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Hi folks, i've been an angler for 40 years, but only a beach fisherman for the last 12 months. I caught some bass on the gower a couple of weeks ago. This saturday off to chesil beach for a week. Reading the catch reports across the country, it seems to me that there is not a lot being caught. (126 anglers fished match, only 21 caught fish) Is the prospect now of catching a fish a bonus to the venue we are fishing.
For one, i dont mind not catching as i enjoy the peace an quiet, it just seems that the fish to be caught, off the beaches of the UK is in the decline. Cheers Dave.
 

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I don't think anyone can argue that fishing has declined. But some species have faired worse than others, the plaice, which would be a prime target for the time of year had been hard hit by commercial fishing no doubt...but it's not all doom and gloom depending on where you are in the country I suppose.

In the SW fishing for Rays is generally pretty good, plently of Thornbacks in the upper bristol channel for example. Bass fishing is as good as I can remember, mullet stocks are healthy and other species like Gilthead Bream and Trigger fish are growing in numbers and popularity each year.

The Gilthead population is fragile though and local stocks can be desimated by gill netting (this is no rant against the commercial boys) so for once understandably anglers in the know are guarded against giving out info about this fantastic fish
 

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I think you need to be very switched on to whats happening where and when to get a result. The Plaice fishing of Eastney was excellent - for three weeks. The shore thornbacks in Essex have been brilliant, but now they have left the upper reaches. They were there for about three weeks. The spring run of Codling in Suffolk and Norfolk is in full swing, and it is a fantastic run of fish to 6lb's. But it will only last until the end of April. If you find yourself where the fish are at the same time the fish are there, you will come away wondering why everyone is grumbling about lack of fish. But if you fish that same mark a fortnight later, it could well be barren. Your trip to Chesil, for example, could have been full of plaice if you had gone about three weeks ago. But the seasonal change means that you will be far more likely to be aggrieved with dogfish and spider crabs. You will always have a chance of something else, but it is still a little early for the summer fish to be there in big numbers. If I had a week off to go fishing right now, I think I would be heading up the East coast, somewhere like Orford, because you will be happily catching decent codling. (Another forum had a meet there last friday, and they caught numerous sizeable codling. At another spot I know of on the Suffolk coast, a friend of mine who lives locally tells me that TWENTY sizeable cod a session is the norm at the mo) Thats where I am heading next week!!
 

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I havn't fished a beach for 20 years or more but I am interested enough to read the reports by shore fishermen. What I have noticed is finer tackle, ie the wire used to make hooks, smaller swivels, aerodynamic rigs etc. I have noticed that people are casting further with advances in tackle, also smaller hooks are the norm. The species being caught are smaller than 20 years ago. Rockling, dragonets, scorpion fish, gobies were something the kids had from rockpools, not something that shore anglers targetted.

I have been a boat angler for 40 years and when the shore angling went to pot IMHO 20 years ago I became exclusively boat. Even boat fishing is a struggle these days to have a decent day so God help the shore anglers. The people with the powers to improve it for you certainly won't.
 

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yes it has declined,although i've not been fishing the light side for very long you only have to look at catch data from around the solent from 50 yrs ago compared to today to see that.
rob,i get what you're saying...yes you do have to know the venue/weather/tides more so now than ever,but a 6lb-8lb codling?,okeedokeee by todays standards but 25-yr ago considered a tiddler...lets bear in mind this is a fish that can and did reach 200lb in victorian days.
 

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yes it has declined,although i've not been fishing the light side for very long you only have to look at catch data from around the solent from 50 yrs ago compared to today to see that.
rob,i get what you're saying...yes you do have to know the venue/weather/tides more so now than ever,but a 6lb-8lb codling?,okeedokeee by todays standards but 25-yr ago considered a tiddler...lets bear in mind this is a fish that can and did reach 200lb in victorian days.
Absolutely Jack. In no way am I saying that it hasnt gone down hill. Just that it is still worth going fishing, and if you think about what you want, and plan accordingly, then there are still fish to be caught. I sometimes think I was born at exactly the wrong time. My sea fishing career began with year on year diminishing cod catches, and ever shrinking bass, and I guess I will be dead before the full effects of global warming are here to be enjoyed, like the Dog Toothed Tuna I have been fishing fo all winter (pesky rockling kept getting to the baits first...:) )
When I walk into the "Brighton Angler" tackle shop and see the black and white piccies from Dungeness in the late sixties, I know I will never get the opportunity to enjoy this myself, and it really does make me quite sad.
 
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As someone who is old enough to remember going to Dungeness in the 60's with my dad on cold winter nights I would say that beach fishing has definitely seriously declined. Between my dad, uncle and myself it would be a rare night that we would come home with less than maybe 200lb of Cod (ungutted) with most being around 5-6 lb and most times at least a couple of doubles. We would also regularly see fish in the 20's with the biggest I saw going 32lb.
You would be lucky now to get 200lb for a whole winter.
When the Plaice were around it was a similar story, 10-20 fish per angler and up to 4-5lb.
I stopped beach fishing in the early 80's as it was costing me far more in bait etc than what I was ever going to catch, and concentrated on boat fishing.
Even from the boat catches are diminishing unless you specifically target your fish. I can still get decent catches of Cod, Pollack and Bass but only by fishing wrecks. The rough ground fishing, around my area at least is not worth the effort most of the time.
 

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yes is answer for many some pionted out all ready,fish are smaller now and not huge like it used to be.shaggy
 

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I think on the whole it has declined, but I've noticed far more codling coming off the beaches round this way. I used to walk along the beach regularly as a sprog to see what was happening and rarely saw any codling. The only time we ever got numbers of them was during the spring run.

These days we get loads of the things. I've actually packed up due to being plagued by undersize codling this winter (it's a hard life), and so far am on more than 50 sizeable this year. Strange how this has coincided with the local fishing industry packing up and going elsewhere!

One thing to note is that fewer proper cod are taken now though. Yes, the odd 6lb+ fish, but very few. Although there seemed to be fewer numbers wise 15 or so years ago, when they did turn up they were normally proper ones.
 
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I think on the whole it has declined, but I've noticed far more codling coming off the beaches round this way. I used to walk along the beach regularly as a sprog to see what was happening and rarely saw any codling. The only time we ever got numbers of them was during the spring run.

These days we get loads of the things. I've actually packed up due to being plagued by undersize codling this winter (it's a hard life), and so far am on more than 50 sizeable this year. Strange how this has coincided with the local fishing industry packing up and going elsewhere!

One thing to note is that fewer proper cod are taken now though. Yes, the odd 6lb+ fish, but very few. Although there seemed to be fewer numbers wise 15 or so years ago, when they did turn up they were normally proper ones.
Decent anglers always catch fish. :clap3:

Ron
 

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Around here shore fishing doesn't really start to improve until after the FA Cup Final (Mid May) my diaries show that it has barely changed more than a week, over the past 30+yrs, never a good shore trip until after the first week in May, then last 2 out & first 3 in on small tides, & if you have stamina fish it all the way up & 1 back, only bad times are between 1-4 hrs of ebb!:yeah:
blueskip
 
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I have fished from the shore for 40 years now.

In the past I caught fairly nice sized cod from the local beaches and piers but now the biggest I have had in the last couple of years was 3.5lbs.

Also in that 40 years of fishing I had never caught a dogfish from the shore until last year.
I have also caught more bass (albeit small ones) in the last year than in all the years put together.

In my opinion there are the few big fish out there but, as was said earlier in this thread, you have to be switched on and know where and when to go for them.

Also are we not catching them anymore because we are casting further these days with better gear and just fishing past where they are feeding?
My partner fishes with me most of the time and she seems to do much better than I do. Same bait, rigs, line etc except she cannot cast as far. Maybe we all need to take time to go down to the beach at low tide and see what ground we fish over....

Malcolm.
 
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