Sea Fishing Poole Harbour

“Poole is the second biggest natural harbour in the world. Second only to Sidney harbour, and even that’s debatable… It’s a very big natural harbour. It’s shallow for the most part, apart from where they need passage for large craft, such as ferries and big ships that carry freight into Poole Harbour.” – Kieth,

FISHMAG reached out to local expert Keith, who has been running a tackle shop and charter boat business for decades on the Fisherman’s Dock in Poole. Here are a few tips we picked up from him.

1. Poole Harbour offers shelter, even on windy days

Poole, known for having the second-largest charter fleet in the UK for recreational sea fishing, is acclaimed for its harbour which provides a natural sanctuary for myriad sea life. “What Poole offers that Weymouth can’t is our harbour. On days when boats would struggle to get out normally on strong south-westerly, we can still offer a decent day’s fishing because the harbour is a great fishery.” In the face of inclement weather, anglers find solace within the harbour, with 28 recreational fishing boats ready to navigate its shallow expanses in 2023.

2. Depths vary greatly, from shallow flats to ripping channels

“In areas where no shipping passes through, it can be anything from a couple of feet down to much deeper where the chain ferry crosses down at sandbanks, depending on the tide.” It’s crucial for anglers to understand the tides and depths of Poole Harbour to maximize their fishing excursions. Especially for bass, certain spots, like where the chain ferry crosses, become hot spots due to specific tidal and depth conditions.

We’ve fished the Poole area and found the harbour mouth to be good for black bream especially.

3. Bass thrive in the current

“The speed of the tide through the harbour entrance attracts a lot of fish and predators. It’s a very popular fishing spot…” The harbour mouth, a mere 100m wide, becomes a bottleneck where tides can surge up to 6+ knots, creating a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem that is particularly beneficial for bass fishing. Anglers, especially those keen on fly fishing, find the rapid water movements create the kind of chaos bass are designed to exploit.

4. Fly fishing is popular along the Purbeck Coastline

Venturing beyond the harbour and into the Purbecks, you’ll find waters that are popular with fly guys. With the rapid tides especially on big spring tide days, an abundance of blowfly from the seaweed is washed into the waters. The mullet and (we’re told) even the bass feed on these blowfly, which sets things up pretty nicely for fly fishing.

fishing poole harbour
We are putting together a thorough guide to shore fishing in poole shortly.

Just outside of Poole harbour, is Poole Marine Conservation Area, which is 4km squared of protected seabed that we anglers are quite rightly not allowed to fish. This allows 360 different marine species to thrive there without interference – protected zones like this help us catch more fish overall by making the marine environment a bit less screwed.

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