Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Early May

An unsuccessful trip with the Dover Sea Angling Association Team to fish the World Club Championships at Grandola in Portugal set me back on my heels a tad. Its not often I fish a match and do so badly – in fact despite a section win for two team members all five of the team suffered at least one bad day and over the four day match we only managed to finish 14th. Now considering there were 18 teams that’s pretty horrendous and I offer no excuses except to say that maybe we concentrated on casting distance too much and used too heavy hook snood line. Winners were Spain who fished for garfish in the edge and that proved the most consistent method, although more spectacular was the results of long casting in terms of individual anglers and catches of mullet, mackerel and trigger fish.

The good thing is that the team learned a lot and expressed the thought that they should have done what Wales did, they finished fifth, and practised for the week previous to the Championships. Best performance of the event in my opinion was from Belgium who took the bronze medal behind Portugal’s silver. Belgium fish fairly light and small at home, but they did adapt to the finesse required fishing the Portuguese Atlantic beaches. Eye opening is just how fine in terms of line you can go when using a fixed spool and continental style beachcaster, I coarse fish a lot and am used to carping with light lines, but I used 0.20mm mainline and 0.18mm snood line and others went finer than that. For me it was a glimpse into the future of UK beachcasting and already at home we can see the beginning of the fishing light revolution in LRF and fishing Continental beach style. OK the main drive towards fishing with light line, small hooks and soft rods in the UK is the decline of the fish stocks, BUT it allows anglers to enjoy the sport and the small species the commercials have left us! In Portugal catching mackerel on light fishing gear is a skill and it should be the same here with the species given more regard. Forget the feathering hoards and mackerel madness, one mackerel at a time at long range on pop ups and size 6 hooks on 0.14mm line is a terrific way to match fish and I can’t wait for someone, or an innovative club to run a mackerel, bait only with no jigging match, from a UK beach in summer.

Talking about line diameter- the only way to be sure about a line is by measuring its diameter – My measurements reveal that lots of the so called stronger lines are simply thicker!!

Now I am off to Sardinia for the Magrina Championships, which is a major Italian event. The same light line tactics apply and I am trained up so to speak and expect to do better. But match fishing is a continuous learning curve even for an old hand like me and its full of shocking surprises, especially for those that think they know it all!

At last some smoothhound and bass showing in my region, the crabs are peeling and perhaps now we can get back to thoughts of summer – The lure rod is in the car for those opportunistic night tides when the sea is calm, single mackerel on a spinner or plug are fun, but a schoolie bass is better! I have a few rock marks I can creep around when the conditions are still and clear and the light is low enough just to see. Its grab the TF Gear bum bag and hit that short “deadly” window at dawn or dusk that is most likely to produce a take!



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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.