Fishing guide to Princess Pier
By Simon Day
Located by the princess theatre, Princess pier in Torquay is a very popular place to fish for locals and tourists alike. It is also a popular place for family fishing.
When I go fishing it is mostly here that you'll find me. I have a real soft spot for this location.
The majority of people float fish or feather but bottom fishing does have its rewards. I have seen Princess pier with as many as 30 fisherman fishing so this place can handle a lot of people.
Photo Gallery (click images below to enlarge)
Between April to June this very popular fishing spot will be plastered with cuttlefish pots and they will be very close to the wall. The pots are not just in one spot but go right along the pier making fishing any distance a real pain. I guess one mans profit is worth more than the holiday fishing industry in the bay?
Fishing from Princess Pier you will be either pulling in fish by the truck load or can wait hours before a bite, there doesn't seem to be much in-between. It is however a fairly safe and a very friendly place to go.
Disability Notes (updated July 2018)
If you are disabled and/or are in a non-motorised wheelchair, you are finally able to go down to on to the pier. The old steps have been removed and a new ramp has been installed...
There are plenty of car parks and roadside parking (all charge) but in the summer it can be very hard to find a parking place. Getting there early or an hour before the theatre starts helps. In the winter you may find it is £2 a day but in the summer expect £10 a day.
The night fishing can be very good and it is often a lot more active at night than during the day. If you arrive after 5-6pm the parking is always much cheaper!
During the winter months there are few fisherman and plenty of bites at night so you have plenty of spots to choose from.
Lighting is hit and miss so it is worth bringing your own lighting at night.
Problems you may face fishing here
1. During 2015 new metal reinforcements were added to the base of the furthest half of the pier. These will likely cause issues with hooks snagging on the protruding metal bars if you get too close to the wall when reeling up. Click on the two images below to see them visible at low tide...
2. The day trip boats pick up and drop off along the first half of the pier making casting a problem sometimes as you wait for 20+ people to leave/embark. The further down the pier you are the less of a problem it becomes.
3. Inexperienced fisherman casting over your line.
I've not seen people complain about the casting over other peoples lines but in the summer when the pier is packed you may face problems with other lines. It may not be worth bottom fishing when there are a lot of people float fishing as floats tend to move quite a bit.
If you're thinking of starting up fishing the people here are friendly enough to offer advice and even show you how to set your line up. I've done this many times and I've seen others do it also.
I also offer a fishing training induction session and use this pier often for these training sessions.
Types of fish caught
Also see: Photos of species.
Catches (depending on season) are mainly Mackerel, Garfish, Dogfish, Bass, Whiting, Pollock, Scad and Wrasse.
Rarer catches include Conger, cod, black bream, red mullet and smoothhound.
Summer Season Suggestions (June-Sept)
Down here on holiday? First thing I'd do is get the float gear, feathers or spinners out and catch some fresh mackerel. The range for casting would depend on where about's you're fishing. As a general rule 2 to 20 yards out will do it. It doesn't really matter where about you fish here as all spots do well.
A lot of Pollock about as well and night fishing can go really well. Again worms or mackerel strips work well for these. Expect the most common sizes to be around the 1lb to 2lb mark.
Lots of garfish about as well. Float fish quite shallow (6 to 10ft) using mackerel strips (and beads if you like).
Dogfish can sometime dominate the area at night so bottom fishing at night with mackerel strips or squid can produce sizes up to the 2 1/2lb mark.
If you are thinking of coming down on holiday and want to combine this with some fishing training I can offer you this service.
Baits to use
Best baits to use are small mackerel strips, rag worm, lug worm, sand eels, peeler crab, live prawns and squid.
Depth for float
Normally between 6 to 15ft depending on conditions
You are only allowed to fish the seaward side of the pier. Fishing within the marina is subject to a fine. There are also rumours that you cannot feather out to sea. This simply isn't true and was confirmed by the harbour master when I went to see him on the 29/10/04.
This all makes it sound like a place to avoid but I LOVE fishing here and I do most of my fishing training here. Everyone is SO friendly on this pier. The views are spectacular and lots of water events can keep you entertained. This has always been my most favourite place to fish and I think it always will be.
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