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…
You should visit Usan Rocks, five miles south of Montrose, at low tide because this will allow you to find the gullies at around 50yds that you’ll need to drop your rig into for cod to over 6lb. You’ll be fishing over rough, snaggy ground so you should defiantly use breakout leads. Those fishing on an incoming tide have had the best results, especially when using pulley rigs with size 1/0 hooks and baits such as squid, ragworms and lugworms. There are plenty of car parking spaces at this popular venue.
If you enjoy catching flatfish, and lots of them, then Cocklawburn beach in Northumberland will be right up your street. It offers the best of both worlds because you can either fish from the beach or try out some rock marks that are also fishable. Because of the rough ground you will need to fish a little further out if you choose target the rocks. This venue fishes best when there’s a good wind blowing, and you should use grip leads and fish with worm cocktails tipped with fish.
John Laidler of Sports & Leisure at Blyth has been fishing evening sessions at Lynemouth power station and in just a few hours he beached four codling for 20lb and a coalfish of 2lb. Pennell rigs with a size 3/0 hook and cocktails of ragworms, lugworms and crabs are what he used. You should be fishing at around 100yds, and the tip is to look for the areas of darker water, as this is where you’ll find the deeper areas.
Sport from the shore is improving all the time with big bags of cod, loads of whiting and plenty of fat winter dabs coming in to the beaches. Some of the cod are into double figures, and a recent contest at Whitley Bay beach saw the winner land 16 cod for a 30lb total, while a fish of 14lb was caught from around Seaham north pier. Crabs and lugworms have been very successful, especially when used as a cocktail.
TYNE AND WEAR
There’s some really good sport to be had at the mouth of the River Wear near the Glass Centre. You should not fish too far out here, as 50yds is perfect and you’ll get plenty of bites from both whiting and codling. Those fishing over a flood tide have had the best results ¬ use a grip lead because the tide can get very strong on the river mouth. Best place to fish is opposite the university with two-hook flapper rigs. There’s plenty of parking at the Glass Centre.
Good reports are coming in from local anglers that have been fishing at Hendon Promenade and the mark locally known as ‘The Spiles’. Both these spots are producing plenty of cod to over 6lb, and pulley rigs have been performing really well. Use size 3/0 or 5/0 hooks baited with lugworms, razor clams or squid. You should look to visit either of these marks when the water is on its way up, and if you’re fishing at Hendon, try to get a spot opposite the ‘ramp’. At Seaham the best place to park is near the gates at the Seaham Dock Company.
Now that the weather is turning and we’re finally seeing lower winter temperatures cod are present in numbers at Saltwick and fish to 6lb are being landed. There are some scars in the bottom, which created deeper holes which the cod love to frequent. These fish can be successfully targeted with pulley rigs. The locals have been getting the most success with big baits such as lugworms and peeler crabs. Size 5/0 hooks are perfect for this type of set-up, and a couple of hours before and after high tide is the best time to visit.
They may look a little daunting to the average angler, but the cliff tops at Bempton aren’t as difficult as they look and there’s some really consistent sport to be had. It’s possible to catch 20lb of cod in a session, with the odd fish running to 5lb. This venue is fishable at all states of the tide, but remember to look for a suitable place to fish where you can get hooked fish up to you. A cast of around 80yds will put you among the fish, and a pulley rig baited with worms or mussels is best. There’s loads of parking at the Bird Sanctuary.
The recent gales have helped stir things up a lot, adding colour to the sea at Mappleton beach in East Yorkshire ¬ and that means bites all day long and on any tide at this easy-to-fish mark. On this sand and shingle beach with free parking, a moderate cast of around 80yds will put you on the whiting and dabs, which provide plenty of action along with the chance of a decent bass or two. A recent match was won with a four-pounder. Simple lugworm and ragworm baits fished on two-hook clipped-down Pennell rigs are doing the damage, and you can catch day or night and on any tide.
The hotspot at present is the area known as the ‘back of the woods’ at Immingham Woods. It’s an easy beach to fish that currently offers great whiting sport with the chance of a cod or three. Rumours are circulating at present of a double-figure fish from this location! Medium-sized tides will provide the best sport, fishing either side of high water. Day or night, anglers are catching equally well, casting anywhere upwards of 50yds. A clipped-down Pennell rig is as complicated as it needs to get, using lugworm and squid cocktails for cod or lugworms tipped with mackerel strip for the whiting, which have reached 1lb 8oz.
CHAPEL ST LEONARDS
The whole coast between Chapel St Leonards and Huttoft is fishing well for whiting at present, with Winthorpe beach the pick of the venues for consistently good bags of codling. Most fish are undersized, with just the odd one big enough to keep. Flatfish and the odd bass also putting in an appearance, although cod are scarce. A three-hook flapper or clipped-down Pennell rig with lugworms and mackerel strips is catching, fished at around 60yds either side of high water, and the recent strong winds should have stirred things up. There is the chance of a cod but it will need a long cast, upwards of 100yds, using peeler crabs or lugworms.
If you visit Salthouse two hours before the top of the tide you’ll fill your boots with dabs, which love to feed under these conditions. Those fishing East and West Runton have been enjoying lots of bites from cod, whiting and bass, but the biggest fish have been taken from Cromer pier. The best set-up to use is a running leger rig or a two-hook flapper baited with worm and fish cocktails.
Dusk is seeing the fish move close in at Weybourne shingle beach between Cromer and Wells, and if that is coupled with high water, anglers can expect great sport from whiting, codling and the odd bass. One angler fished a recent evening session with lugworms on a Pennell rig at 80yds to bag a brace of codling, several sizeable whiting and a small bass, and now is the time when the whiting especially start to be caught in numbers by medium-distance casters. Low water will still produce bites, but with nowhere near the frequency of high tides.
Tramps Alley is the hot area on Corton beach, where you’ll struggle to get a bait through the whiting to the cod! The whiting are of a decent size too, many over 1lb, while the codling have tended to average around the 4lb to 5lb mark, and there are even some quality dabs on the feed too. A simple two-hook Pennell rig works for the cod, a three-hook flapper for the whiting, but you’ll need big baits to catch the better fish on a typical cast of 60yds. Lugworms are tops for codling, while lug tipped with mackerel or herring will sort out the whiting, and fishing into dark is by far the best approach on any running tide ¬ once it reaches slack water you’re better off winding in and waiting for the tide to turn.
The recent gales might not have pleased garden fence owners, but for cod anglers it’s been a real bonus, stirring the sea up and getting the cod on the feed at Aldeburgh town beach. A group of anglers enjoyed a real red-letter day last week fishing into dark after the storm to land a string of big cod, several over 8lb, topped by a couple of double-figure fish. They were using single-hook cod traces with lugworms. On Southwold beach there are real mixed bags on offer with codling, whiting, dabs and even the odd sole on two-hook Pennell rigs and lugworms tipped with fish at around 80yds range. Again, fishing into dark is a better bet on the flood tide.
Aldeburgh through to the famous Dirty Wall is fishing very well, but if you don’t like walking far, Aldeburgh beach itself is also fishing very well indeed. One angler fishing at the Dirty Wall landed cod to 7lb and also beached more than 20 whiting in a session. He used a clipped-down Pennell rig baited with lugworms tipped with a piece of squid. The most important thing to remember here is to make sure you tip your bait with a big piece of squid, even if you need to whip it on to stay put. The rule of thumb for most of the beaches around here is to fish the ebb on a spring tide and the flood on a neap.
In keeping with much of the East Anglian coast, codling and whiting are making the main running at Felixstowe town beach with whiting showing on the small tides, joined by the cod on bigger tides. In both instances an ebb tide fished into dark will produce the best results. Most of the codling are over 4lb, with the whiting also sizeable and coming to a simple 80yd cast using a two-hook clipped-down rig with lugworms or lug and squid cocktails. The odd very big bass is still around, fish to double figures having been taken, and one killing method is livebaiting using an undersized whiting or pouting fished just over the surf.
The fishing along the coast at Clacton is improving all of the time especially opposite Brighton Road. Fish three-hook flappers for species such as pouting and dogfish, but if it’s cod you’re after use a clipped-down Pennell rig with a big bait for the best results. Fish over the ebb tide ¬ your chances are even better if there’s a wind coming from the south. Take advantage of plenty of free parking at Brighton Road.
Southend pier is still on song for bass, whiting and some decent codling. Bass to 7lb have been taken on livebaiting tactics with herring or undersized whiting, while codling to 5lb, along with masses of whiting, have shown on big spring tides to lugworms tipped with fish. Good areas for these fish have been the east and west points, fishing into the tide at around 50yds with simple rigs and, if at all possible, at night. However, daytime sport is still consistent, with those obliging whiting providing plenty of bites.
Whiting, codling, pouting and soles are the species on offer to those fishing the coast at Gravesend. The stretch that runs from the back of Asda to the Black Post is fishing really well. If you’re going for soles and pouting use small hooks and worm baits, but for codling and whiting you should opt for pulley or Pennell rigs with size 4/0 hooks and baits such as lugworms and squid. At the Black Post you should look to cast around 60yds, because this is where you’ll find the deeper water. The best time to fish is three hours before high tide and two hours after.
There are still plenty of bass to be had outside the Neptune pub at Dungeness, and the codling have also moved in. Black lugworms are a great bait at this time of year and those after the codling should fish a clipped-down rig at around 100yds range. This bait will also fool the bass, which also show a liking for sandeels, but there’s no need to cast further than 30yds with a fixed paternoster. The bigger tides are very productive, and the majority of fish have been coming out during the evening.
Codling are the main species to be targeting at the moment, and sport has been good at the New Church area of the beach. For the best action cast as far as possible ¬ a chuck of at least 80yds is recommended. Fish the tides from halfway up and over and then one hour back down, with lugworms on a Pennell rig good for a bite or two. The hours of darkness have been best, but if the water is coloured you can still catch well during the day. Parking is available opposite the beach.
Worthing pier is fishing well for codling between 3lb and 5lb and whiting to 1lb, and a conger eel of over 30lb has also been reported. You won’t need anything complicated here, and a simple two-hook flapper rig baited with lugworms, squid or mackerel should be perfect. There’s no need to cast to the horizon, either, as you can catch right off the pier, with the hours of darkness being best. Pay-and-display parking is available by the pier.
The most successful anglers have been fishing by the Inn On The Beach pub and have managed to tame an impressive stamp of bass and cod of late. The biggest cod reported sent the dial on the scales round to 12lb 8oz, and this was landed at 4pm. A lot of other fish have been taken during the night to squid and black lugworm cocktail offerings presented on simple clipped rigs with big hooks.
One angler had seven good bass to 3lb during an evening session around 300yds west of South Parade pier. These were taken with a running leger rig, and big fish baits are working really well. Use squid, mackerel, slipper limpets or razorfish mounted on size 3/0 or 4/0 hooks. The fish will come in very close, especially when there’s a strong wind blowing into the shore, so don’t cast anymore than 20yds. There are also lots of cod moving in, and it won’t be long until the bigger whiting make an appearance too.
The cod and bass fishing about 300yds west of the South Parade pier is unbeatable at the moment, as anglers are regularly taking cod to over 11lb and bass to 7lb. Bass can be caught as close as 10yds out and most anglers are using two-hook flapper rigs or Pennell pulley rigs with big hooks such as size 6/0 matched with a really big bait. Mackerel and squid are the favourites, but black lugworms are the ‘in’ bait for the soles that are also in abundance.
ISLE OF WIGHT
The beach at Brook is producing lots of fish at night, with codling, conger eels and bass making up the majority of the catches. These fish are falling when the tide is either three hours up or two hours down. Squid and mackerel are being used with success, with grip leads and Pennell rigs the top tactics. A car park is situated a short walk away from this popular hotspot.
Swanage Bay is throwing up lots of bass, flounders and soles during the evening on a rising tide. A whole host of baits are working well, with sandeels and squid strips being used on a single-hook scratcher rig by most of the local anglers. The north end of the bay is probably the best area at the moment, although fish can be caught anywhere. Secure parking is available all along the seafront.
Abbotsbury beach is attracting a lot of local anglers, the majority of them taking whiting, dogfish and codling up to low double figures. The smaller species are being caught on ragworms tipped with fish, while the cod are being landed on Pennell rigs combined with squid offerings. Most of the fish are feeding during the night, although this could all change if a little colour enters the water over the next few weeks. A big car park is situated at the base of the beach.
The rough weather has brought some good bass to 4lb into Start Bay recently, with lugworms fished at around 40yards out working well. Whiting are also showing well, with ragworms fooling lots of specimens when fished at distance. A few anglers have had success during the day, although most of the locals haven taken the bigger bags on night tides. Parking is available all the way along the shore at this picturesque hotspot.
Some big bass to almost 8lb have been caught off Sennen Cove on legered live eels, with the majority being taken on a flooding tide during the night. A pay and display car park is situated close to this popular mark. Good numbers of flounders have also started to show at Helford to worm baits.
The famous Watergate Bay is a firm favourite with the locals, and with good reason, because it offers some of the best fishing in the area. It’s your last chance to be rewarded with the last of the bass and rays, because the dogfish are starting to move in along with the whiting. A running lead with a whole mackerel, squid or sandeel bait is the best tactic for the bass, and there’s no reason to fish more than 20yds out. It’s a different story for the rays, because you should get your bait out as far as you can, with a pulley rig being the favoured option. Those fishing at night have had the best results.
The bass fishing has been really good off Ilfracombe pier, with most anglers having at least three fish in a session, and specimens to 8lb have been banked. If you stay to the right-hand side of the middle of the pier the bottom is clear and sandy, but the further along you go, the rockier it gets so tackle-up accordingly. Most anglers have been doing well with mackerel, squid or sandeels fished on a pulley rig. There is pay-and-display parking close by.
If you head to Stolford or Hinkley at the moment you can expect to catch codling, rays, whiting and conger eels to double figures. Because the water at these marks is coloured all the time it doesn’t make much difference whether you fish during the day or night. At Hinkley you can find the deep water close in, while at Stolford you won’t need to cast any further than 50yds-60yds. Baitwise, big worms or whole squid baits on a Pennell pulley rig have been scoring.
Anglers fishing either side of high water at Cardiff foreshore have been reporting multiple catches of whiting, codling and conger eels. The most effective baits have been worms tipped with squid and fished anywhere over
50yds, and because the water is very coloured, the hours of daylight have been the most productive. Parking is available by the entrance to the dock, and fishing is allowed up to the Monkey Pole, which is a well-known local hotspot.
Llanelli beach has hit some good form and the two species you can expect to catch are bass and flounders. You’ll be fishing over clean ground here, so flapper rigs with size 1 or 2 hooks are ideal. Fish with lugworms and ragworms at low water and it’s best if you can cast around the 100yds mark.
Fish Pendine Sands at low water and you won’t be disappointed, but don’t forget to wade out as far as you can before you whack out your rig. Bass to 3lb and plenty of flounders can be found here, and the best baits are worms and razorfish. Locals use size 2 hooks for the flounders, but mount baits on a bigger size 3/0 or 4/0 when targeting the bass. This large stretch of beach fishes well all along its length, but there is a large sand bank jutting out into the sea that is particularly good. However, getting to it involves about a 40-minute walk. Anglers who fish it reckon it’s worth the exercise.
The hotspots on Tenby South Beach are at St Catherines and ‘White Back’ where you can expect bass, flounders and mullet to provide consistent sport. Flapper and pulley rigs will work on their day, and the most success has been achieved with ragworms and black lugworms. It’s not all about this venue either, as the North Beach is also well worth a visit, especially the local hotspot that’s known as Goscar Rock. There are plenty of pay-and-display car parks at both these venues.
Bass, flounders, turbot and dabs are all on offer at Borth rocks, but you should plan your session around low water because you’ll get more bites. It’s important to reach the rough water here, so a cast of around 60yds is perfect with one-up, two-down rigs baited with maddies (harbour ragworms) or razorfish. The best area to fish at Borth is near the golf club, and here you’ll find plenty of safe parking.
It’s very difficult to pick a particular hotspot here because the whole of the Anglesey coast is fishing exceptionally well. If you can find a beach where the wind is blowing on to the land the chances of finding bass are very good indeed. The areas that are full of water are best targeted with baits such as lugworms and mackerel. Some of the marks can be quite rough, so fish with pulley rigs, but there’s also plenty of clean ground to fish over where you’ll get away with three-hook flappers. If there’s a westerly wind blowing, fish the Menai Strait which separates Anglesey from the mainland.
Anglers fishing after dark have been getting the best of the action at Flint Cobb, where there are cod, whiting and flatfish to be had. When the light fades there’s no need to fish far out ¬ 50yds is plenty far enough. Flapper rigs baited with lugworms or mackerel are ideal for fishing here, and hooks of around 1 or 1/0 are perfect. The hotspot is close to the HSS Hire Shop, which also offers parking facilities.
Two venues are fishing really well in the area at the moment, these being the popular Otterspool and Priory Wharf. Both are producing lots of cod, and if you choose to fish over a mid tide at Otterspool you’ll be in with a chance of fish to over 12lb. Flood tides are the preference at Priory Wharf, and both venues are capable of producing plenty of whiting, dabs, dogfish and the odd ray. These marks are very snaggy, so tackle up accordingly.
Many anglers love catching flatfish, and they are landing loads on the mudbanks located just past the Bull Nose. It can be soft underfoot here, so remember to be careful. One-up, one-down rigs with size 2 Aberdeen hooks are definitely the way forward. Cod and whiting are also showing at Fleetwood, but if you choose the Bull Nose you can literally fish out of your car.
If you’re seeking a reliable venue that’s producing plenty of cod and whiting then look no further than the North Wall at Heysham. Black lugworms are among the top baits if you can get hold of them, but ragworms will attract their fair share of interest. High tide is best, and even though you can catch whiting at short range you should look for a cast of around 100yds for the bigger codling.
POINT OF AYRE, IOM
There’s a place on the north-west coast of the Isle of Man towards Point of Ayre that’s producing bass, flounders and flatties. It’s called Blue Point, and the best times to visit are either at first light or just as the sun starts to go down. It’s clean ground here, so you can get away with fishing a two-hook paternoster with baits such as lugworms, sandeels, peeler crabs and razorfish. If you can’t get out at dusk or dawn, fish two hours before and an hour after high tide. The bass can be caught between 50yds and 100yds out, but the other species tend to be a little further offshore.
It may be a beach mark but the ground is very rough, so locals recommend you use Pennell pulley rigs with breakout leads and rotten-bottoms when fishing Harrington beach. Codling, whiting and the odd bass are being taken at low water, and a cast of around 40yds will put you in contact with these particular species. Lugworms are the most productive baits, but frozen crabs, mussels and razorfish will all work well too. Once you’ve found a space, head towards the cliffs from the left of the car park.
NEWTON ON AYR
Conditions have been far from easy during the last week, but Newton shore is probably the best bet if you’re after fishing somewhere that’s more sheltered than most. Bass, pollack and flatfish can all be caught here but you’ll be fishing over fairly rough ground, so use breakout leads. The fishing is comfortable, as you’ll be stood behind the sea wall and you can leave your car nearby. Lugworms and ragworms, fished on two-hook paternoster rigs are doing really well.
The Yellow Isle at Portpatrick is always good for a few bites and it’s no different this week, with anglers using baits such as mackerel, squid and worms to catch dogfish, pollack and wrasse. If you can catch a rising tide in the evening you’ll be in with the best chance of getting bites. The top tip is not to get carried away and fish too far out because the fish will come in close, especially when the light begins to fade. You can park at the Coastguard station and then it’s around a 10-minute walk to the right. Look out for the yellow rock.
Every now and again you hear of a little gem that isn’t talked about too often, and Burgh Head at Wigtown is certainly one of these. It’s best to fish this venue on an incoming tide and under these conditions you’ll be in with a chance of bass, pollack and wrasse. Anglers fishing here have been using lots of different baits and many have caught bass to 3lb with up to five live ragworms on the hook. Silver spinners work along with Dexter Wedges, sea bars, jig heads and firetail worms.
There’s a huge range of species to have a go at if you pay Loch Long a visit because you can catch codling, pollack, wrasse, and even conger eels. Once you get to around 45yds from the shore the depths drop to around 200ft, so fish in the shallow water over the rough ground with breakout leads and rotten-bottom gear. Black lugworms and ragworms are best for the codling, while spinners and floatfishing tactics are preferred for targeting the pollack. The wrasse here love crabs and mussels, while the conger eels, which have been landed to a best of 15lb, prefer mackerel. Loch Etive is also producing lots of thornback ray and spurdogs.