WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING
The slow progress to winter weather has affected the shore fishing in my region of Kent and the expected cod have not materialised, YET, from the beaches. Instead the small whiting, dogfish and now an influx of postage sized dabs are eating all the other species out of house and home. It’s grim if you are a shore specimen hunter and my advice is to desert Kent for the many other regions that are fishing much better. The recent TF Gear DVD on fishing in South Wales is an example – Plenty of codling throughout the South Wales, Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel region and some bigger ones from the boat. Other reports from around the country suggest the cod fishing is superb in some regions. The North East is enjoying an influx of codling and they are growing fast,East Anglia has some and the North West is improving rapidly.
With all this in mind much of my recent fishing at home has been in competitions and I have had a mixed bag of results recently, but the bright spots included a win from a dud peg on Folkestone pier although it proved to not be a dud and I suppose that teaches us all never to give up because in fishing you just never know. A catch of garfish and mackerel in mid November was something of a surprise – how a float outfit stayed in my tackle box I don’t know?
I had a pretty poor day at the TF Gear Kent Classic on the Isle of Sheppey, plagued with small whiting, I managed two goers out of 60 fish. However, the company was good because I was paired with a local junior. Although to be honest a paired peg was not what I had in mind and fishing in the disabled section was rather a handicap!
What I am doing is to try to get around catching those small whiting and any tips on that would be gratefully received. I have tried bigger hooks (2/0s) but even they don’t keep the 25cm whiting off! With all the small fish around there is the temptation to go all in for the tiddlers with smaller hooks and lighter hook snoods, but the likes of size 4s and 10lb snoods really is a step too far and only practical in catch and release matches – Size 1s and 25lb hook snoods remain the sensible winter minimum.
With Christmas and the New Year looming is time for those seasonal events. Turkeys and Christmas fares attract lots of anglers who would not normally fish competitions and all this proves that lots of prizes are far more attractive than a big cash prize and although I have said it before a return to the old prize structure system may be the way for lots of clubs who are loosing support to go.
My next away event is the Clubman final inNorfolk where the Sea Angler magazine staff etc fish against last years Clubman champions, Holt Sea Angling Club. It’s a bit of a fun event really although you can bet that everyone will take it very seriously indeed.
Coming up is my annual pilgrimage to Kilmuckridge near Wexford for the Irish Winter beach championships on January 26th/27th and 28th. A very friendly multi day match with lots of Irish Craic Further Details/Entries to:
Warren Doyle, 98, Seacrest, Bray, Co. Wicklow. Phone: +353(0)1-2828769
Mobile: +353(0)86-8069961 (Evenings Please)
TACKLE AND WINTER TIPS
The new TF Gear Force 8 S MAGs with their one piece frame are proving popular – I have switched over to them after using one all season and I must say the addition of a power handle is essential for fishing.
Her are a few shore and boat fishing tips for the winter months.
Shore anglers watch out for frozen sand, cold shallow water and lots of fresh water, rain or snow melt. Nothing is worse for results at this time of year because the fish will not come inshore under such conditions. I have a rule and that is not to fish anywhere that I cannot cast past ground that is uncovered at low tide, from December through until April!
Bait shortages are the winter angler’s worst enemy and once the weather deteriorates to real winter mode and all the part time diggers pack it in you will start to feel the effect. No real answer other than to stay loyal to your dealer.
You can lay in a supply of frozen Calamari etc or even get the fork or bait pump out yourself.
The largest winter sea driven by gale force winds can ruin a good fishing trip because it’s always in the worst weather that the fish are around. Ways to keep you fishing when the wind and sea are near gale force is to include a few 8oz fixed wire grip leads in your kit. These help tow baits through the wind with a low punchy cast more effective than a high looping thrash, and ensure baits stay where the land. Also add an adjustable sliding butt cap to your rod rest because with it you can raise your rod tip and line much higher up above the waves and weed. Finally – don’t be afraid to fish the piers and deep water rock marks. Lots of beach anglers don’t even consider such venues despite them being so much more practical and productive in the “dead” of winter.