Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Mar 11

My day in the boat out of Brighton aboard Paul Dyer’s charter boat, Brighton Diver was to complete the TF Gear DVD with Myself – it’s out soon and shows a typical winter wrecking trip. A window in the weather day when the sea allowed us offshore between gales. I won’t spoil things by telling you how we got on, but fishing in the Mid English Channel shipping lanes between the super freighters that resemble a block of flats in a rolling sea is not boring.

Back home I have had a few duff trips on the beach as the winter season grinds to a halt although as I write some small codling are showing from my local Kent venues and they will spice things up. Mostly undersized fish, they are around 30cm with the odd 2lb to 4lber along with more dogfish and some bigger whiting, things are looking up.  Also some good news for ray fans is that the thornback rays in particular are making their way towards the coast and in Kent the species is comparatively new from the shore with a run of thornbacks underway. Hot spots include the under cliff marks at Eastchurch Gap on the Isle of Sheppey, beware of the muddy cliffs there, Leysdown is also worth a try along with Sandwich Bay which is an easier access beach venue and the piers at Dover. The Admiralty has produced several rays. Top bait for them is large frozen sandeel and Bluey, a combination of both helps keep the dogfish off.

Last week I took a trip to Kelling in Norfolk for a feature with Sea Angler magazine and had a proper Spring codling plus big pout, school bass, dabs. Altogether I landed seven species using two rods freelance style. I fished one at range with a clipped down Loop rig and one close with booms. It reminded me how two rod fishing makes life so much easier than match fishing when with one rod you have to fish trial and error to find the range of the fish!

Back home I won my latest club evening event with fours dogfish, four whiting a dab and a rockling at Sandgate beach. II fished at range with the Loop rig baiting with black lugworm and sandeel. The latter definitely has the edge at present and helps to keep the smaller whiting off. Mind you make sure you use the largest sandeels you can get hold of, either red pack Ammos of the bigger Bait box variety.


Hey, I have been selected to fish for England – Well sort of. I am in the team to fish the World Club Championships in Belgium in May representing Dover Sea Angling Association and England. Team members include, my son Richard Yates, Saul Page of Deal, Nathan Elliott of Dover, Martyn Reid of Folkestone and myself. Not a bad squad even though I do say so myself, NO I am not coming out of retirement to fish internationals again, although I do have a match in Sardinia in May with Chris Clark. Hummmmm?

I am just testing the latest TF Gear beachcaster fishing rod – It’s a super sensitive three piece match rod with three quiver style put in tips. It should be available later in the spring and will please lots of match angler because of the unbelievable price. It’s half the price of its competitors and a better rod, I know because I helped design them both! I have got to say that some of the tackle coming into the TF gear range is super value, I don’t know how they do it!

I got my hands on a new TF Gear tackle box last week and the first job was to fit a Breakaway carry frame and seat back rest. That completed I now have a comfy tackle box to sit on because it comes with a handy padded seat. A tip if you use a tackle box, apart from the carry frame, get hold of a couple of the clip on side trays supplied as extras on most of the tackle boxes. They are great for bait and odd tackle, especially when you are fishing from wet sand.

Oh how I wish someone would make a red seat box, black is so boring!


Deal pier front is still closed which is a shame with the thornback season underway – damaged in the winter storms the local Dover council have put the repairs out to tender and work is expected to start soon. The stem of the pier is open for angling. For Deal pier enquiries give Steve Allmark of Channel Angling on the pier a ring on 01304 373104.

Competitions coming up over the coming weeks include many popular annual events but there is a new two day competition that might interest many. It’s the

Morecambe Open being fished on the 26th and 27th March. Fishing is from 9am until 1pm on the Saturday and from11am until 3pm on the Sunday. Entry is £40 for the two days. Here are a few weird rules such as no white ragworm and no pendulum casting but that’s the organiser’s choice. Book in from 7.30am at Gerry’s of Morecambe. 07872 942820 or 07855 020407.

A regular annual event in the south is the Allan’s Marine Open on the 10th April at Stokes Bay and Lee on the Solent. Main organiser for years was Allan Watson of Allan’s Marine who sadly died last year – His staff, customers and friends have continued the event in his memory. Fishing is from 12 noon until 5pm with a limit of 160 pegs. Entry is £15 with optional pools. There is 100% payout. The match is fished to SAMF rules and fished measure and return. Details from Allan’s Marine, 143 Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw, Portsmouth. Match HQ Gosport and District Angling Club Stokes Bay, booking in from 10am. Tel. 02392 671833.

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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.