The arrival of October signals a start to the cod season for most shore anglers, although in many regions lots of fishing rods are already out on the beaches etc because once the nights start to draw in the first autumn codling start appearing. However, its at the end of this month that a majority of venues start to see the odd bigger specimen moving inshore as the summer species move away and the cod follow the whiting inshore. The whiting are though becoming the problem because there are so many of them that they take baits aimed at big fish and appear to eat most other species out of house and home. It’s only the match anglers that are happy when it comes to whiting although the fact that there are so many that they appear stunted and almost always undersized can be frustrating. Dogfish and whiting are so often the sea anglers lot nowadays and it makes you wonder where we will all end up.
Last week a glimmer of hope came when a DEFRA survey team appeared on a beach at Deal in Kent. The anglers fishing were quizzed on what they had caught and how much they had spent on their fishing. One angler told me that the result of his individual statistics suggested that a small bass he had caught and returned was worth £57 a pound to the British economy! What angling brings to the economy is at last being examined and its my bet that it will open a few eyes and move DEFRA to start looking after the angling species, fingers crossed!
I am just back from a trip to Ireland with Sea Angler magazine and TF Gear where we spent a week fishing from boat and shore for magazine articles and a DVD which will be free on Sea Angler in the future. Our group included several well known sea anglers under the Sea Safari banner with the fishing funded by the Irish Tourist board and supported by the Inland Fisheries Ireland with two of their inspectors acting as guides. Unfortunately our visit collided with the worst September weather for a decade and we spent a week scurrying from venues to venue to get out of the gales. Fortunately this meant a couple of new venues and overall the results were good considering the weather. I cannot though leave Ireland without saying that the ethnic anglers over there are a problem for the Irish angling authorities because nothing is returned alive. Some of the marks we fished showed similar signs to those in England where catch and kill and the litter are so bad that it makes you wonder how anything can survive on the mark and that includes above the water line! Ireland already has a limit on the number of bass you can take in a day and a total ban on commercial bass fishing and I can see them extending it to mackerel, pollack and other species.
My Irish adventure also proved interesting because I got to try out some LRF. Now this stands for “light rock fishing” and it’s fishing with extremely light gear using lures. TF Gear have introduced some new sea fishing tackle items to compliment the style and part of the trip was to test out the new rod, reels and lures. Now I am a bit cynical when it comes to lure fishing because I believe that more fish can often be caught on bait than lures and view the style of fishing as an alternative rather than the be all and end of sea fishing. The fanatics must get used to catching nothing and so I am going to stick with the beachcaster and only use the lure rods when conditions are perfect. In Ireland a rock mark out of the wind was perfect for a spot of wrassing – trouble was whilst the plastics barely got a look, the ragworm was seized every drop by hungry wrasse topping the 3lb mark. I fished a small 0.25oz bullet slid down the line to the hook knot, jig head style. Baited with a whole ragworm this was cast and fished sink and draw – The bites were fierce, the fight fierce on micro braid and a 10lb mono leader – check out the forthcoming DVD. Incidentally if you need to know anything about the venues that appear on the DVD they will all be featured in Sea Angler magazine in forthcoming issues.
At the time of writing this report the England shore squad are out practising in Holland for the forthcoming World Sea Angling Championships. – My son Richard is a member of the England team and so I have a vested interest. Particularly because my first world gold medal came in Holland in 1991 with England – Good luck to all the home nations who are competing in the event – Its close to our style of shore fishing and the best chance the home teams have of a medal away from the Mediterranean style of most other countries.