Shore Sea Fishing Guide, for Great Britain by Colin Marriott


Walcott, Norfolk 
Comes in to form with thornback ray from May to July joined by bass, sole and some smoothound in June. September sees good numbers of whiting, with codling arriving in October. Flounder show during the pre Christmas period with dabs evident for most of the year.
Top spring in to summer bait is peeler crab for the bass and smoothound, with mackerel and squid cocktails or a herring fillet working well for the thornbacks. Sole take rag or lug, as will the flounder and the whiting, though tipping the worm with fish picks out the better whiting. Bigger bass and the cod prefer lug tipped with squid.
Due to the ground here being almost totally clean you can fish 15lb line with a 60lb shock leader using a 4 to 6oz beachcaster and a 6500 sized reel. Leads should be 5oz for most conditions, but a 6oz lead is occasionally needed during rough seas and big tides.
For the bass, cod and smoothound a one-hooks clipped down rig with a size 3/0 to 4/0 Viking pattern hook is ideal, though some anglers choose to fish two hooks pennel style. For shorter range fishing a three-hook flapper and size 2 Aberdeen's catches plenty of fish, as will a one up/one down rig.
The sand is backed by shingle and a sea wall which the tide can reach on the bigger spring tides. Most anglers fish either side of high water, but the two hours either side of low water is also productive, especially for the distance casters who can put a bait out towards an offshore sandbank which is evident by surf breaking over it. Also fish the inner gully as the tide floods. Some good sole are caught fishing the scooped out areas of sand at the ends of the wooden groynes over high water.
Come off the A149 at Stalham and head for the Bacton Gas Station sites, or from North Walsham take the B1150. The B1150 runs along the seafront with parking available.

Bacton, Norfolk
Bass seem to be all year round here nowadays, but peak in May/June and September/November. Some good smoothound are taken in May and June if the weather is hot and settled. Whiting show from October through to January, with the main cod season running from October to January, with a spring run occurring through March in to April. Also expect a few sole, dabs and flounder.
BAITSCrab is essential for the smoothound and picks out the bigger bass. Fish black lug for the cod and autumn bass tipping with squid or blow lug. Dabs, sole and flounder take blow lug or ragworm. Tip with fish for the better whiting.
Not much in the way of snags here and you're casting on mainly clean sand with patches of shingle in to a decent depth of water over both low and high tide. There is a gully running parallel with the beach that carries good fish, and a sandbank at 150yds or so out from the low water mark that sees good fish taken by casters who can reach over this.
Fish are caught by day, but it fishes best at night over high and low water. It can carry heavy weed after storms. The tide pull is strong on the spring tides.
Distance is the key here and reaching that low water offshore sandbank, so choose a 5-6oz beachcaster with a 6500 sized reel carrying 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader. The top cod and bass rig is a clipped down rig carrying two 3/0 Viking pattern hooks with a 5oz grip lead. Three hook flappers work well for the flatfish and whiting using size 2 Aberdeen hooks, but cut down to size 6 hooks when after the sole in the main gully.
The summer smoothies also tend to work along the outside of the low water sandbank, but along with the bass move in to the gully as the tide floods in.
Situated on the B1159 between Walcott and Mundesley. From North Walsham take the B1150 following the gas sites off the A149 at Stalham. There is limited parking here with the best bet being towards the Ship Pub.

Corton, Suffolk
Cod run from October through to April, with a quick dip in  numbers during February. By early May bass show over the rougher ground. Some  good sole are taken from June to late September, though of late sole were still  being caught here in late October. Whiting and dabs move inshore from September  and linger until early January.
Black lug tipped with blow lug, or just big blow lug baits  works best for the cod. For the whiting and dabs, fish lug or rag tipped with  mackerel, squid or sandeel. Peeler crab in the spring and summer is best for  bass, with squid a good late autumnal bait. Peeler crab is also the killer bait  for the spring codling run in late March and April. Ragworm is best for the  sole, though blow lug will take fish too.
You can fish between the wooden groynes where the sea comes  right to the top over high water, or where the sea wall has broken up around  the headland, but tackle losses can be high here. A top spot is Tramps Alley  which has been a top rated cod spot for years with some big fish taken from  here.
With the likelihood of snags go for a 5-6oz beachcaster, Penn  525 type reel and 20lb line. Carry grip leads up to 6oz as the tide run is fast  here, though most fish are caught at medium range during the small to medium  sized tides, but the spring can fish well if you can cope with the tide run..
For the bass and cod fish a pulley rig using 60lb main rig  body line to a 30lb hook trace with single size 4/0 hooks better than two-hook Pennel  rigs. For the smaller species a three-hook flapper works well using size 2  Aberdeen’s, but drop down to size 4 or 6 Partridge Aberdeen Perfect’s or  Kamasan’s for the sole.
Take the A12 northward out of Lowestoft  and take the right turn in to Corton Long lane just before the A12 becomes a  dual-carriageway. Turn right at the T-junction passing through a wood, then  where the road dips there is a footpath down to the beach. You can park  opposite the Pitch and Putt car park.

Chapel St. Leonards, Lincolnshire
Flounder and bass show from mid May onwards, with smoothound arriving in July. The same time period can also turn up the occasional thornback ray, and in recent season a few stingray have been caught. The whiting show from mid September onwards along with dabs, with the first of the cod in early October. There can also be a spring run of codling in March and April.
Peeler crab is the essential summer bait for the bass, flounder and smoothound. The thornback take both mackerel and peeler, or a cocktail of the two. By September switch to lug tipped with mackerel or sandeel for the whiting and dabs, with big black lug baits tipped with blow lug or squid strip for the cod. White rag works well on this beach, especially for the early autumnal cod at long range.
A clean featured beach, shallow in nature, but with deeper parallel gullies running along its length. The water is deepest towards the point on the left hand side. Stick to night fishing, especially in the summer months as holidaymakers like this beach for bathing.
The knack is to locate the gullies and make sure you cast in to these as the fish congregate here. It fishes best on the bigger spring tides either side of low water and up to high water. Some rays and cod can still be caught at long range on the ebb by good casters.
Distance can help here, so a fast running multiplier reel loaded with 15lb line and 60lb shock leader matched to a 5-6oz beachcaster is the best combination. For general fishing for the whiting, flounders and school bass a simple three-hook flapper with size 1 Aberdeen hooks takes plenty of fish.
For the cod then a clipped down paternoster with two 3/0 Viking pattern hooks on the hook link is a good choice. The same rig produces all the bass, smoothound and rays, but a single 3/0 to 4/0 Viking hook is preferred for these.
Located between Skegness and Mablethorpe on the A52 and parking is available.

Dunwich, Suffolk
Fishing kicks off with plaice in April and May, with bass arriving in June and staying until November. June onwards sees some good sole, with August the peak month. Whiting arrive in September along with the dabs, with cod showing from October through to April.
For the sole and plaice fish rag or blow lug. Crab takes the plaice and the bass and is also good for October cod. A whole squid or mackerel head can also pick up the bigger bass cast close in amongst the surf tables. Whiting take mackerel strip, with the cod taking lug baits tipped with squid.
A sandy beach backed by shingle giving a decent depth over high water. The beach has gullies and sandbanks running parallel which hold the fish. It fishes best in an east to southeast wind after a period of rough weather.
Neap tides can produce, but for the cod and bigger bass stick to the spring tides. It fishes best the three hours up to high water and right down the ebb. Long range casters pick up the better cod during the ebbing tide. The tide on big springs can reach up to the base of the cliffs.
Typical 4 to 6oz beachcasters with a 6500 reel and 15lb line with a 60lb shock leader are adequate here, and will give the necessary casting range.
The sole can be close in and fall to a standard three-hook flapper using 15lb hook traces and size 6 Aberdeen's. Up the hook traces to 20lbs for the dabs and whiting. The plaice take best on a wishbone rig with size 2 Aberdeen's. For the bass and cod go for a clipped down rig with one or two Viking type 3/0 hooks on. 5 to 6oz leads cover all situations.
At Blythburg on the A12 take the B1125 and take the left turn at the crossroads. Follow on to Dunwich village with the road ending in a large car park behind the beach.

Hopton, Suffolk
The bass show from May through to November along with the odd flounder and sole. The whiting arrive in early October followed by the cod which peak around Christmas, but with a spring run in late March to April.
Most local anglers fish fresh blow or black lug, though frozen black lug can also fish really well here. You'll pick up more cod if you tip with squid, and for the whiting tip with either frozen mackerel or sandeel. The dabs take sticky black lug best.
White rag can be a killer bait here, especially for the early season codling at long range, and in daylight for the bass. Peeler crab also works well for both summer bass and winter cod.
This is a pretty shallow beach made up of clean sand and clay backing on to groynes. It fishes well on the flood but tends to produce its best fishing in the three hours before low water during the bigger spring tides.
Tides can pull hard here, so choose a 5-6oz beachcaster with a reel loaded with 15 to 18lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Carry both 5 and 6oz grip leads, the latter with long tails to increase grip during the tide run.
Top rig for general species such as flatties and whiting is a three-hook flapper armed with size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen hooks. For the dabs drop down to a size 6 Aberdeen. For long range fishing switch to a two-hook clipped down rig, again with the size 2 Aberdeen's.
For both bass and codling a simple clipped down rig is the most consistent rig. Use a single 4/0 Viking hook for the bass, and a two-hook pennel rig using twin 4/0 Vikings for the cod.
LOCATIONHopton lies off the A12 between Gorleston and Lowestoft. At the big roundabout take the road signposted Hopton and at the T junction take the left turn then the immediate turn to the right. Go through the village following the road to where the houses end with beach access down the steel steps.

Kessingland, Suffolk
Late May through to July sees a few smoothounds taken. May to September is the best time for the sole and the bass. The whiting arrive mid September followed by the codling in October, both staying through until February, with a spring run of codling in late March through April.
BAITSThe sole take small rag or blow lug baits. Fish crab for the smoothound and bass in the summer. Autumn bass and codling also take peeler. By late October switch to black lug or blow lug tipped with squid for the codling, with the whiting taking lug or mackerel strips. Peeler comes back in to the picture for the spring run of codling.
TACKLE & TACTICSTypical beach gear is a 5-6oz beachcaster matched to a 6500 sized reel loaded with 15lb line and 60lb shock leader as the beach is virtually snag free. You will need both 5 and 6oz grip leads here as there is a good tide run on the spring tides.
For the sole fish a three-hook flapper, but with size 6 Kamasan Aberdeen hooks and lighter 10lb hook traces. The smoothound, bass and cod are best targeted with a one-hook clipped down rig using a size 3/0 to 4/0 hook, though a two-hook pennel rig using two Viking hooks size 3/0 is preferred by some. A three-hook flapper with size 1 Aberdeen's will take the whiting.
During rougher weather it's the distance casters that take the bulk of the fish, but in calmer seas the fish can be relatively close in.
The beach is made up of sand and shingle with banks and gullies formed by the fast tide run. There are sandbanks at 60yds and 175yds with a deeper gully in between that carries the bulk of the fish. The water is deeper on the southern side towards the point.
South of Lowestoft at the A12 roundabout take the next turning left after the Wildlife Park. Follow this road through to the seafront. As the road turns to the right there is some car parking available with the beach adjacent.

 Lowestoft, Suffolk
Lowestoft, like all east coast ports, gets little publicity regards it's angling potential. Certainly, the wealth of species found on the west coast are not present here. However, the winter fishing can be good with cod the predominant species.
Most of the ground is fairly clean with little in the way of snags. The water is fairly shallow inshore, though wrecks out in deeper water have been proved to hold stocks of cod throughout the summer months, along with ling and probably pollack. Longliners work banks 40 miles off in the summer returning with cod well over 20 and 30lbs. This offshore potential has yet to be tapped by angling boats.
January and February give a good chance of cod over 20lbs, with numbers of smaller codling to 6lbs and double figure fish. Whiting and dabs make up the rest of the catch. March and April sees numbers of smaller codling taken with whiting moving out. Thornback rays show close inshore from May, but not in great numbers. Bass hunt the inshore sandbanks along with occasional smoothound right through the summer and early autumn. The smoothound though, are generally the smaller fish. Dogfish and mackerel, more associated with the west of Britain also put in an appearance, but again not in the same numbers. Tope are present, mainly smaller pack fish between 12 and 18lbs. These are hit and miss though.
Winter species return with the whiting stocks increasing during late August followed by the vanguard of the cod shoals during September. Dab catches can be good at this time too. The best of the cod for numbers come in November and December, though heavy shoals of sprats can push them out of reach.
The bigger spring tides tend to give the best of the cod fishing, though when after whiting and dabs it is far less critical. Smaller codling show on the neaps too.
In summer, rays require bigger tides as do the bass which tend to show over the offshore banks during the calmer spells of weather along with the smoothound.
Standard uptide rods and reels cover just about all circumstances here, but some anglers choose a 20lb class standard length boat rod for specific downtide fishing. Some of the further off marks suit the addition of 30lb class tackle.
Uptide leads of 6 and 8ozs with long wires will hold just about anywhere, but for downtide fishing carry some upto 1lb or 1 1/2 lbs for guaranteed anchoring.
By far the most used bait here, and therefore the most successful, is lugworm. Mainly the blow lug type which is used in multiples to get a bait at least 8ins long for cod and codling. Mackerel, cut into small strips, takes dabs and whiting. Bass, rays, and any tope hit bigger mackerel and herring baits in the summer. Both bass and smoothound go well on peeler crab which seems to get little used locally.

Skegness, Lincolnshire
Spring and summer for eels, bass, and sole. From October whiting, cod and flounder are taken.
Peeler crab is the key to finding the bigger bass, eels and flounder here through until September. Lug and rag works well for the flounder and sole. Crab remains a good bait here for the early codling until November when you should switch to lug baits tipped with razorfish or rag.
The beach is pretty much all clean ground and fairly shallow, so distance casting can be an aid to catching ore fish. A 5-6oz beachcaster and 6500 reel loaded with 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader is preferred to get the range.
Top rigs are a three-hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen's for the eels and flounder, but drop to size 6 Aberdeen's when targeting the sole. For the bass and codling a one-hook clipped down rig is the best, though some anglers prefer two hooks mounted Pennel style in size 2/0 or 3/0 for the cod. Leads of 5ozs will hold in most conditions, but carry 6oz grippers when fishing a big winter sea.
This is a very popular tourist beach and is only fishable after dark in the summer. The best area is on the left side of the pier over high water during the bigger spring tides.
In winter you can fish from low water right through high and for the two hours down the ebb. This is the time when long range casting can really improve your results. Look for a breezy easterly to northeast wind for the cod.
From Boston take the A52 for Skegness, or if coming from Lincoln use the A158. As you come through Skegness there are plenty of signs for the seafront. Car parking available.
Southwold Pier Pavilion, North Parade, Southwold Suffolk, IP18 6BN : Tel 01502 722105
The first wooden pile for the original Southwold Pier was driven on 2nd October 1899.  When finished in the summer of 1900, the pier extended to approximately 810ft with a T-end.  The main purpose of the pier was as a landing stage for the "Belle" steamships that would bring holidaymakers to the town on the route from Great Yarmouth to Southend. Over the years the pier was damaged by a sea mine and several storms until it was only about a hundred feet long then in 1999 it was decided to rebuild it to a length of 623feet and completed in 2002.
Access to the pier is restricted to 9am to 4pm daily and extended until 8pm in July/August Fishing permits are available at £6.00p per a day, permit obtainable from cafe on the Pier
Species - Cod, whiting, pouting, dabs, plaice, thornback rays, bass, smoothound, dogfish, mackerel,    
When to fish - January and February give a good chance of cod over 20lbs, with numbers of smaller codling to 6lbs and double figure fish. Whiting, pouting, dabs and plaice make up the rest of the catch. March and April sees numbers of smaller codling taken when the whiting move out. Thornback rays show close inshore from May, but not in great numbers. Bass and the occasional smoothound can be caught right through the summer and early autumn. The smoothound though, are generally the smaller fish. Dogfish and mackerel, more associated with the west of Britain also put in an appearance, but again not in the same numbers. Tope are present, mainly smaller pack fish between 12 and 18lbs. These are hit and miss though. Winter species return with the whiting stocks increasing during late August followed by the vanguard of the cod shoals during September. Dab catches can be good at this time too. The best of the cod for numbers come in November and December, though heavy shoals of sprats can push them out of reach, the bigger spring tides tend to give the best of the cod fishing, though when after whiting and dabs it is far less critical.  In summer, rays require bigger tides as do the bass which tend to show during the calmer spells of weather along with the smoothound.
Techniques and Baits : Most Angler use  lugworm. tipped with pieces of squid or fish stripes. Mainly the blow lug type which is used in multiples to get a bait at least 8ins long for cod and codling. Peeler crab during the summer in Autumn can produce the larger fish and in winter a whole squid is not too large for the bigger cod.  Mackerel, cut into small strips, takes dabs and whiting. Bass, rays, and any tope hit bigger mackerel and herring baits in the summer. Both bass and smoothound go well on peeler crab.
Location : From A12 travel to Southwold at the first roundabout turn left onto North Road and follow along to junction with North Parade  the  Pier is directly in front of you. Plenty of parking to left of the Pier in large  Pay and Display car park,

North East

Craster Harbour, Northumberland
There are 2 piers, which form Craster Harbour, the South jetty has a overhang which makes casting difficult and the North pier which has a 8 foot wall to cast over. Cast either just in front of the south pier or into the gully in front of the north pier. There is an island which is submerged at high tide in front of the rocks to the north of the harbour the gully which runs between the rocks and this island is also worth a try. 
If the harbour is busy go north or south of the harbour and fish the rocks. The first thing you realize is that the area in front of the rocks is a short distance between high and low water due to the steep incline of the rocky shore, this means that most of the rocks are fishable if you have a decent cast.

Species -  Plaice, mackerel, eels, bass, whiting, conger, coalfish, cod, flounders.
When to fish - The spring and summer are the best months for mackerel, eel, bass, whiting, and BIG plaice, whilst the winter ones are good for conger, whiting, flounders, coalfish and cod.
Techniques and bait - Best bait is rag, lug, peeler crab, mackerel, mussels, cockles, razerfish and squid. For an alternative try a '1 up 1' down rig with rag tipped with mackerel. Sand eels dead or alive and peeler are good for bass and cod especially but will work for many types of fish. Feathers are mainly used for mackerel fishing and are cast and retrieved in the same way as a spinner. Larger feathers can be used for cod and other bigger fish. When fishing off the rocks you will need to take plenty of weights, as it is very rough bottom from 25 yards to about 80 yards out. Be careful as the tide comes in - it can get behind you.
Location -   On A1 road, whilst passing Alnwick turn of East towards Denwick. Just prior to Denwick turn left onto B1430 which becomes Windyside Hill into Craster, follow the road round to the right and the Harbour is on your left, park in the  pay and display car park. If you want to fish the rocks to the north when you come into Craster and the harbour is facing you, there is a left and right turn take the right about 40yds you come to a junction turn right then immediately left park up at the little park at end of street. Walk down and fish off the rocks anywhere in front of the row of cottages. Another alternative is to follow the main road south through the village and you can park (for free) next to a football field. The sea in front of the football field is protected from the north and east by a rocky outcrop. Follow the footpath south to reach the 'black hole', even if there are a lot of angler here there is plenty of room for all, which gives excellent fishing

Blackhall, Durham
Cod and coalfish
Winter fish are targeted with big black lug baits tipped with mussel or squid. Mussel is a good bait just on its own. Red summer rock cod take peeler crab, and frozen crab fished through the winter works well on both cod and coalfish.
This is a rough ground mark that fishes best with some colour in the water and a good swell by day or night. It carries fish throughout the flood and ebb tide, though the ebb tide fish are usually a little further out requiring a good cast. One of the best parts of the beach is at the southern end where an old ships boiler can be seen at low tide.
A tough 5-6oz beachcaster such as a Century Nemesis or Fox Rock Runner with a 7000 sized multiplier reel carrying 30lb line and a 60lb shock leader is needed to combat the difficult terrain. Casting distance is not the key and most locals dispense with the leader and just fish 30lb line straight through. 5 and 6oz leads are needed, but try adding wires to lead as the wires often stop the lead sitting down in to the cracks in the rock and snagging saving tackle and fish.
The top rig is a pulley rig made from 60lb mono using a section of 40lb line off a swivel as the hook link. A two-hook pennel rig mounting two size 4/0 Viking type hooks in tandem is best. Always fish a weak link system to the lead as losses can be high.
LOCATIONSituated on the A1086 just after Blackhall Colliery. Park either in the picnic site car park or on the main coast road and walk down the cliff path.

Church Bank, Tyne and Wear
Rated a top year round flounder mark by locals, it also produces eels in summer, with whiting and codling in winter.
BAITSPeeler crab is the main bait for everything, though the codling also take lug baits and the whiting sandeel or mackerel strips.
You're fishing from a safe quay wall in to deepish water which is constantly dredged to allow free access to shipping. The better fish, including the codling, tend to come from this deeper channel about 100yds out. You can lose some tackle on the ledges the dredgers leave, but the fish will run along the ledges, so it's worthwhile risking a bit of kit.
The flounder can be fished for with a 2-4oz bass rod and reel holding 15lb line and 30lb shock leader. A good rig is a one up/one down rig using size 2 Kamasan Aberdeen's to a 2oz lead.
For the winter codling and whiting, then a 5-6oz beachcaster, a reel like a Penn 525 loaded with 18lb line and 60lb shock leader are needed to get the casting distance. A good rig is a long and low using a 30-inch 30lb hook trace ending with a single 3/0 Viking hook. Leads need to be 2ozs for the flatties, but 5 to 6oz grippers for the winter fishing.
The eels can be taken right below the wall during the summer.
Take the A19 southern exit of the Tyne Tunnel and head west along the A185 for Hebburn. Turn right at the traffic lights in the town centre, go past the Metro Station then turn right at the Riverside Park mini roundabout. At the next junction turn left for the river and go past the church with the mark located at the base of the bank. Good free parking here.
 Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear
Cod to double figures and coalfish.
Black lug tipped with blow lug, frozen crab or mussel are the favoured baits here, but fresh crab is the killer from spring to autumn.
This is a sandy beach flanked by breakwaters and rock ledges. The ledges to the south side have easier access than those to the north side. You fish from the rocks and from the breakwaters if conditions allow. The ground is rocks with weed, but there are a few clearer patches amongst it.
The bigger tides fish the best, though cod can show at any time ebb or flood and this venue is noted as a big fish mark with cod well in to double figures taken every year, even in daylight though the best fishing is at night with care. The south side is favoured during rougher seas whipped up by a south-easterly wind. Winter time produces the best overall catches.
With the ground heavy and weedy, plus the chance of a bigger than average cod then you need tough gear. Something like a Century Nemesis or Fox Rock Runner matched to a 7000 sized multiplier loaded with 25lb line and a 60lb shock leader is okay, though some local anglers prefer tougher reels such as the Penn 535 or ABU 9000's loaded with 30lb line straight through.
Pulley rigs take a lot of fish here, but make them from 60lb mono and have the hook link no more than 18-inches long. Always fish a weak link to the lead weight to avoid rig and fish losses should the lead get snagged.
Never fish this area alone. Big seas can sweep ashore and up the rocks after a big sea has been built up.
Dinghy anglers also launch there boats here and target the cod offshore during the day working over the rough ground with small pirks and baited feathers.
Cullercoats is located off the A193 between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. Parking available.
Dene Holm Horden, Durham
Mainly noted for its winter codling and whiting fishing best from September through to April, it can also produce bass from July to October, plus dabs and flounder all year round.
The codling take black lug tipped with blow, lug, ragworm, mussel, razorfish or clam. For the whiting and bigger winter dabs tip worm baits with mackerel or sandeel strip. The flounder and bass take crab and worm, or a combination of the two.
The beach is mainly clean sand backed by shingle and rock. It is a noted low water mark when good casters can reach deeper water and can take good catches of codling and cod. At high water casting distance is less effective with the majority of fish caught within 60yds of the tide line.
It fishes best with a light east to northeast wind blowing, especially at night, or by day in well coloured water.
Typical local tackle is a 4-6oz beachcaster, 6500 sized reel with 15 to 18lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Rigs vary, but a good choice for the dabs and whiting is a standard clipped down three-hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen's. The long range codling and the summer bass are best targeted with a one-hook clipped down rig using 30lb hook links and a size 3/0 Viking pattern hook. Some anglers prefer a pennel hook system for added insurance.
Grip leads up to 6ozs should be carried, though 5oz will hold in most conditions.
Dene Holm is accessed off the A1085 coast road heading north and turning off at the end of Horden Bank on to Cotsford Lane where there is a small car park. However thieves can sometimes break in to cars in this car park, so it's best to park by the nearby houses.
 Frenchmans Bay, Tyne and Wear
SPECIESPrimarily a winter cod mark, but some coalfish and dogfish are caught throughout the year. Red rock cod to 5lbs show from June to September.
The summer cod are best fished for with peeler crab. Crab remains a good bait through until early November, then local anglers switch to lug tipping with razorfish, mussel or frozen crab. The coalfish take the same baits.
A rough seabed here with tackle and fish loses likely. You're casting off the top of the cliffs and need to haul fish up through thin air. Look for a period of strong easterly winds and aim to fish for the two hours either side of high water. It fishes well both day and night in these conditions, especially as the sea is dropping.
Powerful rods such as the Fox Rock Runner or Zziplex Dymic HST have the power to lift good fish, but need to be matched with 9000 sized reels loaded with 30lb to 35lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Make the leader longer than normal to aid the landing of fish.
A pulley rig made from 60lb mono ending in a single Mustad Viking 4/0 or 6/0 to match the bait size is the only rig to consider. Leads need to be 6oz release wire type. Some anglers add a lead lift to get the lead weight up quickly when retrieving to re-bait.
Be careful when standing close to the cliff edge has it is being constantly eroded here.
From South Shields head south along the seafront on the A183. Look for the New Crown Pub and continue on for another half mile. Roadside parking available.
Hartlepool has established itself as one of the top wreck cod venues in the country. For sheer consistency of catches it proves hard to beat. The harbour area has undergone refurbishment and now sports a modern marina complex and has helped attract anglers from all corners of the UK.
The popular inshore marks along the coast are reef and rough ground with tackle grabbing kelp beds. The fishing over these tends to be done on the drift, though on big tides and during unsettled weather with swinging winds some experienced skippers prefer to anchor up over the reefs and rough and take better catches than when drift fishing.
Wrecks dominate the fishing from this port. Some wrecks lay close to shore and offer good sport with the smaller fish but do hold the odd monster. It's the offshore wrecks past 20 miles, often 30 miles out, a war legacy, that give up the best fish and bigger catches.
The main inshore fishing is done with codling in mind. Fish to 3lbs are average,but there is a sprinkling of bigger fish to 10lbs. These are virtually a year round target and are accompanied by coalfish, small ling and even occasional haddock. The summer sees ballan wrasse and pollack over the same ground. Cleaner marks hold whiting and flatfish.
Because of the rough nature of the seabed most of the fishing is done with baited feathers on the drift. Two muppets worked above a smaller pirk can be effective for the bigger codling.
The offshore wrecks are the home of cod well over 20 and 30lbs. These are fished for with heavy pirks from 12ozs to 1lbs. The best time to try for a 20lb plus fish is in the late summer and autumn period with August and September the favoured months. Ling over 30lbs also make a home alongside the cod and are joined by occasional angler fish and coalfish, plus good haddock. Infact, those seeking a now universally rare haddock could do worse than use Hartlepool as their main attack point. Single large fish baits do take a few turbot too.
The tides make wreck fishing at anchor for conger very difficult, but huge eels have been commercially trawled up from cleaner ground close to the wrecks and potential British record eels are down there. Any boat deciding to give anchoring a real try may well set a new precedent for the port that will run the cod fishing close in popularity.
Some tide run over the rougher inshore ground helps increase the catches, so it's the middle to larger tides that are favoured for general drift fishing. However, the smaller neaps can still produce good catches, especially as seas are settling after a blow.
Over the wrecks, then you must target the neaps as giving the best opportunities. On the bigger tides the boats drift can be rapid with minimal time for lures and baits in the fish killing zone.
TACKLE Experienced anglers here choose mainly 50lb class rods and reel for all wreck pirk and lure work. If you're fishing a single pirk with a couple of muppets above, then the three fish you hook could conceivably be all 20lbers. With deep water and a good tide run you need all the lifting power you can get. Some anglers do fish a single smaller pirk on 30lb gear, but these are few and far between.
The favoured pirks are the slimmer .75in type upto a foot long which sink better than those from heavier diameter tubing. These are armed, sometimes with treble hooks, but more likely with single 8/0 to 10/0 O'Shaughnessy pattern. Some anglers use two or three hooks on slightly different lengths of line. The movement of the hooks when the pirk is worked adds to the lures catchability.
Muppets in the larger 5in to 9in sizes work best with favoured colours being pink and black. However, all colours will catch fish. Try different ones on the day. Adding a muppet to the pirks hook can also help improve the days catch. Fluorescent yellow works well.
A 30lb rod and reel combination is okay over the inshore marks for feathering etc, and for the occasional spot of ledgering. The best feathers are the normal white cod type on 4/0 hooks and keep these sharp.
For baited feather work use mussels, lug, rag even crab and clams, with fish a useable but less effective standby.
For the big wreck ling try baiting the pirks hooks with a couple of fillets or a full fresh flapper mackerel. Some of the biggest cod also hit this combination.

 Hornsea, East Yorkshire
SPECIESWinter fishing is for cod and whiting, with summer giving thornback ray and bass. Flounder and dabs are caught throughout the year.
BAITSPeeler crab is the top bait for the spring run of codling in April and May, also for the bass and the odd thornback. From September on black lug tipped with blow lug or rag, alternatively a strip of squid or razorfish produces the cod. Tip smaller lug baits with mackerel for the whiting and dabs.
Fishes best by day with a good colour in the water, and especially at night during the bigger spring tides. Local anglers look for a light to moderate north-east wind as being ideal. Try to locate the deeper gullies and holes for the best fishing. Either side of low water and right up the flood tide fishes well, but cod can still be caught at range on the ebb.
Although fish can be caught at close range in a good swell with colour in the water, the big catches are more likely at long range, so a 5-6oz beachcaster and an ABU 6500 or Penn 525 Mag reel loaded with 15 to 18lb and a 60lb shock leader is the common choice.
For long range cod, ray and bass fish a two-hook pennel rig clipped down using 4/0 Viking hooks. At short range a long and low rig is best, again with the two 4/0 hooks making the hook trace about 30-inches long. For flatties and whiting go with a three-hook flapper clipped down and size 2 Aberdeen hooks.
Using the A165 branch on to the B1242 heading through Catwick and Seaton and carry on to Hornsea. This brings you on to the main sea front with the beach below.

 London Rock, Hartlepool
Produces summer rock cod from June to September. From September through to May this is a good mark for codling to 8lbs, coalfish and big three bearded and shore rockling.
For the summer cod fish fresh peeler or soft backed crab. Fresh or frozen crab works well from November on. Lug is a reliable bait too, especially when tipped with mussels, razorfish or ragworm. Big mussel baits also produce well.
The mark produces best the two hours either side of low water, especially after a blow when the water is well coloured, which brings the cod inshore in numbers. You're fishing from exposed rocks in to gutters and deeper holes filled with kelp.
Tough rods capable of casting big baits and 6ozs of weight and capable of bullying decent fish back over heavy snags are needed. Reels such as ABU 7000's, Penn 535 Mag's and ABU 9000's are the popular choice loaded with 30 to 35lb line straight through.
Most anglers fish a pulley rig made from 60lb mono to a 40lb hook length and a single 4/0 Viking pattern hook. The lead weight needs to be attached to the rig with a weak link system otherwise rig loss can be very heavy here. It's best to just fish the one rod. Due to the nature of the ground bites can and will drag the rod in to the water, so pay attention at all times.
Always fish with other anglers here and watch out for the surf washing over the rock edges and look for the tide filling in behind you.
Access is initially through Hartlepool on the A689 or the A179, then taking the A1049 to the headland. Parking is next to the War memorial Gardens. The ledges lay on the north side of the Heugh Breakwater.

 King Edwards Bay, Tyne and Wear
Summer time sees bass and freshwater eels, but it's mainly a winter venue for cod, coalfish, dabs and flounder.
The bass take peeler crab or ragworm, as will the eels. In winter the top bait is black lug tipped with blow lug, but tip with crab, mussel or razorfish. Just mussel works well in a coloured sea.
The ground is made up of mainly clean sand between rock scars. It pays to fish as close to the rock scars as you can for the cod, but the flatfish are caught from the mid section of the sand beach. It fishes best during the spring tides, especially during a southerly sea swell with present on both ebb and flood. It can produce daylight fish, but is best fished at night.
Over the sand you can get away with a Penn 525 Mag loaded with 18 to 20lb line and a 60lb shock leader matched to a long range 5-6oz beachcaster. Top rig for the flatties and coalies is a three-hook flapper with size 2 Kamasan Aberdeen hooks, but also try a one up/one down as this can out fish the flapper in calmer seas.
For the cod close to and in amongst the rocks choose a bigger 7000 sized reel and up the line strength to 25lbs. A pulley rig made from 60lb mono ending with either a single Viking 4/0, or rig two Viking 4/0's pennel style works best. Carry both 5 and 6oz grip leads as there is quite a tide run on the bigger tides.
The mark is situated on the A1058 between Newcastle and Tynemouth. At the Broadway Pub Roundabout go straight on for the seafront and turn south past the Grand Hotel. There is roadside parking near to Percy Gardens. Cross the road and access the beach down the steps.

 Newburn Groyne, Hartlepool
Little fished in the summer months, but it can produce school bass and flounder from June to September.
The best fishing is from October to march for codling, whiting, flounders and dabs.
Lug tipped with frozen crab, rag, squid strip or mussel takes the codling. Try worm tipped with sandeel or mackerel for the whiting and dabs, with lug tipped with mackerel for the flounder.
The beach is mainly clean sand fishing either left or right of the groyne but backs on to stone towards high water. It fishes best at night after a good blow has stirred up the sea. The tides rising from mid size to full spring are the best, though fish can be caught as the tides drop to middle sized neaps. Good casters find a good depth of water.
Fish can often be at close to medium range here, but the codling tend to show best at long range, especially in a big sea.
Maximise your casting distance when necessary with a 4-6oz beachcaster, 6500 sized reel and 15lb line to a 60lb shock leader. Top rigs here for the codling are a one-hook clipped down rig with a single size 3/0 to 4/0 Viking pattern hook. For the smaller species stick with a three-hook flapper and size 1 or 2 Aberdeen's. Carry 5oz leads for average conditions, but 6oz can hold better in a big swell.
The groyne is located on the south side of Middleton Pier heading north along Coronation Drive from Seaton Carew and has easy safe parking.

 Newton Haven, Northumberland
Winter cod and summer red rock cod dominate catches, but coalfish, big ballan wrasse and pollack also show, plus a few flounder and dabs.
A lug tipped crab cocktail is hard to beat, with rag, mussels and razorfish also good tippet baits with lug for the winter fish. In summer stick to crab for the wrasse with hardbacks often taking the bigger fish over 4lbs. Worm baits work well for the flatties.
This is rough ground and full of snags, so you need to fish heavy. Zziplex Dymic HST's, Fox Rock Runner's and equivalent Cono-Flex rods are popular here matched to Penn 535's and ABU 7000's loaded with 30lb line and a 60lb shock leader.
Most anglers here favour a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with a 40lb hook link to a single 4/0 Mustad Viking 79515. Fish the 5 to 6oz lead weight to a weak link system to save some tackle and snagged fish. Grip leads are advised.
Three-hook flapper rigs and size 1 to 2 Aberdeen's work best for the flatties.
You're fishing from rock skeers covered in weed over low water with the gullies in between filling in as the tide pushes in. The gullies can give good fish using a short cast. The mark fishes well at all stages of the tide, but is especially good during and just after a strong easterly blow in the winter. In summer pick a calm evening tide for the flatties and wrasse.
From Amble take the A1068 to Lesbury turning right on to the B1339 for Embleton. After Embleton turn right heading into High Newton-by-the-Sea, then Low Newton-by-the-Sea. There is a visitor's car park, then take the path by the side of the Chapel towards the mark.

 Old Town Wall, Hartlepool
Primarily a cod beach, with fish showing from September  through to April. Summer can give occasional plaice and the odd bass after a  good blow, but the fishing can be very consistent at this time.
Locals favour a big lug bait tipped with mussel, razorfish  or white rag, though in the early autumn fresh peeler crab will out fish it.  Frozen crab takes some fish if frozen down properly.
Ideal tackle is a 5-6oz beachcaster, tough Penn 525 or ABU  7000 sized reel loaded with 20lb line, and the best rig is a clipped down rig  with two size 4/0 Viking pattern hooks rigged Pennel style. Carry 6oz leads as  standard.
A big spring  tide is best at night, especially if the sea is just dropping away after a big  blow has past through. The ground is fairly clean casting between groynes, but  you need to climb over the wall and fish off the stone blocks, which have big  holes in between, so care is needed, especially when trying to land bigger fish.
A good tip is to look at the surf pattern and try to get  your baits out beyond the surf in to the quieter water, which is where the  bigger fish tend to hold, though there are good numbers of smaller codling  right in amongst the white water at times.
You can reach the wall off the A178 on the south side of Hartlepool. Parking is available in either the Yacht Club  or the Marina  car park, or you can park on the road behind the promenade near the apartments.  Walk the seawall and fish anywhere.

 Port Mulgrave, Yorkshire
Although capable of producing codling year round, the bulk of the fishing here is from September through to April for cod and coalfish.
Red rock cod take fresh or frozen peeler crab baits through the summer period along with lug and mussel. Winter fishing is with fresh or frozen black lug tipped with blow lug or mussel, frozen crab or squid. If you can get razorfish and fish just after a blow it can be deadly.
The ground is rough rocky gullies and kelp weed beds so tackle needs to be tough. Local anglers tend to fish with rods such as Zziplex Dymic HST's or Fox Rock Runners that have the power to be used with 30lb to 35lb line straight through on reels such as Penn Mag 535's or Abu 7000's and 9000's.
By far the best rig is a short pulley rig made from 60lb mono and a 35lb hook trace to a single 4/0 to 6/0 Viking pattern hook. Fish the lead to a rotten bottom system as losses can be heavy. Local angler's still fish grip leads here as the wires help to stop the leads falling in between the stones.
The best fishing comes casting out towards Kettleness Point to locate a deeper gutter that holds fish through most states of the tide. There are also rough ground gutters left and right of the harbour that produces good fish in rough seas.
Ideal weather conditions are a steady north to north-westerly sea to create colour and a good swell and fish the hour before and the two hours after low water.
Port Mulgrave is on the A174 between Saltburn and Whitby. There is roadside parking at the top of the cliffs above the harbour which should be adhered to. Don't park in front of people's houses. Follow the track down to the harbour walls.

 Ring of Stone, River Tees, Hartlepool
This is a winter cod and whiting mark fish well from September through to February. Some flounder are also taken. Summer produces smaller flounder, bass and eels.
Fresh crab is the best cold bait from September to November than a slow switch to big black lug baits tipped with blow lug, frozen crab, rag or razorfish is advised. Lug tipped with mackerel is good for the whiting with any flounder being a by catch on these baits. Crab and worm baits take the summer flounder, bass and eels.
The mark is situated just inside the North Gare breakwater and is made up of slag rock at the top but quickly dropping on to clean sand with patches of muddy sand. It will fish extremely well after a good blow from the northeast which seems to push the fish in. Cod over 12lbs can appear throughout the winter, but most fish are codling.
There is a fair depth of water when casting off the rock edges and this allows fishing at any state of the tide.
A 5-6oz beachcaster with a Penn 525 or 7000 sized reel loaded with 20lb line and a 60lb shock leader is the best option here as distance can help at times, especially around low water. There is also some tide run and 5 to 6oz grip leads are needed to hold down, especially if there is any weed in the water.
For the cod go for a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with a 30lb hook link and pennel mounted 3/0 Viking hooks. Three-hook flappers work well for the flounder and eels with size 2 Aberdeen hooks.
From Middlesborough and the A19 take the A1046 and A178 heading north for Seaton Carew. You can park on the main road in Seaton Carew and walk along the beach to the mark.

 Shore Fishing In Yorkshire
Anyone making a tour along the coastline of Yorkshire could not fail to be impressed. The traditional boundaries of Yorkshire – the Humber to the Tees provides a whole range of types of marks for the keen shore fisherman that would take a life time or two to become familiar with and understand in any depth – not that we ever stop learning. They include some of the most spectacular and picturesque scenery in the British Isles and some other not so pretty but of great interest to the angler. The techniques required to capitalise on the fishing are as varied as the coast itself.
One drawback with Yorkshire is that the variety of species which cannot match the coastlines bathed in the North Atlantic Drift but things have changed for the better with the advent of warming sea temperatures. Bass have much benefited from this change and what was once an extremely rare specie is now very much part of the Yorkshire angling scene. In fact a number of species has seen an increase in fortunes over the last few years.
Thornback rays were present along the Holderness but numbers were unpredictable, recent years have seen a more regular influx of this welcome species. What’s more they are caught over a greater portion of the angling year. Like many other areas around the British coast there has been an increase in both common and starry smoothound. Small turbot are another species which have arrived.
The more traditional species such as cod although not back to the numbers found in the seventies seem to be benefiting from recent restrictions in commercial fishing activity with fish of many different year classes being caught. Coalfish, pollack and wrasse are still taken regularly especially by those anglers now specifically targeting them. Another traditional fish of the sandy ground, whiting, has seen a spectacular increase in numbers over recent years and have become an important species for the match angler when the cod are not so obliging.
At the southern boundary of the Yorkshire coast is the river Humber. The river carries a huge amount of silt and the strong currents create a constantly cycle of change with the sandbanks being eroding in one place and deposited in others. Not surprisingly the river looks muddy and lifeless but looks are deceptive. Beneath surface many species of fish but for the angler there are the usual flounders and eels. In a good winter cod enter the estuary in numbers and penetrate past the Humber Bridge. I know this for a fact as I have caught them fishing just up-river of the bridge. Unfortunately access is limited on the North bank. Some access exists on the waterfront around Hull and good access at Paull a popular spot to the west of Hull. Then there is some difficult access around Sunk Island before reaching Spurn Head at the mouth of the estuary.
Spurn is nothing more than a sand spit, and a very narrow one at that. At the tip is deep water with a fierce current at mid tide and fishing is usually confined to two hours either side of low water. The peninsula itself can fish for cod on the smallest of tides as there is a very strong tidal current in the area. Flounders and eel can be caught from the estuary side and bass mostly schoolies from both sides. The one problem with Spurn is that it can be weedy particularly on southerly winds. Spurn exists as a result of the severe erosion of the Holderness coast. Material washed from the cliffs is carried south by the longshore drift and deposited at the mouth of the Humber to form the peninsula. The spit itself turns southeast, away from the dominant northerlies which cause the erosion.

 The Tyne
A popular venue for anglers from the north of England, but increasingly for anglers from cities and towns in the south in search of reliable sport with the smaller reef codling. Boats off the Tyne also put you in with a good chance of hooking a rare rod and line haddock.
The bulk of the fishing is practiced within 4 miles of shore over reefs and rough ground. A noted area is around St Mary's Island north of Whitley Bay. Here there are numerous reefs including the Briardene Shoals with it's massive kelp beds that harbor winter and summer cod.
Cleaner ground to the south holds whiting, pouting and haddock, the latter averaging about 4lbs, plus flatfish including some excellent dabs to 1lb plus. Plaice around 2lbs show during the summer from the inshore banks.
War time wrecks lay out beyond 20 miles and for the few boats fully equipped to tackle them have produced some outstanding cod action with fish to 40lbs recorded. Occasional big ling also show, and even more infrequently some massive coalfish. The tides make anchoring for conger, which undoubtedly inhabit the wrecks, just about impossible.
Inshore codling fishing lasts throughout the 12 month period. However, it's autumn through until early March when the best numbers of codling are feeding inshore. By late March a percentage of the smaller fish move out leaving a few larger double figure cod behind. Codling numbers increase again by August Whiting and dabs remain on the clean ground, with the summer bringing wrasse, pollack and pout onto the reefs. Mackerel can show close to shore during July on. June, July and August are good for the plaice.
The best of the wrecking is during the summer. This is when the 30lb plus cod and ling show, along with catfish. But given the weather winter wrecking is well worthwhile for cod into double figures and ling.
Tides are not critical here as most of the fishing is done on the drift over the inshore reefs. On the smaller neaps, some boats choose to anchor up and let the fish come to them. Drift fishing is the chosen method over the cleaner ground when chasing whiting and flatfish. On the wrecks, then the neaps are the tides to choose. Easterly winds cause the problems here, but nor'westerlies can produce excellent reef fishing close to shore.
You won't go far wrong if you choose a 20lb or 30lb class rod for all the inshore reef work. Match this to a multiplier holding 300yds of line. There are still some anglers here that prefer the direct drive of the large centre pin type reel.
Feathers, usually baited, small pirks and muppets are the lures to use for the codling. Hokkai feathers are very popular, as are daylights.
You'll need a 50lb class rod and multiplier for working heavy 1lb plus pirks over the wrecks. Many anglers choose to fish this tackle in conjunction with a back harness and butt pad to ease the work rate needed to keep the pirk moving and attractive to fish. A single muppet worked about 5 to 7 feet above the pirk on a short hook trace and baited often picks up those stray ling. Wire line is gaining popularity here. Again, a few centre pin reels are used by those who prefer a direct drive during retrieve.
Baited feathers prove excellent for the codling. Try mussel and worm for the best results, though clam scores too. A thin strip of mackerel worked over the top of the reef on light tackle is an alternative way of taking pollack. Reef wrasse feed on crab. Clean ground whiting and flatfish take shellfish baits and worm. King rag and lug cocktails are also effective.
Slim pirks weighing between 12ozs and 2lbs and about 10ins long have proved the most effective. Try adding a whole mackerel fillet, or slide a muppet onto the hook shank for extra fish appeal. Use a single big hook as opposed to a treble hook that will catch the wreck more frequently on the pirks. Mackerel makes the best bait for the biggest cod and ling.

 Tynemouth Castle Rocks, Tyne and Wear
Mainly a cod only venue, but some coalfish taken, the odd pollack and flatfish.
For the cod stick to big black lug baits tipped with blow lug, or fresh or frozen peeler crab. A good cod cocktail is black lug with two or three mussels whipped up the length of the worm. Try the same with a whole razorfish whipped along a black lug.
TACKLE & TACTICSYou can fish the rocky scars that work seawards on the southern side of King Edward's Bay for two hours either side of low water. The bay is full of rocks and boulders and swept by a good tide run, so it holds good numbers of cod and fish to 15lbs are taken every year here.
Care needs to be taken in northerly and easterly winds as anglers have been stranded on the rocks here due to big swells. Always fish in pairs.
Very rough ground and tackle losses can be very heavy. Locals fish heavy duty beachcasters such as the Conoflex Nemesis or the Fox Rock Runner matched to a sturdy reel like the ABU 9000 or Penn 535 loaded with 30lb line and no shock leader as casting distance is not too important.
A pulley rig made from 60lb mono is favoured here using a single 4/0 to 6/0 Viking pattern hook. Always fish a weak link system to the lead weight, which should be a wired 6oz lead as the wires help stop the lead jamming in the rocks and snagging.
From Newcastle take the A1058 heading east towards Tynemouth. At the Broadway roundabout go straight ahead for the seafront, then bear right towards Tynemouth. Continue on this road until you reach the castle. Parking is on the streets nearby. Access the marks down the steep stairs and short promenades, then it's a short walk across King Edward's Bay to the rocky scars.
One look at the British Record fish list tells you what Whitby is most famous for. Cod! It was here, during 1992, that the biggest ever rod caught cod of 56lbs 6ozs was taken aboard Stu Johnsen's boat "Sea Trek". In fact, Whitby has arguably the most consistent record for 30lb plus cod in the country with 40lbers on the cards at the right time. It sports a large modern charter fleet that caters for anglers from all over the UK, especially the North and Midlands. Fishing is for 12 months of the year, weather permitting.
The smaller traditional Yorkshire Cobles concentrate on rougher ground closer to shore over which a variety of species roam. There is some clean ground fishing for whiting, plaice, dabs etc, but most anglers choose the rough stuff for more desirable fish. The bigger, faster craft are there for the wreck fishing. There are large numbers of wrecks within 30 miles of shore thanks to wartime naval actions and the impetuous nature of the North Sea. Rough ground in deep water also gets attention and frequently turns up fish almost as big as the wrecks can. The old commercial fishing and spawning ground for cod, the Dogger Bank, lays out off Whitby.
SPECIESIf there is a quite spell, then it's March through May, but even then there is good ground fishing close to shore for codling, and bigger fish when the weather allows the wrecks to be visited. June is the start of the real fishing, which for the wreck boats lasts right through until January and February. Possibly the best month for wrecking is August, though September and October aren't far behind, and it's this period which is when some massive ling over 30lbs, a 46lber was taken back in the 80's, show along with cod over 40lbs.
The inshore grounds during the summer, autumn and winter give haddock, whiting, coalfish, pollack, wrasse, and cod to double figures, plus occasional 20lbers. Ling are also taken over 10lbs from the inshore and offshore rough, along with catfish and the occasional torsk. Turbot are resident over the offshore banks, and rarely talked of but nonetheless present, are occasional tope.
The tides do run fast on springs inshore, but are manageable. In fact, some boats alternate between anchoring and drifting the inshore marks with little difference in catches. Offshore wrecking is easier on neap tides, but fish are caught on springs too. Undoubtedly some massive conger live in the wrecks hereabouts, but the tides and rough conditions, and anglers preoccupation with the cod, will probably see them stay there.
Over the inshore ground most anglers pick a 20lb class rod and a reel like an ABU 7000C, 9000C or 10,000C with leads upto 8ozs for the majority of the fishing on the drift. Occasionally, a 30lb rod may be used if fishing at anchor. The bulk of this fishing is done with either a long trace about 4ft and twin 1/0 hooks baited with mussel, or on the drift with baited feathers, which is very popular and productive.
Offshore is a culture shock. It's 50lb class gear, 60lb line and pirks between 1lb and 2lbs. Reels are virtually all Penn Senators or Daiwa Sealines of 4/0 or 6/0 in size. Most anglers choose to use a butt pad and shoulder harness combinations to ease the strain on the back and hips through continually working the pirks. Occasionally, you can add a black or pink muppet above the pirk, but this really adds to the tackle losses, especially on the faster tides. That's the way to fish for cod here.
BAITSThe ling take big mackerel baits, especially if fished towards slack water, either added to a pirk, or fished alone as a plain hook bait. Some anglers rate adding a small cyalume light stick to the pirk as well. Pirks need to weigh between 12ozs and 1lbs.
For the inshore fishing, mussel is king for the codling. The feathers are used for the pollack and coalfish, with the haddock taking sometimes mussel, but mostly fish baits. Plaice take worm over clean ground. It's worth trying peeler crab in the summer for the better codling very close to shore. Lug works on the feathers too. Some anglers fish freelined king rag baits for the pollack over the shallower ground.

North West

Ballure, Isle of Man
A good venue this for smaller species including dabs, flounder, coalfish, whiting and dogfish. A few turbot also show in summer and autumn. Mackerel shoal tight to shore here during the big spring tides from June to September.
Local anglers tend to stick to mackerel strips or sandeel, but rag and lug will boost your catch here, and razorfish is a top bait for the flounder, especially later in the year.
This is an easy to fish clean sand beach backed by shingle towards high water. It is very shallow and although fish can be caught at close range on the flood the tide races across the sand and you're constantly on the move backwards so aim to be mobile. It fishes best either side of low water, and the hour over high water. Stick to night fishing, especially if the sea is carrying some surf as it brings the fish in.
Due to the clean ground 15lb main line and 50lb shock leader is ample with a 6500 sized reel and match style beachcaster, though the big hitters will take fish using more powerful rods at longer range.
Three-hook flapper rigs with size 1 or 2 Aberdeen hooks are ideal for the close range tactics, but switch to a two-hook clipped up rig when casting distance is needed. A Cascade rig is also a good choice here with the bottom longer trace picking up the flatties and the top trace catching the coalfish.
Deliberately moving the bait by choosing a flat plain lead can help you take more fish here. Also try and cast in to the slightly deeper gullies that can feature along this beach.
Easy to find by heading for Ramsey and then taking the South Promenade road for Queens Pier. There is parking by the pier and steps leading to the beach. Most anglers choose to fish well away from the pier.

 Beckfoot, Cumbria
Bass show from May through to November with the bigger fish showing from August on. Eels and plaice are caught from April to September, along with dogfish. Flounders and dabs are taken pretty much all year round. September on through to March gives codling and whiting.
For the better quality bass fish peeler crab in summer and lug tipped with squid come the autumn. Plaice take rag tipped with squid or plain worm. Stick to crab for the eels and flounder. For the codling fish black lug tipped with blow lug or peeler crab. Whiting, dabs and dogfish take mackerel strips.
TACKLE & TACTICSBeckfoot is a very flat sandy beach with scoured out deeper gullies running parallel. The tide goes out a long way here and it's a good walk to the low water line, so care needs to be taken not to get cut off. Always fish in pairs, carry a pocket compass in case of fog and a mobile phone.
The best way to fish this beach is on the flood using a 5-6oz beachcaster and a big fixed spool loaded with 18lb line and a shock leader. Cast out and walk back with the tide releasing line to give the fish as much time as possible to find the baits.
The top rig for this is a three-hook flapper armed with size 2 Aberdeen's for smaller species, but size 2/0 hooks for the bass and codling.
Good fish are taken on the ebb here, but you need a fast running multiplier loaded with 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader to maximize your casting distance. Switch to a two-hook clipped up rig for maximum range.
It fishes well on the smaller neap tides and most anglers only fish the last three hours up on the bigger springs with safety in mind.
From Carlisle head west on the A595 to the Thursby roundabout then take the A596 for Maryport. After Wigton take the right turn for the B5302 heading for Silloth. From Silloth take the B5300 for Beckfoot. Car parking is available and follow the walkways through the sand dunes to the beach.

 Crosscanonby, Cumbria
Plaice, flounder, dabs, codling, whiting, dogfish and bass.
Lug/rag and lug/rag/crab cocktails are good for the plaice. Peeler crab takes the summer and autumn bass. Crab takes the cod too, but black lug tipped with blow lug is the top bait from early November onwards. Tip lug baits with mackerel or squid for the whiting and dabs.
The beach is made up from coral and rock reef ground with clean sand in between, so tackle such as a 5-6oz beachcaster matched with an ABU 7000 sized reel is the best choice. Load with 25lb line with a 60lb shock leader. Distance casting can improve catches here, so some anglers prefer a Penn 525 Mag and 20lb line.
The top bass and cod rig is a pulley rig made from 60lb mono and armed with a two-hook pennel rig of 4/0 hooks. For the plaice fish a wishbone rig, and for the other species a two-hook clipped down rig works well in conjunction with size 2 Aberdeen hooks.
Ideal conditions here are a south-westerly wind coinciding with high water which stirs up good surf and brings the fish in. Wear chest waders, always fish in pairs and use caution as the tide floods quickly here.
Use the A595 heading west from Carlisle, and take the A596 at the Thursby roundabout heading for Maryport. As you enter Maryport take the B5300 Silloth road and continue on for about a mile to the mark. There are car parks on the sea side of the road and it's a short walk to the beach.


Whitehaven Harbour situated at the South Western entrance to the Solway Firth on the Western Lake District Coast. The harbour is, perhaps, the largest and most convenient pier harbour in Great Britain as it is protected on the West and North by substantial piers. The arms of the west and north piers form the inner and outer harbours. In 1633, the first quay was built  known as the Old Quay . By 1832 the outer harbour was completed it had taken 25 years to build at a cost of £150,000, a fraction of the cost today for such prominent walls. Recent changes to the west pier and its spacious parapet, gives a walk of nearly a quarter of a mile directly out to sea from the old quay. . In 1876 the Queens Dock, a wet dock, was built with a set of dock gates to hold the water in as the tide ebbed, these gates are now permanently open. The old or inner harbour is dry at low water, but is accessible by boats, about two hours either side of high water.
Species - Flounder, plaice, dab, codling whiting mackerel, pollack, skate, tope dogfish and bass. Fishing down the pier walls for coalies, wrasse, conger. rockling.
When to fish -  The piers can be fished throughout the year but the best times are June to October for Mackerel, coalfish, bass, plaice, flounders, dabs and eels. In the winter months for dabs, codling, whiting and flounders.
Techniques and bait -  Most anglers use a simple long trace with a two hook pennel tackle or large single hook with a whole squid and the weight sliding on a free running swivel for the cod, but choose a two hook paternoster when after whiting and dabs. Also try using a flounder spoon tipped with rag, when after the larger flounder. The single most effective bait in the winter is lugworm. The local black sewie lug is best. This should be used in quantity, when after the larger cod the use of a pennel rig with the bait up to a foot long will produce the larger fish. Mussel can also work for the smaller codling. When targeting thornbacks, tope, whiting, dabs, gurnards and other bottom species try mackerel, with squid now slowly gaining in popularity. Crab has produced some good plaice and bass close to shore. King rag can be very effective for bass and codling.
Location - Approaching Whitehaven from the south on the A595 coast road when in Whitehaven turn off onto the A5094, Inkerman Terrace follow road into Lowther street and docks are in front of you. When approaching from the north on the A596 when in Whitehaven turn off onto the A5094, New Road and on into Tangier street, docks on right. There are plenty of car parks round the edge of the harbour.
Fairhaven and Grannys Bay
The wall at Fairhaven  car park is an easy venue to fish as it’s virtually straight out of the car,  you will be fishing onto flat sand and mud - in patches.
If you fish Granny’s Bay then you will have to park and walk around 50 yards,  you will be fishing onto a rocky sand/mud mixture.
The latter of the two venues can be fished at low water but it is a strenuous  walk across mud and sand that will take approx 20 to 25 mins, and isn’t for the  fainthearted!
The main species are flounder and dabs which are present most of the year. In  the spring and summer you will get bass and better sized flounders. Winter time  brings in the Whiting.
The Granny’s Bay or Fairhaven Car Park venues fish best on tides of 28ft or  over. Anything lower and you won’t have the depth of water for worthwhile  fishing.
Low water at Fairhaven fishes best on tides of less then  25ft and will give you ample time to retreat back to shore safely. On tides of  22ft or less you can stay out on the uncovered sandbank, but this is not  advisable if you are not familiar with the area, the water completely surrounds  this bank, if in doubt, always stay safe!
A standard beach caster set up will work fine for these venues with the reel  loaded with 15lb line. Two hook paternoster rigs work best with 1/0 hooks and a  standard 3 to 5 oz grip lead or a rolling lead (no grip wires). To minimise  tackle loses at Granny’s Bay, a rotten bottom is advisable.
The best baits are the simplest, single black/lug worm, peeler crab and/or clam  are the killer baits at this venue.
 Harrington, Cumbria
Not rated as a summer venue, but it does give conger to 10lbs, wrasse and eels. Cod show in October, along with a few whiting staying until early February.
A few bass are taken from here during July to October on big crab baits cast in to the worst of the rocks.
Peeler crab is the main cod bait through October, but in November the fish switch to lug baits tipped with squid, mussel or razorfish. The conger pick up the lug/squid baits, but to target them fish a mackerel and squid cocktail.
This is mainly a rough ground venue, but with some cleaner ground on the south side of the pier onto broken ground and sand. It fishes best the two hours either side of low on the bigger spring tides at night. Ideal conditions are a steady wind from the southwest or west. It gives its best numbers of cod in November, but its bigger fish around Christmas.
Due to the rough ground rods such as Zziplex tournament rods or the Fox Rock Runner are best in conjunction with an ABU 7000 or Penn 535 Mag loaded with 30lb line and a 60lb shock leader, though some local anglers casting short dispense with the shock leader and fish 30lb line straight through.
The favoured rig is a 60lb pulley rig with a 30lb hook trace using a single 4/0 Viking pattern hook. Use a weak link system to the lead as tackle losses will be high.
Heading west on the A595 between Carlisle and Whitehaven turn right at Lillyhall traffic lights, then head for High Harrington going down the steep hill. At the bottom of the hill turn left under the railway bridge and take the second turning right. This road brings you to the south side of the harbour where a car park looks out on to the north end of the beach.

 Northside Beach Workington, Cumbria
March to early June sees some good plaice over 3lbs caught. June to September is fair for flounders, eels, and school bass. The plaice show again from Mid August through to late October, with codling caught to 5lbs from September to January.
Stick to worm baits for the early plaice, especially tipping lug and rag with white rag. By late April crab becomes the number one bait for all species which is the case until late September when worm baits take the codling.
The beach is mixed broken and rough ground generally and fishes best over the rising tides before the highest spring tides. Fish for the plaice by day, but the best fishing for the winter codling is at night. A southwest to westerly wind is favoured for the codling.
The tide floods in quite quickly here and to fish effectively you will have to walk back releasing line as you go to give the baits time to be found.
Due to the rough ground use a 5-6oz beachcaster and a tough reel like a Penn 525 Mag or ABU 7000 loaded with 22lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Local anglers fish a two-hook clipped down rig for most species armed with size 1 Aberdeen's and 20lb hook links for the flatfish and eels, but with size 3/0 Vikings on 30lb hook snoods for the cod. Also try a two-hook wishbone rig for the plaice, which can out fish the standard two-hook rig. Carry both 5 and 6oz grip leads.
Taking the A596 from Workington to Maryport. As you leave Workington take the right turn at the Northside Roundabout just after the port entrance leading to good car parking and it's a short walk to the beach.

 Maryport Promenade, Cumbria
April through to September produces plaice, bass, flounders and eels. From September to February codling, whiting, a few dabs and coalfish make up a good mixed bag.
In summer use crab for the bass, eels and flounder, with rag and lug pulling out the bulk of the plaice, though crab also works as a tippet bait. Come September stick to lug or rag tipped with mackerel or squid for the whiting and dabs. Crab will take early cod through until November, when lug takes over as the best all round bait.
The promenade is on the right of the North Pier with the fishing being over a mix of deeper gutters, rough ground patches and weed. Most anglers choose to fish the four hours up to high water and the first hour back. Over high water you fish off the promenade wall. It produces fish on most any tide, but locals prefer the bigger spring tides for all species.
A 5-6oz beachcaster, with a reel like a Penn 525 loaded with 18lb line and a 60lb shock leader is ideal, though some anglers prefer a 7000 sized reel and 20 to 25lb line to reduce the tackle losses.
Top rigs are a two-hook flapper using 25lb hooks snoods and size 1 Aberdeen's for the smaller species. For the cod and bass a one-hook clipped down rig with two 3/0 hooks rigged pennel style is a good choice as the fish can be at longer range. There is some tide run here, so carry both 5oz and 6oz grip leads.
At Carlisle take the A595. At Thursby roundabout access the A596 for Maryport. At the first set of traffic lights in Maryport turn right and follow up the steep hill towards the promenade. Turn right as you come on to the promenade and continue for about a half mile to the car park.

 St. Bees South Heads, Cumbria
Cod, coalfish, dabs and rockling feature from September  through to March. Plaice begin to show during late March running through to  September, with eels, wrasse, pollack and bass appearing in late April. Some  conger eels are taken throughout the year, along with dogfish. July and August  sees a run of mackerel on the bigger tides if it’s calm.
Top winter bait is black or blow lug tipped with mussel for  the cod and coalfish. Lug or rag will take the plaice, dabs and rockling, with  mackerel strip the conger and dogfish bait. Fresh peeler crab is best for the  bass. The pollack will take mackerel strip off the bottom, but its best to spin  for these with Wedge type lures, especially late in the evening.
There are plenty of snags here, so a 5-6oz beachcaster, 7000  sized reel and 30lb line with a 60lb shock leader is the best choice. Pulley  rigs from 60lb mono are standard here armed with single 2/0 to 4/0 Viking  pattern hooks. For the conger, fish 6/0 hooks.
A two-hook clipped down rig with size 2 Aberdeen hooks is ideal for the smaller  species at range.
Rough ground lays out to about 70yds, so fish a weak link  system to the lead weight, which needs to be no more than 5ozs.
The best of the fishing is below the sandstone cliffs at the  South Heads for the three hours either side of low water. This gives access to  deeper water casting off the ledges and rocks. There is rough ground close in  which is good for the cod and pollack, but long casts find cleaner ground  carrying the dabs etc. In calm conditions you can stay on the marks over high  water, but you can get cut off and experienced local knowledge is required  here.
From Whitehaven take the A595 and at the roundabout at the  end of the Henerigham by-pass take the Barrow road. Take the second turning on  your right, then turn left on to St    Bees Road at the end. As you enter St Bees down  the sharp hill turn right where the road goes sharp left. This road comes in to  a car park overlooking the beach, leaving a short walk on to the cliffs.

 Workington South Beach, Cumbria
The plaice arrive in late march and stay throughout the summer until late September along with flounders, though the plaice dominate. The same period sees the eels and the odd bass to 6lb plus. From early October whiting and codling are the main catch, with coalfish showing from November to March.
Stick to worm baits for the plaice, especially rag tipped with crab, or fish plain crab to target the better plaice. Crab also takes the bass, eels, and flounders. Again crab is a good early season cod bait, but black lug baits tipped with squid or blow lug take the bulk of the cod and coalfish after October. For the whiting use mackerel or sandeel strips, or tip lug with squid for the whiting.
A 5-6oz beachcaster, a reel like the Penn 525 loaded with 18 to 20lb line and a 60lb shock leader is a good all round choice as the seabed is abrasive rather than rough being old dumped industrial slag banks.
For the plaice and flounder use either a sliding wishbone or a Cascade two-hook rig adding some coloured beads if you like, and ending in a size 2 Aberdeen hook. A three-hook flapper is best for the whiting and eels with a size 1 hook, but for the codling most locals fish a clipped down one-hook rig ending in a size 3/0 Viking hook or Mustad cod hook.
As stated the seabed is a mix of old slag and shingle, but a good cast puts you out on to the clean sand which is visible on low water springs. It fishes best from just after low water through to the hour after high water. Locals prefer a calm onshore wind as rougher seas tend to build up large accumulations of weed here making fishing difficult.
Take the A595 to Workington and follow the signs for the railway station. Just after the station turn left taking down to the pier. There is a car park at the top of the beach.

 South Coast

Weymouth is the gateway to the productive ports of the southwest. In years gone by, Weymouth was considered one of the best turbot ports in the UK. The banks hereabouts still produce a few of these prize flatties, but the numbers have long since been depleted by commercial fishing. To compensate, the wreck scene has taken over with hardly a week going by without big pollack, conger, coalfish, cod and ling making the angling headlines.
NOTED MARKS AND FEATURES Chief amongst these is the famous Shambles Bank. Mainly clean undulating ridges of sand, this was the noted turbot and brill mark and still holds a few too, but nowadays it is more associated with big blonde ray, plaice and bass. Large shoals of sandeels congregate over this area throughout the summer. The Kidney Bank follows the same pattern of species.
Popular inshore marks are West Bay on the west side of Portland Bill and the tide races over reefs and rough ground off Portland Bill for bass. A variety of species can taken fishing close to Redcliff Head. Ringstead Bay and "The Ledge" at Lulworth to the east give good tope, conger and rays. Chesil Beach is to the west with the inshore ground here giving mixed fishing throughout the year.
There are hundreds of wrecks within a days return steaming of the port, some very close to shore like the "Hood" at the entrance to Portland Harbour. Guernsey trips are undertaken by several charter boats too, as well as forays into Hurd Deep where large unknown fish have bitten clean through 600lb wire. This trench runs from 60 metres deep in the west to 170 metres at it's eastern end. The tides are fast and make for difficult fishing. Trips to wrecks located in this trench have resulted in staggering catches of ling, cod and pollack.
January starts off with excellent whiting catches fishing between the west Shambles buoy and Portland. Codling also show here through until late March. Mid March is when the plaice show over the Shambles and Kidney Banks and from closer in off Lulworth, followed by turbot and bass in April, plus blonde rays. Mackerel appear about the end of April, though it's May before numbers really increase.
Bass show off Portland in late May and early June with thornback ray from the inshore banks off Lulworth. July sees the inshore wrecks well populated with smaller pollack, wrasse and conger. Bream can show from the wrecks in deeper water. August, September and October are the best months to try for a big conger close in off Portland Bill. October sees the whiting and codling return with the best of the big bass taken.
The wrecks fish well, virtually throughout the year. January, February and March give a good chance of the largest pollack and ling. Some good cod show through the summer months along with conger and smaller pollack.
Tides run fairly quick here, especially around Portland Bill. Neaps are the best for deep water wrecking. Sheltered marks exist close in inside Weymouth Bay and allow smaller craft safety in bad weather.
Regular anglers choose uptiders or 20lb class rods for drifting over the banks for turbot, rays and bass. Experienced fisherman prefer a 12lb class unit for bass and plaice.
Rougher ground for congering needs a 30lb outfit which, along with a 50lb class stick, takes on the wreck fishing. The uptiders are also a good choice when using artificial lures for wreck pollack. Carry leads between 8ozs and 2lbs to cover all situations. Some anglers fish wire line with great success in the deeper water, and for cod over the wrecks.
Mackerel and squid for general bottom feeders. Live sandeel is good over the sand banks for turbot, bass and rays. Inshore bass take small live joey mackerel. Wrasse prefer crab baits. Plaice take worm baits, occasionally a fillet from a sandeel. Pirks, artificial eels and squid pick up the wreck fish. A whole pout is the preferred conger bait. Ling like a pirk baited with two fillets of fresh mackerel. Baited feathers take whiting in the autumn.

Avon Beach, Dorset
This is a good species venue with flounder, bass, eels, pout and dogfish, plus winter whiting and a few codling available.
King rag and maddie rag works well for most species here, but crab will also take the eels, flounders and bass, with lugworm tipped with rag a good winter codling bait. For the whiting always tip worm with mackerel or sandeel strip. White rag is especially effective for the daytime flounder.
The beach has groynes along its length, but is shallow and mainly clean sand. It faces southeast and fishes best in a light southerly wind, though being protected from the prevailing winds it can be fished during gales from the west.
It can produce on all sizes of tide, but is best on the bigger springs from low to high water. Daylight can produce smaller fish, but the mark is noted for its night fishing.
The bulk of the fish are caught at close range within 70yds, but as weed is sometimes evident a 4-6oz beachcaster with good bite detection is ideal combined with a 6500 sized reel, 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Top rigs are a three-hook flapper or a three-boom rig using Kamasan B940 Aberdeen hooks sizes 2 to 6. The bigger bass are caught dropping a big crab or mackerel bait just out from the edge and letting line off to give the bait natural movement.
You can pick up the bigger flounder by adding float beads above the bait during daylight. Pouting can be caught in big numbers here, and are best targeted on size 6 hooks to 12lb hook links in calmer conditions baiting with small chunks of crab tipped with white rag.
From Christchurch take the Mudeford road, Avon beach being about 600yds east of Mudeford and accessed down a series of minor roads, the beach being well signposted. There is some free roadside parking, but its best to park in the pay and Display car park adjacent to the beach.

 Chilling Spit, Hants.
Spring plaice show from March through to May, but sport improves in late May with bass, smoothound, black bream flounder and eels. The autumn months see pout, bass, flounder and whiting.
Locals rate rag better than lug for the plaice, whiting and bream, but crab takes the flounder, smoothound, eels and bass. In autumn try a whole squid for a bigger bass, or tip black lug tipped off with squid.
The Spit is to the rear of the Hook Park Nature Reserve and lies at the entrance to the Hamble River. You're fishing off a shingle spit with the seabed comprised mainly of sand with only a little tide run, even on the biggest tides.
A 2-4oz bass rod and a 6500 sized multiplier with 12 to 15lb line and a light 30 to 40lb shock leader is perfect here. For the eels, flounder, pout and bream either fish a three-hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen hooks, or try a Cascade one up/one down rig for the plaice and flounder.
The bass and smoothound are best targeted with a simple sliding ledger rig using a 24-inch hook trace and single 3/0 to 4/0 hook. Leads need be no more than 4ozs with 2ozs holding most of the time.
Some big flounder can be caught here between October and Christmas fishing mackerel tipped off with ragworm.
On the M27 come off at junction 8 heading eastwards on the A27 for Swanwick. About a mile after crossing the Hamble River Bridge turn right for Warsash and straight over the roundabout in Warsash for the signs for the Navigation School. Go past the school, cross over the river and about 150-metres on you can park to the left. Take the footpath on the right and the mark is a ten minute walk away.

Deep Water Section Lepe, Hampshire
Smoothound, rays, bass and flounder show through the spring and summer, with rays, bass, codling, whiting, dogfish and flounder in the winter.
Mackerel or frozen sandeel works best for the rays, with black lug tipped with squid best for the cod. Crab baits are essential to target the occasional smoothound, but also for the better bass. Rag is used for the pouting and the flatfish, with lug tipped with mackerel ideal for the winter whiting.
The area favoured here is about 100yds east of the derelict piles which sees you casting on to fairly clean ground.
It fishes best through the flood during the bigger spring tides, but there is a strong left to right tide pull on the ebb and its just as this starts after high water that the bass and codling come on.
A 5-6oz beachcaster and reel holding 15lb to 18lb line and 60lb shock leader is perfect here, but carry some heavier 6oz grip leads to give you that little bit longer on the ebb before the tide run makes fishing just about impossible.
Good rigs for the general species are three-hook clipped down flappers with size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen hooks. For the smoothound, rays and bass fish a one-hook clipped down rig with a size 4/0 Viking hook.
The bass can often be tight in here and just a 20yd lob at night with peeler crab or a whole squid can produce some good fish.
The rays are not common here, but tend to show early in the tide and at night.
From Totton take the A326 to Holbury and Lepe. The mark is just to the west side of the main car park and you walk beyond the piles in the water to fish between the groynes.

Lymington in Hampshire sports a large modern charter fishing fleet that work the waters of the Solent, The Needles, right round the Isle of Wight, and also the many wrecks that lay out in the open channel. The port is popular with anglers from all over the UK, especially those seeking a really big cod, for the Needles marks have built up a reputation for producing 40lbers that no other area can compete with on numbers alone.
The area sports a choice of open, clean ground, mixed rough and rocky seabeds. The top mark has to be the Needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight. This lays roughly 8 miles from the port in deep water. Marks towards Sowley offer good ray fishing, with inshore marks off Park Shore and Thorness Bay good for more general species.
Some boats still target porbeagle shark and threshers over ground off St Catherines Point on the southern side of the Isle of Wight. Freshwater Bay has a good bass populace and also holds turbot, brill and rays.
A huge variety available here. February and March are the slow months, though odd late lunker cod are possible from the Needles along with spurdog, plus pollack from the wrecks. By April thoughts turn to bass and plaice with the latter species making counts towards 50 fish per day at times. Deeper water holds spurdog, conger and pollack.
By late April small eyed ray, thornbacks, bass, and even large female tope will be established. May sees some of the rougher ground holding smoothhounds, and the first of the black bream put in an appearance. May also gets the mackerel season underway. The Needles area holds bass that shoal under launce sandeels, rays, spurdog, and tope to 60lbs. June, July and August have the wrecking boats in full swing chasing pollack, ling and conger. Wrasse of good size show from the inshore reefs. Clean sand banks give the opportunity of blondes rays to 30lbs. Thresher shark and a few porbeagles are also possible.
September, and the approaching autumn sees an increase in the number of whiting with some quality fish over 3lbs. Codling show towards the beginning of October as do the bigger cod around 20lbs from the deep water marks. Solent marks hold codling, whiting, rays, pout and dogs at this time. The Christmas and January period is the best time to try for the 40lb cod that lurk around the Needles.
The narrow strip of water between the mainland and the Isle of Wight concentrates the already bottlenecked waters of the upper English Channel. Tides are fast, with the area between Hurst Castle on the mainland and Sconce Point on the Isle of Wight not called the Hurst Race for nothing.
Fishing fast tides are a fact of life here, but for the best of the wreck fishing, then try to time your trips towards the smallest neap tides. Some skippers prefer the middle sized tides for inshore fishing when rays, plaice and bass are the target.
This area with those vicious tides can turn up some superb fish for those willing to adopt to wire line fishing. A 30lb class rod fitted with a roller butt and tip ring with a Penn Mariner 49L multiplier reel makes the best combination. This is the tackle to take on the deep fast water of the Needles. Otherwise, anglers fishing standard mono line may need to consider a 50lb class rod and carry leads upto 3lbs in weight.
Some of the inshore marks suit uptiding with 4-10oz rods, 7000 sized multipliers and 18lb line. The wreck pollack take redgills on flying collar rigs and also pirks. Some anglers do well with big lead heads weighing 10ozs and Mr Twister type lures fished straight up and down.
BAITSThe top bait for Needles cod is a whole large squid or two smaller squid fished in tandem. This is by far the most productive and will also take rays, spurdog and conger. The smoothound should be targeted with hermit crab or peeler crab, that latter also taking reef bass and wrasse. Offshore bass like live launce eels. Rays take mackerel and squid baits. Black bream are keen on squid or mackerel strips. Winter codling inshore take ragworm, with spring plaice taking cocktails of rag\squid or rag\sandeel strip, sometimes peeler crab.
Hurst and Milford Shingle Banks for bass, cod and rays. Southampton water for flounders and eels. Taddiford for sole. Use slipper limpet baits for bass after autumn storms.

 Hengistbury Head Groyne, Dorset
SPECIESFrom May to July a few smoothound show. June to October ballan wrasse, pollack, garfish, mackerel, mullet and bass are caught. Sole are possible too. Winter fishing consists of whiting, dabs, bass, pout and rockling.
The bass and smoothound take peeler crab, as will the wrasse. Mackerel strip or a sliver of squid are good float fished baits for the mackerel and garfish, with bread or bits of ragworm taking the mullet. In winter lug or rag picks up the dabs, pout and rockling, with mackerel a good whiting bait.
You can fish off the concrete groyne right through the tide by day, but waves can wash over the structure in windy weather, so care is needed. It's mainly rougher ground and kelp, but with some cleaner patches holding the flatfish and whiting. There is a right to left tide pull during the flood tide which is very strong at times. The flood tide produces the best fishing.
A loaded Waggler or bigger wrasse float can be used to work baits down with the tide run directly off the end of the groyne using a spinning rod, reel and 12lb line. Float fishing tight by the groyne takes the mullet and loads of mini species too.
The spinning gear can also be used to work lures over the top of the rough ground for bass and pollack. Top lures are Chug Bugs for the bass, and Dexter Wedge lures or artificial eels will take both bass and pollack.
5to 6oz beachcasters and an ABU 7000 loaded with 20lb line and a 60lb shock leader are the best choice to tackle the rough ground when after the smoothound and bigger ballan wrasse when ledgering. Fish a pulley rig made from 60lb line ending in a size 3/0 Viking pattern hook. For the sole and smaller species, a two-hook flapper rig with size 4 Aberdeen hooks is a reliable rig. Fish a weak link system to the lead to save fish and tackle.
Hengistbury Head is well signposted from either Christchurch or Southbourne. Pay and display car parking is available at Double Dykes, then to reach the groyne you have about a 15 minute walk along the beach.

Newhaven has built up a reputation as one of the UK's main wreck fishing ports. Large numbers of wrecks, many not recorded in the official archives, litter the channel. As a result recent impressive returns of huge conger has brought many to think that a new record eel is imminent from here.
Inshore fishing does not receive much attention hereabouts with the quality of the wreck scene taking precedence. Nevertheless, there are hot spots that produce excellent catches.
The "Chicken Farm" is an area of clean ground towards the east that holds good numbers of plaice and dabs throughout the summer and autumn. Some of the reef ground towards Beachy Head holds bass willing to take redgills and also odd conger.
Inshore wrecks like the U boat UB40 which lies a couple of miles off Beachy Head also attracts shoals of bass and small pollack in summer, and whiting and codling throughout the winter. A favoured dinghy mark for bass is "The Ledge", again running out from Beachy Head. Beachy Head is about 10 miles from Newhaven. Further east towards Eastbourne lay the" Copper Shoals" and the "Light Tower". Both good marks for late winter cod.
January through to March sees some big cod over 30lbs landed from the offshore wrecks weather permitting. Pollack to 16lbs stay with them and some conger continue to be caught. Channel whiting upto 4lbs can show pretty well at any time.
April is possibly the slower month, though pollack, conger and odd cod continue to show. By May, the dinghies start to hit the first bass around Beachy Head along with plaice and dabs.
June sees things really hot up with the wrecks producing a stream of massive conger to 90lbs, pollack to 16lbs and cod to 20lbs. By the end of June mackerel appear in numbers bringing with them tope, though these tend to be smaller pack fish. The best of the tope and the bigger fish, some close to 50lbs, come from marks off Beachy Head. Smoothound show on the inshore reef marks, with thornbacks to 15lbs from the Light Tower area.
July, August and September see a continuation of the summer species, but by the end of September these start to thin out to be replaced by first the whiting, then the codling and cod. The wrecks retain quality conger, cod and pollack, plus those big channel whiting and odd spurdog. Big black bream also show around the wrecks at this time.
TIDES AND WEATHERThe tides really hammer through, both inshore and offshore. The English Channel is almost at it's narrowest here, the water being bottle necked.
The bigger spring tides, or "Long" tides as they are known locally are preferred by experienced dinghy anglers chasing the bass. Flatfish like something a little slower.
The wreck boats choose the smallest neap tides when anchoring for conger, but are less choosy when chasing the big cod and pollack on the drift.
Inshore fishing for bass and flatfish, smoothound, tope and rays is mainly with uptide tackle, though some anglers do prefer a straight 20lb class outfit when downtiding in a quick tide for tope and rays.
Reels need to be loaded with 300 yds of 18lb line
Over the wrecks, then for fishing artificial eels a 4-10oz uptider works well, though some fish with 30lb boat rods when the tide is at it's strongest and more lead is needed.
For conger, a 50lb class rod, size 4/0 to 6/0 multiplier loaded with 60lb line is the main choice. They choose 60lb line here to give them that little bit extra edge against a conger deep inside the metal wreckage.
Lead weights upto a massive 3lbs will be required at all times. Local skippers use a flat watch type lead of 3lbs for congering at anchor, and even these try to bounce around at times.
Most of the cod and pollack are taken on pirks and redgills. Conger eat mackerel, pout, but alternatively try whole big squid or cuttlefish. The latter has an excellent record with the bigger fish.
Inshore bass and smoothound take crab baits. Black lug is good for dabs and plaice, with the tope and rays coming mostly to mackerel. Some of the bigger bass over rough ground and wrecks take a whole small joey mackerel. Reef conger will take a whole small pout.
The bigger channel whiting often take feathers being used over the wrecks for pollack. Bait these with fish strips for the best results. The bream fall to this method too.

 Ringstead Bay, Dorset
Good from May to November for bass, wrasse, thornback and small-eyed ray, conger and plaice.
Target the bass with peeler crab. The plaice take ragworm or small chunks of peeler tipped with a sliver of squid. The thornbacks like peeler or squid, but fish frozen sandeel for the small-eyed ray, with squid a second best bait. Conger take squid or mackerel, and the wrasse crab.
The upper beach is a mix of sand and shingle, but with broken ground and reefs inshore and clean patches in between. Long range finds cleaner ground. It's very popular by day from June on into early September with holidaymakers, but fishes well after dark when the beach is quieter.
It fishes vest during the bigger spring tides, especially at low water, but will give fish throughout the flood tide and for the first two hours of the ebb. It fishes best in a light south to southwest wind at night.
5 to 6oz beachcasters and 18lb line on a tougher reel like a Penn 525 covers most situations. For the plaice fish a wishbone rig with size 2 to 4Aberdeen hooks. The bass, ray and conger require a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with a size 3/0 to 4/0 Viking pattern hook. Lead weights can be 5ozs in most conditions.
The bass and conger tend to work quite close in, but you need to cast a fair way to find the rays and plaice.
Off the A35 at Dorchester take the A352 for Warmwell, then the A353 through Poxwell. At Upton take the left hand turn for Ringstead Bay. Parking available.

 South Parade Pier, Southsea, Hants.
Mackerel, garfish, pollack, bass, mullet, ballan and corkwing wrasse, scad, smoothounds and bream can all show through the summer. Autumn time offers whiting, dabs and flounders.
For the smoothound you need fresh peeler or soft back crab. Ragworm works best for the bream, bass and wrasse, but these will also take mackerel strips. Either float fish a mackerel strip or fish feathers for the mackerel, scad and garfish. The mullet take tiny bits of rag, mackerel flesh or bread under a loaded waggler float. Mackerel strip also works well in the autumn.
Fishing is allowed from the very end of the pier and gives easy access and safe fishing for younger and older anglers. It is a popular summer venue with local matches held on the pier regularly.
It produces fish any time of day and night and in any weather conditions. Tide size doesn't matter either, but the mark does produce most fish during the flood tide. There is a fast tidal pull either side of high water.
A spinning rod or purpose built mullet rod is ideal for all float fishing here matched to a fixed spool reel and 10lb line.
A 4-8oz uptide rod or proper pier rod is ideal here with a reel carrying 20 to 25lb and a 50lb shock leader for ledger fishing. Fish this tight down the side of the pier on a two-boom rig with short 10-inch hook snoods and vary your size of hooks from 2 Aberdeen's right down to size 10 hooks, as there are numerous mini species caught here too.
The smoothound tend to be a good 50-yard cast out from the end of the pier, so for this a 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 25lb line and 60lb shock leader is needed. Use a pulley rig made from 60lb mono ending in a single size 3/0 to 4/0 hook.
Carry 5 and 6ozs grip leads to combat the tide. A drop net is also useful.
The best access is off the M27 following the signs for Southsea seafront. Parking is by pay metre on the roadside some 150-yards west of the pier. It gets busy in summer and parking can be difficult. There is also a charge to fish the pier based on a per rod basis.

The Groynes, Hurst Castle, Hants
A mixed species mark giving sole, bass and rays in the summer and autumn, with bass and cod in the winter. Smaller species such pout, rockling, dogfish and whiting also show.
The best of the bass and cod fall to a whole squid, though black lug baits tipped with squid can also be deadly. Peeler crab is good for the bass and smaller cod throughout the year. For the sole and other smaller species try rag or blow lug. Top bait for the rays is fresh or frozen sandeel or half a mackerel fillet.
TACKLE & TACTICSThis area is swept by a fair tide run, plus it's a rough bottom with plenty of snags, so choose a stiff 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 20 to 25lb line and a 60lb shock leader.
A good rig is a standard pulley rig made from 60lb mono, but with a 30 to 40lb hook length and single size 4/0 to 6/0 Viking pattern hook. Fish the lead weight to a weak link system to save some tackle. For the sole and smaller fish, use a two-hook flapper rig with size 2 to 4 Kamasan Aberdeen hooks.
You'll need to carry leads from 5-6oz for average conditions, but locals fish that bit longer through the tide run by carrying 8oz grip leads.
Most fish are fairly close in and a normal overhead cast will easily put you in to the feeding zone. Some of the bigger bass work tight in to the stones at your feet, especially in the dark.
Peak fishing time is the two hours before high water and the first hour back, especially at night. Drop in short for the bass when the tide is running hard. It produces best with a bump on the sea.
From Lymington, head west on the A337 then take the B3058 at Everton. At Milford-on-Sea follow the signs for Keyhaven until you come to New Lane on your right. Follow this until you reach the shingle bank where there is roadside parking available. Go over the bridge on to the shingle bank and The Groynes are a good mile walk away at the end of the peninsula, but is rated by the locals as worth the hike.

 Weston Shore, Weston Point, Southampton
Gives good flounder fishing from October to late February, also eels, and bass to 4lbs.
BAITSThere is a lug bed on the beach here, so lug is the dominant bait throughout the year, though rag scores as will fresh peeler crab. White rag also takes fish. Lug tipped with squid is a good bass bait here.
Local anglers favour a lighter 4 to 6oz beachcaster matched to a 6500 sized reel loaded with 12lb to 15lb line and a 50lb shock leader. Lead weights of 4 and 5ozs are ideal.
A three-hook flapper rig or cascade rig are best using size 1 to 4 Aberdeen hooks, depending on the bait being used, the white rag being best on the smaller hooks. Conditions sometimes dictate that the fish are at log range, so switch to a two-hook clipped up rig to maximise your casting range.
For the bigger bass choose a one-hook clipped down rig and a single size 4/0 Viking pattern hook.
The mark is totally clean sand but it carries a fair depth of water, especially at range. Either side of low water produces plenty of fish as will the later stages of the ebb during the bigger spring tides.
At Junction 8 on the M27 Take the A3025. Just before Itchen Bridge take the left turn before the tollbooths following the signs for Weston Shore for about a half mile. There is roadside parking and several spacious car parks adjacent to the mark. Access on to the beach is easy and it's a good mark to take the kids fishing.

South East

The Grub Groyne, Seabrook, Kent
Bass, mackerel, garfish and sole are the main summer species, with winter time producing cod, whiting, flounders and dabs.
Surface popping plugs and flies take a lot of bass here in summer and early autumn, with some big bass to specimen sized targeted with pouting baits and whole squid. Top bait for general species is yellowtail or black lug, but also tip off with razorfish, cockle and slipper limpet after a blow as cocktail baits will pick up extra fish. White rag fishes well here for everything, with smaller blow lug taking the sole.
It's been nicknamed the Grub Groyne as it's situated behind the Little Chef restaurant. The groyne marks the edge of a rocky reef and the water is deeper here.
Long range produces most of the whiting, flatties and sole, so a 4-6oz beachcaster and reel carrying 15lb line and 60lb shock leader is the best choice. Good rigs are three-hook clipped down flappers with size 2 to 4 Aberdeen hooks, though a wishbone rig is a good alternative.
Carry 5 and 6oz grip leads as there is a strong west to east tide run over high water
The groyne tends to be where the bigger bass are, so aim to place your big squid and pout baits tight in to this for the best results. Fish these on a sliding ledger rig with a single size 3/0 Viking hook.
A 2-3oz spinning rod and reel loaded with 12lb line is the typical choice for the plug fishing, but a 9-weight fly rod, fast sink line with an 8ft 6lb Fluoro Carbon leader with white or black based surface popper flies is getting popular for the summer bass and mackerel.
The mark is situated on the A259 at the junction with Princess Parade, Seabrook and between Sandgate and Hythe. There is free car parking behind the groyne close to the filling station.

Dover pulls the bulk of it's anglers from the London catchment area, but also from much further afield too, such is the consistency and variety of sport available. It has a small, but very experienced charter fleet catering for all types of fishing, including wrecking.
Best known of the inshore fishing grounds are those off Fan Bay and Warren Bay. Inside Dover Harbour can be fished in bad weather and proves a top plaice mark on an ebbing tide, as does Fan Bay again.
To the west and off Shakespeare Cliffs the water deepens quicker than it does to the east of the harbour and gives mixed ground with wrecks littering the seabed from close inshore seawards.
The Goodwin Sands, an area of lifting sandbanks, again littered with wrecks, lies just to the east and the Varne Bank roughly southerly in direction. Both marks proving reliable throughout the angling year.
Summer fishing consists of rays, plaice, smoothound and tope, with bass shoaling over the Goodwins on the spring tides. The inshore marks hold good plaice, pout, dabs and even sole over clean ground, with rougher marks good for bass and smoothound. Mackerel arrive inshore during June.
Wrecking in the summer and autumn produces big conger, cod to 20lbs, pollack to 18lbs and bass. Black bream are possible too, with several recent fish reported around 4lbs. Spurdogs can show from the deeper water during the autumn and run to 16lbs.
Cod move in around the end of September, peaking in numbers towards Christmas, then thinning out as they move back onto the banks and wrecks for spawning. Whiting catches inshore can be excellent from September to late December, but deep marks give big channel whiting to 3lbs even in the summer.
Porbeagle sharks have been seen over both the Varne and Goodwin banks in past seasons, but few anglers, and even fewer skippers seem interested in trying for shark. Yet the food supply available suggests big hidden potential.
The spring tides run fast, especially over the offshore banks. Spring tides fish best over the inshore marks, but the neaps are obviously best for wreck fishing. The ebb tide is the strongest direction generally.
A spring tide during November has proved consistently to give the best chance of a big winter cod. After this, they have past through the channel and moved on.
Inshore fishing sees a 20lb class rod or the uptider pressed into service, though most would choose a lighter rod when chasing the plaice.
Uptiding is popular for all species winter and summer over the sandbanks taking particularly good catches of rays and cod. You'll rarely need more than 8ozs to hold down, even on the ebb.
Downtiding is the established method for the bigger cod fishing whole squid baits, but you'll need to up your weight size to 1lb. Carry a few slightly larger ones too, just to be safe.
Wreck fishing for pollack with redgills is successful with most anglers choosing an uptider or 20lb class rod for this. General inshore wrecking needs only a 30lb class rod for general species, but the deeper offshore wrecks and when congering will see the 50lb class blank as being the better choice.
Local yellowtail lug proves the best cod bait and will take plaice, dabs, sole,and whiting inshore. For smoothound fish crab or ragworm. Mackerel is good for rays, tope, spurdog and the bigger bass. Wreck conger take whole squid, a flapper mackerel, whole whiting or pout.
Over the wrecks pirks are good fished in conjunction with a muppet or a rubber eel for the cod and pollack, with the latter hitting medium sized artificial eels. Rubber eels trolled over the banks and over the shallower inshore wrecks takes large catches of bass. Black, red
and white the best colours.
The biggest channel whiting fall to Hokkai or standard white feathers baited with fish strip.

Deal Pier  Beach St., Deal, Kent CT14 6HZ
Deal has always been a justly popular place for sea anglers with its inshore fishing fleet, miles of open beaches and its Pier. The present pier was built in 1954 on the site of two previous structures, one which was destroyed by a storm in the 19th century and one and the other by the drifting hulk of the Dutch vessel Nora during World War 2. It is 1026ft long and has gained international recognition as angling venue. The 'stem' of the pier is a quarter of a mile long and fishing is permitted on both the North and South sides from just before the second shelter to the fourth shelter at the far end. There is a lower deck which is shaped rather like an arrow with a flat point again this deck was built to cater for the anglers and both the Deal & Walmer Angling Association and the Deal 1919 Angling Clubs have a cabin so that their members can gain shelter in bad weather and make the odd cup of tea whilst talking about 'the one that got away'.
Opening times - Fishing Daily 8.00am - 10.00pm
                            All night opening Friday and Saturday
                            All night group bookings available Sunday to Thursday 10.00pm - 6.00am
                            Restaurant - open 8am - 5pm daily
Cost -                 8am - 5pm          £3 per rod  Concession £1.50per rod
                           5pm - 10.0pm    £3 per rod  Concession £1.50 per rod
                           10pm - 6am       £6 per rod  Concession £3.75 per rod
Combined Day/Night ticket £7.50 per rod concession £3.75 per rod
Concession charges include : Senior Citizens, Juniors (under 16yrs), Disabled, Unemployed and Students  
Club Hire of Pier (per night) £150 plus 10% insurance
Toilets available - Telephone: 01304 363815
Species - Pollock, whiting, cod, Dover sole, pouting, eels, bass, plaice, dabs, dog fish, scad, mackerel, black bream, garfish, mullet. smoothound. 
When to fish - In the summer months pegs 80-90 on the south side are the best for Dover sole and large pouting fishing for 2 hours either side of the high tide. Eels, bass and plaice are also caught here between May and October. Dogfish, smoothounds and whiting are caught with a cast of 50-80metres out from the pier as are mullet, mackerel and bream. In the winter months further out along the pier towards the deeper water between the 3rd and 4th shelters large cod and whiting are caught 2hours either side of the high tide. On the far left (north) corner between January and April shoals of dab move in close to spawn and  the south corner is reckoned to be the best for cod during October and November. The pier can get very busy at this time.    
Techniques and baits -  Whiting and cod in the winter months are best caught on yellow tailed lug or peeler or soft backed crab but common lug tipped with squid can often work well. Dabs do best on black lug or yellow tail; smoothounds on crab; scad, mullet mackerel bream and pollack on king and white ragworm. A large hook with crab on can often get you a bass.
Location - Deal is a quiet town situated between Dover and Sandwich on the South East Kent coast. If you drive to Deal along the A258 from Dover you cannot miss the pier. There is ample parking in the Middle Street car park, with a walk through a short alleyway direct to the sea front. There is a  car park next to the pier on the seafront - it's free after 6 and you can see your car from the pier but it's busy during the day.
 Dungeness, Kent
Produces fish all year round, but is best from late summer on for bass, sole, pout, flounder and dabs. Whiting show from September in big numbers. Cod appear from October through to Christmas with double figure cod and the odd 20lb cod taken either side of the New Year
Lug is the main bait here with the fatties and pout taking blow lug tipped with crab or mackerel strips. The bass take peeler baits in the summer, but prefer a big yellow tail or black lug and squid cocktail by October with whole squid another top bait. A lug/squid cocktail or black lug tipped with yellowtail is the top cod bait. Also try tipping lug with razorfish and slipper limpet after a good blow.
The easterly flowing flood tide during the bigger spring tides can be strong and fishing difficult at times without 6oz grip leads, so bear that in mind. The ebb tide runs west.
The best fishing is after a big blow in the winter which stirs up the sea and throws up shellfish on to the tide line. The fish move in to feed on these and some big catches are taken. Fish the full flood tide and the first three hours back, then the fishing dies again until low water.
Distance casting can make a big difference here, plus there's the tide to contend with, so a 5-6oz beachcaster, 6500 sized reel with 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader is necessary to get the distance and hold down. After a blow it's also worth carrying a bigger 7000 sized reel holding 25lb line and a leader to combat any weed.
A three-hook flapper rig works well for the whiting, flatties and pout with size 2 Aberdeen's, but for the sole drop to a size 4 hook. For the bass and cod a clipped down rig with two size 4/0 Viking hooks on carries a big bait out to the fish.
Take the B259 then the B2075 which is signposted for Lydd and Dungeness.

 irlams Beach, Little Oakley, Essex
A mark that starts to produce eels, flounders and bass from early April on, with some good mullet showing from late May to September. Better quality bass show between September and November, with whiting and flounders taken throughout the winter.
Stick to peeler or soft back crab for the bass, flounders and eels, though maddie rag and king rag also works well here. The mullet take floating and sinking bread but you ideally need to ground bait to get the mullet feeding. Winter whiting and flounder take worm or mackerel strip.
The ground is a mix of mud banks and sand split by patches of rocks. It's quite shallow and can be treacherous in places due to the soft mud, so don not fish here alone. It can produce on most sizes of tide, but is best during the middle sized tides rising towards the biggest springs.
Nothing heavier than a 2-4oz bass rod is needed with a 6500 reel loaded with 15lb line and 30 to 40lb shock leader. Some angler choose to just fish with a spinning rod for the smaller species.
Choose either a one up/one down rig or a three hook flapper for the flatties, eels and whiting using size 2 Aberdeen hooks. For the bigger bass a simple flowing trace rig or one hook clipped down rig and single size 4/0 Viking pattern hook is ideal.
The mullet can be shy here, so use 6lb main line with a 4ft section of 4lb Fluoro carbon to a size 10 hook. Fish under a loaded waggler with just a smack shot about a foot above the hook to take the bait down. Fish a small bubble float if you decide to fish a floating bread bait.
Head for Harwich on the A120. At Ramsey Roundabout take the B1352 looking for the Devon Pub and turn right, then second left into Low Road. Go along the seafront and turn right into West End Tip Lane. There's a free car park here and the marks are a short walk towards Oakley in direction.

 Littlestone on Sea, Kent
A good species venue with sole, flounder, dabs, whiting, eels pouting, bass, rockling and a few cod all showing in season.
Crab is the summer hot shot for eels, bass and flounders here, with blow lug or rag taking the sole. Black lug and yellowtails are the key winter baits tipping with razorfish or squid for the cod. Tip lug with mackerel or fish a section of sandeel to pick out the bigger whiting.
This is a good daylight venue in settled weather due to the localized silt and mud putting colour in the water when nearby venues are gin clear. It fishes best the two hours either side of high water on the biggest spring tides. There is a gentle west to east tidal run over high water.
In normal weather conditions the majority of fish are taken at longer range, so a 5-6oz beachcaster and 6500 sized reel with 12 to 15lb line and 60lb shock leader is the wise choice. After a good blow with some colour in the water the fish can be at close range and some good mixed bag catches taken. Use 5 to 6oz grip leads.
To maximise range choose either a two-hook or three-hook clipped down flapper with size 2 Kamasan Aberdeen's a good all round choice. If you specifically target the sole, then drop down to size 6 Aberdeen's. After a blow a straight three-hook flapper works best.
Take the A259 heading for New Romney, then take the right turn at the traffic lights on to Littlestone Road as you leave New Romney. Continue on past the Zziplex rod factory and the light railway station. Take the left turn as you reach the sea. Locals prefer to fish between the orange brick water tower and Pirate Springs. You can park on the track.

Prince of Wales Pier, Dover Seafront
May to October sees eels, mullet, bass, plaice, mackerel, scad, garfish and sole. From September whiting, flounder, dabs, pout and cod are the main species.
BAITSThe plaice and sole take ragworm or yellowtail lug, as will the bass, though the bigger bass prefer crab. A top local bait for flounder is maddie rag in bunches. Winter fishing is with lug tipped with squid, or lug tipped with rag. Mackerel strips or sandeel section pick out the better whiting. Mullet take mackerel flesh or bread.
This pier produces throughout the full flood and ebb tide, though many anglers prefer to fish from high water down to low. The inshore end is favoured in rougher weather and coloured water. Towards the cafe anglers aim their casts towards the breakwater for the best results, with the Sea Cat gate mark good for the pollack and flounders.
A good tip when fishing here is to vary your casts and try and locate the deeper gullies sucked out by the dredger as these tend to hold the bulk of the bottom fish.
Although a safe venue in rough seas and high winds the pier can be an uncomfortable place to be.
A standard 4 to 6oz beachcaster and Penn Mag 525 loaded with 18lb line and a long 60lb shock leader is a popular choice here. A good rig is a three-hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen's. For fishing down the side of the pier for the scad and pollack use a long 10ft rig with three booms held in place by adjustable stops. Leads need to be 5 to 6ozs as during the early flood it will run strongly.
You can also carry a light spinning rid and reel with 10lb line and float fish for the garfish, mackerel and mullet. For the mullet add a 4ft section of 6lb Fluoro carbon line to the size 10 hook.
Access Dover either from the A20 or A2 and follow the signs for the marina. There is plenty of pay parking on the marina Quay. For drinks and snacks the caf� is open all day in summer, but only on weekends in the winter. You need a ticket to fish this pier which is available from the ticket machine or Steward. There is access for disabled anglers too.


Only 75 miles east of London and home to a modern charter boat fleet. The waters contain a good variety of fish throughout the year making it a popular venue for home counties anglers and to those from much further afield too.
Top inshore marks are the chalk ledges off Thanet for bass and codling, and the Broadstairs Knolls, an area of rising ridges that prove holding areas for big bass. Also the Querne Bank.
The most famous mark off all is the Goodwin Sands. This area of sand banks has proved the final resting place to large numbers of wartime wrecks which provide holding areas for big cod, bass, tope and rays, pollack, plus smoothound.
Late spring bass are taken from the ledges off Thanet along with an inconsistent run of spring codling to 6lbs. Cleaner ground off the harbour holds plaice and rays. Spurdog to double figures are possible from offshore marks.
Summer over the offshore sandbanks gives good numbers of bass, rays, tope running to 30lbs, smoothound and plaice. Mackerel also put in appearance. Conger can show around the wrecks.
Autumn sees double figure bass taken on redgills, with pollack to gills and cod on pirks and muppets from the wrecks. The pollack run to about 18lbs and some of the cod well over 20lbs. Codling show in fair numbers from September on along with whiting and dabs.
Bigger cod show to uptide tactics over the sand banks during November and December. Rays remain to be caught throughout the year. Smaller codling remain inshore during January and February, but quickly move offshore during March.
No tide restrictions exist, except during the highest spring tides when the low water period can retard harbour access.
Tides run fast here, but are easily fishable. Pick the smaller neap tides for all wreck fishing. Inshore, generally the bigger tides fish best, especially for the bass and codling.
When targeting the bigger inshore winter cod fish the bigger tides in November. This month has always proved the most consistent time for such fish in this area. Cod will stay until February, but the biggest fish will have passed through the Straits of Dover by the end of November and be gone for good.
Local anglers choose uptide tackle for most close inshore situations and for fishing the Goodwins. The latter venue can be fished with 8oz grip leads quite comfortably, even on the ebb. For downtiding, you'll need leads between 1lb and 2lbs. Pirks need to weigh around the pound, though a few larger ones are useful to carry.
Wreck fishing here is not quite the rough and tumble wrecking of elsewhere. A standard 30lb outfit will cover pirk and lure fishing, plus take on any downtide fishing you want to do. Some anglers prefer a 20lb boat rod or uptider when fishing the wrecks with redgills.
A successful way to rig up is with a large single muppet mounted on a short 12in hook length positioned about 6ft above the pirk. When a cod hits the both lures the upper fish can be gaffed with the pirk hooked fish still safely swimming in the water. Pink, red and black muppets are the killers here. Top redgill colours are red and black for pollack, and black and all white for the bass.
Baited feathers work well close to the wrecks for large channel whiting and also account for occasional pollack and cod.
The shallower sand banks can be spun using tobies, krills etc, for the bass. This is a neglected tactic and can give in the know dinghy anglers some good fish.
When fishing a downtide bait for the big winter cod use a whole Calamari squid, even two on a pennel hook system. Whole Calamari's also pick up the big autumn bass as they drop back from the Essex coast.
Local yellowtail lug, it can be dug from Sandwich Bay, is the preferred uptide bait for cod and plaice, with mackerel used for the rays and crab, or rag for the smoothound. Sandeels take odd bass, rays and dogfish. Turbot can show to the latter bait and also whole mackerel fillets in the late summer and autumn.

 Admiralty Pier, Dover, Kent
Bass, mackerel, garfish, mullet, smoothound, black bream, plaice and wrasse all show in the summer. October through to February sees a good mix of whiting, codling, dabs, flounders and pout.
Local yellowtail lug is the mainstay for everything bar the smoothound. Try tipping with mackerel or squid or use strips of these for the whiting, dabs and bream. The smoothound and bass take crab, with the autumnal bass preferring lug baits tipped with squid or whole squid. A fresh pout or mackerel head are also a good big bass baits.
Tough 5-6oz beachcasters with an equally tough reel like a Penn 525 loaded with 15 to 18lb line and a 50 to 60lb shock leader is the best choice here. Make your leaders longer than normal to aid lifting fish up from the sea. Local anglers use 6oz to 8oz grip leads to hold bottom in the tide run.
Good rigs are a simple one up/one down with tough size 1 Aberdeen hooks to help lift the fish. For the cod and smoothound use a sliding ledger and longer 30-inch 30lb hook trace and a 3/0 hook to keep the bait hard on the seabed. The big bass also take well on a longer 6ft hook trace but using either a single 6/0 or 6/0 pennel hook rig, especially when using pout, mackerel or squid.
In summer you can feather fresh mackerel for bait of the Turret area, plus catch garfish and mullet on float gear down the side of the pier walls.
The tide runs very strong two hours either side of high water. High water and down the ebb is good for the winter cod at night. The bass and smoothound favour the first hour of the new flood tide.
There is a small fee to fish the pier with varied daily opening times. Check with the Pier authorities on 01304 225138.
At the second roundabout on the A20, take the third exit, or take the first exit at the fourth roundabout coming off the A2 and follow the signs. There is pay parking available close to the pier. Many anglers choose to use a carp type trolley to carry their gear as the end of the pier is a fair walk away.

 South West

Lilstock, Somerset
Thornback rays can show throughout the year along with conger eels. May to July produces smoothound with sole showing from June through to September. Cod show from October, though it's usually November before they appear in any numbers. Whiting, pout and dogfish make it a good mixed bag venue.
Ragworm is a top all round bait for the whiting, pout, dogs and rays, but it's essential to tip with squid for consistent catches. The sole take rag and lug. Peeler crab or hermit crab are best for the smoothound. For the winter cod tip big lug baits with rag or squid.
This area is generally patches of clean ground giving on to reefs and rough ground patches. Reef ground is evident to the left hand side and is very snaggy but can produce the better fish. Fish here from low water through high water and for two hours back. To the right side the ground is slightly easier to fish and produces well in southwest winds and can produce fish any time of tide. There is also a sewer pipe between the reefs which fishes well over high water.
With snaggy ground evident you'll need a tough 5-6oz beachcaster, and for long range a Penn 525 Mag loaded with 20lb line or maybe a 7000 sized reel and 25lb line, plus a 60lb shock leader.
Pulley rigs made from 60lb line are best here with a short 15-inch 35lb hook trace. Most anglers prefer a two-hook pennel rig using Viking pattern hooks size 4/0 for the cod and rays, but up the hook length to 80lbs when after the conger.
A three-hook flapper rig and size 2 Aberdeen's is the best choice for the smaller general species. Drop to size 6 Aberdeen's when after the sole.
Come off the M5 at Junction 25 signposted for Taunton. Take the A358 to Williton and then the A39 for Bridgewater. Take the left turn after Kilve and before Holford when you come to a sharp bend in the road, head for Kilton and continue on through Lilstock farm. The road for Lilstock is on the next tight left-hand bend just past the farm. You can drive up the track and park before the gate. Follow the track through the gate to the beach and the sewer pipe is in front of you.

 Loe Bar, Portleven, Cornwall
Produces conger, thornback and small-eyed rays, bull huss, dabs, plaice, whiting, codling and mackerel and garfish in season.
Lugworm and ragworm are the main baits for the general species, but mackerel takes the thornback rays, huss and conger. A whole squid bait can also pick out the bigger huss and conger, especially in the autumn. Some good bass are taken early and late in the year to lug tipped with squid or peeler crab baits. Again a whole squid can pick out the bigger bass. The small-eyed ray go for fresh or frozen sandeel.
Tackle up with a 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 15 to 18lb line and 60lb shock leader. Three hook clipped down rigs with size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen's are a good choice for the flatties, and whiting. For the plaice a wishbone rig with coloured beads on and size 2 Aberdeen's is more selective fishing in daylight.
For the rays and bass a one-hook clipped down rig with a size 3/0 to 4/0 Viking hook and a 30lb hook trace is the best option. For the conger and huss in the rougher patches go for a pulley rig made from 80lb mono and a size 6/0 Viking hook clipped down tight behind the lead.
The rays, huss and conger all feed best at night, with the bass showing in a southwest wind that whips up a good surf here. A good cast is needed for the thornbacks, but the small-eyed rays are often close inshore during the flood tide at night.
In the summer fish over high tide for the mackerel and garfish with spinners and float tackle baiting with a strip of mackerel or sandeel.
Travel on the B3304 to Porthleven Road and drive around the left side of Porthleven Harbour. Branch off on to the minor road heading south-east to Loe Bar. Some parking is available, but is restricted on the access road, so take heed of the warning signs.

 Looe, Cornwall
Looe is most famous for it's shark fishing. This began properly in the mid 1950's with the famous Brigadier J. A. L. Caunter prominent in extolling the virtues of sharking out of Looe.
Such was the quality of the shark fishing at this time that the British record blue weighing 218lbs was taken by a Mr N. Sutcliffe in 1959 and still stands today. Then, in 1971, a massive British record mako shark of 500lbs found a place in Looe's history books. This fish caught by a lady, Mrs Joyce Yallop, was hooked just off the Eddystone Light.
Sharking remains Looe's bread and butter fishing to this day, though commercial pressure on the shark stocks has reduced the numbers and average size of the sharks compared to past decades. Looe is home to the famous Shark Angling Club of Gt Britain. Looe hosts a shark fishing festival each September.
General shark fishing is carried out beyond the 10 mile mark, mostly at 20 miles plus distance and done only on the drift in deep water.
Inshore lies areas of rough reef type ground, cleaner sand, and areas of mixed sand and rock. Rame Head is a noted wrasse and conger area and lies 9 miles to the east. Whitsand Bay, also eastwards, is cleaner ground holding flatfish, rays and bass. To the west(19 miles) is the Dodman Point. Looe Island or sometimes called St George's Island has a good tide around it and attracts dinghies and smaller vessels after pollack, bass etc.
Apart from commercial mackerel fishing, little in the way of winter fishing goes on. April sees the beginning of the season with rough ground marks giving ling, some cod, pollack, conger etc, and the first of the mackerel start to show closer to shore. The inshore marks also see bass, smaller pollack, wrasse and rays moving in.
The shark fishing gets underway, usually by the end of May with sharks contacted at 30-40 miles radius. During June and July the sharks move ever closer and can be less than 10 miles out by mid August. By this time, the mackerel are thick in numbers and backed up by pilchards which have made something of a comeback in numbers over the past half decade.
September and October see the numbers of sharks slowly decline, but then the rough ground marks give their returns of conger, wrasse, bass, odd huss and tope to compensate. Cleaner ground holds numbers of whiting and dabs, throughout the year.
Mako do still show, but not to rods unfortunately. The last Mako was a sub 100lber taken commercially, amazingly, during January a few years ago. Threshers can appear in the area, mainly in the early summer.
Most of the shark fishing is done with 30-50lb class gear, though there is a swing more and more to 20lb-30lb class as the main option. The main trace can have a rubbing leader of 250lb mono some 10ft long, ending in about 3-4ft of 300 to 400lb wire. This heavy wire gives added peace of mind just in case that rogue mako puts in an appearance. Hooks should be Mustad O'Shaughnessy 8/0 to 10/0, or Sea Masters.
For general inshore work a 30lb class rod is adequate, but do carry some heavier 1lb plus leads to cope with the bigger tides. Some redgills are handy for the pollack and bass, or silver Toby type spinners.
It matters little regards the size of the tide for sharking hereabouts, though there is a tendency for the greater numbers and bigger fish to show up on the springs tides when the boats drift covers maximum ground.
Inshore, then pollack and wrasse will still feed well on the neaps, but expect better bassing on the bigger tides. Rough ground conger feed best on neap tide slack waters.
There is only one recognized shark bait. Mackerel! However, a bunch of pilchards used to be excellent and probably still is but not now so fashionable.
Inshore wrasse will take lugworm and crab, the pollack and bass favour redgills or live launce, though pollack hit feathers too. Congering is done with flapper mackerel baits which the ling also favour. Baited feathers picks up the whiting.

A reliable port situated on the Bristol Channel that rarely gets the limelight that it deserves. The charter fleet sports modern craft with full facilities and can look back on an impressive list of specimen fish.
The boats have a choice of sandbank, reefs, rocky ground and wrecks to choose from. Inshore marks are reefy ground with sandbank areas further offshore towards mid channel, as are the wrecks. Noted marks are inside Blue Anchor Bay, Hurlestone Point, the Ivy Stone, and occasionally the mid channel islands of Grass Holm and Steep Holm.
Occasional trips out to Lundy Island laying to the west have produced excellent pollack fishing.
A little bit of everything here. Thornbacks and small eyed rays turn up in late May from the cleaner ground, with conger coming from the reefs and rock areas. Tope appear in May and tend to be the bigger female fish. Mackerel show during June staying until August, with trigger fish resident along the reefs and rough ground. June sees smoothound too. Some good bass work over the inshore grounds during the summer, though it's September and October when the best fish are taken. Blonde rays are caught in the early autumn with codling and then cod following September and October. Whiting also move inshore. Codling, odd bigger cod, conger and some rays make up catches in the early part of the year.
Offshore wrecks hold quality pollack, conger, ling and cod, plus bull huss, as do the mid channel gutters. Some turbot are taken too, when drift fishing with mackerel close to the wrecks. Porbeagle shark have been spotted out in middle channel and are responsible for the loss of hooked wreck fish from time to time. Usually in the months of July and August. Spurdog to 16lbs move in during November, though numbers have fallen over the last decade.
During November to January a period of easterly winds can bring huge shoals of sprat close inshore that dominate the cod's feeding habits and reduce catches.
Some skippers and anglers know that massive conger inhabit the many wrecks, but fear that those fast tides protect the monsters by keeping fishing time over the wrecks to a minimum. Conger over 50lbs have been caught, but the average is nearer 30lbs.
TIDESThis is the Bristol Channel with it's often quoted second highest tides in the world. Spring tides are horrificly fast and means most fishing is done closer to shore. Slower moving neap tides allow access to the offshore sandbanks and the wrecks. Channel water always carries heavy colour brought down from the Severn river and it's feeders, however, once out in mid channel clarity improves and allows artificial eels to be used over the wrecks with some success.
A range of tackle is needed. Uptiders are very popular for sandbanks and close to shore work, but the fast tides offshore demand heavier tackle with anglers choosing standard 30lb to 50lb class boat rods and multipliers. Lead weights upto 2lbs should be carried for downtide techniques, though 8oz fixed grip leads will handle almost all uptide fishing.
Cod baits are always large helpings of rag or lug, sometimes tipped off with squid on pennel rigs. Some of the biggest cod fall to whole squid baits. The conger, huss, ling etc, go for mackerel, though fresh pouting is another favourite. Wreck pollack can be attacked with redgills.
Frozen sandeel and squid and mackerel cocktails work well for the rays and the huss. Inshore bass take rag baits.

Princess Pier, Torbay Road, Torquay, TQ2 5
The Princess pier is just by the well known Princess Theatre and is a popular place to fish for locals and tourists alike and along with the Haldon Pier to the south it shelters Torquay Harbour. It is a popular promenade place complete with seating whilst Haldon is the working pier with vehicular access. You can fish from the seaward side of the pier as fishing within the marina is subject to a fine. Fishing is allowed all year day and night weather permitting.
Species - Mackerel, garfish, dogfish, bass, whiting, pollack, scad, wrasse, conger, cod, black bream, red mullet and smoothound.
When to fish - All year is good but in the summer the pier can get crowded during the day so try the evening or night instead. Night fishing in the winter is the best as there are no crowds, still plenty of fish and as the pier is lighted there are no visibility problems. June to September is excellent for mackerel, pollack, garfish and dogfish. In the autumn skate occasionally as well as bass, pollack, and mullet and in the winter the ever present mackerel and garfish as well as bass, mullet  and whiting.
Techniques and baits -  The majority of people float fish but bottom fishing can be successful as well. Float gear and spinners for mackerel, worms or mackerel for pollack, mackerel strips for garfish or doggies on the bottom some up to the 2½lb mark. Lug and rag worm, peeler crab, and squid can also be used.
Location - From a380 take A3022 into Torquay follow road to Cockington Village and on, to the sea front. Turn left (North East) onto B3199 Torbay Road to Princess Pier 400mts on right. 
Padstow is primarily known a a shark fishing port and probably was the birthplace of British shark fishing as we know during the early post war period when Group captain Pat Lombard in the "Bounty" and Tommy Morrisey in the "Girl Maureen" realised the potential. They caught blues mainly, but also porbeagles. The second biggest ever porgie at 465lbs was taken here back in 1976 by Jorge Potier.
Over the past decade, the packs of porbeagles have pretty much disappeared from the region, like in so many other areas, probably victims of indiscriminate commercial fishing elsewhere. That said, there are signs in other areas that porbeagle numbers are on the increase again giving the likleyhood that some sharks will filter back here in the near future. There's always the chance that somebody will latch in to another monster.
Good ground fishing over rocky pinnacles exists over the Quies and Gulland Rock areas, off Trevose, only 5 miles to the south, where there is a mix of rough and clean ground, and off Rumps Point. Tintagel Head is another good area and lays 10 miles to the north.
The famous sharking grounds are over the reefs off the headland at Cambeak. Here the water is shallow. Often sharks are hooked in 30 feet of water only a half mile offshore. These reefs are made up of rising rock pinnacles and shelves that fall vertically down.
April sees the pollack start to filter back in onto the reefs and with them come the shark. Porbeagles first with the April and May period excellent for the bigger fish, though porbeagles are present right through the year with several commercially caught shark being reported on the pre and post Christmas period.
Mackerel start to show from mid April, with the best numbers from late May which is when the blue shark start to appear some 25 miles offshore, but moving closer by the day. The high summer and autumn period sees good ground fishing for pollack, ling, coalfish, conger, gurnards, mackerel, tope, bass, rays and huss.
Dinghies and smaller vessels spend time close inshore over rough ground taking out some large ballan wrasse and bass, as well as pollack to double figures.
By late September a change to winter sees whiting moving in, and during the past decade more and more cod have begun to inhabit the reefs and inshore rough. Small eyed rays feed well during October and November, as do the conger just prior to the first frosts. There used to be some large turbot show here during the autumn, but these and the porbeagle sharks are now in fewer numbers for a variety of reasons. Big female tope can show during October and November as they drop back from more northern waters.
For general ground fishing inshore a 20lb class rod and reel are okay for ledgering, but for sport with the pollack, then go for a lighter uptider and 15lb. Deeper water over the reefs etc, and bigger fish requires stepping up to 30lb class tackle which takes on the conger, rays and tope. The experienced shark angler would also choose this tackle for the blue shark and for light line thrills with porbeagles. Serious porbeagle men would prefer the 50lb class outfit, given the size of shark that the areas has produced in the past.
Choose the uptide rod for fishing sandeel for the bass, but take heed and go for the 30lb class boat rod when fishing for the wrasse. The fish round here are very big, very powerful, and surrounded by snags.
No special rigs are needed here, but do fish with a weak link to the lead weight as snagging is frequent over the best ground.
There is a fair run of tide over the tops of the reefs on the biggest spring tides, but drift fishing takes the work out of this. You should carry leads from a few ounces up to 1lbs which will cover you for all eventualities. The best of the ground fishing tends to come on the average sized tides, but sharking is best centred on the bigger tides of the cycle, especially if you have porbeagle in mind, though it depends how far offshore you are. Ling over rough ground seem to feed best here during the neap tides.
For general ground fishing you'd be wise to stick with fresh mackerel, though the small eyed ray are just as partial to frozen sandeel offered from a boat as they are from the shore. Blue shark need to be presented with a whole mackerel between 8ozs and a pound. The porbeagle though, wants a pollack, and this should weigh about 2-3lbs ideally. Bass are keen on live sandeel or trolled redgills and the pollack also will hit the 'gills worked on a flying collar rig. The wrasse are big and powerful and will take crab or lug baits lowered into the most inaccessible holes.

Back in the 70's and 80s it was home to probably the biggest charter fishing fleet in the UK and was undoubtedly the most famous. The prolific wreck fishing available within 60 miles of the port has yielded a steady stream of British record fish over the past two decades and shows no real sign of decreasing yet. Add to this quality ground and reef fishing and it's no surprise to find that Plymouth remains one of the top three most popular ports for travelling boat anglers in the country.
Close inshore, then Plymouth Sound offers sport with pollack, plaice, bass, wrasse and whiting, with the Mew Stone 5 miles out offering a variety of species. Both areas are popular with the smaller private vessel. Rock marks close in off Rame Head give sport with wrasse, bass and pollack.
Charter boats frequent Hands Deep for general reef ground fishing and then there is the famed Eddystone Light which has an artificial eel named after it such is it's magnetism. The Eddystone is a large area of rugged rock pinnacles and reef ground. Many of the pinnacles rise close to the surface and care of navigation is needed. It is a well known bass mark of old and holds pollack, ling and conger throughout the year.
The port lies within range of hundreds of war and peace time wrecks. The inner wrecks are well plundered by commercial netting, but this depletion of inshore fish stocks encouraged Plymouth skippers to buy bigger and better equipped boats which now ply their trade upto 60 miles from home. Some even undertake three day trips that include a night in a channel Island port.
January, February and March is when the biggest of the pollack are taken from the distant wrecks. Some big coalfish also appear. Late March sees thornback ray inside Plymouth Sound, but it's April before the inner reef and rough ground starts to build a real head of pollack to double figures. Bass shoal over the Eddystone with the big tides in May. Mackerel appear in May, too.
The offshore wrecks hold big ling, conger and some cod from June onwards with the best conger fishing being in July and August. Blue shark are taken drifting some 20 miles out, usually by late May or early June. Summer fishing on the inshore wrecks gives pollack, bass, ling and conger, maybe odd turbot. The best of the coalfish appear over the wrecks in the early autumn with closer, cleaner ground south of Rame Head providing excellent whiting fishing with 2lb fish quite common. Black and red bream can show from the wrecks and reefs too. Plymouth boats also have a reputation for finding a few Mediterranean wreckfish or stone bass in summer and autumn.
The best of the wreck fishing will always be on the smaller neap tides with their reduced flow of water. The deeper reef areas also are better fished on the smaller tides. Bass over the Eddystone though, are sought on the spring tides with dawn the best period for the bass to work.
Tides are less critical on the inshore marks when seeking wrasse and pollack etc, but inshore conger marks again fish best when tidal flow in minimized.
Pirk fishing and killer gear over the wrecks in deep water needs a 50lb rod with a roller tip ring, 50 to 60lb line and 4/0 to 6/0 multiplier with strong gears like a Penn Senator or Daiwa Sealine.
When working redgill eels on a flying collar rig, then an uptide rod and multiplier holding 300yds of 18lb line should be used, though a few anglers do drop down to lighter 15lb class tackle.
The 15lb class rod and reel will be suited to the bass fishing and pollack over the reefs, but a 20lb to 30lb rod is needed for general bottom fishing and for the inshore wrecks.
Blue shark should be targeted with 30 to 50lb class tackle, but experienced anglers now choose 20lb as amply strong enough, even for 100lb plus fish.
Carry leads upto a couple of pounds and have plenty of spare rigs and traces ready when wreck fishing.
Bass feed on launce sandeels and these fished live are the best bass and pollack bait over the reefs. Mackerel, either in strips, or as fillets and whole baits take the bottom fish.
A whole flapper mackerel over the wrecks is a good ling bait. Long squid strips or mackerel fillets cut long and thin may take bream as well as pollack.
Carry black, red and white redgills for pollack, with odd fluorescent yellow and orange eels for the coalfish. Whiting take baited feathers. Inshore wrasse like crab baits, as do the thornbacks.

 Porthcurno, Cornwall
SPECIESThis is an all year round venue capable of giving mackerel, garfish, scad, bass, small-eyed ray and wrasse in the summer and autumn, with a few cod, but mainly coalfish, whiting and dabs in the winter.
BAITSThe mackerel, scad and garfish can be caught on mackerel strip or by spinning. The bass take lug, rag or crab, but autumnal bass also favour a squid bait. The small-eyed ray prefer sandeel or squid. For the wrasse fish lug for the smaller ones and crab for the biggies.
The beach is flanked by cliffs but has a good depth of water close in at low water as it shelves steeply. The ground out from the beach is a mix of clean sand and weed covered rock, so some tackle losses can be expected.
It fishes best from low water right up the flood and for the first hour back at night for the bass and rays off the beach, though some anglers prefer to walk the rocks either side and fish of these for a greater variety of species.
A 5-6oz beachcaster and a Penn 525 or ABU 7000 sized reel loaded with 20lb line and 60lb shock leader is the best option and helps minimise tackle losses to the snags.
Most angler fish pulley rigs or clipped down one-hook rigs for the bass and rays using size 3/0 hooks. For the whiting and dabs a three-hook flapper rig is best with Aberdeen hooks.
A 2oz spinning rod and reel with 12lb line give great fun in the summer and autumn evenings with the mackerel, scad and garfish using small chrome flashing spinners or feathers.
Follow the A30 out of Penzance heading for Lands End. At Catchall take the B3283 and follow the signs for the Minack Theatre. There is a large car park with a path leading down to the beach.

 Puttsborough, North Devon
Bass, small-eyed ray, some blonde ray, conger, whiting, turbot, dabs, plaice and dogfish.
Top bait is fresh or frozen sandeel which takes pretty much everything, especially the rays. Squid and mackerel are good alternatives for the rays as well as for conger and bass. Big black lug baits take bigger autumnal bass. Ragworm and blow lug are good for the whiting, dabs and plaice, with sandeel or mackerel strips for the turbot.
The beach is shallow with few if any snags and produces fish throughout the year. It is popular with summer tourists, so is best fished through the dark either side of low water.
April to early October is good for small-eyed ray, with bass showing in surf conditions all year round. Autumn is best for the conger, which seem to cruise the beach looking for food. September seems to produce the blonde ray. Dabs and whiting show from October through to February, with plaice most likely between March and June, but you need to hit long range to find the plaice.
A 5-6oz beachcaster and smaller 6500 sized multiplier loaded with 12 to 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader is the popular choice. For the rays and bass, go for a one-hook clipped down rig with a single size 3/0 Viking type hook. The flatfish and whiting are best targeted with a three-hook clipped down flapper rig or a two-hook wishbone rig, each armed with size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen's.
It faces away from the prevailing south-westerly winds, so offers sheltered fishing during rougher weather.
Take the A361 to Braunton, then take the B3231 for Saunton and head for the village of Croyde. Pass through Croyde and look for the left turn to Puttsborough Beach. This is a narrow road with signs to the beach and car park.

 Rame Head, Cornwall
Locals rate this area for its wrasse fishing, but it also produces good returns of huss, conger, mullet, mackerel, garfish and the odd bass. Occasionally tope are hooked, but few landed.
Crab is the best ballan wrasse bait, but smaller fish also take lug or rag. Live sandeel are good for summer bass, along with live prawns and again soft crab. Mackerel strips take the gars, with fresh mackerel or a whole squid the top baits for the conger and huss. For mullet fish a flake of mackerel without the skin tight in to the rocks and amongst a light chum of bread and minced mackerel. The chum will also bring in the gars.
The spinning rod and line of 10lbs is ample for the mackerel and gars using float tackle, and use the spinning gear to floatfish a prawn or sandeel for the bass, but up the line strength to 12 to 15lbs.
If you�re ledgering for the wrasse, then a 2-4oz bass rod and 20lb line is the best choice. Fish a mono loop paternoster for the wrasse with a 40lb hook length and a size 2/0 Viking hook.
A night session after the conger and huss needs a stiff 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 25lb mono and a 60lb shock leader. Opt for a pulley rig ending in a size 4/0 to 6/0 Viking pattern hook.
The ground is rough and snaggy, but the venue fishes well by day for the wrasse, gars and bass, but is especially good at night for the eels and huss.
The whole area fishes well, but the ground to the right of Queener Point is the most favoured where a deep gully holds the bigger wrasse.
Take the car ferry over the Tamar estuary between Plymouth and Torpoint. Follow the A374 to the Ring O Bells pub at Anthony. Now bear left on to a secondary road, turning left again at Tregantle following the coastal road. You can see Rame Head from here and head for the Coastguard Lookout which has a car park adjacent.

 Stolford, Somerset
Spring and summer for thornback and small-eyed ray. October onwards sees whiting, cod and coalfish.
The thornbacks take lug tipped with squid, squid or crab. The small-eyed are not in numbers here but take sandeel or squid. Winter whiting take lug tipped with mackerel or sandeel, plus mackerel strips, with the coalfish and cod taking crab until November, then lug baits tipped with squid.
The upper shore here is broken shingle giving on to sand and soft dangerous mud, so the best of the fishing is only during the two hours either side of high water. It fishes okay in the day but is best at night. It offers some protection from the south and southwest winds as it faces north.
Long range casting will take the bulk of the fish here, so a 5-6oz beachcaster matched to a reel like the Penn 525 or 7000 with 18 to 25lb line and a 60lb shock leader is a good choice.
Most local anglers choose a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with either a single or two Viking 79515 hooks size 4/0 for the rays and cod. For the smaller species opt for a three-hook flapper rig and size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen's. The tide will pull strong here so you need 6oz grip leads. Flatten the ends of the wires and bend the first 5mm back at a right angle towards the lead. This helps stop the leads sinking deeply in to the soft mud.
Stolford is accessed from the A39 turning off near Cannington down a narrow road following the signs for Stolford. Parking is at the back of the beach.

 Sand Point, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset 
March to May sees a run of both spring codling and thornback rays. Bass show best from mid May through to late November, with conger eels likely to show at any time.
The rays like a cocktail of rag and mackerel, or will take whole squid and peeler crab. The conger are keen on mackerel or squid, but will also take whole whiting flappers or a fresh pout. For the winter cod make up 8-inch baits of black lug tipped with either rag, blow lug or squid strips.
You can fish off any off the numerous rock ledges here over low water, then move back on to weed covered rocks with gullies in between. It fishes best during the rising spring tides for two hours before and the two and half hours after low water.
The water is always heavily coloured here and good fish can be caught in daylight, but the local cod anglers prefer fishing at night.
Although casting distance is not needed here as many fish are caught with 70yds of the shore, the tide and occasional weed problem means most anglers fish a Penn 525 Mag or 7000 sized reel loaded with 18 to 22lb line and a 60lb shock leader.
Pulley rigs made from 60lb mono using two 4/0 hooks rigged pennel style are the most popular and 6oz grip leads help fish to self hook on the take. There are some snags so it's worth having your leads rigged on a weak link system to preserve tackle and minimize the chance of loosing a good fish.
At Junction 21 on the M5 take the A370 and immediately turn left following the signs for Kewstoke and Sand Bay. At Sand Bay follow the sea front to the toilet block at the end and there is a car park on the right. Follow the path at the back of the toilets towards Sand Point and you'll see the rock ledges on the right. Walk the cliff path and find a suitable place to climb down. You can also walk the beach to the ledges.

 Teign Estuary, Devon
Flounder all year and eels. Best time for the big flounder is from October through to the end of February.
This is mainly a crab only venue with lug and rag baits relatively poor in comparison. Autumn to post Christmas can see mackerel tipped with maddie rag pull out some of the biggest fish.
TACKLE & TACTICSThe knack here is to cast out in to the deeper channel, especially the areas where the depth is greatest as the flounder like to lay up in the holes facing in to the tide.
It fishes best either side of low water, but especially through the flood to high water. Specific areas to fish are Coombe Cellars, Gravel Point and Charlie's Beach on the Shaldon side, with the Boatyard section, Flow Point and Red Rocks the most noted areas on the Teignmouth flank of the estuary.
Where possible fish a 2-4oz bass rod and 6500 sized reel loaded with 15lb line and a suitable shock leader for the size of weight used. Some areas require a long cast to reach the best parts of the channel, so a 4-6oz beachcaster is more appropriate with the same reel and line as for the bass rod.
Top rig is a cascade rig or a two-up/one down rig both using 18-inch 20 hook traces and size 2 Aberdeen's. Adding float beads above the hook and attractor beads can help increase the catch. Lead weights need to be between 1oz and 4ozs depending on area fished and size of the tide.
Off the M5 westbound head for Teignmouth and at Kingsteinton take the A380 for the west side of the Teign estuary. To fish the Shaldon side continue on to the Penn Inn roundabout and take the left turn for Milber. The river is on your left all the way with Coombe Cellars the first area to fish. Roadside parking.

 The Erme Estuary, Devon
Thornback and small-eyed ray show late May and June, but appear in bigger numbers from September on. Bass are resident all year round along with flounders and eels. Big mullet show from April right through to Christmas in mild years. Occasional stingray have been hooked and lost here in May and June.
Mackerel or sandeel picks up the rays, though the thornbacks will take crab and the small-eyed squid as well. For the flounders, bass and eels stick with fresh peeler or soft back crab. King rag worm is only a fair back up bait. The mullet take tiny bits of rag or mackerel flesh under a float, or surface fished bread.
The estuary offers beach fishing with the beaches shallowish and backed by low cliffs. It can produce fish on all tide sizes but fished best on the bigger tides. The ray's show three hours before high tide, but the bas scan be caught both on the flood as they move in, and on the ebb as they head back for open sea.
For the rays and bass a 5-6oz beachcaster and 6500 reel loaded with 15lb line and 50lb shock leader helps get a little more distance out in to the deeper water. A good rig here is a clipped down one hook rig carrying a size 3/0 to 4/0 hook. Leads need to be 5oz grips.
With the flounders and eels generally feeding tight to the shoreline a bass rod and just 12lb line with a light 30lb shock leader is perfect. Fish a simple flowing ledger rig with a 2ft 20lb hook trace and a size 2 Aberdeen.
For the mullet looks for rocks that edge out in to the water and groundbait with bread around these. The mullet show very close in, so be prepared to keep well down out of sight. Fish an Avon type rod, 6lb line and a 4lb Fluoro carbon tippet to a size 10 hook under a loaded waggler float with just enough shot to get the bait down.
Take the A379 Plymouth to Knightsbridge road and then head for Holbeton and the estuary. Roadside parking in places.

 Ashford Strand, Barnstaple
A mark noted for specimen flounder taken between September and late January, though of late some big flatties have been taken through to late February. Summer bass run to 7lbs, with eels, flounders and thick-lipped and thin-lipped mullet working the same ground.
Maddie rag (harbour rag) is the main bait here and this can be dug along the estuary flanks. Maddies will take everything, but crab also works well for the bass, flounders and eels. The thick lipped mullet will take bread flake off the surface as well as float fished mackerel flesh and tiny bits of rag. Spin for the thin-lips with a Mepps spoon baited with maddie rag.
These marks are on the eastern side of the Taw estuary. It produces its best fishing the hour either side of low water, especially if there is a little colour in the water after a blow. Most anglers try to fish the deeper pools that hold the bigger flounder. Mid to high water is the best time for the bigger bass and for the mullet.
You need nothing heavier than a 2 to 4oz bass rod, a 6500 sized reel and 15lb line with a 30lb shock leader. A on up/one down rig using 24-inch 20lb hook snoods and size 2 Aberdeen's catches the bulk of the flounder, but when casting close keep the rod tip low to reduce the angle of the line and to get both baits hard on the seabed. Carry leads between 2 and 4ozs, but 2ozs will do most of the time.
Adding blue and white float beads as attractors above the baits works well for the flounder here and gives the bait more natural movement.
For the bass, try dropping a freelined crab in close and let it wash along with the tide.
The mullet are best fished for with an Avon type rod and 5lb line, or for the thin-lips a 9ft spinning rod and 6lb line.
On the A361 between Barnstaple and Braunton carry on past the dual carriage way and you'll see the estuary on the left. Head for Heanton Court where there is parking available. The estuary marks are accessed by walking the Tarka Cycle Path.

 Blue Anchor, Somerset
This is a good spring through summer venue for thornback ray, bass, conger and silver eels. From October produces cod, whiting and some big flounders.
Mix mackerel and squid for the spring thornbacks, though the early fish also take lug baits tipped with squid. Bass take crab or rag baits. Fish lug baits tipped with squid or crab for the cod, with the whiting taking lug tipped with mackerel or sandeel, or just fish a plain mackerel strip. The flounder fall to lug tipped with rag or razorfish.
Fish a 5-6oz beachcaster with a Penn 525 loaded with 20lb line or a 7000 loaded with 20 to 25lb line. Leads need to be 5 to 6oz grippers.
A clipped down rig with a 3/0 to 4/0 pennel hook rig on will take the rays, bass, cod and conger, though the conger need a heavier 80lb mono trace ideally. For the flounder and whiting stick to a one up/one down rig with size 1 Aberdeen hooks.
Not the easiest of marks to fish this. You can fish the reefs here on the smaller tides either side of low water, but the tides strips a long way and can expose areas of soft mud and dangerous sand, so care is needed and always fish in pairs. Most anglers choose to fish the bigger tides off the beach or in front of the wall for the two hours either side of high water. It can also fish well in daylight.
LOCATIONAt Junction 25 on the M5 take the A358 for Williton. Turn right in to Williton and by the supermarket turn left for the B3109 to Watchet. Turn left in the town on to the B3191 heading past the harbour for the seafront. Look for the chalets and the beach is adjacent, with the reefs right of the slipway. There is parking on the sea front.

 Blackstone Point, South Devon
Mainly summer and autumn rock dwellers including ballan wrasse, conger, bull huss and pollack, but also a few small-eyed ray off the cleaner sand at long rnage, plus mackerel and garfish.
The rays take frozen or fresh sandeel, as will the huss, but both the huss and conger take mackerel and squid cocktails more consistently. Fish rag, lug, or better still crab baits for the wrasse. The pollack, mackerel and gars all take fish strips under flat gear, otherwise try spinners and Redgills.
The bulk of the snags are found relatively close inshore with a good cast putting you out on to clean sand. There are several rock stations to fish, all giving in to a fair depth of water. It fishes well throughout the range of tides, but can be especially good fishing either side of high water during a spring tide at night.
Although this area is well protected from northern quarter winds, there are often big swells running up the rocks here, especially after a southerly wind has lifted the sea. The rocks are backed by a slippery grass bank, so care is needed in wet weather.
A spinning rod and 12lb line is perfect for a roaming session after the mackerel, gars and pollack and can also be used to float fish tight in amongst the rocks. For the wrasse a 2-4oz bass rod and 20lb line is required as some of the wrasse can touch 5lbs plus. Longer range is needed for the rays, huss and conger with a 5-6oz beachcaster and 7000 sized reel with 20 to 25lb line and 60lb shock leader being the best combination.
For the wrasse a simple mono paternoster with a 35lb hook link and size 2/0 to 4/0 Viking pattern hook is good with a weak link system to the lead. The huss and conger are best targeted with a pulley rig made from 60lb mono and a single size 6/0 Viking hook. For the rays, again a clipped down pulley rig works well, but drop the hook size to a single 3/0.
Off the A379 at Yealmptom take the B3186. When you come to Bridgend going up the hill signposted for Noss Mayo. At the crossroads turn right heading for a National Trust car park. Follow the coastal path with the mark located on the right hand side.

A port set inside the confines of the Dart Estuary and protected from the worst of the weather. It carries a healthy number of modern, electronically up to date charter boats that cater for general bottom fishing parties, reef work and offshore wreck fishing. The port is maybe most famous for the quality plaice fishing in the spring.
When weather conditions keep boats inshore there are marks inside the estuary that produce thornback ray, principally the College Buoys area and the deep pits off the Philip Boat Yard. These are popular with dinghies, mainly. Just east of the Dart's mouth lies the Mewstone, a rock mark giving good catches throughout the year. Further east lay the Blackstone banks, a mix of rough and cleaner ground.
Heading west, a group of near surface breaking rocks, the Dancing Beggars is a noted hot spot, as are Bull Rocks and the Bollards. The famous Skerries banks begin about 3 miles out, though some of the better banks are double that distance from shore.
The wrecks are numerous and can be anything upto 40 miles offshore. Some of the larger vessels also undertake trips of several days duration to grounds off Guernsey and the Channel islands, staying in a local port overnight.
Thornbacks move into the Darts channels during February and stay until mid November. Flounder fishing can be excellent through the winter months until late February. Bass restrictions apply within estuary limits, those limits being inside a line drawn from Combe Point to Inner Forward Point from April 30 to November 1st.
February also sees the plaice return to the Skerries banks, but the best months for the species are late March through to June. Fish over 4lbs are taken yearly. Pollack, bass and wrasse move back onto the reef ground during late April and stay until Christmas. Some big huss and gurnards are always possible. Mackerel are close to shore by early May, with pilchards also taken. Rays, including thornbacks and blonde ray, show over the cleaner ground, and some turbot and brill are recorded, though catches are not what they used to be thanks to heavy commercial pressures.
Autumn and winter catches include excellent whiting from deep cleaner ground close to the Skerries, and also huge dabs which can top 2lbs in weight. Dinghies also find big dabs at this time off nearby Slapton Sands.
The best of the wreck fishing for pollack occurs during January, February and March when the female fish are heavy with spawn. Double figure fish are common, with 20lbers not unusual. Other wreck species encountered are cod, ling, coalfish and conger, the latter best sought during the summer months and early autumn. Occasional big turbot take close to the wrecks and red bream, though scarce, are resident.
Given the variety of species and ground, you'll need a good armoury of rods to accommodate all possibilities.
For the ray fishing in the estuaries and flounder, a uptide rod gives good sport, though some anglers choose light spinning rod options for the flatfish.
Over the reef and rock pinnacles, a 15lb class rod some 8 to 9ft is best for pollack, but again, some anglers with a sporting inclination drop down to a 10ft spinning rod, small fixed spool reel and just 10lb to tackle the bass on freelined live sandeels. A 20lb class rod is suited to drifting a fish baits over the banks for general bottom fish, including the whiting in the winter. Spring tides mean a change to 30lb class gear and weights over the pound in places.
Wreck fishing, given the high average size of fish possible, needs 50lb class gear when after cod and ling, or when fishing multi rigs taking two or three pollack or coalfish at once. For redgill fishing, then drop back to the 15lb class longer rod and 15lbs. Some anglers prefer to fish a short 20lb class outfit instead of the lighter 15lb. On neap tides, single pirks and baits can be fished on lighter 30lb class tackle.
Spring tides can really motor over the Skerries Banks and to some extent over the inner rock pinnacles. The best of the wreck fishing is on the smaller to average sized neaps, but even normal sized spring tides will produce fish.
When inside the estuary after rays and flounder stick with peeler crab. Pollack and bass over the reefs and rock marks take live sandeel and launce. Fish baits like mackerel, herring ad squid prove good for rays, ling, conger, whiting and dabs. Plaice take cocktails of rag or lug mixed with crab and long strips of squid or sandeel.
Carry plenty of artificial eels of varied colours and sizes when wrecking. Also muppets and pirks. Losses can be very heavy,so have plenty of ready made rigs available.

Ilfracombe in North Devon is mainly associated with the tourist season being extremely popular as a holiday venue. Partly due to the influx of summer visitors, but more to do with the quality of the fishing, this attractive port has become well established as a top charter venue giving both quality and a quantity of fish.
Being situated at the entrance to the Bristol Channel, this area experiences massive tidal movement, in fact, the harbour dries out at low water, so definite sailing times need to be adhered too.
Baggy Point lays 8 miles to the south, its ground a prime holding area for autumnal tope, along with ling, pollack, wrasse and conger. Still going east, then Bideford Bay gives cleaner sandy ground giving back onto rocky reefs around Hartland Point.
General marks heading west towards Lundy Island alternate between rough ground and some sand, with patches of mud as you work more towards the Bristol Channel proper.
Lundy it'self gives opportunities for pollack to 16lbs, ling and big wrasse fishing over rocky pinnacles. You don't get there very often thanks to sea conditions, but the wait is worthwhile. Shark are often seen on the surface here.
On the clean ground expect thornbacks, small eyed, spotted and blonde rays from April right through the summer, with the thornbacks staying continually through the winter, but in smaller numbers.
Ling show over the rock marks from April onwards, but these are not huge fish, but good sport running in the 4-16lb bracket. Reef conger fishing starts in earnest in May running through until Christmas. Mainly reef sized conger upto 30lbs, or so. Mackerel are resident close in by May and can be taken fishing just out from the harbour. These stay until late October. Spurdog to 14lb can be still be encountered locally, too!
Tope and huss are taken throughout the summer and autumn, with cod moving in during October and staying until May. Whiting and dabs are the smaller inshore species, along with gurnards, scad and huge numbers of dogfish. Inshore rough ground can hold bass to double figures, mainly in the spring and autumn, pollack and wrasse, also trigger fish and the very occasional black bream early and late in the season.
Uptide techniques work especially well here with the fast tides taking heavy catches of tope in particular. No more than 18lb line and a 7000 sized multiplier completes the outfit.
Standard downtide rods need to be 30lb class for all fishing, simply because you'll be fishing with 1.5lbs of lead just to hold bottom on the average spring tides. Again, a multiplier holding 300yds of 30lb mono makes a good combination.
More in tune anglers choose wire line to allow less lead to hold better in the tide and to make the tackle more sensitive to detect feeding fish.
For uptiding, carry standard grip leads and a few sputniks upto 8oz. Downtiding weights need to range from 6ozs for trotting back for the rays, upto 2lbs. A couple of the latter worth carrying for the biggest spring tides and when fishing northwards into the main run of the Bristol Channel.
Neap tides will fish okay here because of the fast run from the Bristol Channel and allows comfortable anchoring over the slack water periods. Spring tides are fierce and makes the Bideford Bay area with its lessened tidal action attractive for the rays etc.
The ling, conger and huss show better during the neap tide cycle, and the tope, cod and rays during the stronger tides.
Squid and mackerel are the most popular baits for the conger, huss, tope, ling, thornback and blonde ray, with worm baits favoured for cod in the winter. Sandeel is excellent for the dogfish, spotted and small eyed rays. Wrasse take crab close inshore. Feathers and redgills are best for the pollack.


Auchmithie, Angus

Auchmithie is a little fishing village set among the cliffs to the north of Arbroath this area of the coast is renowned for its winter Cod fishing. Getting here is very easy, follow the A92 from North or South and take the turning next to a little garage which is just outside Arbroath on the North side, follow this until you come to a T junction an take a left. Follow this for about a mile until you come to a signpost for Auchmithie turn right here and take the road into the village. In the village you will find a track that leads down to the beach, you can take your car down but it's not really advisable as the track can be very poor especially after a downpour.
This is an excellent winter mark, especially after a good Easterly blow. Fish the beach two hours either side of high water during the winter months. Use a stiff beachcaster and 25lb-30lb line straight through to combat the weed and stones that wash around during a big sea. A rubbing leader can be used but watch for the weed build-up on the knot. A short cast is all that's needed here and as long as the base of your bait is fresh Lugworm or Ragworm along with Peeler crab and shellfish and you will be in with a good chance of fish.

During the summer months there are extensive kelp beds in front of the beach. To get here walk down the beach and over the rocks. Keep looking for the kelp, as that's where the fish are. You will need the regulation stiff rod and at least 25lb-30lb nylon to get any fish ashore from here and let's not forget a rotten bottom link. Go for size 4/0 hooks loaded with fresh peeler in the summer and lug/rag-based cocktails with frozen crab or shellfish in the winter. THE HARBOUR
Walk down the left-hand side of the harbour wall and you will find the rough stuff at low water. Again, regulation rough ground tackle is a must in summer and winter, with a rotten bottom incorporated into your rig to save on tackle losses.
In winter, use a 4/0 hook with a lug/rag-based cocktail when the sea is dirty and that should see you alright. Keep on the move to locate the kelp and the fish.

Walk around the little beach in the harbour to the right; here you will find the really rough stuff! There are extensive forests of kelp which are definitely not for the faint-hearted! Again heavy tactics are needed to winkle the fish out of their home. This area can, however, not fish if there is a slight movement on the sea. Be careful and don't ever attempt to fish here if there is a swell it can be very dangerous. 

Eyemouth is situated only 50 miles from Edinburgh and carries a fleet of boats that concentrates mainly on commercial fishing, but take rod and line anglers out at the weekends. A scenic part of the country with many of the inshore marks having dramatic cliff and rock backdrops.
A variety of ground here. Deep water lies close in to shore with much of the ground rough reef and rock. One of the most popular reefs is that of Spittal Hirst which is to south and a noted cod venue. Good ground also lies just off St Abbs Head to the north and off Caldingham Bay.
There are numerous inshore wrecks within only 10 miles of shore and rarely do vessels need to push further out to find fish. Some huge wrecks do lay out beyond 10 miles and hold huge potential for massive cod and ling. Patches of cleaner ground can also be found.
This is predominantly cod country. The bulk of the fish inshore run between 2 and 6lbs with occasional 10lbers from the reefs. The wrecks give a similar stamp of fish, but 20lbers and even 30lbers can show, too. Summer is a good time, as can be the pre and early post Christmas period, but the latter depends very much on the weather.
Ling show from both the wrecks and rough ground, and both hake and haddock are possible. Catfish also put in an appearance. Some pollack and coalfish, mainly small ones, but they can run over 10lbs, show up over the rough ground and reefs, with rays, flatfish and whiting on the cleaner ground. It's highly likely that the wrecks further offshore hold immense pollack over 20lbs and possibly coalfish over the same weight. Summer time sees some good wrasse landed by both dinghies and charter boats fishing tight in to the cliffs. Mackerel can show close to the rocks during high summer.
The subject of conger is interesting, for divers repeatedly report seeing big conger resident in the reefs and rock thanks to the clear local water, and undoubtedly some big fish live in the inshore wrecks. As proof, back in the early 70's a commercial boat trawling for prawns off St Abbs Head brought up a conger weighing 150lbs. All this considered, conger prove almost a rarity on rod and line hereabouts. A specialized approach with suitable baits and tackle would eventually be rewarded, but with such a quality and consistency of cod fishing
few are interested.
TIDESThanks to the deep water running close to shore the size of the tide is not so important. Fish will be taken on both small and large tides. Some locals do prefer the middle to smaller tides for serious wrecking though. Fishing on the drift over the reefs and obviously the wrecks is the normal method and makes most use of the tide to cover as much ground as possible.
Both 30lb and 50lb class rods have their uses here. The 30lb rod is a good choice for general inshore fishing over the reefs when used with a multiplier holding 300yds of 30lb line. The 50lb may be a better choice when wrecking and matched to a reel taking 300yds of line.
A few anglers prefer a spinning rod and small fixed spool reel when chasing summer pollack with lures and sandeel baits.
For an inshore drift baited white feathers work well for the cod as do muppets, both worked above a pirk. Red and black muppets being the favourite colours. Pirks range in size from a few ounces upto a pound. Top cod baits are lug, ragworm, mussel, cockle, razorfish and squid. Even mackerel takes cod here. Wrasse take crab when available, worm baits and again fish strip.
On the wrecks a single pirk works well for all sizes of cod, though adding a muppet above can help the overall catch. Pollack will hit Toby and Dexter Wedge lures, but a silver jig lure like the Mustad Jensen can be excellent worked lift and fall. Hokkai's and other luminous feather type lures are consistent takers of both cod and pollack.
ALTERNATIVE SHORE VENUESExcellent rock fishing right along this coast, especially around St Abbs Head and south of Eyemouth at a cliff mark called Horses Head. This is good mark for cod. Peeler crab is the best summer bait, lug or mussel in the winter. Check with locals regards sea conditions regards some of the more exposed rock marks and access to them.

 Inverbervie Beach, Aberdeenshire
Follow the A92 from either north or south until you reach the town itself. Keep to the main road and you'll see a sign for the beach, take this turning and follow the road to the parking area just behind the beach. You'll pass the famous Bervie chipper which can be a god send on a long session, especially when it's freezing.
The beach itself is a in a horse shoe shape flanked by rocks either side. The Bervie Water which is a small river also enters on the left hand side of the beach. Made up mostly of shingle it provides a very safe and semi comfortable platform to fish from. Approximately 50 or 60 yards from the shore there is a gutter that follows the line of the beach, this is where most of the fish will tend to be.

October through to March will produce cod, with December, January and early February being the best months. During the early winter and through December weed can be a real problem. Huge kelp stalks roll around in the big breakers. Keeping your rod tip as high as possible can help keep you clear of this, getting fish through it can be difficult though. CONDITIONS TO FISH
The best conditions to fish this beach are during an easterly wind and a rough sea. Night time tides produce the better fishing, but in rough conditions and coloured sea the day will also produce cod. Night tends to draw the bigger cod in though.
Lug, rag, squid, mackerel and mussel will all catch fish. Cocktails will work well.
A stiff rod will be needed to combat the heavy surf and weedy conditions. Reels need to be strong, the likes of Penn 535, 7000 Abu or slosh 30. 30lb mainline will be needed to stop abrasion from the weed and shingle.

North Queensferry
Battery Point below the Rail Bridge
From the South head over the Forth Road Bridge and follow sign's for Deep Sea World B981, from the north head again for the Road Bridge and follow sign's for Deep Sea World, this will take you into North Queensferry, head down into village towards the Albert Hotel and take the 1st left along Battery road. There is a car park just above gates to the works entrance below bridge, head through gates tell gatehouse man you are heading for the new house he will let you past, keep left past bridge works and you will come to an old slipway head along past this and you will be fishing from the rocks.
MARKSAnywhere along the rocks will produce Codling, if you are fishing at low tide there is a small slipway cut into the rock this is along to the left of the first slip, fishing from here will minimise tackle losses. Casting out toward the oil terminal and Inch Garvie will normally put you among fish.
A word of warning when fishing here, expect to loose tackle as it is a rough bottom, when I fish this mark and lift into a fish I reel like mad to keep it out of the rocky ledges. Once the tide starts to flood move up to the left and fish below the old WWII gun emplacement using the same tactics as fishing the small slipway.
Codling, Rockling, Conger, Tadpole Fish, small Coalies and the occasional Lobster!
Years ago this mark used to produce Cod to 8lb in very good numbers, nowadays expect Codling to 2.8lb to 3lb with the majority in the 1.8lb range. This is mainly a Codling mark, but you can get some bonus' like Tadpole Fish showing up.
Strong tackle is required to fish this mark, many use 25lb-30lb line straight through as distance casting is not required you will be fishing into approximately 80ft of water. Rotten bottoms are advised, but using 25lb-30 lb line straight through can free a lot of tackle from the rough bottom without losing your lead. Use strong rig bodies and fine wire hooks to assist with getting your tackle back.
I have found that Ragworm, Lugworm, Squid, Crab and Shellfish baits all work well from here, nothing elaborate is needed. I have not had much success using fish baits.
This mark is better fished at low water, head for the small slipway, once the tide starts to flood move up the rocks towards the old Gun Emplacement. There is quite a fast tide rip that runs past the Battery on the flood you can expect up to a 6 knot rip when it gets going for the first couple of hours.
Port Laing beach is halfway between North Queensferry and Inverkeithing bay. To get there take Fife coastal path next to Ferry Bridge Hotel and follow it round until you came to the sandy beach, this mark can produce Flounder, Plaice and Dab, its fishes better when there is a good steady East wind blowing. Bass to 4lb have been caught on the breakers when there is a blow on. Best baits are Ragworm, Lugworm and Crab.

 Oban, Skate Fishing
Fancy having a go to try and catch a Common Skate, well why not head off to Oban on Scotland's west coast.
From the South take the A82 to Crianlarich then take the A85 to Oban, if you are coming from the East the A85 will take you all the way to Oban, parking in Oban is very easy with ample parking spaces at either the North pier or at the train station, charges are approximately £4 per day. There are a couple of tackle shops in town one in George Street the other is in Combie Street both are only minutes away from the parking.
Recommended tackle would comprise normally of a 50lb-class but a 80lb class would be better, teamed up with a serious, well-loaded lever-drag multiplier. Penn Senator 113H 4/0 is ok but the International series would be better suited The choice of monofilament or super braid is down to individual taste, but remember that 500 feet is a long way down! Monofilament, with its stretch and thickness, means more lead will be needed to hold bottom - sometimes 3lb or more. Terminal tackle will consist of 4 or 5 feet of 200lb nylon, joined to 2-3 feet of 250lb line by a strong swivel, and a 10/0 - 12/0 hook. The trace is fished as a running ledger. Also needed would be a butt pad and shoulder/kidney harness, Don't worry if you do not have gear suitable, the Skippers will have the tackle available to hire out.

Any whole fish will do, Pollock Coalfish or Dogfish, Mackerel being the preferred choice, If using Mackerel cut up from the tail each side of the fish towards the head and take out the backbone creating a flapper bait. To hook simply push the barb of hook through the head and out of the mouth. STARTING OFF
It can be a bit of a waiting game when you are Skate fishing, you are by no means guaranteed to catch a fish, but you can sometimes pick up some bonus fish along the way, often when out on a days Skate fishing you will bring in Thornback Ray, Lesser Spotted dogfish, Blackmouthed Dogfish, Conger, and Spurdog . I have even seen Cod to 11lb take a whole mackerel flapper. When the ratchet does start to click off or when you bend into a fish, there is no need to strike just get harnessed up and lift into the fish. Continuous pressure must be applied for 10-15 minutes or more before the skate begins to lift from the bottom. At this stage, line is gained slowly, and the skate will often head back to the bottom, making you start all over again. After the skate is moving, there is the backbreaking job of pumping it up 400 feet or more to the surface. When you do get the fish to the surface it is likely to put its nose back down acting like a kite in the tide and making a powerful dive. Eventually the skate will be at the side of the boat, ready for gaffing, which must be done in the wing not the body if it is to survive once returned. Gaffing apparently causes no major distress to the skate, and returned fish have been recaptured within hours. The fish is measured from nose to tail and across the wings, and these dimensions compared to size-weight tables, to allow the weight to be estimated. Separate tables are used for males and females. The males tend to be smaller but put up a harder fight. Male fish do not go much bigger than 120lb, Female fish on the other hand do grow to 200lb + there have been instances of Commercial boats catching fish of over 300lb
GENERALA days Skate fishing can be an thrilling experience, from the breath taking views down the Sound of Lorn, looking across to Mull and its craggy hills, or sitting anchored of one of the many deep water marks waiting for the ratchet screaming off that lets you know you have connected with a Barn Door.
So what are you waiting for why not give it a go.
Laura Dawn (Oban) Come fishing for giant skate with Ronnie Campbell, new 35ft offshore 105, COP 60 miles, licensed for 12 anglers, toilet, hot drinks and galley, for skate and general fishing, rods and bait available, beginners and individuals welcome, accommodation can be arranged.
MV Cheviot (Oban) Skate or general fishing, 33ft licensed fishing boat, COP 12 anglers, tackle hire available, free bait, toilet, free hot drinks, beginners welcome, accommodation available, Skipper Donald Maclean.

 Old Portlethen
From the south, drive up the A90 and turn off to the right at Portlethen signpost onto Bruntland Road. Follow this road until it ends and turn right at the mini roundabout onto Cookston road. Follow this road, past the farm and continue until your drive into Old Portlethen village. Drive past the pub (The Neuk) and take the left hand fork. Drive down the hill until you reach the cliff top. Drive carefully down the track and park on the right in the widened area. Do not park at the top of the pebble beach harbour as this is the turning area. Parking is limited to around 3 cars. Do not drive along the road past the harbour, as this is private.

The first is to the right of the fishing bothy, an easy walk over the rocks and fish where the rocks slope gently into the sea. Care is needed if the rocks are wet, and footwear with good grip is required. A maximum of three rods is suggested.
THE SHIPS STERNThe second mark is reached by going behind the bothy and walking left. Continue until you reach a gully and head out over the rocks. Head for the corner of the gully and the open sea. Again three rods is suggested here.
Cod, Coalfish, Pollock, Dabs, Strap Conger (after dark), Sea Scorpion and Mackerel in season.
Cod have been taken up to 10 lb, however many fish are in the 2-4 lb range. Coalfish rarely exceed 1 lb and are sometimes a nuisance. Spinning with jellies for Pollock in the summer months can be very entertaining, and have been known to be up to 6 lb. Conger are not commonly caught on rod and line as they are not generally targeted, but are found frequently in lobster creels. Mackerel in season (late July / August) are usually up to 1 lb. Sea Scorpions are chance catches that turn up from time to time.
TIDESThe water is deep at both these marks, and fish can be caught at all tide states. However, caution is required at both areas on large high tides if a good swell is running. Observe the mark before setting up for 10 minutes if you are unsure.
Usual Cod baits are required. Lug, Rag, Squid, Razor, Crab and Mussel all work here. This will also attract the small Coalfish.
Jellies for the Pollock are very successful with orange doubletails and firetail jelly worms being the most successful.
Squid or Mackerel will take the strap Conger, also the Coalfish if float fished.
A mixture of rough and clean ground is available. Cast short for the kelp and rocky areas. Sturdy tackle is required for this, many use 30lb line straight through as distance casting is not required. Dabs are found by casting straight out to sea where the cleaner ground is present, if you wish to target these, remember to use a shockleader. Rotten bottoms are advised in the roughest area, but using 30 lb line straight through can free a lot of tackle from the thick kelp without losing your lead. Use strong rig bodies and fine wire hooks to assist with getting your tackle back.
Being the North East coast of Scotland, this area fishes best for Cod after very strong easterlies when the sea is coloured. Be very wary if a strong swell is running at these marks. Anglers have lost their lives here. Clear conditions and mild winds are better if targeting the Pollock.
TACKLE SHOPSSomers Fishing Tackle, Bon Accord Terrace, Aberdeen.

Arbroath is an ancient port and is famous for its smoked haddock which is still hot smoked near to the harbour. There was a wooden pier at Arbroath by 1194, and the first harbour, known as Abbot's Harbour dates from 1394 and was constructed at Danger Point. It was destroyed in a gale in 1706. By 1725 the harbour had been rebuilt and was enlarged and improved in 1839.
Species - cod,  pollock, whiting, haddock, wrasse, various flat fish,  bass, mullet, flounders and eels.
When to Fish - Winter, when the weather turns cold the cod start to arrive together with plenty of whiting. Try to have fishing session, 3hrs before and after high tide, first hour target whiting then change to larger hooks for cod before going back after whiting in the last hour.  During the summer,  flounder, dab, coalies, rockling and mackerel
Techniques and Baits - Peeler Crab both fresh or frozen out of season,  better results when used as a cocktail with lug and rag or fish-strip. Use.15lb line with a 60lb Shock leader. Use a 2 hook flapper good at low water, but single hook traces with lug and squid during flood. For the time between fishing for cod or whiting try a 2 hook paternoster with rag on the top and squid on the bottom hook. If fishing into deep pier mark use a pulley rig. (Excellent if there are large snags on the bottom). Add a weak link to the lead,  join with a American snap link or similar to the pulley rig line just in case the weight does snag, if you lose the lead hopefully your still have the fish. You can have the hook length up to 6 ft matching the swivel to the sinker length. It may sound a long trace but when hooking decent size fish off piers it helps to clear the weight from any snags on striking into the fish. Of course the lead will lift when into a good fish as this is how  the pulley system works,  but if he's fighting hard for the bottom at least you have a six foot advantage on him. Use a large fresh bait , as it keeps every thing nice, straight and streamlined. If wanting to cast it can be used with small up-line clip.

Location - The A92 coast road passes through Arbroath. At the junction with Marketgate turn south and the harbour is at the end of the road.

 PortKnockie Harbour
Portknockie is a sleepy fishing village located on the Banffshire coast line. Once a small fishing port it is now filled with private pleasure craft, a handful of creel boats and a few private angling boats. With good facilities, Portknockie offers the travelling boat angler an excellent venue to launch their boat over most of the tide and across all of the tide for shallow draft boats. There is also ample safe parking for the car and trailer.
Portknockie is clearly sign posted off the main A98 between Cullen and Buckie. Once in the village follow the signs to the harbour. At the top of the hill you’ll get a lovely bird’s eye view of the whole area where you can see the spots to fish. Taking the steep road down the hill will lead you to the parking and public toilets, making this an ideal place for ladies and children.
There are two main areas to fish, one is the harbour mouth itself on both sides or on a small jetty. You can clearly see both from the top of the hill. The jetty is accessed through a small tunnel through the wall on the right hand side, the seaward side the most productive. A word of caution about the jetty, even a relatively small swell can break over it, so if you decide to fish at night be very cautious of the sea state. The harbour mouth offers shelter in most conditions and is very comfortable and safe area to fish.

The harbour mouth produces flat fish, coalfish, conger and the odd codling. The jetty produces conger, codling, coalfish, sea scorpions, pollock and wrasse. In the winter it can produce some nice sized codling.

Standard rough ground gear should be used when bottom fishing. Using light traces on spinning rods can offer great sport and is a good way to rack up the species. Heavy traces should be used for conger, which are mostly down the sides of the piers. A method for reducing tackle loses when species fishing is to use lighter snoods and fine wire hooks. Float fishing over the kelp is a great method for wrasse and Pollock and spinning jelly worms is another well used method for picking up a nice Pollock.
Good baits for species are rag worm, lug, mackerel, mussel, squid and a new bait on the market called bluey, with the Mackerel, squid and bluey been excellent for the conger.

 Portsoy Rock Marks, Aberdeenshire
Portsoy is located between Buckie and Banff on the main A98 trunk Rd. If you're approaching from Banff head right through Portsoy staying on the main A98 until you pass the playing fields opposite the filling station. Immediately after the playing fields, turn Right. If you are approaching from Buckie as soon as you enter the 30mph zone turn left before the playing fields. Follow the road round and take the third left. You are now on the road to the old outdoor pool. (if you get lost ask for directions to the outdoor pool) a couple of hundred yards up this road it veers sharp right. Another hundred yards and the road veers sharp right again just after this there is a reasonable area to park. Looking west you will see a White bungalow with a track leading up towards it. Head up there past the bungalow and the track forks to the right. Head down the right hand fork around 300yds and cross the style. Almost anywhere that you can get down to the sea at along here will produce fish. Take care when climbing down to the marks as many are difficult to access.
Cod, Pollock, Coalfish, Ballan Wrasse, Cuckoo Wrasse, Conger, Ling and Scorpion Fish. Cod of up to 8lb have been caught off these rocks and the marks at the far point produce good Pollock. Some good conger can also be had under the cover of darkness.
The water on these marks ranges from around 15 to 40ft deep and are usually fishable in any condition other than a strong north easterly. There is nowhere that blocks off at high water but do watch for the big waves when perched close to the edges as they appear from nowhere.
Almost any bait will produce something here but mackerel and mussel cocktail usually work best. Lug and rag target the Pollock and wrasse, with mackerel flappers for the conger.
Shock leaders are not required as many of the fish are at your feet. A strong mainline is recommended 30-40lb due to the rough ground. Trace bodies should be around 60-80lb, Pennel rigs are the norm with 2/0 & 4/0 hooks. 20-25lb snoods and rotten bottoms minimise tackle losses, 4-6oz leads hold well.
Banff Tackle on low St Banff
Cullen Tackle on the main road through Cullen 

North Wales

Aberdaron Beach, Lleyn Peninsula, Gwynedd
From Pwllheli, take the A499 to Llanbedrog turning right in the village onto the B4413 which takes you into Aberdaron. There is a large car park to the right of the bridge in the village. A charge is made in summer and parking is at a premium in July and August.
A mainly clean, sandy surf beach, but with patches of mixed rough and boulders covered with fine weed. There are continually changing gullies beyond the low water mark.
Bass are the predominant quarry here, with the bulk of fish in the early spring being the smaller school bass upto 3lbs. By early May, then a good surf will hold better fish to over 6lbs. Dogfish move inshore in huge numbers after storms throughout the year.
April, May and June sees thornbacks within range during night time spring tides. The occasional small eyed ray is also on the cards. This same period may add small turbot to a couple of pounds, dabs, small plaice and rockling to your bag.
Mid summer tends to go quiet, though mackerel can shoal inshore in the evenings on the big tides.
The best period is from September to early November for the bigger bass fishing low water. You'll also take whiting, dabs, dogfish and coalies. The latter four species being the winter mainstay. Codling have shown here in years past, but are not a reliable species.
Due to the shallow nature of the beach and the clarity of water, forget daytime fishing for serious sized fish. Night tides gives the best bass and rays.
Low water on springs can be excellent for bass and for the rays. High tide tends to favour the whiting, dogfish and coalfish. Turbot seem to feed mostly on the ebb here, but the odd bigger fish towards 3lbs comes during the first hour of the flood. Neaps can be very poor, save for dabs and whiting.
The school bass take lugworm or ragworm over clean sand, but the better sized bass should be fished for peeler crab casting over the rough ground. Thornbacks in the early season like a mackerel/squid cocktail. Turbot take frozen sandeel or fish strip and the dabs, coalies, whiting and dogfish eat just about anything.
No bait is available in quantity on the beach and bait collection is generally poor throughout the area. Fresh fish is sold in Abersoch and Pwllheli. Worm, crab etc, needs to be brought with you.
A standard 5-6oz beachcaster is ideal for the long range rays and general winter fishing, but in the summer a lighter 2-4oz bass rod is the better option.
Single hook paternosters prove the best. Use a short hook length for the bass, and a long 3ft one for the rays. Both the bass and the rays need a Mustad Viking 3/0 or 4/0 hook. The other species tend to fall to two or three hook rigs with smaller sized Aberdeen hook patterns.
The prevailing southwesterly wind needs to ideally be a 2-4 for the bass. This puts a long, creaming surf onto the sand at low water. A westerly is okay, and even a southerly can fish, but easterlies are poor. Northwest winds are best for the whiting, dabs and rays as these tend to calm the sea as the come over the Lleyn Peninsula.
The beach can carry heavy weed after storms and rarely fishes well when the water is so well coloured.

 Aberdesach, Gwynedd
From Pwllheli or Caernarfon take the A499 to Aberdesach. The beach is signposted in the village, which is just a few houses, as Traeth turning down a small road and parking on the top of the beach.
Black lug, either frozen or fresh or blow lug and tipped with either frozen crab or mussel will take the bulk of the coalfish and flounder. At longer range tip with sandeel or mackerel for dabs, whiting and doggies. Squid also works well in tiny slivers for dabs.
The beach fish's best over low water at night in a steady surf standing close to the stream where the rocks are for the coalies, bass and flounder, but heavy flood water in the stream will kill the fishing. Stick to the bigger spring tides as the neaps can be very inconsistent, bar for the dabs at long range. Single good bass can feature here very early in the year, but again the fishing is very inconsistent.
A standard 5-6oz beachcaster, 6500 sized reel and 15 to 18lb line with a 60lb shock leader cover all fishing situations. Carry both 5 and 6oz grip wires as you can get a good lateral tide run when fishing at long range on the bigger tides. Top rigs are three-hook flappers with size Aberdeen hooks, or at long range go for either a two-hook Bomber rig and size Aberdeen's, or two-hook clipped up rig. The bass take best on a sliding ledger rig with a shorter 15-inch hook snood of 20lbs and a size 3/0 hook.
This beach can always throw up surprise fish such as bull huss, thornback ray and codling, so it's worth fishing two rods, with one at long range with these species in mind.

 Aberdovey Car Park Channel, Gwynedd
GETTING THERETake the A493 in to Aberdovey and park in the main car park. There is a fee in summer. Walk south over the sandy beach to reach the channel.
The north side of the main channel of the Dovey Estuary at it's deepest point. Several scoured out holes dropping in to 30' of water over a seabed of cleanish sand, but with some weed and coarse gravel. Fishable only two hours either side of low water. After this a strong tide flow makes fishing impossible.
Locate the mark by lining up the northern half of the car park at your back and cast straight out 40yds.
Best fished with a single long flowing trace for all species. Use 4'0 hooks for bass, but size 1 Aberdeen's for flatfish. Alternatively, some good summer bass fall to spinners and redgills worked through the mid depth range.
In winter, standard two and three hook rigs find solitary flounder over 2lbs, dabs, whiting and dogfish.
Towards low water, just 2ozs of lead will hold bottom, but as the flow increases you'll need 4ozs plus to hold and to combat any drifting weed which can cause problems, especially after storms.
Bass, flounders, eels and dogfish form the mainstay of spring sport, but by June occasional plaice to 3lbs put in an appearance.
Mid summer sees fewer flounder, but bass, eels and dogfish run the channel with every tide, also garfish and mullet.
Autumn catches consist of bass to 6lbs, flounders, dabs, whiting and dogfish. Best of the big flounder show from Christmas to late March.
Day tides produce just as well as night tides, but avoid the mark after heavy rains which force fish away from the estuary due to the acid nature of the flood water. Due to the depth, neap tides can produce just as well as spring tides, though the reduced flow gives longer fishing time.
Crab is the key bait to both bass and flounder catches from spring through autumn. Eels and plaice also take crab, but will attack worm baits too.
Try silver Toby spoons, all black and all white redgills or Mr Twisters mounted on lead heads during the summer. Garfish also hit the spinners.

 Aberdyfi Beach, Gwynedd

Approach via the A470 taking the A489 at Cemaes Road to Machynlleth. Turn right at the T junction by the clock tower at the end of Machynlleth high street, then at Dovey Bridge turn left for Aberdovey on the A493. Drive past the harbour on entering the town and there is a large car park on the left hand side. This is a pay and display parking area with a very conscientious attendant system so do pay!
The main Dovey Estuary channel runs directly in front of where you park and offers the best fishing.
An excellent early year venue for flounders. A 2lber is a good fish though, but catches of upto a dozen fish per session are not uncommon. These remain a target through February and into March.
By late March school bass will be getting back into the main estuary channel and accompanied by the first thin spawned out flounders. Late April sees the first bigger bass working this outer end of the estuary, the eels are beginning to appear, numbers of flounders are high and occasional plaice are also taken. Dogfish are common over the estuary bar and work deep into the estuary itself.
May and June are the peak bass months with the fish moving in on the flood tide. Mullet move in to the estuary at the same time with some big fish working underneath the wooden jetty just on the left hand side of the beach. Small turbot to a couple of pounds can also be taken from the outer estuary bar banks.
Bass, flounders, mullet and eels remain the main species through July and on into September, though mackerel can also come right into the main channel here on big spring tides.
Early October sees whiting and dabs close in over the sandbanks towards the mouth of the estuary, but the bass and mullet have thinned out. Up to Christmas most anglers target the dabs and flounders, with any late bass a bonus.
Fishes best from low water to one hour on the ebb. The spring tides are best for bass, but the flounders and eels feed all the time. Turbot prefer the bigger tides with the first two hours of the ebb best for these.
A steady force 3 to 5 is best for bass, or a strong northwesterly blow that colours up the water which also suits the flounders. Calmer conditions are needed for the plaice, dabs, whiting and turbot. This mark does not fish well after heavy prolonged rain which floods through the estuary and pushes the fish seaward. Weed can also be a problem in unsettled weather.
Being quite deep, this mark will produce fish in daylight, but surfboard and water craft activity can make fishing difficult at times. Dark hours are the best, especially for the bass.
Even in rough conditions you need nothing more than a bass or carp rod and a reel filled with 12lb line. Leads to carry range from 1oz to 3ozs. The odd 4oz grip may be a wise addition if you intend fishing the main spring tide flood period.
A standard two hook rig with 9-inch (23cms) hook lengths is good for the whiting, dabs, flounders and eels. Bass require a single hook paternoster with an 18-inch (46cms) hook length. Try a longer hook length upto 3-feet (90cms) tied in close behind the lead for slack water fishing which will take bass, turbot and flounders.
Hooks should be a Mustad 3261BLN Aberdeen or a Kamasan Aberdeen for the general species, but choose a Mustad Bass hook for the bass.
BAITCrab is the best bass bait and will also take flounders, eels, plaice and dabs. Fish and worm baits are good for the dabs, whiting, and turbot. The mullet take small Mepps bar spoons with harbour rag over each hook point.
Regards bait collection, there are small pockets of lug scattered around the estuary, but the digging is very hard going. There are cockles, some mussels by the jetty, and there is fresh fish sold in the town.

 Abererch Beach, Pwllheli, Gwynedd
Take the A497 from Porthmadog. Look for a Haven Holiday Camp on the left and the road to Abererch lies about three miles further on. It's a left turn with a signpost for a railway station and a caravan park. Follow the road down and you come to a caravan site. Just before the Caravan Site, which is a private road, there is a car park on your right. The path to the beach lies through the dunes just to the left of the caravan park entrance.
Alternatively carry on towards Pwllheli, and just as you approach the town look for the marina access road to the left over the bridge. Go down this for 400-metres and there's a small car park on the left. This gives access to the north end of Abererch beach.
The beach, at its northern end, backs up against Glan-y-Don Point, which houses the local boat yards and Pwllheli Marina. This northern quarter is sheltered from the prevailing southwest winds, but takes on a good surf in southerly and south-east winds.
It is comprised mainly of clean sand and fine shingle, but there are some small patches of boulder covered in weed at longer range, which can claim the odd lead. The boulder patches are more prevalent after heavy storms when the sand has been displaced.
All sizes of tide produce fish here, but the spring tides produce the best fishing, with the hour before low water and all the flood tide fishing well, especially if there's a gentle southerly wind to put up a few surf tables. The beach carries a lot of weed just after storms and can be difficult to fish.
In calm weather, the sea gets very clear here and night fishing is by far the best bet. Like most local beaches it is popular with holidaymakers in summer.
Summer species include, spotted rays, black bream, bass, flounders, dabs, eels and gurnards, with a few thornbacks taken at very long range from the middle of the beach. Occasionally stingray is reported. In winter, whiting, dabs and dogfish dominate, with the odd good flounder.
Distance is not always important here with the flounders, bass, whiting and dogfish coming in close, but for getting the best out of the mark distance casting helps, so go for a 5-6oz beachcaster, 6500 type multiplier, and you'll get away with 12lb line for maximum range. Leads need to be 5oz, both release wire type and a few plain for the shorter casts.
For general fishing in the summer, go for a one hook clipped down rig for the rays with a 1/0 or 2/0 pennel rig. The black bream are best targeted with a two-hook rig clipped up with size 6 Aberdeen hooks, but a wishbone can better in calm seas. A plain two or three-hook rig takes any fish in close with size 2 Aberdeen hooks a good all rounder. In a surf, fish a one-hook rig with a 14in hook trace for the bass with a 2/0 to 4/0 hook.
Top bait here is sandeel. It takes just about everything, any time of year and is especially effective for the dogfish. Crab works well for the bream, but so to does strips of squid and mackerel, also ragworm. Lug is the best all round winter bait, but tip off with fish for the better whiting and dabs.

 Abersoch Rivermouth, Gwynedd
MARK DESCRIPTIONThe seaward end of Abersoch harbour where the River Soch meets the sea. Mostly sand towards the low water line, but with more gravel along the edges of the rivers runoff channels.
A low water mark mainly with the best action expected during the hour before low water and the two hours after. Takes a good surf in a southwesterly blow, but is also one of the few beaches that carries bass locally during easterly winds due to the river outflow. Can carry heavy weed after storms, but is generally fishable.
Primary species are bass, flounders, dogfish and eels from May to October. School bass stay the full twelve months though. Best of the flounder fishing is in the spring, but the bigger fish are present from October as mainly single fish running to just over 2lbs.
This is also a good mark for whiting from September through until Christmas. Longer casts find good dabs during winter and occasional plaice to 1lb in the spring.
Over high water, fishing of the little stone jetty gives flounders, whiting, eels, dabs and dogfish in season, plus bass and occasional mullet.
No need to choose anything heavier than a bass rod, 2-3oz leads and 12lb line here unless you're fishing after a storm when heavier tackle may be a better bet to combat any surf and passing weed.
Casts up to 50yds are adequate, and rarely is it necessary to cast further. Ideally, let your bait wash along with the tide direction to locate the little pockets of fish and any surf searching bass.
Crab or sandeel are the favoured local bass baits, but a good helping of fresh king rag is also excellent. Normal worm baits tipped with fish pick out the whiting and dogfish, but try mussel for the big winter dabs and razorfish for the flounder.
Take the A499 from Pwllheli to Abersoch and follow the signs for the car park. Take the harbour road and walk down the stone slipway following the river along the sand to the beach proper.

 Afon Wen Beach, Chwilog, Gwynedd
Situated between Porthmadog and Pwllheli, it's a beach where the list of species is not so great, but it makes up for it in the consistency of it's fishing.
The low water mark drops off quite quickly in to a reasonable depth, indicated by the close proximity of lobster pots which can be within easy casting range, with a seabed of rock, boulders and occasional patches of cleaner ground. The mid beach area breaks up in to more coarse sand, gravel and shingle.
A river flows on to beach and during times of heavy rain this can kill the fishing here completely.
METHODSTackle losses can be heavy, so beachcasters, tough reels and 20lb line are favoured, but pick your spot carefully and you can get away with lighter bass tackle.
Stick to single hook rigs or pulley rigs using a weak link system to the lead when fishing the rough ground. The sand patches can be fished with normal two hook rigs, but you'll need grip leads to avoid tackle finding the snags.
Long casting is not needed. Most fish come to casts of no more than 50yds, though occasionally single huss are contacted at much longer range.
Bass are the dominant species between April and June, and again from late August to October. Any huss tend to be taken in the May to August period, with the same time seeing eels towards the river outflow.
September sees a fair run of whiting on the eastern end of the beach where the ground tends to be cleaner. Dogfish, rockling and occasional flatfish make up the rest of the species.
Moderate winds and a good surf fish the best here for bass, but even calm tides can produce. Spring tides are favoured, but neaps over high water can give good bass and huss if you can fish the rough and stand to lose lots of tackle.
Crab or king rag take the bass, with fish/squid combinations best for the huss, though it pulls in hordes of LSD's too. Worm and sandeel is ideal for the winter whiting. Big mussel baits single out large dabs that can sometimes move on to the cleaner patches in late winter.
On the A497 between Porthmadog and Pwllheli and a mile east of Butlins Holiday camp look for a small unmarked white classified road. This brings you to a railway bridge. There is limited parking here along the sides of the road. Walk under the bridge and follow the rough track to the beach.

 Barmouth Breakwater, South Gwynedd
The end of the breakwater gives access to the main channel of the Mawddach Estuary, but fast tides and very rough ground restrict fishing here. Most anglers fish the inner breakwater facing towards the harbour where tidal flow is much less severe over a mainly clean sand bottom.
From the end of the breakwater casting in to the main flow, spinners and redgills can account for good bass to 7lbs over high water.
Bottom fishing with baits and casting towards the harbour locates some fine flounder over 2lbs, dogfish, eels, bass and occasional plaice.
Also try float fishing the edges of the breakwater for mullet, garfish and big sandeels.
The bass move in to the estuary during early April, but the better fish show towards the end of May, staying until late June when they thin out, but return again in August with the peak month September.
Some good winter flounder to 2lbs show in January, February and March, but smaller fish are available all year.
The garfish, plaice and mullet are resident from May to September, as are the eels, and the dogfish again are a permanent species.
Fish a two hook rig with longer 18" hook traces here, or a single flowing trace up to 3' long. Leads up to 5ozs will be required to combat the tide flow at times.
The mullet take small bits of mackerel flesh or bread best. Fish worm, mackerel or crab baits for the bass, flats, eels and dogs. Sandeel is best for bass on a long trace.
Off the main A470 at Ganllwyd take the A496 to Barmouth. As you enter the town, take the left turn under the railway bridge and follow the promenade road towards the car park running the length of the beach. You pass the breakwater as you head towards the car park.

 Barmouth Bridge, Gwynedd
Situated off the main A470 South Wales\North Wales road on the A496. Plenty of parking on the seafront, but a charge is made during the summer. Walk back eastwards towards Dolgellau about 500yds and take the right hand footpath down to the bridge. A small toll is payable to gain access to the bridge.
You can only fish facing eastwards down the estuary due to the railway line on the west side of the bridge. In front of you lies a shallow sandbank that fully uncovers, even on neap tides. A deep gutter runs under the bridge structure which is where the fish congregate, but it has some rocks and debris in so tackle can be lost and also gets snagged on the bridge supports.
The gutter is only a few yards wide in most places, so do not cast off the bridge, simply lower your tackle straight down into the water.
A good February and March venue for roe filled flounder travelling down the estuary to spawn. Flounder start to return during the first week of April, quickly followed by Bass in mid month and mullet by early May. Eels show during May too. But beware of catching lesser weavers here as the period May through July can produce literally dozens of these poisonous fish in a single day. Some good sized plaice are taken fishing directly into the main channel of the estuary over low water during May and June.
During spring flood tides in early autumn, odd whiting can be caught, dabs and rockling. Small thornbacks have been recorded, but should not be targeted as a species. Mackerel have been known to swim as far as the bridge during big tides in high summer.
The tide run is extremely strong here during spring tides and almost unfishable. However, low water and the first two hours of the flood give good fishing for bass, flounders, dogfish and eels.
Timing is not that important, but the better bass tend to show up over dawn low waters. Gales from the west can bring masses of weed down the estuary from the open sea, but such times often give the best fishing. Fishes poor on easterly winds and during the ebb tide.
Locals tend to stick with a simple flowing trace positioned immediately behind the lead to keep the bait right on the seabed. Use a strong hook like a Mustad Viking or Mustad Bass hook size 1/0 or 2/0. Avoid Aberdeen's and weaker strength hooks.
Tackle needs to be strong. Namely a standard beachcaster and reel loaded with at least 20lb line for the fish have to winched directly up through mid air for 30ft at low water.
The most popular bait is lugworm, though you'll need to buy this from a tackle shop or bring it with you as little is available locally. Crab is good for the bass and flounders, frozen sandeel for dogfish, and mackerel will also catch fish.
Heavy rain falling in the mountains will have an adverse effect on the fishing by bringing acidic levels down below the tolerance of most fish. Fishes best in sou-west and westerly winds between force 2 to 4.
Can fish well for flounders and especially mullet in calm, settled spells.

 Barmouth Harbour, Gwynedd

Best fished by walking along the breakwater path and fishing off the shingle bank back in to the harbour amongst the boat moorings. An easy but productive mark ideal for a couple of hours at the end of the day and suitable for taking the kids too.
The seabed is clean muddy sand and gravel with smaller, deeper run off channels, but the inside edge near the breakwater is rougher and some tackle may be lost here.
Spinning rods or bass rods are ideal with 12lb line when bottom fishing for the bass, flats and eels, with weights no more than 2ozs.
Keep casts to no more than 40yds and pick a lead light enough to be occasionally moved by the tide. A simple sliding ledger rig and flowing trace some 18ins long is the best rig here for all species bar mullet. Alternatively, in autumn and winter, try a two hook rig and combination baits
Tiny Mepps bar spoons tipped with harbour rag can induce mullet to take, but fine and far off float fishing with mackerel flesh baits is more likely to succeed, especially at first light with the tide half in on the flood. The latter tactic also takes garfish.
Flounders, dogfish and school bass are all year round residents, but expect the bigger bass and mullet to be inshore by mid May staying until October. May also sees eels appear in droves, and occasional plaice can be contacted though these are small. Autumn and winter sees whiting, flounders and dabs.
Fishes best during neaps when there is constant water in the harbour. It dries out on spring tide low waters, but produces good bass then over high water.
Being on the Mawddach Estuary, the mark is prone to poor fishing at times of heavy rain when flood water pours through, and after rough weather expect plenty of weed.
Crab is obviously first choice for the bass, flounders and eels, though worm is also good. Fish baits pick up dogfish, whiting and dabs, but winter flounders go for lug and razorfish cocktails. Mussel is also a good bait for the flounders, plaice and dabs.
Enter Barmouth on the A496 and follow the promenade road to access the car park on the beach front. Walk towards the boat compound at the eastern end of the car park and you'll see the footpath along the breakwater on the right-hand side. Walk to where the actual concrete breakwater starts and the sand dunes end and you'll see the shingle bank where you fish below you facing in to the harbour.

 Barmouth North Beach, Gwynedd
Crab for the bass and flounder. Use mackerel or sandeel for the dogs, turbot and rays. Tip lug with mackerel for the better whiting and dabs.
Fish north of the car park at the end of the promenade and towards the small rocky headland either side of low water for the thornbacks, flounder and bass. Over high water off the shingle at the top of the beach long casts are needed to keep in contact with the fish, though shorter casts find the dogs, whiting and odd flounder. The turbot show during the first two hours of the flood casting just 25-yards in to the first surf tables.
It fishes best in a gentle to moderate southwest wind during the bigger spring tides. Night fishing sees the bulk of the fish caught, though daylight fishing a dirty sea after a blow can be productive for the bass and flounder.
Top long range rig is a clipped down one-hook rig and size 3/0 hooks. For general fishing choose a three-hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen's and cast just 50-yards when fishing low water. Switch to a two-hook clipped up rig over high water to maintain casting range. Normal 5oz grip leads will cover all your fishing, even in rougher seas.
Off the main A470 just after Dolgellau take the A496 to Barmouth. As you enter Barmouth with the Petrol Station on your right, turn left under the railway bridge on to the Promenade Road. Follow this road along the sea front all the way to the top car park where the road ends. Fish the beach to the north of the car park for the best results.

Barmouth could almost be described as a shy port. Shy in the sense that it's never really voiced it's virtues to the angling public despite years of consistent catches of quality fish. It's main customer base was always the Midlands and Liverpool. But that's been changing over the past few years. It seems one of angling's best kept secrets has finally got out and anglers from all over the UK now make annual trips to enjoy, what can at times, be exceptional fishing.
The season starts around late March with the first trips targeting the thornback rays. These are available in good numbers with fish averaging between 5 and 8lbs, but bolstered by much bigger fish over 12lbs. Most seasons fish approaching 20lbs are reported.
April sees summer species moving back inshore. First come the tope and mackerel.
The mackerel appear over the close in ground around the second week. Not in great numbers, but enough can usually be caught to give adequate fresh bait supplies for the day. Numbers get slowly better through May, but from mid June bait should be easily available. They'll stay in dwindling numbers right through to early November in mild years.
Tope show in mid April over the outer sandbank marks. A few fish for the initial couple of weeks, but by May and in to June the numbers caught are staggering with daily catches between eight anglers frequently exceeding 30 and even 40 fish, a figure only equalled by Barmouth's near neighbour ports of Aberdovey and Aberystwyth. The tope average 30lbs, but 40lb fish are taken daily, and fish over 50lbs have been taken.
May also heralds the return of the black bream. This is another underrated fishery here and in my opinion ranks better than the English Channel fishery. The bream are resident over the Sarn Badrig reef, a shallow rock and boulder reef 4 miles north-west of Barmouth. The fish run up to 2lbs average, but fish to over 4lbs are occasionally caught. Their numbers peak around July when the very biggest fish occur. They disappear with the first real September gales. The bream are joined by trigger fish from July to September.
With the reef being shallow, even drying out in places on big spring tides as much as 12 miles offshore, the pollack tend to be smaller sub 2lbers, but May into June sees a run of bigger fish to double figures from the distant marks.
June onwards gives the opportunity for monkfish close inshore. These fish used to be quite numerous here and pick up ray baits, but the inshore netting has had an effect on the monks and nowadays you really need to specifically target them to have a realistic chance. There's a secondary run of monkfish from August through October with July a quiet time.
Shark! An emotive word and rightly so. Porbeagles come within range by about late June staying until early August. Most fish are within the 100lb mark, but much bigger fish are hooked and lost when tope fishing.
By mid August, the whiting shoals are starting to work shorewards on their early autumn migration. We can't lay claim to whiting of the calibre seen in the English Channel, our fish rarely go over the pound, but there's plenty of them.
As for general catches, bull huss are a year round target with up to a dozen per day about average in peak season with fish to 16lbs likely. All the gurnards are resident between May and November, garfish and scad occur from May to September, dabs are there all year, a few codling are taken, usually in the early part of the year close inshore and from the reef, plus the ever present dogfish which can be a pain in the bait box!
Being mainly reliant on the tourist industry the last charter trips are made in October before the onset of the real winter storms.
Because the sandbank marks off Barmouth are so reliable, most of the fishing is done at anchor with normal downtide fishing tactics. You'll catch more fish if you get a few small baits down behind the boat as well as the bigger fillets. This way, you'll start catching a few gurnards, dabs and whiting, which creates an area of feeding activity and this, in turn, pulls in the bigger predators.
The tides are fairly slack, even on springs, so uptiding isn't an advantage, but that said, there are days when whacking a bait uptide well away from the other baits will get you extra fish. It's also worth a try when amongst pack tope, as often the odd bigger female is lurking around the edges of the pack and won't mix it with the rest preferring to feed alone. It's also good for picking up bonus thornbacks.
Only when after mackerel, or the codling and whiting inshore will the skipper elect to drift. The other exception is after gales when the thornbacks are scattered. Then it can pay to take a steady drift across the banks locating scattered fish as you go.
When breaming on the reef, choose a lead weight just heavy enough to stay on the bottom in the tide run, but light enough when you lift the rod against a tight line to push the lead backwards and downtide. This allows you to bounce the bait away from the boat and to locate the bigger bream which tend to be at the back of the shoal. Also, fish a short trace of just 2ft when the tide is running, but up to 6ft when the tide is slack and the bream higher off the seabed
A 20lb class rod and reel will handle all the usual species up to and including the tope, but less experienced anglers might prefer a 30lb rod and reel for the extra strength if keen to get a good first tope on board. There are few snags, so just let the tope run and fight until they tire.
The uptider can be pressed in to service for redgilling for pollack, but anglers familiar with the fishing here prefer a carp rod and 10-12lb line.
For the bream on the reef, take a light 9ft spinning rod casting about an ounce and team it up with a small fixed-spool reel taking about 200yds of 6lb line. This is also a useful weapon against the smaller bottom feeders when bigger fish are in-between meals and slow to feed.
The preferred tope rig is 5ft of 60lb mono to a swivel, then 18ins of 50lb wire ending in a Mustad Barbless Viking 79514 size 6/0. It's also worth using a short 15ft leader of 50lb mono to the main line as the tope will roll if held hard during the fight.
For general bottom fishing for rays, huss etc, go for a sliding ledger with the main line running through a swivel and connector for weight attachment, tie a swivel to the main line, now finish with 3-6ft of 40lb line and one of the new Mustad Barbless Viking 79514's size 4/0 to 6/0.
When drift fishing, I prefer a sliding lockable boom to take the weight which allows a much longer trace up to 15ft or more to be used. This gives a more natural movement to the dragging bait and gets the weight out of the field of vision as a fish strikes.
Bream move up and down in depth as the tide quickens and slows, therefore bream rigs need to be adjustable regards hook length height. I do this by tying rigs about 8ft long and using an Avis Boom locked in place between beads and telephone wire. The phone wire can be coiled around the mono tightly to form the lock stop. Steady finger pressure allows the booms and wire to be moved up or down the trace until the depth at which the bream are feeding is found. Hook length strength needs to be 12-15lbs and the best hook is a Mustad 3261 Aberdeen size 6, though some of the shorter shank carp hooks are also good.
Weights from half an ounce through to 8ozs cover 90% of the fishing. In fact, a few ounce weights get you through a days bream fishing, with a few 5oz weights, both plain and grippers handling the bottom fishing and uptiding. Only occasionally will the 8oz leads be needed. A couple of 1lb weights might be worth carrying if you're pushing well offshore on a long range trip.
The tides out from Barmouth are light running , even on the biggest spring tides. Only on the reef can the tide really push, and then it's only for a short time.
For the rays, huss and general bottom feeders, the size of tide doesn't matter. Good catches occur most tides. For the tope and bream, then the medium height to spring tides tend to give the most numbers, but not necessarily the biggest fish. You'll still catch on neaps.
Likewise the sharks, I'd go for spring tides by choice, but still fish the neaps if the weather looks good for long range trips.

The early season thornbacks are best targeted with a cocktail of mackerel and squid.
For the summer tope, rays and huss you'll do better using half a fresh dab or whiting, as opposed to relying on mackerel. Mackerel strips are good for the whiting, dabs, dogfish, and gurnards. Bream take strips of mackerel, squid and sandeel, also cockle, peeler crab chunks and worm baits.
The codling and pollack are mostly caught on Hokeye feathers, though Redgills and Twister type rubber worms also pick up the pollack.

 Benllech, Anglesey
Black and blow lug or ragworm are the mainstay baits tipped with sandeel or mackerel strip. Bigger whiting taking strips of mackerel or half sandeel sections. Black lug tipped with squid is a good bass bait, especially for the occasional bigger fish.
TACKLE AND TACTICSOnly worth fishing at night and during the spring tides. It produces well in calm weather to long range casts for the whiting and dabs, but fishes best for the coalies and bass with a good surf and northerly wind blowing force 3 to 5 putting baits at medium range in amongst the surf tables.
Distance makes a difference here, so you'll need the power of a 5-6oz beachcaster, 15lb mono and a 60lb shock leader. Carry grip leads of 5ozs for normal conditions, but in a big surf a 6oz lead can be useful advantage.
For the dabs, whiting, dogs and coalies locals favour a clipped down three-hook rig with size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen using 12-inch hook traces from 20lb mono. For the bass a one-hook clipped own rig with two size 2/0 Viking pattern hooks rigged pennel style on a 30lb trace is the best choice.
Plenty of fish are caught off the promenade casting out on to clean sand, but you can also fish off the sandy beach on the right hand side, which is where the bulk of the bass come from. It can be a hot and cold mark, but does give shelter from strong southerly and southwesterly winds.
Take the A5 over the Menai Straits, then the A5025 signposted for Amlwch. Pass through the village of Pentraeth, then look for the right-hand turn for Benllech. There is ample parking by the promenade.

 Bennar Fawr Beach, Dyffryn Ardudwy, South Gwynedd
One of the more consistent surf beaches along this coast with the capability of giving a wide variety of species.
Low water reveals mostly clean sand with just occasional patches of small boulders and gravel beds. The upper beach area backs on to mixed sand and shingle, and then sand dunes.
It's shallow along it's a full length, and is noted for bass mainly, though also sees spring and summer flounders, dogfish, thornback rays, turbot and plaice.
There is an excellent run of whiting from September through to mid December, though fish over a pound are rarely caught. The same period sees good numbers of dabs available, too.
Facing directly in to the prevailing winds, the beach usually carries a good surf and though fish are taken close, often it's the longer casts that locate the fish, so stick with a standard beachcaster and a reel loaded with 15lb line and 60lb leader.
For longer range fishing either a clipped down one hook rig or wishbone is best, but for closer range, especially in the autumn, a wiser choice is a standard three hook rig.
In calmer conditions, use a free rolling lead which tends to have better success at locating the bass, other wise, use grip leads.
Smaller bass to 2lbs can be caught right through the winter here when conditions suit and are mild, but the bigger bass arrive in April and
stay until November.
A run of thornback ray and turbot appear over the bigger tides between late March and mid June, then again in October.
For bass and flounders, choose moderate southwest winds. The rays and turbot come tight inshore after a storm as the seas settle down. Calm periods of high pressure are best for the whiting, plaice and dabs.
The two hours either side of low water fishes far better than the high water period for all species except whiting when the two hours before and first hour after high water give the best returns.
King rag and lugworm takes everything except the rays and turbot. Use mackerel for the rays, and whole small sandeels for the turbot. Peeler crab fished close to any boulders can be a good spring bait for bass and will also take flounders.
In winter, target the bigger whiting with either mackerel strips or sandeel. razorfish is a good winter flounder bait.
Approach from Barmouth on the A496 and take the left turn signposted "Traeth" (beach) at Llanddwywe towards Bennar Fawr. Follow the road to a large car park and access the beach along the footpath through the sand dunes.

 Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog, Gwynedd
A small rocky headland to the right gives way to an open clean sand beach stretching for more than a mile towards Porthmadog. There is little natural feature on the beach, so fishing near the headland is
advised for the best results.
Carries a good surf in prevailing southwest and southerly winds which is when the best of the bass fishing occurs. The bigger bass being present from May to October, though smaller school bass can show throughout the year.
Spring and autumn sees a run of thornback ray within casting range accompanied by occasional small turbot to 2lbs. Dabs, dogfish and flounders are year round targets.
The best fishing is in the autumn when huge numbers of whiting come tight inshore. These arrive in early September and thin out during December, though a secondary run of bigger 1lb plus whiting appears throughout January.
High water spring tides during July and August see massive shoals of mackerel and garfish close inshore feeding on sprats.
BAITSPlenty of school bass, flounder and doggies here to rag, lug or small chunks of peeler crab as they move in to the Traeth Bach estuary. The stingray take ragworm or peeler crab. Try for the turbot with sections of sandeel or small mackerel strips.
Typically a 5-6oz beachcaster and 15lb with a 60lb shock leader is the best option, but in calmer conditions switch to a 2-4oz bass rod and 12lb line with a 30lb leader and 30z leads grip leads.
Bigger bass show during a rough surf in southwest winds. The best time to fish is on the spring tides the hour before and the first two hours after low water in the dark. Fish a one-hook clipped down rig with a 3/0 hook as distance can sometimes make a difference here, even in a big surf, as the water is shallow and can be very clear.
For the flatties, school bass and dogfish a three-hook flapper works well with size 1 Aberdeen's. You'll catch more fish if you change to a plain lead and let the bait roll with the tide. The same rig will take the turbot, but casting right in amongst the surf tables.
Stingray are not common here, but have been caught at this time with some consistency, the problem being few anglers try for them. Aim to fish the middle hours of the flood tide, in daylight during warm conditions and light seas casting around 60-yds out. The one-hook rig is the best choice, but up the trace strength to 40lbs.
Daylight fishing is difficult here as the beach is popular with Jet skiers. Most anglers choose to fish the west end of the beach towards the rocky headland, but the east side towards the estuary fishes better.
Come in to Porthmadog on theA487. Take the road by Woolworth's on the high street signposted Borth-Y-Gest and Black Rock Sands. You can park on the beach, which is hard sand at the top.

 Borth Y Gest, Porthmadog, Gwynedd
Take the A487 to Porthmadog. Look for Woolworth's store at the north end of the High Street and take the west bound road signposted for Borth-y-Gest and Morfa Bychan. Take the next sign-posted left branch road for Borth-y-Gest. There is a car park in the village which quickly fills in summer. Fish either the left or right hand side of the bay in to the estuary channels.
The first spent flounder show towards the end of March along with school bass and dogfish. April sees flounders, bass to 4lbs, dogfish and eels taken. Bigger bass, mullet and garfish arrive in May, plus occasional plaice to 2lbs are reported. Peak catches of bass occur in June. July and August gives good mullet fishing over high water at dawn, plus flounders and eels. Evening high water and big spring tides during July and August sees occasional mackerel shoals work close inshore.
Bigger bass move in here through September and October, along with whiting and dabs. Typical winter catches include dabs, dogfish, school bass, whiting, flounders and rockling. The biggest flounder show from January to early March as they filter out of the estuary channels and head to the open sea to spawn.
A south-west wind fishes well for bass here, but with the channels of the Traeth Bach Estuary running past the marks fish are always on the move. The flounder take best when the estuary water is clear and not contaminated with acidic flood water from the mountains. Hot, calm weather gives the best of the mullet and garfish. It's also a good time to spin for the bass. Stick to night tides through the summer as tourist activity by day is heavy.
In autumn, whiting take best at night in calm seas. Dabs prefer slightly rougher conditions which also brings big packs of dogfish inshore. Daylight gives flounders.
TIDESAgain, due to the adjacent estuary, the tides are less critical here than on normal marks. The neaps produce the better numbers of flounders and eels, but stick to the spring tides for the chance of any better bass. Spring tides bring in the autumn whiting and dabs.
Low water on neaps is okay for most species, but on big tides the water is shallow and the fish don't show until there is some depth. High water fishes best, and even the ebb fishes okay as you'll be hitting the fish coming back out of the upper reaches of the estuary.
No need for heavy beach gear. Choose a carp rod and light multiplier or fixed spool reel with 12 to 15lb line. Leads need to be between 1oz and 4oz, depending on where you're fishing, and carry a couple of release wire leads for the peak run during big spring tides.
Carry a lighter rod for spinning and float-fishing for the gars and mullet, and to target the flounders inside the bay over high water.
Two hook rigs are most popular for the eels, flats, whiting, dogfish and school bass. Target bigger bass with a sliding ledger rig using a couple of feet of 20lb mono and cast short in to the channels.
Garfish take small bits of mackerel under float tackle, with mullet taking freelined bread or float fished mackerel flesh. Also try spinning from the rocks at each end of the bay for bass and garfish. Bass also take a float fished sandeel.
The best general summer bait is peeler crab which accounts for the bass, flats, dogfish and eels. In winter, swap to black lug tipped with mackerel for the whiting, use mussel for the bigger dabs, and razorfish for flounder.

 Broadwater, Tywyn, Gwynedd
The narrow estuary channel of the Dysynni River. The channel bottom is mainly clean sand intermixed with gravel and small boulders. Tackle losses are relatively light.
It's an easy access mark fishing well for flounders from April through to January. From May on, eels and bass work through here, some of the eels running over 2lbs. The bass are mainly smaller 3lb school fish, but occasional bigger fish to 8lbs are also taken. During big spring tides in the early summer garfish can come up past the Railway Bridge. There's also a fair run of sea trout from April on, but you'll need a licence. Mullet arrive during late May and stay through until late September.
It fishes fairly consistently, but make sure that recent rains haven't filled the estuary with high levels of floodwater. This will kill the fishing until it clears.
It fishes best during smaller neap tides when the water depth is least affected. On spring tides stick to high water periods.
A light spinning rod, fixed spool reel and just 10lb line will cover all the bottom fishing and any bass spinning you choose to do. The best rig is a plain running ledger with a single hook and a size 496B-crab hook for the flounders and eels, or a Viking 2/0 for the bass. The best spinners for the bass are 28grm silver Tobies.
An Avon type rod or freshwater float rod is a better choice for the mullet which need prebaiting, though by mid summer can be caught occasionally float fishing harbour ragworms around dusk and dawn. Float fishing also takes the garfish using a sliver of mackerel.
The sea trout are best targeted with a lighter spinning rod about 8-ft in length and 6lb line with small silver Mepps spoons the best.
From either Machynlleth or Dolgellau take the A493 in to Tywyn. At the railway station crossroads, take the Sandilands road heading north. Follow this past the council estate and keep going until you come to the estuary channel. There is parking along the side of the road.

 Church Island, Menai Straits
Crab is scarce currently but tipping black lug or rag with fresh crab seems to be taking the bulk of the codling. Some anglers also report success with the vacuum packed frozen crab from the tackle shops or by tipping the lug with mussel. The bass take the same baits, but also whole squid, as will the conger.
A small island like structure with a church on it joined to Menai Bridge by a promontory. Look for the grassy island in front of you and cast into the channel towards this.
The bottom is very rough here, so for the cod and bass use a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with a weak link to the lead weight. A two-hook pennel rig using 3/0 Vikings gets you extra fish. Choose a 5 to 6oz beachcaster with a reel loaded with 300-yards of 25lb line and a 60lb shock leader. For the conger use the same pulley rig, but swapping for a single 4/0 to 6/0 Viking hook.
Church Island fishes best only for the first two hours of the ebb during the smaller neap tides. Flood water inside The Straits after heavy rain will kill the fishing stone dead. Always fishes best at night, it rarely seems to produce by day.
Best access via the Britannia Rod Bridge turning right on to the B4080 for Menai Bridge. Just after the turn on to the B4080 there is a lay-by on the right-hand side. Church Island can be seen from here on your left. Continue on the B4080 and turn right in to Menai Bridge at the roundabout. Park in the Church Island car park signposted on the right.

 Conwy Harbour
The harbour area is a popular mark, especially during bad weather as it generally gives good shelter. It generally fishes best either side of slack water. The crab can be very active here at times, but when the crab activity disappears the fish are always moving through, so expect bites.
The ground is a mix of clean sand, mud and mussel beds. The best of the fishing is casting on to the rougher patches bar for the flatfish.
Spring and summer see eels in good numbers, bass, flounder, occasional plaice, mullet and even sea trout.
September through November sees a few bigger bass taken, with the winter months producing flounder, whiting and a few dabs, with occasional codling.
Peeler crab is the best bait throughout the year for the flounder, eels, bass and plaice. Rag and lug can work well at times but does tend to get stripped quickly by the crabs. Lug tipped with crab or mussel is a good all round combination bait. Mussel also takes the winter flounder.
Bass rods, 6500 sized reels and 15lb line with a 30lb shock leader is a popular choice for all species fishing either side of low and high water. Bigger tides can require a 5oz to 6oz lead, so opt for a 5-6oz beachcaster, 15lb to 20lb and a 60lb shock leader.
Best all round rig is a three-hook flapper with 20lb Amnesia hook snoods and size 2 Aberdeen hooks. If you want the plaice a two-hook wishbone rig has been the most consistent, but it helps to add a few red and white beads or brightly coloured float beads.
For bass and codling, surprisingly the best rig is a two-hook flapper with 25lb hook snoods and size 3/0 Viking pattern hooks.
Best of the bass and cod fishing is at night. It tends to produce bass during the first two hours of the flood tide and again during the early ebb tide as they travel up and back down. The codling like a little run in the water, so stick to the spring tides for these. The biggest flounder show in December and January.
Turn off the A55 after Llandudno following the signs for Conwy. Summer parking can be a nightmare, but is easier in winter.

 Colwyn Bay Promenade

A popular winter and summer venue, especially with the wind coming from a northerly direction which stirs up some surf and colours the water.
Fishing off the promenade wall the two hours either side of high water during the spring tides at night produces the best results. Low water can fish well too, but it's the big casters that score best fishing the low tide period, and in rougher surf conditions as the ground is shallow.
Try to locate any deeper gutters running along the beach and rougher ground patches prior to fishing as this is where the fish get concentrated.
Codling, whiting, coalfish and dabs dominate the winter months with flounder showing in the surf after a good northerly blow.
Summer catches include plaice, flounder, eels and bass. Calm spring nights see a few thornback rays to the better casters.
BEST BAITSBlack lug is the main cod bait here, preferably fresh and tipped with squid, but gutted black lug tipped with blow lug works well too. Tip black or blow lug with a strip of sandeel or mackerel or use sections of sandeel to pick out the better whiting. Coalfish take crab or lug tipped with mussel.
Ragworm is the top plaice bait with a bit of peeler crab or thin strip of squid on the hook point. Both the bass and the spring ray take peeler crab, though a combination of mackerel and squid is just as good for the rays.
A 5-6oz beachcaster, 15lb to 18lb line and 60lb shock leader is the ideal tackle choice, and carry both 5 and 6oz grip leads to cover all sea conditions.
A one-hook rig clipped down is ideal for the codling, bass and rays with two 3/0 Vikings rigged pennel style. A three-hook flapper works well for the general species, but in calmer weather try a two-hook wishbone rig at range for the better whiting, plaice and dabs putting a luminous bead just above the hook.
At J22 on the main A55 dual-carriage way follow the signposts for Colwyn Bay. You can park on the promenade and fish almost right by your car.

 West Wales

Piers: Aberystwyth Stone Jetty
Although locally called The Stone Jetty it is actually a breakwater protecting the southern flank of Aberystwyth Harbour and faces westwards out in to the Irish Sea. The jetty is around 225-yards long and some 20-yards wide, but has no safety railings. This allows easy casting room, but care needs to be taken when fishing close to the edges in wet or frosty weather.
In south to southwest winds over force 4 the swell can break up the south side of the jetty and wash over the top, so take note of the weather conditions before starting to fish.
On the south side rocks were used in construction for the base, and these and reef ground extends out about 40 to 50yds away from the structure. This then gives on to clean sand with mixed ground in patches.

Casting from the end of the jetty at an angle out to the southwest clean sand gives way to rough ground at about 100yds. Straight out from end of the jetty at close range there is a shelf that drops down in to roughly 12ft of water over low tide on an average sized tide, with mixed rough ground straight out in front of you at range. Casting to the right side at an angle and towards Castle Rocks across the bay finds much heavier ground at range, with a flat concrete shelf tight in that drops off on to rough ground.
Standing in the middle section of the stone jetty on the north side and opposite the wooden jetty leading in to the harbour you can cast 40-yards out in to a deeper boat traffic channel with mainly clean ground amongst rock patches, but there is heavy rough in shallow water close in that you have to retrieve your gear over. Daytime boat traffic makes fishing difficult until the evenings.
Another good section is just above the beginning of the jetty where again after boat traffic has ceased for the day you can cast out in to the main deeper boat channel over cleaner ground to target fish moving in with the tide and in to the harbour. Swap sides here and you can cast out in to clean ground beyond a shingle backed beach with rocks in between.
The session had had to be aborted twice already due to strong southerly winds and third time around it was still blowing a good south by southwest force 5. In these conditions from mid flood tide to three hours on the ebb the swell can break over the jetty, so the session had to be fished the three hours down to low water, just to be on the safe side.
The sea was chocolate coloured with clumps of floating weed on the surface after three days of howling wind and local angler Darren Wragg and I were to team up, we didn’t rate our chances good as we got the gear together, especially as the live rag we wanted wasn’t available either.
Recent catches had been just the odd dogfish, rockling, pouting and poor cod, but with the season being a late one hereabouts there was still the chance of dabs and whiting.
We chose the end of the pier, but fishing the south side where a cast straight in to the teeth of the wind would put us on to clean sand. I was also hoping to bang a long cast out on to rougher ground to the right, but surfers and canoeists working the waves there put the idea in to touch.
Darren tackled up with a one hook clipped down rig and biggish bait consisting of black lug and sandeel. This was banged out on to the sand, but his second rod was to be fished casting back in towards the harbour and in to the boat traffic channel with flounder and eels in mind.
I took a different approach, opting for a two-hook clipped down rig with size 2 Aberdeen’s for fishing the sand aiming to maximise my chance of species figuring smaller baits would take the dogs, but also pick up any flatties and whiting working the ground. A second rod though, with a short three hook rig and small hooks would be dropped in close right amongst the boulders and rocks used to form the jetty foundations aiming to pick up any small mini species that were able to withstand the deep and heavy swell breaking over the jetty’s base.
Carefully checking our reel magnet controls with the strong wind in mind, we were able to work at ranges up to about 90yds, with us both electing to go long at first, and then dropping shorter if bites failed to arrive.
Bites were difficult to detect in the wind, but I was first in with a shanny that picked up a tiny scrap of lug and even though I had released a little slack line to get the baits tighter to the seabed in the high swell, it was the bottom hook fixed tight above the lead that took the fish.

Darren was quick to follow with a gentle double pull down on the rod tip and quick reaction strike that resulted in a dogfish. At least we had avoided a blank!
I picked up a double header of doggies, then we both starting to look at working with the variety of baits we’d got to try and winkle out any other species that might be within range. Carrying frozen mackerel, sandeel, crab, lug and squid gave us plenty of combos, but missing that live rag wouldn’t help.
Going through the bait combinations I quickly realised that even the dogs were being choosy and bites were coming quicker to the frozen back lug. So, leaving the lug in the wrappers, I went for squid and mackerel strips trying to winkle out a dab, but inevitably after time the dogs found these baits too.

The harbour channel hadn’t produced any bites at all, so Darren began fishing his two rods out on the southern side. He was also thinking that the smaller hooks might just find something different. A double header of dogfish was a quick pay back.
As the depth decreased with the tide ebbing, the swell now became a heavy surf that washed round the end of the jetty. Leaving one rod in the rest to fish alone, I systematically worked the smaller baits around the end of the jetty covering as much ground as possible hoping for a corkwing wrasse, which can be plentiful here a little later in the season. This tactic only enjoyed small success with only another shanny taken on a crab leg.
There was a lull in bites and we sat side by side discussing what the jetty can produce in the right conditions. The south side has produced a string of big bass through recent summers including a couple of fish over 10lbs. The plug anglers were also taking good bass to 7lbs during July and August of 2005. Fishing out on to the cleaner ground can also see a few grey and tub gurnards taken, gurnards being a fairly rare catch for a shore angler in most areas of the UK.

As low water came the dogs came on thick and fast, both of us getting more double headers amongst single fish. I tried one last trick swapping over from a grip lead to a plain flat lead and “feeling” my baits in off the sand to lie on the junction of the rock and reef just beyond the jetty, but only had more dogfish.
Both of us had covered as much of the available ground in front of us as possible trying to seek out little pockets of dabs and whiting, but hard as we tried we couldn’t dink out any other species in the conditions. We fished on for an hour, but conscious of the wind picking up as the tide flooded, and the building swell, it was time to give it best.

In reflection, after both Darren and myself not having felt very optimistic about our chances at the outset, a quick tot up suggested we’d lost count of the dogfish caught, plus the two shannies added a little variety. More species would have been nice, but in the conditions we figured we’d got it about right and we had both enjoyed a few hours fishing when most anglers would have been snug at home.
Peak fishing time is from dead low water right through to high water, and maybe for the first hour of the ebb. You’ll still catch fish down the ebbing tide, but the fish tend to move out to longer range and the bigger casters do best at this time fishing on the south side casting out on to the cleaner sand.
It tends to fish to its best in a gentle south to southwest wind, with westerly winds good too. It produces well in daylight if there is a little colour in the sea, but if the sea is very clear after prolonged good weather stick to night fishing for the bottom feeding species.
Cold frosty nights can produce some really big bags of whiting, backed up by dabs, dogs, pout and poor cod, with the chance of codling in rougher seas casting out on to the rough ground during the spring tides in November and December.
The very end by the light tower is rated the best spot on the whole jetty as you can cover both the clean sand to the left, and the major rough ground to the right.

It does get crowded towards this end, especially in summer when the mackerel are in and the light tower can restrict your casting a little. You also have surfers to consider which run the waves west of the wooden jetty in daylight during the rougher seas.
You can drop in close here over rough ground and catch loads of mini species.
Highly rated as the second best option. Gives the chance to fish straight out on to clean sand with minimal tackle loss, or drop in closer on to rough ground for small mini species.

Many anglers prefer this section as you have much more room to cast and work from and can cover more ground.
This section can also produce good bass that come in tight amongst the rocks to pick up crab and shannies.
Fish near the metal ladder. Rated during the flood tide as you are casting in to the channel leading in to the harbour and can put baits right in to the path of any fish working their way in to the harbour and marina complex.

Can be awkward during working hours and especially in the summer as boat traffic in and out of the harbour can be heavy requiring repeated retrieval of tackle.
This section of the boat traffic channel can produce some big flounder early in the year.
On the left side of the jetty is Tan-y-Bwlch beach. Where the beach meets the jetty is a favoured peg during local club matches, but you can cover more ground fishing off the jetty top and casting back out towards the beach than you can off the beach proper.

With a flooding tide and southwest wind, lots of food collects in to this corner making it a top feeding area for fish.
The downside is you’re next to the car parking area and get a constant stream of passes by during daylight hours.
The huss tend to show from April through to Christmas, with small-eyed ray and thornbacks occasionally caught from the southern side of the jetty between late April through to late June, and showing again from late August to mid October.
Conger are present all year, mainly smaller fish to 10lbs, though near 20lbers have been recorded from the rough ground off the jetty end in previous seasons.
The bass come in early here, about mid April usually, peaking in numbers in June, but with the bigger fish resident from early September through to late October.
Garfish are the first summer species usually arriving in May, with mackerel taken from late June to September spinning and feathering. Mullet can be seen working the wall edges during this time period too.
The best of the channel flounder fishing is from September through to Christmas, with eels during the summer.
General species such as pouting, shore rockling, shannies, corkwing wrasse, pollack and smaller ballan wrasse are caught pretty much all year round, with September right through to February providing whiting, dabs, and in good years the occasional codling.
Sandeel is a top bait for the huss and small-eyed rays, but does attract the dogfish too. Squid and mackerel are also good for the rays and huss and will pull out any conger as well. Also try dropping a fresh whole small whiting on to the sand or rough for these species.
Crab is the key spring time bait for the bass working down the sides, but switch to either a mackerel head or whole squid for the autumnal fish. A float fished blenny can also produce good bass during the summer months.
For the mini species in the rocks fish either small chunks of crab, crab legs or small sections of ragworm. Summer garfish and mackerel take small strips of mackerel or sandeel when float fishing.
Lugworm and rag work well for the dabs, whiting and winter flounder, but to pick out the better sized whiting tip the worm baits with sandeel or mackerel strip.
Try to have a good variety of baits with you and work through the combinations of baits to find the best formula on the day for the different target species.
When spinning always carry 1oz Dexter Wedges and Toby's in your lure box as these work especially well here. Regarding plug choice, then surface poppers such as the Chug Bug take a lot of fish, or try Rapala Slivers worked just sub surface.
Pulley rigs made from 60lb mono with a single size 4/0 Mustad Viking hook is the top rig for the rays, huss and conger. Carry leads of 5 and 6ozs.
Over sand targeting the whiting, dabs and dogs a two-hook clipped down rig with size 2 Aberdeen hooks is ideal giving maximum range when needed. This rig also works well for the channel flounder and eels.
The mini species are best fished for using a mini three-hook flapper with size 6 to 10 hooks and tiny baits on 6lb to 12lb hook links, and use spark plugs or nuts and bolts as weights to cut tackle losses.
Fish for the garfish under bubble floats leaving 6ft between the float and hook. Use a 4ft section of 8lb Fluoro carbon line below the float to improve catches and keep the float moving to induce bites.
The mackerel take spinners or feathers, with black feathers at dusk the real bag fillers.
Work plugs and spinners over the rough ground on the south side either side of high water for the bass.

 Aberporth Rocks, Ceredigion

Approach from the south via Newcastle Emlyn on the B4333, or from the north through Aberystwyth on the A487 taking the right turn onto the B4333. Car parking available near the church, but gets very busy in summer. Walk through the church car park onto the cliff footpath and head right following the path to the marks which are obvious.
Fishing is off rocky platforms with steep and difficult access casting onto clean sand at range with some broken ground closer in. There are small deeper coves with rocky ground and boulders either side of the marks. Care needs to be taken here, for big waves can sweep anglers off the rocks if you're foolish enough to fish here during storms and very unsettled weather.
An excellent early thornback ray mark from late March onwards. Bull Huss can be taken at night fishing close in towards the rocks. Some plaice show here during daylight by late April, with May and early June best. Bass can push sandeels tight in to the rocks during June, July and August, but crab ledgered close in to the rocks is the best method. Mackerel, also garfish, will hit float fished mackerel strip or tiny spinners in settled weather right through the summer.
Mullet often work the inshore rock edges and may take baits and spinners. Odd small ballan wrasse can show from the rocky point, and very occasionally a strap conger is taken.
August sees the first whiting move inshore which encourages a secondary run of rays, including small eyed ray which can be caught through to November. Dabs also show in September and can be resident in excellent numbers with 1lb fish not unusual.
Christmas and January sees the best of dabs and the biggest whiting, and dogfish can be relied upon for whole 12 month period. Often in huge numbers.
Water clarity here goes deep with little local pollution, so daylight fish, save for the plaice, is poor. Dawn and the late evening are the best times for bass, mackerel and mullet. Thornbacks, huss, whiting and dabs are nocturnal. Wrasse take during the day, though early morning is best.
The thornbacks eat mackerel strip, squid and lug, but the small eyed's and huss are best fished for with frozen sandeel. Bass take crab baits, but also silver spinners like Tobies and Dexter Wedges, or small rubber sandeels on a long trace. Wrasse also take crab baits, but being smaller fish lug proves better. Winter whiting and dabs will take lug or fish baits.
Best ray rig is a standard fixed paternoster with a 24-inch (60cms) hook length and a Mustad Viking 3/0. For the whiting, dabs and dogfish, use a three hook rig or a two hook flowing trace and Mustad Aberdeen's or Kamasan's in sizes up to 1/0.
Fishes best with just a light southwesterly breeze for the thornbacks, or in settling seas after a blow for the small eyed. Calm, settled seas are best for whiting and dabs, and when spinning for bass and mackerel.
Never fish these rocks when a swell is evident. Unpredictable waves come straight at the rock and with steep rocks behind you you have no where to run.

 Consti Rocks, Aberystwyth
An easy access mark that produces fish all year round and gets you away from the tourist activity if you're fishing in high summer. You can either fish the rocks themselves, or from the shingle beach.
Bass work in close to the rocks over low water between April and November with casts of no more than 30-yds most successful. Occasional strap conger are taken, too.
At longer range the ground becomes clean sand and holds dabs, a few plaice, gurnards, the odd small-eyed and thornback ray, plus huss. The rays show best through May and June, then again in September and October. Dogfish are ever present and can be taken in plague proportions immediately after a good blow.
High water off the beach on a spring tide during summer, providing it's calm, will see good shoals of mackerel move within range, and spinning can also produce garfish.
Whiting come inshore in good numbers from late August on, followed by a few codling from October to January. The codling run to 3lbs mostly, but the odd bigger fish can show.
Close in, the ground can be rough, so fish a beachcaster and 7000-sized reel with 20lb line for the bass. The same tackle is best when casting to range for the rays, gurnards and plaice which need to be retrieved over the rough ground.
A one-hook rig with a rotten bottom is ideal for bass. At range, choose either a two-hook rig clipped up for the smaller species and whiting, with a one-hook rig clipped down for the rays and huss.
Peeler crab is the mainstay for bass, but bigger fish in the autumn take squid and mackerel. Also try a float-fished prawn around the rock edges.
Sandeel is by far the best for the small-eyed rays, with mackerel and squid combos good for the thornbacks. Smaller fish strips take the dabs and gurnards. The winter cod take lug and mussel cocktails with ragworm a fair second.
Easy to find! Come in to Aberystwyth from any direction and follow the signs for the promenade. Consti is located at the north end of the promenade and can be easily seen from the road. There is some parking along the roadside, but it gets busy and you may need to use one of the nearby car parks and walk to the mark depending on the time of year and tourist numbers.

Aberystwyth is home to one of the largest charter fishing fleets in Wales. It's no coincidence this. "Aber" sports some of the most varied ground imaginable with a species resident list only equalled by the prolific waters off Devon and Cornwall.
Chief amongst these is the reef of Sarn Cynfelyn or Patches reef. A reef constructed of small pebble intermingled with rock and weed beds. This breaks it's sequence 3 miles out being mixed sand and rough. Known as the "Gap", this holds tope, huss, rays, bream etc. At 7 miles sits the Patches buoy. Ground immediately to the northwest gives cleaner patches of mud and sand, but also uplifting rocky peaks that harbour bream. Ground due north is mainly clean sand until you hit Sarn Bwch reef off Tywyn.
South of Patches reef lays the Cadwgan Reef just to the north of Llanrystyd. This too holds bream, huss, early and late season tope, plus monkfish which have topped 80lbs in nets here. However, few boats fish this area. Out from the Cadwgan Reef is the old "Trawling grounds". Literally a deeper gutter that travels roughly north to south. This harbors most species and has given hake and smoothound in the distant past.
The charter fleet is currently checking the potential of numerous wrecks that lay out beyond the 40 mile mark. Trips made in the last couple of seasons have brought home pollack to 20lbs, ling to 14lbs, and cod to 18lbs. Undoubtedly, big conger and larger pollack, coalfish, ling and cod than already taken are sure to follow.
Fishing begins in March with the incoming thornback ray. Numbers taken can exceed 40 per day, but all the local skippers have a catch and return policy, so the bulk are there for another day. The thornbacks stay the main target until early May when the tope take precedence. Catches of this sleek predator often top 20 fish per day with double that not unusual. The average size lays between 30 and 40lbs which is high compared to other areas.
During this early spring period, huss occur daily and can top 16lbs. Whiting, dabs, dogfish, plus the odd monkfish make up the early season catches. May sees the black bream arrive. These run in tight groups over the reefs and rougher ground with fish of 1lb normal, but sprinkled with a regular return of 2lb and 3lb plus fish.
By late June all eyes focus on shark. Porbeagles running towards the 200lbs mark with 100lb fish somewhere about average. July is the main month for shark, but they can linger throughout August too. June also sees the mackerel beginning to shoal up and with them come the interesting mid summer species like pollack, gurnards, turbot, occasional blonde ray, scad and garfish.
Late August sees the catches of whiting increase as the first shoals moving in for the winter are located. A 1lb fish is classed as good here, with 2lb fish very rare. The rays and huss linger throughout the winter, but by early October the tope move out. Codling are not considered a main catch, but the past five seasons has seen fish in fair numbers on the reefs and rough ground bringing in variety to the rays, whiting, dabs and dogfish that make up the normal winter's day sport.
Tides off Aberystwyth are not too fierce. It can run at a fair rate over the shallower reef areas, but is sedate over the cleaner ground, even on the biggest spring tides. The size of the tide does not appreciably effect the quality of the fishing. Catches remain pretty consistent throughout the tide cycle.
Over the offshore wrecks however, it does flow strongly and only the smaller neaps are comfortable to fish.
Due to the light tides, you can fish with lighter tackle for all the species save for wrecking and shark. A 20lb class rod or 4-10oz uptider covers just about all options. Local anglers prefer the uptider as it gives greater versatility and more sport. Match these to a reel holding 300yds of 18lb line.
Bream fishing requires a spinning rod about 9ft long, small multiplier or fixed spool reel and just 8lb line. They get the chance to show their true metal on this outfit.
Leads average between 4-8ozs for general fishing, but a couple of 12oz or 1lb weights should be carried for those bigger tides. A 1-2oz lead is plenty for the bream over slack tide periods.
Standard wreck tackle of 50lb class rod and reel are needed for pirk fishing for cod or using pirks and muppets for pollack over the wrecks, and for the shark. The uptider covers fishing artificial eels for pollack with 15 to 18lb line. Experienced anglers choose a 12lb class outfit and 6 to 8oz leads. Many anglers prefer the lighter 30lb tackle for the greater sport.
BAITSMackerel is undoubtedly the most popular bait used and enough can mostly be feathered on the day. However, it's not necessarily the best bait to use.
A whole small whiting or half a dab proves the better bait for tope, rays and huss, especially the whiting. Use peeler crab over the reef and you'll pick up ballan wrasse, codling, maybe a rogue smoothound.
The bream like small strips of squid, mackerel or herring, but those in the know also carry a few estuary cockles. This latter bait can be devastating at times. Lugworm tends to pick out the smaller bream.
Feathers baited with lugworm picks up codling and bream. Change to mackerel strip on the feathers and you'll see gurnards, whiting, and weevers over cleaner ground.
Try the Stone Jetty on the south side of the harbour for conger, silver eels, dabs, dogfish and flounders.
Also Tan y Bwlch beach for bass, dabs, dogfish, and occasional rays.
Terrace Road, Aberystwyth. Tel. 0970612125
Powys. Tel 01874 625692

 Castle Rocks, Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth is approached from the north via the A487 and from the Midlands on the A470 branching left onto the A44. The mark is sighted immediately in front of the castle ruins. There is ample parking right along the front.
Reef and rocky fingers, inter spaced with deeper gullies and fissures. Weed growth can be a problem when casting to distance. Odd sandy patches, or patches of finer shingle can be found at range. Casting is, either from a shingle bank at high water, or from the rock over low water.
This mark gives a good chance of double figure bass during September, October and early November. Fish big crab baits or mackerel over low water. Conger to double figures also show to fish baits during daylight. Float fished prawn has accounted for pollack to 6lbs from this mark in seasons past. The average pollack weighs between 1 and 2lbs. Cleaner patches hold sizeable dabs. Dogfish can be taken in huge numbers in both daylight and dark to all baits throughout the year. This mark should also hold huss over low water, but few are reported.
The bigger spring tides give the best results for all species, except bass. Fish the middle sized tides for these, especially when low water falls around dusk and dawn. The same period is also good for pollack. Conger feed best in dark on the smaller tides at range.
Little bait is available locally, though some frozen bait is available in the local tackle shop, with a good fishmonger situated just off the high street. Some peeler crab can be collected from the surrounding rock areas. All rigs need to be aimed at long range with bait clips, other than for bassing with a weak link to the lead. Leads between 2 and 5ozs will handle all situations.
Fish rough weather for bass, but calm conditions for conger and pollack. Southwest winds to force 4 are good for the bass, with gentle easterlies preferred for congering. It doesn't matter for the dogfish. Watch for the odd bigger wave coming over the rocks when fishing low water in rough weather.

 Ceibwr Bay, West Wales

Small spinners or feathers work best for the mackerel. Bigger spinners and plugs take the pollack, with the wrasse falling to crab or worm baits.
A rocky bay with a shallower gutter tight inshore with exposed rocks beyond. It fishes best in calm conditions the two hours either side of high water, though clambering around the rocks at either side can produce fish at other stages of the tide, but care is needed here.
The wrasse lay in the gutter below you and are best fished for on float tackle using a 3oz spinning rod and 15lb line with a size 2/0 Viking pattern hook.
The mackerel and pollack can be caught over high water by casting beyond the gutter and spinning back through it. The more consistent fishing though, is on the far right hand side casting towards the rocky cliffs inside a small bay. The bass and pollack, and to some extent the mackerel, herd shoals of sandeel and sprat in to this small bay during the bigger tides at this time of year and will take spinners, plugs and rubber eels worked through and over the shoals. Again the 3oz spinning rod and 15lb line with a fixed spool reel is the best tackle choice.
Late September produces the best of the pollack and bass with fish over 6lbs possible.
From the south take the A40 from Carmarthen, then the A478 to Blaen Foss then the left hand turn on to the B4332 to Eglwyswrw. Turn right on to the A487 taking the left turn for Moylgrove and follow the signs for Ceibwr Bay. From the north come through Cardigan staying on the A487 and take the right turn for Moylgrove following the signs for Ceibwr Bay. There is limited roadside parking for a few cars above the bay.

 Cerrig Penrhyn Point, Borth, Dyfed
The northern point of Borth Beach forming the southern flank of the Dovey Estuary.
Mainly clean sand banks, but at it's eastern end carries fingers of shingle where the Leri River runs in to the main estuary channel. Choose either the seaward end, or the point where the shingle beds are for the best results.
A good place to spin with redgills or Toby type spinners in the summer.
In rougher conditions try bottom fishing with a long flowing trace rig for the bass, flounders, dogfish and eels that form the mainstay of local sport. Casting is close range and the flowing trace is adequate for virtually all situations.
Excellent on the seaward side throughout the flood tide for flounders and bass, and again from half ebb down. Produces best on spring tides, but neap tides can also give quality fish, especially in rougher seas.
Tends to fish best for bass in the autumn, but good fish also show in May and June. Mullet arrive by late May and can stay well in to October in mild years.
Flounder are resident 12 months of the year, as are dogfish, but there is a good run of eels and occasional plaice taken through the summer months.
September through to December sees whiting in the main channel, dabs and rockling, plus the biggest flounder of the year are recorded either side of Christmas.
Boat activity can see daylight tides hit and miss, but night tides give little real advantage.
Bass prefer crab and king ragworm. Crab is also best for the flounder and eels, but also try razorfish for the flounder. Lug baits take school bass, eels, dogs, flats and rockling. Pick out the better whiting by tipping off with fish.
From Machynlleth, take the A497 to Tre'r-ddol. Turn right on to the B4353 towards Ynyslas, then right to a car park situated on the point itself.

 Cwm Tudu Beach, Ceredigion
A tiny little cove with room for only three anglers at a time. It is flanked by cliff headlands and is quite steep to and fairly deep at long range. The headland on the right is dotted with caves. Patches of clean sand, but with occasional rock patches in-between, especially after a good storm. A stream flows on to the beach on the left side, which after heavy rain can kill the fishing for a few days until it clears.
A good beach in the second half of the year. Being small, it can carry weed, but this tends to be close in and long casts can get you over it and fishing.
Night tides fish best and these can produce good huss that work their way around off the rocks. Wrasse are caught by clambering over the rocks on the right.
Huss, dogfish, bass, dabs, codling, flounder, plaice, wrasse and gurnards. Chance of rays at long range and the odd tope has been hooked.
Big sandeel or mackerel baits find the huss and dogfish. Bass take crab early on and through the summer, but switch to razorfish or squid in the autumn. Codling, dabs, flounder and plaice all take worm baits, with gurnards keen on small fish baits.
Beachcasters and 15lb line are okay if you don't mind losing a bit of gear and long range can find the gurnards, plaice and codling. For the huss and bass local anglers prefer 18lb line and heavier 7000-type reel.
Best huss, bass and codling rig is a pulley rig with 2/0 to 4/0 hooks. Two or three hook rigs take pretty much everything else. A pulley rig with a rotten bottom can also take the wrasse casting close to the rocks.
Cwm Tudu is located off the A487 between Aberystwyth and Cardigan taking the coast bound yellow graded road at Blaen-waun signposted for Cwm Tudu. Another narrow and twisty road through a narrow village, but there is a free car park right above the beach.

 Dale Beach, Pembrokeshire
Almost hidden away at the very western end of Milford Haven, Dale is protected from the prevailing winds and is fishable in most conditions.
The beach slopes gently to the sea and is made up from mixed shingle and muddy sand. There is a slipway in the middle, with a rocky outcrop to the north side. The slipway area fishes well in the dark on the flood tide, with the rocks a good bet towards high water. There's a handy pub on the quay too that serves excellent food.
Bass, flounder and dogfish are the common catch from April right through to February. April to July sees eels caught, with garfish and the occasional shoal of mackerel through the summer. Mullet show around the boat pontoons in front of the pub early and late in the evenings. Longer casts take the occasional ray in May and June.
Winter fishing is for whiting, dabs, dogfish, bass and flounder. The best flounder showing either side of Christmas and through to February.
Peeler or soft crab is essential here for the bass, flounders and eels. Worm baits take smaller flounder and bass, plus the dabs and whiting in winter. Fish baits take the better whiting and any rays.
Long range tactics with a standard 5-6oz beachcaster, 6500 reel and 15lb line with a shock leader will catch you more fish here, especially the rays. Tide run is minimal and 5oz grip leads are ample.
Three-hook flapper rigs or clipped down one-hook rigs take the most fish.
Try a small strip of mackerel under a bubble float for the garfish, with bread or mackerel flake picking up the occasional mullet.
Take the A40 to Haverfordwest, then the B4327 straight in to Dale. There is a car park above the beach, fee paying during the summer.

 Fishguard Lower Town Harbour

BAITSFresh crab, if you can get it, is the best for both the flounder and the bass. Also try fresh blow lug tipped with razorfish, or rag worm tipped with a tiny strip of mackerel.
No need for heavy gear here. Use either a 2-4oz bass rod and a reel loaded with 12lb line and 30lb shock leader, or a carp rod and reel, again with 10 to 12lb line and a 30lb shock leader.
Although a three-hook or two-hook rig using size 2 Kamasan Aberdeen hooks will catch plenty of flounder, the bigger fish, and the numbers, tend to fall to a three-boom rig using short 10-inch hook links to either a size 4 or 2 Kamasan Aberdeen. Use a 2 to 3oz release wire lead to maximise bites, but either side of slack water change to a plain lead and twitch the baits back towards you an inch or two at a time to draw the flounder's attention.
The bass are better targeted with a simple one-hook sliding ledger rig and a hook trace about 18-inches long ending in a size 2/0 to 3/0 Viking pattern hook.
The main mid channel section of the estuary can produce well as the tide starts to flood through, but the flounder are mostly caught close in off the bank edges towards high water in daylight. The bass also favour either side of high water.
The ground is mud mixed with shingle and stone, with short weed towards the high water line. Be careful of the boat mooring ropes.
From Aberystwyth take the A487 directly for Fishguard and as you come over the narrow estuary bridge in Lower Town look for a car park on your right hand side. From Carmarthen and the M4 take the A40 to Fishguard and follow the signs through the town for Cardigan. As you come down the steep hill towards Lower Town the car park in on the left immediately before the bridge. Locals fish in to the estuary from the car park and from the bank below the car park wall.

 Hobbs Point, Pembrokeshire

The conger take mackerel or whole squid, though a fresh poor cod or whiting is the ultimate bait cut flapper style. Bass and flounder take either crab or ragworm. Ragworm tipped with mackerel or squid is a good combination for the dabs and whiting.
The ground can be rough in places and there are old wrecks and wreckage littered throughout the area, so expect heavy tackle loss. Most anglers fish 25 to 30lb line straight through using pulley rigs made from 100lb mono and finished with a size 6/0 to 8/0 hook for the big eels. Drop the hook size to 4/0 and pulley rig line to 60lbs for the bass. Use a weak link system to the lead to minimise rigs and fish being lost.
Night sessions produce the best of the conger fishing with the hour before low and the first two hours of the new flood during neap tides by far the best period. Conger can also be caught during high water slack. The bass like some run in the tide and tend show as the early flood starts to push through, also just as the ebb tide gets underway. The best of the bass fishing is in September and October.
There are small areas of cleaner ground, mainly sand patches that hold the flounder, whiting and dabs. Once located, fish these with two-hook clipped down rigs, the lowest hook trace tight behind the lead with size 1 Aberdeen hooks. Codling also show during the winter time
In Pembroke take the A4139 for Pembroke Dock turning left on to London Road at the A477 junction staying on the A4139. Straight over the next roundabout and at the second roundabout take the third exit for Hobbs Point. There is parking and toilets by the boat slipway.

 Llangrannog Beach, Ceridigion
A small beach flanked on each side by rocky headlands. It is mainly clean sand, but has some shingle towards the high water mark. It takes a surf in southwest to west winds, but gets a little shelter if the wind is in the north.
It fishes best for everything later in the year from August onwards. It carries a short series of waves in a southwest wind and the fish can often be caught close in.
Bass, dabs, plaice, thornback, small-eyed ray, turbot, whiting, gurnards, dogfish and flounder.
Worm baits at range take the plaice, dabs and whiting, with flounder close in. Sandeel is the top bait for the turbot, and small-eyed ray, with mackerel tipped with squid or the thornbacks. Grey and tub gurnards take mackerel strips. For bass fish black lug tipped with squid in the surf, or crab in the summer fishing tight to the headlands.
Razorfish is a good late season bass and flounder bait fished just after a blow.
Beachcasters with reels loaded with 15lb line and 5oz leads fishes most situations. If you want the flatfish go for a bass rod, 3ozs of lead and 12lb line.
Top rigs are a one-hook clipped down rig with a two-hook pennel system in size 3/0 for the bass and rays. Two or three-hook rigs are good for plaice, dabs, flounders and whiting, with turbot mostly taken on sliding ledger rigs and flowing trace. Use a two-hook clipped up rig or wishbone rig with size 2 Aberdeen's for the gurnards.
Access is off the main A487 from either Cardigan or Aberystwyth taking the turn on to the B4334 at Brynhoffnant and sign posted for Llangrannog. It's a narrow road and very twisty. Enter through the narrow village street and you'll see a car park in front of you that fronts the beach. Gets very busy in the summer.

 Lydstep Beach
Fresh baits are essential now with fish hard to come by for the next few weeks. Blow lug gives you an edge for the dabs, school bass and flounder, as will small king rag, but if you can get any early peeler crab it's a big advantage. Also try razorfish as a tippet below the lug. The dogfish take rag and sandeel cocktails best, but also take mackerel strip.
TACKLE AND TACTICSA scenic beach this with wooded sides. The best of the fishing is at the northern end during the two hours either side of low water where the sand remains pretty clean with few snags. Big spring tides fish best, with night time likely to give the best returns. Ideally look for a gentle south-westerly wind and light surf for the best conditions.
Distance casting can really help find a few fish here now, so stick with a 5-6oz beachcaster but drop your main reel line to 12 or 15lbs with a 60lb shock leader. Fish both a three-hook flapper rig for middle range fishing, but if bites remain slow, change to a clipped down one-hook rig and really blast a small bait as far out as you can.
Whether fishing day or night at this time of year, keep your hook links light, say 12 to 18lbs and use smaller hooks like Kamasan B940 size 4 with smaller baits. Be prepared to switch from a grip lead to a plain lead and move it a few inches every couple of minutes to help induce bites.
Take the A40 in Carmarthen heading for St Clears. At St Clears take the A477 for Tenby. In Tenby follow the coast road B4139 to Lydstep. Parking above the beach.

 Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire
his is a true surf beach facing straight in to the prevailing wind. It carries a big surf in anything over a force 3 from the southwest. The ground is virtually all clean sand backed by shingle with narrow parallel gullies running across the beach that tend to hold the fish.
Also fish up by the rocks at the north end, which is where some of the bigger bass are taken.
The beach is very popular both with surfers throughout the year, and with tourists in the summer. Time your fishing sessions to the dark hours only for the best returns.
The beach fishes best from April on when a run of rays, mainly small-eyed and thornback come inshore during the bigger tides. These stay through to June and are joined by bass, flounder and dogfish. May also sees a few plaice taken, and occasionally tope are hooked on warm nights in June.
July and August sees bass if the weather is rough, but the bigger bass tend to show in September and October over low water in big seas. September also sees the whiting and dabs back inshore staying through until February. Coalfish can be caught from the beach between November and February, though the New Year period gives the most consistent fishing.
The bass take sandeel and crab through to September, but a big lug and squid cocktail gets the bigger autumnal fish. Use mackerel strips for the dabs and whiting, with rag and lug good for the plaice and flounder. Mussel or frozen crab is the best bait for coalfish. Use mackerel and squid cocktails for the thornbacks, with eh small-eyed ray taking sandeel.
Long range fishing gets the most species here and often takes the bigger bass, so go for a 5-6oz beachcaster and 6500 sized reel loaded with 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader. 5 or 6oz grips leads are best and will hold in the bigger tides and most surf conditions.
The best rig is a clipped down one-hook rig for the bass and rays with a size 4/0 hook. Two or three-hook flappers will take everything else.
Take the A40 from either Fishguard or Carmarthen to Haverfordwest. From Haverfordwest take the A487. Newgale is signposted at Haverfordwest and the A487 road skirts alongside the beach itself.
There is a lay-by on the road just above the beach as you come down the hill on the left hand side, and also car parking to the south side and in the village.

 Public Pontoon, Neyland, Pembrokeshire
The bass take crab or worm. Mackerel and squid prove best for the conger, with the flounder picking up crab, mussel and worm baits. Mullet are caught on bread and small bits of ragworm.
Mixed ground in places which produces best in the late evenings when the boat traffic has ceased and then in to the dark hours.
A beachcaster with a fixed spool or multiplier loaded with 18lb to 25lb line and a shock leader will suit general ledger fishing for most species. The top rig is a simple sliding ledger ending with 24-inches of 25lb line with a size 2 Aberdeen hook for the flounder, or a Viking pattern size 3/0 for the bass. The same rig does for the roaming nigh time conger, but up the hook link to 80lbs and use a 6/0 hook.
Mullet are hit and miss here and you need to be quiet when walking on the pontoon. Use a small mesh bag full of mashed bread either hung from the pontoon just in to the water or deeper down. Fish float gear using a fast actioned light barbel or Avon type rod, a fixed spool and 6lb line, the latter as there are boats moored close by. A simple paternoster also works well with the bread bag dropped to the seabed on a cord and the baited hook ledgered close by and downtide.
From St Clears take the A477 in to Pembroke Dock and over the toll bridge, then the left turn in to Neyland. Follow the signs for the marina and the public pontoon is a quarter mile further on on the left by Neyland Yacht Club. Car park directly above the mark.

 Pendine Beach, Carmarthenshire
Bass show from late March on staying right through until late January most years. Turbot appear in March and peak in April/May, though individual fish can show at any time. Golden grey mullet are the main interest here with July and August the best time. September on sees a good run of whiting, with dabs inshore from October to March. The beach is good all year for flounders, though the best fishing is from October to Christmas.
Lug and rag baits are good for the bass, as is sandeel. The flounder and mullet take small bunches of maddie rag. For the whiting and dabs tip lug off with mackerel, razorfish or sandeel. Razorfish is a good bait for flounders here.
With the fish being generally small you need nothing heavier than a 2-4oz bass rod, 6500 sized reel and just 12 to 15lb line and a 30lb shock leader. Lead weights should be 2-3oz grip leads, though plain leads are worth carrying to allow the option to let the baits roll with the surf tables to seek out the fish holding areas.
For the flounders, smaller bass, turbot and mullet fish a three-hook flapper rig with size 2 to 4 Aberdeen's and lighter 15 to 20lb hook lengths made from clear mono.
In rougher seas for the bass, some anglers prefer a more powerful 5-6oz beachcaster, 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Top rig is a clipped down one-hook rig and a size 3/0 Viking or Aberdeen pattern hook.
The beach is a true storm beach looking southwest in direction and is made up from clean sand. In force 2 to 4 winds a series of near perfect surf table's form giving excellent fishing conditions. It fishes best during the bigger spring tides with low water and the full flood tide good.
The downside to this excellent mark is that it is adjacent to a military firing range. You need to look for the red flag by the notice board on the east side of the village. If the flag is flying the area is closed with no further access beyond that point. This usually occurs weekdays before 16.30 hours.
At the end of the M4 motorway take the A48 to Carmarthen. Go over the Towy bridge and turn left on to A40 heading for Pembroke Dock. Pendine beach is then signposted to the left at St Clears.

 Saundersfoot Harbour Wall, Pembs
A good float fishing venue in the summer giving mackerel garfish, scad and mullet. Ledger tactics pick up bass, flounders, dabs and dogfish. Whiting move in during September, with dabs more prolific from November onwards. There are also a few codling taken in rougher seas during December and January.
Small chrome spinners and especially silver feathers take the mackerel. The garfish and mullet fall to mackerel flesh and bread respectively when float fishing. Tipping lug off with mackerel or sandeel takes the whiting and dabs, with plain mackerel strip or squid good for the dogfish. For the winter codling you can't beat a black lug bait tipped with blow lug. For bass use peeler crab or a whole fillet of mackerel.
It always worth filling a small mesh bag with bread or bran, mackerel flesh and oil for the garfish and mullet.
Fishing here is for the two hours either side of high water and is best on bigger spring tide. The ground is mainly clean sand, so tackle losses will be minimal.
Most anglers here choose a 5-6oz beachcaster and Penn 525 Mag reel loaded with 18 to 20lb line and 50lb shock leader. Distance casting can help at times, but this rod/reel combination covers both close and long range work.
A three hook flapper with size 2 Aberdeen's is best for the whiting, dabs and dogfish, but fish this to a slightly slack line to keep the baits hard on the seabed. A simple sliding ledger rig gets a big bait on the seabed and will take the bass and codling armed with a single 4/0 Viking hook for the bass and two 3/0 Vikings for the cod.
Also carry a spinning rod with a reel loaded with 10lb line for the mackerel, scad and garfish. For the mullet a longer Avon type rod or the Fox Mulletmaster is the better choice, but drop the reel line down to 6lbs, and use Fluoro carbon as the hook link and size 10 hooks.
From Carmarthen take the A40 west to St Clears, then the A477 for Pembroke Dock. Saundersfoot is on the A478 and is well signposted from Kilgetty. There are signs for the Harbour car park adjacent to the mark, but also cafes and toilets on site.

St. Davids Head, Pembrokeshire
Access from both north and south is via the A487 to St David's, then the B4583 to Whitesand Bay (Porth-Mawr). There is a car park at Whitesand Bay. Take the coastal path north along the cliffs towards St David's Head. Takes about 20 minutes.
Access is not easy and care needs to be shown, but several marks around the headland can be reached. You're fishing from rocky ledges into heavy rough ground with kelp beds. Tackle losses will be heavy.
A good wrasse venue from May through until late November. Fish average between 1 and 2lbs, but fish over 5lbs are possible. Conger to 15, occasionally more can show along with huss well into double figures. The best of the huss fishing is in April, May and June, then again in October and November. Odd huss will show every month of the year though.
Pollack can run to 6lbs, though the average is nearer 2lbs. Spinning is the best method for these and for the mackerel which shoal close to the cliffs during the summer and early autumn.
Small cuckoo wrasse, hordes of dogfish, three bearded rockling, coalfish and codling all show in season. Sharks can sometimes move in close here too after the mackerel shoals.
The spring tides flow strongly around the head causing upwells of water and boils. The low water period of neaps fishes well for the wrasse and conger, but the pollack and huss prefer some run in the water. Big springs in June, July and August give the best of the mackerel. These marks can be plagued by dogfish in the autumn.
Night tides fish best, though you have to be sure of a settled forecast. This is no place to be caught out on in the face of an imminent storm.
Crab is obviously the best wrasse bait, though lugworm when float-fished also scores. For the huss and conger, use a small pout or poor cod, maybe a chunk of fresh mackerel. Shoals of launce pass within casting range of the rock and can be feathered. Use one of these as a huss bait too. You can float fish small strips of mackerel for the pollack, but small rubber eels, Mr Twisters, and silver spinners like Tobies, Dexter Wedge's etc, are the best.
Worm baits can fish well towards the winter for dogfish and some codling. Squid also takes conger.
Ground fishing rigs should be simple single hook paternosters with a rotten bottom link to the lead. A two hook rig with tiny size 4 hooks and mackerel strip baits will catch a variety of the more unusual species like blennies, rocklings, shannies and corkwing wrasse.
Needs to be fished in calm seas and high pressure spells only. Winds from any western quarter can bring big swells onto the cliffs, especially towards the latter end of the year. The paths and access can be treacherous in wet weather.

 Strumble Head, Ceredigion
Sandeel is essential here, especially for the huss, but use two sandeels head to tail with the heads removed to release lots of scent. The huss also take mackerel or squid sections. The conger are best targeted with mackerel or whole squid, with the pollack taking small sandeel sections. The ling are rare, but do show through the early year period and take mackerel chunks.
This is rough ground with tackle losses especially heavy in certain areas. Ideally then, use a tough 5-6oz beachcaster and reel filled with 30lb line to a 60lb leader and 5 to 6oz plain leads. Leads with soft grip wires can sometimes see you lose less gear by stopping the lead rolling when it initially hits the rocky seabed.
A pulley rig from 60 or 80lb mono straight through is the best choice for the huss, conger and ling with a 6/0 Viking pattern hook for strength. A weak link to the lead sacrifices the weight but loses less terminal tackle. Alternatively try a two-hook or three-hook rig armed with smaller size 2 to 4 Aberdeen's to target the smaller species such as rockling and pout, which make a great alternative fresh bait for the bigger fish.
The best marks are to the left of the Light House with smaller neap tides at night in calmer conditions giving the best fishing. Bigger tides fish well, but concentrate your fishing during these to the hours either side of slack water.
From north and south use the A40 in to Fishguard. At the roundabout take the Goodwick road. At the next roundabout follow the signs for Llanwnda but take the next left turn. Carry on across the cross roads, then take the next right and then the next right again for Strumble Head which is signposted from Goodwick. Parking, but don't leave valuables in your car.

 Aberthaw Beach
West on M4 motorway to Junction 33 turning left onto A4232 towards Barry. Turn right onto A48, then left onto A4426 towards St Athan. Aberthaw sing posted from St Athan. Parking available above beach.
Beach immediately in front of where you park fishes over both high and low water for bass, rays and smoothound in summer. Codling and cod, plus whiting and pout are winter targets. Some good bass and conger come from the right hand side of the beach which gives way to boulders and rock ledges. Smoothound and conger are also caught here.
Follow the concrete footpath leftward skirting round the front of the Aberthaw Power Station, a distance of about half a mile, brings you to some groynes. The beach here is rough boulders and pebble at high water, but is less rough around the low water line. Cod, whiting and pout, plus occasional big winter bass fall to medium and short casts here. Summer months give smoothound, odd rays, conger and good bass to ledgered baits. Mullet shoal here too.
Smoothound can be caught in daylight, as can bass if there is a good surf. Night tides produce the best action, though, for cod, rays and conger. A shallowish area in parts, so spring tides fish best, but some good fish show on the smaller neaps around low water.
Crab is the best summer bait for bass, smoothound and even conger. Rays take fish, squid or sandeel in cocktails. Black lug or ragworm is the best choice for winter cod. Harbour rag fished on float tackle is good for the mullet.
Most anglers fish a standard fixed paternoster for all the species with a weak link attachment to the weight. In the rough ground areas, a pulley rig may be the better choice.
Hooks should be Mustad Viking 4/0's or the Mustad Bass hook for all species, and use two hook pennel rigs for cod in winter.
Takes a good surf in south and southwesterly winds, these being best for bass. Calmer conditions suit the smoothound. Southeasterly winds are poor.

 Cardiff and Penarth
Over the past decade the Cardiff and Penarth area has established it'self as arguably the top rod and line cod fishery in the UK. But it doesn't end there, for the summer fishing is just as good with a large variety of species, and for the adventurous there are also huge numbers of wrecks littering the seabed of the Bristol Channel within a couple of hours steaming.
The main port is Penarth which sports a large marina facility, but charter boats also work out of the old docks in Cardiff too. The whole area though is undergoing massive transformation with facilities improving almost daily.
The ground here is a mix of clean ground, rough patches, rock and coral reefs. Some of the more noted marks are The Ledge just off Sully Island, One fathom Bank off Barry, ground adjacent to Flat Holm Island, The Monkstone, and the sand banks called Cardiff Grounds. Many of the boats make the longer journey westwards to the Aberthaw area and to the famous Nash Sands and Nash reef off Monknash, especially in the summer. It's the Nash area that gives up the best variety of species. Reef ground is also visited on the English side of the Bristol Channel for conger, cod and tope in season. Long range trips to the wrecks are undertaken in the summer, with a few vessels pushing out the 70 odd miles to Lundy Island off Ilfracombe in Devon when the weather allows.
January, February and March still give good cod fishing here with the biggest fish, some touching 40lbs, showing during the mid January to end of February spell. Codling remain inshore right through until June, though their numbers obviously drop. By late April bass have moved onto the rougher patches along with thornback, spotted, and the first of the small eyed rays. All the rays, including blondes, are well established by mid May with early turbot also taken. By the end of the month, then attention turns to smoothound and some good fish well into double figures are caught along with the odd monster. Huss and dogfish, plus pack tope to 25lbs are also around. July and August sees some porbeagle shark move eastwards up the channel with the mackerel shoals. Shark average about 100lbs but fish to 200lbs plus have been taken. The wrecks are well visited in June, July and August giving quality pollack to 15lbs, huss, conger, and rays. Monkfish move in on the sand banks around the Nash, too. August sees the first codling back inshore, along with whiting, and whilst conger, rays etc, continue to be caught right through the autumn, most boats focus on the cod fishing from here on in.
The Bristol Channel has the second biggest tides in the world, only the Bay of Fundy in Canada has larger, so this tells you that even the neaps run at a fair pace. The bonus is that the fishing does not differ too greatly on a day to day basis. Fish will be caught on all tides. Having said that, obviously any wreck trips have to be centred on the neap tides, and some of the shallower reefs are best fished only over the slack water periods. Very heavy and persistent rain water flushing down the estuary can push the cod out at times and effect the distance travelled by the shark during the summer. These fast moving channel waters never clear and always carry silt making the water permanently coloured.
Due to the ferocity of the tides this is mainly uptiding country. You'll need big leads too, so choose an uptider rated to cast 4-10ozs using a multiplier loaded with between 18lb and 25lb line. Most anglers choose the heavier line because big fish will have to be bullied back against the tidal current. Carry leads from 5ozs to 8ozs with both release and fixed grip wires. Sputnik leads with their oversize grip wires are very popular here. Keen local anglers tend to fish only a two hook pennel rig for cod and also for rays. Hook lengths need to be between 2-6ft. The uptider also does a good job on the wreck pollack, but what downtide fishing is practised can be done with a 30lb class rod and reel with leads around the pound. This downtide method is the best way to take the bigger cod by trotting a big bait well downtide of the boat.
For cod and general species you'll not beat black lug or king rag baits, and make them big, at least 9ins long. Squid works well both as a tipping bait, or whole for the bigger cod and bass. Conger like a small pout or whiting. Edible and shore peeler crab is good for bass and smoothound over rough ground. Frozen sandeel is the best bait for the small eyed and spotted rays, with mackerel and herring strips okay for tope, conger etc.

Cold Knap Beach, Barry, Glamorgan
A fair summer venue giving smoothounds from May to July, good bass all year round, plus thornback ray and conger. Fishes best in winter for whiting to 2lbs, cod, conger and dabs.
Fish fresh crab for the smoothound and bass, with summer conger and ray taking mackerel or squid baits. Winter whiting take worm baits tipped with mackerel. Big black lug baits tipped with blow lug or squid are the ultimate for cod here, and this also takes occasional conger. Rag also takes a cod.
TACKLE & TACTICSA relatively clean beach with a good depth, but it has easy access and is heavily fished when the fish are in, so be prepared for company. It fishes best on the bigger spring tides the three hours either side of high water, especially after a good south to south-west blow. Calm conditions are best for the whiting.
Stick to a 5-6oz beachcaster and a 6500 sized reel loaded with 15lb line and a 60lb shock leader. To target the cod, bass and rays fish a clipped down two-hook pennel rig using 3/0 to 4/0 Viking pattern hooks. Swap to a three-hook flapper for the whiting and flatties using size 2 Aberdeen's.
Due to the depth of water distance casting is not essential, but can produce more cod in the rougher seas, and find the smoothound during the calmer weather by day.
You can also fish the rocky point on the east side over low water with the chance of big cod and bass.
Use either the A4050 or the A4226 and follow the signs for Barry Island, then the signs for Cold Knap. There is a fee paying car park by the beach.

 Corus Short Arm
Getting There:
Travelling from Cardiff:
Come off the M4 at Junction 40, go down to the roundabout at the end of the slip road.
Take the first exit, keep on this road until you get to a set of traffic lights, this is a T Junction, go in the right hand lane and turn right.
Stay on this road until you see another set of lights just passes a Texaco garage, turn left over the railway tracks.
You will then come to a roundabout, turn left, this road will take you into the steel works, go passed the security hut, keep on this road, you will go over 3 speed bumps, follow this road to the end, another T Junction, turn right.
Follow this road around, you will see a sign on your left with Number 79 this road will bear a sharp left. Keep on this road for some time, it can be a bit bendy in places.
Eventually you will see, I think, the Marine Control building in front of you, about 100yards or so further on a dirt track by a lamp post, go down here, turn left then right and this will bring you to the short arm where you will most probably see a few cars parked there,
Don't follow the same directions in reverse order to get back out of the steelworks. There is a very small sign that says EXIT and a sharp left turn by the Number 79 sign you passed on the way in.
Venue:The Short Arm is part of the Corus steel works in Port Talbot, and is owned and operated by ABP to whom you must apply for a permit for access. Permits are available from by phoning 08706 096699 The long arm permits are NOT available from this number only from the British Steel Sports Club which is Susan Murphy or Rachel Potts (01639) 871111 ext 3368. Permits are £27.50 for the Short Arm & £46.00 for the Long Arm.
It, and it's neighbour the Long Arm, are essentially concrete breakwaters built onto boulders laid on the sea bed that go out for about 1/2 mile or so forming a harbour for the sometimes huge cargo vessels delivering raw materials to the steelworks, and is capable of accomodating many anglers. It also offers many different fishing opportunities, ledgering, float fishing and spinnining/plugging are all techniques that have been successfully deployed here. Be aware that you are only allowed to fish during daylight, and access is not allowed in rough weather. As we have said before always carry your permit.
Wildlife:Not the kind of place you expect to find it, but there is plenty of wildlife, and the creatures that live there are not shy about sharing your fishing pitch and eating your bait/lunch. Wild Mink often stick their heads up out from between the rocks and if you are not vigilant they will remove your bait so keep it locked up. Rats are quite happy to share your days fishing too. The birds will virtually land right next to you, completely oblivious to your presence, and will remove anything you have with you that they see as dinner. A Wild Mink may look cute (and they do) but beware, they can be very dangerous. Respect the wildlife!
Choose a spot:For anglers who like a nice, stable platform under them, fishing off the wall half way along on the West facing side is comfortable fishing, although care must be taken as there is a long drop to the water with no barrier. For the rock hopper, the boulders toward the end are a good place on either side, but again care must be taken as the rocks can be slippery, especially on cold winter mornings. The concrete blocks at the end of the pier by the harbour entrance light is not easy fishing, there are no flat level surfaces, and access is difficult, do NOT fish here alone. Shelter can be found from the worst of the weather if required, so in an Easterly wind fishing the West side gives protection from the elements and sea swell and vice versa. The harbour side, the sea is usually quite sheltered making it a good spot to float fish for the Mullet, Bass, Garfish and Mackerel. The West facing side is open to the sea, and as such does tend to produce more variety and a better stamp of fish.
Species:In summer, Bass, Mackerel, Garfish, Pollack, Wrasse, Mullet and the ever present Dogfish are the main targets, with flatties, conger eels and Ray making an occasional appearance, winter provides some occasionally hectic sport from Dogfish, Pouting and Whiting, but it is the kind of venue where anything can turn up, so go prepared!
Tactics:You don't need to cast far here, as the water is quite deep even at low tide, but fishing at this time is not very productive. If fishing off the rocks toward the end, the rocks extend about 10 - 20 yards before reaching clean sand, so you don't need big beachcasters here, in fact they can be a bit of a nuisance to move around and cast, so something like an uptider, pier or Bass rod is perfect for the job. A reel with a fast retrieve is an advantage for getting tackle and fish up quickly over the boulders. The tide run is not particularly strong here, so 3 or 4 oz weights will suffice on calm days, but 5oz is the most required at any time.
Tackle:6000 or 525 size multipliers or 7000 size fixed spool reels loaded with 15 lb mainline and a suitable shockleader are perfectly at home here. For ledgering, flapper or 1 up 1 down rigs with size 1 or 1/0 hooks work well for the smaller species. Long snoods are an advantage because the angle of the line to bottom is quite steep. Also pulley and running ledgers with size 3/0 and above pennelled hooks work well with big baits for Ray, Conger and Bass. Float fishing over the submerged boulders can be very productive in the warmer months, but fish do occasionally fall to this technique during winter too, although it really isn't a frontline winter tactic here. There is potential for saltwater flyfishing here too.
Baits:Pretty much any bait will work here. For the Whiting, Pouting, Dogfish, Conger and Rays nothing beats strips of frozen Mackerel. Worm baits will take flatties, Bass and Whiting. Fish a whole squid on a pennel for the big Conger, Bass and Rays. Float fished worms catch Wrasse, Bass and Pollack, also a sandeel fished in this way is a deadly summer method for Bass.
Tides:Small tides produce quiet sport, medium tides that are building are best, around 10.5 - 11 metres Swansea scale. Fish from about 2 hours after low up to high and then a couple of hours back for the best of the action. Spring highs can produce a few swells which can give you a welly full so keep an eye out around high tide and make sure your tackle is kept well above the high water line.
Float fishing at the Short Arm in Port Talbot:
Basic equipment:A selection of rods is as always very desirable, the ones that I use are:
1) A bass rod 12' long and rated at 2 ounces to 6 ounces, this rod does double as a beachcaster. This rod is ideal for those larger floats and bait.
2) A 9' spinning rod that is rated at 1/2 ounce to 2 ounces. This rod is designed to have fun with fish like mackerel, garfish, bass, pollack etc.
Reels and line for the above:For (1) I use a fixed spool reel that is loaded with 18lb Ultima F1 Titanium, this is ideal for fishing over rocks and close to rocks, as well as going for Wrasse!
For (2) I use 12lb line and this is ideal for mackerel, garfish, pollack and bass! Providing that the fish do not decide to dive for the rocks.
Hook length:I always use a flourocarbon hooklength of at least 18" long and is slightly weaker than the main line. EG. For 18lb mainline I use 15lb hooklength, for 12lb mainline I use 8lb hooklength!
Hook sizes:As always, match the size of the bait to the hook.
Floats:I use waggler type floats from Askari rated at 26 grams and 14 grams.These floats can also be used at night due to the fact that the top can be removed and a starlight inserted, you then put the top back on!
Float stops:I use drennan floats stops in the small size, these are very small, less than 4mm in size and the can pass through rod rings very easily.
The order of setting up the tackle from the reel size:
Stop bead, small bead, float, small bead, weight, small bead, swivel: as for the swivel do not use the silver ones as these could generate false bites, I use the darker ones. Hooklength and hook!
When float fishing most fish are very close, some times under your feet! As for how deep to fish, I normally try and fish in the top half of the water when the water is fairly clear and start off deeper when it is slightly murky.
Baits:All of the normal baits will work under the float, if you are using mackerel strip, try and use the silver part and try to present it so that it looks like a small fish!
If you are using ragworm, try NOT to head hook it as this will kill the bait very quickly, hook it about 1/4" from its head and thread it on the hook, you can leave a little bit of tail showing as this will move and hopefully entice the fish to take your bait!
Where to fish:Any where on the short arm but if you can get on the outside and close to the end. A word of warning here, be carefull as some of the big rocks are very slippery, I would also suggest to have the bulk of your fishing gear above the high tide line.

Mumbles Head Lighthouse
Scarce fresh or frozen crab is the key bait to catching the codling here now and it's more than worth the effort and cost to get some. That said black and blow lug individually or black lug tipped with blow are the most popular cod baits with a wrap of squid around the lug to give extra scent and keep the lug intact longer. The congers take the same bait, but prefer rag tipped with squid, or a whole small squid.
For the whiting and dogfish stick to mackerel strips, though both species also take rag baits tipped with squid. Dabs take rag, mackerel and squid strips.
The ground varies from mixed rough amongst sand to the right, with mostly sand at longer range towards the east. It fishes best either side of high water, with the bigger tides giving the better fishing.
Go for a 5-6oz beachcaster, 18 to 22lb line and 6oz grip leads. The top cod and conger rig is a pulley rig from 80lb mono armed with two size 4/0 hooks rigged pennel style. The cod and conger are amongst the rougher ground, so fish a weak link to the lead.
A two-hook wishbone rig or clipped up two-hook rig and size 2 Aberdeen's are good for the whiting and dabs.
Come off the M4 at J42 taking the main A483 Swansea Docks road. Continue on through the town and take the A4067 for Mumbles. As you come in to Mumbles take the B4433 for Mumbles Head and the Lighthouse. The best and safest parking is in the park by the pier.

 Mumbles Pier, Swansea Bay
Live sandeel is the top bait for daytime bass, but at night switch to crab baits. The mullet take bread or small bits of mackerel flesh without the skin. Flounder take crab or worm. Odd trigger fish are also being reported here at the moment, mostly to fish strips or crab.
TACKLE AND TACTICSFish the sandeel for bass under a bubble float or freeline using just a couple of BB shot to take them down deep enough. Best tackle for this is a fixed spool and spinning rod with 8 to 10lb line and take a drop net. The mullet take the bread under a Crystal Waggler shotted to take the bait down quickly then fall naturally, but adjust the depth according to the tide. Ledger fishing takes the bass, dogs and flounder with a simple flowing trace and sliding ledger a good all round bet.
The triggers tend to work close in around the base of the pier. Use a paternoster with the hook trace coming off the rig a good 2 to 3-feet above the lead and make the hook trace about 24-inches long to flutter in the tide. Use a medium wire long shank Aberdeen size 1 like a Mustad 3261 to combat the triggers teeth and fighting power. Occasionally lift the lead off the bottom a few inches and drop it back to induce more movement to the bait. The triggers tend to hit the bait as it flutters down or lifts in the tide.
LOCATIONCome off the M4 at Junction 42 and take the A4067 through Swansea past the Marina and Mumbles is signposted. There is a fee paying car park by the pier.

 Nash Point, Marcross
M4 to junction 33, taking A4232 towards Barry then turning right for a short distance onto the A48. Take left turn on A4226. Carry on to Llantwit Major and follow signs to St Donats and Marcross. Take coast road from Marcross to Nash Point. Plenty of car parking but a charge is made in season.
A popular match and pleasure venue so be prepared to move elsewhere or face a long walk.
This mark features rock ledges running into deep water on the left hand side, with flat ledges of rock running into a deep water gully and an offshore sandbar infront and to the right of the access point. The gully is deep enough for big ships to still steam through between the marker buoy and the shore at low water.
The ledges to the left produce smoothound and bass to short casts from June onwards. Conger, good sized ones too, dogfish and occasional huss also show. Some anglers spin over the rocks in high summer for bass, small pollack and mackerel. Rays can be taken from the deep water gully at low water and for the first hours of the flood. Codling appear here during October and stay until March. Big cod can be hooked fishing into the deep gully, again at low water.
The bigger tides produce the cod, smoothhound and rays, but rough conditions bring the bass inshore, even on neaps. Calm flood tides are best for spinning in the summer. Night tides are best for cod and rays, but daylight and dusk can be good for bass and smoothound in the right conditions.
BAITS AND RIGSPeeler crab is the only bait for the bass and smoothies. Black and blow lug takes the cod. Squid cocktails are good for the rays. Conger will hit all baits, but have a habit of hitting the smaller hooked pout on the way in.
Rigs need to incorporate a weak link to the lead with most anglers opting for a clipped down single hook paternoster. Using Mustad Vikings and 25lb reel line means that snagged hooks will straighten to release tackle. Carry leads between 5 and 6ozs with grip wires.
Fishes best in sou'west to nor'west winds. Easterlies can kill the fishing. Except in high summer calms, the sea remains coloured the rest of the time. During wet weather, in fact anytime, when walking near the cliffs keep a good distance out from them for rocks are continually falling.

 Ogmore Deeps

Leave the M4 at junction 35 and head towards Bridgend along the A473 at the third roundabout take the A48 towards Porthcawl, at the next roundabout take the first left (sign posted Ogmore by Sea) along the B4265 and travel along this road past Ewenny potteries and down the hill. Next land mark will be a bridge over the river Ogmore and the road sweeps to the right, take the next right (sign posted Ogmore by Sea) along the B4524 follow this all the way into Ogmore village. Go straight though the village and as you leave you will cross a cattle grid. Park on the grass immediately on the left of this cattle grid. The sea will be directly in front of you, head straight down the grass hill and upon reaching the bottom bear left continue on and the deeps will appear in front of you. It is easy to recognise as it is a long shelf of flat rocks heading towards the cliffs.
The deeps is a popular mark therefore it can be very crowded particularly when the fishing is good and also it does attract tourists in the summer months. It has a range of marks from sandy bottom to coral reefs and rocky beds, tackle loss can be high if fishing the wrong spot so a "reccy" at low water could save you money, as the tide ebbs a strong current appears so grips leads are a must.
Distance casting is not an issue as even on the lowest tide it still has a fair depth of water, some marks here fish better than others as with any place and with regulars having there favorite mark you need to get there early to secure a good spot.
It is capable of producing a wide variety of fish with bass, mackerel, gurnard etc. In the summer months, May on to early October small eyed ray, thornback ray and the occasional blonde ray with early codling/whiting also showing. The winter months tend to be the most popular with whiting in abundance, good size cod/codling, conger and obligatory pouting and dogfish.
This is determined by which mark you are fishing i.e. rotten bottoms needed for the reef/rock marks. Pulley Rigs tend to be used more often with 2-3 flappers/paternosters for the sandy bays. Baits rag worm, mackerel will tempt most species with sandeel for the rays, lug tipped with mackerel/squid or crab for the codling with the odd bigger cod falling for 1 or 2 whole squid. Conger will take almost any fish bait. In the summer Bass can be taken on rag worm and crab, also it has been known for bass to be taken on the float with crab, live prawn or mackerel strip.
The deeps can be a dangerous and extremely perilous place. HIGH TIDES especially with a onshore wind make this mark lethal and un-fishable! Waves frequently crash over and swamp the ledges washing tackle boxes, rods and even the odd fisherman out to sea, this is not a place to try at night for the first time unless your with someone who knows the area.
The car park is a fairly safe place as it on the main road but common sense is needed don't leave anything on display and make sure you lock it, as thieves are everywhere.

 The Ogmore Estuary, Mid Glamorgan
Take the left turn at Junction 36, M4 to Bridgend on the A4061, then B4524 towards Ogmore by Sea. The B4524 runs alongside the estuary and there is ample parking turning down the right hand track to a picnic area at the estuary mouth.
An excellent early season flounder venue fishing best from mid January through until late March. Fish average about the pound, but genuine 2lb fish are also taken. Bass start to work the rocks on the left hand side of the estuary mouth by mid April, with mullet moving in to the estuary channel in early May and garfish feeding around the outer sandbanks. Thornbacks feed either side of the estuary on the clean ground from late April on. May to August gives good eel fishing and the flounder are back and fattening up. In September, fishing straight off the rocks finds whiting, dabs, bass, mullet, and longer casts have produced small turbot and plaice. October through to Christmas sees most anglers chasing flounder, but big bass stay around the rocks and the mullet are late to leave in milder years.
TIDESFor the flounder, choose the medium to neap tides. For the bass, rays, etc, fish the spring tides, especially low water which is excellent for bass. Spring tides off the rocks gives the best chance of rays and turbot.
Avoid periods of heavy rain when the estuary carries heavy flood water and fishes poorly. The rocks at the estuary mouth are good in a steady southwesterly wind for the bass, but it needs to be calm for the whiting, rays and flatfish.
In the early year, harbour rag or king rag baits left to move in the water take the flounder. Crab is best for the bass. A mackerel strip on a rolling lead or float fished in the current takes the garfish and occasional mullet. Fish sandeel, mackerel and squid at long range for rays, whiting and turbot. From summer to Christmas for flounder change to crab baits.
A 10-foot spinning rod, small fixed spool and just 10lb line covers all the flounder fishing, eels and school bass. For bassing off the rocks, pick a light beachcaster rated for 4ozs, and a reel loaded with 15 to 18lb line. A proper 5-6oz beachcaster is needed for the rays, whiting, turbot, etc.
A single hook clipped down paternoster, or a long and low single hook rig armed with a Mustad 3261BLN Aberdeen size 2/0 to 6/0 or similar is best for the rays. Fish a three hook rig with 12-inch (30cm) hook lengths for whiting and flatfish and a size 1 Aberdeen. For bass use a single hook rig with a weak link to the lead and an 12-inch (30cm) hook length with a Mustad Bass 79514 size 4/0. Flounder take best with a flowing trace rig and 18in hook length. Aberdeen hooks are best for flounder.

 Porthcawl Pier
Turn off at junction 37 from the M4 heading south on the A4229 until arriving at the third round about. Head straight on here taking the A4106 until the next round about where you will need to turn left. You should be able to see the amusement arcade entrance with paid parking on gravel opposite. For the pier travel to along the promenade past the harbour, you may be lucky enough to find free parking near the lifeboat station where you will find access to the pier.
The Pier at Porthcawl can get very crowded, particularly in the summer when hordes of holidaymakers and eager school children pack out the venue. Certain spots do fish better than others with the area below the lighthouse being prized territory; during the winter however the inner wall area near the wooden docking stumps can fish equally well and is often less crowded.
Casting distance here is not an issue with the smallest of casts often being very productive. Tackle losses are minimal as the bottom here is predominantly sand with the only rocky area directly outside the harbour mouth. As the tide ebbs a strong current develops as the water rushes back out to sea, this can make fishing difficult, a long cast with at least a 6oz grip lead is recommended.
This venue can produce a wide variety of species particularly in the summer months, With gurnard, bass and Pollock occasionally making an appearance. From May on to September ray can be caught in the area along with mackerel depending on water clarity and weather. Thin lipped mullet also inhabit these waters patrolling the pier walls as they enter and exit the harbour. Conger can also be caught here during the warmer weather but are a bit of a rarity.
In the winter whiting are frequently caught along with the occasional cod and codling needless to say the not so welcome pouting and dogfish are also landed with regularity from this mark.
Due to the forgiving nature of the ground here rigs come down to a matter of preference, a two or three hook paternoster usually does well baited with a selection of baits to tempt the varying species sometimes present at this venue.
Lugworm tipped with squid works well in the winter for cod and codling with sandeel, mackerel and rag performing well throughout the year as good all round baits. This venue can be fished with the float however the afore mentioned rip can make fishing near impossible as the tide recedes.
Beware of certain areas during rough seas and bad weather as waves tend to break over the top and crash onto the inner wall. Fishing this mark can be extremely perilous at these times with numerous tackle boxes, Tilley lamps and unfortunately the occasional angler being swept into the bay. The promenade wall running adjacently to the pier provides a safer alternative and fishes almost as well during high seas and storms.
Be aware also that if an alarm sounds on the pier all lines must be retrieved as the life boat is about to be launched from the station to the left. Boats occasionally accessing the harbour also require that rigs be retrieved to avoid tackle loss and damaged equipment, fortunately this is a very rare occurrence and fishing usually proceeds uninterrupted.

 Redwick Ledges

Due to the rapid tide run the best of the fishing is on the smaller neap tides the two hours either side of low water slack. You're casting in to the main channel of the Severn Estuary off mud and peat banks.
The sole advance in towards the wall of the peat banks as the tide floods. Target these with a three-hook boom rig and short 10-inch 15lb hook traces, or better still a long and low two-hook rig, using small size Aberdeen hooks and small baits. Medium to short range casts tae the most fish. Eels work the same ground and fall to the same rigs.
The bass and conger tend to come when the tide has flooded to the edge of the mud bank top, so drop in short for these. Again a heavier long and low rig, but with a two-hook pennel using size 4/0 hooks is best. Use big baits as the bass tend to be of good size here. Bonus out of season codling are also possible to the same tactic.
You need a powerful 4-6oz beachcaster to combat the tide run and a reel loaded with 18lb line and a 60lb shock leader. Carry grip leads between 5 and 6ozs. Some local anglers use uptide leads up to 8ozs to hold longer in the tide run.
This is dangerous ground, so fish at least in pairs and check for soft spots in the mud keeping only to the hard ground. Locals use garden canes to mark their way back across the mud.
At Junction 24 on the M4 take the A445 and then the turning to Llanwern. Follow the road towards Llandevenny and Redwick is signposted to the right. In Redwick take the track opposite the Red Lion Pub for the seawall. Easy parking.

 Rumney Foreshore
Black lug tipped with blow lug and a strip of squid is the best all round combination bait taking the codling, conger and the bigger whiting. If you can get fresh, or even frozen, crab will give you an extra edge with cod. The whiting take fish baits or lug tipped with squid. Also try mixing lug and rag and tip with just a small strip of mackerel for the better flounder. A whole squid can pick up the better cod and conger if you're prepared to wait.
Choose a 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 300-yards of 18lb line. Good rigs are pulley rigs made from 60lb mono using a size 4/0 hooks rigged pennel style. It pays to use brightly coloured line and leaders to help locate fish on the retrieve due to the heavily coloured water. Carry leads between 5 and 6ozs with grip wires to cover all situations. Target the flounder and whiting with a two or three-hook flapper rigs using size 1 Aberdeen hooks. Have the lower hook trace positioned right behind the lead to pick out the flounder.
Local anglers prefer to fish over the smaller neap tides through the flood to high water. Use short casts for the flounder but distance can help at times for the codling. A southerly to southwest wind fishes well here. This whole area though is affected by prolonged heavy rain and will fish poorly with the flood water from the River Severn pushing the fish out.
LOCATIONCome off the M4 at Junction 29 on to the A48 for Llanrumney. Take the B4487 for Roath turning left on to the B4239 for Rumney and the foreshore. Don't leave valuables in your car here!

 Stout Point, Llantwit Major
Black lug tipped with blow and with a strip of squid bound around the lug is the top cod bait, but also takes the ray. The conger show a preference for rag baits tipped with squid or just a whole squid. Tip lug with fish for the whiting.
A top mark for January through to the end of February. This is a spring tide low water mark fishing roughly two and half hours down the ebb and only for the first one and half hours of the flood. Watch the tide carefully on the flood and make sure you get back around the point before the water hits the point itself otherwise you will get cut off. It's a long walk from the car park, so carry minimum tackle.
It�s a rough ground mark casting over big boulders with patchy cleaner ground at longer range. Ideally fish just to left of the point of rocks and in to the bay for about 100-yards to get the best of the fishing. Due to the coloured water the mark fishes well by day, but inevitably better at night.
Fish heavy with a stiff 5-6oz beachcaster and a reel loaded with 25lb to 30lb line and a 60lb shock leader. The top rig is a pulley rig made from 60lb mono with a weak link system to the grip lead and using a double hook 4/0 pennel rig. Try longer casts to start, but if you get no bites start to reduce your distance until you find the fish. It can pay to carry a reel loaded with lighter 20lb line to get more distance, which occasionally can be an advantage here.
On the M4 come off at J33 taking the A4232 then the A38 for Cowbridge. As you leave Cowbridge take a left turn on to the B4270 in to Llantwit Major. Go through the village following the signs for Llantwit Major Beach. Park above the beach in the car park and head east along the beach until you come to Stout Point which is an obvious high outcrop of rock. Fish on the left side. Never leave valuables in your car here.

Swansea is one of my favourite ports. I love winter cod fishing and Swansea ranks amongst the very best for Britain's favourite fish.
The modern marina sports a popular charter boat fleet and access from inland via road is easy with the M4 motorway close by. Swansea is also home to vast array of smaller private vessels enjoying the quality summer and winter fishing on offer.
The ground off Swansea is a mix of clean sand and mud, rough ground patches, reefy ground consisting of coral, and further out undulating sand banks.
One of the more popular areas is the Outer Green Grounds which gives some of the bigger post Christmas cod. This lies more towards Mumbles at the outer edge of Swansea Bay itself and is made up of mixed ground amongst sand.
Another noted area is the White Oyster Trench. This is a deep gutter running parallel with the shore on a line set between Langland Bay and Pwlldu Head with a depth up to 100-feet. The tide run here can be bad and few boats bother to work this area in anything over medium sized tides.
Also rated are the distant Scarweather Sands, a good bass and ray mark, plus the Kenfig Patches to the south-east, again sand but holding turbot to 4lbs with occasional 10lb plus fish and quality rays.
The beauty of Swansea is that most of the popular marks are within Swansea Bay itself and only a short steam of maybe 20 minutes is required to reach the prime fishing grounds. Just long enough to tackle up before the skipper sets the anchor.
The cod move inshore during mid to late October officially, but a few earlier fish are intercepted, a vanguard of the main shoals. The prime months are from mid November through to mid January, though the cod stay until April some years.
There's a chance of a 20lb cod during December, but the bigger 30lb and the occasional 40lb cod, like the one featured here, show from mid January through to late March.
April can be quiet month, but by May small-eyed, spotted and thornback rays are showing in good numbers. These stay pretty much through to Christmas. The deeper water offshore also holds blonde rays to good size.
Tope move in during late May and June with fish to over 50lbs on the cards. The same period sees good bass working the sand banks and staying through to the autumn. From June, you'll also intercept smoothound until late August and plaice.
Mackerel make a showing in June and by the end of the month encourage a few porbeagle sharks within range. The porgies stay until late July before heading out and north. Catches of shark recently have fallen due to both commercial pressure and some individuals killing sharks for their food value, a practice that is now frowned upon by the professional skippers.
The reef structures hold black bream through the summer, and give a year round procession of conger, some of these touching over 40lbs and accompanied by bull huss. Turbot and very occasional monkfish show over the sand and sand banks.
The offshore wrecks can give excellent pollack fishing at times with fish well in to double figures. This is a high summer sport, and the wrecks also produce out of season cod, huss, and big conger. No boats seem to target the wrecks in the late winter period due to the weather, but you have to wonder just how big some the resident cod go to on these.
The swing to winter arrives again with the influx of whiting that appear in numbers from early September. Dabs are an alternative target from October when they move tighter inshore over the clean sand off Swansea itself and off Aberavon Sands and Porthcawl.
Even inside Swansea Bay the tides can run with some force on the bigger spring tides. For this reason, most anglers favour fishing with an uptide rod and casting their baits away from the boat. I'd suggest a 3 to 5oz uptider for the summer fishing when after bass, rays and tope, but opt for the heavier 5oz to 8oz version for the big winter cod. A multiplier reel like the ABU 7000C is ideal when loaded with 18lb line.
Carry leads of 5ozs, 6ozs and 8ozs with breakout wires and fixed grip wires. These will see you through anything the tides can throw at you providing you let out enough line immediately after the cast.
For downtide fishing, choose a 30lb class rod and reel holding about 300-metres of line. You'll need leads up to a pound. This tackle is suitable for trotting a big whiting or pout live-bait back from the stern of the boat to target conger and big winter cod.
For the bream, a lighter spinning rod handling leads up to 3ozs and either a multiplier or fixed-spool reel and 10lb line is perfectly adequate and gives maximum fun.
The best rig for both uptide and downtide fishing is a long and low rig with the hook trace of about 36-inches (90cms) fixed just above the lead to keep the bait tight to the seabed. Hand the bait on the grip wires of the lead for uptide casting to protect other anglers in the boat.
For the offshore wrecks, choose only the very smallest neap tides. The drift is slowed down to acceptable levels on these and the fishing time is maximised.
The medium tides produce summer bass, rays, tope and bream well enough, but for the winter cod you need the medium to very biggest springs. Personally, I choose only the biggest springs as experience has shown that the best numbers of fish are inshore and feeding at this time.
The same applies to the sharks. These move in with the mackerel shoals that come tighter to shore during the bigger spring tides. The shark fishing is done on the drift, though I think that boats who experiment with anchoring during the neap tides could do just as well for the duration of the shark fishing season.
Anglers here will tell you to fish only black lug baits. This is true of the lug has not been gutted as they still have all their juice when added to the hook and put lots of scent in the water. If you only have gutted black lug, then buy some fresh blow lug and add a couple or three of these to the bottom of a black lug bait. This adds enough juice to already bulky bait to bring the cod homing in.
Worm baits also take whiting, dabs, dogfish and host of other species including the summer plaice. Fish baits are good for the rays and conger, but they also take whole small fish well when down-tiding.
Over the inshore reefs, any bass will take large worm baits or peeler crabs, but over the sand banks the killer bait is live sandeel or whole live pouting. Late in September a switch to whole squid can pick out a specimen 10lber.
For the wreck pollack, carry an assortment of Redgill artificial eels in sizes 112 and 172mm. You need all black which is the most reliable, blood red, all white and a few mixed blue/white or green/white colours.

 Witch's Point, Southerndown

Leave the M4 at Junction 36 for Bridgend. Turn on to the A4524 from Bridgend signposted Ogmore and Southerndown. Car parking available.
A noted ray mark from late April through to August producing mainly thornbacks and small-eyed's. The biggest of the small eyed's often show late from mid August onwards.
Long casts with smaller fish baits find turbot to 3lbs and brill in May and June. Pollack and mullet move in close during July and August which is also a good time to try the feathers for mackerel and scad.
Autumn fishing is excellent for whiting and dabs. It's worth fishing a whole squid or big lug and crab cocktail close in during settling seas after storms for the chance of big bass from September through to November.
From November, numbers of smaller codling appear with again, rough but settling seas giving the best catches. Over the Christmas and early New Year period, some big cod to 20lbs plus are reported from this mark.
The beach immediately to the right-hand side of the point is equally good for rays, whiting and codling in season, with bass taken from each end with a surf running
WEATHERYou're fishing from a rock ledge casting out over rough on to clean sand, but it's a dangerous mark, especially in south and south-west winds which can create massive waves that wash right over the ledges so extreme care is needed, even in calm seas.
For the rays, try to fish light south-westerly winds which also produce the best catches of autumn whiting. The cod and bass show best in westerly winds. Summer mackerel should be targeted in the evenings.
Stick to spring tides here. These create a good tide run just off the point and across the ledges on the left-hand side which helps to hold the fish.
A 5-6oz beachcaster and 15-18lb line is required for the rays, cod, whiting etc. Spinning rods, small fixed spool reels and 10-12lb line is adequate for the mackerel, garfish and pollack fishing spinners. Mullet are taken float fishing.
Use a long & low rig with a hook trace about 5ft long. You'll catch more rays using a two hook pennel rig using Mustad Viking 2/0 to 3/0 hooks rather than a single hook. A single hook clipped down rig is best for the cod and codling, but a two hook rig clipped down, or standard three hook rig with 9in snoods will maximise your catches of whiting, dabs and dogfish.
Target the rays with pout fillets, squid or whole frozen sandeel. Lug tipped with squid, or cocktails of lug and king rag are the top cod and codling baits. Black lug is okay, but adding a few fresh blow lug for extra scent will increase you chances of cod. Small strips of mackerel or sandeel pick out the turbot, brill, dabs and whiting. Crab is good for autumn bass.


I hope this guide has been of use to you, Enjoy you fishing!

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1 comment:

Linda said...

Thanks for your guidance it's really useful for me....!!

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