Get Hooked – Top Kent Sea Fishing spots
18:18 15 July 2010
Kent not only boasts a varied and beautiful coastline, but also some of the finest sea fishing in Britain. But where do you start if you want to sling your hook and tap into the freshest fishmongers in the county?
Words by Robert MacDougall-Davis pictures by Manu Palomeque
Hidden beneath the breaking waves off the Kent coast lies a bounty of fish that attracts anglers from far and wide. These nutrient-rich waters are home to sea bass, mackerel, Dover sole, codling, plaice, whiting, dog fish and a host of others. But where do you start?
First of all, it is important to dispel the myth that only old wise men or secretive locals know how to tempt fish from the sea. Its true that angling is rarely easy, but therein lies the challenge; with a little luck, its perfectly realistic for the first-time angler to catch their supper. So with the prospect of putting super-fresh sea bass served with new potatoes, hollandaise sauce and green beans on your menu, why not give sea fishing a whirl?
One of the best things about fishing along the British coastline is that anyone can fish for free. Sea anglers fit into the recreational rod fishery category, which includes all the water immediately adjacent to the coast and gives any rod angler the right to fish the inshore waters. Rod anglers must follow conservation measures such as returning fish of a certain size in order to safeguard healthy fish stocks for the future. With free fishing and relatively healthy fish stocks, its easy to see why sea angling is such a popular hobby.
Another major plus is that you dont need to find a Kings ransom to acquire the essential tackle. A basic sea fishing outfit can be purchased for under 50 and if you know someone who might have some fishing tackle in need of a home, then so much the better. If you are starting from scratch, find the nearest sea fishing shop and get hold of an all-round sea rod, a fixed spool reel with 200 yards or so of 20lb line and a few other bits and pieces like weights, hooks and bait.
Fishing shops tend to be run by keen anglers who will be happy to help you get started. Your rod and reel will last you for years, but be warned: once you start angling it wont be long until you are well and truly hooked!
There are many different tactics and rigs for fishing from the shore, but it is best to keep it simple. Two basic yet highly effective techniques are the running ledger and feathering for mackerel. You can catch fish all year round, but three hours either side of high water from spring through until October is probably the best time to try your luck.
One of the greatest joys of fishing is the connection every angler makes with the environment. As the rising tide rakes the sand around your feet and birds skim the tips of the waves, your spirits will soar. And should you feel that magic connection with a beast from the mysterious watery underworld, then you will know the thrill of angling. With long summer days ahead and plenty of fish in the sea, why not head to the Kent coast to try and catch your own supper?
Top kent fishing spots
Much of the Kent coast offers excellent fishing, but here are a few particularly good spots to try your luck.
Dungeness and Denge Marsh beaches
Considered to be one of the top sea fishing venues in the country. Excellent fishing for most species. Follow the A2070 and then the A259 from Ashford
Sheerness Beach, Isle of Sheppey
This beach offers very good all-year round fishing and is a great place to try your luck for bass. Signposted on the A249 northbound.
Herne Bay Beach and Pier
(small charge to fish from pier)
The beach is a great place to catch sole, plaice and school bass. Try feathering off the pier for mackerel. Off the M2/A299 Thanet Way on
the north Kent coast.
Admiralty Pier, Dover
A great place to feather for mackerel in the summer months, although it
can get very busy (small charge to fish from pier). Follow the signs from the A2 or M20/A20
Naturalist and angling writer Robert MacDougall Davis is quite simply wild about fishing. Having graduated from catching crabs off piers, he now spends most of his free time observing wildlife and fishing. He is a passionate ecologist and conservationist and holds a first-class ecology degree from Oxford Brookes University.