Looe is the second largest fishing port in Cornwall, supporting a fleet of trawlers, potters and netters together with an expanding number of hand-line fishermen (www.linecaught.org.uk).
The majority of the Looe fleet consists of day boats, meaning they go to sea and return each day, ensuring that their fish is fresh and of the highest quality (note the slush-ice bins carried on board even the smallest boats).
Fish are landed at the market throughout the day and are stored in refrigerators until the next auction (weekdays, starting 0600, www.looe-fish-selling.co.uk ). Due to safety and hygiene regulations the fish market is not open to the public but you can try some of Looe’s locally caught seafood in our local restaurants (link to ‘Food for Thought’ page)
There are lots of opportunities to go fishing
- Looe supports a wide variety of charter angling boats for the sport fisherman and those that just want to ‘have a go’. Trips range from full day trips to offshore reefs and wrecks in search of large Pollack, Ling and Coley, to shorter half-day ‘reef-fishing’, or 2 hour mackerel fishing trips that are more family oriented. To book a fishing trip, look out for the various advertising boards on East Looe quayside.
- Looe is also home to the Shark Angling Club of Great Britain (www.sharkanglingclubofgreatbritain.org.uk ). Several Looe skippers specialise in shark angling during the summer months. This involves a whole day’s fishing some 20 miles or more offshore and the predominant species targeted is the Blue Shark (Prionace glauca). All sharks captured are tagged and released alive, such that this sport fishery adds valuable data to our knowledge of this oceanic species. Shark fishing trips can be booked via the Club’s office at Middleton’s Corner on East Looe quay (01503 262642).
- Looe is also an ideal venue for the shore angler. The Looe estuary and the harbour itself provide ideal spots to fish:
• Try ledgering for Grey Mullet close to the harbour wall adjacent to the fish market, or near the shelter on West Looe Quay.
• Bass can be caught closer to the harbour entrance – try spinning or plugging from the rocks on the West Looe side.
• Flounder can also be caught further up the estuary using fresh ragworm bait (carefully dug from mudflats at low tide), but crab predation of bait can be a problem within the estuary (try spinning with a baited spoon).
• For the more intrepid shore angler, the rocky shoreline westwards from Hannafore to Portnadler Bay holds good sized Ballan Wrasse, Bass and Pollack that can be caught by float fishing the rocky gullies (make sure you check tide times and take care on rocky terrain).
Please note that fishing off the Banjo Pier is prohibited between 1st May and 30th September to prevent incidents of entanglement between anglers and boat users.
Finally, ALL anglers are encouraged to fish sustainably, and show respect for other marine users and the environment. This means not taking more fish than you will eat; catch and release of small (and large) fish; not leaving any litter or waste, and taking care how you handle live fish so as to minimise stress and prevent their injury. Dorset Wildlife Trust has produced a handy leaflet of Tackle Box Tips with further advice on responsible sea angling, together with minimum take sizes for common species (www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/hres/tacklebox_tips.pdf ).