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Sea Fishing – Alan Yates’ Monthly Diary


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It’s unusual to catch such a big bass on a lure, but it shows that the bigger fish are in close and targeting the tiddlers. It’s unusual to catch such a big bass on a lure, but it shows that the bigger fish are in close and targeting the tiddlers.

This month Alan is enjoying some extended sole fishing, livebaiting for bass, looking forward to cod and taking a look at some very large sharks.









I am not complaining, but summer does not seem to want to leave us and the autumn season may yet be delayed by that late early spring. At the time of writing this blog the whiting have not yet turned up in numbers and they are way behind other years. It’s inevitable that they will eventually show but in the meantime for a period on the Kent coast, and many other parts of the south and east, we have enjoyed our best sole season for years because there have been no whiting around to snaffle the baits!

Back to reality though because autumn will feature lots of small whiting and they are fast becoming a major threat to catches, particularly on the shore. The only good thing about them is that they are a target for the bass and some big bass will be taken in the weeks to come as the biggest specimens move inshore in search of the shoals and on their southern migration.

A big bass was caught at Dover this week, 16lb on a lure from the Town Beach. It’s unusual to catch such a big bass on a lure, it was a popper, but it shows that the bigger fish are in close and targeting the tiddlers.

I prefer to fish at night with livebaits and the steep shingle beaches are a great choice because the bass patrol them very close in after the pout, whiting, pollack etc. Often the biggest challenge to catching a bass is catching the livebaits but the bonus is that a three hook rig baited with little bits of lugworm aimed at small pout etc can often snaffle a big sole!

Once you have your livebaits is just a matter of fishing them quietly in the margins. Use a small, compact, strong hook so that the hook does not drag down, or drown the livebait – Tronix Big Dogs are a tough pattern worth trying. Fish in the dark, flashing headlamps and heavy feet will scare the bass away, so sit in the dark and don’t move around. Most of the best catches come during relatively calm nights over the high tide when it’s around 10pm until midnight, although I am not keen on moonlight.

All minds will start to turn to cod from this month, it’s time most don the cod blinkers! The fact is that the majority of shore anglers really do not have a hope in hell of catching a cod and that’s mainly because they adopt an all or nothing approach to the species and fish the wrong venues.

Now codling are a different kettle of fish as it were and so my advice to most is to be realistic about your fishing and fish for what is around rather than what you would like to be around. Big hooks and giant baits are the enemy of most novices in autumn and winter, a good few experienced angler also fish much too big. The reality is that even without cod, only around 10% of all sea fish species are over 2lb so why do you need a 6/0?

Those apart, modern hooks are so sharp and strong a size 1 or 1/0 in a quality pattern will hold almost anything. I have landed a 40lb stingray that jumped out of the water on a Kamasan Aberdeen 1 and the only real reason to use a large hook is to suit a large bait. Two lugworms is not a large bait and a 1/0 is plenty big enough, especially if you use a Pennell Rig with two hooks!

The next major mistake for the would-be cod angler is continually re-casting the same bait – Never cast the same bait out again after it has lain on the sea bed gasping its last juices. Renew your bait every single cast and if you need to economise on bait use a strip of squid with your precious lugworm. Otherwise don’t scrimp on bait, make every single bait have 100 % attractive every cast!

Finally – why is that when anglers hit the beach they are so keen to get a bait in the water they rush to cast out at the first spot? Four hours later when it’s dark and the fish are more likely to be around they invariably sit around doing nothing or waiting for a miracle to happen.

So first consider were you are going to fish – It’s the case that more effort to get to a venue will result in more fish, that apart you will have more room and better odds of a catch being away from the crowds. Fish continually, pull in regularly, re-bait and cast and fish with the same enthusiasm you had first cast, every cast - including the last cast! Remember the fish often come past you, through your swim in a few minutes and if your line is out of the water being baited etc you will miss them!

Autumn Tips

Don’t take the float rig out of your tackle box because you think the mackerel may be gone as the prolonged seasons can often produce a shock – last year I caught garfish from my local pier in the last week in November!

Tying your lugworm on the hook with elastic baiting cotton can prevent the fish tugging it off – It works particularly well for whiting and dabs and extends a limited supply.

Although the weather is staying calm a gale is one the cards in the coming weeks and so add a few 6/8oz grip leads to your tackle box, better still a few 8oz fixed wires like the Gemini type for those stormy spring tide days when the tide is pulling hard.

Now is the time to prepare your terminal rig wallet – make all the rigs you need and make sure they have a clip at the top for an instant change. That way you can have a ready baited rig ready to swop over on the retrieve saving vital time.

Bait can be a problem as winter sets in and if you rely on a tackle dealer stay loyal to one and he will stay loyal to you. If you buy all your gear on the internet and then shop with the local tackle shop for bait, he will notice. Fortunately there are a growing number of mail order bait suppliers on the internet!

Detlef Geiling playing his big six gillBefore I go what about this for a big fish? Irish charter skipper, Luke Aston who fishes out of Carrigholt inside Loop Head in the Shannon Estuary, has made a reputation for catching rare, giant six gilled sharks. His latest catch by German angler, Detlef Geiling who is a regularly on Luke’s boat, ‘Clare Dragoon’ shows why. The fish measured 3.4 metres and was estimated at 770lb, and that makes recent makos and porbeagles look small fry.

Luke boated four big six gills last season and his biggest was a staggering 1000lb plus! This is the first one this year taken on his first trip over a mark that has produced fish over the last five years. Tackle used is 80lb class, although Luke uses a rubbing leader of 300lb mono and 200lb wire.

Fish in the past have destroyed lighter gear including stranded wire traces. Bait is a combination of mackerel and coalfish. One problem is that the fish are so big that they cannot be landed aboard the boat for photographs and are released after being snapped in the water alongside the boat.

They are released after being snapped in the water alongside the boat.

If you fancy a go you can contact Luke at Carrigaholt Sea Angling. Tel. 00353 87 6367544 or at www.fishandstay.com


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Sea Fishing, Alan Yates, Cod Fishing, Bass fishing, six gill sharks