Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015

The early spring sunshine brings lots of false dawns at this time of year with spring seemingly about to arrive daily, especially around the south of the Country. But extremely low temperatures, snow melt water and icy winds lay in wait to dampen enthusiasm for many shore anglers and the only true pointer to springs arrival are the extending daylight hours.

Lots of anglers may believe that temperature plays the biggest part in the arrival of spring and the start of the improvements in fishing it brings, but it’s the daylight hours that count the most. Look on the land to see why – sunshine hours are steady, regularly improving each day, tangible proof to life that spring is coming. The light does raise ground temperature, but it’s the extending length of each day that sets nature on its spring journey! On the shore the sunny side of the groyne sees the sand and mud warm in readiness for the crabs to moult, whilst shallow water calms and clears allowing the water temperature to increase.

It’s a great time of year with the change in the fishing tangible – The pin whiting so long a winter pest, start to thin out with small pouting amongst the arrivals. They are good news for the match anglers and bass food so don’t knock them! In recent years it’s a time for the rays to show along with returning dogfish and whilst the rays may be spasmodic in terms of which species and location they, especially the thornback, have become a major spring species in many southern regions.

This year with the codling fairly prolific throughout the winter, they too will show in spring and this year should be the first proper spring codling run for several years. Too small to spawn they did not leave to the deeper water at the end of the winter and will linger and fatten around many coasts to take advantage of the peeling crabs before then heading to deep water and an all fish diet.

Other spring species include the plaice and they too have enjoyed an upsurge in local populations in some regions – said to be because of a plaice quota reduction on the commercials. Whatever, it’s nice to see these very slow growing flatties making a comeback, although in the early weeks of spring fresh from spawning they really are lean and not worth eating so return if you can.

Chris Clark of Lymington with a big undulate ray – was it late winter or early spring?

 

Time to get the sea fishing rods out if you haven’t already – I’m particularly looking forward to the extended evenings, which make a late afternoon beach or pier session once again worthwhile. Night fishing is great in the winter, but daylight fishing is so much more enjoyable!

The debate about bass preservation rumbles on with EU proposals to raise the bass minimum size limit much talked about and generally supported by anglers. Whatever the limit set it will never be high enough and the commercial lobby will oppose it and angling has a fight on its hand if the commercials think they can have a legal limit lower than anglers! Catch limits are also essential and I as I have said before would also like to see a bass upper size limit. The Angling Trust is doing its best to fight the sea angler’s corner and all power to them – you can help by joining them as a member, a small price to pay for a voice!

On the tackle front the year brings, amongst a few new developments in the TF Range, a new fixed spool reel. I had to switch to fixed spool reels because of a ruined shoulder caused by years of dogfish and weed hauling and must say lightening down in general has helped make much of my shore fishing prove far more fun when the going gets tough. I have tried braid line, 10lb mono, 4oz leads, lighter rigs, tapered leaders and all in all I must say it’s been an experience. But one major factor was that I got fussier about reel performance and found some of the cheaper fixed spool models less effective than I required. And so we are introducing a new lighter model with a more sophisticated line lay for increased performance both in terms of casting and feel – I hope you enjoy it.

New TF Gear Sea Fishing Reel

Finally, have you noticed that suddenly mono line quality has improved dramatically with the arrival of more lines containing co polymers? A tougher outer shell, higher knock resistance and overall improved strength are now something you can take for granted and I urge anglers who think they are using the best line to look again, because some of the new kids on the block are awesome and they are in the TF Gear catalogue!

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary September 2014

2lb codling Ken shore

I had a surprise this week when a photo session with Sea Angler photographer, Lloyd Rogers resulted in me catching my biggest ever wrasse from the Kent shore. You will have to wait until the feature appears before you get to see the pics.

Catching wrasse from the Kent shore is nothing new, I first recorded Ballans in the 1980s, although they were generally small fish in the ounces and an occasional high summer catch. But after Samphire Hoe was constructed they started to appear in numbers and it was predicted that they would increase in size. Samphire Hoe, near Dover is a 2km long sea wall that was constructed out of the spoil that came out of the Channel Tunnel and it is extremely rocky and weedy, ideal habitat for wrasse which have colonised it big time.
I suppose the reason for the increase in the wrasse population generally has got to be global warming and it’s in the sea that anglers have noted a drastic influx of species and changes in the migration patterns of some of our most common fishes. The wrasse though is not a commercial catch, indeed the fact it tastes like cardboard will mean it will survive the nets and because anglers generally put them back. Both facts may have contributed to their increase, plus they are exploiting the habitat left after the demise of the other species.

Big Ballan wrasse have become what I call the poor man’s big fish with populations around the UK expanding and it’s a fact that large wrasse feature in many sea angling magazine pages when in the past they were considered less meritorious. Pound for pound of course they are a powerful sea fish, whilst their colours and handsome looks add to their popularity as a catch. They are also not easy to drag from their rocky haunts and can be caught on bait or lures. Nowadays they are there to be caught when other prime species are not and like the dogfish, wrasse have become an accepted part of the sea angling scene.

Between the wrasse I have managed to catch a few codling, although they have been mainly small with a mix of fish between 20 and 40cm from the Kent shore. Listening to the Facebook grapevine it looks like most of the English Channel and lower North Sea have the same populations of 1lb to 2lb codling. Trouble is so many anglers exaggerate the size and around my neck of the woods fish of 5lb are being reported, its odd that not one of the Kent competition results and there are hundreds, has produced a codling of more than 2lb 8oz. However, having said that its been nice to sit on the beach and see the rod tip buckle over because even a 2lb codling can give you a great pull down or slack line bite.
Best bait has been black lugworm for me with a two hook Loop rig the ideal terminal set up for long range when the weather is rough and distance crucial. At other times I have stuck to a two hook flapper with size one Kamasan B940s. In the coming weeks a change in the weather will produce more codling with an onshore sea the best conditions, south west in Kent and along the Channel coast is best whilst up the North Sea a North East is usually considered ideal. Also look to fish after the gales have subsided, don’t leave it a couple of day, go when the wind drops.

Between the codling have been a few big bass and it’s the time of year when bass and cod are caught together or in consecutive casts on some southern venues. I love nothing than a really calm night to fish a small live whiting in the margins of a steep shingle beach. Some big bass are there to be caught from now up until Christmas and like others the bass season has been extended again thanks to global warming.

How it once was – A bass and a cod for a young Alan Yates……

I am currently using my two Force 8 continental beach rods. They are 15ft and rated 5oz, although I am using 12lb line and 4oz leads with one rod on micro braid and one on mono. The comparison between the two lines is tremendous with the braid especially effective over rough ground – I used it to catch those wrasse and its lack of stretch and immediate pick up means tremendous bites, but fish can be bullied away from the rocks quicker than with mono., One word of warning with braid main line all through, you will find that it will snap light mono hook lengths so don’t go too light, not below 15lb for rough ground anyway.

The Continental sea fishing rods have been an eye opener for me and using 4oz on the strongest tide with micro braid has generally lightened up my sea angling without a big loss in casting distance or increase in tackle movement because of the tide. Four ounces holds in most tides with the finer line, only heavy weed offers a problem.

I’m off this week to make a new DVD for TF Gear and Sea Angler magazine with Chris Ogborne. We are going to Cornwall and fishing aboard Optimus Prime skippered by Rodney Kennedy. The main subject of the DVD is fishing light and hopefully that will include a shore trip so I can show you the new Force 8 Continentals in action. Look out for the DVD in the coming months it will be free with Sea Angler magazine and to all TF Gear customers etc.

I did a bit of coarse fishing recently and landed this cracking sturgeon on a pole from Chequertree fishery at Bethersden in Kent.

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Nov/Dec 2013

A really busy month for sea anglers with lots of whiting from most beaches, especially after dark and they produce some hectic match fishing. The cod are noticeable by their absence on my Kent beaches, although the mild weather may be the reason for that and anyway the bass are hanging around. In the club evening events up to 60 whiting are required to make the frame and its frightening the club match anglers away in droves. Many, including, myself at times just cannot, or don’t want, to compete in the numbers game – It’s not enjoyable fishing, its hard work. Freelance wise it’s almost boring catching three whiting a chuck and as fast as you can recast. I fished Dungeness this week and the whiting just would not switch off, only the occasional dogfish, dab or rockling broke the monotony of the whiting. Even so I have never seen Dungeness so crowded on a weekday with anglers packed in like sardines between the RNLI and the Power Station. Undoubtedly a lot to do with the popularity of Dungeness, as well as the Dungeness Angling Association and their founder, Phil Tapp who sadly died recently. Phil put Dungy on the map when he negotiated the key for the gate to the concrete road allows angler car access. Phil will be sadly missed, but the Association survives with many good men to take Phil’s place, one of the best things that ever happened to Dungy!

I have just got my hands on a couple of prototype sea fishing rods that are due out in New Year and spring. I designed a slim line match rod that became popular in the past and longed for the chance to tweak the design. Now the TF Gear model is about to be released in the Delta range. Called the Slik Tip it’s a three piece multiplier or fixed spool match rod. Great on bite indication its sits still in the rod rest even in a gale and it’s ideal for club anglers, surf bass angler etc. Also new is the Continental and this is again a 15 footer, but designed along Continental lines, ultra light and slim its aimed at summer fishing with light line and tackle, the ladies might find it just what they want. One thing in line with most of the gear I have produced with TF Gear it’s going to be far cheaper than some of the overpriced “designer” rods available. I cant wait to get it in the surf for bass.

With the leaves leaving the trees at a rate this week it reminds us of the winter to come. Those chill winds make beach fishing tough going from December onwards. It’s noticeable that the T Shirt brigade leaves us in a few weeks and the beaches become roomier because of it. My favourite time of year, not because the drips freeze on the end of your nose, but because the crowds have gone. It’s also great to find the beaches litter comparatively free as well and I am sorry if this upsets some, but I have been appalled lately at the amount of litter left by so called sea anglers and it’s not all Octobers great unwashed or the foreign anglers either, I have watched some regulars leave litter and they don’t like being told to pick it up!  All you need is a plastic bag in your kit to pack the rubbish into to take away, so simple.

Back to the weather and that extra fleece will be required soon, I am a great believer in comfort when I am fishing it keeps you fresh and alert and you are more likely to catch if you can concentrate on the rod tip rather than worry about cold toes!

COMPETITIONS

Congratulations to Wales and England for their performance in the CIPS World Shore Championships in Spain. Spain took the gold medal and their performance included the top four individuals. Wales took silver ahead of England’s Bronze – Having been there I know how good a medal, any colour is in the Mediterranean.

Coming up (January 23rdth to 25th) is the Irish Winter Beach Festival which I fish annually. It’s fished from the Wicklow region beaches in Southern Ireland with the base for the event at Sean Ogs Hotel, Kilmuckridge. It’s a great event for the Craic –1st Prize is €500 and there are events for Teams of 2 & 4 over 3 days. Entry fee: €150 inclusive of Presentation Dinner. Accommodation at Seàn Òg’s may be reserved through Warren Doyle, 98, Seacrest, Bray, Co. Wicklow. +353 (0)1 2828769. Mob. +353(0)86 8069961. warrendoyle@iol.ie

Last year the event was won by my mate Chris Clark of Lymington, although I have to remind him regularly that on day two he killed all his maddies and it was only the generosity of others that got him over the line!

I am all booked up for a weeklong trip to Norway at the end of February with my son Richard and a few mates. We are going to fish a week long big fish competition organised by Ian Peacock and Din Tur. It may well be my only chance of a big cod this winter because the Kent season does look dismal. It’s such a long time since I landed a double figure cod from the shore (I am really looking forward the Norway)

Details: www.dintur.co.uk. E mail peacock@dintur.co.uk Tel. 01914472363

Alan Yates on Sea Fishing

An evening competition on Samphire Hoe at Dover reminded me that it was high summer. Not only the scorching weather, blue sky and the gin clear sea, but the slow fishing, until it got dark. Despite the poor spring and early summer weather when the fishing was amazing it was inevitable that the month long heat wave would got things back onto normal and low and behold Kent is in the summer doldrums. Lots of species have swum past us into the North Sea, whilst others are well away from the shoreline in the dark deeper water.

It’s much the same around the rest of the UK and Ireland – Could you believe the clear water during the open golf at Muirlfield, little other than mackerel swims in daylight in that! The key to fishing now is to find some colour, heavy rock, weed or fish at night.  Great if you live near one of the large estuaries like the Severn, Thames, Humber, Solway, etc, or on the more rugged coasts, but on the open shores only the piers and rocky headlands offer the fish enough depth, cover or darkness to allow them to venture close in. OK there are species exceptions like the mackerel, garfish etc, although they too have been thin on the ground in some regions – No it’s late into the night if you want a few bites.

The good news of course is that the nights are drawing in and the falling daylight hours are what kick starts autumn and its great fishing. AND autumn is just around the corner with, hopefully, some improved fishing is on the way. My tip is to look out for some giant bass in the coming weeks. Fishing close in with a fresh mackerel head, flapper or fillet from the pier end, or at night from the beach with a live pout or whiting. My bet is that Dover will reclaim the bass record soon with the end of the Admiralty pier at Dover the venue to head for. On that subject the pier walkway has recently been renewed and narrowed and Dover SAC have banned certain items of sea fishing tackle like trollies, broillies and rod rests from the wall.

Lots of talk about the potentialfishing bans in areas around the UK. Hythe Bay is one in my region and the local fishermen are up in arms and organising meetings with MPs etc. Of course the anglers are joining in and the Hythe Bay situation has reached panic stations for many. Some may scoff and say it’s only going to involve the commercials and it probably will, but there are so many opinions involved with everyone wanting their say who knows where it’s going to end?  As an angler of 60 years I have seen the fishing deteriorate dramatically and to me it’s obvious that the commercial fishing, EU and foreign trawlers etc are to blame. It’s not the number of fish it’s just the quality. Instead of cod, plaice, sole etc, its wall to wall dogfish, plus ray and smooth hound and its obvious what is happening. The species that can reproduce in a year or so can survive the commercial onslaught, the species that take several year to mature and are popular on a plate cannot! Fishery conservation requires a commercial fishing ban inshore, catch limits bigger size limits for anglers including an upper size limit for bass and compulsory catch and release.

One species on the up is the Tope since its protection from commercial fishermen. Michael Bell of  Seaton has just landed a Tope over the  British Record fish (It was returned) of 66lb 10oz. He was fishing from the northern beaches of the isle of man with a mackerel fillet.

It had to happen! We are following the Continentals down the two rod competition route. With the fishing getting poorer, because of those commercials, angling clubs are attempting to improve competition catches by allowing competitors two fishing rods. Why not, carp anglers use four? Well of course the problem is you need more bait and that puts pressure on supplies etc. The latest club to try the system is Swanage SAC, although they have only allowed a total of three hooks between the two rods which sound like a good compromise. The event takes place on the 5th October at Swanage, fishing and release without size limits. Contact  Graham Woods the main organiser on Tel 07967 491 995 or E Mail: sadacgw@yahoo.co.uk

Staying with the competition theme, entries are dropping off all around the country to the larger “open” events and it’s only the local club competitions that are really thriving. In an attempt to improve things clubs are changing the rules – two rods is one idea but I think bait supplied is the next big change and the ten worm challenge idea is one that I think will catch on..

The dates are out for next years four day Gambian West African beach Championships. I fish it every year and have enjoyed some excellent fishing in recent times. My chance to catch a big fish from the beach. The event is being fished from the 27th March to 30th March 2014 inclusively. Organiser, Bernard Westgarth has a ceiling of 40 entries and you can pre book with him on E-Mail:  bernard@fishthegambia.com

For accommodation check out the Gambia experience web site.

I’m just back from organising the Sea Angler Penn Sea League Final at Milford shingle Bank (Cut Bridge). Thanks to my mate Chris Clark for his help locally with stewarding, pegging and the pub at the end. You will be able to catch up on the result on Sky TV Tight lines as well as Sea Angler magazine. Catches included some nice black bream as well as wrasse, mackerel and garfish, a venue well worth a try NOW!

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – Late March

A busy month of competitions at a time of year I really enjoy shore fishing – Its scratchy with bites at a premium and to do well you need to scale down both your tackle and your angling ego. Lots of anglers fish through March still in their November cod goggles, but the bigger fish are no longer around in a majority of regions and its time for the dabs, flounders and those damn rockling.

OK the match anglers actually enjoy this time of year, as I said, I do especially when it’s calm and cold. Most beaches slow to walking pace in terms of bites in the frostiest weather and it’s a case of dropping the hook size, the bait size, the line size and fishing closer in. The low tide gutter often being the only hot spot on the beach. It’s a time when the casting ego has to be put in its place, although keep it handy because the first rays of spring are no far off.

My latest competition was the Ten Worm Challenge – A sea angling competition with a difference with competitors allowed to use just ten lugworms as bait – Nothing else! The event received lots of publicity despite which the entry was small, I suspect novelty events are not for many serious matchmen, although it is the case that event organisers are continually looking for competitions which offer more of a level playing field for all anglers in an attempt to attract more to competitions.

The Ten Worm Challenge was a rover, fish where you like and you could use ten rods with one worm if you preferred.  I opted to get out my Continental sea fishing rods and use the event as a practice for the forthcoming World Clubs Champs in Portugal where I am representing Dover Sea Angling Association.  Size 4 hooks, 8lb hook snoods, 16-foot quiver tip and fixed spools reel loaded with 0.24mm line.

I chose to fish at Dungeness and to cut a long story short I finished with 32 fish and half a worm left after five hours, the clear winner with the next place catching by Mark Howard fishing nest to me at Dungeness landing11 fish. My secret was to fish small baits each tied on the hook with elastic cotton – That way the bait lasted ages. I think I will claim a Guinness book of record place with the catch, but only so as to create more interest in the idea, which was the brainchild of Seabrook sea angler, Tim Raymond.

Another event that attracts a huge entry because anglers see the event as giving anyone a chance of winning is the European Championships fished at Bridlington. It also coincided with the worst of the month’s weather and just three codling were landed despite a huge entry of 2095 anglers, with the winner Karl Wiepcke, Goxhill winning the overall which included a car with a single 3lb codling he caught at Aldbrough. Big fish matches are the way to go if you want a larger entry, whilst pegged, catch and release will only attract the most dedicated match anglers.

The other event I fished recently, also a biggest fish event, was the Pollack Challenge out of Brighton, which is an annual event for me aboard Paul Dyer’s, Brighton Diver, which also carries Keith Arthur and the Sky Camera crew.  With the BBC Shipping forecast giving gales it was touch and go whether the event took place, but fish we did although heading out to a wreck at thirty miles was a bit lumpy to say the least. However, the day calmed and some nice fish where landed by the 100 anglers taking part, including a 17lb 9oz specimen for Brighton Schoolboy, Connor Bonwick fishing on Terry Lee’s Brighton based Sea Breeze 3.

Keith and myself ended with three pollack a piece caught on a mix of jellies and Sidewinders with Keith’s best of 11lb and the best on our boat was third overall for Alan Milford who landed a 14lb 14oz lunker first drop. If you not tried lure fishing for pollack over a wreck it’s worth doing although the two-hour steam there and back does tax the brain.

With snow on my lawn at the time of writing this blog its difficult to get involved in the spring prospects but there already seems to be plenty of plaice around in the English Channel and it wont be long before the rays push inshore. Rumblings about smoothhound on Facebook seem a bit premature when Britain shivers in its worst spring weather for years. But all can change overnight, hopefully and it’s the hounds that most are looking forward to. Last year I was noticeable that the species has moved into the North Sea big time with Skegness region on the Lincs coast one of the best hound venues, Selsey and the Solent kept their end up as did South Wales and even Kent got in on the act at Sandown. But first the crabs need to peel, fingers crossed for some warm sunshine.

COMPETITIONS

Staying with the changing format of competitions this one just had to happen and is possibly the way more events are going to go in the future. The Gerry’s Fishing Open in the Morecambe Bay area on the 7th of September, fishing 10am until 4pm involves all anglers owning a Camera with time date function and removable STD card. Your catch is snapped with the days bag label and returned. Check in from 9am Gerry’s Fishing or contact Sam or Chris 01524 422146. Email – shop@gerrysfishing.com or facebook event – http://www.facebook.com/events/607757792585921/

Another catch and release event worth a look is the Rutherfords Conoflex 2 day open. On the 29th and 30th of June fishing two zones at Copthorne Hotel and British Airways Business Park on the river Tyne. All fish to count but there is a maximum hook size of 4. Entry is £30 for the two days, to book or for more info ring Andy Rutherford on 0191 5654183

PIC – Alan and Mark Howard with the trophies from the ten worm challenge.

Keith Arthur of Sky’s Tight lines with his best pollack 11lb in the Pollack Challenge event at Brighton.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Dec 11

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING

I hope you all liked the new TF Gear DVD on shore and boat fishing in South Wales. Boy did we have some weather to contend with, it rained and blew all week. But we caught fish thanks to the help of Clive Vedmore of Barry Angling Centre who sorted the bait, Roy Tapper our guide and Steve Jones on his charter boat, Indiana out of Cardiff who put is on the fish.

If you don’t have a copy of the DVD it is available from TF Gear dealers. For a list etc contact. TF Gear unit 5&6 Industrial Estate, Brecon, Powys. LD3 8LA Tel. 08719117045 Web: www.tfgear.co.uk

I bit off more than I could chew whilst fishing the Clubman Final at Kelling against the Holt SAC – Making a film for Tight Lines I was miked up all day and at the beck and call of the producer and camera man – It played havoc with my cast timing and time by the rod and I finished a dismal eighth out of ten, that’s my excuse anyway. The Sea Angler team who fished against the Clubman champions included: myself, Chris Clark, Joc Goudie, John Wells and the SA editor, Mel Russ. The Holt SAC team was Tony Thomas, Paul Fenech, Dean Conway, Peter Loke and Peter Morse. They pipped the Sea Angler squad by a couple of biggest round fish which was a significant margin because they had the only round fish caught worth 10 and 9 points respectfully. Otherwise it was a tight match – Star of the show was Tony Thomas of Sheringham who pegged next to me, ignored the dabs at short range and landed three codling at range for some mega points. A bit of local knowledge and some white ragworm did the trick, whilst the Sea Angler team had failed to spot the importance of the round fish in the complicated points system. A great days friendly club fishing, mind you one of the Holt Team did go a bit overboard with the victory celebrations and the best consolation was to see him posing as he reeled in for the TV cameras only to have three bare hooks! The film on Sky tight lines shows sea match fishing catch and release style and is bound to raise more interest in the Club fishing and the Clubman championships which is growing in popularity – If you want details or want to enter your club team e mail me on ; alankyates@aol.com

COMPETITIONS, ETC
The round of Christmas matches is upon us – A fun way to win a turkey dinner if you get lucky. It’s great to see match anglers spend a fortune on bait and entry fees and go home with a turkey when they could have brought six with the money it cost them. This sums up what I have known for years and that that just going fishing is more important to most than winning a prize, although a consolation prize is better than being a none mentioned also run. A lesson for clubs is that the Christmas match is always the best attended of the year because of the prize structure. Anyone thought of a similar prize structure for the normal club matches?

Some New Year matches worth a visit  include;

The Skua SAC Winter Open at Talacre on January 7th and 8th. Saturday fishing is from  1.30pm until 5.30pm and Sunday from 2.15pm until 6.15pm. Register at the Smugglers Inn. The event is three hooks but no crab. Contact Pete Corker on 07711622015 or Gordon Thornes on 01244 813003

On January 18th Mainwarings Angling Centre celebrate their 8Oth Anniversary with an open competition on Swansea Breakwater. (No juniors) Fishing is from8.30am until12.30pm. Its catch measure and return with a top prize of £1000. Meet at Fabian Way Park and ride for dock entry pass and peg etc. 200 entry limit. For tickets or more details contact Mainwarings Angling Centre Tel. 01792 202245

Nearer home I am organising the Kent Dab Championships on Folkestone pier on February 5th. Fishing is from10am until 4pm. Entry £10 plus pool but its pre book because pegs are limited. Alan Yates 01303 250017.

The largest Kentmatch in February is on the 12th and that’s the popular Fountain SAC Open event pegged along the beaches of Seabrook and Hythe. Fishing is from 11am until 4pm and the event carries a top prize of 1st £1000. The entry is £15 plus pool.  Brian Barnes 01303 260875

TACKLE AND WINTER TIPS

With proper winter looming its time to make the most of the mildest weather – Once the shingle and sands starts to freeze then shore fishing will be just the tiddlers. Lots of the mature fish move offshore to spawn at this time of year and it’s a time for tiddlers around much of the Country. Scratchy fishing indeed unless you are in one of the regions blessed with plenty of codling. It’s that time of year.

Coming up soon is the New Year and for me it’s a time for real scratchy fishing – I like fishing delicate for flatties etc and out comes the quiver tip rod. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new 16 footer – only tested the prototype so far. Arm that with three wire whisker booms, size four hooks and some stale lug and maddies and away you go. Even the tiddlers can give you a good bite and fishing with braid on a fixed spool reel magnifies bites even more and allows the smaller fish to pull back as well.

Weed in the water can be a real pain in the winter clogging and jamming the rod tip ring. One way to eliminate its influence is to switch to a tapered shock leader so that the leader joint knot is smaller. Check out the TF Gear Aftershock tapered leaders. They are 13 metres long and with five on a spool they are available in hi Viz orange or clear.