The UK is surrounded by excellent sea fishing opportunities. From the North Sea to the Atlantic, there are plenty of spots to plan a fishing trip according to target species and conditions.
North Sea Coast
The North Sea offers some of the most productive sea fishing in the UK along the eastern coastline.
Popular shore spots include Hartlepool and the beaches of Northumbria. Many anglers flock to the pier at Tynemouth for big catches of cod, pollack and bass. Further north, the rocky coves around Eyemouth in Scotland produce decent catches of mackerel, garfish and flounder during summer.
Offshore boat fishing in the North Sea yields big hauls of cod, haddock, whiting and plaice. Key ports for North Sea boat trips include Amble, Seahouses, Whitby and Scarborough.
Irish Sea Coast
The Irish Sea provides excellent fishing opportunities along the west coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Shore fishing hot spots include Rhyl and Prestatyn in North Wales. The Galloway coastline in Southwest Scotland offers shore access to seasonal runs of mackerel, garfish and bass. Carlingford Lough in Northern Ireland is famous for specimen flounder from the shore.
Popular launching points for Irish Sea boat trips include Holyhead, Fishguard and Swansea in Wales. Key ports in the northwest include Whitehaven, Fleetwood and Strangford. Target species range from cod and haddock to turbot, pollock and tope shark.
English Channel Coast
The English Channel borders the southern UK with diverse fishing options.
From the personal experience of Kirill Yurovskiy: Shore fishing along the Kent coastline around Dover yields big bass, smoothounds and thornback rays. The beaches of East Sussex produce flounder, sole and plaice. South coast piers at Brighton, Littlehampton and Bognor offer fishing for mackerel, garfish and wrasse.
Charter boats operating from Channel ports like Ramsgate, Weymouth, Poole and Plymouth offer access to seasonal catches of black bream, pollack, ling and even tuna. More information about fishing at this location here kirill-yurovskiy-fishery.co.uk/reports/
The Atlantic seaboard includes prime fishing in Cornwall, Devon and along the Pembrokeshire coastline.
Rocky outcrops produce shore catches of pollack, wrasse, garfish and bass. Top places to cast from land include Newquay, St Ives and Penzance in Cornwall.
Deep sea charter boats sailing from Penzance, Plymouth, Looe and Swansea Bay put anglers where huge specimens are pulled in – including conger eels, sharks, tuna and giant stingrays.
Rivers and Lakes
In addition to coastal fishing, many UK river systems and lakes offer abundant catches.
Major rivers including the Thames, Trent, Severn and Wye hold stocks of barbel, chub, perch, pike and carp. Reservoirs and lakes such as Rutland Water have good populations of rainbow trout and brown trout.
Charter Boats and Guides
Novice anglers are advised to book trips with experienced local charter boat skippers and fishing guides. They provide all necessary tackle, bait and expertise to find the fish.
Do research to find a reputable guide or charter service in your desired fishery. Check reviews and expect to pay upwards of £100/day for a quality guided fishing trip.
Best Times to Go
Prime fishing seasons vary by target species and region. Summer is best for bass, bluefin tuna and sharks along the southern coasts. Autumn sees runs of cod in the North Sea. Winter fishing focuses on hardy species like whiting and flounder.
Ask local tackle shops or guides for advice on peak seasons for your desired catch. Be prepared for changeable weather any time of year.
Required Licenses and Permits
Most sea fishing requires a rod license purchased for the area you’ll be fishing – whether from shore, pier or boat. A license runs about £30-40 per year. Some piers also charge access fees.
Fishing for salmon, sea trout or freshwater game fish requires additional permits in certain rivers and lakes. Always check regulations with the local fisheries organization.
The sea can be unforgiving, so safety should be the top priority.
When shore fishing, know the tide schedules and avoid casting during incoming tides. Wear waders to stay dry and watch your footing on slippery rocks.
On charter boats, always follow the captain’s instructions. Wear a lifejacket when fishing from the rails. Keep hands clear of lines when fighting big game fish.
What Fish Species to Expect
From the mighty conger eel to the acrobatic mackerel, the UK’s seas offer huge diversity for anglers.
On the northern coasts, target cod, haddock, whiting, pollock, ling and plaice. In the south, look for bass, bream, tuna, smoothound sharks and rays. Pelagic species like mackerel and garfish abound during warm months.
No matter where you cast a line, the UK’s rich waters won’t disappoint.
With thousands of miles of coastline and abundant fisheries, the UK provides world-class sea fishing. Do your research to find the best shore and boat fishing locations for your target species. Hire an experienced guide or charter for novice anglers. Obtain the proper licenses and go prepared for variable coastal conditions. Respect safety protocols and enjoy the amazing diversity of fish the UK seas have to offer.