Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

TF Gear Alan Yates Diary                                              November 2011-11-02


My latest competition was the Dover Sea Angling Associations three day pier festival and as main organiser it’s always a struggle to balance the fishing with the organising. However this year thanks to a few mates pitching in, I even managed to finish in the top three – At last some Penn points!

The event which involves fishing the stone breakwater in the middle of Dover Harbour and that involves a boat to get to it was yet again weather affected with competitors only reaching the Southern breakwater wall on the Sunday. On the other two days they were forced to fish the Prince of  Wales pier inside the harbour where they competed with the local seals for the resident fish. “Finchy” the biggest of the animals was named after a competitor who was said to have a family resemblance to the seal, or so his Brighton mates reckon. Anyway, day one saw herrings and mackerel as the target, the Delta triple tip came in handy* and even more pleasing for me was that my son, Richard held up the family name by winning the day with 38 herrings, plus the one mackerel for 5.090kg. He used a fish based ground bait, continental light wire booms 0.200 snood line and size 10 hooks baited with a single maddie.

On day two the wind dropped enough to allow the boat to the breakwater wall although a couple of rogue waves did their best to wreck the day of several of the anglers with Whitstable’s, Alan Underdown losing his bait and fish buckets to the sea, he will never live that down. The best catch that day went to Ray Jeffrey of Sheerness with a bag of dogfish and whiting from knuckle peg 6 for 5.110kg.

On day three a southerly wind threatened to swamp the wall because of the large spring tide, so it was back to the Prince of Wales pier and the end peg (3) there dominated the catches with Sam Sampson of Brighton landing 56 small pouting caught alongside the wall for 4.50kg.

All this added up to another festival win for Folkestone’s Martyn Reid who had finished second on day two and been amongst the herrings on day one and despite only one fish on day three he hung on to take the main trophy and £500 prize with 8.680 kg. Runner up overall was Richard Yates with 8.080kg and third was myself with 7.890kg.

Other major prize winners included Mick Chapman of Herne Bay who landed the biggest fish of the festival, a 1.890kg smoothhound worth £200. The best flatfish was a shock turbot of 1.030kg for Lowestoft angler, Kerville Chilvers also worth £200. Most fish went to Sam Sampson of Brightonwith 67 and the most species to Deal angler, Saul Page with 7. Other aggregate weight winners included: Saul Page (4th); Sam Sampson (5th); Nathan Elliott, Dover (6th) Ray Jeffrey (7th); Mick Chapman (8th); Ben Arnold, Brighton (9th) and Joe Croxon of Dover (10th). The drawn team of four winners were: Mick Tapsell, Martyn Reid, Mick Wall, Great Yarmouth and Ray Jeffrey with 18.980Kg. Drawn pairs winners were Martyn Reid and Alan Yates with 16.570kg.

Bearing in mind its November the Dover competition showed how mild the weather has been in the south with lots of mackerel showing. The high water temperature, clear water and the unseasonal wind have all but halted the cod season at this end of the Channel, the festival produced just one tiny codling. Fingers crossed for a gale and stair rod rain soon!

Well I had to didn’t I – I went on to Facebook BUT in case any of you are wondering why I only talk about cricket it’s because I spend most of my day on my computer including lots of E Mails and Facebook is too much like work – So it’s a once a week visit to talk about cricket. Incidentally I have very few friends or family that like, or understand cricket that’s why!!!!


With the competition season underway it’s a busy time for events and the Sea Angler magazine ranking points (Penn League) are going berserk. Men to watch include Lymington’s Andy Dawkins who seems to be fishing for everything everywhere – some said he has a £50 grand annual sponsorship? Anyway he is scoring big around the country. My money is also on Dave Roe of Dublin as well as Martyn Reid of Folkestone. Then there are Joe Arch of Cardiff, Neville Charlesworth of Withernsea, Robert Tuck of Clacton and Saul Page of Deal.

Coming up soon is the Sheerness Steel open at Sheppey, Kent. It’s a TF Gear sponsored event and I will be there to take part. It’s usually a very hard match if the weather is calm. But if the wind blows and the whiting turn up it will be a proper competition and not a flounder raffle.

TF Gear Kent Classic. Sheerness Steel SAC. Isle of Sheppey. 13th November. Fishing 11am until 4pm.400 pre-book only pegs. Booking in from 7am at Sheerness East working Men’s Club. Tel. Trevor 01795-877127 or


*I mentioned the new Delta Continental quiver tip rod earlier and it will soon be available as well as a new 16 footer for the low multiplier plus the new SMAG reel which I must say I am impressed with – If you need a look give me a shout if you see me fishing.

Also the next issue of Sea Angler magazine includes a free copy of the new TF Gear DVD made in South Wales it includes reviews of the additions to the TF Gear sea angling fishing tackle range – check out the size of those cod, also whilst making the DVD I landed a surprise bass which caused me to swear on camera, not a bad word, but I am easily excited by fish!!


Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary


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 inMartinsLakesnear Montpon. A six berth gite, 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 Katrina and whilst the south ofEnglandescaped 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 toIrelandwith 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 inSuffolk fromOrfordIsland 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


A couple of coarse fishing sessions cheered me up somewhat after several sea fishing trips ended in blanks. It is not easy in the salt at present with the calm, clear water and the changeable air pressure especially to blame for the poor daylight fishing along the shore. Even a feathering session proved fruitless until the last light started to fade and a shoal of joeys passed by in a few minutes. I didn’t catch enough for the freezer, but will be out again on another calm night. A tip if you are catching mackerel for the bait freezer – Don’t cram them together or leave them in the sun. Get them filleted and frozen A.S.A.P. because heat can quickly soften the flesh. If you get a chance freeze down a few garfish because their flesh is tougher than mackerel and just as good as an autumn worm tipping bait for whiting, dabs, etc.

Fish is a great bait for the whiting soon to arrive, but as many cod anglers will know it is not so good for codling who tend to ignore fish baits. Squid is then the best tip bait for lugworm because it catches codling and whiting, the best of both worlds!

The good news on the fishing is that autumn is just a few weeks away, I cannot wait.


Doverbased charter boat, Reecer fishing a mark over theGoodwin SandsinKentproduced 20 blonde rays during a hectic charter trip for the members of the South East Kent Police Sports Club. The best fish of 20lb was landed by retired Police Superintendent, John Grace from Folkestone. Blonde ray are a comparatively recent addition to the English Channel fish population and have been increasing in numbers and size in recent years. It is said because of global warming, but in my opinion its because they are not heavily fished for by the commercial fleets and are expanding because of the room and food left by the demise of the other prime species. It’s the same inshore, take away the plaice, cod, etc and the dogfish, thorn backs, smooth hound and whiting take over! Blonde rays can grow 40lb plus and prove a large fish to land with four bigger fish lost during the days fishing aboard Reecer, bait was fresh mackerel. After photographs all were returned alive. There is great potential for a British record of the species throughout the English Channel this month.

Amongst the “away” competitions coming up is the SAMF Daiwa Irish Pairs which are fished on the Dingle Peninsula, county Kerryin Ireland. It’s a week of competitions from the 1st to the 6th October and that includes pegged match fishing and roving specimen hunts. Places go quickly so don’t leave it too late to apply. Contact: Nick Haward, The Priory, Priory Road , Blythburgh, Suffolk IP19 9LR
Email:  Tel. 01502 478004 m 07702037223

Top of my personal match list is the Dover Sea Angling Association’s Three day pier festival on 29th/30th and 30th October 2011. The reason for that is I am the main organiser. Over the years the festival, fished from Dover breakwater has suffered from a failing entry and I took it on a couple of years back to try to arrest the decline. Biggest enemy of the event is the weather which often prevents the boats from getting to the Southern Breakwater which is a concrete island in the middle of Dover harbour. To blame is the health and safety over kill of the national weather forecast which is always a couple of points more than reality and over a wind force seven the boats won’t transport the anglers. In that case the Prince of Wales pier inside the harbour is used although it leaves a lot to be desire in terms of catches. This year it is planed to use the nearby Admiralty pier, weather permitting of course. For details entry forms etc E mail me at:

I am on Sky Sport’s angling program, Tight lines as the studio guest on 26th August. It is around 7pm on Sky Sports 2 or 3 and is repeated later that night – if you have an angling question for me send it to:


Sea angling has been crying out for a proper tackle box for years, but because of expensive tooling (that’s always the excuse from manufacturers) we still have to make do with a plastic toilet cistern. I particularly like the idea of a box with built in wheels. It’s got lots of practical uses, especially for piers, promenades and long expanses of low tide sand. I use a small freshwater trolley with my box mounted on that, but spotted in the latest Sea Angler magazine (Issue 469 page 56) is a box with built in wheels etc. It’s a DIY model by reader John Flower that he reckons costs around £100. It involves adding a wheel kit to a steel padded tackle box. He even added a stainless steel rod tube and all the box needs to make in perfect is a draw in the lower half. Come on manufactures, John Flower has given you the prototype let’s have one!

See you on the beach.

Alan Yates


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