) by the millpool car park is good for flounder with rag or lug twitched along with a little spoon.”
In West Looe, there’s a large pool in Milpool carpark which sometimes has mullet in it which could be fun to target with a super lightweight float rig on freshwater gear or an LRF rod. There is a slipway by the car park from which you can launch kayaks.
Looe, like the rest of the South Cornish coast, has long been associated with shark angling. Since Blue Shark are a fair-weather species that prefer warmer water, the southernmost parts of the UK are the only ones where Blue Shark can be targeted reliably. These fish are caught in late Spring but move closer to the coastline as the water warms up, meaning you can reach them in an hour’s boat journey out to sea. It’s up there with the best shark fishing in the UK and is considered something of a Blue Shark hub. The species are targeted on a catch-and-release basis, sometimes even with tagging, to aid in their conservation and protect the species. Sometimes, fish aren’t even landed and are released from within the water for their protection.
Fishing in Polperro
If you venture out onto the (sometimes hazardous) rocks around Polperro, you’re likely to be rewarded with bass – or at least Wrasse on weedless soft plastics or worm baits. This ground is proper rough, thick with kelp, and bursting with life. I’ve walked the coastline from Fowey all the way to Polperro, which takes a good few hours and was astonished at how good the ground looks for bass and how untouched the coastline appears to be. There are gulleys, huge areas of rough ground and tiny little beaches along that path – stunning and worth exploring if you’re confident on the roughest and remotest of ground. The ideal set-up for this coast would be a fairly long spinning rod with decent-sized bass lures. In places, it would be advantageous to have the extra length for longer casting in a headwind and for lifting fish over rocks. 10ft would be ideal. Wrasse could be your backup plan.
At Talland Bay which is between Looe and Polperro, there’s a nice stretch of beach which is worth fishing, although nothing special by Cornish standards. You’ll find it less busy here, and when fishing from the harbour is banned in the summer months it’s a good place to go. You can fish off the rocks and pick up garfish, mackerel, wrasse, bass and the trusty pollack. Lugworm is the preferred bait among many locals. At night, you should be almost guaranteed a dogfish at least! It’s a beautiful spot.
A local told FishMag:
“Low tide from the sandy bit of the beach for bass. Eel and lug on the bottom. If you’re mobile, walk about ten minutes up the coast path towards Polperro. When you reach the top of the hill there’s a steep little path down to the rocks. An hour after high tide you can cast into deep gulleys from the furthest rocky outcrop you can get to. Fish it on the way out, preferably in the evening. Plug for everything, mackerel, gar, bass, etc, very big pollock on a deep diver. I’m sure you could float just about anything here too.“
“Plaidy beach (next to looe). Ground like the surface of the moon. Fish an hour or two either side of high tide. Float fish with limpets for big wrasse. Other species are here but mostly tiny pollock. I have seen a monster bull huss but would never bother fishing the bottom if you want to keep your gear. Millendreath. High tide from the walkway with plugs or launch a sandeel or lug into the surf. Sunrise is your friend but mostly cus of the constant tourists otherwise.“
Beaches with rough ground on both wings tend to be more productive than open sandy beaches without structure, and one look at Talland Bay on Google maps reveals a ton of structure that Bass, Wrasse and Pollack will love.