Shore Fishing from Goodrington Promenade
Goodrington promenade is probably the only accessible fishing mark for wheelchair anglers in Paignton. It stretches for about 230 m out from the beach so at high water you are fishing into a decent bit of water. The promenade offers easy and safe access to anyone who wants to fish somewhere that is totally safe . There are railings running the full length of the promenade. My power chair has an electric seat riser which means I can sit fairly high, therefore the railings don't impair my fishing at all. If you haven't got this function then I don't think the railings should cause a problem, you may just find you have to hold your rod a little bit higher when reeling in. You can access the promenade straight from the beach area way you can find the car park which has disabled parking , or if you are brave you can come down the rock walk which is quite steep in places . It's a little bit like a maze, there are quite a few steps, but you will find that you can bypass the steps and use the slopes to get right down to the promenade
Bear in mind that you will be fishing over sand, there really aren't any rocks or weed beds that are often places where fish live permanently. Fish will swim in with the tide to feed, and then retreat when it goes out . The best time to fish it will be a couple of hours before high water, and then maybe an hour or two after.
So what fish can you catch from Goodrington promenade? The good news is that the promenade can be extremely productive at times. The bad news is that it's best fished during the winter. During the warmer months of the year the promenade is an excellent place for catching mackerel. Try using sliding float tackle, a set of feathers, small spinners or plastic lures, all of which will work well . Use mackerel or squid strips that have been cut to resemble small fish. Alternatively a frozen sand eel is an excellent bait and will catch mackerel if they are present. Around August onwards during the summer you may also catch garfish which often fall to the same tactics. I have on a few occasions seen bass swimming very close into the beach during an incoming tide. Try fishing from the beach using special bass lures, especially just after a storm when a lot of food will have been disturbed and fish then move into feed
The promenade is also a good place to fish for mullet as they are often present in large numbers during the summertime. It's best to approach catching mullet using the same tactics as you would if you were fishing for freshwater fish, carp or tench for instance. You are extremely unlikely to catch a mullet unless you have managed to get them feeding vigorously in one spot. Mullet will often congregate right next to the promenade which is where you can often see them. Try fishing at the first set of steps as you walk onto the main promenade, mullet can often be seen congregating on the ledge, even in very shallow water.
By far the best time of the year to fish from Goodrington promenade is during the winter time. Fishing in the hours of darkness will yield species such as whiting, pouting and lesser spotted dogfish. Don't expect to catch any record-breaking fish though, the whiting and pouting run to about half a pound, dogfish typically no more than a couple of pound. However you should expect to catch a lot of fish in a night session, the action is non-stop. You don't need to use any special baits, mackerel, squid or sand eel are as good as any bait. A simple Paternoster rig works best as you can present more than one bait which will almost certainly will be taken.
If you want to have some fun than you can fish for small flatfish that are quite prolific. Dabs and plaice, even small sole can be found over the sand. If you want to catch these fish then you are going to have to really scale down your tackle. Use hooks no bigger than a size 10 which are the ones we normally use in freshwater. Try and obtain the smallest lugworm you can find. Alternatively use a bunch of maggots, or even common garden worms, all of these will tempt small flatfish. You could also use tiny lures that resemble small crabs or shrimp. But remember the flatfish you will be targeting are very small, probably no more than four or five ounces, but nevertheless fun to catch at any time of the year.
Digging your own lugworm in Torbay
There are a few sandy beaches in the Torbay area where you can easily harvest your lugworm for bait. I'll tell you straightaway that I could never find any worm casts a long the Paignton stretch of beaches, this is from Preston right through to Paignton the harbour. However, if you move around the headland slightly to Goodrington then I would always find lots of worms to be had on the second beach along.I'm not entirely sure about Broadsands beach, I have never fished in this area of Torbay. If you are certain that lugworm can be dug on this beach then please let me know. If you fish in Torquay then I recently noticed a lot of worm casts on the beach right next to the promenade opposite the new restaurants and bars that have been built on Torquay seafront. From what I could see the worm casts look really big and the breathing holes were massive. So I can only imagine that you will be able to dig really good quality lugworm on Torre Abbey Sands. On a slightly different note, if you get down to the beach very early after a big storm then you can often find lots of razor clams lying on the beach after being washed out of their burrows. These make excellent bait for Bass and should be fished on a simple running rig cast into the surf. I'll tell you straightaway that if you don't get there quickly and the gulls will get there before you..