Kent Coast Sea Fishing Compendium
BBC Coastal Forecast (North Foreland to Beachy Head)
Local Bait & Tackle Supplier
Fresh lugworm, ragworm and the usual selection of frozen baits can be obtained from Folkestone's only local bait & tackle dealer:
12 Tontine Street
Kent CT20 1JU
Monday 8am to 5.30pm Tuesday 8am to 5.30pm Wednesday 8am to 5.30pm Thursday 8am to 5.30pm Friday 8am to 5.30pm Saturday 8am to 5.30pm Sunday 8am to 12 noon
Folkestone Harbour Arm
Day tickets, which are available to full members of the Dover Sea Angling Association and allow fishing from 7am and 5.45pm, cost £5, whilst concessions are £3, and are available at Folkestone Angling, 12 Tontine Street (details above). Those interested in becoming members of the Dover Sea Angling Association (annual subscription £15) can find out more at Folkestone Angling or at Bill's Bait and Tackle in Snargate Street in Dover or by visiting the Association's office in Priory Road.
Folkestone Harbour Arm is dubbed "dabtastic" by local anglers, and this moniker is especially deserved in the winter months as the species has a liking for the mixed sand and mud sea bed around the Arm wall. Closed in September 2000 as a major Channel ferry port, this granite-walled Harbour Arm remains a major shore fishing mark for local sea anglers. The Arm is open 7am until 5:45pm and day tickets, obtainable from local bait and tackle supplier Folkestone Angling, are £5.00 for adults and £3.00 for seniors and juniors. Please get your ticket before you go on to the Arm as it is regularly patrolled by a steward.
Best of the fishing marks along the Arm wall (upper section only), which is pegged for competitions from 1 to 30, are the low numbers (below 6) at low tide and the knuckle (peg 30) at high tide. The very beginning of the pier is the ideal mark for novices.
The venue produces a good mix of species annually including cod, codling, plaice, dabs, sole, dogfish, smooth hound, pollack, bass, wrasse, conger, pout, whiting, mackerel, scad and garfish. During the winter cod, whiting and dabs are taken from distances between 30 and 100 yards out from the wall with the best catches from the pegs below 17; in summer the low numbered pegs produce pollack, scad, bass and mullet alongside the wall over low tide.
In recent years lost tackle has given the venue a reputation as "snaggy" and experienced local anglers use fixed-wire grip leads to ensure snag-free fishing. The Arm seabed is also regularly dredged by the F.S.A.A. to clear snags. To avoid the snags altogether you can fish over low water when the tide run is slight. The flood tide runs right to left (south to north). A 15lb beach casting outfit with a three hook mono paternoster and size 1 hooks is recognised as the best tackle with a slightly shorter rig if you fish at close range. French style wire booms are considered best for fishing alongside the wall and up off the sea bed. Best of the baits are lugworm including blacks for bottom fishing and ragworm or maddies for fishing alongside the wall. A squid, clam or sprat tip works well for the dabs, whiting and pout. Sandeel and large squid baits catch dogfish. An F.S.A.A. club landing net is available - ask the pier steward.
Folkestone Sea Angling Association: Mr T Sterling, 7 Calgary Crescent, Folkestone, Kent CT19 6JA (01303 254479).
Announcement from Dover Sea Angling and Folkestone Harbour Company: Monday, 26 September 2016
Angling will return to Folkestone Harbour Arm from Saturday, 1st October 2016.
Folkestone Harbour Arm will host fishing again from Saturday, 1st October for the first time in two years, during which time extensive restoration work has been taking place. An agreement has been reached between Dover Sea Angling and Folkestone Harbour Company to introduce new arrangements for fishing, introducing day tickets to fish the upper section of the arm at the seaward end, close to the lighthouse. Stonemasonry work will continue for a little while longer, but further areas will open up for fishing as this work is completed. It is anticipated that by the end of November angling will be permitted for most of the length of the upper walkway.
Folkestone Harbour Arm (formerly known by many as Folkestone Pier) has seen major improvements since work began in late 2014 to restore and renovate the structure, including the introduction of cafés, bars and restaurants, recreational amenities and the opening of the whole area to the public for promenading for the first time in its history. Commenting on the new arrangements Folkestone Harbour Company spokesperson Trevor Minter said:
"During construction work access for anglers needed to be suspended for reasons of safety. However, it was always our intention to find a way forward for fishing to take place whilst ensuring the safety of other visitors. The work schedule has now moved to a point where this can be realised, and we are delighted to have concluded an agreement with Dover Sea Angling that enables us to reintroduce fishing."
DSAA Chairman Richard Yates said:
"Dover Sea angling are very happy to be working with Folkestone Harbour Company to get anglers back on Folkestone Harbour Arm. We hope that anglers will be able to use the arm alongside other visitors for many years to come."
Day tickets will cost £5, allowing fishing from 7 am until 5.45 pm each day (gates will be locked outside these times). Tickets are available to full members of Dover Sea Angling from Folkestone Angling at 12 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JU (01303 253881). New members are welcome by enquiry in person at Folkestone Angling or at Bills Bait and Tackle in Snargate Street Dover, or by contacting the Dover Sea Angling Association's office in Priory Road, Dover.
The arrangements will be reviewed periodically to reflect changing patterns of use by visitors, and measures will be revised where necessary to ensure people's safety and security.
More information, including a full list of regulations, is available at www.doverseaanglingassociation.co.uk
Anglers who wish to fish on the Harbour Arm must be a full member of DSAA and have a valid day ticket for the day they are fishing. Day tickets MUST be purchased from Folkestone Angling Shop before fishing. Those who arrive without a ticket will be refused entry. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Folkestone angling. Fishing is only permitted within the areas designated and as directed by marshals appointed by Dover Sea Angling. Please note that tickets are not available at the Harbour Arm.
"Hints and Wrinkles on Sea Fishing" (1894) "Ichthyosaurus" (A. Baines & Frederick George Aflalo) at pages 82, 83 & 90
Sea Fishing near London
There are a great many seaside towns within reasonable distance of London; and it is nowadays quite easy to leave town after breakfast, enjoy several hours of sea fishing and return the same evening with a good basket of fresher fish than might even be sold at Sweeting's - no disparagement to that admirable establishment. 
… But there are ten times as many places where one can get the whole tides fishing, and only sleep the one night away; and these, being within eighty miles of town, are well adapted to the requirements of a summer holiday.
Kent - The coast of this county extends from the south bank of the Thames estuary as far as just beyond Dungeness. It has some fishing stations of great importance reached by the S.E.R. and L.C. & D.R. trains;  and the aforementioned Sea Anglers' Society are therefore to be congratulated at having so soon obtained concessions from both these companies.
Folkestone has much the same fishing as Dover, though the pollack are scarce. Bass, on the other hand, are rather more numerous.
 Editor's note: The London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) was a railway company in south-eastern England created on 1 August 1859, when the East Kent Railway was given Parliamentary approval to change its name. Its lines ran through London and northern and eastern Kent to form a significant part of the Greater London commuter network. The company existed until 31 December 1922 when its assets were merged with those of other companies to form the Southern Railway as a result of the grouping determined by the Railways Act 1921. The South Eastern Railway (SER) was a railway company in south-eastern England from 1836 until 1922. The company was formed to construct a route from London to Dover. Branch lines were later opened to Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, Canterbury and other places in Kent. The S.E.R. absorbed or leased other railways, some older than itself, including the London and Greenwich Railway and the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. Most of the company's routes were in Kent, eastern Sussex and the London suburbs, with a long cross-country route from Redhill in Surrey to Reading, Berkshire. Much of the company's early history saw attempts at expansion and feuding with its neighbours; the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in the west and the LCDR to the north-east. However, in 1899 the S.E.R. agreed with the LCDR to share operation of the two railways, work them as a single system (marketed as the South Eastern and Chatham Railway) and pool receipts: but it was not a full amalgamation. The S.E.R. and LCDR remained separate companies until becoming constituents of the Southern Railway on 1 January 1923.
"The Badminton Library: Modern Sea Fishing" (1895) John Bickerdyke at page 52
Round the British and Irish Coasts
At Folkestone the fishing in the offing is very much the same as Dover. There is some railing  to be done over the rocky ledge near Cock Point, where, too, a few conger and pout are to be found. In Eastware Bay there is a sandy bottom on which flat fish may be caught, and between that bay and Shakespeare's Cliff is a rocky bottom over which the local men rail persistently, but do not, so far as I know, often meet with very great success.
 (at page 234) From a boat in motion, if we except casting the fly or bait or drifting with the tide, there is only one method of fishing - railing or whiffing, which is very similar to what is known on the Irish lakes as trolling, and in the South of England, and particularly on the Thames, as trailing. There is this difference, however - that on the sea it is not nearly so necessary to use a bait which spins as in fresh water.
The Daily Express, Monday 2 November 1903 at page 5
A sea-angling club was formed on Saturday at Dover. The bay is literally alive with fine plaice, soles, whiting and mullet.
Editor's note: the Saturday here referred to is 31st October 1903 and the club - probably - the Dover Sea Angling Association. This briefest of mentions is included as a footnote to a report of two sea angling contests held in Brighton and Folkestone on Saturday, 31st October - see images below for details. The Folkestone Festival was "the first organised by the Folkestone Sea Angling Association".
The South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 15 November 1904
The boats competitions of the Folkestone Sea Angling Association's Autumn Festival was brought to a conclusion on Monday. As half a gale of wind was blowing from a southerly direction, angling was only practicable under the shelter of the Western arm. of the harbour, and consequently, the baskets were smaller than on the previous days.
Dr. A. H. Dodd (Folkestone) headed the list with 7 lb. 11 oz.; Mr. A. H. Adey (B.S.A.S.) weighed in 7 lb.; Mr. Wheeler (Herne Bay), 4 lb. 15 oz.; Mr. W. Harrison (B.S.A.S., Hither Green), 4lb. 8 oz.; and Mr. Shorter (Herne Bay), 4 lb. 5 oz.
The medals and prizes, which were awarded on the results of the three, days' fishing, were, taken as follows:
Heaviest aggregate weight during the competition – 1 Mrs. Hardy-Corfe (B.S.A.S.), 72 lb. 14½: 2, Mr. J. F. Eldridge (B.S.A.S.) 46 lb, 9oz.; 3, Mr. Hardy-Corfe (B.S.A.S.) 45 lb. 2 oz.
Heaviest one-day's catch - 1 (the Sassoon Challenge Cup) Mrs. Hardy-Corfe, 48 lb. 4 oz.; 2 Mr. W. J. Skene (St. Leonards), 36 lb. 5 oz.; 3, Mr. H. Taylor (B.S.A.S.), 35 lb, 9 oz.
Heaviest one-day's catch of whiting - 1 Mr. G. Colman (Folkestone); 2 Dr. J. W. T. Gilbert (Folkestone).
Heaviest one day's catch of cod - Mr. Watkins.
Heaviest one day's catch of fish secured by a lady - Mrs. J. W. T. Gilbert (who was second with 9 lb. to her credit).
Mrs. Hardy-Corfe also took the silver medal given by theBritish Sea Anglers' Society for the heaviest weight of fish taken in a single day.
"Sea Fishing for Amateurs: A Practical Book on Fishing from Shore, Rocks, or Piers" (1904) Frank Hudson at page 83
Folkestone (Kent) - Fishing: Very good. Fish: Bass, cod, plaice, sole and whiting. Best Months: July to October.
"Sea-Fishing" (1911) Charles Owen Minchin at pages 222 & 223
Some Harbours on the South Coast of England
FOLKESTONE Harbour, though small, is safe and well sheltered. The fishing, which is in autumn, commencing with September, is not bad. The best places are among the broken grounds in line with the pier-head to the eastward, and running for nearly two miles towards Shakespeare's Cliff. Next to the harbour there are cod and conger - not likely to be found very large - and farther away the smooth spots among the reefs are full of very large pouting. Now and then a big fish is captured at Folkestone, but this is usually in mid-winter.
"Modern Sea Angling" (1921) Francis Dyke Holcombe at pages 235, 238 & 265
Grey gurnards are pretty common at the western end of the English channel … while not long ago the capture of a number was reported from Folkestone, where the fish is quite unusual.
Not so very long ago a sea angling friend of the writer's told him that he had been having some capital fun at Folkestone catching scad from the beach with a fly rod.
At Folkestone the angler will find some very fair mixed fishing, and sometimes in the autumn some good fish are taken there; although the fishing there in the autumn of 1919, like that at Deal and some other places along this coast, was on the whole very disappointing.
"Modern Sea Fishing" (1937) Eric Cooper at pages 203, 204 & 233
The Cod, Whiting and Pouting
… pouting will frequently be caught of 2lb and over, but as there will be so many better fish about, the angler will probably not want to waste his time in trying for them. These 2lb pouting will often be found on marks in the eastern half of the Channel. There is a patch of broken ground, about a mile off Folkestone pier, where there are several of this weight.
The sole is a rare fish to take on rod. It feeds principally at night-time and occasionally may be met with when the angler is fishing on a bottom of sand or shingle for flatfish. It will take lug, ragworm and shrimp. The only place which I know of where the fish are caught at all regularly - if they still are today - is from the outside landing-stage, nearest to the shore, of Folkestone harbour. Here sole of between 1 and 2lb were caught twelve or fifteen years ago. The bait with which I had most success was king-rag. At that time these worms were not sent around the country by post in the quantity that they are to-day, but, by arrangement with one of the crew of the cross-Channel boats then running to Holland, a plentiful supply of rag was brought over to me from Flushing every other day. They were magnificent worms, far better than any I have seen in this country - not that our king-rag is to be despised.
"Sea Angling" (1965) Derek Fletcher at pages 191 & 192
On the coast of Kent seventy miles south-east of London, this is a well-known angling family holiday resort. Fishing from the harbour pier is very popular, the most successful area being at the end near the lighthouse. At high tide very heavy leads are required but at slack tide a 6oz lead is sufficient. Most anglers use a three-hook trace but some prefer a three-hook paternoster, especially when whiting are about. The following fish are caught from the pier: pollack, pouting and school bass during the summer and cod, dabs, flounders, congers, soles and a few skate during the colder months. Best baits are Dungeness lug, king rag and peeler crab. For pollack fishing a float is necessary as these fish swim just a few feet below the surface, the most successful being live prawns, small king rag or feathers.
The best time to fish from the beach is two hours before high tide until two hours after high tide. Some fine bass have been landed from the beach - the heaviest weighing 13lb 8oz - and the best baits are peeler crab, king rag and razor-fish. Most anglers use one hook on a 3ft trace or a two-boom paternoster with hooks fairly wide apart. It is necessary to cast out far for bass, but these have been caught 6 yards from the shore. Beach fishing is more successful after dark and cod, conger, whiting and pouting can be caught.
Boat anglers will find that the best time for fishing at Folkestone is two hours after high water until two hours before high water. Favourite spots for local anglers is off the Victoria Pier and off Copt Point. Many anglers fish with a three-boom paternoster with the bottom hook a long trace. The baits used are generally the same as used on the pier. Anglers who fancy conger fishing will find a local herring or a live pouting the best bait. To land these fish, a large hook fitted to a steel wire trace, with several swivels is absolutely necessary.
During a recent sea-angling festival over 1¼ tons of fish were weighed in. The heaviest individual day's catch weighing 81lb 2oz.
"Sea Angling" (1967) Alan Wrangles at pages 138 & 139
10 Sporting Opportunities Around the British Isles
From the east of Brighton the coastline assumes a completely different aspect. From the flat, sandy and shingly beaches of West Sussex the coastline changes to massive chalk cliffs and a rocky foreshore, which to those who know the marks means bass and conger. Eventually these cliffs give way to the flatter land of the Sussex/Kent border and the wide, open beaches of the Dungeness area. It is here that great catches of cod are made, also whiting, flounders, plaice and many other species can be taken. Being a very exposed stretch of coastline, strong winds can rapidly make conditions unfishable.
At Folkestone there is good shore and boat fishing. Those who seek their sport from the deeper marks should return with plaice, conger and, in due season, cod and codling.
At Dover, boat fishing with a good skipper can mean almost certain success, and most species are to be caught. This is an area which is greatly affected by enormously powerful tides which ebb and flow through the bottleneck between England and France. Most of the Harbour installations at Dover are available to the angler, but respect these privileges, and re-member the safety code which should be practised by all sea anglers.
At Deal there is plenty of sport to be had from the pier, and beach fishing at Ramsgate and Margate can result in good catches of bass, flounders, dabs and soles. The big attraction throughout this area is the exellence of the cod fishing during the colder months. From Dungeness right away around the North Foreland and northwards up the east coast, when con-ditions are right, enormous shoals of these fish give sport to the beach and the boat fisher throughout the winter.
"Pelham Manual for Sea Anglers" (1969) Derek Fletcher at pages 157 & 158
Your Guide to Where to Fish
Folkestone, Kent. Shore fishing between Folkestone and Hythe is popular and a big open shore festival is usually held during April. Catches include flounders, bass, codling, plaice, dogfish and pouting. Most productive spot is the stretch known as the Riviera, and there are also useful catches made at Toll Gate using razorfish, ragworm and crab.
Tackle with small hooks is recommended for fishing in front of Sandgate Castle where results are had at any state of the tide on lugworm or, if the water is very clear, ragworm is useful. Prince's Parade is a three-mile stretch of open sandy beach where mixed 'bags' are expected. fresh water flows out from the Hythe Canal attracting flounders at low water. A good lure is three small red ragworm on a single hook trace, the tackle kept slowly on the move.
The stretch from the motor works to Brewers Hill is more difficult because of rocks, and casts should be limited to 50 yards. Conger are caught during summer until November from the Brewers Hill stretch in front of the bus stop and footpath to Shorncliffe Camp.
Many large catches are made from the rocky stretches, and the local method is as follows. Fix a hook on the end of the line, making a loop 6ft up. In the loop is fixed a weight, and many anglers use plastic bags of stones, or shingle in an old nylon stocking. After casting out into the rocks, the line should be tightened, taking care not to drag the weight or hook. When left this way, and a fish takes the bait, it will usually swim up and cause no problems with snagging.
Boat fishing provides reasonable results, although heavy gear is necessary around the harbour because of the fierce tides. Light work is almost impossible except for a short period of slack water at neap tides. Most popular outside marks include the Warren, Copt Rocks, and the Metropole Rocks. Fish expected are plaice, pouting, cod, whiting, conger, bass, dabs and skate. Spin fishermen get good bass results between the Riviera and the Toll Gate, and off the Warren. Sandeels used drift-line style are also good.
"Modern Sea Angling" (1971) Alan Young at pages 189 & 190
Bass, cod, conger, plaice, whiting, mackerel, mullet, pollack and sole are the main species. The heaviest fish are usually the cod (October to February) though conger of more than 30lb are caught in the summer.
The harbour pier is a popular fishing venue. The current is always strong here and, according to the state of the tide, weights of from 4oz to 8oz are necessary.
Light fishing for pollack and mullet can be done with float tackle on the sheltered side of the harbour wall. Many mackerel and pollack are caught on feathered lures.
Beach fishing in the area is popular, though in the summer it is done usually at night, since crowds on the beaches by day make fishing impossible. The beach should be studied at low tide. There are many ridges of rock offshore within casting distance, and it is on these that fish are to be found.
The Warren (between Folkestone and Dover) is a good beach fishing area with several concrete stands from which spinning and float fishing are possible. Bass are taken by these methods, but cod and plaice particularly, and a mixture of fish generally, can be taken by bottom anglers in the vicinity.
Boat fishermen are well catered for … light tackle fishing from boats off the Warren yield great numbers of plaice.
"Sea Fishing in Kent" (1973) Hugh Stoker at pages 46 - 53
Folkestone (with Hythe and Sandgate)
Tides. High Water: -2 hours 49 minutes H.W. London Bridge. Rise: 20½ feet at Springs; 16½ feet at Neaps. Tidal Streams are fairly strong off Folkestone Harbour breakwater, and they are also strong towards Dungeness and South Foreland. Off Folkestone Harbour breakwater the east-going tide begins to flow at approximately -2 knots at Springs; the west-going stream begins +3½ hours local H.W. attaining a rate of 1½ knots at Springs. It should be noted, however, that an eddy occurs during the east-going tide, flowing west strongly from Copt Point towards the harbour entrance and south pier head.
Topography. The popular holiday resort of Folkestone possesses a fair-sized harbour, which is used by cross-Channel steamers, as well as fishing and pleasure boats. There are beaching and slipway facilities inside the harbour. A breakwater protects the harbour from prevailing west and south-west winds, but it is exposed to the east, and entering the harbour can be dangerous for small craft when the wind is blowing strongly from this quarter.
Low cliffs, landscaped with paths and rockeries, rise east of the harbour, and the East Cliff Sands below are popular with young children. Farther east still stretches a more natural range of picturesque cliffs known as the Warren, with a sandy beach below.
The coastline also rises west of the harbour, and the outstanding feature here is the Leas - an attractive cliff-top promenade bordered by wide lawns and flower beds. Winding paths and a mechanical lift link the Leas with the beach below, where an undercliff promenade extends almost to Sandgate - the west suburb of Folkestone. At Sandgate the beach shelves fairly steeply, and there are possibilities for launching and beaching small boats. A ramp with an easy gradient leads down to the shingle from the promenade above.
1. Folkestone Harbour. The harbour pier may be fished on payment of a small fee, and according to the season it yields dabs, flounders, plaice, sole, mullet, small pollack, pouting (some large), conger, whiting and cod. Mackerel, too, are taken on occasions when a shoal ventures close inshore. Tides run fast near the outer end around H.W. and an 8 oz "Grip" lead will be required during periods of maximum flow. Nearer the shore, however, the current slackens considerably, and a 4 to 6 oz lead is sufficient.
The lighthouse area is a good spot to try, and in winter there are occasions when some very good catches of cod are made - although results vary a lot from year to year. Lugworm makes a good bait for the cod, and some big cod up to 19lb and over have been taken by anglers using three or four worms at a time on a big hook.
The conger run large, and a legered fillet of mackerel, frozen herring or freshly caught pouting on a wire trace can produce exciting sport, especially on a calm evening. Ron Tatt, a well-known local angler, advocates just dropping the bait close to the outer side of the pier. He has had many large conger here up to 27lb, whilst another angler, Paddy Coyne, had one weighing 35lb.
The pollack are not large, and seldom run to much more than 1lb - the best over a long period being 6lb 15oz. The most likely spot for pollack is down by the lighthouse steps, and the best results will be obtained on a fine, quiet evening. Casting out a small feathered lure with a light threadline outfit produces results, whilst both pollack and mullet can be caught with light float tackle, using small ragworms - the smaller the better.
Beach Fishing (General Remarks). The most rewarding period for beach fishing in the Folkestone area extends from about 2 hours before, to about 2 hours after, H.W. Fishing is usually best during the hours of darkness, or during the daytime when the sea is rough. A popular form of terminal tackle comprises a long flowing trace carrying a single hook, and fished with a light lead. Recommended baits are peeler crab, king ragworm and razorfish, with mackerel or kipper as good alternatives. As many parts of the shore are rocky some little way out, long casting is not recommended - a survey of the rocky areas at L.W. will help the visiting angler avoid tackle losses. However, it is also possible to fish snag-free parts of the beach at L.W., and a popular place for this is the beach on the west side of the harbour mole.
Many local shore anglers cast right out amongst the rocks, using expendable weights, and they consider that results amply repay the increased loss of tackle. It certainly seems to pay off so far as cod and bass are concerned, and at the time of writing we have just received a report of cod weighing 18lb and 16lb 3oz being taken in this way.
2. West Beach. Immediately west of the harbour breakwater the water deepens rapidly, and species which can be expected are pouting, conger, huss and cod. On occasions this area has also yielded some good bass, including one which tipped the scales at 11lb 11½oz.
Beyond the Rotunda the beach shelves less steeply for some distance, then steepens again beneath the undercliff promenade and becomes rocky in places, with patches of hidden rocks about 50 yards beyond the L.W. line. Much depends, therefore, on choosing a suitable casting position that will place the bait fairly close to rocks without it actually becoming snagged up. Recommended spots are opposite the Lift, near the Toll Gate, and the last six groynes at the west end of the promenade. Catches include pouting, bass and codling, using razorfish, peeler crab and lugworm. The best bass recorded from this beach was a 13-pounder, caught by E. Pollard in the Toll Gate area.
3. Riviera Beach. This is a very rewarding area for most species, provided one is prepared to cast among rocks. The best bass from here was about 10lb.
Sandgate Beach. This steeply shelving beach is a favourite ground fishing area, producing plaice, flounders, bass, conger, dogfish and pouting, together with good codling and cod in winter. From the Coastguard cottages at Sandgate to Sea Point Garage there are rocks (hidden around H.W.) which become uncovered at L.W. This rough ground attracts the fish and adds variety to catches but it also snags the tackle of the unwary. The only really practical time for fishing is from -2 hours to +2 or +3 hours H.W. With local knowledge it is possible to fish one or two spots for a longer period, but even then tackle will be lost. Recommended baits: king ragworm, lugworm, razorfish, peeler and soft crab, herring and mackerel strips, and sprats (in season). The best spot for conger is opposite Brewer Hill. One of 28lb was caught at the time of writing, and several over 20lb are taken every year.
Mackerel shoals sometimes venture close in to this beach, and may then be taken by spinning with light threadline tackle and small silvery lures. Most local anglers, however, prefer to cast out feathered traces, retrieving through the shoal with a jerking motion every few seconds.
Threadline spinning can also produce some good bass. Here is some advice from a local angler who specializes in this method:
From mid-May to the end of September I spin from the beach with a fairly light spinning rod, fixed-spool reel, 10lb breaking strain nylon monofilament line and 8lb breaking strain monofilament trace, using for bait either a strip of mackerel or squid. (Owing to the proximity of rocks I find artificial lures a trifle expensive !). Results can be worthwhile, although admittedly the number of bass caught is not very large when compared with some of the catches reported from more favoured fishing areas. So far my best bass has been one weighing 9¼lb, although another which must have been a good 12lb was lost while reaching for the gaff.
One point I would like to stress is that spinning with natural baits in this particular locality is approximately twice as good in darkness as it is during the day. A strip of squid is much the best after dark - I think this is because it shows up better. Spinning here is confined to the period approximately 2 hours before H.W. to 2 hours after H.W.
As a matter of interest I use a Wye lead and a 3 foot trace carrying a size 1 Model Perfect hook. Before attaching the size 1 hook, I slide a size 14 or 16 eyed freshwater hook onto the trace, so that the small hook comes to rest above the main hook. This small hook can then be used to keep the strip of squid neatly stretched along the shank of the size 1 hook."
5. Hythe Beach. This stretch of shore is free from rocks and can be fished for its entire length. Catches include pouting, bass, whiting, conger and flatfish. Baits are similar to those recommended for Sandgate Beach. Leger tackle with a flowing trace is popular with local anglers, but nylon paternoster gear is often used in rough weather.
6. East Cliff Sands. Mostly fished after dark or out of season when there are no bathers. Also, it is sometimes possible to fish here when the sea is too rough for beach fishing elsewhere. In late autumn and winter it yields codling and flounders, whilst rough weather in summer may bring in the bass.
7. The Warren. On occasions in summer the beach and rocks yield good catches of bass, an after-dark visit usually producing best results. One angler casting out from the rocks at night around L.W. caught nine bass, including two weighing 8lb 8oz and 8lb 6oz. Bait was a large herring strip on a 4/0 hook, and fished on a 14lb breaking strain line. It sometimes helps here to allow the fish to run with the bait for a second or two before striking.
One popular spot is The Apron, a big slab of concrete jutting out to sea. It is an ideal vantage point for float fishing or spinning. The west side is most popular, and a local angler states that he has had several bass of about 8lb here, usually on one-hook tackle baited with peeler crab or ragworm. Peeler crabs can be found nearby at L.W.
8. Copt Rocks. A rocky ledge extends for about 600 yards off Copt Point, and legering on clean ground close to the outer fringe of these rocks yields pouting, conger, huss, codling and flatfish. On occasions this area can be good for plaice, and the writer knows of one instance when 20 were taken in a single session. Spinning with suitable threadline lures, and trolling with preserved sandeels or artificial lures, has produced good catches of bass.
9, 10 and 11. Gold Dome and The Holes. West of Folkestone harbour there extends a considerable area of rough ground, which is enclosed by a broken line on the chart. This area yields plenty of cod, conger, plaice, pouting, dogfish, bass, mackerel, crabs, lobsters, prawns etc., according to season. Three particularly rewarding positions have been shown on the chart.
12. Benvenue Wreck. About 600 yards off Brewers Hill, and opposite the public lavatories, there lies an old wreck called the "Benvenue". It is a very good inshore mark, particularly for conger, cod and pouting.
Deep Sea Wrecks The sea-bed off Folkestone is littered with wrecks, most of them being between 2 to 4 miles out. Many of these wrecks provide excellent fishing when conditions are suitable. The strength of the tide is an important factor, and many of the deeper wrecks can only be fished around Neaps.
Some very big conger inhabit these wrecks, and one weighing 61¼lb was taken from the "No. 4" wreck while this book was being compiled. It was the best of 14 conger taken during that trip. Many experienced sea anglers are also convinced that they have hooked and been broken by much bigger specimens in this area. A whole small to medium-sized pouting makes a very good bait for these big sea eels.
Besides conger, the Folkestone wrecks yield tope, pollack, large pouting, spur-dog, bull huss, whiting and cod. Thornback rays and turbot may be encountered in the general vicinity. In summer there is also good black bream fishing at the wrecks, and in 1961 an angler caught one here which scaled 6lb 2oz - only a few ounces under the British rod-caught record. Another boat party finished up with at least 60 bream, each between 2 to 3 lb.
Incidentally, while this survey was being made, a demolition crew visited several of the larger Folkestone wrecks which until then had been a danger to navigation. By blowing up the superstructure on the wrecks they removed this danger - but also killed or scared away most of the fish. However, so far as we know, the main structure of the wrecks remains unchanged, so fishing should return to normal here in time.
The Varne. This is a long narrow ridge running south-west - north-east about 8 miles off Folkestone. The "Varne" Lightship is positioned westward of the south-west end of the ridge, and a black conical lightbuoy marked "N.E. Varne" is positioned westward of the north-east end.
The middle of the ridge is covered by only 2½ fathoms of water during low spring tides, but the depth increases rapidly on either side of the ridge to 10 - 15 fathoms. It can be a very dangerous area in rough weather. Although not much fished by rod and line anglers owing to its distance offshore, local professional fishermen sometimes put down long lines, and on occasions have had 80 stone or more of turbot. The area is also said to be "thick with tope". However, the turbot population seems to fluctuate considerably. Plaice, huss, whiting and mackerel are also found in the area - the huss are most numerous near the north-east end where there is mixed rock and sand. The remainder of the ridge is mainly sand, with patches of shell-grit and gravel.
Bass Trolling Areas. Some good catches of bass have been taken by trolling close inshore, using preserved sandeel baits, or suitable artificials such as a rubber eel, plastic sandeel, or a long narrow, silver-coloured wobbling spoon. Likely areas are between the Toll Gate and Sandgate, and off the Warren. Use a long trace, as fine as practicable.
Local Bait Grounds (Chart symbols are shown in brackets)
Peeler and Soft Crabs (C) can often be found among the rocks near the Warren - one likely spot being near the concrete "Apron".
Red Ragworms (R/R) can be dug in the harbour mud at the Warren and at the Dymchurch sluice gates.
Piddocks (Pk) are present in the chalky rocks at the Warren, and make a useful bait for whiting.
"Fisherman's Handbook" (1977) The Marshall Cavendish, Part 9 at pages 231 to 235
The Kent Coast
Map showing the sand banks and wrecks where fine cod and conger are fished
The Kent coast offers some of the finest sea angling in the British Isles. Many species are encountered with cod predominant, particularly during the autumn and winter. The great advantage of fishing this coastline is that excellent fishing can often be had only a mile or two beyond the embarkation point.
The North Sea, ebbing and flowing through the Straits of Dover, gives rather fierce tides, but the relatively shallow water compensates for this. Rarely is it over 14 fathoms deep, and is on average 7-10 fathoms. There is good fishing up the Thames as far as Gravesend and the Isle of Sheppey but this is estuary fishing. Open sea fishing begins at Whitstable.
Whitstable is reached directly from London via the M2 and A299. The sea around this town is shallow for the first five miles out, and on average less than three fathoms deep. Boat anglers can expect to find dabs, whiting and cod in winter, and flounders, eels and bass in summer. Shore anglers enjoy beachcasting for the same species from the gentle shelving beach east of the harbour.
Herne Bay lies 4 miles to the east of Whitstable still on the A299. Several available charter boats will take anglers to the famous Pansands for the excellent bass fishing in the summer, or to the broken ground off Reculver for winter cod fishing.The town was famous for its tope fishing before the war, but this species seems to have declined since then. The average depth here is about 3 fathoms until one reaches the shipping lanes nearly 7 miles out.
Most varieties of seafish are caught in the appropriate seasons with thornback ray and smooth-hounds especially prolific during the peeler crab season in April, May and June. For the shore angler, fishing from the Eastern Promenade can be very rewarding, particularly in the autumn and winter after dark. Unfortunately the ¾ mile long pier was closed as being unsafe in 1968.
The twin towers of the ruined church known as Reculver are 3 miles east of Herne Bay. The beach here shelves gently. and thornback and stingrays are caught during spring and summer and cod and whiting in autumn and winter. Shore angling is good for another 2 miles east of this landmark.
Several charter boats are on hire from the harbour at Margate. The water here is 5-6 fathoms deep and the bottom, except at Margate Sands, is of chalk and flints, unlike the sand and gravel bottom at Herne Bay. Excellent bass and thornback ray are caught during spring and summer. The North Foreland Lighthouse is south-east of Margate, and the Elbow Buoy is approximately three miles out at sea from this point. Here one can expect the finest cod fishing to be had in the British Isles.
Many dinghy anglers favour the Longnose Buoy which is nearer, being a mile offshore, and where similar catches can be made. During the summer, bass fishing is good off the inshore chalk ledges and artificial lures are very successful. In the town there is a stone jetty and promenades from which most varieties can be taken depending on the season.
Broadstairs, on the A225 about 4 miles south-east of Margate, has a harbour where boats can be chartered to fish the same area as the Margate boats. Shore angling is possible from the harbour arm and from the chalk ledges north and south of the town.
Ramsgate, south of Broadstairs, is on a direct route from London via the M2, A222 and A253. With its very large harbour and excellent boat facilities, it accommodates both individual and charter anglers. The boats fish as far as the Elbow Buoy, particularly in winter for the cod, at North Goodwins for thornback ray during the summer months, and at Quern Bank for the good bass fishing. Pegwell Bay, which is a shallow water mark, is good for flatfish and whiting. Shore angling takes place from the harbour arms and a large variety of fish are caught although the ground is rather snaggy from the western arm. Large shoals of mullet abound inside the harbour during the summer months and can be caught on freshwater tackle. Other shore stations include the Chines and Under-Cliffe.
Sand and shingle
Although Sandwich lies a mile inland from the coast there is a road through the sand dunes to the shore. The chalk of Ramsgate has now given way to sand and shingle and excellent sport can be had by the beach angler from this point. Big catches of cod are made during the autumn and winter, and mainly flatfish, including soles, through the summer.
South of Ramsgate, and accessible via the M2, the A257 and the A258, Deal is the Mecca of sea angling. Large numbers of charter boats are launched from the steeply-shelving shingle beaches and just about every species of sea fish has been caught at some time in these waters. A number of wrecks, particularly on the Goodwin Sands, provide good conger fishing, and in the summer tope and thornback are still caught in fair numbers over the sands. There is often good plaice fishing north of the town and south of Kingsdown, but the town's reputation is primarily for winter cod and whiting. Angling is allowed throughout the year from the modern pier and also night fishing at weekends.
Known as the gateway to England, Dover boasts a magnificent harbour with several angling charter boats. This is the narrowest part of the English Channel and the tides are therefore the strongest, but on neap tides the fishing is good, particularly for conger, cod and pollack found among the many wrecks. The water here is deeper than the rest of the
Kent Coast and the bottom is very hard chalk with fissures. Varne Bank, lying nearly half-way across the Channel, can provide good cod fishing throughout the summer with brill and turbot often a bonus. For the shore angler, the large harbour gives plenty of opportunity, although the eastern arm was closed to anglers many years ago. The Southern Breakwater is only accessible by boat, but a ferry service will take anglers for a nominal charge. Admiralty Pier is free fishing and anglers will often be shoulder to shoulder feathering for the vast shoals of mackerel found here during the summer.
Folkestone Harbour, approximately 5 miles west of Dover, has charter boats which fish Varne Bank in summer and supply good inshore fishing in winter. Several of the inshore marks have 14 fathoms of water, and the sea bed is very rocky particularly off the Warren. Conger to 30 lb are not uncommon near the British Rail Harbour Arm where anglers may fish for a small charge. West of Folkestone, the first mile of shingle beach runs off to snaggy ground, and further westward gives way to sand. This beach extends for 4½ miles, and the road at the top known as Princes Parade enables one virtually to fish from the car. Many species are caught here including bass, conger, plaice, cod and whiting. West of Hythe are the Military Ranges, where fishing is prohibited except on special occasions.
Dungeness is reached via the A259 to New Romney, then the B2071 out to the point. From Hythe to Dungeness the tide goes out so far that very little beach fishing is possible, but at Dungeness itself the steep shelving beach of shingle and the deep water make it ideal for the beach angler. Many years ago Leslie Moncrieff made this station famous for its cod fishing during the winter months. With the right conditions, anglers catch more cod than they can carry, and many of them are over 20 lb. In summer Dungeness and Dengemarsh provide excellent sole fishing and quite often large shoals of mackerel come right to the water's edge. Nearly all species of sea fish are contacted; at one time there was even a small thresher shark caught from the beach here.
The Sunday Express, Sunday 16 November 1980 at page 30
Folkestone Pier 'double'
Folkestone pier has set a "record". It is the only pier in Britain to produce two Sunday Express prize winners on the same day (writes Redfin).
Ronald Tomsett, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Folkestone, took time off from his allotment to go fishing and finished with a plump 3 lb. pout which was only four ounces short of the British shore-caught record set at Dover in 1973.
With the flood tide running hard, he threaded a 22 lb line through the rings of his longshore rod and baited a No. 1 ledger hook with Dungeness lugworm.
The fish was netted by Folkestone Sea Angling Club competition secretary Clive Wire of Joyes Road, who also wins one of our fishing umbrellas with a 2 lb. l0 oz. whiting - the best taken by a club member in nine years. This, too, fell for the popular Dungeness lugworm.
This was placed on a 2/0 hook with a 22 lb line and 13 ft casting rod. The whiting, which fought hard in the strong wave backlash from the pier, was part of a haul of five codling, five other whiting and three pouting.
"The Sea Angler's Guide to Britain and Ireland" (1982) John Darling at pages 12 & 13
There are some dramatic changes in the shore line as one works south along this section of the Kent coast. The rocky ground north of Ramsgate contrasts sharply with the shallow sands at Pegwell Bay. The water deepens slightly south of the Stour estuary, round the broad sandy sweep of Sandwich Bay, a place many anglers visit if sou'westerlies at Dungeness make fishing impossible. Around Deal, the beaches are steeper still, of shingle, mixed rock and sand below the water line, which in turn becomes very reefy if the South Foreland area. This continues round to Folkestone, becoming sandier at Hythe, and more shallow again at Dymchurch before the dramatic depths and tides at Dungeness Point. The water is deep along Denge Marsh but is shallower again at Camber and towards Rye Harbour.
The main fish species caught from the shore are cod, flounders, dabs, pouting and whiting in winter; bass, conger eels, small tope, mackerel, scad, garfish, small pouting and whiting, plaice, sole, some cod and some dogfish in summer. Many of the locals fish for sole and bass in summer, big dabs and large cod in winter.
Mullet are common in the harbours at Ramsgate, Dover, Folkestone and Rye and in the Stour and Rother estuaries. These are mainly thick-lipped, but thin-lipped mullet are found in the Rother and a few golden grey mullet are taken from the beaches.
Boats from Ramsgate, Deal, Walmer, Folkestone, Dungeness and Rye Harbour all provide good fishing in winter for big cod until late December when huge sprat shoals move in and blot out everything but small bottom feeders. Offshore grounds provide good tope, spur dogfish, flatfish, some rays and black bream and smaller species in summer. The wreck fishing can be very good for medium pollack and ling and for good cod in summer. The Straights of Dover have several large sandbanks like the Varne, which also provide good cod and infrequent turbot fishing in summer.
Slipways are available for those with boats on trailers at Broadstairs (4 hours before and after high water); Ramsgate harbour (not at dead low water); Deal Rowing Club; Dover (all states of the tide); Folkestone (all times); Sandgate, behind the rowing club; Princess Parade, Hythe, and at Rye Harbour (not at dead low water).
The tides, especially to the north of Dover, run hard and in a confusing pattern. The visitor is advised to obtain expert advice for setting out. High tide times are 2½ (Deal) and 2¾ (Dover) hours before London Bridge. Tidal Streams are very complex.
There are thriving sea angling clubs at: Dover SAA, 14 Priory Road, Dover (Tel. 01304 204772); Deal AC at 13 The Marina, Deal; Deal and Walmer AA at South Toll House, Deal Pier.
A Plenty of blow-lugworm at Pegwell Bay. Dig it by trenching, but moat diggings to keep out surface water. Keep an eye open for hovercraft. Lots of good black lugworms which should be dug individually with a proper lugworm spade. Dymchurch and Dungeness, Galloways and Rye.
B Plenty of peeler crabs among the rocks in spring and autumn, also piddocks and rock worms here.
C Small harbour ragworm from the Stour and Rother estuaries.
D Storms often wash in large numbers of razorfish etc at Hythe and Dungeness.
The Warren, to the east of the town, is excellent for bass in summer and autumn, cod in winter. The pier offers mixed fishing - whiting, dabs, plaice, mackerel, small pollack, etc. Some big cod are caught here in winter at high tide and also at dead low water. The rocky foreshore at Folkestone fishes well for bass in both calm and rough seas, especially when high tide occurs early on in the night. Edible crab is a favourite bait here, as are lugworm and white ragworm cocktails. Bait and information from Garry's Tackle Shop, 12 Tontine Street, Folkestone (Tel: 01303 53881); Wesley's Tackle & Bait Ltd (Tel: 01303 38783).
"The Penguin Guide to Sea Fishing in Britain and Ireland for Shore and Boat Anglers" (1983) at pages 29 & 30
Four: The South Coast and the Isle of Wight
Ramsgate to Lyme Regis
It is difficult to generalize about the Channel in fishing terms, save to say that it is blessed by lying between the North Sea, noted mainly for its splendid winter cod fishing, and the warmer waters of the Western Approaches, where, besides ling, bass, pollack, coalfish and conger, there are numbers of the larger sharks and, from time to time, stray exotics like the sunfish. A mixture of North Sea and South-West species spreads throughout the Channel, but there is a marked influx of winter cod towards the eastern end, off Kent and Sussex, from October onwards. If the Channel has any one speciality, it is the shoals of bream which move to offshore stations during summer. What they lack in size, black and red bream make up for in spirit, quantity and edibility, and their arrival is eagerly awaited.
The coast, with its famous resort beaches, is broken by numerous ports and harbours, and a huge choice of boat fishing exists. For the beach fisherman, night fishing, rock fishing and the remoter beaches give refuge from summer holiday crowds, as do the harbours and breakwaters. Tackle shops are numerous, and most supply bait in some form.
Inshore trawling has made inroads into Channel fish stocks in recent years, with bass particularly suffering, but in general fishing is very rewarding.
Fishing methods vary according to the location: harbours and jetties lend themselves to paternoster ledgering and float fishing, while spinning can be rewarding in both locations and from beaches and rocks. When mackerel shoals are close in, a trace of feathers thrown well out and drawn swiftly back near to the surface can sometimes give dozens of fish in minutes. On the gentler beaches long casting gives the best results, but there are good steep shores, like the immensely long Chesil Beach, where deep water lies close in. On most beaches, night fishing on a high tide is usually best. A range of baits is useful, lugworm and ragworm being the universal first choice, followed by fish strip, squid strip, peeler crabs and shellfish. Most of these baits are available at coastal tackle shops, with some worm grounds for digging your own (although this resource is diminishing as some grounds become worked out by professional and amateur diggers). The fish-monger is a useful back-up but catching mackerel for a boat trip is usually no hardship.
Superb wreck fishing extends from Folkestone to the far south-west, boats (available locally) taking bass, cod, flatfish, rays, conger, bream, angler fish, pollack and other species. The Varne bank (15 m) is also accessible. The beach and pier also offer good fishing for a variety of species. Good winter cod venues are Sandgate Castle, Riviera Rocks, Prince's Parade and Harbour Pier. Bait and tackle available locally.
"Sea Angling: Kent to Cornwall" (1990) Mel Russ & Alan Yates at pages 27 & 28
The stretch of coastline below the White Cliffs of Dover and between Dover and Folkestone is known as the Warren and offers seven miles of shore angling from promenade and cliff protection aprons. Access is only possible by foot and therefore this large area is relatively unfished by all but local anglers. Bass, cod, pouting and eels are the main species whilst the area also offers plentiful bait supplies, including peeler crab in summer and lugworm, which can only be dug over the spring tides. Access to the Warren is easiest from the Folkestone end at Wear Bay Road.
Folkestone offers mixed fishing, with the East Cliff and Warren area, to the east, best known for bass and eels in spring and summer, while the Harbour Pier produces cod and whiting in winter and pouting, pollack, mackerel, mullet, sole, dabs and the odd big conger eel in summer and autumn. The bend of the pier is particularly favoured for dabs and plaice and is best fished at high tide. Tides are fairly strong and a fixed lead is required during spring high water. Angling from Folkestone Pier is controlled by the local Folkestone SAC and tickets to fish cost £1, obtainable from local tackle shops. The pier is open from 9am most days, except during storms.
To the west of Folkestone pier stretches the Rotunda Beach and from here, until you get to Seabrook, the bottom is all rocks and heavy weed. This is the venue for the angler who prefers to fish with one hook and a big bait for cod, bass and conger. The conger are not plentiful, but nevertheless the venue has a best of 48lb caught by my father, Charlie Yates. A big fillet of fresh mackerel fished on a calm moonlit night is the way if you have the patience. Try the middle toll gate for that big eel.
Bass are present from June until November, whilst the cod arrive in September and stay until March. The autumn overlap of the two species offers terrific sport and best results are obtained in darkness during the rising tide with peeler crab the top bait. Squid, fresh mackerel and lugworm also find success on occasions. Favourite venues include behind the Mermaid Cafe, Sandgate Riviera, Sandgate Castle and Brewers Hill, although they are not for the angler who fishes with light line or doesn't like losing a few leads.
At Seabrook the coast road actually runs parallel with the sea at Princes Parade. This stretch of promenade is perhaps Kent's favourite venue, with anglers able to fish from their parked cars for codling, cod, whiting, dabs, pouting and flounders. Fish are found at 80 yards plus and the venue does favour long-casting. The west end of the Princes Parade fishes best in the storms, whilst the deeper east end is best when the sea is flat. Darkness or following a storm is the best time to fish and keeping an eye on the weather during winter can result in some big catches of cod. Look for a south-westerly during spring tides.
Top baits include: black, common and yellowtail lugworm, snake white ragworm and shellfish such as razorfish. The complete length of Princes Parade contains 200 permanent pegs, spaced at five-yard intervals. These are used by the many clubs who hold competitions on the venue during the winter months. Summer sport from Princes Parade is limited to small pouting and flatfish with mackerel during calm, warm evenings.
"Sea Angling: Kent to Cornwall" (1990) Mel Russ & Alan Yates at pages 36 to 38
Kent Alan Yates
Boat angling guide to the Kent coast
Folkestone's charter fleet fluctuates from year to year according to business. It is therefore wise to stick with a reputable and regular skipper. Boats specialising in fishing the Varne Bank, The Ridge and the many wrecks in the area are famed for their marvellous cod catches. Fishing the Varne Bank is particularly productive for cod during summer and autumn with pirks. Red Gills and large cod feathers are responsible for huge catches.
The basic set-up is a 12oz plus pirk below three white feathers or artificial eels, which should be black. The rig is fished sink and draw over the sandbanks as the boat drifts over the peaks and troughs below the waves. Sport is hectic when a shoal of cod is located and three fish of 10lb apiece on one drop is not uncommon. As the drift continues sport tails off in the deeper water, although large mackerel, gurnards and some big bass are included in catches. The Varne is also famed for its turbot and a few boats fish at anchor during the summer to take these giant flatfish, plus bass, cod and tope. Farther out in the English Channel is another sandbank, The Ridge, which is equally productive.
Throughout the region there are several hundred wrecks, including lots of war-time hulks. Many of these have been 'topped and tailed' with explosives in recent years to remove projecting areas which were a hazard to shipping. This has spread wreckage over a larger area to form fish-holding reefs and many top Folkestone skippers can pinpoint these 'fishy' hotspots.
The inshore fishing from smaller boats and dinghies has declined in recent years, although sport during autumn and winter for cod is excellent. Top inshore marks include the Rough Ground, close to the pilot buoys four miles off Folksetone and Sandgate, and inshore marks off the Warren and Metropole rocks. Other marks include 'holes' which show up on charts of the area, including one off Folkestone Pier and another in the Warren. These are particularly favoured for conger in summer and big cod in winter.
Launching facilities for dinghies are available at Folkestone harbour. Slipways are also situated at Sandgate, behind the Folkestone Rowing Club, at Seapoint, Seabrook and at Twiss Road, Hythe. All of these slipways are subject to beach movement which can make landing and launching at high water difficult.
Sandgate, Seabrook, Hythe and Dymchurch are all areas fished mainly by dinghies, although Folkestone charter boats do venture into the area and there are a limited number of small beach-launched charter boats at Hythe. Fishing is mainly inshore for flatfish and bass in summer and cod in winter. The area off Hythe Ranges, between Hythe and Dymchurch, is out of bounds when the Army firing range is in use. Beach launching is available as previously mentioned, with additional slipways at Dymchurch, although launching is tricky because the tide recedes some 200 yards. Marks particularly favoured include the Mulberry Harbours off Greatstone, where some excellent bass catches have been made.
"The Complete Book of Sea Fishing: Tackle and Techniques" (1992) Alan Yates and Jed Entwistle at page 180
17. Boat Fishing around Britain
Folkestone experiences much the same fishing as Dover, being only a few miles along the coast. There are some top boats operating from the port, and trips to the Varne Bank as well as offshore wrecking can be arranged. There is a slipway in the harbour that can be used for a good deal of the tide. At the time of writing, launching charges have been imposed and the local anglers are counter-claiming right-of-way; the outcome remains to be seen.
"The Sea Angler's Guide to Top Marks" (2003) Mel Russ, editor Sea Angler at page 69
Folkestone Pier, Kent
This is an ideal venue for beginners because it does not feature the strong tides of the others in Kent. Fishing is available throughout its length, but not at the end or on the harbour side. Day and night tickets are available. Best results are during the strongest tidal movement and you need to fish two hours either side of high water. Both darkness and coloured water improve results. The end gets some ebb tide run at low water. Fish the low peg numbers, near the end at low water, and the high numbers at high water. The first bend is the hot spot for flatfish. Run by Folkestone SAA, tickets are available at the town's tackle shops (see below) for £3.50 (not available at pier). The pier is open 9am to 9pm, and all night at weekends. Ticket details and club bookings, Phil Tanner, Tel: 01303 220763.
SPECIES Codling, pouting, whiting and dab are possible from autumn through to March. In summer, there are mackerel, pollack, scad, bass, eel, plaice and some small pouting.
BEST BAITS Lugworms are best. Others include squid in winter, both as a tip bait or whole for larger fish. Peeler crabs, white rag and red rag all catch. Fresh fish is good in January for flatfish.
TACKLE Use a fixed-grip lead to hold bottom at high water, although the current is only fierce during the spring tides, when a Gemini red head is enough to hold bottom. Three-hook paternoster rigs are favoured with size 1 hooks to 25lb snoods to catch dab, whiting and pouting, but able to hold the odd cod. Apart from the legering, booms or light tackle fished off the bottom, alongside the wall, account for pollack, bass, mullet and scad, while a large mackerel bait fished down the wall gets some conger. Snags out from the wall can be a problem, especially during strong spring tides.
GETTING THERE Folkestone is at the end of the M2. Head for the channel tunnel and once in the town go to the sea front. Drive in, park and walk along the railway platform. A set of steps takes you up to the pier promenade. Tickets must be purchased before you enter and are available from the tackle shop within 400 yards of the pier entrance.
TACKLE SHOPS Folkestone Angling, 12 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Tel: 01303 253381; Harbour Tackle, 10 Beach Street, Folkestone, Tel: 01303 220763.
Copyright © David Ramsdale 2010 - 2021
All rights reserved