Out on my local pier at Folkestone for a midweek evening match last week it proved a real scratch. Lots of undersized pin whiting, miniscule dabs, rockling, just goer pout and the best fish, a dogfish of 800 grams.
I won the event with ten fish including the lucky dogfish for a total of 1.980kg, a pretty dismal return but that’s February. Around the UK coast it’s as bad – I know because I compile the prospect pages for Sea Angler Magazine every month and currently shore and boat angling enthusiasm is at its lowest ebb of the year.
Rockling, dabs, pin whiting all fish that do nothing for the shore angler. Only the matchman can be serious or excited up by such tiddlers.
My advice to freelance shore anglers, and there is a lot still fishing, is to forget big cod and look towards the spring for some better fishing, the codling, plaice, rays and smoothhound are coming.
Whilst you wait why not try a match - Scratching to many matchmen is what makes this time of year extra special. We know the rewards are going to be small fish, but getting any fish to take your bait is very often the challenge.
On the pier I fished with three Gemini Genie booms, 9.1kg Amnesia snood line and size 2 Fox Power Point MA hooks.
I fit the booms using rig stops so that each boom’s position can be altered in an instant and find this a great tactic for the pier because when casting short hooks on a fixed trace can be off the sea bed away from the fish.
With an Adjusta rig (all snoods or booms fixed with rig stops) each hook snood can be altered and that’s every single cast. Some days the hook below the rig catches others occasions the hooks above the lead score, but with the adjustment you can change the rig to suit quickly without having to change the complete rig.
This month I have been catching the bonus fish on the hook below the lead which seems to survive the pin whiting longer, could be coincidence but it’s proved valuable for me.
Sea Anglers Match Federation newsletter
The Sea Anglers Match Federation has just sent out its early year newsletter and membership forms.
As a founder member it’s a bit sad to see interest in SAMF dwindling although, it is the big match scene that has suffered a drop in interest and numbers in recent years.
There are now two types of match angler, those that fish the opens and those that fish club events.
This has come about because of the domination of the top match anglers in recent years.
The matchmen have just become too good and the average Joe feels he just cannot compete.
This is especially the case with catch and release, measure and return and small fish events.
Meanwhile the clubs have thrived and many have switched away from out and out bag weight to biggest fish to decide events which promotes a greater influence of luck and lessens the domination of the best anglers.
To a degree it’s successful but personally I think there is room for all kinds of events including rovers, pegged, catch and release, species, specimen, big fish and more.
However, here is news of a system that may shock a few matchmen.
Last week I met a pal just back for a week’s holiday after immigrating to New Zealand.
There he told me sea anglers have got around the problem of matches being dominated by the top rods by introducing a system that decides the match winner on the average fish caught – Think about it, all anglers weigh in their fish and the average size fish of the total caught is the winner.
Obviously the skill is in catching a fish of a size that is likely to be the average – Looks like I will never emigrate to NZ, damn silly idea if you ask me!
If you are interested in joining SAMF contact: Mary Steele SAMF Office 18, Town Lane, Much Hole, Preston, Lancs PR4 4GJ. Tel 01772 611597. E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org