Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 11

I failed miserably in my latest competition, the Fountain Open fished at Seabrook and Hythe despite looking for a good performance in light of my recent good form. But the draw bag gods did not smile on me and I drew a low number at Battery Point, Seabrook with a gale blowing. All my attempts to catch much were thwarted by the draw, but a bad snag in front of me and a novice angler downtide added to my problems. After the fourth reel leader and rig I gave in and took an early shower.

A Southerly gale made conditions as bad for my next event, the aptly named Anyfish Anywhere Open. I fished at Dengemarsh in front of the two Dungeness Power Stations. A pounding surf keeping almost all but rockling off the shoreline, although I did personally manage a small spring codling (undersize) which is the good news. The 50 competitors were left to scratch in the edge for rockling using the oldest, stickiest lugworm they could find and a bag of 20 slugs and a single dab for 2.020kg claimed the top prize for match organiser Lea Heaver of Folkestone who was pegged in the low numbers at the Point end of the Power Station road. Slug fishing is just about as winter as it gets and it was amusing watching some of the best Kent anglers and some mega casters stooping to such lowly, gutter fishing tactics. Mind you having said that, some sea angling impressive titles and lots of cash have gone to those catching slugs in the past, although for most its not sea angling as we know it! Second on the day was South Benfleet matchman, Ian Reynolds with 1.500kg and third, Sheerness angler, Colin Dobner who was pegged next to Lea Heaver and returned 1.10kg. The biggest fish was a 350gram flounder for Ashford angler, Bob Amiss. A word on the shingle bank that stretches behind the power stations – scaling it is akin to mountaineering so if you fish the region take care, especially during the bigger spring tides.

Match and Tackle News

Breakaway tackle have introduced a new style impact lead with improved grip. It has a plastic nose cone and instead of beads to hold the wire in groves in the lead the wires now fit snugly in the plastic nose cone. All good news for those that fish clear ground, BUT the new style is now like the Gemini breakout lead in that the wires trap line and cannot escape line snags. The old style bead and wire did offer a chance of escape from a line snag. However, there is a solution and that’s to use a Breakaway fixed soft wire Impact lead and bend the wires in a slow sweeping curve, they slip off line snags.

Around the Scene

A near record busting day for Dave Lawrence, the skipper of Deal, Kent boat, Gary Anne on Saturday, when Justin McGregor of Challock near Ashford in Kent broke the British Record for spurdog with a fish of 24lb 5oz. The heavyweight fish which was full of young was weighed, photographed and returned immediately and therefore cannot be considered for the British boat record which stands to a fish of 21lb 3oz caught off Porthleven in Cornwall in 1977. The monster spurdog came during a hectic session fishing in Trinity Bay when a dozen thornback ray fell to fresh herring baits and adds weight to calls by boat anglers for a catch and release record list. Currently fish will only be considered for British Records after having been killed and weighed onshore.   Big spurdog have turned up on the Goodwin Sands during February and March for many years, less so in recent times because they are said to be the tastiest of the dogfish and this has led to a decline in numbers, but this proves that they are still around. The species is so named because although it looks just like a small shark it has sharp spur bones at the leading edges of its dorsal fins and these make the species one of the most dangerous UK species to handle. Spurdog can also bite through mono line and are usually fished for with a wire trace.

Record busting spurdog from Deal

I am just about to leave for a boat trip out of Brighton aboard Paul Dyer’s, Brighton Diver and also I have been selected for my local club Dover SAA for the World Club Team champs being fished in Belgium in May. More about both next week.

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Alan Yates

About Alan Yates

Born in the channel port of Dover, Alan Yates spent his boyhood bass fishing from boat and shore. After a highly successful match fishing career, during which he competed for England 15 times, twice winning gold, Alan went on to become a full time angling journalist. While writing for, among other titles, Angling Times and Improve your Sea Angling, Alan also wrote his seminal work, Sea Fishing. Founder of the Sea Angler’s Match Federation, Alan fought for catch and release in match fishing and sea fishing more generally.