Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Jun/Jul 11


I have never been keen on August, it’s the one month of the year when shore fishing in Kent can be really difficult. I have mentioned the reason why before – It’s just simply that the fish have moved north through the English Channel and bypassed the Kent shore. The good news is that once August is out the fish will start to return in the build up for autumn being able to be caught on rod and line. Around lots of the country August is also a transitional month, it’s the month when the summer fishing peaks and then starts to fade before it picks up again as autumn arrives.  The light nights for instance start to shorten and that for the fish is a sign of the coming winter and one they react to big time. The vanishing daylight causes a minute drop in temperatures and the combination sets Mother Nature in motion. I can’t wait!

Meanwhile I will soldier on through August, my latest club match was at Folkestone pier, and yes I like the deep water of the piers in summer and rarely fish the beach unless it’s dark. As dusk arrived on the pier the water came alive with mackerel, scad and bass splashing and skittering on the surface and the bottom baits attacked by a flurry of dogfish, pouting, whiting and sole when I see this I just with I carry my fishing rod at all times! But then suddenly the activity ceased as quickly as it began and the sea became devoid of fish save for some tiny dogfish well under the 38cm minimum size (that’s too small but that’s another story) All this reminded me just how fickle fishing can be, you see what happened was that the fish came through with the flooding tide in mass and after they passed there was nothing! So many times on the shore this happens with the shoals passing through in minutes on their way to somewhere and if you don’t have a hook in the water you will miss them. So my advice this coming autumn and winter is to maximise your time with a baited hook in the sea, don’t waste a second. Do that and if a big one passes through your swim you may catch it!


Dover based charter boat, Reecer fishing a mark over the Goodwin Sands in Kent produced 20 blonde rays during a hectic charter trip for the members of the South East Kent Police Sports Club. The best fish of 20lb was landed by retired Police Super intendant, John Grace from Folkestone. Blonde ray are a comparatively recent addition to the English Channel fish population and have been increasing in numbers and size in recent years. It is said because of global warming, but in my opinion its because they are not heavily fished for by the commercial fleets and are expanding because of the room and food left by the demise of the other prime species. It’s the same inshore, take away the plaice, cod, etc and the dogfish and whiting take over! Blonde rays can grow 40lb plus and prove a large fish to land with four bigger fish lost during the days fishing aboard Reecer, bait was fresh mackerel. After photographs all were returned alive. There is great potential for a British record of the species throughout theEnglish Channelthis month

Amongst the “away” competitions coming up is the SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs which are fished on the DinglePeninsula, countyKerryin Ireland. It’s a week of competitions from the 1st to the 6th October and that includes pegged match fishing and roving specimen hunts. Places go quickly so don’t leave it too late to apply. Contact: Nick Haward The Priory, Priory Road , Blythburgh, Suffolk IP19 9LR
Email:  Tel. 01502 478004 m 07702037223


I caught my first sole of the year this week, only a small fish of 10oz, but a bonus because I like flatfish on the plate. Sole are an odd flat fish and lots of anglers never see one. They tend to frequent just a few beaches and with their small hooked mouth they are not often landed on hooks over a 1/0. So if you want to catch a sole head for a sole beach. That may sound obvious, but lots of popular venues never produce soles and that’s because of the sea bed, sole are fussy and prefer sea beds with plenty of tiny shellfish and worms. So find a sole beach, fish at night, those last hours of darkness up to dawn are best because other species are less active and sole are. Use a small hook, size four and a piece of lugworm or ragworm and don’t cast too far, sole like the margins!

The kayak department of the fishing tackle shop is not somewhere I frequent, but I can understand why an increasing number of anglers are taking to the canoe! But once you get afloat please have regard for shore anglers – Is it me but as soon as an angler gets a boat he seems to forget that shore anglers cast out or have lines in the water? Yes I understand that boats always have the right of way over anglers in most cases, but many show a total disregard and ignorance for those fishing from the shore!

Beads and sequins are a popular part of rig making for some, including me, I just love a string of small beads or sequins on the hook length. It works in summer because they intercept the odd bonus mackerel, whilst in winter I am convinced that dabs amongst other flat fish respond to a bit of flash and tickle. But the selection of beads etc that are available from the tackle dealers is so limited and expensive. Best visit your local model/craft/ haberdashery/interior furnishings shop. I found Dunelm-mill and they have a network of UK stores which offer an Aladdin’s cave of trace glitter!

See you on the beach.

Alan Yates

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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.