Here's this week's selection of the best sea, pier and beach fishing catch reports from top marks around the English, Welsh and Scottish coastlines provided to the team at Sea Angler magazine from reputable sources within the world of sea fishing...
Now is the time cod are at the top of the hit list for the majority of the anglers in the area, and it’s possible to catch fish to 6lb. Lugworm and squid cocktails are popular, but pirks also work really well and it doesn’t really matter what state of the tide you fish at the moment. March is also the time when the boats start operating, and a day trip can really make for a day’s fishing to remember.
As in many other areas it’s been tough going here, but when conditions are tough it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you go to Cock-a-Burn there are miles of beach and a few good rock marks to have a go at so there’s always the chance of a bite if you travel light and keep on the move. Flounders and other flatfish are on the cards, but when the rougher seas arrive you can expect cod and a few whiting to show.
You can always get a few bites if you scale down your tackle and use hooks around sizes 1 or 2, because flatfish are always searching for food on the incoming tide and over high water. The locals are expecting a late run of cod to come through as soon as the sea starts to roughen up, when those fishing at distance will have the best chance of some sport from this species.
Good numbers of codling to 8lb have been taken from Blyth beach. Pennell pulley rigs with size 3/0 hooks and ragworm or mussel hookbaits have taken the better specimens, fishing at distance.
Scaled-down two and three-hook flapper rigs have also accounted for nice bags of flatfish, and most successful anglers have been on the shore at high water, fishing through the hours of darkness. Plenty of free parking is available close to the venue.
There’s an outside chance of catching dabs, flounders and whiting, but they are few and far between as some of the best match anglers in the area have been struggling for bites. Locals can take solace in the fact that it shouldn’t be long before the weather starts to turn and the crabs begin to peel, which is always a sign that the other species, that see anglers travel from miles around to target, are starting to arrive at last.
If you fancy some easy fishing, Roker pier will never disappoint. Those fishing at the end of the structure have had the best of the action. Codling and flounders are the main species to target and you don’t have to worry about lost tackle because you’ll be fishing over clean ground. A cast of around 60yds is perfect. Be sure to bring plenty of fresh lugworms with you and look to fish from low water up. Parking is free.
Steetley pier has proved to be one of the most consistent venues in the region during the testing winter conditions. There have been some specimen-sized whiting around over the last week or so as fish to the 2lb mark have been showing a liking for lugworm and mackerel baits. Some tides have been producing the odd big cod to 9lb. These are best targeted with big hookbaits that will help deter the nuisance whiting!
Flounders are being caught on the beach at Whitby, and Brunswick Bay is also well worth a go. A running leger or flapper rig is what the locals fish at these popular venues and it’s important to have a fresh supply of ragworms. Look to fish from low water up at around 30yds range.
Codling to 4lb are the main target at this popular mark, and the best way to target them is with a pulley rig baited with lugworms and mussels. If you want to get a few extra bites then try and get as much distance on your cast as you can. Fishing into dark has been far more productive than during the day, and fishing over low tide gets the best results. You’ll find good parking at the top of the cliff at the Country Park. Remember, you’ll be fishing over rough ground so tackle up accordingly.
The promenade has been in decent form for small fish such as flounders and coalfish. Use a two-hook flapper rig with size 2 hooks and a lead of 2oz to 4oz. The best offering on the hook has been ragworms tipped with either a small piece of mackerel or a Bluey. You don’t have to cast far to get bites, and dropping your rig around 30 yds out will see you find a few fish. The best time to fish is two hours either side of high tide, and pay-and-display parking is close to the venue.
The North beach has been fishing well for cod, with fish to 7lb taken during a recent match at the venue. A few big flatfish have also been taken from this prolific spot, with black lugworms the top bait. Most of the successful anglers have been fishing clipped-down Pennell rigs. Fish can be taken throughout the day, but the best bags have been made three hours before high water. Good parking is available on Marrow Avenue, and it is then just a matter of heading down the steps to the beach.
Chapel St Leonards
This mark is a firm favourite, but the recent snowfalls have seen lots of fresh water enter the sea, and this tends to push the fish out of reach. Simple flapper rigs will always attract the attentions of flatfish, and the best bait for these is lugworms fished at moderate range.
One angler enjoyed a good few hours fishing here, beaching 12 flatfish and a few whiting. The top tip here is not to use a big hook with a massive hookbait, as this is a mistake that’s made by quite a few anglers. A size 1 hook is ideal, which should be baited with lugworms, and the best rig to use is a two or three-hook flapper.
Even when the going is tough, the Shingle Bank is always a good bet because there’s plenty of deep water and flatfish will almost always oblige. Fresh lugworms are a bait that shouldn’t be left out of your bag, and it’s always worth taking a mackerel with you because this gives you a good alternative and will sometimes produce a bigger stamp of fish.
Some boat anglers are reporting codling being taken around 300yds from the shore, so this is a good sign that the fish are finally making their way within closer range! In the meantime there are plenty of dabs and flounders to be caught by those fishing with flapper rigs. If you want the chance of a cod, use a Pennell rig baited with lugworms and fish strip. Fish to the right or left of the wreck, because this holds fish at all times of year.
Small codling have started to show at Dunwich to lugworm baits tipped with squid. The odd better specimen has also been taken at distance on a clipped-down two-hook rig. Aim to fish on a flood tide during the night, or on the ebb during daylight hours. Head to the right of the venue and park your car under the cliff.
It’s been tough going at the moment, but if you want to get out there and have the chance of a bite or two, Southwold pier is probably your best bet. Codling and flatfish can be caught, and the end of the structure is usually the favourite haunt of the locals. Most go for a Pennell rig. Fish with lugworm baits if you’re after the cod.
Local charter skippers are reporting cod to 10lb, which is a sign that shore anglers could be in for some good sport in the coming weeks. The sprats that have been keeping the fish occupied are also on their way out at the moment, so this should further improve the fishing. Cod to 3lb have been taken from Clacton beach, where the fishing is much better when the sea has been roughed up by a good wind. Fish big baits on clipped-down rigs for the best results.
The best place to head for is the White House, fishing with small hooks and baits such as lugworms and ragworms. You can fish at all states of the tide and there’s a good chance of an early skate here if you beef up your tackle and take a few fish baits like herring and sandeels with you.
Reports have been thin on the ground of late, but if you head to Dungeness and fish anywhere around the point there’s the chance of catching a few dabs. It can be snaggy in places ,so you may want to use a rotten-bottom. Black lugworms are a popular bait and they should be fished on a size 2 hook. Fishing at low water is best, and a cast of 70yds-80yds is ideal. Day or night, it doesn’t make any difference because the water is very coloured at present. There’s plenty of free parking available close by.
There have been lots of dabs, codling and whiting caught from Dengemarsh beach, especially by anglers using black lugworms. Rig-wise, paternoster or flapper rigs will do the job and a cast of up to 80yds should find the fish. Time of day doesn’t really make too much difference, although the better whiting catches have been taken on the night tides. There is lots of parking available close to the beach.
Very little has changed in the area in the last week and catches have continued to be few-and-far-between. The best of the sport has been provided by dabs and rockling at Rock-a-Nore. These can be caught close to the shore. Bites have been had during the day and at night, with three-hook flapper rigs and lugworm baits scoring. The venue is easily accessible, with a large pay-and-display car park located close by.
There haven’t been many fish to report in the area, but those fishing at Eastney beach have banked the odd whiting and plaice. Day or night hasn’t really made any difference to catch results, and a decent chuck with ragworm hookbaits will give you the best chance of a bite. There’s lots of parking available close to the beach.
Sport has been very slow in the area, and until the weather warms up and the plaice arrive things aren’t likely to change greatly. Anglers who have been venturing out have mostly been fishing the beach by the Pyramid Centre, where there have been pouting, rockling and the odd flounder caught on evening tides. Three-hook rigs with small baits cast anywhere between 60yds and 80yds are all you’ll need to catch here.
Isle of Wight
Little has changed on the island over the last week, and the best bet for a few fish is still at Fort Victoria, where there’s the chance of rockling and dogfish. There’s no need to cast any further than 50yds, and flapper rigs with mackerel and squid cocktails are recommended. The fishing is easily accessible and you can park your car just a short walk away.
Try fishing lugworm hookbaits tipped with a piece of squid at the Poole Harbour side of Studland Bay and you’ll be in with the chance of bass and flounders. Single-hook flowing traces are recommended, and a decent cast of 60yds-70yds should put you among the fish. A rising tide is preferable, and there are plenty of lay-bys along the main road which you can park in.
If conditions stay calm there should be some early-season plaice starting to make an appearance at Chesil beach. Codling are also being caught at night, with whiting, pouting, dogfish, dabs and flounders in the day. Two-hook clipped-down rigs baited with ragworms and lugworms are recommended, and a cast of up to 70yds is all that is required. Fish the tide two hours up and one hour on the way back down.
Arm yourself with plenty of fresh ragworms and you’ll be in with the chance of catching several flounders at Beesands beach. You don’t have fish any further out than 60yds, with flapper rigs getting the vote of local anglers. Try and fish the tide on its way in. There’s plenty of parking places nearby.
A recent inshore boat thornback ray competition on the River Tamar saw more than 30 fish caught by the 25 anglers competing, and the biggest went to Tom Worthy, a 9lb 15oz specimen cod. Peeler crab outfished every other bait, but there were several specimens caught on prawns. All anglers found success with simple running leger rigs, and there were also a few whiting and codling caught. Large shoals of herring have now started showing in the river as well.
Look for the deeper holes at the Lizard, where there is the possibility of taking some good catches of mackerel. The best bags so far have been taken on feathers, and fishing over the top of the tide has seen the better results. Try and fish once the sun has set. There’s parking close by.
If you fish at Mousehole Harbour from last light onwards you are virtually guaranteed sport from the large numbers of rockling which reside here, as well as the odd conger eel and bass. A flood tide is preferable and, as you are fishing over rough ground, weak links will have to be incorporated into your rigs. The fish can be caught fairly close in and mackerel strips are pretty much the only bait you will need. There is plenty of free parking available close by.
Smaller species such as codling, whiting and dogfish are pretty much all that anglers are likely to catch at the moment, and one area worth a look is the Fly Cellars. Squid and mackerel tend to be the favoured baits, and the better catches are usually taken by those fishing over high water. The mark has good access with plenty of parking close by.
There have been plenty of bass, flounders and dabs showing to anglers fishing the River Camel. If you are targeting bass you won’t go far wrong with a simple running leger rig baited with peeler crabs. Although you can catch on virtually any tide, spring tides are often favoured because the crabs are not as active and won’t be such a nuisance! There’s plenty of parking around, but some spots on the river will require a bit of a walk.
Anglers fishing during the hours of darkness from rock marks in the area have been reporting good catches of bull huss along with the occasional dogfish and conger eel. Mackerel and squid are pretty much the only baits you’ll need, and you don’t need to fish far out at any of the marks because you can find deep water fairly close in. Running leger rigs will be fine, but rotten-bottoms are required, otherwise you’ll lose tackle. Try and target the flood tides, but it’s best to avoid fishing during northerly winds.
There are codling and the odd early-season ray on offer from the rocks at Brean Down, where Pennell pulley rigs baited with big lugworms or whole squid are scoring well. Rotten-bottoms are essential because of the snags, and it doesn’t make any difference whether you fish during the day or night. There is only limited parking available for this mark, and it requires a 15 to 20-minute walk to get to the fishing.
The main species on offer in the area are dabs, whiting and small codling, and two good marks to head to are the West pier and Mumbles pier. You don’t need to be a big caster to catch at either of these venues because you won’t need to chuck much further than 30yds to catch. The majority of fish are caught on frozen black lugworms or mackerel fished on three-hook flappers. If possible, fish two or three hours either side of high water. The fishing at Mumbles is daytime only. There is plenty of parking at both marks.
Local anglers are waiting for the bass to return to the estuaries, but in the meantime things have been slow, but there are a few flatties to be caught at Loughour if you fish over a small tide and don’t cast too far from the shore.
The Glen beach has attracted a lot of anglers of late, with flounders and dabs the main species showing. A simple two or three-hook flapper rig with either ragworms or razorfish is all that is needed to get a few bites, and the biggest bags have been taken at low water during the hours of daylight. Plenty of parking is available close to the venue.
Bass are moving into the estuaries now, and for the next few weeks they will be best targeted with lugworms, although soon peeler crabs will take over as the number one bait. There’s also a well-known mark called the Stack Pool, and this is a great place to go in search of mackerel that can be caught on feathers. Incoming and flood tides are by far the best conditions to fish.
The Stone Jetty has attracted good numbers of anglers lately and they have been taking whiting, codling and dogfish. Clipped-down or one, two or three-hook flapper rigs fished at distance have been favoured by the most successful anglers, who have used frozen lugworms and mackerel strips on the hook. Fish can be caught throughout the day, although late afternoon has been the best time to visit.
If you are after a good mixed bag then consider heading to Holyhead Range. This popular rock mark has been throwing up pollack, codling, conger eels and even a few early-season wrasse. The best bags have been taken during the evening over low water. Rotten-bottoms are essential, as it is a very snaggy bottom in places. Lugworms and mackerel are the top two baits. Leave your vehicle at the Mackerel Rock car park and walk round to the venue.
The beach at Mostyn has been fishing well for flatfish and whiting. A number of areas at the venue have produced fish, but the best spot is close to the old docked cruise ship. The most successful anglers have used a three-hook flapper rig along with the new Dvice system. These have allowed people to add 30 per cent more distance to their cast, and they are available in the shop. The best baits have been black lugworms tipped off with a small piece of squid, and although fish can be taken throughout the day, high tide has thrown up the better bags. A large car park is close to the venue.
Lots of small codling have been taken from New Brighton beach on frozen black lugworms, squid and mackerel. A few dogfish and dabs have also been taken on the same offerings. Aim to fish three hours after high tide and one hour back with either a two or three-hook flapper rig. You don’t need to cast more than 50ds to get in touch with the vast shoals of fish at this popular venue. Lots of parking is available close by.
Lots of small codling and flatfish have been taken from Jaguar House. A number of different tactics and baits have been working, but the most successful anglers have been fishing at close range with two and three-hook flappers with fresh lugworms, frozen mackerel and prawns. Action can be had throughout the day although the better bags have been taken one hour either side of high tide. Lots of parking is available close to the venue.
The beach at Fleetwood has been fishing reasonably well for small codling, dabs and the odd decent plaice. Fish can be caught at a number of spots on the venue, but the most prolific areas are at Marine Hall and close to the Coastguard Station. Two and three-hook flappers are your best bet, and these should be baited with either black lugworms or ragworms. Plenty of car parking spaces are within a short walk of the venue.
There haven’t been any big fish caught in the area to report, but anglers have been finding a bit of action from smaller species, such as flounders, at Greenodd. On the bait front, lugworms and ragworms are favoured and rig-wise two-hook flappers tend to be favoured. The best fish have been caught on 8m tides, and there is parking available in the nearby lay-by.
If you leave your car either side of the Lifeboat Station you will have access to one of the best venues in the area at the moment. This is situated between the slipway and the dock gate on the promenade. Two -hook flapper rigs baited with ragworms or lugworms tipped with mackerel are your best bet. Look to fish the high water for three hours and then two hours down, when a cast of around 60yds will get you bites from dabs, flounders and plaice.
There are codling coming from the harbour and the piers on the east coast around Helensburgh. Anglers that can fish at distance are getting the best of the action. It’s all rough ground here, so you should incorporate breakout leads and rotten-bottoms into your rig. Fish an incoming tide.Best baits to take with you are peeler crabs, black lugworms, squid and mussels. This is a great place to explore, as there are lots of rocky outcrops that are well worth fishing.
This is another venue that has been affected by the ice and snow of late, but there are plenty of small fish to be had. This is the time of year when lots anglers travel here to take advantage of the top-class spurdog fishing. If you’re after the spurs you should opt for running leger set-ups with fish baits such as mackerel and squid.
The sea has been very calm during the last few weeks, which isn’t the best of conditions, but there are still codling and flatfish to be had. The best place to go is behind the castle ruins, where you’ll find some great rock marks to fish from. A cast of around 50yds is all you need, and most of the locals use squid, ragworms and lugworms.