Once a famous smuggling beach on
the East side of Portland, Church Ope Cove is now a favourite
spot for beach hut owners looking to escape from the hustle and
bustle of their everyday lives.
Park in the free car park on the
right, opposite Pennsylvania Castle just as you drive out of
Easton towards the Bill. Access to the Cove is either down
the public footpath next to Pennsylvania castle or via Portland
museum (which has a seasonal café nearby). Be warned it is a
steep path with a lot of steps, so keep your tackle as light as
possible. If you go down the path beside the castle you will go
through the old church of St Andrews and graveyard. This path
can be quite slippery so be careful.
Once down in the Cove you have the
choice of fishing the beach directly in front of you or the
rocks either side. Looking out to sea, the rocks to the left
provide one of the few marks on the Island that regularly
produce Cuckoo Wrasse.
The beach is made up of clean sand
with patches off rough ground. The rough ground is a tackle
graveyard so expect some tackle losses. The main species from
the Cove are Pollack, Wrasse, Bass, Garfish, Scad, Dab, Sole,
Pout and Dogfish.
The Cove is primarily a summer
venue with Sole fishing in the Autumn.
Sport can be very hectic on a
August or September evening with float fished Mackerel producing
a very mixed bag in a short time. Lure fishing can also provide
spectacular results, especially if there is a good surf running.
My favourite lure in those conditions is a large Popper, Rapala
X-Rap, or Tempest Sidewinder.
After dark will see the usual
Dogfish and Pout as well as the odd Smoothound if conditions are
right. A large bait fished close in has taken a good number of
sizeable Bass in the past.