Whilst my region of the Kent Coast has enjoyed its best cod season for years just a reminder that the New Year will bring a major down turn in cod numbers.
Like many other regions of the UK the bigger cod and lots of the major species, move away from the coast to spawn.
All that are left are the fish that are not big enough to spawn, the fish that have already spawned and the rockling.
Not a lot to really get excited about with dabs, pout, pin whiting, flounder, poor cod, rockling and just the odd codling to look forward too.
Even so anglers, lots of them, continue to fish from the beach as if there are big fish around.
Now don’t let me dampen your enthusiasm, but after the New Year in a majority of regions some realism is required.
Ditch the whole squid and large baits unless you know there are codling around and concentrate on neat tidy small baits for the dabs, etc.
Your rod will be far more active I promise.
The recent Cod Championships at Hythe Ranges saw me adopt the 3/0 approach with three yellowtails and a lump of squid on a twin 3/0 Pennell rig.
In the event I did not catch a codling although three dabs and a rockling managed to impale themselves on the 3/0s.
In fact the dabs were attacking the bait in large numbers and had I fished the standard size one hook and small baits I would have undoubtedly filled my bucket.
Match winner was Nick May of Eastbourne with two codling for 3.5lb with only 8 landed by 70 odd anglers.
The next day I went back to my catch anything match style in the Dungeness Cod Open and low and behold I caught a codling and finished second.
Now the morale of this tale is that cod tactics catch cod and the odd small fish, whilst fishing for anything that comes along catches a shed full of small fish and cod.
Of course you have got to take into account conditions before you chose your tactic and if fishing smaller you need to consider some decent hooks (Fox MA 1 or Kamasan B940 1) and take care with a hooked fish, but without doubt match tactics are superior throughout January, February and March.
Tight Lines and a Happy New Year.
Looking for a big match to fish in the coming months here are several around the coast that should suit matchman and novice matchmen, all are Penn League Qualifiers…
Folkestone Open match
For the serious matchman January 18th the Folkestone Angling Open is being pegged at Seabrook in Kent.
Main organiser is Folkestone tackle dealer and ex-England International, Peter Owen.
Fishing is from 2pm until 7pm and the registration, draw and weigh in and prize giving, take place at the Fountain Inn at Seabrook.
Entry fee is £25 and there will be a £1000 first prize (subject to entries).
For more details or a peg contact Peter at Folkestone Angling on Tel; 01303 253881
Slapton and Bees Sands Open match
Slapton and Bees Sands are venues where fish can be a bit thin on the ground in January and so more anglers have a chance of winning.
This open event is sponsored by Anyfishanywhere and takes place on January 11th.
Fishing is from 2pm until 7pm. Book in at Beesands from midday or contact Julian Shambrook on 01803 213555 or 01803 213331.
E mail email@example.com
Weston Shore match
The Ford Sports & Social Club SAC host their 34th Open Beach Fishing Festival at Weston Shore, Southampton on the 26th January 09.
It’s a rover so you can fish anywhere in the zone you draw.
Few international match anglers to beat here and with just a few flounders there is a greater luck element and even the rawest novice could win this one.
A great match for beginners.
The venue is from Rolling Mills to Hamble Jetty, excluding Victoria Country Park. Fishing is from 9am until 2pm, fished in three zones and there is an area available for disabled anglers.
First prize is £600. Entry is £11, juniors £4, optional pool £4, sign on 7am at Weston Shore HQ, no pegging prior to signing in.
More details from Peter Oates, telephone 02380 693143.
Seaham Open match
Another rover is the Seaham Open on February 8th and you may have the locals and their hot spots to beat here and it’s important to get out early to bag a spot.
Sponsored by Ian Golds Tackle Developments the fishing is from 11am until 4pm and top prize is £500 with a full supporting prize list.
The event is expected to produce some good catches if the conditions are right and that’s an onshore sea.
The man to contact for more details and a place is Joseph Gibson on Tel. 0191 5810321 0781442289.