Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary June

Smoothhounds have occupied most of my time in recent weeks with an influx of much bigger hounds this year around the Kent coast. Fish to 12lb have been landed and that’s an improvement on recent years and I believe it’s totally down to catch and release, which has allowed them to multiply and grow bigger. Another hound hot spot has been the Lincolnshire Coast around Chapel Point – peeler crab though is the vital bait for this species.

We are now approaching mid summer and it’s a time along the English Channel coast when the catches drop and that’s because lots of the major species have moved out of the Channel north. Mackerel, garfish, bass, pout move up into the North Sea and it can be hard to get a bite from many southern venues, especially in clear water and bright sunshine. Its time to consider a trip after dark, or early morning and dusk. Amongst the targets are bass, sole, mullet and for pier anglers an increasing number of pollack and scad. The latter may not be every sea angler’s idea of the perfect catch, but although they are mainly under 1lb horse mackerel can scrap and are great fun to catch on light sea fishing tackle. I use a three French boom rig fished on my Delta quiver tip just lowered over the pier wall and fished on the surface. Add a Starlite to the top of your rig so you cab gauge the depth. Best time is as the light fades and in darkness when the species comes to the surface to feed, at other times fish a couple of metres off the seabed. Best baits are mackerel strip, a head hooked ragworm or white ragworm fished on the surface in the dark, listen for the splash when the fish takes the bait. Lowering a light to sea level is also a great ploy of scad although take care from piers that such does interfere with navigation of small vessels. Lots of anglers believe that because scad are very bony they are not good to eat. But they are tasty and the trick is to fillet the bones out by cutting long strips from the fish’s back.

Another species worth targeting now is the Dover sole – decimated by trawlers in recent years they are not so common in many regions and they do only frequent a few venues in numbers. Best time to catch them are the hours before dawn – often this is a great time because the pest fish that take baits aimed at sole are less likely to be feeding. You need to reduce your hook size to a minimum 2 with a 4 baited with a small worm bait best. Also don’t cast too far, sole love to hug the shoreline and a great idea when fishing for them is to use two rods fished at different ranges. Bites can be fierce but sole have a small odd shaped mouth and need time to take the bait so don’t be too keen to strike and let the bites develop.

Its fingers crossed for better weather than of late for the new TF Gear DVD, which is out soon. The film will include boat and shore footage and hopefully lots of fish and tips for viewers. I am being joined by Sea Angler Editor, Mel Russ for a day out aboard Andy Cumming’s, Silver Spray out of Poole and then a day on the Purbeck Cliffs with World Champion, Chris Clark looking at catching wrasse and bass.

Competition News 

At the time of writing this report I am getting ready to fish Samphire Hoe at Dover in the two day European Federation of Sea Anglers event. Entry numbers are way down for the match which was originally scheduled for Dover breakwater which remains closed although a new boat is expected to return the ferry service in September. Meanwhile the EFSA event promises to be more friendly than competitive because of the lack of entries. If you are interested in EFSA shore events, then the main to contact is Paul Curtice. Tel 02380 879288 E mail:

The National Penn final proved a success fished from Samphire Hoe and the Admiralty pier at Dover and that was despite the weather throwing everything it had at the two-day event. As main organiser I was kept busy between the weather forecast and competitors, but thanks to the stewards everything went smoothly. Winner was Saul Page of Deal and a full report with results is in the next issue of Sea Angler magazine.

The Sea Anglers Match Federation’s annual, Belgium and Holland versus SAMF Challenge championships takes place in Belgium from the beaches of Zeeland on the 14th/16th September. Costs will be in the region of E150 + travel. SAMF Members who want to be considered for the SAMF teams should contact Darren Phillips Tel. 07971215876

E Mail:

Latest Tackle Tips

Check out the TF Gear Hardware fishing shelter – Its only £14.99 and is a great wind break for fishing piers and promenades where you don’t have beach stones to pile on the sides and flaps of your shelter. Its got a built in ground sheet so you tackle box, bucket etc can bet used to hold it down. Brilliant? Tel. 0781 9117045 for your nearest dealer or to order.

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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.