Back to basics: With lockdown keeping a lot of us in Its makes good sense to make use of our spare time and research what we love doing and new ways to get at certain species we may want to catch and sorting our gear our out cleaning down and prepping rigs. On my website www.thesnagfishingblog.com there is a lot of information on fish species and when you click them you get to see the grounds they inhabit, certain behaviours they may exhibit, baits to catch what rigs and a whole lot more to help us all with planning our trips. I’m sure many who regularly go sea angling will be not looking for basics at the moment but planning trips for when it is allowed for species hunts or specimen fish hunts and so forth.
But there are also a lot of new people to fishing at present because of C19 and the lockdowns etc. People are either coming back after a long time out or new altogether to this fantastic sport and past time as well as giving you fresh food for you and your family to put on the table. So I have thrown together some quick looks, hints and tips for a few things to look at and if you visit previous articles I wrote last year on Back to basics articles there was a lot of water craft articles about where to fish and what to look for which are al so on my website mentioned above and if you’re on facebook then will articles will also be pushed across to The snag page. First of welcome to sea angling if you’re new!!! 1.) I have fished beaches all over and it’s learning how to fish the beaches that is important and knowing what to look at and what to look for. There are always some nice fish to be caught at some point on most beaches. As with anything it can be cost dependant with gear and the quality but to get going there is always options and it just depends how much you’re willing to spend.
But ideally you'll want a beach caster 12ft to 15ft the longer the rod the greater the distance you cast depending on casting ability is the general rule of thumb. I bought my son a cheap £25 NGT beach caster to see if he would like fishing and I would still cast 90-100 yards more than enough to catch fish! But obviously the more you spend the better the gear gets generally and the longer it will last.(i found this rod quite floppy but it pulled in a 7lb bass just fine) But some makes give a good rod for just under £100 a Penn squadron/ Rampage or a second hand Anyfish anywhere 6+bait (AFAW for short if you see it online) are great rods and not likely to let you down anytime soon I’ve seen them about for £80-100 I used to use multiplier but I have changed back to fixed spool reels as the playing field is greatly reduced and your retrieve rate is a lot better especially over snaggy grounds when you want to keep the lead and the fish up on the retrieve especially where I am at Bossington beach it’s a massive advantage. Reels are what you feel comfortable with and I can use both but I prefer fixed spool for ease and enjoy my fishing because of that.
But depending on your personal preference you will find plenty of half decent reels multi or fixed spool for around the £70 that will last for a good while. 2. Bait... all bait will get you catches but I guess the most common baits are Squid, Oily fish as well so bluey, mackerel, sardines and herring at the right time are great baits! Especially really good for bullhuss and rays, bass, conger to name a few etc there is a massive list that will clear up a fish bait but it also depends what ground you fish over to what you catch. Sand eels a great bait and normally a match anglers first go to bait good for all types of fishing. Worm baits lug and rag again no self respecting fish normally turns down a worm. My personal freezer has that squid, sand eel, bluey, mackerel, crab, mussels, sardines, herring, limpets and frozen blacks. I know a guy that was so skint he had some out of date bacon and caught a pollock on it so I guess anything goes if you have no access to tackle shops or online baits then when you are doing your essential shopping in your supermarket pick up some mackerel or prawns etc it all works but the fresher the bait the better! If using fish bait I tend to lop off the tails which prevents your rig tangling/ twisting on the retrieve and also gets the scent out there quicker. 3. When I started out many moons ago I was told to avoid small tides etc tosh! Fish all the tides in all states and find out for yourself! Some of my best fish have been on a very small spring low tide etc ... look at the tides table and look for patterns and look at the places you're going to fish at these times, look at the beach at low tide to find gulleys, depressions, snaggy areas etc look for and fish features a solitary rock on an otherwise clean beach.
I find keeping a diary is fantastic as you find patterns for marks by doing so it can be surprising just what you forget at times. If you fish a large spring tide at low water its very low amount of water so it goes out furtheron the beach, cast out your best cast and chances are you're on ground that you don't normally fish and is normally always covered by water its served me well a good number of times! 4. Depending on beaches and ground your fishing over you won't get a lot of rays over boulder ground but would conger eel and Bullhuss where as if you fish over flat sand you won’t encounter as many Bullhuss or conger but rather bass, rays etc Also the time of year makes a massive difference... it’s such a large area this subject we could be here all day... but you will always find some dogs normally if nothing else. s 5.I don't know the areas that you will be fishing but again look for features just because others may not do well there does not mean you won’t! Sometimes people like their spots quiet so say it’s crappy and it’s really actually very good! 6. Whilst LRF, spinning and float fishing are all great I personally like ledgering you want your rig on the sea bed well planted in spring tides use a spiked lead with the pull out grips and if it’s a calm day I use a plain lead bomb to find any little riffles and gulley that the fish are hiding in I out fish a lot of people this way. Some good rigs to look at to get catching are the standard running ledger. The pulley pennel good in snaggy ground as the lead stays up in front of the fish. Up and over rig for a long hook length but gives a running ledger presentation of the bait.
Or my personal go too favourite is the pulley dropper as it keeps the lead up in front on the retrieve but also allows the hook length to flow anyway in any tide no matter the direction which in turn keeps it hard on the seabed where you want it and gives a better bait presentation... Take a look on youtube there so many people which show how too's on making rigs and how to bait them up (presentation certainly helps! and if distance is wanted streamlined baits help) Match your size of bait to the hook and leave a clear hooking point always! Unlike course fishing they are as shy and will take it regardless. Also look at your venue are there natural baits there? I.E if you see worm casts or lots of crabs about. If so use the same as that is what the fish come for. Any questions at all I’m on facebooks “The snag” page a lot so feel free to fire a message over!
Tight lines and the best of luck