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Selsey West

Selsey WestSelsey west beach is accessed via the West Sands holiday park and is well known for its annual appearance by packs of smoothhound in the summer months. There are three recognised marks on this beach. The Windmill, the Embassy Club and the Cul de sac. Of these, the Windmill is the first you will come to on entering the park. There are a limited number of parking spaces next to the Windmill and a footpath leads from here down to the beach. Drive past the Windmill and keep to the left to find the Embassy Club and Oasis Leisure centre. Again, there is limited parking outside the Club and it's a short walk from here to the beach. The Cul de sac as its name implies is a far as you can go in the holiday park and there are roughly 20 parking spaces in front of the massed ranks of caravans.On a general point – you cannot fish at Selsey and not expect to get ‘weeded up’ at some point in a tide. Be patient, because it will often clear, signalling the smoothhounds to feed.

The Windmill

Access to the beach from the windmill is down the adjoining footpath beside the kiddies play area. It’s a 300-metre hike for the not-so-fit.
There are no best spots here; it’s either dead or electric. Simple one hook 2/0 rigs baited with peeler OR hardback crab is the way to go.
Five-ounce breakout leads are required. Pick a 10pm High Water in July or August… ‘light the blue touch paper’ and look out! For those who have not caught a smoothhound from a shore mark before here is a warning: set your rod-rest up sideways on, match-fishing style, and you will lose rods, reels and fish.
You MUST set the drag/ratchet lightly because they take off like ‘trains’…. you will not stop them on twenty-pound line or with a poker-like rod.
These are serious fish to be ‘played’ properly ‘off the drag’. Place your rod-rest facing to sea in it’s most stable position. Set the drag lightly, so that line can be pulled reasonably easily from it. Do not leave your rod after dark or you may never see it again …..

The Club

‘The Club’ is the West Sands Caravan pub, swimming pool, and theatre, which underlines what a great sea anglers’ family holiday venue Selsey makes.
To get there, pass the windmill and follow the road to the left. Be careful of the one-way system. You can park directly outside the club.
There is clean sand and daytime fishing is not advised when youngsters are swimming. Summer nights produce soles, smoothounds, bass and pout.
Crab is really necessary for ‘smoothies’. Daytime fishing can produce bass, mackerel, gurnards, small brill, turbot and rays.
This is not the best winter mark. I understand that a mobile tackle shop is making an appearance near ‘The Club’, but expect to pay 80p for a decent peeler crab… ouch! Try placing orders in advance with Shoreline Angling (below).

The Cul-de-sac

This is literally the end of the road at West Sands beach. Pass ‘The Club’ and keep going.
There is parking for about 20 cars in the cul-de-sac. Please be quiet in the early hours as there are many family holiday- makers in the vans nearby.
The three West Sands marks are each tidal venues with the two up and three hours down the favoured slot.
Late June sees the arrival of the ‘smuts’ as they are affectionately known and this peaks in July and August. It is never easy fishing here because tide rips and opposing currents dump seaweed everywhere.
Then that ‘special moment’ happens… two hours of weed-hauling over and the ‘smoothies’ come out to play. In a two hours spell it is possible to land upwards of ten fish averaging between five and twelve pounds with ‘humdingers’ touching over 20 pounds. Roll on July… this is a very special place.

Type of ground

This is a long shingle beach which gives on to sand, rocks and deep water with strong currents. Tides are strong on springs and you should expect to have to deal with lots of weed although this usually disperses after high water. Long casting is rarely necessary to put you amongst the fish.


Bass, Black Bream, Wrasse, Mackerel, Smoothhound.


Selsey is signposted from the A286 and B2145 junctions on the A27 south of Chichester. Drive through Selsey High Street and look for the sign to West Sands Holiday Park and then take a right turn into West Street, Crablands and straight on into West Sands holiday park.

Nearest tackle shop:

Southern Angling Specialists, 2 Stockbridge Pl, Stockbridge Rd, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8QH 01243 531669


Raycraft Tackle, 119 High Street, Selsey, West Sussex 01243606039

Shoreline Angling, 7 Shore Road, East Wittering, West Sussex 01243673353

Sporting Fish recommended retailers in this location:

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