There are not many places in the entire UK where it is possible to catch bass, carp and wild trout all in the space of a few miles, but with quality sea, coarse and fly angling all nearby, Bude offers some of the very best fishing in Cornwall. For fresh bait, tackle and up to date catch reports, a good bet is always Waterfront Fishing and Shooting. Do also note that apart from the sea, all fishing is strictly catch and release in Bude. We would also encourage the release of fish such as bass and mullet, which are slow growing and valuable recreational species.
There are some great fishing lakes and ponds in Bude with holiday cottages. Browse Bude accommodation with onsite fishing here…
Coarse Fishing on the pretty, scenic canal represents the easiest and safest angling option in Bude. The waters here are well stocked with various species, but the fishing for rudd, roach, bream and carp can be especially good. That said, you might catch the occasional flounder or sea trout!
Float fishing is best fun, with pole or rod and reel. Maggots, sweetcorn and pellets are all reliable baits. You’ll get more bites fishing relatively fine (4-5lb line, size 12-16 barbless hook) and by regularly throwing in small helpings of bait around the float. Feeder or carp style tactics will also work however; most carp are 2-5lbs, but the odd much bigger fish appear to well over 20lbs.
One word of warning here too: the canal can get very busy with boats at certain times of year. Early starts make sense if you want a peaceful couple of hours, or you could try further out of town for a quieter experience. The fish are well used to kayaks and pedaloes however, so don’t be too discouraged by human traffic.
Coarse anglers aged 12 and over will need the usual national rod licence, but also a day ticket from Bude Canal Angling Club. Both can be easily bought right next to the canal at the Post Office.
Several level fishing platforms also exist for wheelchair users.
Sea fishing on the beaches or via charter boats in and around Bude produces the sort of sport Cornwall is famous for, with many species to go for and places to try. For the beginner, sea fishing also has the advantage that, unlike freshwater fishing, it requires no license.
From the shore, beach casting is popular. Bude Breakwater and Bude Harbour produce mackerel, pollack, school bass and mullet (try spinning or float fishing), while beaches such as Widemouth, Sandymouth and Crooklets beaches can be worth a shot for small-eyed and thornback rays, dogfish and bass, especially at night with sandeel or peeler crab baits. Whiting and codling provide winter sport.
Boat fishing trips are also popular locally, where a little extra cost will more than reward you with local expertise and a much higher chance of a good catch.
Fly fishing and trout waters
With classic lakes and rivers nearby, Bude also has game fishing options to satisfy the travelling angler. The River Neet is one of only a handful of sites to offer free fishing in Cornwall, from the sea mouth to the Rugby club. You’ll find plenty of challenging mullet, along with a few trout.
Another nearby destination noted for fly fishing in north Cornwall is the Upper Tamar, where you will find pretty, wild brown trout and even some sea trout and the odd grayling. Controlled by Bude Angler’s Association this is great value fly fishing at just five pounds a day!
The Tamar can offer some good fishing for brown trout, but do check the weather. Settled conditions are ideal, with rain often making the water muddy and difficult. Bring small wet and dry flies in sizes 14-18 such as Klinkhamers, Black Gnats and beaded Hare’s Ears.
Also on the rivers, the region has many miles of excellent river fishing in Cornwall and North Devon under the Westcountry Angling Passport Scheme. This is a brilliant not for profit system offering affordable and idyllic fly fishing in Devon and Cornwall.
In terms of year round fly fishing in Cornwall and North Devon, there are also some fine lakes to be explored. The nearest are at Simpson Valley Fishery (near Holsworthy), which has rainbow, brown, blue and tiger trout which are caught even in midwinter.