My latest sea angling competition was the Dungeness Angling Association’s Dick Penny Memorial event in aid of the RNLI, and with it being small fish season it was another opportunity to practice for the forthcoming World Club Champs in Belgium where I am fishing with the Dover Sea Angling squad. The match at Dungeness is usually a dab event at this time of year, so I went geared with my Belgium tackle. A three piece TF Gear Delta quiver tip, 12lb Nano mist mono and a fixed spool reel. Terminal rig was a light weight two up one down mono paternoster with size 4 long shank hooks. Not everyone’s ideal outfit, but for tiddler match fishing just the gear. In the event I finished fourth with 16 small fish, my best was a 250 gram flounder. But here is the rub, the match was won by Folkestone match angler, and Dover team mate, Martyn Reid. He had drawn badly for dabs and decided to fish at extreme range with crab and sandeel for dogfish and had been rewarding for his daring with three small smoothhounds. Which all goes to prove that spring is well and truly here in Kent and I guess in much of the UK as well! Time to go after the plaice, rays, smoothhounds and soon the bass and bream.
The spring angling grapevine says that the plaice are in at Chesil beach (West Bexington and Cogden are producing an average fish of 12oz with the odd bigger fish) Deal pier in Kent has reopened after the completion of repairs to the lower front deck and the first thornback ray of 4lb fell to local angler Wayne Shorter on the morning the pier re-opened.
A common problem for match organisers is anglers booking places at events and then not turning up. This happened at the Dungeness AA event which was in aid of the RNLI. Despite 70 anglers having pre booked the limited places, only 45 turned out on the day which not only reduced the donations etc to the RNLI but denied some keen anglers the chance to fish. Disgraceful on the part of those that promised to support the match but failed to appear. Small wonder more and more competition organisers are using pre entry forms for events and blacklisting those that book but don’t appear. Mind you the RNLI had a bonus donation at Dungeness because of the failure of the entry to catch a single sizeable codling, so the biggest cod prize of £500 put up by Dungeness AA went to the RNLI, brilliant.
My other outing this month was to fish the Pollack Challenge out of Brighton aboard Brighton Diver which also had the Sky TV crew aboard filming Tight Lines. Paul Dyer skipper of the Brighton Diver found us some pollack and I landed five although my best of just under 10lb was not good enough to frame. That honour went to Phil Calver of Brighton who fished aboard Chris Bray’s charter boat, Great Escape where he landed a 15lb 1oz specimen pollack. At the presentation I found out Chris Bray’s secret – He cut his engine during the drift and it seems that made the difference because his crew bagged three of the top four fish! Lure wise the results revealed the Sidewinder as popular and successful, although unlike last year when the rhubarb and Custard (red and orange) lures worked best this year pink and silver seemed to have the edge and the smaller models. Mind you the sea at 30 miles off Brighton was absolutely full of sprats.
I am in the market for a rod tube when I fly to Sardinia at the end of May for the Magrini Championships. Anyone out there know of one suitable for three piece beach casters a brolly and rod rest get back to me on email: email@example.com. In the past I have always used a long section of plastic soil pipe but now with the more delicate three piece continental type beachcasters I think I should have something more purpose made. Someone has suggested a Sportstube which are essentially for skis – anyone with any info on how good they are for fishing rods?
Next month’s Sea Angler magazine (issue 466) has a free TF Gear DVD, featuring myself on boat fishing, with full details of the new range of sea fishing tackle from TF Gear. One not to be missed.