The Brighton Palace Pier is the jewel of the Brighton sea-front. The pier and its outline is well known and have attracted tourists for over a century. The perfectly placed walkways look like a fisherman’s dream, but is it allowed?
Can you fish on Brighton pier? You used to be able to fish on the Brighton Palace pier. But in 1975 all the landing stages were removed, making fishing difficult, especially when it was busy. Finally, In 1984 fishing was phased out, when the Noble Organisation purchased the pier.
Don’t let that fishing ban get to you though, there are plenty of great and even better fishing spots in and around Brighton. (Click Here for a ‘Complete guide on fishing in Brighton‘.) Even some unique ones. Read on to discover the best spots for rod and line in Brighton.
Brighton Palace Pier
The palace pier is the centrepiece of Brighton’s beach-scape. It has a more than 120-year old history and is perhaps what a lot of people think when they hear the word “pier”. Some argue that it was at Brighton pier the entire concept of tourism was invented.
Piers like the Brighton Palace pier gives anglers an outstanding advantage. No need to throw far to get to where the fish is at. The pier in Brighton has very nice walkways along the side and would be perfect for fishing. Sadly, there is no such joy any more at the Brighton Palace Pier.
Fishing was, however, allowed at the pier previously. There are a few old-timers that talk about this. At one point the pier even had special platforms for fishing, but no longer. The hazards that fishing pose to other visitors as well as the “mess” that fishing causes have resulted in an all-out ban on fishing at the pier.
The fishing club in Brighton is, in fact, named The Palace Pier Angling society. A name that probably has something to do with fishing being allowed on the pier in the past.
On the brighter side, most of the rest of Brighton’s sea-front is open to fishing and there are some really good spots all season round. We will go over the beaches and Brighton Marina, enough to keep even the most avid angler busy for quite some time!
Fishing Brighton’s Beaches
There is a lot of good fishing on the beaches of Brighton. During the summer months, the level of tourism can, unfortunately, make it very hard to find a spot. Late evening, early morning, and night time fishing is usually no problem and recommended during the summer. Seaford beach is a local night time summer favorite and it has free parking.
It is, of course, possible to fish right next to the Palace Pier. The piers structure gives shelter to many fish and there are good catches possible on both sides of the pier structure.
The beaches yield catches all year round. Even during the leaner autumn and spring when the population of fish near the beaches change. Bottom feeding fish like flounder are available in spring and in autumn there are still mackerel and bass to be had. Climate change is evident, the same as everywhere in the UK, with more summer fish staying later in the season.
In winter there is plenty of Pout, Bass, and Whiting. Banjo Groin is a hotspot for whiting during winter. It is located off the beach from Madeira Drive. Evening incoming tide is the best time to fish during the winter. It is even possible to catch cod in wintertime, exceedingly rare nowadays but still possible.
After the new year, Flounders and Rockling arrive at the beaches as well. These bottomfeeding fish needs special gear to catch but there are plenty of them during the otherwise lean spring.
Brighton’s beaches have some very nice tide features for fishermen. Normally, high tide is the best tide to fish in as fish follow the tide in to feed. The tide surprises many insects and also churns up material from the bottom. Since this is the prime time for fishing it is also very busy and many fishermen are going for the same fish.
On Brighton’s beaches, however, there are several spots where water movement at low tide causes fish to stay near the shoreline to feed. Smaller breaking waters and surf near the old west pier and Banjo Beach creates ideal spots for fishermen at low tide. Bass and Flounder in particular stay near these spots.
Fishing Brighton Marina
The Brighton Marina with its two sea wall arms is perhaps one of the most well-rounded fishing spots in the southern UK. This is owing to the multitude of different fish that can be found near and around the Marina.
Fish that can be found on and around the Marina
- Red Mullet
A very impressive list of possible catches! Brighton marina is very popular for this reason and many different kinds of fish are near guaranteed catches during their season. Remember, you will need to pay a fee to fish at the marina as it is also a private structure.
Brighton Marina Breakwater Fishing Prices
|Day (6 am – 6 pm)||1 Rod Adult||£3.00|
|2 Rods Adult||£5.00|
|1 Rod Junior & OAP||£2.00|
|2 Rod Junior & OAP||£3.00|
|Junior & OAP||£1.00|
|Night (6 pm – 6 am)||Rod||£3.00|
The Marina has two sea wall arms, the western and the eastern. The western generally see more fishermen, even to the point of crowding during the summer. The eastern arm offers similar catches but with some more space in summer. The eastern arm has numbered fishing pegs, written in yellow on the walls, which makes finding the good spots easy.
The fish around the marina generally stay very close to the structure itself. This means there is no need to cast far out. Less than 50 feet will do it. Fishing close to the marina walls will overall yield better results. In turn, if you want to fish the marina bringing some spare gear is a good idea. You are bound to lose some to snagging on the structure. Snags are more common on the eastern arm whereas the western one has a smoother sandy bottom.
In the summer Mackerel is an almost guaranteed catch along the west arm, as is Bass. This, of course, makes the west arm a very popular fishing destination with overcrowding as a result. The eastern arm has fewer fishermen but has areas with lots of snags.
Float fishing is good at the Marina during the summer but due to crowding it’s best to float fish on the eastern arm. Between pegs 20-30 and after peg 45 are good places to start. The former is near the bend in the wall and the latter near the end of the wall itself.
The actual end itself of the eastern arm is also a good spot. It lets you fish into the actual inlet to the marina which offers some good catches. You will also be alone doing it as there is little room to fish there, two people at the maximum.
The fish are around the marina are generally between 8 and 15 feet deep. For summer, staring at 15 feet and working upwards is a good idea. Pollock and Mackerel stay a bit deeper and garfish more shallow. All the fish are a bit deeper earlier in the summer season and come up later on. Then again, this is what fishing is about, finding the fish!
Nighttime fishing at the marina is well worth the time as well. Smoothounds frequent the eastern arm during summer but be sure to hold on to your rod. Many have lost theirs to smoothhounds at Brighton marina! In winter, nighttime is extra fruitful om the eastern arm with bigger sized versions of Dabs, Rockling, Whiting and Pout up for grabs.
Winter fishing can be uncomfortable with winds and rain and spray. The Marina is often closed for fishing during winter. Generally, this is due to high winds and storms. If the weather is good for fishing then the Marina is normally open. If the waters get too choppy and start going over the walls it is time to leave. This can get very dangerous quite fast.
Fishing in nearby beaches
The beaches in nearby Hove also have a lot to offer. The fish is the same as for the beaches in Brighton with slightly less congestion in summer. During summer Smoothounds can be caught here using peeler crab as bait. It is even possible to catch rays at the beginning of the summer.
Nightime fishing in Hove during summer is also a good idea as there are fewer people on the beaches. It might seem odd but in a town as popular as Brighton snagging a swimmer at 4 am on a Wednesday is not an entirely crazy notion.
Even though the pier itself is off-limits the many good spots will give you a good fishing outing any time of the year. Make sure you check the rules for the spot you wish to fish as this changes. Summer congestion makes it very hard sometimes but the catches are well worth it.
Sea fishing is sea fishing after all and Brighton has a lot to offer!