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Deal Pier & Beach Catch Reports 2017

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Saturday, 25th March 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The chilly northeast wind has blown some larger fish inshore for a change. Along with rain, 16 members of the Broadstairs and St Peter's AC fished Sandwich Bay in their latest points match. Although the conditions were 'difficult' all of their members weighed in. The measurements to points comp was won by Sam Collier with dogfish and a thornback ray for 178 points. Jon Vaughn caught enough dogs to come second with 139 points beating Louie Smith's catch, which included the largest ray, for 129 points.

On the same night, the Deal 1919 AC held their beach comp at Kingsdown. Dogfish expert Graham King did not disappoint with a six dog win at 3.720 kg. A lost fish in the closing minutes robbed tackle dealer Fred Leach of the pole position when his six dogfish weighed in at 3.690 kg. In third place was Steve Hackett's 1.540 kg, which included the heaviest fish in the match, a dog of 0.910 kg. As no flats were caught, King's second heaviest dog of 0.760 kg took that pool money.

The weather has curtailed the pleasure anglers, with not many venturing on the Pier or local beaches. For those that did found the dogfish feeding, along with whiting and pouting. Rays should be showing for those who put in the effort to catch them.

It is hoped that the whole of the Pier's lower deck will be reopened this week as maintenance to the north side is almost complete. The temporary repairs will be dealt with over the next few months without too much disturbance to the general public and fishermen.

A new local feature that will be an asset for anglers is the 24/7 live webcam of Deal Pier and its southern approach which can be viewed online at Skyline Webcams.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 9.4°C, offshore (Downs) 9°C.

The clocks go forward at 01:00 tomorrow (Sunday) morning …


Sunday, 19th March 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

With the prolonged high pressure and settled weather which has caused calm seas this week, anglers have struggled to catch decent-size fish. With the sea clearing the fish have moved offshore and left the local Pier and beach anglers scratching for tiddlers.

Hyped up by the previous week's catches, Margate AC 15 members felt confident when they started their evening beach match at Walmer Gardens. Their enthusiasm waned when they were pulling-in pin whiting three at a time without any being sizable. At the end of the comp it could be seen that the lack of decent fish was apparent when only seven of the competitors weighed-in. The winner, Paul Davies, brought a dogfish and a whiting to the scales for 1 lb 10 oz. This was enough to beat Robert Phillips' dogfish at 1 lb 8 oz into second place and Keith Day's 1 lb 7 oz for third.

Even with the weather change at the weekend, the fish still did not want to cooperate in the Marines AC Prostate Cancer charity match. A dogfish and two pouting were enough for John Libby to win with 1 lb 11 oz. His dogfish was the only one caught and at 1 lb 7 oz was the heaviest fish. In second and third places were Bob Morris' 14 oz and Dave Alldis' 12 oz. The club raised a total of £120 for the worthy charity.

Officers of the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority have been on patrol on Deal Pier of late. They are advising anglers of the legal size of fish that they can retain. If you see an officer, ask for one of their plastic stick-on measures and size limits they hand out free of charge.

The Deal and Walmer Angling Association are holding their AGM at the Deal Rowing Club on the 25th March at 7.30pm.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 9.4°C, offshore (Downs) 9°C.

The clocks go forward at 01:00 on Sunday 26th March …


Saturday, 11th March 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

With the knowledge that the rays were being caught from the Pier, the entrants of the latest Deal AC 1919 Pier and beach match were thwarted from fishing the productive venue. As the Pier closes at 6pm weekdays, it was left up to the anglers to fish the evening competition from the beaches. Some of the 12 competitors did go to the slipway in Sandwich Bay to try for a thornback ray in the rover comp; however, only one was caught. Steve Hackett fished Kingsdown beach and amassed a winning weight of 7.060 kg comprising 10 dogfish and bits. Fishing the same area, Graham King managed some dogs as well and came second with 6.670 kg. The 3.260 kg ray that succumbed to Robbie Taylor's bait gave him heaviest fish in the match, and with some dogs a total of 4.990 kg for third place. The heaviest flat-fish pool was shared between Steve Hackett and Graham King with dabs of 0.120 kg.

The rays are still showing in good numbers on the Pier and beaches throughout the area. In a mid-week session, Thanet angler Warren Hayes had a good day's sport by fishing the bottom deck of Deal Pier, landing three thornback rays of 3 kg, 3.700 kg and 4.420 kg. All of the rays came to large herring baits presented on Pennell pulley rigs. His largest fish is now on the fish-of-the-month leader board for the Pier's heaviest fish.

An open beach charity competition is being held on Sunday 19th March from 12pm till 5pm. The venue will be pegged in the groynes at north Deal and entries will be taken from 10:30 am at the shelter near the Coastguard station. The Marines AC are hosting the match for Prostate Cancer, and are raising funds for this worthy cause.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.8°C, offshore (Downs) 8.6°C.


Sunday, 5th March 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

There are not many piers in Kent that can boast fish of 10 lb, or even 5 lb plus being caught at the present moment. However, Deal Pier must be number one in this category with the influx of thornback rays. Moe Crooks won the Pier's February fish-of-the-month competition with a fine ray of 11 lb 14½ oz; and fish of over 5 lb were regularly landed throughout last week. The beaches at Sandwich Bay are also producing thornbacks in fair numbers. As rays are very difficult to skin and prepare for the table, unwanted fish should be returned alive; particularly the large females.


Moe Crooks and his 11 lb 14½ oz ray

Competitors in Sunday's Deal & Walmer Angling Association beach match were diverted from Walmer Gardens to north Deal because of adverse weather conditions. With a fresh south to south-westerly wind and rain it was decided that the change of venue would be more comfortable to fish. It did not put off the 18 entrants as they fished the rising tide sheltered behind brollies and bivvys. Winner with three dogs and a couple of whiting for 2.010 kg was Alan Underdown. Close behind him with six fish - which included the heaviest fish in the match, a dog of 0.900 kg - was Dave Andrews, for a total weight of 1.930 kg. Graham King's three dogs at 1.320 kg landed him third position. As no flats were caught, Underdown took the pool with the second heaviest fish which was a dog of 0.680 kg.

With the coming of Spring, the carp seem to be waking-up at Cottington Fisheries. A magnificent 35 lb 11 oz specimen was caught by Aaron Lee Scott. The favoured swim was peg 16 on the popular Lake Pepper. Please remember that the close season for fishing in rivers begins 15th March and ends 15th June which lets the fish have time to spawn without harassment.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 8.3°C, offshore (Downs) 8.1°C.


Sunday, 26th February 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

With the barometer needle dropping to stormy and deep low pressure forming, Storm Doris finally appeared - unlike the faux Doris prediction the weather forecasters gave a while back. The change in weather almost caught the Deal 1919 AC competitors out when they fished the evening beach rover. Only expecting the meagre results of late, they were happily surprised to find that the storm had blown the dogfish back ashore. Dave Andrews bagged-up an impressive 13 dog lead for a winning weight of 8.340 kg. Close behind him was Brian Smith's 12 dogs for 7.530 kg, putting Joe Smith into third position with 5.640 kg. Kingsdown beach was the preferred venue for the three winners, and the heaviest fish, a dog of 0.920 kg, was in amongst Dave Andrews' bag of fish. Only two dabs were caught with Ken Withington finding the largest at 0.090 kg.

The night after the storm, 13 members of the Marines AC held their late night beach match at north Deal in relatively calm conditions. Dogfish still dominated the results, although not in great numbers - whiting, pouting and rockling were also present. Top weight went to Ian Morris with 7 lb 4 oz of fish, followed by Tony Libby's five dog haul for 5 lb 11 oz. I managed third spot for 5 lb 1 oz and the heaviest fish, a dog of 2 lb 1 oz, was caught by Kevin Hadlow.

As predicted the thornback rays have arrived on the Pier and beaches. After a sparse January, Warren Hayes was the first angler to put a ray on the Pier's fish-of-the-month board. His 2.150 kg thornback was the largest of three he caught on Saturday from the lower deck. However, Moe Crooks, from Whitstable, topped that with a 5.400 kg fish. This was his second ray which was caught from the Pier stem close to the third shelter.

I would remind you that the third of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Cambridge Road (gardens) (51.210211, 1.402760) on Sunday, 5th March (2pm to 6pm). Please remember that all competitors must be present at the Cambridge Road (gardens) venue no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 1:30pm.

View the detailed match results and updated leaderboard here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 8.3°C, offshore (Downs) 8.6°C.


Saturday, 18th February 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The good news is that temporary repairs have been completed to the lower deck of the storm damaged Deal Pier. The south side and middle section of the lower deck stage is now open to anglers who are keen to take advantage of the milder weather and hopefully catch some thornback rays. These rays normally turn-up at this time of year and can be targeted with large herring, squid and bluey baits. Unfortunately, the Saturday/Sunday all-night openings have been curtailed until further notice and the Pier will close at midnight.

However, before the wind changed direction, the dedicated match anglers were still putting in appearances even though their results were poor. The latest Birchington AC competition was held in Sandwich Bay when the wind was at its coldest from the east. The 11 resilient anglers fished the five hour match for very little end results, with the club Chairman, Terry Marsh joint winner of the comp. His four rockling weighed in at 0.400 kg which tied with Terry Wraight's similar catch, just beating Keith Day's dab and two rockling for 0.320 kg. Heaviest flat was a dab of 0.170 kg caught by Adam Maxted and largest round, a rockling of 0.170 kg landed by Terry Marsh.

Deal Pier was the venue of the Marines AC comp, which was held on the same day as the previous match. It attracted 14 members and the fishing was hard with Bob Morris' two pouting and three dabs for 1 lb taking the event. Close behind, were Paul Davies' whiting and dabs for 15 oz putting Tony Libby into third spot with 12 oz. The heaviest round fish of the match was a 6 oz whiting, from Paul Sutton.

Remember, the thornback rays will be hitting the Pier and beaches soon … so make sure you're ready for the action.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.8°C, offshore (Downs) 8°C.


Sunday, 12th February 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

For some, the dogfish made a welcome return to the local beaches last week. Thanet roofer, Paul Cox, found three dogs and two dabs to win the Broadstairs and St Peter's AC points match in Sandwich Bay. His 96 point win just pipped Jon Vaughn's one dog, dabs and whiting haul by four points. In third place was Steve West with 87 points.

The following night, the Deal 1919 AC held their beach comp in ideal conditions with little wind and calm sea. Small pin whiting were a pest; however, Graham King sorted out two dogfish in his mixed bag for a winning weight of 1.560 kg. With the heaviest dog in his bucket at 0.770 kg, Brian Smith topped-up with a couple of whiting to come second with 1.090 kg. On form Paul Cox did not see any dogs, but caught five fish for third spot at 0.560 kg. He also shared the heaviest flat with Dave Andrews, both catching dabs of 0.080 kg.

The dogfish had disappeared in the Saturday night match held by Margate AC at the Chequers. With the cold easterly wind the fish did not want to feed and it was left up to Keith Day to win the event with three rockling for 8 oz (0.227 kg).

Fishing from Deal Pier has also been slow, with not many anglers braving the wintery weather. Owing to staff shortages, it was closed for the all night Saturday session.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.8°C, offshore (Downs) 7.2°C.


Sunday, 5th February 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

It was in the last hour, and after high tide, that John Libby found enough fish to win the latest Marines AC beach match. The venue was just south of Deal Pier and the 14 members fished for four hours till midnight. Small pin whiting were, yet again, in plague proportions, attaching themselves three at a time to the hooks. Up until 11pm, it looked like William Kinch was going to win with his flounder and whiting catch for 1 lb 9 oz. However, a couple of double shots put John Libby in the lead with dabs and whiting, plus two rockling, for 2 lb 5 oz. In third place was Patrick Green's whiting of 13 oz and the heaviest flatfish was William Kinch's flounder of 15 oz.

The weather forecasters got it wrong, yet again, when Storm Doris made its non appearance. Members of the Deal & Walmer Angling Association were hoping that it might have brought about some fish in its aftermath. Their combined daylight and darkness match, in Sandwich Bay, was held at the weekend from 3pm till 7pm. Even with the cold north east wind the comp attracted 19 members who realised the conditions would be hard with not many fish showing. However, their perseverance paid off with dabs, whiting and rockling for Steve Swan to find the winning weight of 0.550 kg. Second and third places went to Martin Jenkins' 0.430 kg and Dave Andrews' 0.310 kg.

View the detailed match results and updated leaderboard here.

The third of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Cambridge Road (gardens) (51.210211, 1.402760) on Sunday, 5th March (2pm to 6pm). Please remember that all competitors must be present at the Cambridge Road (gardens) venue no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 1:30pm.

Unfortunately, the Fish-of-the-Month vouchers were not claimed by any anglers fishing Deal Pier throughout January. This is the first time in five years that a fish over the qualifying weight of a kilo has not been caught. February should see an improvement with some thornback rays putting in an appearance.

Freshwater anglers will be pleased to know that the lakes at the Cottington Fisheries are now ice-free and all the swims fishable.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.2°C, offshore (Downs) 6.9°C.


Saturday, 28th January 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Many anglers believe that the cold weather brings in the fish. The shallow inshore water temperature plummets and the beach at low water can freeze. This outcome puts the lugworm down deeper in the sand and not available to the fish; likewise the small crustaceans become dormant or move to deeper water. With the feed not available, the larger fish move offshore to find sustenance. However, the last fish, apart from pin whiting, to be affected are dabs and rockling, as can be seen by the following competition results.


Ice on the shoreline in Sandwich Bay

The first of the matches in the last week was from Margate AC who held their evening comp at the normally prolific Boundary Road venue, at Kingsdown. The match attracted 16 members, and the winner, Paul Beavis, only produced four fish for 13 oz. Second place was Andy Day's three fish, which included the heaviest fish of the event, a dab of 7 oz, for a total weight of 12 oz. Dan Burton's 10 oz gave him third position.

Birchinton AC held their comp at Sandwich Bay, when the dabs wanted to cooperate; however, conditions were unpleasant with a moonless night and freezing fog. Keith Day found them feeding at the Chequers area and bagged up with a winning weight of 1.390 kg. For a close second, Melvin Jarman's dab catch of 1.120 kg just beat Tony Wraight's 1.010 kg. The heaviest dab of the match was caught by Ricky Jarman at 0.230 kg.

The following night saw fewer fish in the Deal 1919 AC beach rover. With only three dabs, Brian Smith took the match with 0.510 kg putting Graham King into second spot with his 0.460 kg. Joe Smith caught the heaviest dab at 0.160 kg and came third with a total weight of 0.450 kg. The heaviest round fish was a whiting of 0.50kg, landed by Ken Withington.

At the time of writing this report, the weather forecasters are predicting milder conditions ahead, which should bring better results in the near future.

The second of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Chequers (51.251010, 1.39189) on Sunday, 5th February (3pm to 7pm). Please remember that all competitors must be present at the Chequers venue no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 2:30pm.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.2°C, offshore (Downs) 5.9°C.


Saturday, 21st January 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The recent North Sea surge that has damaged Deal Pier has not done any favours to the anglers. It seems to have swept the dogfish into deeper water as was shown in the last two fishing competitions. The high pressure and cold spell might have also had some influence with putting the larger fish off the feed.

Both of the matches were held on the same day with one on the Pier and the other on the beach. Without the dogfish, the weights were very low with some anglers not catching any sizeable fish at all. The Birchington AC match was held in Sandwich Bay and won by Julian Attwood with four dabs and a whiting for 0.650 kg. His catch also included the heaviest round fish of the comp with a whiting at 0.160 kg. Rick Jarman narrowly missed out with 0.610 kg and his son, Melvin, managed third place for 0.590 kg; which included the heaviest dab of 0.250 kg.

The Pier did not fare any better, with 15 members of the Marines AC fishing their match in the cold conditions. Unfortunately, half the competitors did not manage to bring any fish to the scales by the end of the four hours. However, it was left up to Tony Libby to find six sizable to win with a total of 1 lb 7 oz. His son, John, caught a 10 oz flounder, which gave him second place and heaviest fish in the comp. In third place was Bob Morris, with two fish for 9 oz.

The recent easterly winds are hampering the anglers with the sea temperature dropping each day. Hopefully, a wind change will see more fish being caught and conditions more encouraging to fish in.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 7.8°C, offshore (Downs) 6.4°C.


Sunday, 15th January 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Deal tackle dealer Fred Leach's 2.750 kg thornback ray helped him to win the Deal 1919 AC evening roving beach match. His decision to fish large baits paid off with a total weight of 5.280 kg, which included five dogfish along with the ray. This ray is the first to be reported, caught locally from the beach or Pier this year so far. Joe Smith plumped for Kingsdown and caught 2.920 kg of mixed to claim second place beating Louie Smith into third with his 1.490 kg. The heaviest flatfish in the match was won by Dave Andrews' 0.130kg dab.

First of the Deal and Walmer Angling Association's members-only beach match of the year, which was fished from north Deal, attracted 19 anglers. Conditions were ideal with a light wind, calm sea and high water just before 8pm. Target species in the evening comp were whiting, with dogs making up the weight. As the sea temperature had not cooled enough to put the fish off the feed, triple shots of whiting were the name of the game - although getting sizable fish was hard. Dabs made a good show and were caught in equal numbers to sizable whiting. A few dogs made up the weights for the winners, with Sam Collier's total of 3.670 kg - which included the heaviest dog of 0.880 kg. Second and third were Steve Swan's 2.990 kg and Brian Smith's 2.290 kg. Heaviest flat was 30 cm dab caught by Steve Hackett which weighed in at 0.260 kg. Deal Pier's lower deck was damaged by the predicted tidal surge in the early hours of Saturday and has been closed off to the general public until repairs. However, the top deck/stem is open to anglers.

On the fresh water scene, the cold spell has not put the carp off the feed with Dean Holman landing a 31 pounder from Lake Christine, in the Cottington Lake Fishery complex.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 8.3°C, offshore (Downs) 6.8°C.


Monday, 9th January 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The fishing from Deal Pier has been hectic with small whiting and dabs; unfortunately most of these fish are undersize and need to be returned. December's fish-of-the-month almost never happened; however, Michael Kent from Faversham managed to win it with a 2.550 kg thornback ray on Christmas Eve. His fish was caught from the recently reopened bottom deck of the Pier on a combination of squid and lugworm. Three days later, Shane Bradford just missed out with another ray which was half a kilo short of Michael Kent's fish.

An impromptu dab match attracted a good entry of 32 anglers fishing the groynes at north Deal. The weather was not great, with continuous rain and a fresh southerly wind colouring up the sea, which were not the best conditions for catching these flatties. Only 18 dabs were caught with the winners, Kate Withington and Brian Smith tying for first place. Alan Fuller and Mick Carter came second and third, with Dave Andrews in fourth place.

January is the time of year to join or renew membership fees to the local angling clubs. They have already published their 2017 fixture lists (view the D&WAA matches here) so the angler can plan for the 2017 campaign. Planning is essential to the match angler and preparation on bait and rigs help in winning these events.

When the weather is suitable for the fishing boats to get afloat from their moorings on the beachfront south of Deal Pier, they are netting plenty of sprats which, when either dusted whole in flour with seasoning and fried or put under the grill au naturel, are an excellent feed. They also make great pike and ray bait and can be frozen down for future use. A good tip is to pack and freeze only enough for each session, therefore, none are wasted.

The second of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Chequers (51.251010, 1.39189) on Sunday, 5th February (3pm to 7pm). Please remember that all competitors must be present at the Chequers venue no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 2:30pm.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 8.9°C, offshore (Downs) 7.4°C.


Monday, 2nd January 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

An impromptu dab-only match was organised by Brian Smith for the first of January from the groynes at north Deal. Surprisingly there were more smiles than grimaces and head holding amongst the 32 fearless anglers who faced the day's weather. Rain persisted most of the day and a fresh southerly breeze put colour into the water … which is not beneficial for dab fishing. The format of the comp was that the heaviest dab would win, with aggregates taking the rest of the pool monies. Of the 18 dabs that were caught most anglers who weighed in only had single figures. It was a tie between Brian Smith and Kate Withington for heaviest dab at 0.190 kg. Second with three dabs weighing 0.320 kg was Alan Fuller followed by Mick Carter in third place with two dabs weighing 0.190 kg. In fourth place was Dave Andrews with a single 0.170 kg dab. Shame about the weather; however, an enjoyable event (for only for the brave … or masochists) and hopefully an annual match in the future.

A couple of thornback rays have been caught from Deal Pier over the festive season with Michael Kent from Faversham having the largest (and fish-of-the-month) at 2.550 kg. He caught the fish on Christmas Eve using lug and squid as bait. Shane Bradford's 2 kg ray was landed three days later; and was returned to fight another day. Shane's successful bait was a large slice of herring.

The first D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign will be held at Horsa Road (groynes) (51.231428, 1.404148) on Sunday, 8th January (5pm to 9pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at the Horsa Road (groynes) venue no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 4:30pm.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 10°C, offshore (Downs) 8°C.


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