Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Aug 11


I took a week out from sea fishing to visit the south of France for a carp fishing holiday. I found an ideal carp retreat last year in Martins Lakes near Montpon. A six berth site, swimming pool and a well stocked specimen lake means the wife is also happy and although my carping is not too serious I enjoy it. Unfortunately this year the weather let us down a bit with a monsoon on our arrival putting the carp down for the week with my best of 24lb beaten by step son, Andrews’s 35lb mirror.

Back home I was greeted with the tail end of Katia and whilst the south of England escaped the worst of the hurricane the stir did wonders for the local shore fishing. After a month or more of very poor results it was nice to see bass, dogfish and codling number on the up, even a few soles appeared in the local competition reports and these are the most reliable when it comes to the real weight of the fish around! I am now itching to get fishing once work is caught up on, although this coming month I go to Ireland with Sea Angler magazine for the annual Sea Safari and preparation for that is also taking up much of my time.

One thing the recent gale did do was remind me of the winter fishing to come – Rough conditions ruin many a novices attempt at sea angling at this time of year if only because it forces them to fish a less productive, but calmer shoreline. If you can handle an onshore wind and are willing to face some discomfort I promise you better results, but many don’t even get out of the car!


Several large competitions in my region coming up include the TF Gear sponsored Kent Classic being fished on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent on the 13th November 2011. This event is nearly always a sell out of its 400 pegs so don’t lave it too late to booking. Fishing 11am until 4pm.400 pre-book only pegs. Booking in from 7am at Sheerness East working Men’s Club. Trevor 01795 877127 or

Ray 07930390761 or Entry forms can also be downloaded from the website

Another popular southern competition that is also likely to sell out of places well before the date is the British Sea Angling Championships. Fished from Deal and Walmer beaches it’s on Sunday 16th October. Fishing 11am until4pm and the top prizes include £1000 for the heaviest bag and £1000 for the biggest fish. Details etc. Pat 01304 361248

The SAMF Masters championships on the 11/12th of November are a competition I started in 1989 when I was secretary of the organisation. This year it’s an Open although you have to join SAMF to fish. It’s being fished in Suffolk from OrfordIsland and the Dirty Wall. Entry fees are: £40 non qualifiers, £20 qualifiers. Competitors have to become members of SAMF. Optional pools of £20 on the day. 100% payout on day prizes and overall prizes. Contact Andy Steele on 01772 611597 or John Amery on 01995 61211.

My last event is the three day Dover Pier Festival on the 29/30/31st of October fished on Dover Breakwater. I have a special interest in this one because I organise it. Its pre book only. 01303 250017 or 01304 204722.


I did a demo of a rig with bait clips on Sky’s Tight Lines programme a few weeks back and it has caused lots of interest from anglers. It concerned tension springs.  A lot more anglers are now realising just how handy this small accessory really is for keeping the bait clips under tension when casting. Not only do they help off the ground casters, but they keep the baits clipped down when the wind is buffeting hooks off clips without springs. Try them out and a tip, cut one in half and you can use it on two hook snoods.

Worth repeating is that Breakaway Imps are the perfect add on bait clips for those that want to use their own moulded lead. Lots of anglers now use the popular Breakaway impact lead with its built in bait clip but the Imp is the complete answer because it makes any lead and “Impact” lead!

The price of carbon worldwide is rising fast and the word is that it’s going to put 15% or rod prices in the not too distant future – So don’t leave buying that new fishing rod too long. Fishtec is the UK’s largest mail order fishing tackle retailer. Check out my TF Gear 14ft Delta Nan-Tec beachcaster on Tel. 0871 911 7001

Finally: The best advice I can give sea fisherman at the start of autumn is to make a point of picking the best tides to fish. All over the UK it’s the spring tides that produce the most fish – As a newspaper reporter for local papers I know that the fortnightly spring tides produce the best catches from boat and shore. So get your hands on a tide table for your region and mark down those spring tides and fish them!

See you on the beach.

Alan Yates

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Dec/Jan 11

Scratching for bites is the quick answer – After one of the direst cod seasons on record and record low temperatures, most shoreline are devoid of fins. A few rockling, and thankfully some dabs and flounders, are keeping the shore anglers occupied, although its mostly the match anglers who bother at this time of year. My latest match was the 120 peg Folkestone angling Open fished at Seabrook and Hythe in Kent and organised by ex international Peter Owen. I finished a creditable second behind Nick May of Eastbourne, and in front of Martyn Reid of Folkestone, with 25 dabs for 3.025kg. The best bit was beating young whippersnapper Nathan Elliott from Dover. Nathan is the current Penn League champion and a great scalp for an old codger like me. Needless to say, the Yates house hold has been feasting on dabs fillets this week, although I was shocked at the match weigh in to see how many anglers did not take their dabs home and left them at the weigh in.

Fortunately the wind direction has changed dramatically, back to a warmer, wetter south West, and that will have an effect on the fishing. Maybe it will return the cod and whiting inshore if it hangs around, although I hear through the grapevine that the cod have returned up the North Sea Coast, with Hornsea/ Bridlington region producing fish to 12lb. Fingers crossed we get a run of fish in the South and no more snow, because I am just about to restart a new club match series with my local clubs.

Match and Tackle News

I went out with a group of sea angling casting novices at Herne Bay recently. It was for a feature for Sea Angler magazine and will appear in a couple of issues time. But one thing struck me as I watched the instructor take them through their paces. All were hugely outgunned by their choice of rod. Why is it anglers want such stiff rods? I have compared a beachcaster rod to a bow and arrow before, but it’s worth repeating. An over stiff bow that the string is difficult to pull back will shoot the arrow nowhere, whilst a sloppy bow will lack distance. Get a bow you can just about bend and it will give you maximum distance. It’s the same with beachcasters, you want a rod you can bend – not a rod you cannot bend, or a sea fishing rod that bends too much, but a rod you can just about fully compress when you turn on maximum power. No two anglers are the same in terms of strength and most would benefit from advice from an instructor as to the best rod, but initially advice is to forget about macho man or macho rods unless you are fully skilled up caster.

Here’s a great tip for this time of year for club and open match anglers and its about casting. On lots of venues the hot spot for fish is the low tide mark at the bottom of the beach, etc. It’s the place the low tide waves gouge a gulley or ridge, and it’s the place fish food collects. On some venues it’s as close as 40 yards, on others closer or further, but it’s the place to target when the fishing is slow because the dabs, flounders and others will be looking for food in the gutter. So don’t over cast, rein in your distance and try a plop; you may be surprised at the result.

Around the Scene

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal’s Fish Fight has drawn some interest and support from UK sea anglers, because of the prospect of some better fishing as a result of a ban on discarded fish; BUT, he allowed the commercial fishermen to tell the public, amd I quote: “The North Sea is full of cod we are not allowed to catch.” What planet do these commercial fishermen come from? They must know that the average size of all of the commercial species has fallen dramatically in recent years and that cod really are facing extinction. I have fished with rod and line around the British Isles for nearly sixty years and have witnessed the decline. The commercial fishermen and bad fishing laws have gradually degraded fish stocks and they are at an all time low – The scientists are right and the commercial fishermen are blinkered by their greed. They have moved from species to species leaving nothing in their wake and it’s about time the British public realised the problem is the FISHERMEN. UK farmers would never leave the land in such a state.

I call for a one off quota ban, minimum size limits for all species not just the commercial ones, commercial and angling limit bans on precious fish species like bass, smoothhound, tope and cod, and a ban on any kind of commercial or private netting within one mile of the shoreline (two miles if we can get it). I also note the rest of the TV Chefs have joined Hugh’s Band Wagon and the whole thing smacks more of a publicity stunt than true concern about the plight of UK fish stocks!