Posts Tagged ‘alan yates sea fishing diary’
A busy month of competitions at a time of year I really enjoy shore fishing – Its scratchy with bites at a premium and to do well you need to scale down both your tackle and your angling ego. Lots of anglers fish through March still in their November cod goggles, but the bigger fish are no longer around in a majority of regions and its time for the dabs, flounders and those damn rockling.
OK the match anglers actually enjoy this time of year, as I said, I do especially when it’s calm and cold. Most beaches slow to walking pace in terms of bites in the frostiest weather and it’s a case of dropping the hook size, the bait size, the line size and fishing closer in. The low tide gutter often being the only hot spot on the beach. It’s a time when the casting ego has to be put in its place, although keep it handy because the first rays of spring are no far off.
My latest competition was the Ten Worm Challenge – A sea fishing competition with a difference with competitors allowed to use just ten lugworms as bait – Nothing else! The event received lots of publicity despite which the entry was small, I suspect novelty events are not for many serious matchmen, although it is the case that event organisers are continually looking for competitions which offer more of a level playing field for all anglers in an attempt to attract more to competitions.
The Ten Worm Challenge was a rover, fish where you like and you could use ten rods with one worm if you preferred. I opted to get out my Continental sea fishing rods and use the event as a practice for the forthcoming World Clubs Champs in Portugal where I am representing Dover Sea Angling Association. Size 4 hooks, 8lb hook snoods, 16-foot quiver tip and fixed spools reel loaded with 0.24mm line.
I chose to fish at Dungeness and to cut a long story short I finished with 32 fish and half a worm left after five hours, the clear winner with the next place catching by Mark Howard fishing next to me at Dungeness landing 11 fish. My secret was to fish small baits each tied on the hook with elastic cotton – That way the bait lasted ages. I think I will claim a Guinness book of record place with the catch, but only so as to create more interest in the idea, which was the brainchild of Seabrook sea angler, Tim Raymond.
Another event that attracts a huge entry because anglers see the event as giving anyone a chance of winning is the European Championships fished at Bridlington. It also coincided with the worst of the month’s weather and just three codling were landed despite a huge entry of 2095 anglers, with the winner Karl Wiepcke, Goxhill winning the overall which included a car with a single 3lb codling he caught at Aldbrough. Big fish matches are the way to go if you want a larger entry, whilst pegged, catch and release will only attract the most dedicated match anglers.
The other event I fished recently, also a biggest fish event, was the Pollack Challenge out of Brighton, which is an annual event for me aboard Paul Dyer’s, Brighton Diver, which also carries Keith Arthur and the Sky Camera crew. With the BBC Shipping forecast giving gales it was touch and go whether the event took place, but fish we did although heading out to a wreck at thirty miles was a bit lumpy to say the least. However, the day calmed and some nice fish where landed by the 100 anglers taking part, including a 17lb 9oz specimen for Brighton Schoolboy, Connor Bonwick fishing on Terry Lee’s Brighton based Sea Breeze 3.
Keith and myself ended with three pollack a piece caught on a mix of jellies and Sidewinders with Keith’s best of 11lb and the best on our boat was third overall for Alan Milford who landed a 14lb 14oz lunker first drop. If you not tried lure fishing for pollack over a wreck it’s worth doing although the two-hour steam there and back does tax the brain.
With snow on my lawn at the time of writing this blog its difficult to get involved in the spring prospects but there already seems to be plenty of plaice around in the English Channel and it wont be long before the rays push inshore. Rumblings about smoothhound on Facebook seem a bit premature when Britain shivers in its worst spring weather for years. But all can change overnight, hopefully and it’s the hounds that most are looking forward to. Last year it was noticeable that the species has moved into the North Sea big time with Skegness region on the Lincs coast one of the best hound venues, Selsey and the Solent kept their end up as did South Wales and even Kent got in on the act at Sandown. But first the crabs need to peel, fingers crossed for some warm sunshine.
Staying with the changing format of competitions this one just had to happen and is possibly the way more events are going to go in the future. The Gerry’s Fishing Open in the Morecambe Bay area on the 7th of September, fishing 10am until 4pm involves all anglers owning a Camera with time date function and removable SD card. Your catch is snapped with the days bag label and returned. Check in from 9am Gerry’s Fishing or contact Sam or Chris 01524 422146. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook event – http://www.facebook.com/events/607757792585921/
Another catch and release event worth a look is the Rutherfords Conoflex 2 day open. On the 29th and 30th of June fishing two zones at Copthorne Hotel and British Airways Business Park on the river Tyne. All fish to count but there is a maximum hook size of 4. Entry is £30 for the two days, to book or for more info ring Andy Rutherford on 0191 5654183
Two open sea fishing competitions were fished from my local Kent shoreline recently and they illustrated the differences in the types of shore fishing contests available to sea anglers. At Dungeness the World Dab Championships attracted 216 anglers to compete in aid of the Dungeness RNLI, whilst at Seabrook 42 anglers fished in the Anyfish Anywhere sponsored South East Open series. The Dungeness even with its tongue in cheek “World” title was a go anywhere rover with all the entry fees going to the RNLI, whilst the more dedicated match anglers went for the pegged, cash prize South East Series event. It could be said that the two required a different level of skill to win with the bigger element of luck required at Dungeness because of a 25cm dab minimum size limit, which is a great leveller in terms of angling skill.
However, no one had factored in the force seven westerly winds, which turned the dab event into a battle against, wind, sea and weed with more than half the entry catching nothing and the more skilled (The matchmen in fact), who could handle the conditions catching the most sizeable flatfish. Meanwhile, at Seabrook the dogfish turned up in numbers at the eastern end of Princes Parade and those anglers with a low number draw enjoyed a fish feast with 176 dogfish recorded.
The results of both competitions reflect the influence of both luck and skill in angling and prove that neither can really be manipulated and that there is no real substitute for skill on a majority of occasions. Winner of the World Dab Championship title was Ian Harnett of the Isle of Sheppey who landed eleven dabs over the 25cm minimum size limit for a weight of 4lb 11oz, incidentally just 1.5oz more than I weighed in.
Winner of the Anyfish Anywhere event at Seabrook was Martin Jenkins of Dover with 13 dogfish for 8.900kg. Staying with big entry shore competitions it was the case in the past that a single big fish could often win. I re member a 2000 entry European and All England championships fished in the last century at Folkestone and Hythe, were I also came second and was beaten by a giant conger eel. The species were fairly common back in the seventies, but nowadays are unheard of from the Kent shore, Yes, the demise of the bigger species has had a big effect on competition entries because match anglers have concentrated their skills on catching the tiddlers to the extent that the average angler cannot compete unless the event carries giant minimum size limits, or is for the biggest fish! Events are nearly always about who can catch the most tiddlers like, dabs, rockling, flounders, whiting and in more recent times, dogfish. That species is having a dramatic influence on competitions around Kent with a move to specialist doggie bashing. The good news about dogs is that at least you can see them bite and they do pull the string. But lots of anglers hate them and because they are unwanted they promote catch and return, which is again not that popular amongst the average ability competition angler. Should dogfish be returned or culled, that’s a hot topic amongst lots of clubs and sea anglers. I pioneered a system in the Isle of Man, which involved keeping three fish, and returning the rest for a set score (500 grams is commonly used) other conservation systems involve retaining just one dogfish, the biggest.
The irony of the subject is that anglers return the one species that there are plenty of and kill those that are rarest. It’s all down to the plate at the end of the day. I have just had a meeting with others in the Dover Sea Angling Association team about fishing the World Club Championships in Portugal – The event in May is supposed to be club teams from all over the World, but as is usual in competition of all kind, there are always those that seek to bend the rules. In the case of the World Clubs its countries that pick an international team and then call it a club. Disgraceful really, but it goes on and that includes one of the British Isle teams. My team has a couple of international in it, but also a 76 year old and all members have been members of Dover SAA for over ten years. Species of the month is plaice – They are showing already from Brighton so I hear. The complete opposite to the dogfish, plaice are rarer than rocking horse dung in my neck of the woods. That was not always the case, but because they are slow growing and easily caught by trawlers their numbers have declined in recent year.
I am told that the reduction in plaice quotas for the commercials has lead to a small population explosion of the species in some inshore regions. I hope that’s the case because there is nothing like a plump red spot surfacing on the end of a trace. Tips to catch them include the customary bling, sequins, and beads, don’t forget the pop up beads and any manner of glitter, because it does attract the species. So get your sea fishing tackle out, add a worm bait, lug is best in my opinion and more the better occasionally, and that’s all there is to catching dabs. Why do I think lugworm is the best bait for plaice? Because lugworm tastes like plaice, don’t ask how I know that!
I am still on a roll fishing competitions with a string of club and open results.
In recent weeks and its mainly due to the fact that I am good at catching lots of small fish fast. Most match anglers fish like robots and this works well at times of year when there are a few fish about, but when there are lots of dabs and whiting, etc each casts timing becomes more crucial. The problem is that most beach casters nowadays have a fairly soft tip section and this soaks up the tide by bending, add the stretch of mono line and they but cancels out bite indication from the smallest fish. So the angler is not aware of what bites and attention the bait has had. Most anglers’ fish robotic ten minute, fifteen minute casts as a solution. The problem is that this wastes lots of time and a way to speed things up is to add five minutes to the cast if you blank and take five minutes off if you catch a full string (3). The complete solution is to use a rod that shows bites, even the smallest rockling or dab nibbles. Not easy if you are looking for a rod that will also blast three hooks to the horizon. I first solved the problem with a 15ft three-piece slim line rod with low rider rings. Being extra slim line the rod sits still in the wind and the slightly more rigid end of tip shows bites well. (It’s a fact that stiff tips are best for small bite registration because they rattle rather than bow which soaks up the movement) An alternative solution is a quiver tip but these do not cast heavy leads very well. Currently I am involved in designing a new TF Gear version of the low rider ringed beach caster and hope it will be available soon.
The difference when you can see every bites is amazing in terms of fish landed with 50 fish in a four hour match well possible and this is when fishing at long range. Lots of fish can also be caught at very close range with normal beach casters simple because there is less tide and bites can be seen more easily – A tip there, if you can catch the fish closer in do so because you will catch more!
The boats are the place to head in the New Year for a lunker cod. The biggest I have seen so far is a 40lb 14oz specimen bucket mouth for Dymchurch dinghy angler, Davis Simes. He landed his monster at the Dungeness end of Hythe Bay and it wasn’t a fluke either because his club mates landed fish of 34lb and 33lb in the same session. My tip for those of you after a monster cod is to get aboard a charter boat in the coming weeks. My list of ports likely to produce the largest fish includes: Eastbourne, Brighton, Ramsgate and Whitby with cuttlefish fished on an 8/0 plus Pennel the suggested bait and rig. Good luck – give me a mail with the picture when you catch it: email@example.com
Most anglers talk about line in terms of breaking strain, but this can lead you up the garden if you are not careful because lots of the same BS lines available are different diameters and to the sea angler, especially those using multipliers, the diameter of the line is crucial. I have to laugh when I hear anglers say “ So and so line is really the best because its so strong” Little do they realise is so strong because its much thicker! Do you even measure your line diameter, I do? The fact is that some line makes are much thicker than others of the same strain and if you buy by breaking strain you may be being conned. At sea 0.35mm line is usually around 15lb line, but in the carp world 0.38mm is often 15lb and that’s because carp anglers want a tough, durable line. The cross over between lines for coarse, game and sea and the influence of co polymer variations mean that buying by breaking strain as well as believing quoted diameters is a minefield – So get yourself a micrometer!
What lines do I use? Nantec Red Mist mainline 0.35mm and Daiwa Sensor 0.35mm.
The next major match for me is the Gambian Beach Championships on the 11th to 14th April 2013. The event and the days fishing around it are my chance of a catching a bigger fish with captain fish and cassava the two species that are most likely to show. Last chance entries to: Bernard Westgarth on Tel 01325 720113 or E Mail: Bernard@fishthegambia.com
Looking further forward the World clubs Champs is on the 4th May in Portugal for a week and I hope to be included in the Dover Sea Angling Association team if they are selected and then later in the month I will fly to Sardinia for the Magrini Championships on the 24th May. I have been trying a new tactic when fishing light line hook snoods in the Mediterranean etc and that’s to fish with a bait runner – Bites can pull line off the spool and not break the lightest hook snoods (5lb) And the lighter hook snoods the more bites you get in the clear continental seas.
PIC: David Simes 40lb 14oz Dymchurch cod. Amazing!!!
Just as I sat writing this blog the mobile rang with a multi media message from my son Richard fishing out in the boat off Folkestone. A plump cod of 20lb from a mile offshore, some bigger fish are around so I will have to get out before February arrives and they all move away – You have been warned the big cod window is small so make the most of it! Top of the big cod bait list is a whole cuttlefish on 4/0 plus Pennell hooks – these are great from the boat because they are a real mouthful and the dogs struggle to take them!
I am not looking forward that much to fishing in the New Year, because from the end of January the mature fish of most species move away from the shore line to spawn and shore fishing in the majority of regions is limited to the immature fish. Its pin whiting, thin dabs, rockling and scratching time. The best I can hope for are some plump flounders and the odd codling in my region. Mind you although the chances of a giant fish may soon be gone, along with the glory, it’s a time when fishing can be a challenge – Just getting a bite can be an achievement and because I fish a lot of competitions that alone puts the buzz back into the sport and I can continue through the bad times. Some anglers take rather a long time to realise that the fishing is so poor and either pin their faith on an early ray or a late cod and continue biteless through the New Year to Spring, whilst most simply pack in shore fishing.
For me the acceptance that big fish are no longer available allows me to totally concentrate on the dabs, flounders and the rockling. Out comes the 16ft Delta quiver tip, the fixed spool reel with micro braid, wire booms, light hook snoods and the size 4 hooks, my most desired sea fishing tackle for this time of year. My fellow match anglers all adopt this tactic because if you don’t and continue to fish with a 4/0 Pennell and whole squid then it’s a long cold, boring winter. I am also lucky that the occasional trout session, piking or getting the pole out on the mild days in the lakes spices up the lean times, but overall I do prefer the scratchy months because match fishing gets more interesting than a fishing race. The odd bigger flattie can swing events your way and even the rockling can make a difference. I particularly like club competition fishing at this time of year. Avoiding a blank can be enjoyable, especially when you manage it when others around you don’t!
Some advice for those of you who are going to continue fishing though the ice age months. Firstly don’t fish over ground that has been uncovered by the tide. I ignore venues where I cannot cast onto a sea bed that has never been uncovered by the tide. Not easy in some shallow regions, but believe me worth it. Fish, even rockling and flounders don’t like ice cold water or sand. Similarly stay away from water that contains fresh water, snow melt water. etc.
As for fishing tactics there are a couple that pay off during times of low temperatures and particularly in the competitions. One is to fish in the low tide gulley or gutter – You can cast too far when there are no codling and ignore the dabs, flounder and rockling at your feet. It’s a time when the flapper rig comes into its own. The saying goes; “Clipped rigs for casting show, Flappers for dough” Yes I know it’s my variation of a saying taken from another sport, but its just as appropriate and true. So before you clip on a Loop rig and head for the horizon think about what might be under you feet!
The second vital tactic regards bait. Lots of the small fish are hugging the shoreline in search of marine life that has been dislodged, killed and buried by the storms. That’s why “off” or stale lugworm works so well for flatties. They know that a storm will store up a supply of dead worms and shellfish and that the next ripple of tide will uncover it. They move inshore with a nose for the decaying worms etc, very often a tunnel vision nose. So keep your worms over from one week to use the next. You can bait the softest or sloppiest of worms by almost sewing them on the hook and there is always bait cotton to help. Wrigley harbour ragworm are also a worthwhile bait to use when the going gets tough – they or small white ragworm can induce the tiddlers to bite because of the extra dimension of movement and bites are what you want.
SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON
Well not really. It’s a long run in until the light evenings return, the temperatures rise and the fish return to the shore, although the return of the thornback ray is a continuing saga! The success of the species has lead doubt as to whether the rays caught in January are early or late, but my opinion is that because they are in increasing numbers in many regions they are overlapping their deep water haunts and heading for the shore in search of food earlier every year and they are becoming the shore sea anglers major all year around big species – So lets keep them coming by returning them all alive.
Plaice made something of a comeback last year through the English Channel coast with venues at Chesil Beach and as far up Channel as Brighton producing lots of small red spots. Will they come back this year? Chances are they will, but plaice grow very slowly so don’t expect them to be much bigger plus those early fish are usually thin and wasted after spawning. Its fingers crossed.
The 2012 Sea Anglers Match Federation’s Inter Services Challenge Match takes place on the 18th/19th of January 2013. SAMF Team places will be open to members only. Army, Air Force, Fire Service and Police teams will take part. The event will include a night match at Browndown, Gosport and day event at Magazine Lane and Hythe in Southampton. Fishing is measure and return with bait supplied. Accommodation will be provided at Marchwood Sea Mounting Sea Mounting Centre and will be FREE of charge. Total cost for the bait and evening meal are expected to be in the region of £70. If you wish to be considered for the 15 man SAMF team please contact Darren Phillips before 24 Dec. Darren Phillips Tel. 07971215876
Also coming up is my favourite competition of the year is the Irish Winter Beach Festival, which is fished on January 24/25/26, 2013 from the beaches north of Wexford. First prize is 1000 Euro and a full accommodation package is available at Sean Ogs, Kilmuckridge. The man to contact is Warren Doyle Tel: +353 (0) 12828769 E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other big January events include:
On the 13th of January 12, the Air Ambulance Open fished at Amroth. Fishing is from 11am until 3pm and its flounders only. Entry £5 plus optional pool. Book in Amroth Arms from 9am. Contact is John O’Connor 01437 563552
On the 27th of January 12, the Fords Sports & Social S.A.C hold their beach Open between the Rolling Mills and Hamble, Weston Shore, in Southampton Water (Excluding Victoria Country Park) Fishing is from 9am until 2pm. First Prize is £400. Entry Fee, Adult £10, juniors £3, Optional pools £2. Sign on and draw for Zones from 7.am HQ, Weston Shore. Contact is Peter Oates 02380693143 or Steve Eales 02380650519
Richard Yates of St Margaret’s Bay, Kent with 20lb cod caught off Dab Alley, Folkestone on cuttlefish and two blacks on a 4/0 Pennell private boat.
Well I have caught a cod this winter – no, tell the truth Alan, it was a codling. But by the time you read this I may have caught a bigger one because at last my home county of Kent is producing cod and December is the hot month so neglect the limited number of spring tides on offer. Currently cod catches in terms of rod hours around the South East are still poor in comparison to previous years and if you want to catch that lunker you are going to need to camp out on the beach from now on.
Dungeness beach is the hot spot in my region, the Admiralty pier at Dover is the best pier by far. But at Dungeness so many anglers are fishing that the snags have multiplied to the extent that the Dungeness Angling Association have commissioned a boat to try to dredge them out! But it’s not all doom and gloom because a few anglers who have used their heads have landed fish up to 18lb. The trick is to fish when the weather is at its foulest, especially a wind from the southwest, or immediately after and that means unsocial hours in all the weather can throw at you. Fair weather rods need not apply and if the sun is shining its best to leave the rods in the garage!
Whiting remain a pest and they will take any sized bait you can throw at them, last week at Dungeness I had two whiting savaged and that is a clue to the method to catch the cod, or maybe a monster bass. A live bait rig, from now to the New Year it’s the hot cod tactic. A small baited hook tied alongside a bare 4/0 left out to snare a whiting and then hopefully a cod.
Around the UK the Bristol Channel looks set to once again be the cod capital of the UK!
I got dragged into a conversation the other day about international team selection and the merits of having a full international calendar of events. It came about because I expressed the opinion that the main problems with the internationals, especially World events, was that there were too many categories and they swallow up the limited cash available to support the best anglers, including those that cannot afford to compete for team places because of a lack of cash! I am anti the ladies and intermediates classes simply on the grounds that they take some of the money that should be channelled into the “proper teams” Their numbers are miniscule compared with the men and to an extent the juniors and believe what money is available should go to seniors and juniors only. It could also be argued that if there is a ladies event, why not a senior category for the World Champs, I would say that as an over fifty wouldn’t I, but if you look at the sea angling scene its my bet the over fifties are the largest group, whilst the ladies are by far the smallest?
Away from controversy, it was really enjoyable to fish my two local angling pier festivals this month. Dover Sea Angling and Folkestone Sea Angler held their 86th and 90th event respectively. Although only a shadow of the past both events feature multi day fishing, in the case of Dover, three consecutive days. A marathon match requiring lots of bait and sea fishing tackle and its not surprising when you see my bait bill alone that entry numbers are falling.
How did I do? Well fifth at Dover and third at Folkestone. Not too bad although I could blame my draw and having won my section in both events I think I have an excuse. My passion about pier festivals stems from the range of fishing methods involved, especially nowadays, when you could be casting for dogfish, fishing down the wall for herrings of pollack or float fishing for garfish. You have to know your stuff and it’s the case that as the angling around much of the UK deteriorates there are lots of anglers who do not experience the different kinds of fishing let alone the skills. Just how many have caught a big shore conger eel or bull huss, even a double figure cod is the shore fish of a lifetime! All because the seas have been decimated by nets etc. Well we are back at controversy again so I will shut up.
Tip of the month is to fish for dabs. Around much of the coast this small flatfish will be moving inshore over the next month or so. Stale black lugworm with a small sliver of squid, herring, sprat, razor, clam etc is the bait and although the dab is small to many its worth is in its taste, PLUS many a codling has been caught on dab tackle after gate crashing the dabs party, so fish with small strong hooks, Kamasan B940 1s are the perfect weapon to spoil the cod’s party ambitions!
My next big multi day event is the Irish Winter Beach Festival, which is fished on January 24/25/26, 2013 from the beaches north of Wexford. First prize is 1000 Euro and a full accommodation package is available at Sean Ogs, Kilmuckridge. The man to contact is Warren Doyle Tel: +353 (0) 12828769 E Mail: email@example.com
Folkestone match angler, Martyn Reid with the biggest cod in the Dover Breakwater festival. At 2.250kg it is typical of the biggest of the codling coming out around Kent.
I’m just back from Portugal where I spent a week with my old friend Clive Richards fishing the many rock and surf venues around Cape St Vincente. Hairy cliffs and huge Atlantic sea were the order of the day and with the wind blowing the fishing was difficult. Our guide informed us that 15 anglers had been killed in the previous months of the year and after visiting some of the venues I can see why. However, it’s a fantastic fishing destination and I can’t wait to go back and catch that giant bass, because I didn’t manage it this time and instead made a meal of the bream family catching golden, black and the local sargo. More about the trip in Sea Angler magazine in the New Year.
Sea fishing back home has really picked up, the cod season is getting underway and has been well and truly christened with a 13lb cod coming off my local Admiralty pier at Dover to Ashford angler, Keith Hopson. There have also been a sprinkling of 3lbs and the odd fish to 6lb plus the usual hoards of whiting and fewer dogfish which is a plus for the codders although the match anglers just love them. Its now that the weather starts to change for the better, or the worst, depending upon your perspective. I personally love the dark mornings and evenings, the cold and most of all the departure of the feathering hoards and part timers. More room on the venues for some serious fishing and it’s a time when the Tee shirt brigade just can’t hack it!
Wind chill and stair rod rain are perhaps the two most difficult aspects of winter sea angling to combat and I make no excuses for giving the TF Gear range of fishing clothing and shelters a plug. You just cannot fish with a good fishing suit and the two-piece Delta Marine suit really is the best I have worn, its waterproof and warm and provided you do not put it through the full washing machine cycle too many times will stay so! But I could not really fish without a shelter (when I do neoprene waders are a must) Fortunately most of my local venues are short tide beaches where a high water mark shelter solves all the problems and the Hurricane beach shelter keeps me dry. But for those low tide venues I still use a brolly with the Force 8 which has wings a really roomy shelter and the hardware brolly ideal for lots of moves up and down the beach when its showery. Pier anglers should check out the Hardware fishing shelter because you can place your tackle box and bucket etc inside it to keep it down when fishing piers and promenades where shelters are difficult to erect or brollies are holed when the wind rubs them against walls and railings.
My biggest news this month is that my son Richard won a bronze medal in the World Sea Angling Championships fished in Holland. This event organised by CIPS (The Confederation International de la Peche) is the true World Championships and not like some just a competition with the world name. Teams are selected and in the case of England they are selected by the Angling Trust. The UK anglers did particularly well this year, perhaps because the fishing in Holland is similar to ours with special congratulations to Alan Price of Kinmel Bay in North Wales on another World gold medal and to team Wales for finishing with a silver. Alan has adopted the Continental style of fishing completely using a fixed spool reel, long tippy rods with light lines and small hooks. Richard too is very into fishing continental style having fished as a junior international in Europe. UK shore angling is moving towards the Continental style as the shore fishing declines and that’s why more and more long rods are available. I foresee heavy shock leaders becoming a thing of the past as our anglers adopt softer longer rods, micro braid lines, fixed spool reels and overhead casting styles, especially for competition fishing. Checkout my Delta All Round three piece Continental style 15 footer on the TF gear website – That’s what I caught all my bream on in Portugal, although I also use the now extinct Fox Nemesis and a similar model is on my mind for the TF Gear rod range!
The full result of the CIPS World Championships was:
Team. (16 teams)
1st Holland 14 points
2nd Wales 15 points
3rd Ireland 21 points
4th England 22 points
5th Italy 22 points
1st Alan Price 52 points (Wales)
2nd Mohamed Larbi 67 points (Tunisia)
3rd Richard Yates 69 points (England)
1st Holland 11 points
2nd France 15 points
3rd Germany 18 points
4th England 19 points
5th Spain 20 points
1st Cindy Gambier 17 points (France)
2nd Janet Verlinde 27 points (England)
3rd Christelle Oosthuizen 38 points (South Africa)
Finally, details are available of the Irish Winter Beach Festival which is being fished on January 24/25/26, 2013: Venues are the Wexford beaches. First prize is 1000 Euro and a full accommodation package is available at Sean Ogs, Kilmuckridge. The man to contact is Warren Doyle Tel: +353 (0) 12828769 E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Price Wales gold medal (team second silver)
Richard Yates England bronze medal (team fourth)
The slowest fishing of the year from the shore for many is during August whilst in contrast the arrival of September and its failing light and falling temperatures marks the beginning of some of the best fishing of the year. Already here in the South East there are codling being reported and in weeks some bigger bass along with the first of the cod will arrive. In the meantime it’s not too late to catch smoothhound, ray, bream, mullet and a whole host of summer species, so make the most of the next two months.
Good news for Southern anglers is the return of Dover Breakwater as an angling venue. The “Concrete boat” as its called at Dover has been closed all summer because the boating company operating the ferry chose to close the service. But Dover Sea Angling association have stepped in buying their own boat and employing an ex charter skipper to operate it weekly. Currently the boat goes to the wall on Wednesdays and weekends although private parties can be arranged through Dover SAA Tel 013034 204722 subject to the availability of the operator.
At this time the first codling have been reported from the shore in Kent along with some big bass which are falling to live baits fished close in to the beach after dark and from the deep water piers. Check out the brace by Dover angler, Brian Price he landed from Dover’s Admiralty pier end on fresh mackerel. Around the rest of the country the arrival of the codling marks the beginning of many anglers winter fishing, don’t leave it too late to drag the beachcasters from the garage because the codling will be the only cod that show in some regions.
Its time to check over the sea fishing tackle too – Salt water can ruin anything metal and for those of you that put rods and reels away wet in February there may be a shock waiting now. Whatever, its time to give rods and reels the once over before you fish and that’s includes a wash down in soapy water to remove crud, sand etc, a ring insert inspection because even the smallest crack can shred mono line. Next do the same with your reels, a toothbrush can be used to remove the stains and salt and return the models looks although also very important is an internal check of reel brakes, bearings, free spool button or lever and some new line is also probably needed. After that terminal rigs need renewing etc – old worms, fish, weed, salt etc can take the point off hooks in a matter of weeks, apart from the smell which is a divorce waiting to happen! Play safe a make a new collection of rigs, if you cant make them or haven’t the time my range of TF Gear rigs is available, all on winders – Now’s the time to look out for the Pulley rig – my version has a Pulley bead, much safer than a swivel and it allows you to reduce the snood breaking strain to 40lb if you are overhead casting and the rubber stop allows the rig to extend more smoothly preventing fish being bumped off!
My personal jobs getting ready for the fishing to come have included replacing the rope to my landing net ready for the pier because the deep water walls and jetties can be the places to head for when summer has not quiet made up its mind to leave. Aside from the codling I shall be targeting mullet with some large specimens showing through September and October. In order to attract them its essential to have a mesh bag filled with bread. The trouble with that is during the stronger tides the bag rubs on the pier wall and the mesh gets damaged and releases most of the bread. Well I have found a solution, whilst in France recently on a carp fishing trip I found a small metal mesh freshwater keep net and I can now place my bread bag inside that and hang it beside the pier wall or leg in the strongest tide without it releasing too much bread!
Regarding the carp fishing – It was a great substitute for the sea during the August doldrums and I caught three carp over 30lbs, best 36lb 5oz in an afternoon. Now its time for a big cod or bass, fingers crossed.
My next trip fishing away from home is to the West Coast of Ireland with TF Gear and Sea Angler magazine to make a DVD and features for the magazine. I am joined by angling mates, Chris Clark, John Wells, Paul Fenech, and Norman Dunlop and with the help of Irish angler, Pete Atkins and Mike Hennessy we intend to explore a few deep water rock marks around the Clare coast. It’s a region I have fished many times in the past, in fact I won the World Rock Championships there five times during the 80s. In those days giant congers, bull huss, pollack, ray etc came from the rock marks around Black Head and although the venue still has its moments it’s the remoter venues off the beaten track that now produce the best fishing, isn’t that the case everywhere? So it’s Rockhopper boots and rucksack for a trek over the rugged Burren landscape and if we get the chance a spot of spinning for bass in the early morning.
The next few months are the peak of the competition fishing year with lots of major events taking place around the UK and Ireland to coincide with the improved fishing. Here are just a handful of the events worth fishing:
On September 15th the Brighton Marina RNLI Bass Open takes place from the Brighton marina Arms. Two rods. Entry £10. Craig Gosling 07732343792 or Andrew Bennett 07866 735355 or E Mail: email@example.com
The Scarborough Festival starts on the 16th September. Details 07557 683570 or 01751 475795
On September the 22/23 the Loch Ryan Festival is held in Loch Ryan. Fishing is Sat 7pm until 11pm; Sun 10.30am until 3.30pm. Book in at the Commercial Inn from 4.30pm. Entry £15 per day. Pre book Eric 01776702705.
The SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs fished at Dingle, Ireland from Sept 29th may well be full by now, details: www;irishpairs.co.uk Nick Haward 01502724222
The Loughor Boating Club Open Flounder Competition takes place on the 7th of October. Fishing 8.30am until 1.30pm. The heaviest flounder is worth £1000. Gerald 07866447425
The same date (7th October) the British Open Sea Angling Championships take s place from the Deal and Walmer beaches. Fishing 11am until 4pm. £1000 first. Pat Heath 01303 361248
It’s a great time of year for sea angling coming up with the cross over of summer and winter species bringing some of the best fishing of the year.
Between now and the time when the sea temperatures drop (later every year in most regions) you have several months when its possible in some regions to catch a complete range of sea species at the same time. From bass to codling, gurnards to whiting and mackerel to bream and thrown in for good measure are rarities like trigger fish, blonde ray, shore tope, red mullet and a lot more.a So make the most of your sea fishing from now on – Don’t leave it until you need thermals. Get out their in the last of the sunshine and experience the fantastic fishing that can be found in autumn.
My last few pegged evening competitions have seen me suffer from bad draws, that’s my excuse anyway, although a run of high numbers on Folkestone pier has seen me stuck in the pensioners section at the shore end. You know, the area on the pier where only those who want a short walk or can’t be bothered, fish. In my case its only a blip, the better draws will return sooner or later, but the situation reminded me how the spot you fish from can be so important, especially if it has NO fish. This is a major problem for a large number of sea anglers who fish through the winter months. They fish in the wrong places, somewhere there are no fish and I don’t think there could be a better way to fail than that!
Lots of anglers are simply in too much of a hurry to get fishing and plant themselves and their fishing gear at the first vacant spot they come across. Others base their venue choice on fishing tackle shop rumours and hearsay, or the past history of a venue. “If it produced cod in the past it will do again” The truth is that the stocks of cod and codling fluctuate every year and in some years, especially in present times, the shoals have been so decimated by the commercial fishermen that they no longer overspill to the shoreline. Catching them relies totally on good preparation and reliable information plus a slice of experience. So when the season starts think carefully about where and when you are going to fish because that will influence your success far more than the best fishing tackle, bait, casting distance and terminal rigs!
I am currently working on the first autumn issues of Sea Angler magazine and the major subject is “How good is this autumn/winter season going to be in terms of cod?” Well contacting anglers all around GB it does appear that there are conflicting opinions and this does stem from the results last year. The various regional populations of cod are in different states of health in terms of size and numbers and this is the case every year. Basically, the success of any spawn governs the next few generations of fish that will appear in any given region and so a flush of codling usually means that the following years there will be more and bigger cod. However, as the fish grow bigger their numbers decrease and the commercial pressure on the fish in each region also effects the situation.
Looking around the coast the prospects for cod in the various regions are mixed, in fact very different.
ENGLISH CHANNEL: Here in my region of the English Channel there are currently lots of small codling in deep water and it is hoped they will move inshore in the coming months. The English Channel also produced a few very large fish last winter and its expected that some of these really big fish will have survived for this year – So for a lunker over 40lb the northern end of the English Channel may be the place to head, especially if you fish the boats, Try Eastbourne.
EAST ANGLIA: In East Anglia a flush of codling last year suggests that this region will see far more fish over the 4lb range – Although it’s a fact that as they reach this size (Gill and trammel net mesh size) they are far more likely to be caught by the commercials. Best venue could be Orford or the Dirty Wall at Aldeburgh.
NORTH EAST: In the North East there have been lots of codling in the estuaries and current thought is that the cod fishing will be better this year – A bonus in the region is the many rough ground venues, which although difficult to fish, do protect the fish from the nets etc. Best venues are those with heavy kelp, try Newbiggin.
SOUTH WALES: South Wales had a bumper cod season last year and that my pick of the regions for cod fishing this winter, anywhere from the Bristol Channel out to Swansea on the South Welsh coast should be good. Best shore venue is Cardiff or Penarth.
NORTH WEST: Around the North West the Mersey is always a bright spot for codling although the bigger fish have been in short supply in recent years and the Irish Sea in general has experienced a decline and so Irish East coast angler should not expect too much. However having said all that, this the winter spawn will dictate next years codling stock and because the species can reproduce in such huge numbers when conditions are right and predators are absent, anything can happen and the glory days of the past could return over a couple of seasons. Fingers crossed.
Before I go, a few autumn tips:
Mullet, some big ones start to appear at this time of year and although they are generally regarded by many sea anglers as difficult even impossible to catch, this is not true you just have to fish at the mullet’s level. They will shy at thick line and big hooks, prefer bread to lugworm and don’t like lots of noise or movement. Essential is a mesh bag of bread and boiled fish (mackerel, gar, scad, sardines etc) to attract them to your swim.
Don’t forget to stock up your bait freezer with some mackerel before the shoals break up and leave your region. Mackerel is an invaluable winter bait for most species and its best frozen from fresh.
As the summer ends some regions can be clogged with surface weed, which can be a problem when it jams around your shock leader knot in the tip ring. Switch to a tapered shock leader, which offers a smaller less obtrusive leader joint. The TF Gear Aftershock tapered leaders are currently on offer at five for £6.75. Bargain!
WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING
A busy weekend for competitions at Samphire Hoe, Dover recently when the Home Nations team Championships took place. Samphire Hoe is a very snaggy venue despite which it has become one of the favourite venue for international competitions because it’s a long fair promenade stretch that produces fish in mid summer in the calmest, clearest water conditions. The reason for this is that the sea bed out from the sea wall is a mass of rocks and kelp, many also say all the redundant dumper lorries and trucks used to construct the Channel Tunnel, the Hoe is a venue made from the tunnels spoil after all!
I tagged along on the Friday of the Home Nations with the camera and saw a few pollack, dogfish, pout and wrasse come in with the England youngsters doing particularly well fishing alongside the wall. In the event both the England Junior and Youth teams won their competitions, whilst the England seniors tied for last place and Scotland took the senior honours.
Interesting fact about the event was that like all Internationals nowadays they are bait supplied. This takes away the enormous advantage that many top match match anglers who spend several days a week digging and collecting bait have. I was very against the idea when I fished internationally because I placed great faith and effort in bait collecting, although it was a case of if you don’t like it don’t fish internationally and so I had to bow to the rule. Nowadays having retired from the international arena I am not so anti bait supplied. I suppose over the years I have become brainwashed into thinking it’s a fairer system, although in the back of my mind making an effort is always goes to by more important to me.
Bait supplied makes the fishing fairer, to an extent, when the bait supplied is good quality and the bait the fish are looking for, but being fobbed off with bad bait is the worst feeling in the World when you are fishing for your country – I remember when the World champs was fished at Dover being given common lugworm when my team mates and all other competitors all had yellowtails – It ruined my championships and was one of the reasons I packed in international fishing.
After the Home Nations had finished, I fished the European Federation event – It was also bait supplied, although a much lower key international event. More like a Saga International with all the old timers in attendance. Two days of fishing after the Home Nations had virtually cleaned out the venue proved hard and I struggled to catch because the venues fish are mostly localised and even fishing catch and release catching the fish totally ruined the fishing for the following days. Winner of the European was Reg Clough from Salisbury who amongst his haul included a specimen three bearded rockling. I took some pics of Reg’s rockling and in the excitement of it all he returned the fish without measuring it! Fortunately it had been pictured near a measure and he was awarded 45cm – I though it was nearer 50cm, lesson learned for Reg.
COMPETIONS AND EVENTS
Coming up is the start of the major competition season, yes after a dismal summer, autumn is not that far away although hopefully there will be some sunshine in between. Lots of events to fish in the months to come with the Festivals particularly favourite for their friendliness and camaraderie. Some to look out for include:
The Filey Brigg Angling Society Sea Fishing Festival starts on Saturday 1st of September. For details contact Miss Carolyn Cammish, 01723 518457. Web: www.fileybrigganglingsociety.co.uk
Also on the 2nd of September the Weymouth Festival takes place. Contact 07967 018225.
The Torbay Sea Angling Festival takes place from September 7th until the 16th and that has boat and shore events. For details contact: Paul Vaggers 01803 551005 Mobile: 07967 647955 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scarborough Festival starts on the 15th September with the Bob Yarker Trophy which is a rover, there are competitions all week and the event is sponsored by Sea Angler magazine. Details on 07557 683570 or 01751 475795
Finally, its not a festival, but the week long SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs is fished a at Dingle in Ireland from the 29th September. Places usually sell out early. www; irishpairs.co.uk Nick Haward 01502724222
It’s that time of year when sea anglers are starting to think about the autumn season to come. Its time for some sea fishing tackle maintenance, or an update of tackle ready for the cod and big bass season, or in the case of the competition angler, the larger autumn opens and festivals. Is your gear up to scratch, have you got the latest fishing tackle innovations and are you prepared?
A major job apart from some general maintenance of rods and sea fishing reels is to renew the sea fishing line and shock leaders on all reels. Modern monofilament is tougher than in the past and will last on the reel for months, BUT the odd nick or damage could cost you a fish and so the new season is the time to renew line completely. On the beach nowadays I prefer to go for diameter nowadays rather than line breaking strain because its knock strength and durability that is so important from the beach. OK low diameter line casts further and resists the tide less, but if it pops on the first barnacle that counts for nothing. So I tend to stick with Nantec 0.40mm (18lb) for general fishing with a 0.37mm to 0.80mm Aftershock tapered shock leader.
Terminal rig wise have you spotted that the TF Gear rig range includes rigs that use rubber stop snood fixings? These not only allow the user to adjust the snood position at will, but also if they get snagged the snood rubber can slip and spring the hook free, sometimes.
My most recent fishing session for Sea Angler Magazine saw me join Paul Fenech and Jason Davey in search of bass from a spectacular Sussex surf venue and was lucky enough to bag a 5lber. Read all about it in the next issue of Sea Angler Magazine.
Smoothhounds have occupied most of my time in recent weeks with an influx of much bigger hounds this year around the Kent coast. Fish to 12lb have been landed and that’s an improvement on recent years and I believe it’s totally down to catch and release, which has allowed them to multiply and grow bigger. Another hound hot spot has been the Lincolnshire Coast around Chapel Point – peeler crab though is the vital bait for this species.
We are now approaching mid summer and it’s a time along the English Channel coast when the catches drop and that’s because lots of the major species have moved out of the Channel north. Mackerel, garfish, bass, pout move up into the North Sea and it can be hard to get a bite from many southern venues, especially in clear water and bright sunshine. Its time to consider a trip after dark, or early morning and dusk. Amongst the targets are bass, sole, mullet and for pier anglers an increasing number of pollack and scad. The latter may not be every sea angler’s idea of the perfect catch, but although they are mainly under 1lb horse mackerel can scrap and are great fun to catch on light sea fishing tackle. I use a three French boom rig fished on my Delta quiver tip just lowered over the pier wall and fished on the surface. Add a Starlite to the top of your rig so you cab gauge the depth. Best time is as the light fades and in darkness when the species comes to the surface to feed, at other times fish a couple of metres off the seabed. Best baits are mackerel strip, a head hooked ragworm or white ragworm fished on the surface in the dark, listen for the splash when the fish takes the bait. Lowering a light to sea level is also a great ploy of scad although take care from piers that such does interfere with navigation of small vessels. Lots of anglers believe that because scad are very bony they are not good to eat. But they are tasty and the trick is to fillet the bones out by cutting long strips from the fish’s back.
Another species worth targeting now is the Dover sole – decimated by trawlers in recent years they are not so common in many regions and they do only frequent a few venues in numbers. Best time to catch them are the hours before dawn – often this is a great time because the pest fish that take baits aimed at sole are less likely to be feeding. You need to reduce your hook size to a minimum 2 with a 4 baited with a small worm bait best. Also don’t cast too far, sole love to hug the shoreline and a great idea when fishing for them is to use two rods fished at different ranges. Bites can be fierce but sole have a small odd shaped mouth and need time to take the bait so don’t be too keen to strike and let the bites develop.
Its fingers crossed for better weather than of late for the new TF Gear DVD, which is out soon. The film will include boat and shore footage and hopefully lots of fish and tips for viewers. I am being joined by Sea Angler Editor, Mel Russ for a day out aboard Andy Cumming’s, Silver Spray out of Poole and then a day on the Purbeck Cliffs with World Champion, Chris Clark looking at catching wrasse and bass.
At the time of writing this report I am getting ready to fish Samphire Hoe at Dover in the two day European Federation of Sea Anglers event. Entry numbers are way down for the match which was originally scheduled for Dover breakwater which remains closed although a new boat is expected to return the ferry service in September. Meanwhile the EFSA event promises to be more friendly than competitive because of the lack of entries. If you are interested in EFSA shore events, then the main to contact is Paul Curtice. Tel 02380 879288 E mail: email@example.com
The National Penn final proved a success fished from Samphire Hoe and the Admiralty pier at Dover and that was despite the weather throwing everything it had at the two-day event. As main organiser I was kept busy between the weather forecast and competitors, but thanks to the stewards everything went smoothly. Winner was Saul Page of Deal and a full report with results is in the next issue of Sea Angler magazine.
The Sea Anglers Match Federation’s annual, Belgium and Holland versus SAMF Challenge championships takes place in Belgium from the beaches of Zeeland on the 14th/16th September. Costs will be in the region of E150 + travel. SAMF Members who want to be considered for the SAMF teams should contact Darren Phillips Tel. 07971215876
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest Tackle Tips
Check out the TF Gear Hardware fishing shelter – Its only £14.99 and is a great wind break for fishing piers and promenades where you don’t have beach stones to pile on the sides and flaps of your shelter. Its got a built in ground sheet so you tackle box, bucket etc can bet used to hold it down. Brilliant? Tel. 0781 9117045 for your nearest dealer or to order. www.fishtec.co.uk