Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Nov2 10

I won my first competition of the festive season recently, all be it a coarse Christmas match. But sat on my seat box, huddled over a quiver tip reminded me why I switch to sea fishing at this time of year; the clothing is warmer (yes, you get some funny looks sitting next to a lake in a full floatation suit); perhaps orange is not the best colour, but the float suit is the complete answer in extreme weather at sea or in freshwater to avoiding a wet, numb bum!

This weekend – my second Christmas match – fishing from the beach and at sea. The events retain the fur and feather theme so I was after a seasonal bird! Odd, isn’t it, that such events attract lots of anglers when all that is at stake is a supermarket turkey which would cost you under £10, whilst bigger cash prizes receive less support. The attraction is that in most Christmas events the prizes go down to twentieth and most anglers just like to win, even a bottle of wine and your name read out is better than nothing. I lesson for fishing competition organisers there. I finished fourth in the Deal and Walmer Angling Association event, with 22 whiting and dabs. The winner was my son Richard with 26 fish including a bonus dogfish.

With Dungeness Point in Kent at last producing a few cod, I have a trip planned. The problem is the beach is so often packed out with anglers that finding a spot between the rod rests and beach shelters can be near impossible at weekends. The biggest cod from “Dungie” so far is a 19lb 3oz lunker landed by Welsh angler Glyn Lewis, during his club’s annual pilgrimage to Dungeness in search of cod. The South Wales Keens AC member landed the fish on a Pennell rig after it took a whiting already hooked on the rig, and that’s been the pattern of several of the other big fish caught from Dungeness. Other fish landed by the South Wales group, who fished the Walkway side of Dungeness Point, included an 11lb 3oz cod for Sid John and a 10lb 3oz cod for Andrew Bishy.


One of my favourite sea angling competitions is the Irish Winter beach Championships, which takes place in the New Year.  I have won it two years running and am after a hat trick this year, although I will say that good draws are important and after some bum draws this year I have been saving the hot pegs up for the event, which takes place around Wexford on January 27/28/29th. Headquarters are Seàn Òg’s Hotel complex at Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford. Entry fee is €150 including presentation dinner. Prizes for overall, zones, biggest flat and round, pairs, teams of four, etc. The man to contact for more details, etc is: Warren Doyle, 98, Seacrest, Bray, Co. Wicklow. E-Mail: Phone: +353(0)1-2828769  Mobile: +353(0)86-8069961 (evenings).


You have never had it so good with multiplier reels, although prices have gone through the roof! A gaggle of new models are coming off the production lines weekly. The latest include a really over priced super reel from one manufacturer who has given its standard model a fancy paint job. Then there is a new colourful model with a great one piece aluminium frame, but best of the lot is a model which gives the option of accessories for the tournament field or the beach. Then there is the new TF Gear Force 8 multipliers which, at £99.99, remain amongst the best value for money knobbly Mag multipliers around.


Snow and ice and the coldest November for years could signal an early end to the shore fishing in many regions this winter. The problem is that once the low temperatures get a hold on the inshore shallows and the sand, the fish move out to deeper water, especially in the south and west. Meanwhile on the east coast, the continuous strong winds may be cold, but they are a godsend for sea anglers because they stir the inshore and the exposed marine life attracts the fish close. The winter will be a good one for cod in the east if the wind keeps blowing inshore, but if it shifts to the south or west then the rest of the country will enjoy some better fishing, although it may be wet. A good rule of thumb there, always fish into the wind, the wind at your back may be more comfy but it’s my bet it will be less productive.

I was amazed to see on the TV news that seagulls have been put on the birds at risk register. Bird experts reckon that herring gulls are under threat of becoming extinct. Tell you what, if you sit on the seafront counting gulls you could believe that, but go inland and watch a field or my roof you will know it’s a load of rubbish. The experts blame the lack of fish, and that’s rubbish too – the coastline around the UK is full of tiddler whiting, it’s just that the gulls have taken a liking to kebabs and chips in the town.

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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.