Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Alan has been out on the pier and caught this small plaice using ragworm plenty of bling on the hook snood.

Plaice caught using a blinged up rig

This month can be slow for shore anglers in some regions with the sultry, balmy weather and clear water keeping the fish well away from the shore in daylight. But in darkness and in regions of coloured water, like the major estuaries, things can be a lot different and it really is a case of a change of venue or tactics to continue catching.

One species that show at this time of year are the sole and lots of venues around the country offer the chance of this unusual flatfish. For most the sole is considered nocturnal, but the facts are that on clear water venues they do mostly feed at night, especially near dawn, whilst in muddy water they are more common in daylight.

Tactics are simply enough once you have found a venue and its worth pointing out that sole do not show everywhere and sole venues are precise in many regions – Just a matter of miles from a shoreline that produces sole will be a venue that does not. So first look for a venue that produces sole regularly, the species seems to like shell grit and muddy sea beds and catching them once on the right venue is not that difficult. Fishing light with small size 2 or 4 hooks is essential, whilst baits include lugworm and ragworm. One top tactic is to fish short because the species are not shy of the shallows or the low tide gutter on many venues. Lots of anglers use two rods for this reason with one cast short and one cast further our which covers the options.

Talking about fishing light, there is a growing trend in sea angling to fish “Continental style” with lighter rods, thinner lines and small hooks. Much of it is to do with a reduction in the average size of fish and dwindling stocks as we fight to keep our sport interesting. However, it is also the case that anglers have realised that the fish do shy away from heavy gear and that lightening down can bring more bites and action. Check out YouTube where anglers have lowered Go Pro cameras alongside the pier wall and you can see clearly fish do shy away from heavy sea fishing gear etc. The biggest plus thought of going light is that small fish are allowed to fight, especially using micro braid lines and sea fishing is no longer hit and haul or playing cranes.

UK sea anglers have used over heavy tackle for years and that is much to do with manufacturers offering a limited range based around ancient designs and techniques. Swivels and hooks for instance, a few years back most would not look out of place on a crane, or for use with the largest fish species, but modern improvements in materials like carbon steel, design and construction have increased their strength and allowed a reduction of size down from the giant weed collecting swivels or hooks that could tow a bus! It’s similar with rods, reels and line, the distance casting revolution of recent years did much to improve rod and reel design, quality, strength and performance promoting lighter tackle which is more responsive to fishing enjoyment and sport. Check out the TF Gear range for the new TF Gear Force 8 Continental model or the Delta Slik Tip and the quiver tip favourite the Delta All rounder. All great for another option – fishing light!

The toughness and knot strength of monofilaments, copolymers and fluorocarbons is also particularly improved, so much so, that you can now go to a lighter breaking strain line with less risk of failure, whilst using the modern lower diameter micro braid lines is proving a practical advantage when fishing fine.

In general sea angling around the UK has had no need to go to the lengths of finesse that coarse anglers do. Sea fish are not always returned and so do not learn about line and hooks like their freshwater relatives, mullet and a few other clear water species being the only exceptions. Meanwhile the sea is often a hostile whirlpool of deep and chocolate brown water that hides tackle anyway.

The first problem fishing light tackle in the sea is dealing with the wind, tide and the rugged seabed, that’s the reason why tackle has always been tough and strong in the first place. You need to get a bait out to a decent distance, punch it through a headwind, so that its stays put in very strong tide. After that you sometimes need to retrieve it through a maze of kelp and rocks. Then there is the safety factor of casting that involves swinging the lead in power casting styles like the pendulum, the big distances they produce comes at a price with tackle beefed up for safety’s sake. But, the need to use an 80lb shock leaders may be more to do with an angler’s casting ego than practical thought about presentation. In terms of casting safety any move to fishing light can only involve the use of the fixed spool reel and an overhead casting style. This combination is far safer than the multiplier and pendulum cast.

A big plus for sea anglers that change to the fixed spool is that the modern reels are designed for long range casting, some with a carp fishing pedigree, are far superior to the models of the past. Long profiled /coned spools, stronger gears, ball bearings all make modern reels more efficient for sea angling and casting.

Crucial to the use of lighter tackle is the line diameter and lines as low as 6lb and up to 15lb are used with the lighter rods and fixed spool reels making this possible. The major problem when lightening down tackle is that terminal rigs must also be balanced to the rod action and line strength. It is pointless using a lighter rod with heavy line as it is using ultra thin lines with standard 8oz beach casting rod. However, a move to far lighter rigs involves thinner lines and a major problem with. multi hook rigs in very light line are prone to tangle easily. On the Continent really long snoods are commonly used and there the anglers say that the longer the snoods the less they tangle, although they must NOT be able to overlap.

The big advantages of increasing rod lengths to 15ft and above is that a longer rod allows the use of a longer rig length and this allows hook snoods to be placed farther apart so that they can be fished over a wide area as well as up in the water and do not overlap or tangle.

Longer lighter snoods also allow the hook bait to react naturally in tide and this is an important consideration when fishing either up or in clear water. The addition of floating or pop up beads also enhances bait presentation and allows baits to be raised to the levels the fish are.

Lots of shore anglers fishing light in summer use small hooks, which are essential to the more delicate bait presentation for some of the smaller species. However, there is every chance that you may hook a large smoothhound or a bass and so it’s a good idea to opt for the strongest patterns.

For many this and next month are last chance saloon for catching mackerel as the large shoals move south and it’s a case of making the most of the conditions whilst the fish are around, especially if you want to keep a few for the freezer for the winter whiting. On that note don’t forget the garfish – they are a very underrated tipping bait for lots of the autumn and winter species – bag them in the freezer as well.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

 

Mustad Sea Fishing Rucksack Review

Mustad Rucksack from Fishtec

Mustad Rucksack
RRP: £49.99

The popular Mustad rucksack has undergone a total facelift, making it one of the best in the sea fishing market.

First thing you notice is the absence of zips. They have been totally removed, so no more seized, saltwater-encrusted zips to worry about.

The whole item is saltwater-proof with a 35-litre main compartment, giving easily enough room to carry kit and spare clothing. Strong buckles as well as tough Velcro pocket fastenings keep everything secured. Carry-straps are extremely comfortable, and adjustable too so you get the best possible position to load the rucksack with your sea fishing gear.

As well as the new look, extra features include a reflective logo, quiver-grip that prevents a rod holdall sliding off your shoulder, emergency whistle and a hi-viz rain cover tucked into the base.

This is a well thought out, brilliantly designed rucksack that is fantastic for all sea angling applications.

Sea Angler Score Sheet:

Value for money: Brand new design without a price increase.

Practicality: It is very practical with lots of brilliant features.

Would we but it? Absolutely yes.

Sea Angler issue 498.

Mustad Rucksack Cover“Clever hi-viz rain cover is tucked into the base for added protection.”

Banshee Tri-tip boat rod tames Irish Blue Sharks

Kevin Murphy of the Bellavista Hotel in Cobh and Jim Clohessy report on some excellent shark fishing at the moment…

It is not just the Dutch and German customers that are keen to tackle our blue sharks. Last weekend we had a party of Dublin based anglers that arrived to have some general fishing and also a day on the sharks, all done from our self-drive fleet. They were lucky with the conditions and although they did not travel to our normal area they still managed a respectable tally of decent sharks.

There is no doubt that we have had a superb year of shark fishing. Customers from all over Europe as well as all around the country have sampled the excellent Blue shark fishing off Cork this year, using some of the best sea fishing gear from UK suppliers.  The question remains though how long will the blues hang around for. We think we will be fishing for them well into November.

Stunning Blue Shark

Stunning Blue Shark

Normally the problem with fishing so late was the hassle of catching enough mackerel for rubby dubby. This is no problem for Bellavista customers – Kevin has a ready supply of frozen rubby dubby available. The frozen dubby takes the pain out of shark fishing and the results from using “Murphy’s Mush” are superb. Many customers are experiencing double figure numbers on their shark safari.

You can take advantage of the weather windows and get some shark fishing before the winter closes in – Contact: Kevin Murphy 086-6029168, www.bellavistahotel.ie

Blue Shark Des

An October Shark For Des

Report from http://fishinginireland.info/news/sea-reports

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Mar 11

My day in the boat out of Brighton aboard Paul Dyer’s charter boat, Brighton Diver was to complete the TF Gear DVD with Myself – it’s out soon and shows a typical winter wrecking trip. A window in the weather day when the sea allowed us offshore between gales. I won’t spoil things by telling you how we got on, but fishing in the Mid English Channel shipping lanes between the super freighters that resemble a block of flats in a rolling sea is not boring.

Back home I have had a few duff trips on the beach as the winter season grinds to a halt although as I write some small codling are showing from my local Kent venues and they will spice things up. Mostly undersized fish, they are around 30cm with the odd 2lb to 4lber along with more dogfish and some bigger whiting, things are looking up.  Also some good news for ray fans is that the thornback rays in particular are making their way towards the coast and in Kent the species is comparatively new from the shore with a run of thornbacks underway. Hot spots include the under cliff marks at Eastchurch Gap on the Isle of Sheppey, beware of the muddy cliffs there, Leysdown is also worth a try along with Sandwich Bay which is an easier access beach venue and the piers at Dover. The Admiralty has produced several rays. Top bait for them is large frozen sandeel and Bluey, a combination of both helps keep the dogfish off.

Last week I took a trip to Kelling in Norfolk for a feature with Sea Angler magazine and had a proper Spring codling plus big pout, school bass, dabs. Altogether I landed seven species using two rods freelance style. I fished one at range with a clipped down Loop rig and one close with booms. It reminded me how two rod fishing makes life so much easier than match fishing when with one rod you have to fish trial and error to find the range of the fish!

Back home I won my latest club evening event with fours dogfish, four whiting a dab and a rockling at Sandgate beach. II fished at range with the Loop rig baiting with black lugworm and sandeel. The latter definitely has the edge at present and helps to keep the smaller whiting off. Mind you make sure you use the largest sandeels you can get hold of, either red pack Ammos of the bigger Bait box variety.

MATCH AND TACKLE NEWS

Hey, I have been selected to fish for England – Well sort of. I am in the team to fish the World Club Championships in Belgium in May representing Dover Sea Angling Association and England. Team members include, my son Richard Yates, Saul Page of Deal, Nathan Elliott of Dover, Martyn Reid of Folkestone and myself. Not a bad squad even though I do say so myself, NO I am not coming out of retirement to fish internationals again, although I do have a match in Sardinia in May with Chris Clark. Hummmmm?

I am just testing the latest TF Gear beachcaster fishing rod – It’s a super sensitive three piece match rod with three quiver style put in tips. It should be available later in the spring and will please lots of match angler because of the unbelievable price. It’s half the price of its competitors and a better rod, I know because I helped design them both! I have got to say that some of the tackle coming into the TF gear range is super value, I don’t know how they do it!

I got my hands on a new TF Gear tackle box last week and the first job was to fit a Breakaway carry frame and seat back rest. That completed I now have a comfy tackle box to sit on because it comes with a handy padded seat. A tip if you use a tackle box, apart from the carry frame, get hold of a couple of the clip on side trays supplied as extras on most of the tackle boxes. They are great for bait and odd tackle, especially when you are fishing from wet sand.

Oh how I wish someone would make a red seat box, black is so boring!

AROUND THE SCENE

Deal pier front is still closed which is a shame with the thornback season underway – damaged in the winter storms the local Dover council have put the repairs out to tender and work is expected to start soon. The stem of the pier is open for angling. For Deal pier enquiries give Steve Allmark of Channel Angling on the pier a ring on 01304 373104.

Competitions coming up over the coming weeks include many popular annual events but there is a new two day competition that might interest many. It’s the

Morecambe Open being fished on the 26th and 27th March. Fishing is from 9am until 1pm on the Saturday and from11am until 3pm on the Sunday. Entry is £40 for the two days. Here are a few weird rules such as no white ragworm and no pendulum casting but that’s the organiser’s choice. Book in from 7.30am at Gerry’s of Morecambe. 07872 942820 or 07855 020407.

A regular annual event in the south is the Allan’s Marine Open on the 10th April at Stokes Bay and Lee on the Solent. Main organiser for years was Allan Watson of Allan’s Marine who sadly died last year – His staff, customers and friends have continued the event in his memory. Fishing is from 12 noon until 5pm with a limit of 160 pegs. Entry is £15 with optional pools. There is 100% payout. The match is fished to SAMF rules and fished measure and return. Details from Allan’s Marine, 143 Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw, Portsmouth. Match HQ Gosport and District Angling Club Stokes Bay, booking in from 10am. Tel. 02392 671833.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 11

I failed miserably in my latest competition, the Fountain Open fished at Seabrook and Hythe despite looking for a good performance in light of my recent good form. But the draw bag gods did not smile on me and I drew a low number at Battery Point, Seabrook with a gale blowing. All my attempts to catch much were thwarted by the draw, but a bad snag in front of me and a novice angler downtide added to my problems. After the fourth reel leader and rig I gave in and took an early shower.

A Southerly gale made conditions as bad for my next event, the aptly named Anyfish Anywhere Open. I fished at Dengemarsh in front of the two Dungeness Power Stations. A pounding surf keeping almost all but rockling off the shoreline, although I did personally manage a small spring codling (undersize) which is the good news. The 50 competitors were left to scratch in the edge for rockling using the oldest, stickiest lugworm they could find and a bag of 20 slugs and a single dab for 2.020kg claimed the top prize for match organiser Lea Heaver of Folkestone who was pegged in the low numbers at the Point end of the Power Station road. Slug fishing is just about as winter as it gets and it was amusing watching some of the best Kent anglers and some mega casters stooping to such lowly, gutter fishing tactics. Mind you having said that, some sea angling impressive titles and lots of cash have gone to those catching slugs in the past, although for most its not sea angling as we know it! Second on the day was South Benfleet matchman, Ian Reynolds with 1.500kg and third, Sheerness angler, Colin Dobner who was pegged next to Lea Heaver and returned 1.10kg. The biggest fish was a 350gram flounder for Ashford angler, Bob Amiss. A word on the shingle bank that stretches behind the power stations – scaling it is akin to mountaineering so if you fish the region take care, especially during the bigger spring tides.

Match and Tackle News

Breakaway tackle have introduced a new style impact lead with improved grip. It has a plastic nose cone and instead of beads to hold the wire in groves in the lead the wires now fit snugly in the plastic nose cone. All good news for those that fish clear ground, BUT the new style is now like the Gemini breakout lead in that the wires trap line and cannot escape line snags. The old style bead and wire did offer a chance of escape from a line snag. However, there is a solution and that’s to use a Breakaway fixed soft wire Impact lead and bend the wires in a slow sweeping curve, they slip off line snags.

Around the Scene

A near record busting day for Dave Lawrence, the skipper of Deal, Kent boat, Gary Anne on Saturday, when Justin McGregor of Challock near Ashford in Kent broke the British Record for spurdog with a fish of 24lb 5oz. The heavyweight fish which was full of young was weighed, photographed and returned immediately and therefore cannot be considered for the British boat record which stands to a fish of 21lb 3oz caught off Porthleven in Cornwall in 1977. The monster spurdog came during a hectic session fishing in Trinity Bay when a dozen thornback ray fell to fresh herring baits and adds weight to calls by boat anglers for a catch and release record list. Currently fish will only be considered for British Records after having been killed and weighed onshore.   Big spurdog have turned up on the Goodwin Sands during February and March for many years, less so in recent times because they are said to be the tastiest of the dogfish and this has led to a decline in numbers, but this proves that they are still around. The species is so named because although it looks just like a small shark it has sharp spur bones at the leading edges of its dorsal fins and these make the species one of the most dangerous UK species to handle. Spurdog can also bite through mono line and are usually fished for with a wire trace.

Record busting spurdog from Deal

I am just about to leave for a boat trip out of Brighton aboard Paul Dyer’s, Brighton Diver and also I have been selected for my local club Dover SAA for the World Club Team champs being fished in Belgium in May. More about both next week.


Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Jan 11

Just back from a hard week’s fishing in Ireland. The Irish Winter Beach Championships, fished in the Wexford region, was a grueller with easterly winds, clear water and extremely low temperatures keeping the fish away from the beaches at Morriscastle and Cloynes. The event winner was Dave Roe of Dublin who was a recent National champion and he scored three section wins to take the title by a clear margin. A shame for me, because I was on a hat trick having won the event for the last two years. Perhaps my luck ran out because I was drawn in middle zone B on all three days, which takes some doing. I did though end up seventh. Second place overall went to my team mate Chris Clark of Lymington who won the first two days, but suffered a wrong end of zone draw on the last day. In third spot was Joe Byrne of Courtown angling and he and Dave Roe obviously won the pairs and the team of four. The fishing in general was for flounders and they proved both small and elusive with plenty of undersized fish to frustrate competitors.

Back home, the easterly winds are having the same effect on the Kent coast with small fish, although the irony is there are lots of them which is a pain in a size limit match. A return to south west wind is badly needed to at least get the dogfish back inshore. On the plus side, the daylight is extending and the first thornback ray came off the Goodwin Sands to boat angler Mark Weller, who is a detective inspector with Folkestone police. It weighed in at 8lb and was nabbed aboard Dover charter boat, Reecer. Look out for the first rays from the shore in the coming weeks, the Kent shore hotspots are Sandwich Bay and the Eastchurch Gap on the Isle of Sheppey.

Match and Tackle News

The winter match season drags to its conclusion this month with most of the clubs looking forward to their spring events with a change of venues, tactics and species. Instead of the long range clip downs its flapper rigs cast in the gutter with mud ragworm, crab etc taking over from black lugworm and squid. Some clubs have adopted measure and return and that’s the case with the Gravesend Charity Spring open which is being fished in the Thames along the Gravesend foreshore on Sunday the 17th of April. Fishing is from 10.30am until 2.30pm and the draw for places is at 8.30am. Weigh in at the Ship and Lobster, Denton Wharf. Entry Fee is £10. More details from Graham East 01474 355440.

Other events coining up that are worth a look include the new Milton Open on the 5th March being fished at Avon beach through to Highcliffe Fishing is 7pm till 12.00am and the event carries a top prize of £250. Book in Sunken car park, Avon beach, Island View Road, Christchurch. Information from Los 07759829226 or Darren 07729800597.

I have just got my hands on a full set of the new TF Gear Force 8 Multiplier Reels – The 65CTMs are a work of art, open frame, full magnetic brakes which are really impressed with, a ratchet and a star drag that doesn’t jam up when you need it ion a hurry – cant wait to test them on the smoothhounds in a few months time!

I am fussy about the hooks I use and lots of the brands available are not as sharp as others – There is a great test for a chemically sharpened point and that to run in slowly over your thumbnail, the sharpest patterns will actually stick in your nail, the “blunties” will run over it – Try it and feel the difference.

Around the Scene

Where did you finish in the Penn League Rankings? Next months Sea Angler magazine contains the UK and Ireland rankings for match anglers, it’s a real eye opener to where all the competition fishing action is and reveals that some areas of the UK and Ireland are match fishing mad. So who are the top match fishing anglers in the National league? Well the leaders for the 2010 title include ex-World champion Joe Arch from Cardiff and new boy on the block, Daz Newland from the Isle of Wight.

Finally, I just had to laugh about the flak that messrs Gray and Keys received from their fellow journalists over the off side rule controversy. I cannot seriously accept that what they said was that bad, was it really a hanging offence? Maybe because I am of a generation, the one that thinks it invented such banter and an angler who can give it out as well as take it, I think the world has gone PC mad. I also think that football referees don’t understand the offside law either, and that Gray and Keys, like most men (and according to most women), keep their brains in their shorts!

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!

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Dec 10

I have been making a few terminal rigs for my forthcoming Irish match trip to fish the Winter Beach Festival at Wexford. Wire booms are always my favourite at this time of year. I like to fit a tiny swivel to the end of the boom by opening up the wire eye of the boom and fitting a swivel. A small length of silicone tubing keeps it in place. This allows me to use the lighter, thinner flouro carbon hook lengths and small hooks for flatties etc. I wrap the wire boom rigs around a rig winder, but you need a larger size (10cm diameter).

I enjoyed a hastily thrown together competition between Folkestone SAA and a group of anglers from Hampshire. They included my old mate Clive Richards with whom I helped to form SAMF back in 1980 and his local tackle shop dealer Chris Fox of Grayshott Tackle. It was a dab fest with the Folkestone ten man squad landing 25kg of dabs from Folkestone pier, Hampshire managed 17.270kg with Clive Richards their top man on 3.30kg. Folkestone’s best was Mick Tapsell on 5.710kg.

Competitors fishing the Hants versus Folkestone competition on Folkestone pier. Folk captain John Wells with the team cup.

I fished a series of events over the holiday and included a couple of top three finishes including a third in an open at Hythe Ranges. The winner, my mate Mick Tapsell from Folkestone, hooked 17 dabs for 2.030kg and with dabs all that are about inshore from the Kent shore at present he has made a killing winning three open matches on the trot. His secret, slightly stale black lugworm tipped with a little known dab bait – piddock clam.
Over the Christmas holiday I got my hands on a famous tackle companies new catalogue – Are they having a laugh – Beach casters over £400 reels nearly as much don’t they know there is a recession on?

Fishing News and Competition Reports
The sea angling match season flounders as we start the New Year, rockling as well. I have a few events to fish in Kent including the popular Fountain Open at Seabrook and Hythe on the 6th February. Like most of the other large events coming up it’s a Penn League and with another year just starting in the Sea Angler magazine Penn Sponsored National Championships we are all back to square one with zero points.

Other February events around the country include the Blackdown Sea Angling Club Open on the 19th February at Minehead to Blue Anchor. It’s not a venue renowned for lots of fish and so gives everyone a chance of success. The ideal competition for the beginner, or those who want to try competitions. The fishing is from 5.30pm until 9.30pm with the sign in at The Anchor Hotel, Blue Anchor. From 1.30pm. 1st Prize is £200, details form Alan Tel. 01823664085 or 07912018910.

For the experienced or keener match angler who want lots of fish then the Skua SAC 2 day Winter Open competition at Talacre on the 26th and 27th February is the perfect choice. Fishing is from 9am until 1pm Saturday and 9.30am until 1.30pm on the Sunday. The draw is from 6am. Pegs are limited, pre- book only and peeler crab is banned. Contact Pete Corker Tel 07711622015. Gordon Thornes Tel. 01244813003 for more details.

Around the Scene
It’s fishing chaps, but not as I remember it – the latest issue of the British Record Sea Fish list is proof if you needed it that UK sea angling is going to rack and ruin – we are clutching at straws with a list of rare species like amberjacks, Blue runners and miniscule mini species. The chances of breaking a record of a UK resident species are remote – will we ever see a plaice over 5lb again?

Nah, instead of giving us a list of silly records the Angling Trust ought to be out campaigning for a sea fishing rod licence and some funds to fight the commercial lobby who continue to empty the sea daily!

The British Record Fish Committee met at the Fishmongers Hall, London on 14th December 2010 and the following record claims were ratified by the committee:

Greater Amberjack of 1lb 7oz 1 drm (Seriola dumerili) caught from the boat by Mr Neil McDonnell Off West Coast of Lundyon the 29th September 2010

Marbled Electric Ray(Torpedo marmorata) 10lbs 14oz 11drms caught from the boat by Mr Gary Crane off the east coast of Sark (CI) on 15-Oct

Connemara sucker(Lepadogaster candollei) 10 grammes caught by master Jonathan Trevett from the Stone pier at Weymouth on the 12July 2009

Blue runner (Caranx hippos) 2lbs 8oz 12drms caught from the North Cornwall coast by Mr Nick Rogers on the 13th September 2007

One plus that did come from the BRFC meeting was that they are looking into forming a record list for catch and release having at last realised that its what anglers want. May I suggest that the record list switches to length and then that would completely solve the problem of weighing fish on a boat.

All the best for the New Year

Alan Yates

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.

FISHING NEWS AND COMPETITION REPORTS

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: warrendoyle@iol.ie Phone: +353(0)1-2828769  Mobile: +353(0)86-8069961 (evenings).

TACKLE REVIEWS

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.

AROUND THE SCENE

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.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Oct/Nov 10

A Sea Angler magazine trip to fish against the Sefton Sea Angling Club in the River Mersey saw the river back in form with lots of codling from the promenade stretch at Otterspool. Some were up to 40cm, but the smaller fish are the good news because they herald a recharge of this productive cod sanctuary for next year. Read how the match went and how I got on using one of the new TF Gear Delta Beachcasters in the next issue of Sea Angler magazine. Before I leave Liverpool, what a change since the scousers obtained City status – everywhere I went it was carpet mown lawns, spotlessly clean streets and buildings, no litter and the tweeist litter bins I have ever seen, I thought I was in the west end of London.

Busy, busy this month with an issue of the magazine to finish, plus lots of  consultant work, but I hope to get out fishing more with reports of bigger cod increasing from the boats fishing off Kent. One thing I did manage time for this week was a winter tackle box revamp – out when the feathered lures and floats, and in went the 7oz fixed wire grip leads, 30lb snood line, and I managed time to reload the reels with 15lb Nano Mist mono – never liked red line before but they tell me it is the first colour of the spectrum to vanish underwater.

FISHING NEWS AND COMPETITION REPORT
The World championships result from South Africa came as something of a shock, with all the home teams beaten by Ireland. Now in recent years Ireland has been the butt of many jokes in international sea angling circles with their antiquated team selection, but this year they came up trumps, sending a team of sea anglers whose laid back fishing skills paid off big time. Whilst the big guns of England and Wales, packed full of star names and ex world champions charged around catching single fish quickly, Ireland fished at a slower pace taking longer between casts and came out on top by catching two and three fish a chuck instead of one. A lesson for all anglers, that angling can never be taken for granted. Take a 10.3 second 100 metres sprinter – never beaten by anyone with a lesser time, but in fishing the aged can beat the young, the ladies the men and for those youthful England lads who struggled to comprehend the Irish victory, my consolations. BUT; because angling is what it is, when you are sixty plus years old you will be able to beat anyone, even Usane Bolt!  Congratulations to the Irish and individual World champion John O’Brien, and also to my son Richard who  – on his first cap – managed to finish top of the English team in ninth place overall.

Hard luck of the championships was Wallsend ace lady sea angler, Pauline Ferry, who landed a big fish only for the line to break as it was beached and, typical of those over zealous CIPS stewards and officials, her fish was disqualified doing her out of a medal. As a Spurs fan I know the feeling!

TACKLE REVIEWS
I got a fleeting glimpse of another new beach casting multiplier reels this week, it was a new model from Akios aimed at the tournament field which includes the option of a beach fishing conversion via a power handle. A one block aluminium frame frame allowed the reel to sit as low as possible on the rod seat for maximum thumb grip and casting control, the reel includes the same magnetic nobbly brake controls as on the TF Gear models.

AROUND THE SCENE
Have you noticed how cold the evenings are getting? Yes winter is looming, I mean real winter, with rain like stair rods and a wind chill that freezes nuts. In a few weeks the lesser winter anglers start to drift away from the beach and only the hardy remain to face the elements, as well as cope with an ever decreasing supply of lugworms. I get the hump when I hear sea anglers moaning about the price of bait or small lugworms – tell you what, YOU get out at dawn with a pump or fork and dig bait and you will soon realise just how difficult it is to dig enough to make a living. Expect a price hike in the coming weeks and be grateful if you get your hands on a few score!
For those of you that continue to fish, the rewards are often the best cod fishing of the year so wrap up warm in a quality waterproof, the new TF Gear Delta Marine two piece with the option of a smock top is now available. Its fleece lined and produced in a Teflon coated material which expels water like a ducks back!