Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary


Angling can be a fickle business – I fished at local club match on Folkestone pier recently and despite not drawing the hot end pegs I ended the winner with dogfish, whiting and pouting. Incidentally the whiting were 30cm, In July that’s unheard of and after being 25cm all winter they seem to have grown at last. Anyway my good fortune was followed the next night by a complete disaster and miscalculation on my part when I opted to fish at Folkestone Warren in a beach rover and blanked after four hours trying. All this points to August arriving and along the English Channel and lower North Sea Coast this can be a hard time for sea angling. The problem is lots of the species have travelled north well up into the North Sea. We in the lower UK have been bypassed. However, it’s not all doom and gloom because as the nights draw back the impending autumn will see those same species scurrying south and that’s when we get our chance. Especially through the Straits of Dover which funnels all those returning fish in to 21 miles of water, but make the most of the fishing because the purple patch in the English Channel only lasts for a few months.

This week the first few codling have been landed from the Kent shore with fish just over the legal minimum size limit of 35cm, let’s hope plenty are to come. Around the UK codling reports are also good and I predict it’s going to be a good winter for codling, but before November rather than after, so don’t leave it too late to get your beach casting gear out of mothballs!


With the school holidays coming up lots of the regions juniors will be in action and one of the most successful in the South East are the two junior Festivals staged by the Deal 1919 Angling Club. The dates are: Sunday 24th July and August 14th with the fishing on Deal pier from 11am until 3pm (entries taken from 10am on the pier). The fishing is from the pier stem is open to all juniors up to the age of 16 years of age and parents/guardians can accompany and assist with casting and baiting, etc. The only stipulation is that the contestant must reel in his/her own fish. The festival is catch, measure and release. Entry is £1, which includes free membership to the Deal Angling Club (1919) minnows; free fishing on the pier that day, free refreshments and a big, big prize list which includes fishing tackle ranging from reels, rods, tackle boxes, plus lots, lots more. Further details from Pat Heath Tel. 01304 361248.

Here are a few other open competitions around the UK that also cater for juniors being fished during August:

August 14: Blackdown Sea Angling Club Open. Bossington to Porlock.
Fishing 2pm until 7pm. 100% Payout. Sign in  from 12 noon at Bossington Beach  Entry £10 Juniors/OAP’s £5. Alan 01823664085 or 07912018910.

August 25 – 29: Guernsey Open Bass Festival. £10,000 value prize fund
Shore and Boat sections plus bonus prizes for best bass caught from a dingy, kayak, visitor, female and juniors. Registration at Boatworks+ St Peter Port from 5pm on 25th August.  Info at or email

August 27/28: Lough Foyle Sac Shore Angling Festival. Day One Roe Estuary Fishing 1pm until 6pm Day two Longfield Wall. Fishing 10am until 2pm.  Entry Fees: £30, Juniors: £15 plus optional pools. Pre book only. Ronan Mc Monagle 07872943023 or Philip Brown 07709627496


Coasters or a fixed reel seat? No contest in my opinion, those that cling to coasters as a means to fix their reels to their rods are living in the past. The latest rods come with an adjustable reel seat and that include the TF Gear range of Force 8 and Delta beachcasters. The big advantage of these reel seats is that they hold the reel securely. No chance of it coming adrift as it can with coasters. I have had that happen with a reel in one hand and a rod in the other, causing the loss of a fish! That was why I switched to a screw seat in the first place. Coasters are OK in fields, but for proper sea angling you need a proper reel seat!

Thanks to many of you who have e mailed me regarding the TF Gear DVD. I had some excellent responses and hope it has helped improve your results. We are making another film later into the autumn and with luck I shall have some cod fishing to show you. Incidentally if you missed the DVD you can get a copy from your nearest TF Gear dealer or contact TF Gear Tel 0871 911 7045

The Fox Conqueror was one of the rods I designed for Fox International with Chris Clark – It’s a match sea quiver tip widely used by match anglers in fact Penn Champion Steve Smith of Whitehaven used one to win the recent National Penn final. With Fox cutting back on their sea gear two new improved versions of this rod will soon be available in the TF Gear range. I have stiffened up the blank slightly and it will be available in 15ft and 16ft versions.

See you on the beach.

Alan Yates