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…
Try a cocktail of lugworms and squid at Usan Rocks and you’ll be in with the chance of catching cod to 6lb. A cast of 40yds is pretty much all you’ll need to get among the fish, but there is plenty of mixed ground which you will need to take into consideration when tackling up. You can park your car at the farm, which is close to the fishing.
Although there has been little in the way of big fish to report there have been a few bass and plenty of flounders caught off the rocks at Scremerston. A high tide is essential and at this time of year it is worth trying a variety of rigs and baits such as squid, mackerel and black lugworms until you find what is working best. Parking is available by the beach.
The main piece of advice locals can give to those fishing the popular Blythe pier is not to forget a drop net, because many big cod have been lost by those who have left this vital piece of equipment at home! There’s a real chance of a double-figure cod and baits such as lugworms, ragworms, peeler crabs, mussels and razorfish will all work well, plus there are also some bass being taken. One angler fishing the ‘Blocks’ at Cambois took seven cod for 22lb, so this mark is definitely worth a go ¬ but it’s mixed ground here, so make sure you incorporate a rotten-bottom into your rig.
The pier at South Shields has been fishing well for codling to double figures, with the best results being experienced during the day. Lugworms and ragworms are currently the best baits, and these are best presented on three-hook clipped-up pulley rigs. Fish are being taken on various tides, although the better specimens have been landed two hours either side of low tide. A pay-and-display car park is located at the entrance to the pier.
North Gare and the Pilot pier all saw cod to 6lb landed when the sea was at its heaviest, while Steetley pier saw fish to 6lb taken in bags of up to 18, with nearly all anglers taking at least a few smaller specimens. Whiting and flatfish are plentiful at the moment and some of the whiting are of specimen size. Some fat winter dabs are also showing.
A pier that’s well worth a go is Middleton, and the best time to visit is when there’s a really big sea, because this is when it fishes the best for cod. The biggest fish run to the 20lb mark at this time of the year and pulley rigs baited with lugworms, frozen peeler crabs or mussels are best. You’ll have a better chance of holding bottom when you fish halfway up to high water, and a cast of medium distance is all that will be required.
The cliff mark at Kettleness has been a firm favourite with locals of late, with plenty of codling to 6lb being taken. Pulley rigs are producing the majority of fish, with lugworms and peeler crabs being used by the most successful rods. A high tide is preferred, with the bigger fish being taken during the night. Runswick Bay is also producing fish of a similar stamp to the same tactics. A few off-road parking spots are located close to Kettleness, but there is much easier access at Runswick.
The rock mark at Burniston is producing some tremendous sport, with cod to 8lb being taken. Simple Pennell pulley rigs are favoured by the locals, with lugworms and mussels the best baits. The hours of darkness always produce more fish, with the majority being taken around low tide. A chuck of only 30yds is required, as you will be fishing into various deep holes that hold the cod. Be prepared to lose the odd piece of terminal tackle, though, as you’ll be fishing over snags. A car park is located just down the track from the venue.
The Hornsea North End beach is fishing well, with lots of flatfish and decent whiting being taken. Pennell pulley rigs have been used by the top local anglers, with lugworms their choice of bait. Fish can be taken at any time of the day, with three hours either side of high tide the preferred time. A large free car park is located close to this prolific hotspot.
The flounders have moved into Humberston Creek to spawn, and these are being taken up to 2lb. Simple light flapper rigs are working well with lugworm and fish baits, with the majority of fish being taken an hour before high tide and three hours after. A long cast isn’t needed, either, with the most successful anglers dropping their bait around 30yds-40yds out. There are several areas within the creek to fish, but between the groynes is proving to be the most popular at the moment. Parking is situated five minutes away at Anthony Bank.
CHAPEL ST LEONARDS
Whiting are being caught by those fishing venues such as Winthorpe and Chapel St Leonards, and the locals expect the cod to be on their way back in after melt water from the recent snow entered the sea and pushed them well out of casting range. Peeler crabs are a fantastic cod bait around these parts but you should also carry plenty of lugworms and squid, which can be used as a cocktail. For the best results you should get to the venue at around 10am and fish the tide on its way up, because that will put you in with the best chance of a cod or two.
The Shingle Bank is the place to be on this stretch of coast at the moment, and the locals have their fingers crossed as it’s hoped that some decent cod will turn up soon. There’s no need for long casts here, as 20yds-50yds will be plenty, and this will enable you to use a flapper rig that’s best baited with lugworms tipped with squid or mackerel. The species you are likely to catch at Cley, Salthouse or Weybourne include whiting, pouting and dabs.
A lot of cod are showing between Cley and Mundesley and these are being taken on peeler crab and lugworm baits fished on two and three-hook flapper rigs. Whiting have also shown along the coast, with lighter rigs required for sizeable specimens. Most of the successful anglers are fishing at night at high tide and the few hours afterwards.
Lots of dabs, whiting and a few codling to 6lb are being taken from the popular Gorleston beach. There’s a clean sandy bottom here and lugworms are working well in conjunction with Pennell rigs. A short cast of 30yds is all that’s required to catch the dabs and whiting, with the codling sitting slightly further out. Most anglers are fishing over the top of an ebb tide and into darkness. A large car park is situated at the top of the cliff, but this closes at 11pm. If you intend to fish overnight there are suitable spaces on the road close by.
Cod, whiting and bass are showing between Lowestoft and Orford, and there is a chance of catching cod to 8lb. Use a single-hook cod trace with lugworms, black lugworms and squid. Those fishing at around 70yds over the flood tide have had the best action, one hotspot being Southwold Pier.
The whole of the coast in this area is fishing well for big cod, and one local angler recently caught a huge 21lb specimen from Orford Island. He fished lugworms and squid presented on a Pennell rig at around 70yds out. The Dirty Wall has also been throwing up plenty of good cod, most averaging 9lb. Try and fish the ebb tide, day or night.
There have been several big cod reported from Clacton pier with a specimen of 14lb the best, and there have also been a few smaller whiting showing. Big baits such as lugworms and squid are best if you’re targeting the cod and there’s no need to fish too far out, as they can be caught fairly close in. There is plenty of pay-and-display parking available in the town centre, which is just a short walk from the pier.
The most important thing to remember when fishing at Tilbury is not to cast more than 70yds because there are clay ledges that can cut through your mainline easily! Drop a lugworm or a squid hookbait at around 50yds and you’ll be in for a few cod and whiting. The two local hotspots are the Cow Patch and the Worlds End, and both are producing lots of fish at the moment. You need to fish the tide at the right time, which is two hours before high tide and three hours after.
Cod to well over double figures have been caught from Deal pier, and have also been showing at Dungeness to lugworm and squid baits. There have also been plenty of whiting caught from the bottom end of Deal pier but it can be a bit snaggy in places, although this generally isn’t a problem. The best sport is always to be had during the evening tides, and there is parking close by.
ST LEONARDS ON SEA
Head to the spot opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel at St Leonards and you can expect cod and whiting over the flood tide. Most locals fish clipped-down Pennell rigs with lugworms tipped with a piece of squid presented on size 3/0 or 4/0 hooks. There’s a really good chance of a double-figure cod at this time of year, so try a big bait for the specimen fish. There’s plenty of pay and display parking nearby.
Those fishing Shoreham beach have had plenty of bites, even though the going has been really tough. The best area to fish has been close to the harbour arm. Whiting and flounders have been the main species to target, and you don’t have to fish far out at all. A cast of between 40yds and 50yds is perfect, and you should plan your session to fish over high tide. If the water is very clear you should fish from around 8pm onwards for best results.
Night tides have proved the best time to visit Hayling Island, as you can catch three whiting on every cast if you get in the right position. You’ll find the local hotspot at a mark that’s locally known as East Stoke Corner and there are lots of fish around, so flapper rigs will maximise your chances, especially if you use lugworms or squid. You don’t have to worry about losing any gear because you’ll be fishing over clean ground.
Dabs, flounders, whiting and small bass to the 1lb mark are being caught by those fishing the popular Eastney beach and there’s also the chance of rockling and the odd cod. At low water you don’t have to fish any further out than 15yds, so you can get away with fishing a three-hook flapper rig. It’s a different story at high tide, when the water is running, and at this time you need to fish a clipped-down rig at 80yds or further. Parking is available close to the venue and is free at this time of year.
ISLE OF WIGHT
There’s around four to five miles of coastline to have a go at if you fish the River Medina, and bass to 6lb have been showing.Flounders are also on the menu here, and anglers using running leger rigs baited with ragworms have had the best results. Three hours before and three hours after high tide is by far the best time to visit and there are plenty of access points, making for a short walk to the water’s edge.
Poole Harbour is producing quality flounders up to the 3lb mark, and there are three local hotspots that are well worth a visit. These are the Red Horn, Gerry’s Point and the House Boats. Ragworms are by far the best bait, and pulley rigs or simple paternoster set-ups are taking the lion’s share of fish, especially for those casting between 40yds and 80yds. The best place to park is along the side of Ferry Road and the venue is a walk of only 100yds from here. It’s best to fish on the rising tide.
There’s a gulley that runs through the whole length of the famous Chesil beach, and the best area at the moment is at the Abbotsbury end. This fish-holding feature is at around 40yds and it’s best to set your trap with a two-hook flapper rig baited with ragworms tipped with a small sliver of fish. Codling and whiting are the targets and you should fish over the rising tide for the best sport. If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, a 20-minute hike to the left of the car park will bring you to another local gem known as Dragon’s Teeth.
Brixham breakwater is the place to be at the moment and there’s the chance of landing conger eels to 20lb, especially if you have some cuttlefish, because this species goes crazy for them! The best rig for congers is a pulley set-up with a wire trace and a rotten-bottom, and you only have to drop it in the edge for the best chance of an eel or two. Fish the high tide from around 9pm onwards. If its whiting you’re after, mackerel strip cast around 40yds out will do the job.
If you drive along the A379 you’ll come to Bowcombe bridge and there are a few species to have a go at, such as flounders, schoolie bass and the odd conger eel. Small tides are best here, fishing either a flapper rig or running leger set-up. Light tackle is essential and baits including ragworms, lugworms and peeler crabs will all work well. Plan your visit over the flood or ebb tide – you should park your car on the upper side of the bridge.
If you’re not a local angler then you might not have heard of the North Corner Pontoon, but it’s a real winter hotspot and a ‘must-fish’ mark this weekend if you’re planning a session. There’s a wide range of species to target including codling, whiting, thornback rays, pouting, dogfish and conger eels, and the best times to fish are two hours before and two hours after high tide. This is because it can be quite tough to hold bottom when the tide is running hard. Anglers fishing here use running legers and Blueys or sandeels on the hook, although the pouting and whiting prefer lugworms or squid. If you’re after the congers, fish to the left of the pontoon and cast a pulley rig with a rotten-bottom towards the wall.
If you like conger eel fishing then you should head to Pemberth Cove because there’s a chance of fish to over the 20lb mark. This species is best targeted on a flood tide at night, and the locals use half a side of mackerel on a really strong hook and a wire trace. If you don’t want to sit it out for a specimen then there are plenty of pollack, pouting, dogfish and bull huss to be had on lugworms. Access is easy, and the parking is free at this time of year.
If you want to fish a comfortable evening venue then head for Newquay harbour. Squid, worms and mackerel will all tempt whiting, which are being caught in numbers. Two-hook flapper rigs with size 1/0 and 2/0 hooks are the order of the day and there’s no reason to cast further than 60yds. You should look to fish high tide at this productive mark.
Newquay headland isn’t one of those marks that only has room for a few anglers, because there’s plenty of space and the chances of hooking the likes of codling and whiting are good. The fishing is pretty straightforward, and a paternoster rig baited with lugworms, peeler crabs, squid or sandeels is best. For the biggest cod, cast as far as you can with a clipped-down rig and look to fish as the tide is halfway on the up and then on the way back down. There’s plenty of parking on the headland.
There are plenty of whiting and flounders to be caught off the harbour wall at Padstow, plus there’s a chance of some small bass. A cast of around 40yds with a simple running leger is all you need, and make sure you don’t forget lugworms and peeler crabs for bait. You need water to fish this mark, so visit at high tide ¬ and if you’re after flounders, add some coloured beads to your rig for extra attraction.
There have been some good catches of mullet reported from the mouth of the River Lyn, with several fish around the 4lb mark landed. The Town Bridge area has been particularly productive, and the majority of catches have been taken on bread, either floatfished at depth or legered just off the bottom. The hours of daylight have been best, if possible fishing on the flood tide. There’s loads of parking close by.
The low-water reef mark at Hinkley is worth a look with the current state of the tides and there’ll be the chance of catching cod, rays, whiting and dogfish. A cast of 50yds-60yds should put you in touch with the fish and big baits like squid or lugworms on Pennell pulley rigs are recommended. Parking is available close by.
There’s always the chance of a bit of rod-bending action at Mumbles pier, with dogfish, whiting and dabs the main species on offer. Access to the mark is only available between the hours of 9am and 4pm, and it fishes well at both low and high water. A gentle cast with mackerel and lugworms fished on two or three-hook rigs is all you’ll need, and the end section of the pier is always a favourite spot.
There have been cod to low double figures taken from the boats out of Swansea Bay on black lugworm, squid and clam baits fished on running leger rigs. Whiting and dabs are also being caught all the way around the coast by anglers using mackerel. Medium tides during the evening are the best to fish, and most areas are easily accessible.
Good numbers of flounders are being caught from the Llansteffan estuary, with up to a dozen fish a session possible. A good area to head to is in front of the Boat Club, and you can also leave your car here. There’s no need to cast to the horizon as a chuck of 30yds with squid or lugworms on a two or three-hook rig will get a few bites. For the best results fish mid-range tides during daylight.
A recent match on Tenby north beach saw plenty of flounders caught, with the majority falling to ragworms fished on three-hook flapper rigs. The Goskar Rock end of the beach is always a good area to head to for a few bites, and a cast of up to 50yds should put you among the fish. Similar tactics are also scoring on the south beach, where dabs and bass are being caught. It’s best to fish over low water and during the day for flounders, and at night for the bass. Free parking is available on the upper levels of the multi-storey car park which is just a two-minute walk away.
If you fish from the beach near the golf course then you’ll be in with the chance of catching turbot, whiting and dogfish. The main baits that have been working are razorfish, lugworms and sandeels, and if you present these on a two or three-hook flapper rig cast anywhere between 60yds and 100yds then you should be in for a few bites. The best sport is to be had during an incoming tide, and you can park your car behind the sand dunes. It is then a two-minute walk to the fishing.
An easily accessible mark whatever the weather is Cemlyn beach, where there are lots of small codling with the odd takeable fish included, plus whiting and pouting. The fish can be caught anywhere between 30yds and 100yds out, so it’s advisable to fish one rod close in and one at range. Most rigs will work here, and lugworms or peeler crabs always get a few bites. Evening is definitely the best time to be out, but the rocks at the end of the beach are often worth a go during the day.
One of the most consistent marks in the area at the moment is the Dee estuary, where anglers are catching codling, whiting and flounders. The main channel where the fish are caught from is only a short cast away, and lugworms and mackerel on two-hook flappers get the vote of local anglers. All tides tend to fish well, but the hours of darkness are better for the codling. The best place to park is at HSS Tool Hire, with the fishing only a five-minute walk away.
Two marks are worth a mention this week, as both Bromborough and Perch Rock are producing good catches of small codling, whiting and dabs. A cast of 40yds-60yds is fine at either venue, but there can be the odd snag at Perch Rock so bear this in mind when tackling up. Bromborough is best fished at high water, whereas Perch Rock is a good low-water mark. The better catches usually come during darkness, and black lugworms and mackerel baits work well at both.
Codling are still showing in good numbers all along the Lancashire coast, but the better stamp of fish have been caught from the Sea Cadet base at Fleetwood. There are lots of deep channels around this area which the fish shoal up in, and black lugworms have accounted for the majority of catches. If you can get out once the sun has set then you’ll have better results, and there’s plenty of parking nearby.
The bay at Morecambe is full of whiting at the moment, with anglers reporting multiple catches in a session. The North Wall at Heysham is also in-form and producing cod, flounders and dogfish. Clipped-down bomber rigs will work really well for the cod and whiting, best baits being red lugworms if you can get hold of them, black lugworms, mackerel and squid if you can’t. If you want to catch the bigger cod you have to be prepared to sit and wait using a large cocktail as bait.
Cod are the main species being caught from Harrington at the moment, with several better fish around 6lb taken. You don’t need to be a massive caster to enjoy success at this rock mark as a chuck of 40yds-50yds should put you in touch with the fish. Lugworms tipped with peeler crabs, razorfish or mussels fished on a Pennell pulley rig works well, but it’s advisable to use a rotten-bottom otherwise you’ll lose tackle in the snags. Night time tends to fish better, but if there’s a south-westerly wind blowing good catches can still be taken during the day.
ISLE OF MAN
There’s a multitude of species on offer at the Point of Ayre on the northern end of the island, including mackerel, coalfish, dogfish, bass and gurnards. Most local anglers use either two-hook paternoster or Pennell rigs with lugworms, sandeels or ragworms as bait. Evening and night tend to fish better, but the mackerel and coalfish can still be caught during the day.
Although reports have been thin on the ground of late, there are still a few whiting and small codling being caught from the Yellow Isle. Arm yourself with lugworms, mussels and mackerel fillets and you’ll be covered on the bait front, while rig-wise a two-hook flapper will be fine over the clean ground. If possible try and fish the flood tides during the hours of darkness.
If you head to the fish cages or the quarry at Loch Fyne there’s a variety of species to target, including spurdogs, lesser-spotted dogfish, thornback rays, whiting and the odd codling. You don’t need anything complicated at this mark and a simple paternoster or running leger with either fish or lugworm baits will be more than enough for a few bites. Parking is available close by.
If you fancy the chance of catching some big spurdogs then the Bonawe quarry area on the north shore of Loch Etive is well worth a look. There are plenty of deep holes close in, so you don’t need to cast to the horizon, and mackerel fished on a simple running leger rig is all you’ll need to catch. There’s plenty of free parking available close to the fishing.