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.

A Stop Start Winter

Since my last Fishtec blog in autumn, my fishing became very disjointed from October onwards and only really came back to normal in February. The main reason was a succession of health issues within the family, which saw me missing a lot of fishing and only going locally for a few hours when I could get out. Consequently, I was never able to get a proper campaign underway and the results suffered as a result.

The main target of my river fishing was the upper Warks Avon near my home, principally because it is so close and I could be home quickly if need be. Unlike the middle to lower stretches, the chub and barbel of the upper river are fairly modestly sized, 5lb chub and 10lb barbel not being that common, this looked to be the perfect place for a few short coarse fishing sessions. So I made those two weights my initial targets and would go from there. My first few trips produced a few barbel to just over 7lbs and chub to about 4lbs, but the fishing was very slow at times. Blanks were common. Then, in late November, I had my biggest Avon barbel of just over 9lbs plus a chub of 5lb 4ozs ten minutes later. Obviously, these are quite modest fish by Ouse standards but I did feel that I was getting somewhere. Over the next couple of weeks I had another two small barbel, but struck a purple patch with the chub, taking three more five pounders on the bounce. That made four 5lb plus fish in a few weeks and, according to regulars who have fished the stretch for years that is very unusual.

Just after Christmas, I was fishing the lovely crease swim where I had taken my most recent 5lb chub. A large near bank rush bed projects five yards out from the bank, throwing the main flow across to the far bank and creating a really pronounced midriver angled crease. At a steady 5ft depth and smooth gravel bed it is a perfect set up for chub and barbel. I was fishing an 18mm boilie, with a PVA bag of broken boilie pieces impaled on the hook on each cast. My first cast was made around midday but it wasn’t until nearly dark that I had my first serious indication. I don’t count a kamikaze 12oz chub that nearly choked itself on the boilie in mid afternoon! A vicious pull had me on my feet and I soon realised that this was another chub, but what a beauty. It weighed 5lb 7ozs, another very big fish for the Upper Avon. It was my biggest Avon chub by a couple of ounces.

Ten minutes after the recast, I was in again and this time it was obvious that I was connected to a big barbel. That fish gave me a memorable scrap, making the clutch scream more than once, and I was soon netting my first Avon double figure barbel. It weighed 11lb 5ozs and I was absolutely over the moon with it.

After those fish, with all family worries now behind me, I was able to resume my love affair with the Great Ouse. Like waters everywhere, it was painfully low at the back end of the season, and four trips to a stretch where bites are always few and far between, but the fish are big, saw me averaging but one bite a day. And a day means fishing from about mid morning until well after midnight. The previous season I had taken my 7lb 13oz personal best chub from the same stretch, and I was never able to come close to that this time. In all, I landed eight chub, which comprised a baby of 4-12, four more five pounders to 5-15 and a top three of 6-1, 6-2 (featured below) ands 6-6.

Most pleasing was a final session barbel of 13lb 6ozs, my first barbel from the stretch for three years following the attentions of otters.

As well as the chub fishing, I also had two sessions at the perch stretch where my 5lb pound fish was taken in 1999. Sadly, that has also been badly affected by otters and, although there are still big perch to be caught, the numbers have been drastically diminished. Apart from a solitary small perch, all I caught on my lobworms were average chub and a small pike.

I can look back on the season just ended as one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, for several reasons, and in some ways I was glad to see the back of it. Now, after two weeks off, I’m planning some tench and bream fishing, commencing next week. The water has produced tench to 11lbs plus and bream to over 16lbs so I’m hoping for some exciting fishing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING

The annual Brighton Pollack Challenge saw me aboard Paul Dyer’s charter boat, Brighton Diver as part of the Sky TV crew at Brighton Marina in Sussex. I had a very enjoyable day with a best pollack of nearly 12lb although I didn’t get amongst the trophies. The fish caught were generally big and a 17lb 3oz specimen for, Dave Dudson aboard Brighton’s, Osprey won the day with three others over 16lb proving how good Brighton is for pollack currently. Read all about the competition in the next sea Angler magazine or watch it on Sky’s Tight lines in the coming weeks. It was noticeable at the event that the usually productive red and yellow Sidewinder lure, the Rhubarb and Custard was not quiet as deadly as it has been with silver, glitter, white and yellow amongst the best lure colours.

The plaice continue to show from the beaches throughout the English Channel and the general consensus of opinion is that it’s the reduced quotas for plaice imposed on the commercial fleets that is the reason. It’s certainly a change to see plaice, but I do despair of anglers showing pictures of ten or more dead fish on Facebook. Are we as bad as the commercials – YES I think some of us are!

I have not landed a ray yet, not even tried, although several have been reported in my region of Kent. With the current weather they should show from the shore any minute and it won’t be long before I try a frozen sandeel and Bluey fillet wrap. A good tip is to buy your frozen Blueys now because if you leave it until the rays show the shops will have run out, they did last year here in Kent.

COMPETITIONS, ETC

By the time you read this I shall be in the Gambia for a weeks deserved break, I am fishing a match for three days of the holiday but it’s the break from work I am looking forward too most. Lots of anglers think my life is one long fishing trip, but I spend hours working on a PC and getting out of the office is heaven sometimes. For last minute info on the Gambian three-day beach event contact Bernard Westgarth on: bernardwestgarth@yahoo.co.uk.

Or check out his web site:  www.fishthegambia.com

I am also off to fish the Magrini in Sardinia soon. This International competition in the middle of May is real continental light line fishing, last year my 10lb bs snoods proved too heavy in daylight so this year I am down to 5lb after those mini weavers and breams. However, I must admit I look forward to the company and craic at the event more than the fishing which is considerably different from here at home, makes you appreciate dogfish fishing in the Med!!!!!!!!

My next task is to arrange the Penn Final and it’s on the weekend of the 23rd/24th June at Dover. I have qualified for the final myself although as main organiser I shall not fish. One problem regarding the final which is scheduled to fish Dover Breakwater and Samphire Hoe over the two days is that the motorboat which ferries anglers to the breakwater has ceased. In fact its been sold. Dover Sea Angling Association are in the process of solving the problem with another boat, so its fingers crossed. All enquiries about the Penn final to me on: alankyates@aol.com

TACKLE AND TIPS

It’s time to return the summer tackle to your tackle box. A set of feathers for mackerel is standard summer gear, but also add a set of mini feathers with the shrimp and tiny Sabiki designs great for catching sandeel, herrings etc that can be used as bait.

A couple of floats can also help you get out of jail when the sea goes flat and clear and only mackerel and GARFISH are around. Slide a float down your main line after casting fishing metres deep and catch a few gars – great fun as they leap out of the water when hooked and another bait for the freezer or the hook.

At this time of year anglers fish a lot with a single large bait and the Pulley Pennel rig which is without doubt the most efficient terminal rig to use for the larger species, especially when you want a big bait put at long range, however, there is much debate about using two hooks or one for species that are going to be returned. My solution is to stay with a two hook Pennel rig for the larges baits, but to choose smaller barbed hooks. There are a few of the modern hook patterns that are sold with micro barbs and these are perfect for catch and release especially when you are using the large sizes for bigger species. It’s a shame Fox discontinued their Uptide Power Point FA pattern because they are a superb catch and release hook with their micro barb.

Of course an easy answer to this problem is to crush the barb on your hook so that it can be removed more easily.

Several additions to the TF Gear fishing tackle range including two new three-piece beach casters. I am particularly pleased with the quiver tip version, the all rounder. See them both plus a whole range of new tackle in the latest TF Gear 2012 catalogue.

Get a copy 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.

Chew Valley Pike Trials

I bet you have your special little place where you like to sneak off too now and again, just to regain some confidence in your angling ability? Chew Valley is the place to go where fishing tackle is indeed tested and more than often dreams become reality.

Chew valley lake is a special place, both for trout anglers and now for the pike chasers alike. A combination of factors has led to Chew becoming the best Pike fishery in the UK with numerous 30 pound plus fish being caught.

The fishing is allocated by a limited numbers draw system which could see you rubbing shoulders with some piking legends such as Neville Fickling, Dave Kelbrick, Martin Bowler and the like. With 50 anglers fishing it every day of the trials it can be a bit of a lottery and getting on the earlier days of the week also helps. I was lucky enough to have a cancellation day for middle of the first week , but this only produced a double and some jack pike whilst that very same day two 40’s and 7 30’s came out! I think this was down to us moving spots too many times; the big ones were coming out purely to static dead baits left to soak for a good few hours.

My fellow Fishtec  staff member Garrett had put his name down for the draw and had been lucky enough to get a boat for Sunday, the last day of the first week. As a total pike virgin he needed an experienced guide and of course I leapt at the chance to have another crack at the chew pike. We set off at 6.30 am to get to the lodge for 8.00am, the idea being to wolf down a full English which is all part of the chew tradition. Garrett truly obliged and was the first to clear his plate, in fact it was picked clean of every scrap in a short space of time much to the amazement and amusement of our fellow diners.

The essential start to the day

We soon had our boat number and we headed out into a calm still and cold lake, which made a pleasant change from the recent wet and windy weather. I took us to a spot in open water on a drop off which had produced some great catches for me in pervious trials; it was here we sat it out for a good couple of hours and after fine tuning our position one of my floats finally bobbed under. I explained to Garrett the need to take in the slack line and then set the hooks with a firm sweep of the rod, but upon demonstrating this technique my trusted Greys prodigy boat rod fractured into four pieces with a loud bang! It was a bit of a hair raising fight bringing the fish to the side of the net on just a butt section with the danger of the jagged carbon cutting through my line at any moment, and to top it off I could see just one hook point of the two treble hook in the scissors of the pike. Thankfully my TF Gear redmist main line took the strain Garrett was a dab hand with the net and we got the fish in the boat. She was as fat as a hog and turned the scales at 22lb 4 oz.

Check the broken rod

22lb 4oz Ceri Pike

We sat it out for another few hours, with nothing but news of my pal Leighton Ryan and his boat partner landing a 25 and a 30!

TFG fan Leighton with his 25 pound lump

As it was getting on in the day I decided to take us to a shallow bay where Garrett would have a almost guaranteed catch of a jack to avoid the dreaded blank. Sure enough he soon got a run and landed his first ever pike.

Garrett’s First Jack

Not long after he had a dropped run and then connected with a confident pick up which bent the rod double, sadly it was not to be and the hooks pulled after a short fight. I had the feeling it was a real zoo animal maybe one of the 30’s! It was a hard call to make whether to stick it out in the same area, but I chanced It and took us back to our earlier spot for the last hour which is often the best time for a big one. Sure enough as the temperature and light fell Garretts float went under, and this time he stuck well and kept the pressure on. The fish wallowed on the top and was revealed as a decent fish, after a short tussle I did the honours with net and we weighed her in at 21lb 8 oz. Our time was up but I was well made up with a 20 each and helping Garrett capture a specimen pike of a size that has taken many experienced pikers years to achieve.

Garretts 20 pounder

Alan Yates – The New Year Scratch

THE NEW YEAR SCRATCH

This month the cod season is well and truly underway and it’s the time when the bigger fish venture close to shore, especially after a big sea. Its time to make the most of the few spring tides left with a live bait rig the way to go for the biggest cod on many venues. However within four weeks and the arrival of February the bigger fish will thin out drastically in many regions and it’s then that the fishing and the weather sorts the men from the boys.

If you want to continue sea fishing into February the biggest problem is that you will encounter some really extreme fishing weather, whilst at the same time the fishing will deteriorate. Both boat and shore anglers need to heed mum’s advice and wrap up warm and that means long socks, thermals suits and that all important hat. Of course venturing out when the weather is severe is difficult because it always looks much worse than it is! But, usually once you have made the decision to go and fish the weather doesn’t seem so bad and providing you have good waterproofs and a shelter even the worst Mother Nature can throw down can be bearable!

The decreasing temperatures have a dramatic effect on the next few months fishing, watch out for cold shallower water and frozen sand at low water which deters fish from venturing close. Fresh water, rain or snow melt coming out of drains,  rivers, stream etc is also the enemy of the shore angler because it will push the fish out away from the shore line. I have a golden rule about beach fishing at this time of year and that is not to fish anywhere where my cast lands on ground that has been uncovered or exposed to low temperatures at low water. Even better I ONLY fish from the deepest water beaches, rock marks and the piers.

Mention February and lots of shore anglers pull faces at the thought of an invasion of slugs (rockling). Make no mistake the New Year heralds the departure of all the adult fish of most species to spawn around the greater part of the UK and that’s why it’s considered tiddler time. All amount of bravado and using a 4/0 Pennell rig loaded with whole Calamari squid will fail miserably because there simple are no big fish inshore in a majority of regions. At best in a few places is the chance of a 5lb codling, although I have to say that the rays now start to appear earlier every year and they can turn up as early as February and so its wide to keep an eye on catch reports.

I for one carry on fishing through the early part of the year, lots of anglers don’t and put their gear away until spring. Much depends where you live and fish and what floats your boat! It’s a far different approach that is needed to carry on fishing when its tiddlers only. Instead of large hooks and giant baits it’s more delicate tackle and catch measure and return match fishing that is required. It’s a time for the more delicate and fish attractive baits like white ragworm or maddies, a more refined approach to tackle with lighter hook snoods, wire booms, size 4 match hooks and the softer actioned quiver tip rod. Lots of match anglers have discovered the fun of switching to a sea quiver tip rod and fixed spool reel to exaggerate bites and braid is fast becoming the line to use for short range tiddler snatching.

Although its small fish time in many regions the bigger codling are still possible and they often muscle in on feeding dabs and other tiddlers so it’s wise if you go for small hooks to use a strong pattern.

Dab fishing may not appear very exciting but for many anglers it’s the challenge of catching fish under difficult conditions that is the thrill rather than the size of the fish. When the frost is nibbling the ears a few dabs can be a great reward for some scratchy plus they make great eating.

Some tips to help you catch more dabs include adding a few sequins to your hook snoods when fishing in clear water. A small tip of fish, shellfish or squid can also be a deadly lugworm cocktail of dabs but keep the tip bait small finger nail size. For flounders little beats a bunch of wriggly maddies tipped with a small strip of mackerel plus a buoyant bead (it works for dabs too) to give the bait a little lift and movement in the current. Dabs and those slug like rockling love sticky decaying lugworm with four day old black lugworm a prime bait for February match fishing. So don’t throw your lugworm bait away after a trip, keep it until next week and you will find it deadly for the tiddlers especially dabs

Finally, one of the most crucial tactical decisions when fishing in the New Year concerns casting distance – The whack it as far as you can early winter tactic which works for the codling and whiting found in the deepest water no longer catches in February, it fact its nearly always out to far, way past the feeding fish. More effective is an accurate cast to the gutter between low and high tide line, or the back or front of a sand bank or gulley. Other hot spots include the ends of wooden groynes or rock ledges which the fish hugging the shoreline have to go around. Consistent casting to the same spot also pays dividends.

The biggest bonus of this time of year in match fishing terms is that catch and release events mean fewer fish killed. Place them in a bucket of water before you measure register and return – Of course you can retain the bigger fish to eat, but many go back and can be caught again in the future.

DETAILS OF THE TF GEAR DELTA QUIVER TIP BEACHCASTER

Delta Allrounder is a 16ft multi tip rod designed for competition fishing and continental style fishing. Casting 2-5oz leads, It also comes complete with 3 interchangable quiver tips  ranging from 200g upto 600g making it perfect for scratching around for flatties and smaller species. It come with a sliding reel seat and  is suitable for both fixed & multiplier reels.

 

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.