Cardiff Barage

Jane Hyde
Jane Hyde

This manmade Cardiff structure provides plenty of fishing opportunities throughout the year, including some good bass fishing.

Words & Photography by Dave Lewis

Since the completion of the Cardiff Bay Barrage shore anglers in south-east Wales have benefited from access to a new and productive mark.

Certainly it has proved to be an extremely popular mark with many local anglers including young, elderly and those who are unable to access more challenging venues. If you like easy sea angling, then this is a venue that will appeal to you!

This is the perfect venue to enjoy a few hours of easy fishing. There are plenty of bins on site; anyone creating a mess or other nuisance will be asked to leave. Casting is not allowed on the inside of the wall because boats are constantly traveling to and from the lock gates.


Throughout the spring, summer and early autumn, the main species targeted include silver eels, strap congers, flounders, pouting, mullet, bass, dabs, plaice, soles and flounders. Thornback rays and an occasional undulate are caught too. Codling and whiting are sought throughout the winter.


Most anglers’fish for around three hours either side of high water, ideally on the larger tides. Fishing at night, which can be especially productive for winter whiting, is currently permitted. Most anglers fish flapper rigs with two or three hooks, which are baited with fresh worms, squid, crab or fish and cast a short distance into the deep-water channel leading into Cardiff Docks. The seabed in generally snag free, so tackle losses are few and far between.

Popular areas are the white pole for codling and whiting and the pink hut for cod and bass. There is a gully about 50 yards out from the hut.

An increasing number of barrage regulars seeking bass will float fish with freshly caught live prawns, which can be caught in a drop-net baited with fish and hung straight down the barrage wall. Bass are attracted to the outfalls from Cardiff Bay that continually provides a source of food by way of countless small freshwater fish species being washed out into the channel, hence the high success rate of a float fished live prawn. The area in the immediate vicinity of these outlets is off limits to anglers.

Live whiting or pouting presented in a similar way or freelined are effective for larger bass, which in the past has include several specimens over 10lb.

Other anglers target mullet using light float tackle. Bread is a very effective hookbait and a mash of bread mixed with water with added fish oil makes a very effective groundbait. It will quickly attract any mullet in the vicinity.

It is a good idea to ensure you have access to a drop-net whenever fishing the Cardiff Bay Barrage, as you never really know just what might catch at this venue.

For the latest news, fees, rules and general information on fishing Cardiff Barrage breakwater, tel: 02920 700234.


Getting there

Follow the signs for Penarth and then Penarth Marina. Drive to the very end of the marina where you will find a large pay and display car park just a short walk from the barrage, where fishing is free.

Tackle shop

Garry Evans, 105-109 Whitchurch Rd, Cardiff, CF14 3JQ, tel: 02920 619828.

Anglers Supplies, 172 Penarth Rd, Cardiff, CF11 6NL, tel: 02920 220723

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