Category Archives: Sea Fishing

There’s nothing better than launching a 4/5oz lead from the shore or dropping a Jelly worm over a wreck with with nothing but the nod of the fishing rod to tell you what’s happening below . Sea fishing can be exciting at the worst of times, TF Gear consultant Alan Yates describes the best way to catch saltwater species around the UK.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – September 2014

2lb codling Kent shore Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary   September 2014

2lb codling Kent shore

I had a surprise this week when a photo session with Sea Angler photographer, Lloyd Rogers resulted in me catching my biggest ever wrasse from the Kent shore. You will have to wait until the feature appears before you get to see the pics.

Catching wrasse from the Kent shore is nothing new, I first recorded Ballans in the 1980s, although they were generally small fish in the ounces and an occasional high summer catch. But after Samphire Hoe was constructed they started to appear in numbers and it was predicted that they would increase in size. Samphire Hoe, near Dover is a 2km long sea wall that was constructed out of the spoil that came out of the Channel Tunnel and it is extremely rocky and weedy, ideal habitat for wrasse which have colonised it big time.
I suppose the reason for the increase in the wrasse population generally has got to be global warming and it’s in the sea that anglers have noted a drastic influx of species and changes in the migration patterns of some of our most common fishes. The wrasse though is not a commercial catch, indeed the fact it tastes like cardboard will mean it will survive the nets and because anglers generally put them back. Both facts may have contributed to their increase, plus they are exploiting the habitat left after the demise of the other species.

Big Ballan wrasse have become what I call the poor man’s big fish with populations around the UK expanding and it’s a fact that large wrasse feature in many sea angling magazine pages when in the past they were considered less meritorious. Pound for pound of course they are a powerful sea fish, whilst their colours and handsome looks add to their popularity as a catch. They are also not easy to drag from their rocky haunts and can be caught on bait or lures. Nowadays they are there to be caught when other prime species are not and like the dogfish, wrasse have become an accepted part of the sea angling scene.

Between the wrasse I have managed to catch a few codling, although they have been mainly small with a mix of fish between 20 and 40cm from the Kent shore. Listening to the Facebook grapevine it looks like most of the English Channel and lower North Sea have the same populations of 1lb to 2lb codling. Trouble is so many anglers exaggerate the size and around my neck of the woods fish of 5lb are being reported, its odd that not one of the Kent competition results and there are hundreds, has produced a codling of more than 2lb 8oz. However, having said that its been nice to sit on the beach and see the rod tip buckle over because even a 2lb codling can give you a great pull down or slack line bite.
Best bait has been black lugworm for me with a two hook Loop rig the ideal terminal set up for long range when the weather is rough and distance crucial. At other times I have stuck to a two hook flapper with size one Kamasan B940s. In the coming weeks a change in the weather will produce more codling with an onshore sea the best conditions, south west in Kent and along the Channel coast is best whilst up the North Sea a North East is usually considered ideal. Also look to fish after the gales have subsided, don’t leave it a couple of day, go when the wind drops.

Between the codling have been a few big bass and it’s the time of year when bass and cod are caught together or in consecutive casts on some southern venues. I love nothing than a really calm night to fish a small live whiting in the margins of a steep shingle beach. Some big bass are there to be caught from now up until Christmas and like others the bass season has been extended again thanks to global warming.

Alan with a cod and bass Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary   September 2014

How it once was – A bass and a cod for a young Alan Yates……

I am currently using my two Force 8 continental beach rods. They are 15ft and rated 5oz, although I am using 12lb line and 4oz leads with one rod on micro braid and one on mono. The comparison between the two lines is tremendous with the braid especially effective over rough ground – I used it to catch those wrasse and its lack of stretch and immediate pick up means tremendous bites, but fish can be bullied away from the rocks quicker than with mono., One word of warning with braid main line all through, you will find that it will snap light mono hook lengths so don’t go too light, not below 15lb for rough ground anyway.

The Continental sea fishing rods have been an eye opener for me and using 4oz on the strongest tide with micro braid has generally lightened up my sea angling without a big loss in casting distance or increase in tackle movement because of the tide. Four ounces holds in most tides with the finer line, only heavy weed offers a problem.

I’m off this week to make a new DVD for TF Gear and Sea Angler magazine with Chris Ogborne. We are going to Cornwall and fishing aboard Optimus Prime skippered by Rodney Kennedy. The main subject of the DVD is fishing light and hopefully that will include a shore trip so I can show you the new Force 8 Continentals in action. Look out for the DVD in the coming months it will be free with Sea Angler magazine and to all TF Gear customers etc.

Alan Yates Sturgeon from Chequertree Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary   September 2014

I did a bit of coarse fishing recently and landed this cracking sturgeon on a pole from Chequertree fishery at Bethersden in Kent.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

bass and eel littelstone Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

Don’t you just love this drop in temperature, strong wind and a rough sea – Lots of anglers are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of autumn arriving and an improvement in the shore sea angling. It is though a time to bite the bullet and get out there in some uncomfortable conditions with an onshore wind and sea invariably the time to fish most venues. After the calm sunshine of summer a blustery rain swept beach can be difficult, BUT like all things it eventually becomes the norm and we all get back into winter mode. Time for the heavier fishing gear and time to break out those 7oz fixed wire grip leads, bait clips and the more powerful beachcaster rods. There is no doubt that from September onwards shore fishing is not for whimps with wands, it’s a time when casting distance and keeping a lead where it lands is very important. But it’s also a time when lots of novices catch their biggest ever bass with the species picking up a short cast big bait and so let’s start there and look at the prospects for a giant bass.

Big bass are usually solitary because the rest of their shoal have been caught or died. But there are enough still around to ensure that some lucky angler will nail a lunker in the next month or two. Luck plays a big part because bass are caught really close to the sea edge and rarely at long range. So the early winter cod angler fishing a giant bait in the edge is the one with the best odds of catching a big bass and that’s the novice. Few experienced cod anglers will deliberately fish a big bait close in for cod and so the novice with his inadequate cast is the most likely to get that lunker bass. That is unless you deliberately target a big bass by fishing close in. AND the best way to do that is with a live bait. Pick a calm, dark night and a steep deep beach venue and hook on a small pout and fish it in the first twenty for the waters edge. Keep the noise and light flashing to a minimum and you may catch a big bass. Often at this time of year the bass arrive on a venue because anglers are returning small fish or gutting mackerel etc. This especially as dusk and darkness arrives.

A favourite way to target bass is to slide a short trace down the main line of a rod cast out with a lip or tail hooked pouting on a strong 3/0 so that it floats in the edge.

Lots of anglers will now be thinking about cod and this summer many regions have seen an improvement in codling stocks. The trouble is that this has happened before with lots of codling in August, but by October they have gone. Fish over the size limit are easy prey for the gill nets and trawlers and it’s these that decimate the codling shoals. The bigger cod are very thin on the ground and usually don’t show until November and December.

Another fact of autumn, its better described as the start of winter, is that waterproofs and shelters return to the sea fishing tackle essentials. Options include the full Hurricane shelter which is ideal for those contemplating a marathon beach session over the complete tide, or a brolly which is a more portable shelter and is especially suited to the mixed weather of this time of year. I prefer the umbrella for the beaches in early autumn, the cheaper Hardware umbrella is ideal, especially where lots of moving with the tide is required, take a luggage strap and strap it to your tackle box, even better to your seat harness. The cheaper green brolly is lighter and more compact and can be erected quickly. OK it’s not the full Monty of the shelter but it’s great for a short session or the occasional shower. Once the weather deteriorates, then I switch to the TF Gear Force 8 brolly which is a bespoke sea angling umbrella like no other. OK others also have wings to widen the protection area, but the Force 8 has a removable cover, tough non metal frame and pockets for the shingle etc to hold it down.

Waterproof wise I prefer the full jacket and bib and brace suit – it goes without saying that being able to take the jacket off helps control temperature when the sun comes out and that the full sallopettes trousers not only keep you warm but clean!

Make no mistake in a few weeks your will need that protective clothing and shelter – we have been spoilt for weather this summer and the winter could well bring some shocks!

Having recently switched to fixed spool reels and braid main line I have to say what a revelation that has been. Bites are bolder, fish pull more and my sea fishing is more enjoyable. For years I tried braid on a multiplier, but it just does not work, but micro braid on a fixed spool reel is another ball game and I recommend those of you out there thinking about a switch to braid, go ahead but only with a fixed spool reel.

Codling and eel from the pier at Dover Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

Best beach fishing holiday spots

Planning a summer holiday? The family are certain to want some quality beach time – but at the back of your mind is the need for some serious beach fishing time!

But how do you tick all the boxes?  How can you spend time with the husband or wife and kids, and get to fish some of the best coastal waters in the world?

It’s time to pack your shorts, suntan cream and beachcaster. Here’s our guide to just a few of the world’s top beach fishing destinations – fun in the sun that keeps everyone happy!

France

France fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: French Bass
Anyone for garlic sea bass?

It’s close, boasts fantastic beaches, great campsites and whether you’re eating out or self catering, the food is to die for. France offers some superb beach fishing opportunities. From the craggy cliffs and rocks of Brittany, to the ruler straight sands of La Cote d’Argent, and on to the Basque country and the Med, there’s ample opportunity to build sand castles and wet a line.

Family friendly and with plenty of picturesque vineyards and villages to visit, you’ll also have chance to hook bass, sole, and skate. And who knows, if you get time off for good behaviour – a boat fishing trip in the Med or Atlantic South West might even see you get into some tuna.

New Zealand

New Zealand fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Surf Caster
Head down under and catch some beauts.

About as far away as it’s possible to get from the gloom of the British winter, New Zealand offers superb coastal fishing. In the North Island, you’re talking snapper, tarakihi, kingfish and kahawai. Head south for blue cod, trumpeter and grouper.

With so much to see and do in New Zealand, you won’t want to spend all your time at the beach, but the joy of Aotearoa, the ‘land of the long white cloud’, is that wherever you go you’re never too far from the sea. In fact, Cromwell at 119 km from the coast is almost the same distance from sea fishing as Church Flatts Farm in Derbyshire which lies 113 miles from the brine. Can you see our thinking?

If you’ve been on a beach holiday that doubled as a fishing adventure, do let us know. We’d love to share your story.

Spain and Portugal

Spain and Portgular fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Luz Info
Easy to get to with plenty of top spots.

Get yourself organised and a beach holiday to Spain or Portugal could yield some fine sea fishing opportunities. But you will need to plan ahead. That’s because in either country, to cast a line into the blue, you need a fishing license. A quick internet search could hook you up with a fishing guide who can organise the necessary paperwork for you and guide you to the best spots.

Perch atop some of Portugal’s most dramatic cliffs to fish for bass in the boiling sea hundreds of feet below. As for Spain – much of the Mediterranean has been ravaged by overfishing, so unless you fancy scuba and snorkeling at a marine reserve, it’s perhaps best to keep to the Atlantic, where you can bang a line out from any of the dozens golden sand beaches.

Cuba

Cuba fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Cfye
Follow the locals for the best spots.

For fishing, music and cigars, there’s nowhere better in the world than Cuba. With bonefish, cowfish, snook, tarpon, mangrove snapper & cuda, all on the target list, you might have to get up early to avoid the tourists but the rewards make it well worth the effort.

Unless you’re on a specialist guided fishing holiday, it’s probably a good idea to pack a telescopic rod and a cheap reel in your holiday luggage. Speak to staff at your hotel – or to the hotel chef – who could perhaps provide you with some bait and point you in the right direction. Fish where the locals fish – and when you’re done, make a discrete gift of your fishing equipment to someone who has helped you.

South Africa

South african fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Gane and Marshall
Fish the surf in South Africa

Big waves, big rods, big baits – the coasts of South Africa boast serious beachcasting for serious fish. A winter sun holiday to the cool waters of the Atlantic off Cape Town, or to the surf beaches of the Indian Ocean will be a definite hit with the family – and a fishing paradise for you.

You’ll need a powerful 13 or 14 foot beachcaster to deliver your bait beyond the surfline – but the rewards are well worth the effort. Rock cod, grunter, and kingfish are just three of a host of saltwater species that swim in the seas off South Africa. And who knows, if the gods are smiling on you, perhaps you’ll hook a giant trevally. Now wouldn’t that make a good holiday snap!

Biggest Ever British Shore Caught Fish

Every now and again the British shore throws up something out of the ordinary. Just earlier this week we learned that Lego pieces are still being washed ashore some 17 years after being lost at sea. But now, something a little more fishing related has occurred – The capture of the biggest fish ever caught on Britain’s shores – A whopping 208lb Skate!

The 88 inch Skate which weighed 208lbs was brought to shore by 26 year old Daniel Bennett from Whitby whilst he was fishing off the Isle of Skye, beating the current record (another skate) by over 40lbs. These anglers must have been using some seriously powerful sea fishing tackle to haul such catches from the shore!

 

skateimage Biggest Ever British Shore Caught Fish

image: whitbyseaanglers/swns.com

Mr Bennett, who works in a fishing supplies shop said: ‘ My partner is not really that interested, but she’s proud of me nonetheless. I think people outside the angling world find it harder to see how much of a feat this is’.

‘West Scotland is known for skate fishing but not Skye. We were the first to catch one there for at least 30 or 40 years. There was another chap in our group who caught one and it was about 120lb. We thought we’d never find one any bigger – then we did an hour later.’

The magnificent fish which measured 88.25 inches long and 66.75 inches wide has now been confirmed by the British Record Fish Commitee as the largest fish caught on it’s current list. Although the fish was not weighed at the scene, as the anglers didn’t have any scales, the weighed was worked out bu The Shark Trust, a UK conservation charity, based on the measurements of the fish.

Some feat for a 26 year old angler!

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Alan Yates plaice on bling Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Plaice caught using a blinged up rig

This month can be slow for shore anglers in some regions with the sultry, balmy weather and clear water keeping the fish well away from the shore in daylight. But in darkness and in regions of coloured water, like the major estuaries, things can be a lot different and it really is a case of a change of venue or tactics to continue catching.

One species that show at this time of year are the sole and lots of venues around the country offer the chance of this unusual flatfish. For most the sole is considered nocturnal, but the facts are that on clear water venues they do mostly feed at night, especially near dawn, whilst in muddy water they are more common in daylight.

Tactics are simply enough once you have found a venue and its worth pointing out that sole do not show everywhere and sole venues are precise in many regions – Just a matter of miles from a shoreline that produces sole will be a venue that does not. So first look for a venue that produces sole regularly, the species seems to like shell grit and muddy sea beds and catching them once on the right venue is not that difficult. Fishing light with small size 2 or 4 hooks is essential, whilst baits include lugworm and ragworm. One top tactic is to fish short because the species are not shy of the shallows or the low tide gutter on many venues. Lots of anglers use two rods for this reason with one cast short and one cast further our which covers the options.

Talking about fishing light, there is a growing trend in sea angling to fish “Continental style” with lighter rods, thinner lines and small hooks. Much of it is to do with a reduction in the average size of fish and dwindling stocks as we fight to keep our sport interesting. However, it is also the case that anglers have realised that the fish do shy away from heavy gear and that lightening down can bring more bites and action. Check out YouTube where anglers have lowered Go Pro cameras alongside the pier wall and you can see clearly fish do shy away from heavy sea fishing gear etc. The biggest plus thought of going light is that small fish are allowed to fight, especially using micro braid lines and sea fishing is no longer hit and haul or playing cranes.

UK sea anglers have used over heavy tackle for years and that is much to do with manufacturers offering a limited range based around ancient designs and techniques. Swivels and hooks for instance, a few years back most would not look out of place on a crane, or for use with the largest fish species, but modern improvements in materials like carbon steel, design and construction have increased their strength and allowed a reduction of size down from the giant weed collecting swivels or hooks that could tow a bus! It’s similar with rods, reels and line, the distance casting revolution of recent years did much to improve rod and reel design, quality, strength and performance promoting lighter tackle which is more responsive to fishing enjoyment and sport. Check out the TF Gear range for the new TF Gear Force 8 Continental model or the Delta Slik Tip and the quiver tip favourite the Delta All rounder. All great for another option – fishing light!

The toughness and knot strength of monofilaments, copolymers and fluorocarbons is also particularly improved, so much so, that you can now go to a lighter breaking strain line with less risk of failure, whilst using the modern lower diameter micro braid lines is proving a practical advantage when fishing fine.

In general sea angling around the UK has had no need to go to the lengths of finesse that coarse anglers do. Sea fish are not always returned and so do not learn about line and hooks like their freshwater relatives, mullet and a few other clear water species being the only exceptions. Meanwhile the sea is often a hostile whirlpool of deep and chocolate brown water that hides tackle anyway.

The first problem fishing light tackle in the sea is dealing with the wind, tide and the rugged seabed, that’s the reason why tackle has always been tough and strong in the first place. You need to get a bait out to a decent distance, punch it through a headwind, so that its stays put in very strong tide. After that you sometimes need to retrieve it through a maze of kelp and rocks. Then there is the safety factor of casting that involves swinging the lead in power casting styles like the pendulum, the big distances they produce comes at a price with tackle beefed up for safety’s sake. But, the need to use an 80lb shock leaders may be more to do with an angler’s casting ego than practical thought about presentation. In terms of casting safety any move to fishing light can only involve the use of the fixed spool reel and an overhead casting style. This combination is far safer than the multiplier and pendulum cast.

A big plus for sea anglers that change to the fixed spool is that the modern reels are designed for long range casting, some with a carp fishing pedigree, are far superior to the models of the past. Long profiled /coned spools, stronger gears, ball bearings all make modern reels more efficient for sea angling and casting.

Crucial to the use of lighter tackle is the line diameter and lines as low as 6lb and up to 15lb are used with the lighter rods and fixed spool reels making this possible. The major problem when lightening down tackle is that terminal rigs must also be balanced to the rod action and line strength. It is pointless using a lighter rod with heavy line as it is using ultra thin lines with standard 8oz beach casting rod. However, a move to far lighter rigs involves thinner lines and a major problem with. multi hook rigs in very light line are prone to tangle easily. On the Continent really long snoods are commonly used and there the anglers say that the longer the snoods the less they tangle, although they must NOT be able to overlap.

The big advantages of increasing rod lengths to 15ft and above is that a longer rod allows the use of a longer rig length and this allows hook snoods to be placed farther apart so that they can be fished over a wide area as well as up in the water and do not overlap or tangle.

Longer lighter snoods also allow the hook bait to react naturally in tide and this is an important consideration when fishing either up or in clear water. The addition of floating or pop up beads also enhances bait presentation and allows baits to be raised to the levels the fish are.

Lots of shore anglers fishing light in summer use small hooks, which are essential to the more delicate bait presentation for some of the smaller species. However, there is every chance that you may hook a large smoothhound or a bass and so it’s a good idea to opt for the strongest patterns.

For many this and next month are last chance saloon for catching mackerel as the large shoals move south and it’s a case of making the most of the conditions whilst the fish are around, especially if you want to keep a few for the freezer for the winter whiting. On that note don’t forget the garfish – they are a very underrated tipping bait for lots of the autumn and winter species – bag them in the freezer as well.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

 

Sea pollution solution

The amount of plastic litter strewn across UK beaches has increased by 140% since 1994.

That’s the stark figure released by the Marine Conservation Society.

Polluted Environment

Pollution underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Project Aware
A polluted environment leads to poisoned fish.

The frightening reality is that much of that plastic will never disappear; instead those unsightly pieces of brightly coloured junk break down into smaller and smaller crumbs until they’re small enough to be ingested by fish and filter feeders.   

If plastic in the food chain isn’t enough cause for concern, even more worrying is the plastic that does break down. Scientists reporting in National Geographic have discovered that in warm tropical seas, plastic decomposes, leaching highly toxic chemicals into the water – poisoning fish and perhaps even causing cancer in humans who eat polluted seafood.

So where is the problem at its worst? And crucially, what can we as sea fishermen and women do about it?

Ocean Gyres

Great pacific garbage Sea pollution solution

Image source: Cookie Sound
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

They’re gigantic eddies found in the world’s oceans, slowly rotating currents that drive rubbish towards the centre where it stays forever. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the first predicted by American scientists in 1988, and in the years since, other similar rubbish dumps have been discovered in the South Pacific, North and South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

In the most badly affected areas, there are six times as many minute pieces of plastic as there are plankton – and the area we’re talking about? It’s thought the Great Pacific Patch covers somewhere between 700,000 and 15,000,000 square kilometres – the wide disparity between the upper and lower limits being accounted for by differences in the definition of what constitutes an elevated concentration of plastic particles.

Hard To Spot

underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Wikimedia
Pollution can be hard to spot.

It’s thought around a million sea birds die each year from ingesting pieces of plastic mistaken for food, with a hundred thousand marine mammals succumbing to the same fate. But these huge oceanic garbage dumps are all but invisible to the naked eye. In fact you could sail right across one and not notice it’s there. That’s because they’re mostly made up of those billions of small pieces of plastic mentioned in the introduction to this piece.

Plastic dumped in the sea off the Pacific coast of the USA takes six years to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a similar item dropped in the brine off Eastern Asia takes about a year. But once there, there it stays – the trash heaps of the sea are growing bigger by the day.

Do Your Bit

Beach clean up Sea pollution solution

Image source: S1 Prestwick
Get involved in a beach clean up.

As a sea angler, leaving no litter and disposing of sea fishing tackle carefully is the least you can do to protect the health of the marine environment. There are also local beach cleanups and national campaigns for the marine environment – groups like Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society have details of what you can do to help.

But if it all seems like too little too late, and if the thought of the poisoning of fish and marine life on a global scale makes you despair for the future, take heart. There might just be a solution.

Ocean Cleanup

Ever since the plastic pollution problem first became big news at the beginning of this century, efforts to come up with a cleanup solution have focused on boats hauling fine mesh nets. But carbon emissions, coupled with huge costs and destruction of bycatch made a resolution of the problem seem all but impossible, until, that is, a 17-year-old Dutch student Boyan Slat came up with a whole new approach – passive cleanup.

Huge inflatable booms would funnel debris into a processing unit powered by solar panels. The young inventor estimated half the Pacific Garbage Patch could be cleared within 10 years – and even better, the collected plastic could be sold for recycling.

Critics poured scorn on his idea, but with youthful determination, Slat managed to secure crowdfunding, and with the money assembled a 100 strong team of scientists and volunteers to undertake an in depth feasibility study – the results have just been announced.

The concept works.

If you’d like to find out more about how the oceans could clean themselves, check out the Boyan Slats talk on the feasibility study. The Ocean Cleanup – we can make it happen.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Lots of anglers around the country are experiencing the changing season – One minute the fish are around and then they are not and it does seem that mass migration of species is far more acute nowadays than it used to be. Could be its global warming that is sending the fish further north and that they are bypassing southern venues on their travels? Whatever, something like this is happening and I suppose to an extent it always did in the past. In the south it’s the summer doldrums when the sea seems devoid of fish, even the mackerel have passed by! For the shore angler another reason is the amount of sunlight each day – with clear water the fish just will not come inshore in gin and wait until darkness to venture into the shallows. That’s the time to fish for conger, bass, hounds and others and the deeper water venues you find are better.

But it’s not all doom and gloom because once we are past the longest day then the light evenings start to close back and change is underway, least of all those fish that passed us by on their way north are due to travel back south into Autumn and some great sea fishing is to come. The trick is not to miss it and of course the timing varies around the different regions. In the North it’s a case of making hay whilst the sun shines and fishing hard before the shoals depart south. In the South it’s a case of getting out as soon as the fish show; the codling start to show as early as August some years and September can be the best month with a mix of cod and bass. In all regions it is a case of ignoring those old traditions of the “Cod Season” and being ready when the fish are around.

TF Gear has a new range of beach casters and they based on models from the Continent. Both fixed spools they feature the slim line feel and lightness of the long casting sea fishing rods from France, Spain, Italy, etc. Both include low rider rings which can be used with both multiplier and fixed spool reels plus braid, mono or fluorocarbon lines. Standard with these rings is that the butt ring is reversed which gives the rod a unique appearance and more than one novice has proclaimed the ring is on upside down! But this is not the case and 100% of continental rods using low riders feature this reversed ring build.  It’s done simply so that the rings legs prevent a loop of line going over the ring during the cast – especially braid and especially using a fixed spool reel.

The new models include the Force 8 Continental which is extremely light and designed for fishing small baits for small species using light lines and leads. With braid line its balance and feel are incredible and fishing for mackerel, pollack, scad, mullet, school bass etc is a new experience for the user. A word of warning though –it’s not designed for casting a whole Calamari squid and it’s also not designed so that the tip can pull free of snags what it is designed for is a new feel the fish sea angling experience – Enjoy!

The second model is in the Delta range and is the Slik Tip and is aimed at the in between UK fishing and the Continent – It’s a step lighter than standard UK beach casting gear and at a price that won’t annoy the wallet!

One of the big plusses with these rods fitted with low rider rings is that the guides do not affect the movement and balance of the rod as much as the larger standard UK style beach caster rings. Therefore the rod slices the air better when casting and resists the wind in the rod rest better – great for bite spotting.
Other continental rods with reversed low rider guides include Yuki Colmic etc. Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

Dogfish is considered a sea angling swear word and few anglers have a good word to say about a species that seems to have taken over the world in many parts of the UK. OK for match anglers they are obliging bites when nothing else stirs, but so often they take a bait aimed at other species and are just a pain. It’s got so bad in some regions that even the match anglers are not supporting the doggie dominated events.

So what can we do to reduce dogfish numbers or make them more enjoyable to catch?  Well having recently been laid up and not fishing my freezer was empty of fish so I took four home for dinner – Had I forgot how tasty this fish could be because of the fiddly skinning and preparation? Rock salmon is now returned to the Yates menu and I shall spread the word that this wonderful species is great on a plate.

lesserdoggy Alan Yates Sea Fishing Rods Diary

I have got my hands on the new TF Gear Force 8 Beach Shelter – and I seriously recommend you take a look! At last a shelter that has pouches for beach stones in the base which makes for a much easier erection, the Viagra shelter goes up in seconds and stays there is a strong wind.

If you have ever tried to erect a shelter on your own in anything above a force five, you will know how difficult it is. The new Force 8 Shelter solves that problem because you can pile stones in the pouches before you pull it up. What’s more the F8 is collapsible and folds down to half its length for carriage – great for being strapped on top of the fishing tackle box!

I am arranging an LRF Championships (Light rock fishing) at Samphire Hoe, near Dover on the 10th August.  It’s an experimental competition. You can fish with any form of LRF gear. Basically a short spinning style rod, singe look bait/lure. It’s all catch and release with fish photographed on the smart phone on the days fish measure.  Fishing in 10am until 4pm, (Book in car park from 8.30am) all are welcome and it’s a complete rover anywhere around the Hoe. Prizes for species pts, biggest and best average fish.  Contact me Alan Yates on 01303 250017 E Mail: alankyates@aol.com

Tight lines, Alan Yates

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary June 2014

The arrival of the mackerel around much of the UK coastline this month kicks off one of sea angling’s busiest times of the year. Apart from the fact that the smoothhound, ray and bass shoals are extending and exploiting their range around the coastline, summer brings an influx of new anglers. The holiday anger after mackerel that crowd the piers and beaches during daylight to fish with with lures and feathers with which the mackerel can often be caught in numbers and fairly easily. On many venues numbers are swelled by ethnic anglers who have seized on this easy style of sea angling and like it or not they have regenerated many summer venue as well as brought business to fishing tackle shops and charters skippers in the region. Feathering for mackerel is not every sea angler’s favourite method, indeed many ardent bottom anglers frown on the tactic and that is mainly because of the behaviour it can promote on a crowded pair, apart from the dangers of being impaled on a lure hook that is! Associated with feathering is the frenzy of anglers who give little thought to the fish or other anglers – They catch as many fish as they can, many are often left to flap their life away and then discarded when they become ruined by the sunshine. Litter is left and most piers have the stench of urine whilst burnt seating, damage and mayhem have lead to many venues being closed or threatened with closure. It is the case that you just cannot leave Joe Public to police himself and anarchy is the eventual result of doing so, especially with mackerel anglers.

But let’s not dwell on the down side, mackerel fishing can be great fun and is enjoyed by thousands of sea anglers and for many is a first step into proper sea angling.

For those that just want to catch a few mackerel for the bait freezer or barbeque the answer is to stay away from the crowded and popular venues and to use a more sporting method than six feathered lures. OK, if you need a quick fix of mackerel six big fizzy lures with a heavy lead (5oz min) will usually get a result. But a single silver sprat spinner fished at dusk will produce more sport.

Then there are the other methods to fish for mackerel and by far the best is with a float and a sliver of mackerel or garfish as bait. Cast and retrieve that slowly on a lighter spinning type rod for maximum fun.

Another tactic is to use a sliding float rig and this is a short float rig made up to an American snap link which is simply clipped on the main line of the rod already cast out and then slide down the line to the surface. The method allows the angler to fish a bait on the sea bed and a bait for mackerel or garfish etc on the surface.

Summer brings another problem for sea anglers and one is keeping both your bait and catch fresh. TF Gear have solved the problem with a couple of custom made cool bags and I am especially pleased to see the new cool bag. It is made to fit snuggly on top of the standard Beta angling seat box and big enough to contain a standard size seed tray or cat litter type tray to hold the bait. It can then be clipped to the top of your seat box. Perfect for the worms going fishing and the catch coming home and especially relevant at this time of year when the mackerel are around and you can catch and keep them fresh until they arrive home for the bait freezer.

TF Gear cool bag 525x383 Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary June 2014

The second new item is a sand eel bag complete with liquid freezer sachet and compartments made to fit the standard packets of sandeel. Keeping your sand eels frozen is vital to their success and you can remove them one at a time or baiting up without thawing the lot.

It’s nice to be able to report that I am back fishing with a few more trips to the pier under my belt since my rheumatic problem. The down side is that I do have limited use of my shoulder and have had to switch to a fixed spool reel and long Continental rod – The new Force 8 in the TF Gear range at 15ft is ultra light and ideal. But I am never going to threaten 150metres plus and have had to accept the reduction in distance – Like so many other anglers older, disabled or simply limited in power. Not all doom and gloom though because the lighter sea fishing tackle and mindset has fuelled some fun fishing with size 4 hooks and 8lb line a whole new ball game – I am learning how to fish again and so far the results are encouraging.

I am holding an LRF Championships (Light rock fishing) at Samphire Hoe, near Dover on the 10th August. It’s an experimental competition. You can fish with any form of LRF gear. Basically a short spinning style rod, single hook bait/lure. It’s all catch and release with fish photographed on the smart phone on the days fish measure. Fishing in 10am until 4pm, all are welcome and it’s a complete rover anywhere around the Hoe. Prizes for species pts, biggest and best average fish. Alan Yates 01303 250017

Fishing for Mental Health

This year, a quarter of us will experience a mental health problem of some kind.

It’s a startling figure and one that includes one in ten children and as many as one in five older people. Men in particular are at risk because they’re both less likely to seek help, and three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

It’s Mental Health Awareness week, and this year, the focus is on anxiety. Talking therapies, medication or a combination of both are the most common treatments for anxiety and depression. But what about fishing?

Tackling depression

Tackling depression Fishing for Mental Health

Image source: You Fish Scotland
Tackle depressing with fishing.

Fishing is seriously good for your mental health. In fact it’s so good for you that three years ago, nurses from two Scottish mental hospitals suggested it as a treatment for some patients with enduring mental health problems. Managers agreed and soon set up a scheme to get patients fishing.

Nurses took groups of eight to ten patients to their local loch to learn to cast. By learning a new skill in a peaceful environment, they hoped patients would gain a sense of achievement and enjoy both the fresh air and the opportunity to interact with nature.

And the feedback? Not only do the patients love it, but according to Calum MacLeod, head of mental health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde,  “the benefit to their health and wellbeing is ‘fantastic’.

Go on foot

On foot Fishing for Mental Health

Image source: The Middle Earth
Walk to your favourite fishing spot.

Got the blues? Grab your fly rod or sea fishing tackle and walk to your favourite mark. Why? Because Canadian researchers have discovered walking not only helps to raise the mood of people suffering from depression, but it can help with memory and concentration problems too.

According to an article published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, all walking, whether a yomp through the woods or a stroll through the city, helps to improve mood in clinically depressed people. But they discovered that it’s walking in nature that’s best, helping the people they studied think up to 16 % clearer.

Scientists believe a stroll through the peace and quiet of the natural environment relaxes and refreshes parts of the brain overloaded by stress and anxiety. Just another benefit for anglers.

A chance to talk

talk Fishing for Mental Health

Image source: Monte Y Pesca Blog
Fishing is the ideal time for a chat.

Some people find it difficult to talk about their feelings. But if you suspect someone you know is struggling, taking them fishing really is an ideal opportunity to find out what’s wrong. In a relaxed setting, one to one, a friend or loved one may find it easier to open up.

And if they do, here’s what the NHS says you should do:

First off – listen. Remind the person that you care about them, and reassure them that it’s not their fault that they’re anxious or depressed. You can encourage them to help themselves by exercising regularly, eating well and getting stuck into activities they enjoy. If you can, get them some information about the mental health services available in their area. And keep in touch. Depression and anxiety can be very isolating, which only makes things worse.

If you’re worried someone might be a danger to themselves or anyone else, contact a GP, or call NHS 111 to get help.  

Fishing for heroes

fishing for heros Fishing for Mental Health

Image source: Fishing For Heroes
Tom and Ed, Founder and President of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.

When it comes to healing the psychological wounds caused by combat, fishing reaches the parts that other treatments fail to touch.

We wrote about the awesome charity Fishing for Heroes a few years back. They are a UK charity that supports and treats veterans and serving forces personnel suffering from PTSD, combat fatigue and other mental health issues resulting from active service.

Residential fishing retreats give soldiers returning from theatres of war chance to relax, refresh, rejuvenate and readjust before moving on with their careers. Servicemen returning with life changing injuries – physical or mental – find the opportunity to fish the cool clear waters a very healing experience, and the instruction they receive gives them the basics of a skill that will enhance and enrich their lives for years to come .

As Ken, a Falklands veteran testifies, “All PTSD sufferers know that quiet times can soon become bad times. Fishing For Heroes teaches a skill that can (with practice) keep the quiet times…..Quiet”.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary May 2014

Alan Carp Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary May 2014

Alan Yates catching Carp

As some of you may know, I have been laid low in recent month by rheumatics – I was diagnosed with Polymigela after just about every test you can undergo – Didn’t like the MIR scan. Anyway, it has affected my neck, ankle and foot and I have been unable to fish for two months. Just this week I have returned to fishing I have had a great sense of what it is like to be disabled, no driving for two months, difficulty walking, maneuvering tackle is a particular pain, casting and all those things we anglers take for granted have caused me problems and its now down to the drugs and time for me to get better.

I managed a couple of coarse fishing competitions in the local ponds and I even managed to win, catching some carp and the next step is back to the sea. One thing I have had to accept is just how physical sea fishing is compared with coarse. Casting and those long walks with 30lb of tackle box, a bucket and a rod holdall are now a fearsome challenge and the trolley is out.

With summer just about to arrive it’s a nice calm time of year to fish and I must admit to the fact that I like the change away from fishing baits at range on the sea bed. The variety of fishing includes lures for bass, a bit of LRF and some float fishing and with my present limitations it’s the float that coming out.

There are several ways to fish a float from the shore and most anglers just add one to their basic beach casting outfit whilst bottom fishing. This involves a short sliding float rig that is simply clipped on to the main line (an American snap link is ideal) of the beach caster after its cast out. The rig then slides down the main line to the surface where the line enters the water. The rig doesn’t need to be any longer than 8ft. Great for catching the bonus mackerel and garfish and the method goes someway to improve the action when the sea is flat and clear and not a lot stirs on the sea bed.

The second way to fish a float is to go all out and adopt a lighter outfit and fish a slider or adjustable depth float on the main line with a single or two hooks. This outfit can then be cast where you want and the depth you fish adjusted via a stop knot on the mainline that can be set to suit the depth you want to fish. Rod wise a spinning rod will suit the tactic, whilst many are increasingly adopting a longer quiver tip continental rod style like the All rounder in the TF range, look out for the new Continental which is perfect for the method. The particularly effective thing about this type of set up is that the float and the bait can be continually moved, drifted, trotted in the tide etc with the longer rod giving more control, especially when drifting a long way back in the tide using a micro braid line. I prefer to call the method float/spinning and lots of anglers who fish a float in summer neglect the latter. They simply let the float go on its way down tide feeding out line to its demands. BUT a far better method is to continually stop the float in its drift, which causes he bait to rise and move. This adds to the baits attractiveness and increases the catch and can be used to target all manner of summer species. Another alternative is a bubble float and this can be loaded with water for casting weight and especially suits those fishing with a sandeel on a long trace for bass etc.

Integral to most float fishing is ground bait and it’s here the majority of sea anglers cannot be bothered. BUT again a small bucket of loose feed made up of bread, boiled fish, bran with a fish oil or extract etc added will increase the scent of the slick and draw in more fish. In clear water from the rocks it can be a terrific way to fish because you will spot the fish moving in on the feed.

Tackle can also be refined to suit the species and you may find lighter line and a smaller Waggler float more suitable if the mullet show up. In a lumpy sea a larger bulbous float will be easier to see at long range and will and can be cast or will drift further. The method can be used to catch more or less all the summer species in some regions and even using bread bait it can catch pollack, bream and mackerel.

Staying with the summer, top of the species list in the coming weeks for many are the smoothhound and as the shoals push around the UK coasts lots of sea anglers will have the chance of catching the most powerful fish they have ever hooked from the shore. It’s important though to fish the correct venues because the hounds do tend to leap frog around the UK coastline. They are found on some venues and not on others and this is mostly down, to food and spawning. So a top tip is to find a smoothhound venue. Do not simply fish your local venue and wait for the hounds to come to you – Travel to them because the best are mostly well known. On top of that the species is continually expanding its size and range and it pays to keep an ear on results. Fish the evening tides when its calm and still, into dusk can be deadly!

Smoothhound venues to head for this month:

Bristol Channel: Almost anywhere from Minehead to Weston S Mare.
South Wales coast: Cardiff, Barry, region, venues including; Rhoose, Nash Point, Portkerry, Aberthaw, Monknash and Ogmore.
Sussex: Pagham
Hampshire/ Sussex: West Selsey, Bracklesham Bay, Lepe, Gillkicker and Hayling front..
Dorset: Chesil beach
Kent: Dover breakwater, Sandown, Reculver.
Essex: Charter boats in the Thames estuary. Walton and Clacton, and Orford Island.
Lincs: Chapel St Leonards, Ingoldmells, Sandiland.

Greg Dixon double figure smoothound from Selsey Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary May 2014

Greg Dixon with a double figure smoothound from Selsey