Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary April


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: Or check out his web site:


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.


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