Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

The slowest fishing of the year from the shore for many is during August whilst in contrast the arrival of September and its failing light and falling temperatures marks the beginning of some of the best fishing of the year. Already here in the South East there are codling being reported and in weeks some bigger bass along with the first of the cod will arrive. In the meantime it’s not too late to catch smoothhound, ray, bream, mullet and a whole host of summer species, so make the most of the next two months.

Good news for Southern anglers is the return of Dover Breakwater as an angling venue. The “Concrete boat” as its called at Dover has been closed all summer because the boating company operating the ferry chose to close the service. But Dover Sea Angling association have stepped in buying their own boat and employing an ex charter skipper to operate it weekly. Currently the boat goes to the wall on Wednesdays and weekends although private parties can be arranged through Dover SAA Tel 013034 204722 subject to the availability of the operator.

At this time the first codling have been reported from the shore in Kent along with some big bass which are falling to live baits fished close in to the beach after dark and from the deep water piers. Check out the brace by Dover angler, Brian Price he landed from Dover’s Admiralty pier end on fresh mackerel. Around the rest of the country the arrival of the codling marks the beginning of many anglers winter fishing, don’t leave it too late to drag the beachcasters from the garage because the codling will be the only cod that show in some regions.

Brian Price big Dover bass Fishtec

Its time to check over the sea fishing tackle too – Salt water can ruin anything metal and for those of you that put rods and reels away wet in February there may be a shock waiting now. Whatever, its time to give rods and reels the once over before you fish and that’s includes a wash down in soapy water to remove crud, sand etc, a ring insert inspection because even the smallest crack can shred mono line. Next do the same with your reels, a toothbrush can be used to remove the stains and salt and return the models looks although also very important is an internal check of reel brakes, bearings, free spool button or lever and some new line is also probably needed. After that terminal rigs need renewing etc – old worms, fish, weed, salt etc can take the point off hooks in a matter of weeks, apart from the smell which is a divorce waiting to happen! Play safe a make a new collection of rigs, if you cant make them or haven’t the time my range of TF Gear rigs is available, all on winders – Now’s the time to look out for the Pulley rig – my version has a Pulley bead, much safer than a swivel and it allows you to reduce the snood breaking strain to 40lb if you are overhead casting and the rubber stop allows the rig to extend more smoothly preventing fish being bumped off!

My personal jobs getting ready for the fishing to come have included replacing the rope to my landing net ready for the pier because the deep water walls and jetties can be the places to head for when summer has not quiet made up its mind to leave. Aside from the codling I shall be targeting mullet with some large specimens showing through September and October. In order to attract them its essential to have a mesh bag filled with bread. The trouble with that is during the stronger tides the bag rubs on the pier wall and the mesh gets damaged and releases most of the bread. Well I have found a solution, whilst in France recently on a carp fishing trip I found a small metal mesh freshwater keep net and I can now place my bread bag inside that and hang it beside the pier wall or leg in the strongest tide without it releasing too much bread!
Regarding the carp fishing – It was a great substitute for the sea during the August doldrums and I caught three carp over 30lbs, best 36lb 5oz in an afternoon. Now its time for a big cod or bass, fingers crossed.

Leather carp France, Fishtec

My next trip fishing away from home is to the West Coast of Ireland with TF Gear and Sea Angler magazine to make a DVD and features for the magazine. I am joined by angling mates, Chris Clark, John Wells, Paul Fenech, and Norman Dunlop and with the help of Irish angler, Pete Atkins and Mike Hennessy we intend to explore a few deep water rock marks around the Clare coast. It’s a region I have fished many times in the past, in fact I won the World Rock Championships there five times during the 80s. In those days giant congers, bull huss, pollack, ray etc came from the rock marks around Black Head and although the venue still has its moments it’s the remoter venues off the beaten track that now produce the best fishing, isn’t that the case everywhere? So it’s Rockhopper boots and rucksack for a trek over the rugged Burren landscape and if we get the chance a spot of spinning for bass in the early morning.

The next few months are the peak of the competition fishing year with lots of major events taking place around the UK and Ireland to coincide with the improved fishing. Here are just a handful of the events worth fishing:

On September 15th the Brighton Marina RNLI Bass Open takes place from the Brighton marina Arms. Two rods. Entry £10. Craig Gosling 07732343792 or Andrew Bennett 07866 735355 or E Mail:

The Scarborough Festival starts on the 16th September. Details 07557 683570 or 01751 475795

On September the 22/23 the Loch Ryan Festival is held in Loch Ryan. Fishing is Sat 7pm until 11pm; Sun 10.30am until 3.30pm. Book in at the Commercial Inn from 4.30pm. Entry £15 per day. Pre book Eric 01776702705.

The SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs fished at Dingle, Ireland from Sept 29th may well be full by now, details: www; Nick Haward 01502724222

The Loughor Boating Club Open Flounder Competition takes place on the 7th of October. Fishing 8.30am until 1.30pm. The heaviest flounder is worth £1000. Gerald 07866447425

The same date (7th October) the British Open Sea Angling Championships take s place from the Deal and Walmer beaches. Fishing 11am until 4pm. £1000 first. Pat Heath 01303 361248

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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.