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…
Specimen cod are now the main feature at popular and in-form Inverbervie Beach as fish to over 10lb are being reported by local anglers. Those getting the biggest fish have been concentrating their efforts around the river mouth and have been fishing over an incoming tide. Lugworm and squid cocktails have been the winning combination, and there’s no reason to cast to the horizon either because when the sea has been rough the fish will come close in, so flapper rigs cast around 50yds will be perfect.
Both the bay and the rocks at Eyemouth are fishing well and the species on the cards are codling and wrasse. Both of these species are suckers for worm baits tipped with fish, and both marks are perfect for pleasure angler because fishing close in is often very productive. You don’t have to worry about losing much gear either as you’ll be fishing over sand. Flapper rigs are definitely the way forward, and if you’re planning to fish off the rocks many anglers fish at low tide because you’ll be able to get a visual picture of where the best fish-holding spots are.
When the weather is rough it is very important to find a venue that offers safe fishing, and Blyth Pier is perfect and you’ll be able to target good numbers of cod. Another very good mark for cod is Whitley Bay beach and locals like to fish at the back of the boat station, where you’ll need to get some distance on your cast. Clipped rigs with a 6oz breakout lead are the order of the day. Another good spot is at the small promenade at Whitley, especially at high tide.
Panns Bank on the River Wear has come into good winter form, and anglers fishing two-hook flappers with size 1/0 hooks are catching codling, flounder, whiting and eels. Those fishing around the estuary mouth have been picking up the bigger fish, and baits like ragworm, lugworm, frozen peeler crab and mussel will all get bites. This venue fishes best on a rising tide as the fish are pushed through the entrance of the river, and anglers fishing in front of the Glass Centre have had some fantastic sport.
When there is been a big sea, anglers have flocked to Roker Pier because double-figure cod are almost guaranteed, and even though the end of the pier is the favoured area, the whole length of the structure will fish well. Big baits are a must and you should use 60lb mono and size 5/0 or 6/0 hooks because if you get a big fish you want to have the best chance of landing it, but you must remember to take a drop net because they are essential for the big fish. Lugworm, squid and razorfish have been the most productive baits and you should use leads of around 6oz as the tide is strong in this area.
Brothers Joe and John Gibson had a productive session at Hendon Promenade last week as they took eight cod between them, the catch including two fish weighing 14lb and 8lb. Another really good mark for the species is Lynemouth beach, where Robert Hall landed five cod for a 17lb total. If it’s whiting you’re after head for South Gare because a recent match was won with 24 fish that totalled 13lb 3oz. Worm baits are very productive, and if it’s cod you’re after try tipping your bait with a thin strip of mackerel or piece of squid.
Fish the night tides at Runswick Bay and you can expect to catch cod to 8lb, especially if you can get your hands on some fresh peeler crab. Fish a simple paternoster rig with a single 5/0 hook and you’ll be fishing over mixed ground and most of the locals fish at 80yds with a breakout lead. Don’t worry if you don’t get bites straight away because this mark rewards anglers who are prepared to stick it out. The best spot is opposite the Yacht Club.
Hornsea North Beach always responds well after a north-easterly wind, and there’s the chance of double-figure cod and big bass to a best of 5lb here. If it’s the bass you’re after use ragworm or squid fished on a flapper rig, and don’t overcast because these fish will feed as little as 20yds from the shore. The beach is made up of sand and shingle, and the cod like to feed over the sand, so use a clipped-down rig at distance to find the fish. There’s a car park at the top of the beach on Morrow Avenue.
Keep your eye on the local tide table, and if it is at 6.6 or over it is worth heading down to Cleethorpes Promenade because there are plenty of coalfish and flounder to be had. Lugworm baits mounted on two-hook flappers are what you want here, and it is best to fish two hours either side of high tide. You can catch as close as 20yds from the shore, so don’t go overboard when it comes to picking a lead because 3oz is more than enough.
The cod are showing at Mogg’s Eye and are being caught at range by anglers putting their faith in clipped-down Pennell rigs with lugworm and mackerel, although many anglers prefer Blueys because they hold lots of oil and are very tough. These offerings are also perfect for the whiting too, and by far the best time to fish is at low water upwards. It’s worth noting that there are lots of ray’s bream getting washed up on the shore, which are a warm-water species that have been washed into the cold North Sea and are very good eating fish.
There’s a shingle bank between Salthouse and Weybourne that is producing plenty of pouting, dab and flounder, plus there are lots of ray’s bream getting washed up on the shore, and they’re not small either as some anglers have taken fish over 6lb home for the table. There are also whiting to be had, and most of these species can be caught at around 50yds range with flapper rigs baited with lugworm. The flood tide is by far the best time to fish here.
The area around Cromer is fishing well, and species including bass and cod running to 9lb are being taken between Mundesley and Cley. Whiting are making an appearance all the way along this stretch of the coast and black bream are being caught at the Lifeboat Shed at Sheringham. Two-hook flapper rigs and single hook cod rigs are the way forward, and you should stock up on lugworm and squid for your visit.
In the last week there have been seven different reports of double-figure cod being taken off the North Beach at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. Fish a big single hook on a clipped-down Pennell rig, but there’s also the chance of hooking a big cod when you’re fishing for the whiting that are here in numbers. Lugworm or fresh black lugworm are the best baits, and the top tip is to add a little squid to make a cocktail. The best time to fish is four hours before and after high tide, and if you’re heading for Yarmouth fish near the Pleasure Beach, while at Gorleston go to the right or the left of the wreck.
Double-figure cod are being caught at Dunwich, but it is important not to forget to take lugworm with you because they are by far the best bait. When you get to the car park right next to the beach you should walk 10 minutes to the left, or go to the right under the cliffs because there are lots of snags in the area straight in front. The ebb tide is favoured by the locals and the car park is free.
Take your pick of the pier or beach for a good mixed bag including cod to 12lb, although the average is nearer 4lb, plus good numbers of whiting, the odd small bass and a few dabs. On the beach a 70yds cast should be enough using a Pennell or flapper rig baited with lugworm or lug tipped with squid, while on the pier, around 60yds, using the same gear and baits, will do fine. The recent rain and wind has coloured up the sea nicely, so you can catch just as well in daylight as at night, although the bigger fish are showing after dark on the flood tide.
Just a few miles up the coast from the town sits Single Street and East Lane, two beach marks in prime shape for whiting and codling. The best cod of late went 8lb on the scales, and most of the whiting are over the keepable size limit, with either tide producing fish. However, locals recommend fishing from low water upwards, or three hours after high tide, using lugworm or lug and squid cocktails on Pennell rigs fished at medium range of around 70 yards. A longer cast will be needed during the day, but at night expect the fish to come closer in.
HOLLAND ON SEA
Between King’s Cliffe and Brighton Road is the hotspot at Holland for some good cod sport, with fish to 7lb taken last week in among the ever-present whiting. You can also expect the odd small bass, and even a skate or two to turn up here, and you don’t need to worry about having a big cast as anywhere between 30 and 90yds will put you on fish. A flapper for close work or clipped down rig for distance covers the rig front, using lugworm or squid on the hook, and the ebb tide is better fished at night for quality fish, with day anglers taking plenty of smaller specimens.
Cod to 12lb have been reported on the beach between Burton’s Point and Minster, the average stamp nearer 4lb and good numbers of channel whiting are providing action in between the cod bites. You’ll need to fish as far as you can cast here for the best results but at night the fish will come closer so you can get away with a short chuck in the well-coloured water. The colour makes daytime as productive as night fishing either time of day three hours before and two hours after high tide with clipped down pulley rigs baited with lugworm and squid. For the chance of a really big cod a small whiting livebait is working well.
Situated at the north end of Deal Beach, Sandown is on song for cod to 12lb plus stacks of whiting and dogfish to keep the rod tip rattling. A Pennell or flapper rig fished at 60 to 70yds will catch, baited with lugworm or better still fresh black lugworm, aiming to fish two hours either side of high water. While night might be best on a lot of other beaches, at Sandown day will be just as productive owing to the dirty sea water at present.
The next beach along from the famous Dungeness mark, Dengemarsh is actually fishing better during the day than at night for cod to 6lb, plus dabs and whiting and anglers are catching surprisingly close in as well. A gentle flick of around 30yds will be ample using a Pennell pulley rig with lugworm tipped with squid or fresh black lugworm. Either tide will produce equally as well with day sessions just running into dark seeing the best bags taken.
If bites are your thing then the Rock-a-Nor section in the old town will be right up your street, especially if you can fish off the concrete groyne, which will put you into the deepest water. Lugworm fished on a two or three-hook flapper will catch lots of fish including codling, whiting, flounder, dab and school bass, although most are under-sized. A short cast of 40yds is as far as you need to go fishing the flood tide on the way up and a couple of hours after with days as productive as nights but as the sea loses its colour, fishing into dark will be better.
Weed has seriously affected the beaches around Worthing making the pier or nearby Shoreham harbour a better bet. You’ll need to fish at high water to avoid the weed though, using a flapper rig with lugworm and mackerel strip for the whiting, whole squid for the cod which had been taken to 6lb last week. In terms of casting, keep varying the distance as the fish are moving around a lot, anywhere from under your feet to 50yds out with night sessions preferred for more consistent results.
The bad weather has kept a lot of anglers at home recently, but those that have braved it at Eastney have found a few bass to 3lb fishing two rods, one at range and one at around 40yds with whole squid on a single hook rig. Lugworm will catch small whiting and a few dabs on a flapper fished at short range, but the going is tough at the moment until the weather settles. Fishing day into night gives you the best chance of catching, targeting the two hours either side of high tide.
The Town Quay right in the middle of the town is fishing well for mixed bags of small fish with pouting, whiting, sole and school bass all featuring. A simple two-hook flapper rig will catch with ragworm a reliable hookbait, although small squid are a particular favourite of local anglers for a better fish or two. High water is the time to visit fishing in the day time for the best results with a simple short cast putting you in enough water to get bites.
ISLE OF WIGHT
If you fancy a spot of flattie bashing then St Helen’s Beach, near Ryde, is producing good numbers of fish over the 1lb mark along with similar-sized bass during hectic daytime sessions. This is a shallow beach so distance isn’t that important and a cast of 50yds will be sufficient, fishing three hours either side of high water. The best bait is ragworm fished on a long flowing trace.
If you’ve got the nerves then the pier at Bournemouth offers great bass fishing to those casting right next to the snaggy stanchions under the structure, but it is real hit and hold stuff! Fish to 7lb have been taken to anglers fishing strong but simple rigs with ragworm or sandeels, while more gentle sport comes from the flounder and dab being caught on ragworm fished on two-hook rigs anywhere from under your feet to 30yds out. High tide is the optimum time to fish with daytime more popular – there is a charge to fish the pier after dark.
Probably the pick of the marks on Chesil Beach, Abbotsbury is seeing cod to 8lb taken along with increasing numbers of whiting and the usual mix of small species, such as pouting and dogfish, and with the sea heavily coloured, a daytime visit will produce just as well as a trip in the dark. The colour also means that either high or low tide will be fine and being a deep water area a gentle lob of 50yds ill cover the casting side of things using a clipped-down Pennell rig for the cod or a two-hook flapper for whiting. Ragworm tipped with fish works for the small fish, but try lugworm, squid or peeler crab for the cod.
Hope’s Nose gets the vote of many local anglers as a reliable mark with a few bites. This rocky area near Torquay is capable of producing a wide range of species including cod, whiting, dab, bass, conger eel, wrasse and pollack. Fishing up and over high water either by day or night will produce equal results with a clipped-down rig for whiting and cod or a pulley if you intend fishing closer in where there are plenty of reefs. For bait a selection of lugworm, ragworm, peeler crab and shellfish will serve you well, worm working for the smaller fish, while a whole crab or squid will pick out the bigger bass and if the water temperature is high enough, wrasse and conger.
There are good mixed bags being taken in the Lion’s Den area on Plymouth Hoe, a popular rock mark that is seeing conger eel, thornback ray, whiting, pollack and the odd cod caught. The eels reach 30lb and are being taken on cuttlefish or squid fished on strong tackle. The ray, which have gone to double figures, fall to sandeel or squid and the whiting and cod to ragworm tipped with mackerel or squid. There is deep water at your feet here so a short cast is all that is needed, fishing into night a couple of hours either side of low water. This area is very snaggy so rotten bottom rigs are a must.
Little to report in the area at present but anglers have been finding a bit of sport on the Penryn River that flows through Falmouth. Flounders to 2lb have been taken along with the odd small bass and mullet, but the river is heavily coloured at present making ragworm the best bait, fished in bunches with small shiny beads on a two-hook flapper rig. Two rods are best – one fished short and the other to the central channel at 50yds with the flood tide best. The colour means that you’ll catch in the day.
Wind and rain has kept anglers at home recently, but with a settled spell Hayle beach between Penzance and Camborne has fished well for bass, plaice and small-eyed ray. The bass and ray have gone to 8lb with the plaice nearer 1lb 8oz apiece, and the best times to fish are at night at low water as the tide starts to flood using a pulley rig with lugworm, ragworm, whole squid or mackerel fillet. The bass can be found at just 15yds range in the surf while it might need up to 120yds to find the rays.
Visit any of the headlands around the town for some great whiting sport with plenty of fish showing on lugworm, but especially mackerel on two or three-hook flapper rigs. You will need to cast as far as you can though as distance always equals fish. Night tides are best with low water and up on the flood tide ideal conditions and there are also a few bull huss to double figures showing in the area. A little way up the coast from Newquay is the River Camel estuary, which fishes well for flounder.
The estuary in Padstow offers protection from the elements and plenty of bites from whiting, bass and flounder, with the bass going to a 3lb best. Lugworm will take the whiting and flatties, while peeler crab is best for the bass fished on simple running leger at low water just as the tide starts running in. How far to cast depends on the wind, but typically a cast of 50yds will be enough to keep you in the hunt.
The golf links beach at Minehead is seeing mixed bags of codling, whiting, pouting and dogfish taken by anglers fishing around 70 to 80yds with pulley rigs. The prime time is two and a half hours either side of high water with night time preferred, although with the sea being the colour of mud, you’ll get bites in the day. On the bait front, lugworm or a ragworm and lugworm cocktail will catch the cod while fish baits such as mackerel will take the whiting.
BURNHAM ON SEA
Lugworm, crab and squid are the winning baits at Hinkley Point, with codling to 6lb, conger eel, whiting and ray to double figures being caught from this low water reef mark. As the water here is currently coloured, good catches are taken during the day as well as at night, but if possible fish over low water on a medium tide. Bait-wise, lugworm, squid and peeler crab will all get bites fished on a Pennell pulley rig.
If conditions are flat calm then head to Stout Point, where you will be in with the chance of catching blonde ray, thornback ray, codling and spurdog. Tactics can be kept nice and simple as sandeel, mackerel and squid fished on pulley rigs are all you’ll need to get a few bites. If it is the spurdog you are after then you’ll need to cast at least 120yds but the other species can all be found at around 80yds range. Aim to fish the big tides around two hours down to low water and two hours back up again.
Anglers fishing at Burry Port have been reporting good catches of flounder and whiting and there have also been a few codling showing. The best baits have been lugworm and ragworm fished close in at 30yds on three-hook rigs. If possible fish the smaller tides and day or night isn’t making much difference to catch results. Pay and display parking is available close to the fishing.
The best sport is still being had at the North and South beaches, with bass, flounder and dogfish the main species on offer. There is no need to cast to the horizon as 30-40yds is the maximum you will need at either of these marks. Pulley and two-hook flapper rigs are recommended and you won’t go far wrong with ragworm or lugworm baits.
If you’re after conger eels then Milford Haven is the place to head to as local anglers are catching good numbers of the species with several fish going over 16lb. There are also a few bigger codling to 4lb starting to show along with the odd huss. Mackerel has been the best for the eels, whereas the majority of codling have been taken on ragworm tipped with squid. Night fishing is proving a lot more productive and you will find the conger at 10-15yds range, but the codling will require a bigger chuck of 80-100yds.
Most anglers in the area have been heading to the more sheltered water inside Aberystwyth Harbour, where mixed bags of small bass, flatfish and whiting are on offer. Fishing around high water is the most productive and day or night doesn’t make any difference to catch results.
Simple tactics will score and lugworm on a single hook rig cast 30yds is all you’ll need. There is a lot of free parking available.
The best reports have been coming from Trearddur Bay where anglers have been taking mixed bags of decent-sized coalfish, whiting, dogfish and a few flounder and dab. There are a few rock marks in the middle of this small beach, which are popular among the locals and you won’t go far wrong with any lugworm or ragworm baits on three hook rigs. Evening tides are better, and a short cast is all you will need to find the fish.
The best mark to head to in the area is The Cob where there are good catches of whiting, dabs, flounder being taken along with the occasional bass. Although there are a lot of smaller fish around, most anglers are getting half a dozen keepable fish in a session. You can catch at any time of the day, but results have been notably better after dark. Three hook flapper and one-up/one-down rigs with mackerel and squid cocktails are recommended.
The codling should start showing in good numbers soon around the high water marks of the River Mersey and there are plenty of whiting on offer. Best baits for the codling are black lugworm, fresh or frozen peeler crab or squid, while the dab and whiting can be taken on ragworm and mackerel. Try and fish one hour after high tide and cast as far as possible.
Rossall Beach has been fishing well with plenty of codling, whiting and dab being caught. Black lugworm fished on a flapper rig is by far the best approach at this mark and the key to success is to locate a gulley or channel to position your baits in. Big tides are most productive and both day and night sessions are fishing well.
With the first frosts of the year last week the fish have really come on the feed with lots of whiting being caught all over. Anglers are still catching plenty of dogfish from the North Wall at Heysham, as well as whiting and the odd codling with the best baits being fresh red or black lugworm tipped with mackerel or squid.
There is a very good chance of catching a personal best plaice at the moment with fish up to 4lb taken. The best place to fish is from the Old Lifeboat Station right up to the Golf Course at low or high water.
ISLE OF MAN
First and last light are the best times to be out on the island and anglers fishing from the breakwater are taking up to a dozen mackerel as well as a few small flounder before the sun rises. You only need to fish close in with mackerel or sandeel baits on a two hook paternoster with a 2oz lead. Try fishing one hour before high tide.
Fish the evening tides at Old House Point and there will be small whiting, coalfish, dab and dogfish to be had. Good catches have been reported by anglers using lugworm, mackerel or sandeel on two and three hook rigs and it doesn’t matter what your casting ability is as the fish are being caught from close in and at range. You can park your car for free at the picnic area which is just a walk of 200yds away.
One angler caught 12lb of herring during a visit to Carnryan Pier, which is on Loch Ryan, and his catch included fish weighing up to 1lb. The best way to fish for this species is with a size 4 to 6 Sabiki lure rig or a small string of feathers. Cod to 4lb can be caught at night and a black lugworm and squid combination fished on any clipped-down rig will be ideal. At this time of the year it’s best to plan your session around an ebb tide.
Anglers fishing the small stretch of beach at Newton Shore are getting plenty of bites from codling, whiting and flatfish. A cast into the surf will put you among the fish and ragworm and sandeel baits fished on flapper rigs have been popular with locals. The better catches have been taken during the hours of darkness and by those fishing the high tide down. This mark is easily accessible with plenty of parking close by.
There is a multitude of species at Loch Fyne including flounder, coalfish, pollack, thornback ray, and there is also likely to be a few cod around following the recent stormy weather. Simple running leger or paternoster rigs are all you need, the most popular baits are squid, sandeel, peeler crab, ragworm or black lugworm. Try fishing an incoming tide, and from the shore you are looking at casting no further than 40-50yds. Most species can be caught during the day, but the pollack and cod tend to show more once the sun has set.