Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – Early March

The recent weather (blocking) pattern of low pressure locking in a high pressure area over the UK is prolonging the cold easterly winds – and these as most anglers know – are simply not good for fishing. The saying goes “When the wind blows from the East the fish bite least” and looking at the recent results that fact is proven. I was at Dungeness the other day and the huge flocks of cormorants inshore point to the large quantities of tiny species, whilst the bigger fish are long gone to deeper water. Amongst the rockling and tiny dabs and whiting there are an increasing number of plaice, flounder and on some days dogfish. But otherwise cod is now a forgotten word in the fishing tackle shops. Although saying that, anglers fishing Sandgate this week reported a number of undersized codling, best 34cm (the minimum size is 35cm) which were returned – it’s a long time since Kent experienced a spring codling run. The good news on the weather is that it will only take the jet stream and a stronger westerly airflow to dislodge the Scandinavian influence to our weather and then watch out for some sunshine, fingers crossed!

Nice to see a few plaice coming up on my local beaches at Seabrook, Kent and from what I hear the species continues to be making a comeback around many other parts of the UK. Good news, although plaice are so slow growing it will take years for numbers to return to what they were thirty years ago when a 3lb plus was a fairly common summer bonus, especially along the English Channel. I used to fish Hastings pier in those days and a dustbin lid sized plaice often featured in the Hastings Pier Festival winners bag. Some hefty specimens came on board from the pier end lower deck with a 4lber just about managing to raise eyebrows in those days. I see that lottery money is posed to rebuild Hastings pier and wonder if there is any hope for the return of anglers to the structure.

I have a couple of trips for European competitions in the coming months. One for the World Club team Championships at Grandola in Portugal and then to the Magrini Championships in Sardinia. Both are Continental fishing for tiddlers and I have a cunning technique which includes using some very light sea fishing tackle, a TF Gear all round quiver tip rod and a big pit bait runner. Last year in Sardinia I won my section catching weavers by using the fixed spool bait runner. Using just 3lb hook snoods, the bait runner prevented the weavers (up to 1lb) from breaking the snood line when they ran off. Trouble was over 3lb snood and you didn’t get a bite. It’s so often like coarse fishing in the clearer water overseas with the fish seeing the line. Going down to 0.10m for hook snoods is a challenge, the fishing brain says NO, but I have managed to avoid thinking about it and it has paid off. Bait in Sardinia is a variety of type of marine worms, which require a baiting needle to transfer on the small hook, these are available from most tackle shops throughout the Med, Portugal and Spain and well worth using if you are on holiday fishing.


Last month I mentioned how some of the Countries fishing in the World Club Championships fielded a national team and called it a club team. It seems from the British Isles perspective this is no longer the case and rightly so. Amongst the GB teams competing in the event are for Wales, the Skua SAC squad, which includes, World Champion Alan Price, Peter Corker, Shane Shane Russell, Alan Blythin and manager Gordon Thorns. For England the ISAC team from Hants includes; Steve Deathe, Rob Marshall, John Brown, Ian Dancey and Ally Harvey, The Dover Sea Angling Association team is Richard Yates, Saul Page, John Wells, Martyn Reid and myself. The Portuguese are going to be very difficult to beat, but let’s hope one of the Homes nations brings home a medal.

Magrini Sardinia Joe Arch centre is the only angler from the UK to win it

Travelling overseas by plane for events like the World Clubs etc rods are no longer a problem, you simply put them in a Ski tube. World Airlines accepts ski tubes as standard. They can weigh as much as 12kg and cost around £30/50, not exactly breaking the bank for such valuable fishing rods.

sea-rod-tube-alan-yates COMPETITIONS   local angler in my neck of the woods has introduced an interesting new competition format –The ten-lugworm challenge on Sunday 17th March is based at the Fountain Inn, Seabrook in Kent. It’s a go absolutely anywhere rover with competitors out to catch as many fish as they can in five hours using as many rods and hooks as they can, but with only ten lugworms as bait. If you are interested give Tim Raymond a ring on 01303 265680 E Mail

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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.