Really fresh fish

The famous Jurassic Cliffs at West Bay

The Jurassic Cliffs at West Bay from the sea

From Sea to Plate in hours – simply catch and cook your supper. Take a  charter trip where the novice or experienced angler can catch the freshest fish that you will ever eat.

I took a trip out on Dawn Mist 2 skippered by Matt Toms last Thursday – this blog will describe the day and what to expect. Leaving the sheltered waters of West Bay Harbour at about 9 o’clock, turning South towards Portland with Chesil Beach on our Port (left) Side. Looking back you can see away in the distance Lyme Regis and with Golden Cap – the highest cliff on the south coast of Great Britain – clearly seen standing there with it’s distinctive outcrop of golden greensand rock at the very top of the cliff. The view from the sea gives a totally different perspective of our coastline and countryside and well worth a look if you would prefer not to fish how about trying a trip with Lyme Bay Rib Charters.

So enough rambling and back to the important business of catching a fish or two for supper. How to fish and what to fish for – the best person to ask is the skipper. He is the one who is there everyday and knows what is being caught and how. So with tackle ready the skipper has dropped anchor and time to cast out and catch some fish. Matt tells us that they had a great day yesterday..and puts the kettle on for a cup of tea.

Not long and the first fish is aboard the boat. One of the crew catches a pollack of about two pounds – not really what we are after but they are OK for eating and at least there are fish about (for some!)

Not long and the Black Bream come on to feed – this fish is hard fighting for its size and is truly excellent eating and when baked simply in the oven with some herbs and lemon. It is wonderful and light in texture and full of flavour.



Black Bream caught by Matt Toms of Dawn Mist 2

Black Bream caught by Matt Toms of Dawn Mist 2

To Cook your fresh fish simply is usually the way to get the best flavour


Scale and gut your fish when out fishing. I usually do this when the tide goes slack and the fish have lost interest. I believe it can get their attention back and it saves your partner’s scorn if you had done this in the kitchen!


– Rub the fish inside and out with sea salt, then place onto a tray. Put herbs into cavity and score the skin three times and put slices of lemon on each fish and squeeze the juice of a lemon over the fish. Top with slices of butter.
– Place fish in a pre-heated oven (moderate to hot) for 15 to 20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, take out of the oven and spoon over juices and put back in the oven for the remainder of time. To check, run a filleting knife into the fish along the backbone and if it comes away easily from the bone then it’s ready.
– Serve the whole fish at the table with some salad and new potatoes or rice.

This makes a wonderful healthy fresh meal and will certainly get all the family sending you back out fishing again soon.

A 5 pound Bass perfect for the table

A 5 pound Bass perfect for the table

Fishing Trips

Taking a charter trip for individuals from West Bay will cost between £10 for a one-hour Mackerel fishing trip up to £46 for an 8-hour trip. Most of the charter boats can be booked through the local tackle shops – The Angling Centre – West Bay or Potter’s Tackle Shop – West Bay. Full boat charters are also available and details of these can be found on the specific boat websites.

Remember even on the hottest day it will be a good few degrees cooler out at sea so make sure you have something warm to wear – it is also a good idea to have a water proof jacket and a hat. Sun cream is also a must as the effect of the sun is greater out at sea even on a dull day due to the reflection from the water.

Area Details

A charming fishing village situated to the west of Dorset a mile south of the lively market town of Bridport, situated at the heart of the Jurassic Coastline West Bay is busy fishing harbour, with plenty of places to eat and lovely walks and beaches. Where to stay – we have a number of cottages near to or in West Bay.  

Needless to say I failed to catch supper on this occasion – however I have been known to catch a Bass or two!