Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary July

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING

A busy weekend for competitions at Samphire Hoe, Dover recently when the Home Nations team Championships took place. Samphire Hoe is a very snaggy venue despite which it has become one of the favourite venue for international competitions because it’s a long fair promenade stretch that produces fish in mid summer in the calmest, clearest water conditions. The reason for this is that the sea bed out from the sea wall is a mass of rocks and kelp, many also say all the redundant dumper lorries and trucks used to construct the Channel Tunnel, the Hoe is a venue made from the tunnels spoil after all!

I tagged along on the Friday of the Home Nations with the camera and saw a few pollack, dogfish, pout and wrasse come in with the England youngsters doing particularly well fishing alongside the wall. In the event both the England Junior and Youth teams won their competitions, whilst the England seniors tied for last place and Scotland took the senior honours.

Interesting fact about the event was that like all Internationals nowadays they are bait supplied. This takes away the enormous advantage that many top match match anglers who spend several days a week digging and collecting bait have. I was very against the idea when I fished internationally because I placed great faith and effort in bait collecting, although it was a case of if you don’t like it don’t fish internationally and so I had to bow to the rule. Nowadays having retired from the international arena I am not so anti bait supplied. I suppose over the years I have become brainwashed into thinking it’s a fairer system, although in the back of my mind making an effort is always goes to by more important to me.

Bait supplied makes the fishing fairer, to an extent, when the bait supplied is good quality and the bait the fish are looking for, but being fobbed off with bad bait is the worst feeling in the World when you are fishing for your country – I remember when the World champs was fished at Dover being given common lugworm when my team mates and all other competitors all had yellowtails – It ruined my championships and was one of the reasons I packed in international fishing.

After the Home Nations had finished, I fished the European Federation event – It was also bait supplied, although a much lower key international event. More like a Saga International with all the old timers in attendance. Two days of fishing after the Home Nations had virtually cleaned out the venue proved hard and I struggled to catch because the venues fish are mostly localised and even fishing catch and release catching the fish totally ruined the fishing for the following days. Winner of the European was Reg Clough from Salisbury who amongst his haul included a specimen three bearded rockling. I took some pics of Reg’s rockling and in the excitement of it all he returned the fish without measuring it! Fortunately it had been pictured near a measure and he was awarded 45cm – I though it was nearer 50cm, lesson learned for Reg.

COMPETIONS AND EVENTS

Coming up is the start of the major competition season, yes after a dismal summer, autumn is not that far away although hopefully there will be some sunshine in between. Lots of events to fish in the months to come with the Festivals particularly favourite for their friendliness and camaraderie. Some to look out for include:

The Filey Brigg Angling Society Sea Fishing Festival starts on Saturday 1st of September. For details contact Miss Carolyn Cammish, 01723 518457. Web: www.fileybrigganglingsociety.co.uk

Also on the 2nd of September the Weymouth Festival takes place. Contact 07967 018225.

The Torbay Sea Angling Festival takes place from September 7th until the 16th and that has boat and shore events. For details contact: Paul Vaggers  01803 551005   Mobile: 07967 647955  Email: paulvaggers@btinternet.com

Web: www.torbayfishingfestival.co.uk

The Scarborough Festival starts on the 15th September with the Bob Yarker Trophy which is a rover, there are competitions all week and the event is sponsored by Sea Angler magazine. Details on 07557 683570 or 01751 475795

Finally, its not a festival, but the week long SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs is fished a at Dingle in Ireland from the 29th September. Places usually sell out early. www; irishpairs.co.uk Nick Haward 01502724222

TACKLE, ETC

It’s that time of year when sea anglers are starting to think about the autumn season to come. Its time for some sea fishing tackle maintenance, or an update of tackle ready for the cod and big bass season, or in the case of the competition angler, the larger autumn opens and festivals. Is your gear up to scratch, have you got the latest fishing tackle innovations and are you prepared?

A major job apart from some general maintenance of rods and sea fishing  reels is to renew the sea fishing line and shock leaders on all reels. Modern monofilament is tougher than in the past and will last on the reel for months, BUT the odd nick or damage could cost you a fish and so the new season is the time to renew line completely. On the beach nowadays I prefer to go for diameter nowadays rather than line breaking strain because its knock strength and durability that is so important from the beach. OK low diameter line casts further and resists the tide less, but if it pops on the first barnacle that counts for nothing. So I tend to stick with Nantec 0.40mm (18lb) for general fishing with a 0.37mm to 0.80mm Aftershock tapered shock leader.

Terminal rig wise have you spotted that the TF Gear rig range includes rigs that use rubber stop snood fixings? These not only allow the user to adjust the snood position at will, but also if they get snagged the snood rubber can slip and spring the hook free, sometimes.

My most recent fishing session for Sea Angler Magazine saw me join Paul Fenech and Jason Davey in search of bass from a spectacular Sussex surf venue and was lucky enough to bag a 5lber. Read all about it in the next issue of Sea Angler Magazine.

One of the better size bass at 5lb 1oz for Alan Yates whilst filming a feature foir Sea Angler magazine

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

At last a heat wave, or at least some warmer weather and sunshine after the spring deluge, or was it a drought? Anyway, time to think about getting the bass lure gear out and having a wander around my local rocks. Unfortunately I do not live in one of the better regions for catching bass on a lure – Kent may have cleaned up its sewage outfall act and have claim to a host of Blue Flags, but its not the best coast to lure fish from in spring, especially because of the local estuary silt and May water. So many people forget the influence of the May Bloom on water clarity in spring and although its gets bad press as pollution it is a natural phenomenon that’s been around as long as I can remember. It’s caused by water leeching from the land containing fertilisers and natural nutrients which fuel the algae bloom or growth. Some years this is exaggerated even more by continued sunlight and some years are worse than others. Many of the “Blue Flag” beaches suffer really bad from it which makes something of a mockery of the Blue flag system because samples and results for testing depend on season, weather, tide etc and will vary enormously making the Blue flag one big raffle. However, for anglers and surfers or sailors the May rot, May bloom, May weed, in other parts of the world its described as the Red tide, is a pain because as the algae breaks down and rots it takes oxygen from the water and kills or suffocates all life in close proximity and it stinks! Anglers, keep an eye on your line for the tell tail globules and remember to wash your reel and line after fishing else you risk a divorce from the FPO (Fishing permission officer)

As for lure anglers it’s a good idea to avoid the May water and fish when its gone, the first few onshore stirs that coincide with the spring tides usually move it.

Currently bass lure fishing is booming although I will say that there is a certain amount of hype surrounding it as well as expert marketing. Do you really need a red rod that’s costs more than any other to fish for bass? Sorry folks but a dose of realism before you take up bass lure fishing is a wise move.

However, it’s the lures that are the most interesting aspect and we all know how addictive lures are! Look in my fly or bass lure box and I am as bad as the rest and a sucker for anything that glitters etc. The latest plastic bass lures and pin grip hooks fished on braid line is where bass fishing is at and I can’t wait for a clear bit of sea to chuck a plastic imitation. Mind you at the moment in my neck of the woods, bait still holds sway over the bass, but it’s all about a window in the weather and being ready to head for the rocks with the red rod and some of the latest TF Gear bass lures!

It’s a great sport, sea fishing. Just when you think nothing is doing all hell can break lose. Take England International George Smith. Tidying his gear on his last cast at the recent Kent Classic open fished at Herne Bay, George had caught just one small eel when with five minutes to go in the match his rod fell over. Something big had grabbed his giant peeler crab and Bluey bait aimed at a thornback ray. With the clutch giving line and the line heading around a nearby groyne, George could feel his line rubbing on the rocks ands groyne and thought all was lost. But the fish cleared the groyne and George worked the fish ashore. It was a 24lb stingray – not a big stinger by stinger standards,  but a rare catch and it made Georges day because he won the match by a street! Also worth a mention was that the Herne Bay Angling Association operate a catch and release policy with stingers – they count for 15lb and are returned alive – that’s why George won with just 15.5lb.

With the crabs peeling around the country, they have all but finished here in the South, the spring fish are moving inshore all around the UK coast. Apart from George Smith and his stingray, there are thornback rays, bass and smoothhounds rippling around the coasts. If they haven’t got to your beach yet then be patient because they are one the way. The only downside is that they are passing on their way north and the spring season is short, especially here in the south. Time to make hay whilst the sun shines as they say.

I have found the answer to the summer or holiday beach – A pair of TF Gear Flips. Boots and waders can be too much in warm weather and sometimes its great to wade commando with flips and short. They are also great on the rocks when you are wearing shorts, OK socks are not obligatory!

Available in sizes 6 to 12 they are on offer at £14.99. Check them out online or in the latest TF Gear catalogue: TF Gear Sea Fishing Unit 5 & 6, Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate, Brecon, Powys. LD3 8LA

Tel, 0871 911 7045

Web: www. tfgear.co.uk.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary April

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING

Just back from a ten day trip to fish the Gambian Beach Sea Fishing Championships, my tan looks out of place at home because while I was away most grew scales and gills. The pond in the back garden suggests it’s rained a bit, but the bonus of that is if I stock it with a few minnows I can use my garden hose.

Gambia was its usual temperature and with the sun directly overhead for most of the day, covering up is essential, it can be painful on lips, lobes and toes! As for the fishing that was brilliant and I wonder why I never went in April before? Bernard Westgarth from Darlington has a house near San Yang and he had organised the four-day championships with a lot of help from his other half, Barbara. They supplied, bait, ice, transport, water, weighing at your peg, altogether a very well organised event.

Because I won may have made me biased, but the fact is that only ten anglers fished and although in multi day match terms that equates to 40 anglers credence to my victory was helped by top anglers, Chris Stringer and Bernard competing. What you cannot take away from the event was the fishing and when I say I landed 18 fish on the last day in four hours using just one hook you can see it was hectic. Before I went I must admit I was sceptical about the points system and the one hook, BUT it worked a treat and very few blanks were recorded. April seems to have a lot more middle size fish than at other times of the year although the best fish in the match was a 5kg cassava. Freelance wise I landed several big cassavas, butterfish to 3kg and sting rays to 4kg and lost two really big fish. I shall be going back next year with the event set for the week after Easter.

Double figure Cassava from Radio Sid beach on a prawn

Contact Bernard Westgarth: bernardwestgarth@yahoo.co.uk. Or check out his web site: www.fishthegambia.com

COMPETITIONS, ETC

Back home my first outing with the bait pump reminded me that lugworms don’t like warm water when I pumped well over 100 worms only to find them dying after the car ride home. I still managed to salvage enough for my trip to the pier, but next time shall take a cool pack in the bait bucket.

My next outing, I have a lot of work to do first, is to fish the Magrini Championships in Sardinia. I am paired up with my good friend Chris Clark and look forward to his company and some Med style weever and bream snatching. I must admit to not being so competitive in the Magrini – I much prefer the Gambian style match with lots of bites and fish that pull. However, the Magrini is a really social competition and I look forward to seeing lots of old friends. Last year the match was won by Welsh International, Joe Arch and he is the man I would put my money on this year too.

TACKLE AND TIPS

Summer signals a big change in shore fishing tactics and in modern times has become, in my opinion, better than the winter, but you have to adapt and travel to find the fish. Those that move around the country in search of the rays, smoothhounds and bass do well, whilst if you sit on the same beach week in week out can expect only whiting. Currently word has it the Sandwich Bay in Kent is the ray hot spot in the South East, whilst for smoothhounds Pagham and Selsey in Hampshire are just starting to wake up and there are a few bream too. Other smoothhound hot spots around the country include South Wales venues like Aberthaw, Porthkerry, Marcross, Monknash, Newtown and Sker and on the Lincolnshire coast Chapel Point, Hutoft and Skegness are the venues to head for.  Everywhere peeler crab is the essential bait.

I used a couple of TF Gear S MAGS in Gambia and they stood up to a week of weed and stingray hauling with 0.38mm sea fishing line. I added the power handles, which are essential for any sort of fishing, rough or smooth ground, it just helps that bit extra. The smaller handles are OK for field casting and really clean ground, but add a power handle if you are doing any heavy fishing. I also used the new three piece All Round Delta 16 foot rod and that too performed well and considering its price is a real scoop for the company.

See the range of new tackle in the latest TF Gear 2012 catalogue available from your local tackle shop or contact us at: TF Gear Sea Fishing Unit 5 & 6, Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate, Brecon, Powys. LD3 8LA

Tel, 0871 911 7045

Web: www.tfgear.co.uk