Kayak Fishing in South Devon and Dorset


This was my first kayaking trip to the Jurassic coast but the only dinosaur I glimpsed all day was way before dawn in the bathroom mirror.

I was lucky with my choice of day-light NW wind, no swell and blue sky.The sun was about to rise over the distant Portland Bill as I set off.

I trolled my two favourite lures as I paddled- a ‘GULP’ sandeel on one side and mini jointed Rapala plug on the other. However fishing was going to be tricky as the mudstone cliffs made the sea close to the shore quite cloudy.

Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis

No sign of the French Lieutenant or his woman as I passed the Cobb at Lyme Regis but I caught a small mackerel……

Probably my last mackerel of the year
Probably my last mackerel of the year

…….and was pretty thrilled to see a little party of one of my favourite wading birds, Purple Sandpipers, roosting on the giant rocks of the pier. They are winter visitors from the arctic and you only see them on exposed rocky shorelines.

Purple Sandpipers
Purple Sandpipers

I was pleasantly pleased with the scenery after Lyme heavily wooded cliff and no sign of human existence at all. Apart from a couple of gill-nets close to the shore. These really irritate me as not only do they rather unskillfully catch all fish but also any unsuspecting diving birds. Aren’t they illegal?

My irritation was alleviated by catching my first bass of the day on my miniplug (small and put back) shortly followed by my only Twaite’s Shad of the year on the sandeel.Although I kept it out of the water only long enough to take a photograph I think at least half its scales fell off and it didn’t swim off too speedily.

Twaites shad
Twaites shad

As I stripped down to my (thermal) t-shirt I could hardly believe it was mid November-it was my ‘hottest’ paddle since June.I found a suitably Mediterranean style beach for my breakfast break which was totally deserted.

Breakfast beach
Breakfast beach

On the approach to Seaton I caught a hard fighting bass on the miniplug close to the shore.

Seaton Bass
Seaton Bass

No problem with bass staying alive long enough to be put back even though getting hooks out of their mouths without being speared by their fins or lacerated by their gill covers takes time. 

I had to pile on the power for the ten mile paddle back to Charmouth or I would be late for an appointment- so my excuse for not catching any fish on the home leg is that the lures were being zipped through the water at such a speed that they might not draw the attention of predators looking for an injured or disabled baitfish.

The sweat in my eyes meant I was barely able to appreciate the vista either.

Humble point
Humble point

5 thoughts on “Kayak Fishing in South Devon and Dorset

  1. Hi I’m looking at kayaking between Seaton and Charmouth. Do you recommend doing it that way or start at Charmouth? Is there any difference? I’m not looking to fish.



    1. Hi Anne,

      You could do this trip easily either way as tides are insignificant, but I always think it’s a good idea to paddle into any wind on the outward leg so it’s assisting you on the way back. Also if its sunny you may want to paddle west in the morning and east in the afternoon to keep the sun behind you to simply improve the view and enjoyment!

  2. Great article thank you. I am also a veteran kayak paddler, having raced K2 class through the 70’s. I now have numerous boats for recreation only and just last week I bought a fully rigged fishing boat for two or three depending on cargo being carried. There are two revolving rod holders and four sunken holders along with storage hatches. Usually I paddle a single boat with two rods. I drag an anchor or fix myself depending on location and fish on or near the bottom. Catching Plaice and Gurnard mostly the bigger fish are swiftly dispatched and eaten on the beach using a Cobb cooker ..my two sons really enjoy the fresh and tasty challenge.
    I am hoping to get down to the Cobb before the May bank hols and then paddle west in search of big…? bass. If any exist off the coast nowadays.
    thanks again for the article, It makes want to get going sooner!
    Cheers, Tim

    1. Aha, so it was you Tim who always forced me (plus paddling chum)into second place in those gruelling K2 races in the mid 70s!

  3. Hi Rupert,
    I have just bought myself a secondhand Perception Torrent Kayak, it needs some preperation to turn it into a fishing kayak, but I could afford the one I wanted.
    I was planning a fishing trip to Exmouth or Budleigh and was wondering on what these are like for Mackerell or Bass.

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