Padstow’s working fishing boats provide one of the town's greatest attractions. They come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the smaller boats are inshore crabbers landing daily their catches of lobster, crayfish and crab. The larger boats are either netters or trawlers catching several species of fish off the South West coast and further out into the Atlantic Ocean. When the boats return to Padstow after a fishing trip, crowds often gather on the quayside to watch the catch being unloaded. Most of the fish landed is then transported to auction at either Brixham or Newlyn where up to 90% of it makes its way to France, Italy and Spain. Some of course is also sold on to local fishmongers and restaurants. The advent of the famous Seafood Restaurant and other outstanding fish restaurants has transformed the fresh fish and shellfish market in Padstow. Shops on South Quay now sell a mouthwatering variety of freshly caught fish and shellfish to restaurants and visitors alike and many’s the visitor returning home from a holiday in Cornwall with a cool box full of the freshest Padstow fish and seafood. The town's reputation for supplying the very best in food from the sea is alive and thriving.
The local coastal waters offer exciting sport to the sea angler. Whether float fishing or spinning from the rocky headlands, beach casting into the rolling surf or light tackle fishing in the sheltered waters of the Camel estuary there’s enough variety for everyone. For the more adventurous,regular boat trips operate throughout the summer. Coarse fishermen are also well catered for with several excellent, well-managed and well-stocked lakes within a 12-mile radius.The main species are carp, tench, bream and roach, with some rudd and perch. All fisheries are day-ticket waters and some have their own bait and tackle shops.
The area is an ideal centre for a Spring break (but don’t forget to pack your NRA National Rod Licence). Fly-fishing for trout and salmon is primarily restricted to small rivers and streams and nearly all are privately owned. However, some of the smaller trout fisheries managed by local angling clubs issue either day tickets or temporary membership. Failing that, there are several larger reservoirs and lakes in other parts of Cornwall and in Devon. If you would like to know more please contact the Padstow Angling Centre on 01841 532762
If you wish to fish from the harbour wall/cliffs around the estuary, you will need a fishing permit from Padstow Harbour Master. The permit is free but is a requirement for anglers.
Crabbing is a very cheap and very entertaining way to spend the afternoon, regardless of your age. Crab lines and bait can be bought from many of the shops around the harbour including Padstow Angling Centre. The inner harbour is the best place to catch them. Drop a baited line into the water and wait for the baby crabs to bite. Put them in a bucket of sea water then put them back into the harbour when you're done. The crabs bite readily, they seem to realise its an easy way to a free meal! N.B. Padstow is a working harbour and you are not advised to crab from any of the slipways or step that have boats working from them e.g. the ferry slip. Please put the crabs back carefully from where you caught them and remember to take all the lines away with you as they are fatal to sealife!