Here’s a 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…
If you like big bass this beach is producing fish to 5lb. You don’t need loads of gear either, just a spinning outfit and then fish on an incoming tide. Head towards the river mouth for best results. Local anglers have been using any type of wedge at around 25 yards from the shore; use a quick retrieve. There are also a few mackerel around. The car park is only 100 yards from the beach.
Keep things basic for plenty of bites from codling, pollack and a few mackerel. Feathers are best for the latter, but locals also use bait found here, such as limpits and other crustaceans. Flapper rigs are good for the codling, which love squid and lugworm, but the fishing will be much better if you can get your hands on fresh livebait like crab. You have a choice of whether to fish from the beach or the rocks, and it’s best to fish on a high tide.
The only beach in the area that produces great sport during the day, and the local tip is to head behind the lighthouse towards the Beacons. Codling, flatfish and loads of coalies can be caught close in at present because this beach is so steep there’s deep water at all states of the tide. So you don’t have to fish far out, and a cast of around 30 yards will put you in contact with all of the species above. Ragworm, lugworm and crab are the best baits and most fish are being caught by those using single or two-hook rigs.
It’s best to head for both banks of the river mouth where you’ll find codling, coalies and flounder, which can be caught on single hooks or clipped-down rigs. Ragworm is the best bait at the moment, but you’ll also get plenty of bites on a peeler crab. On small tides look to cast your rig out to around 80 or 90 yards, but when it’s up you only need to fish around 50 yards. You can park at a small housing estate that’s only a couple of minutes walk from the venue.
Shore sport is very good at present, with the overlap of summer and winter species producing some good mixed bags from all of the region’s piers and beaches. Small cod are increasing in numbers, particularly from rock marks, the lower Tyne, and beaches north of the Tyne, with some specimens to 5lb.
The lower Tyne, South Shields pier and Tynemouth pier are all producing a lot of gurnard lately. Coalfish showing from all areas, with the piers and rock edges all producing large bags of mainly smaller specimens around the 1lb mark, with several to 3lb from the Tyne and the Dunstanburgh Castle area. The best was a monster of 7lb 8oz taken from Roker pier by Ronnie Head last week.
SOUTH SHIELDS PIER
The next week or so should see the cod moving in numbers, but in the meantime there are coalies, codling, plaice and dabs. Fish are taken by those fishing close or at distance, and the two set-ups to use are either two-hook flapper rigs or clipped rigs. You’ll be fishing over mixed ground, and if you choose to fish on the inside of the pier use a breakout lead because it can get snaggy in places. Fish on a flood tide.
The west pier is producing lots of cod, especially if you fish right from the end and cast to the right. Present a peeler crab hookbait, but if you can’t get these, black gulley worm or mussels. A cast of around 100 yards will put you among the kelp, which is where fish love to search for food, and you’ll also catch pollack, billet and flatfish. You should start tying your rig with a three-way swivel with a short weight and a hooklength that’s around 3ft long. A size 5/0 hook is perfect, and the fishing will be at its best two hours on a rising tide and then an hour as it’s on its way back down.
This is a good solid north-facing rock mark surrounded by low cliffs, with a very small tidal range. Cod up to 7lb and wrasse are biting on peeler crab if you can still get it, if not lug/ragworm or mussels on a standard pulley rig is recommended. Fish over low tide, a long cast is unnecessary, try 20 yards-plus, as the water is quite deep. This mark is five miles north of Scarborough on A171 to Cloughton village. Take small turn off by Cober Hill guesthouse, at the junction with Ravenscar road. Follow this road down the coast to a small parking area at the end of Salt Pans Road.
This seaside town not only has a thriving retail free port, but can offer you some excellent fishing on the North Beach. Thornback rays, dabs and soles will take black lug on a two-hook flapper. If it is rough and the water has good colour, try for odd bass, best tides 5.6m to 5.8m, using a standard beachcaster. Long stretches of beach offer a good choice of marks, and it’s the holes and deep gullies that will hold the fish.
The inner beaches at Spurn are soft sand and shingle and has very little tide, and you can have the place to yourself at times, as it is never really busy weekdays. Whichever way the wind is blowing you can just pop over the dunes to the outer side. All this makes it perfect for flounders and bass. Use crab, ragworm or lugworm on a flapper rig on the medium to large tides. The last car park is past the lighthouse.
A popular mark with a host of pubs, restaurants and great ice cream stalls. It is a fairly flat beach with a few deeper gullies that hold fish. Go for bass, whiting and flounders during the day, with good amounts of soles and flatties after dark. Sandeels get the bass biting here, but peeler crab is the choice for smoothies. Most of the beaches in this area have depth to them and clay beds that hold the odd peeler crab, which the fish come in to feed on. Again look for the gullies and holes in the beach that the smoothounds will patrol up and down at high water. The right-hand side of the beach is deeper and produces more fish.
CLEY NEXT THE SEA
This is a village on the North Norfolk coast, situated in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The long shingle beach is great if you’re not a big caster, as short-range tactics work best here. Smoothounds, bass and a few whiting will take black lugworm on a two-hook flapper cast about 20 yards out. This mark can be fished both day and night. Two hours up to high and two hours down at night is giving the best results for the bass as they come in searching for food. Signposted from the A149, Beach Rd is well marked, the car park is almost on the beach.
If there’s a mark in the area that needs visiting this weekend then Cromer Pier is it. Numerous double-figure bass have been caught in the last week, with loads of back-up fish between 7lb and 9lb. For the big ones, fish with whole mackerel on a running leger rig. The bass like to come in really close and feed among the legs of the pier, but use heavy line because you don’t want to get snapped-up. Other good baits are ragworm tipped with squid or mackerel, but if bass aren’t your thing there are whiting to be had on two-hook flapper rigs.
Locals say that this area is alive with whiting at the moment, plus codling, dogfish and the odd bass are also being caught, but if it’s the latter you’re after it’s best to fish an hour before dark. Anglers have had lots of success with lures and the more colour in the water, the brighter your lure should be. It’s very rare to get mackerel here, but there have been a few caught and they’re not small either as fish to 18ins in length have been reported. If you catch the conditions right it’s possible to catch over 20 whiting in a session, and even though it’s favoured to fish an hour before and after high tide, it’s more important to fish late in the day.
You should look to fish on a flood tide because this is when you’ll get the best of the action. Two-hook rigs or single running legers are best to target the whiting, codling, dogfish, sole and bass that will show a liking for ragworm, which is by far the best bait. But lugworm, and fish baits, such as mackerel and squid, are also good. If you’re fishing a running rig for bass you should opt for a hooklength that’s a minimum of 15ins in length. If you’re looking for the best time to visit this venue it’s at high tide. The River Blyth is also producing its fair share of bass and eels.
This an extremely underrated venue that’s situated two miles north of
Aldborough, and the fishing is exceptional at the moment with reports of double-figure bass, plenty of sole and codling. If you haven’t fished here before head for the mark known as the ‘country club’ and then 250 yards south towards Aldeburgh. A cast of around 70 yards is ideal, and use a two-boom rig with a size 1/0 hooks baited with lugworm or ragworm. The best time to fish is on the ebb tide. There’s plenty of parking close by, but if you haven’t been to the venue before and are unsure about how to get there, the guys in Saxmundham Angling Centre will draw you a map and give you all of the best advice.
Codling are starting to show in numbers as fish to 5lb have been landed recently. Night tides have been bringing whiting with them, and 99 per cent of all the fish caught here are on two-hook flappers or clipped-down rigs that never seem to fail. There are also lots of small sole around, and all the species can be caught on a variety of offerings. Ragworm, lugworm and peeler are very good, but if you want something with a definite edge use some frozen black lugworm. As long as the water is moving you’re in with a good chance.
Bass to the 7lb have been taken recently, and the fishing is very easy because all of the fish are taken very close in on rigs that are dropped right next to the pylons. Those fishing small herring livebaits are taking the biggest specimens, but you must remember you will need a ‘drop net’ for the bigger fish. You can catch herring with tiny Sabiki rigs, and they can then be mounted on either a big single hook or a small treble. The mullet fishing at low tide is also very productive, and this species is best targeted with Mustad Shrimp rigs baited with small pieces of ragworm. Mackerel are still around and the pier head is by far the best area to fish as long as there is some movement in the water.
The new sea wall is the place to be at this popular and productive mark. Codling are here, but local anglers are keeping their fingers crossed for the bigger fish to turn up, but in the meantime lugworm tipped with squid will get you plenty of bites. Those fishing one-up-one-down rigs are really doing the business, which will also prove irresistable to dabs and flounders. The fishing gets better the further you can cast out, but if there’s an easterly wind this will colour the water and the fish will feed closer in.
Codling, pouting and dabs are the main target at Dungeness, and one or two-hook flapper rigs are definitely the way forward. Fresh lugworm is the top bait and many anglers have been using the ready-tied rigs from either Tronix or Mustad, that cost around £1.20 from Kingfisher Tackle. At Galloways, fish just past the choppy water for the best results as you’ll be in with a chance of catching bass to 4lb, plus codling. You can find ample parking close to either of these venues.
When the night falls there are loads of dabs and whiting to be caught, but the cod are on their way in as the odd fish are being landed by local anglers. The best way to catch the flatfish and whiting is with the ‘in’ bait at the moment, which is black lug, presented on two-hook flappers with size 2 hooks. Once the cod start to become more widespread they are best targeted with Pennell pulley rigs with black lug that’s tipped with squid. You can park very close to the venue, but if you join Dungeness Fishing Club you can obtain a key to the gate that gives you access to closer, safe parking. Details can be obtained from Tony Hill at Seagull Tackle.
You can always get a few bites here, and there is good news for those anglers after cod because plenty of fish to 4lb are being caught after dark from the area opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel. Try a lugworm hookbait on a three-hook clipped-down rig, with a flood tide being the best time for a bite. During the daylight hours there are loads of mackerel to be had on feathers. There is a pay and display car park right on the seafront opposite the hotel.
The area known as Grand Avenue is still producing plenty of bites, and you’ll find flounders and small bass in abundance. Most of the anglers that fish down here all of the time use two-hook rigs with ragworm or lugworm on the hook, and you don’t have to cast to the horizon either. An easy chuck of around 50 yards will be perfect, and you should plan your session around high tide.
This shingle beach really starts to fish well at this time of the year, and already codling to 7lb have been caught along with bass and red mullet. The best catches are coming during the evening and through the hours of darkness, with squid fished on a simple running leger rig at 40 yards to 80 yards a winning tactic. Parking is free along the road after 6pm, but is chargeable by a meter during the day.
Head to this Isle of Wight mark during an incoming tide and you’ll be in with a chance of some excellent sport, with smoothhound, bream, mackerel, pollack, bass and dogfish all being reported. Currently the best baits are ragworm, mackerel and squid, and local anglers that are going out under the cover of darkness are enjoying the best catches. There’s no need to fish far out, but grip leads of at least 5oz are recommended. Parking is available close to the pier.
Put this destination on your list of places to visit on a rising tide and you are virtually guaranteed action from the resident mackerel, bream, bass and pollack. You don’t need to fish far out here as you’ll find depths of 20-30 feet right off the rocks, and the best tactics at the moment are floatfishing, plugging and spinning. The nearest parking is at Langton Matravers, which is about a 20-minute walk away.
There’s a real variety of species being caught from this pebble beach mark at the moment, with plaice, sole, black bream and gurnards during the day, and good catches of codling coming during the hours of darkness. You won’t go far wrong with a two-hook Pennell rig with ragworm and squid as bait, fished anywhere between 30 yards and 130 yards. During the calmer conditions it is also well worth floatfishing for the garfish. Pay and display parking is available at the Chesil Beach Centre.
This is one of those venues that produces bites all day long, and good catches of dogfish and the occasional plaice are being taken from this popular beach mark. Incoming tides are proving to be the most productive, and a simple running leger rig with size 2 or 3 hooks with worm or squid baits all that are needed to enjoy some good catches.Fish are feeding throughout the day, so don’t be afraid to wet a line day or night, and there is plenty of car parking available along the seafront.
If you fancy your chances of catching a real mixed bag then head to this mark in Plymouth, where you can catch mackerel, garfish, pollack, ballan wrasse and dogfish, as well as conger eels during the night. Floatfishing is advised because of the rocks, and for the same reason a high tide is the preferred time to fish this pier. The facilities here are excellent, with filleting tables and several chairs for disabled anglers, as well as free parking at the end of the pier.
Conger eels have been caught to 27lb from the deep water off the rocky head, with fresh mackerel or squid the best baits, and due to the snags it’s vital to use a rotten-bottom rig. Towards the end of the week the mackerel and bass fishing should really start to pick up as the tides improve, and the best time for a few bites will be first thing in the morning. There is plenty of free parking along the seafront.
There’s plenty of good fishing to be had here at the moment, with mackerel and garfish being taken on floatfished sandeel, and dogfish are being caught on the bottom with mackerel hookbaits. There’s no need to fish far out here as there’s a good depth right off the pier wall, and the best times to fish will be two hours either side of high tide. There is a pay and display car park situated just a short walk away from the pier near the harbour entrance.
This venue might not look like much, but there’s some great sport to be had all the way along this stretch of coastline. There are plenty of small-eyed ray and they range from 4lb to double figures. Most of the locals use a pulley rig baited with a sandeel or mackerel fillet to get the best results, and you’re looking for a cast of around 75-100 yards. You’ll also find other species, such as dogfish and bass. The best end of the beach is to the left out of the car park.
This venue is fishing very well at the moment, and you can expect to encounter bass and ray, plus there’s also the chance of catching the odd turbot and plaice. Crab, lugworm and sandeel are the best baits and the top time is two hours before a low tide and two hours on the flood. If you’re after bass don’t fish too far out as a cast of between 20-50 yards is ideal for this species. The ray here will fall for a clipped-down rig, and it’s important to fish a little further out for this species. If you’re fishing with crab, fish around the rocky outcrops because the fish will patrol these in search of food.
One of the best spots in the area at the moment, and if you’re looking to take a youngster with you it’s perfect because it’s safe and the fishing is really easy. You could be in for a really mixed bag here because ballan wrasse, rockling, pollack, bass and small flatties are all available. Floatfishing is a really effective and enjoyable way of catching fish here, and it’s best to fish a size 1/0 or 2/0 hook withn ragworm, mackerel or sandeel. It’s best to fish on a rising tide, and all you have to do is swing your rig over the side of the pier because it’s possible to catch really close in.
If it’s big bass you’re after then head to this beach mark as fish to 11lb have been caught in the last few weeks. The best tactic at the moment for the bass is a two or three-hook flapper rig with ragworm for bait, and remember not to fish too far out for this species. There has also been conger to 20lb and rays to 12lb taken recently on Pennell pulley rigs, with squid and crab baits scoring really well and taking all of the bigger fish. Free parking is available on Allandale Road, which is just a 200yds walk from the mark.
This mark is littered with streams and gullies, so if you drop your rig into one of these there will be plenty of action. Tie up a two-hook flapper baited with either ragworm or crab and you will catch bass, flounders and the odd mullet. Get yourself anywhere in the vicinity of the bridge and you’ll be in with the best chance of getting a few bites, and you’ll increase your chances by fishing size 2/0 and 4/0 hooks. You don’t need to cast far out because most of the fish are caught between 10-20 yards out.
There’s around seven miles of sand to go at here, so you’ll never struggle to find a spot to grab a few hours’ fishing. Bass can be caught here and, along with flounders, can be taken close in with simple paternoster rigs. If the sea is rough and coloured it’s best to fish with razorfish, but if it’s calm and clear opt for lugworm or ragworm. Use a size 4/0 hook for the bass, and a size 2 for the whiting. Fish low water up. There is one car park, so if it’s busy it can be a bit hard to find a parking space, but it’s usually worth the effort.
TENBY SOUTH BEACH
Anglers fishing here swear by fishing into dark for the bigger specimens, especially bass. There are also plenty of mullet and flounders to be had from this venue that boasts plenty of clean ground, and all of the species are best targeted with either running leger or pulley rigs. You need to be chucking this set-up to around 30 yards, and the locals favour going an hour either side of high tide. Best baits are ragworm, razorfish or lugworm, and there is plenty of parking next to the venue.
If you’re into your lure fishing then take a trip to this famous rock mark because there’s quality sport here, especially when the tide is on its way in. Bass are the main target for the anglers fishing with artificial baits, and the pattern that’s getting all the action at present is the Toby lure. It is best fished at around 20-30 yards. There are plenty of small flatfish around, but everyone is awaiting the arrival of turbot, small-eyed ray and thornback ray, which can be caught by those fishing clipped-down rigs with razorfish, ragworm or mackerel.
Flounders, eels, coalies, whiting and dabs are among the fish here, plus lots of bass, with specimens to double figures among the schoolies. Big bass have been caught in the day and into dark. Locals like to use Pennell rigs with size 3/0 hooks or two-hook rigs with a hook no bigger than size 2/0.
Best fished when the sea is rough, ideal conditions are a westerly wind blowing into your face, when you can catch close as 20 yards from the shore. Baits such as ragworm, lugworm and crab will catch all of the species above, and it’is best to fish low water up and then an hour after high tide.
Many of the popular marks are fishing really well, and the pin whiting will start to make an appearance after the first frosts. But the most recent catches have been made up of species such as flounders, silver eels and the odd plaice. This is a low-water venue, and most of the locals put their faith in a two-hook flapper rig baited with fresh lugworm. The wall at Connah’s Quay is very popular at the moment, especially if you’re just learning the ropes or can’t cast very far as you can catch plenty of fish close in.
If it’s whiting you’re after then head to this beach mark at New Brighton because many anglers have been reporting a fish-a-chuck, which makes for a great day’s sport. Dabs have also been showing to small worm baits, with mackerel and lugworm also scoring. The whole beach is fishable, but it is worth bearing in mind that the further right you go, the snaggier it gets. There is a car park at Fort Perch Rock, and the closer you park to the fort the shorter the walk to the beach.
Big tides at the start of this week should improve the fishing around
Blackpool and Morecambe, and the odd codling are now being caught at this popular venue. The night tides are by far the best, with whiting also being caught in numbers from the same mark, with the best baits being fresh black lug tipped off with mackerel. Anglers are still catching flounders and plaice at the top end of bay near the golf course on fresh lug and ragworm.
CALF OF MAN
This mark can be reached by a boat, which makes several daily runs from Port St Mary, and it’s worth the trip because the fishing is top drawer at the moment. One angler landed no less than eight different species including pollack to a best of 8lb 10oz, plus wrasse and gurnard. Jellyworm baits have been very successful, and the local tip is to use a barrel lead with a 2ft trace, let it hit the deck and then slowly twitch it back towards you.This is very successful because the fish like a bait that’s on the move. There are also odd ling and they run to over 15lb. Sandeels and crab are the best baits, and if you’re looking for the best area to fish, head for the South Port, which is on the right, and early morning sessions are best as the tide is on its way up.
The outer wall on the west pier is fishing very well at the moment, and there’s always the chance of catching a big conger, that run to 25lb, if you drop a mackerel flapper right down beside the wall. Codling and plaice to 2lb, plus dogfish and dabs, are also on the cards and can be targeted with flapper rigs and either size 5/0 or 6/0 hooks. If you’re specifically targeting the plaice, fish the inside wall of the west pier. You can find loads of parking right next to the pier, or there is also free parking near the Sea Cadets’ hut.
ISLE OF WHITHORN
This coast from Whithor to Kirkcudbright is in form because there have been some really big gurnard to over 3lb taken recently. The form of the shore marks is due to the lack of fresh water coming into the sea from the estuaries, which brings the fish closer to the shore, and you can also expect small smoothound, tope, pollack and bass. For the smoothound you should use a paternoster rig with a flowing trace, and the winning hookbaits are fresh prawns, but don’t bother with the frozen variety. There are loads of bass all the way along the coast, and it’s best to put your faith in lures as most anglers fishing here use a Toby. A real hotspot is Burrow Head, which is underneath the caravan park.
Well worth a go this weekend, and there’s a wide range of species, with thornbacks, pollack, gurnard, dogfish, codling and flatties all on the menu. There’s a clean bottom here, and long casts aren’t needed to put you in contact with the fish. Because of this you can use either two-hook or three-hook rigs and bait them with ragworm, lugworm, mackerel or sandeel, and you use nothing bigger than a size 1/0 hook. Fish low water up for best results, and the top area to fish is to the side of Dunskey Golf Course.
A very productive beach, and you should head behind the old gas tanker where you’ll find the best fishing and encounter pollack, flatfish and the odd mackerel. The bottom is slightly rocky, so you should opt for breakout leads, and if you find the sand patches you’ll be in for a good day. Lugworms and mussels are the top offerings used by local anglers, and Pennell rigs with size 1 hooks are a very good choice. It’s best to plan your session either side of high tide. You’ll find parking close to the old tanker.
CUSTOM HOUSE QUAY
There are loads of small pollack around at the moment, which are being caught on various baits, with most locals opting for ragworm as the pick of the bunch. This bait will also tempt a few bites from the odd codling that are moving into the area, plus there are the odd mackerel that can be caught on feathers and stingers. You’ll be fishing over rough ground, so don’t forget the breakout leads, but don’t cast too far because this is best fished on an incoming tide and it’s easy to overcast. Most of the fish have been caught during the day.
You can always count on this venue to produce a bite or two, even when the going gets really tough, and there’s plenty of bites to be had from species such as pollack, dogfish, whiting and gurnard. You have deep water close in here, so there’s no point fishing any further than around 40-50 yards, and all of these species can be fooled into taking either mackerel or squid on a pulley rig. You’ll be fishing over rough ground in the middle of the channel here so remember to fish with breakout leads and rotten-bottom rigs.