West Bay is at the western extremity of Chesil Beach and is the Port that used to serve Bridport. There is a harbour that is home to fishing charter boats and angling and crabbing can be enjoyed around the old harbour or the new pier extensions. East Pier is the shorter of the two harbour arms and forms a stop to Chesil Beach. The West Pier is pretentiously named the Jurassic Pier although it is nothing but a concrete eyesore. There are signs all around the new piers stating that hand lining and float fishing only is allowed; they are mainly ignored, or at best a small float is clipped on the line after casting for appearances sake. Casting out into the main channel used by the boats is not necessary, fish will be close in to the wall and can be caught a few feet or yards from the wall. On rougher days when there is no boat traffic is is safe enough to fish the main channel. Some hardy types climb over the wall at the end of the West Pier, scramble over the large rocks and fish the concrete platform. Be aware that an idiot angler fishing there in rough weather last year was washed off by a large wave, lost all of his tackle, and was lucky to survive; he was washed up eventually on East Beach. It is not a place for children.
Ragworm is the favoured bait for bottom fishing but small strips of fish or squid will catch fish. Float-fishing in summer can be good sport, depth at which the fish will be varies but about nine feet is a good starting depth. Best bait for float fishing is a strip of mackerel or squid or a small whole sandeel.
To the west of the harbour is the Promenade, this gives access to fish rough, rocky and weedy ground. There will be some tackle loss but the rough ground attracts all manner of species; wrasse, dogfish and bullhuss are far more common here than in the harbour area. There is little tidal flow and the fish can be close in, it is possible to fish this section using smooth (non-grip wire type) weights, an ounce or two can be plenty and weights of this size are cheaper to lose. Use a length of line of lower breaking strain than your hook-length or mainline and that should give first allowing you to retrieve the rest of the tackle and any fish. Casting distance is not a major consideration so 'power casting' with the risk of snapping the weak link during the cast is not required.... a gentle lob is all that is required. A slice of mackerel or squid, or a raw prawn on a size 1 or 1/0 hook will attract the dogfish and bullhuss.... although neither species can be said to be fussy eaters, they will generally take any bait offered. Use a soft wire hook such as the Mustad Nordic Bend and it will bend out of a snag but be sufficiently strong to hold the fish. In summer it can be worthwhile float fishing here for gar, mackerel, bass or mullet.
There are two tackle shops nearby, Potters and West Bay Angling Centre, plenty of fast food kiosks, cafés and shops. Toilets are near the café on East Beach and at the rear of the harbour-masters office, ( across the harbour from the sluice gates where the river enters the harbour ) . Car parking is expensive and short-term near the harbour, best use the long term car park that adjoins East Beach or the even cheaper area opposite at the old station yard.
There is free parking on the Prom and in the harbour-side car park after 6pm.
There is an active Sea Angling Club at West Bay, junior matches are held on Saturdays except during the winter and guests can fish the matches, see website for details of the matches.
updated 23.03.2011 The Prom photograph and information added
09.05.2011 Toilet info revised, toilets on the green now closed.