dealpier.uk

Deal Pier & Beach Catch Reports 2017

This community website is regularly updated so click to refresh the page to see the latest content


Regular and frequent catch reports (aka fishing logs or "flogs") for Deal Pier and the 15 mile stretch of beach from Pegwell Bay south to St. Margaret's Bay are kindly provided by Dave Chamberlain and Dean Curry (Pleasure Angling). You can submit your own reports (and pictures) by emailing them to david@dealpier.uk

Catch reports from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 have been archived - to access click on the "Archive" button on the menu bar above

Top tips for camera phone pictures


Sunday, 15th October 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

From now until the New Year, Deal will be hosting some major sea angling competitions making it a busy time for the match anglers. The first will be a charity match held on Deal Pier to celebrate the Pier's Diamond Jubilee of 60 years. This competition is being sponsored by Dover District Council and the Deal & Walmer Angling Association. The event is on Sunday, 19th November, which corresponds with the same date on which the Pier opened in 1957. The match will start at 10am and end at 2pm. The prize money, which has been donated by the Deal & Walmer Angling Association, will be £300 to the winner, £200 and £100 for second and third places. There will also be £50 prizes for each of the the heaviest round and flat fish caught. The festival entry fee is £10 and all monies received will be donated to Walmer Lifeboat. Dover District Council will waive the Pier fishing charge to the competitors on that day; however, they should pre-book their entry, as only 90 pegs are available. Call one of the two following telephone numbers to reserve a place in the competition - 01304 373104 (Fred at Channel Angling) or 07973 305983 (Brian Smith). Due to the many matches that are on at this time of year and the reduced hours of daylight, digging worms becomes difficult and supplies are in short supply. Therefore it is best to book your bait in advance from the tackle shops to avoid disappointment.

Editor's note: braid may not be used by competitors

It has been a slow week from the beach and Pier with the sea temperature high and the water clear. A few dogfish, bass, scad and smooth-hounds were caught but the whiting are still scarce.

The Marines Angling Club has amassed a total of £380 from their charity matches this year and would like to thank all those who fished and donated. The charity which is receiving the money will be for Prostate cancer, which is a worthy cause.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.1°C, offshore (Downs) 16.3°C.


Sunday, 8th October 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Competition results last week were steady, but not spectacular. The first was on the Pier where members of the Marines AC held their daytime Sunday match. Conditions were not perfect with a freshening southerly wind and the fish hard to find. However, Tony Libby found six pouts, a dogfish and an eel for 2 lb 9 oz (1.162 kg) to win the event. In second place was Kevin Hadlow with 1 lb 8½oz (0.695 kg) and John Chidwick third for 1 lb 5½ oz (0.610 kg).

Later that day the Deal & Walmer Angling Association held a beach match at the Chequers on a rising tide. The four hour event went into darkness which was not improved with continuous rain and wind. Although there were whiting, pouting, sole, dabs and an undersized conger eel caught, it was mainly dogfish which made up the main weights. Brian Smith won with 3.110 kg (6 lb 13¾ oz) with his son, Louie, close behind with 2.800 kg (6 lb 2¾ oz). In third place was local tackle dealer Fred Leach who caught 5 dogs for 2.690 kg (5 lb 14¾ oz). Heaviest fish was a dog of 0.880 kg (1 lb 15 oz) caught by Pat Green and the heaviest flat, a dab of 0.280 kg (9¾ oz) from Louie Smith.

Anglers fishing the Deal AC evening Pier match found the dogfish plentiful and took advantage of the recently snag dragged lower deck to find fish without losing too much tackle. John Green cleaned-up with a 12 dogfish bag which included a treble shot for 6.480 kg (14 lb 4½ oz). Second and third spot was closely fought out between Tim Fagg (3.840 kg - 8 lb 7½ oz) and Dave Andrews (3.540 kg - 7 lb 12¾ oz) whose catch were a mixture of dogs and pout.

Paul Davis has hardly failed a month this year to catch thornback rays from Deal Pier. At the weekend he put his name on the Pier board for the 'fish-of-the-month' with a 2.600 kg (5 lb 11¾ oz) ray. On the same night Sandwich angler Billy Worsfold (see image) only just missed out with a smooth-hound of 5 lb (2.268 kg), also caught from the lower deck.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.1°C, offshore (Downs) 16.4°C.


Sunday, 1st October 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Martin Foulcer, who has recovered from a recent minor operation for a hook removal from his thumb, reports good catches from the Pier on Saturday night. His group of friends caught a total of seven smooth-hounds up to 5 lb, bass, pouts, dogfish and a codling. The codling will be of interest to many anglers who are speculating on the coming cod season. In recent years the cod have been a bit thin on the ground; however, all fishermen live in hope.

Before the weekend's strong westerlies, high pressure and an easterly wind put a slight glitch in the competitors' plans to catch plenty of fish. With the sea clearing, night tides produced the best results in the Margate AC beach from Kingsdown. Neil Creed found a dozen fish to win with 9 lb 14 oz (4.479 kg), which included the heaviest fish of the match, a dog weighing 2 lb 12 oz (1.247 kg). Second and third weights were Paul Beavis with 2 lb 12 oz (1.247 kg) and David Bullock's 2 lb 4oz (1.020 kg).

The Marines AC daytime competition in the groynes at north Deal fared worse with the sunny conditions and the fish shy. Two whiting and an eel were enough for John Chidwick to win the event with 2 lb 14 oz (1.304 kg). I managed a gurnard and a pout for 1 lb 4 oz (0.567 kg) and Roy Pitcairn came third with a pouting of 12 oz (0.340 kg). Bill Kinch's dab of 3 oz (0.085 kg) took the heaviest flatfish prize.

Jason Horton managed to hang-on to his lead in the Pier's fish-of-the-month competition for September with his 3.700 kg (8 lb 2½ oz) smooth-hound. With the low pressure and weekend gales, the fish should start to feed with plenty of whiting and dogfish taking the baits.

A date for the diary: Deal Pier will be holding a Diamond Jubilee (1957 - 2017) fishing festival on Sunday, 19th November with the proceeds going to Walmer Lifeboat. Details here and more to follow …

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.2°C, offshore (Downs) 16.9°C.


Saturday, 23rd September 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Autumn has kicked-in and the summer fish famine is almost over. At last, the fish are now become abundant again from the shore and Pier. Paul Davis managed four thornback rays up to 6 lb in a recent day session on the Pier's lower deck. Deal & Walmer Angling Association junior member Henry Thomas also brought a 5 lb ray to the net on the same day. Plenty of dogfish and whiting have been reported from the beach and the weed menace seems to have thinned out making the fishing easier.

Birchington AC held a night match at Walmer with a promising result. All of the competitors caught fish, with Kevin Scott getting the edge with his dogfish haul weighing in at 4.820 kg (10 lb 10 oz). Club chairman, Terry Marsh could not quite catch him up but put 4.510 kg (9 lb 15 oz) onto the scales, which included the heaviest fish of the comp, a dog of 0.850 kg (1 lb 14 oz). Fred Leach came third with 4.110 kg (9 lb 1 oz) in a close-run event.

The fish were still showing a couple of days later in the Deal AC 1919 evening beach rover. Martin Jenkins, fishing north of Sandown, took six dogs in his first three casts to top-up his eight dog win for 4.300 kg (9 lb 7⅔ oz). With four dogs and some whiting. Steve Hackett was second (3.600 kg - 7 lb 15 oz) and Brian Smith (3.200 kg - 7 lb 1 oz) third with a similar catch. Heaviest fish in the match went to Steve Hackett with a large dog of 1 kg (2 lb 3¼ oz) and his son, Josh, had second heaviest fish, also a dog, of 0.800 kg (1 lb 12¼ oz).

Sadly, I have to report the death of Margo Murray, who was the ex-landlady of the Rose Hotel for many years and also a keen angler. She made the front page of the Mercury in the 1970s when she made an official complaint about the Folkestone trawlers damaging the mussel/plaice beds off Kingsdown.

The tenth of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competition campaign takes place at Chequers (51.251010, 1.39189) on Sunday, 1st October (5pm to 9pm). 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 4:30pm.

For those who need an incentive, the match leader-board is published here

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.7°C, offshore (Downs) 17.1°C.


Saturday, 16th September 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

It is the unpredictability of never knowing what is going to be caught that drives many sea anglers to continue with their sport - and things can change within days as can be seen in the two latest competition results.

The masses of green weed had turned into a stringy red variety which was making shore fishing almost impossible on the flood tide. It was conspicuous in the Marines charity match held at north Deal beach with the competitors finding only one hour in the five hour comp fishable because of it. In the first hour, over the slack water, John Green landed two dogfish to win the event with 1 lb 10 oz (0.737 kg). Second and third place went to a 25 cm pouting for 7 oz (0.198 kg) by Ken Buxey and a 3½oz (0.099 kg) eel caught by myself. The only other fish brought to the scales was a 2½ oz (0.070 kg) dab from Roy Pitcairn.

Two days later, in the shadow of Storm Aileen and on an ebb tide, the sea coloured enough to make the fish feed in the Deal AC 1919 evening beach and Pier rover. There was hardly anything between the weights from each venue with Dave Andrews, on the Pier, catching seven dogfish with some pouting and whiting for the winning weight of 4.330 kg (9 lb 8¾ oz). Close behind him was Luke Hutton, fishing from the beach at Sandown Castle, with a dog catch of 4.260 kg (9 lb 6¼ oz) for second place and Martin Jenkins third with 3.940 kg (8 lb 11 oz). Luke Hutton had the heaviest fish in the match, which was a dog of 0.800 kg (1 lb 12¼ oz). It was noted that the Pier competitors did not lose any rigs to snags, so hopefully the recent Pier drag has made some improvement to the seabed.

Slim line, but powerful, grass carp are being caught from the Cottington Lakes with Lewis Pearce landing a beauty of 23 lb 9 oz (10.688 kg) in a recent session.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.2°C, offshore (Downs) 17.2°C.


Saturday, 9th September 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The results of the latest Deal & Walmer Angling Association's beach match, held at Walmer, have accentuated the lack of fish in daylight hours alongshore. As most of the members realised that it was going to be a hard competition there was an allowance to permit and return any fish over 18 cm to be registered. Even this did not help the majority of competitors. However, Luke Hutton did find a bit of ground that held two dogfish for his win with 1.650 kg (3 lb 10&frac24; oz). In second position was Martin Jenkins with a wrasse of 0.210 kg (7½ oz), and sharing joint third place, with two 20 cm plaice, was John Green and Andy Manning. With the winds strengthening it should not be too long before the water colours and the fish return.

Even the fishing on Deal Pier is slowing down, with the Saturday night group only securing two smooth-hounds, albeit they were large ones. James Horton's 'hound went 3.990 kg (8 lb 12¾ oz), although he put the fish back without registering it with the Pier attendant. His mate Wayne Shorter did record his though and is now fish-of-the-month at 3.700 kg (8 lb 2½ oz). An unfortunate accident occurred with the other angler in their party when he accidently put a hook in his thumb and ended up in casualty to have the hook surgically removed.

Jason Horton with the current FOTM - a smooth-hound weighing 3.770 kg Wayne Shorter with his 3.990 kg smooth-hound

A local boat has started to drag the seabed around the Pier for discarded and lost tackle. The boat will be back to clear the seabed to improve the fishing and reduce the incidence of lost traces. This is being undertaken with the help of Dover District Council following pleas from anglers who have found it difficult retrieving their lines and traces whilst fishing the Pier. A substantial amount of old leads, line, end tackle and debris was removed and it is hoped that it will make life a bit easier (and less costly) for the anglers by reducing tackle losses.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 18.2°C.


Saturday, 2nd September 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

September is usually the month to target large bass from the beach and boats. As the evenings draw in, a session in darkness often produces better results. Fishing over the low water marks with outsized baits, such as half a mackerel or whole squid, could produce a fish of a lifetime. To prove the point, Stuart Stead from Ramsgate certainly set the ball rolling when he landed a 10 lb 3 oz (4.621 kg) bass on a recent boat trip on the Lady Anne.

Golden grey mullet (Liza aurata) were thought to be an unusual species to catch from the beaches of Deal. Unlike their larger cousins - thick-lipped grey mullet (Chelon labrosus) - these fish are taking baits meant for other fish on bottom rigs. The last couple of years this species have been caught locally and can be distinguished by a gold spot on the gill just behind the eye. These fish seem to be more common than thought and, recently, one jumped into Jane Shorter's boat as she was training with the Deal, Walmer & Kingsdown Rowing Club. I believe there is not a lot of culinary delight in these fish; nevertheless, they are quite sporting on light tackle and small hooks.

As predicted, Paul Davis has won Deal Pier's fish-of-the-month competition with his 4.470 kg (9 lb 13⅔ oz) thornback ray he caught in August. The rays have now thinned out from the Pier with less being caught - but smooth-hounds are still around for those who have peeler crab baits. Mackerel shoals are starting to become patchy and as soon as the sea takes some autumn colour they will move away from the inshore waters.

The Deal 1919 AC is holding a fun pirates-themed Pier-fishing competition on Sunday, 10th September from 11am till 3pm with all the family welcome. There will be a prize each for the most 'piratey' male, female and child pirate. And remember, Tuesday, 19 September is "international talk like a pirate day" …

The ninth D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign will be held at Walmer Castle (top car park) (51.202032, 1.402374) tomorrow (Sunday, 3rd September) 3pm to 7pm. Please remember that all competitors should be present at Walmer Castle (top car park) no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 2:30pm.

View the detailed match results and updated leaderboard here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 18.3°C, offshore (Downs) 18.9°C.


Saturday, 26th August 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Two recent weekend evening beach matches started in almost perfect conditions. The weather was kind with a light westerly wind and calm sea as the Deal & Walmer Angling Association held their annual sole and flatfish match. The venue was at Cambridge Road and expectations were high with the rising tide and a warm night's fishing. Unfortunately, as the tide made, so did vast quantities of weed become abundant and spoiled the chances of a good weigh-in. It was almost impossible to keep the bait in the water for longer than ten minutes before the rod tip swung around with a mass of weed attached to the line. Kevin Scott did manage to find a sole of 27 cm weighing 0.180 kg (6⅓ oz) attracted to his hook with ragworm bait in the last hour of the comp. Second and third places were won, respectively, by Julian Attwood with a flounder and Andy Manning with a plaice.

The other match that night was Birchington AC who fished Sandwich Bay. They also found the weed was a problem and the fish being put off by its presence. Fishing only a few yards out, Gordon Morris tempted three pouting to win with 0.490 kg (1 lb 1¼ oz), just beating club chairman, Terry Marsh, by a mere 20 gm (¾ oz). A single eel put Keith Day into third spot with 0.110 kg (3¾ oz).

As there have not been any storms of late, it is impossible to know the reason for so much weed alongshore but it is thought that the warm sea temperature has caused this phenomenon.

Septuagenarian Tony Libby, reports a cracking day's sport at Stonar Lake, near Sandwich. Using a pole and sweet corn/worm bait he caught six roach over a pound in weight, with his two best going 2 lb 14 oz (1.304 kg) and 3lb ¾ oz (1.380 kg). He also landed four perch up to 2 lb 9 oz (1.162 kg) in the same session.

The ninth D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign will be held at Walmer Castle (top car park) (51.202032, 1.402374) on Sunday, 3rd September (3pm to 7pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at Walmer Castle (top car park) no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 2:30pm.

View the detailed match results and updated leaderboard here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 18.5°C.


Saturday, 19th August 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

At one time Deal Pier was considered to be the most modern pier in Britain. Built in 1957, when steel reinforced concrete was in fashion, it has lasted 60 years. Unfortunately, like everything exposed to salt water, the jewel in Deal's crown is beginning to look a bit tired. The steel reinforcement is starting to rust and expand making the concrete crack. However, it is still a safe platform to fish from and hopefully the proposed repairs will maintain it for many more years to come.

At the moment, the Pier is also the place where most fish are showing as the Saturday night group - comprising Kevin Gisby, Wayne Shorter and Martin Foulcer - discovered. Using crab baits they found the smooth-hounds feeding on the ebb tide. From the lower deck they caught these mini sharks up to 7 lb (3.175 kg) in weight, all of which were returned unharmed to the sea after weighing and photographs.

Martin Foulcer Wayne Shorter Kevin Gisby

The mackerel catches are beginning to thin out, with the weather starting to colour-up the sea. As September approaches the whiting shoals should begin to appear which will keep the anglers busy on the beaches and Pier. Once the sea does colour-up and cool down, the dogfish will also make a comeback.

For the nine anglers who fished the latest Deal AC 1919 rover beach match, eight were disappointed with no sizable fish to the scales. The competition was won with a single dogfish of 0.650 kg (1 lb 7 oz) caught by Brian Smith from the Walmer beach stretch.

On the freshwater scene, Tom Skirrow had a great time with the carp in a recent session on Lake Christine from the Cottington Fishery, when he managed to land nine carp from 21-32 lb (9.5-14.5 kg). Another good catch on the same lake went to Chris Dyas who caught a 25 lb (11.340 kg) mirror carp and 28 lb (12.700 kg) common.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 18.6°C.


Saturday, 12th August 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

There is one angler who has put in 30 dedicated thornback ray fishing sessions on Deal Pier this year. His average per trip has been two rays for each time he has fished from his favourite venue on the lower deck. For many, fishing is just a pastime to enjoy the fresh air and hopefully catch a few fish. For others, angling can be treated as a discipline, in which specialising, targeting and catching certain species brings more pleasure. This seems to be the case for Darenth Fishing Complex owner Paul Davis, aged 54, who, as a regular angler on Deal Pier, has made a name for himself. In a recent excursion last week, he caught four more rays to increase his total to 60 this year. In this catch he not only bettered the Pier's August fish-of-the-month (which he had already secured) but improved the weight of his thornback catch to 4.470 kg (9 lb 13⅔ oz). If Paul does win, which is highly likely, then that will be his third win of the Pier's heaviest fish prize in the past four months of this season.

Deal Pier's main attraction at the moment are the mackerel shoals which are giving sport to many of the holiday makers; although a day of northerly wind did put a little colour in the sea which slowed the catches of this lure-caught fish. Previously, when the sea was crystal clear, the Pier attendants noticed vast shoals of mullet and bass nosing around the piers around the second shelter. They also reported seeing some large sea trout in amongst the other fish.

There have not been many catch reports from the beach and the weed has been a problem at times over the high water. Some school bass have been caught from Sandwich Bay on worm baits, but most are on the small size, with the occasional sizeable one.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 18.2°C.


Saturday, 5th August 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

At long last the mackerel have arrived in vast numbers along the beach and on the pier. With the crystal clear sea, the shoals of whitebait have attracted these mini tuna to come in close enough for the anglers to catch. Using feathered hooks or lures mackerel become easy targets whilst they are on the feed.

Some clubs do not allow mackerel to be weighed in at matches, although this did not affect the results of the latest Pier comp held by the Deal AC 1919. Patrick Green was kept very busy by fishing alongside the Pier piles and amassing an astonishing weight of 9.180 kg (20 lb 3¾ oz) of sizable pouting in the three hour match. He was chased by Steve Hackett who could not catch him; however, he returned a reasonable haul of 7.663 kg (16 lb 14¼ oz), which included a wrasse of 0.420 kg (14¾ oz). Trying to tempt the pollack was not a good move for Dave Andrews, who came in third with 3.140 kg (6 lb 14¾ oz), although he did have a sizable codling of 36 cm (14 in). The heaviest fish in the match fell to John Green - a dogfish of 0.510 kg (1 lb 2oz).

Apart from the mackerel, once again it has been another slow week from the Pier with the ray catches being sparse. Nevertheless the 'resident' thornback expert, Paul Davis, has managed to put his name on the August 'fish-of-the-month' board with one of 3.100 kg (6 lb 13¼ oz). The wrasse have been providing sport for those dropping their baits in the well from the lower deck of the Pier, along with scad and pouting. Almost any bait will attract these fish, although it does not need to be too large and presented on a medium size hook.

Pleasure Angling, the popular tackle shop in Beach Street, has now closed for good at the weekend after eleven years of trading.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 17.8°C.


Saturday, 29th July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The thornback rays seem to be moving offshore, as none have been reported being landed from Deal Pier this week. Dartford angler Paul Davis has won the Pier's 'fish-of-the-month' competition with the 4.440 kg (9 lb 12½ oz) ray that he caught earlier in July.

Looking back at past records, it is not unusual for the sea fishing to be in the doldrums at this time of year. Many sea anglers revert to fresh water where they know they will get returns from well stocked lakes. With several fisheries in the proximity to Deal, this is not a problem and tackle, bait and licences can be purchased on site. However, it is likely there should be more fish showing up inshore soon due to the current unseasonal weather conditions, stirring things up a bit.

Nevertheless, all is not lost for the beach and Pier anglers who specialise and target certain species for a bit of sport to break the monotony of being fishless. Over the last few years LRF (light rock fishing) has become popular. Although the 'rock' side of it can be slightly confusing, it mainly entails fishing down the side of piers and harbour walls which hold a multitude of mini species. To most anglers this might sound moronic; even so, on the correct tackle it can become addictive. Light rods, more suitable for fresh water fishing, are used with light line and small hooks. Many of the fish, blennies, gobies, wrasse, sea scorpions and topknots, which seldom grow over a half kilo in weight, are never seen by the average angler. Some of their colours are exotic with bright blues and reds with extraordinary body shapes and fin variations. Also around the pier piles and harbour walls are pouting, pollack and scad, which, in the right conditions, are always active.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 17.9°C.


Sunday, 23rd July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The fish famine on the beaches continues with the latest competition returns being dire and the sea temperature starting to peak at over 19°C. No fish were brought to the scales by the members of the Broadstairs and St Peter's SAC in their beach match from Sandwich Bay. Deal AC 1919 did a little better with Andy Manning finding two dogfish for a 1.480 kg (3 lb 4¼ oz) win. Last cast produced a solitary dog for Martin Jenkins to take second place with 0.790 kg (1 lb 11¾ oz) and Dave Andrews in third with a scad of 0.160 kg (5½ oz). The following night saw Birchington AC fish Walmer beach with Tony Wraight catching a dogfish and a pout to win the match with 0.870 kg (1 lb 14½ oz). I was lucky enough to land a couple of eels for 0.360 kg (12½ oz) to take second place; however, no other fish were weighed in.

In the Marines AC match at north Deal the results would have been just as poor if it wasn't for the explosion of mackerel feeding on the whitebait. As the club allows five mackerel to be weighed-in, these, along with two scad and a pouting gave me a win with 5 lb 2 oz (2.325 kg). Tony Libby was second with a similar catch for 3 lb 14 oz (1.758 kg), beating Dave Alldis into third with 2 lb 7 oz (1.106 kg). As no dogfish showed-up, I had the heaviest fish with a mackerel of 12 oz (0.340 kg).

Deal Pier is still the venue to find a few fish. Ray expert Paul Davis, who has had well over 50 thornbacks this year, is currently leading the Pier's 'fish-of-the-month' from the lower deck. He landed a 4.400 kg (9 lb 11¼ oz) ray using bluey baits presented on a pulley rig.

A mention must be said for the Saturday night anglers who have saved a possible major fire on Deal Pier. They found a wheelie bin ablaze outside the Pier's café and their prompt actions, along with the Pier attendant, prevented a serious incident occurring.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.8°C, offshore (Downs) 18.6°C.


Friday, 14th July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Regrettably Deal is not only losing an angling shop but also a local character who has endorsed fishing and the town for many years. Dean Curry is retiring from the tackle shop Pleasure Angling, after being proprietor for 11 years. His input for angling and excellent bait, plus promoting the town of Deal has been impressive over this period. He has, up to recently, included an amusing, daily weather forecast on YouTube which had many followers. As a long term angler, he was always generous with advice to customers on what was being caught and where. This closure will leave only one tackle shop in the town, Channel Angling, which is situated at the entrance to Deal Pier.

The prolonged calm spell is having an adverse effect on beach fishing. In daylight, the results have been very poor with hardly any fish showing at all. Birchington AC Sandwich Bay rover brought a zero return to the scales at their last match. Again the clear and warm sea was blamed for the lack of fish. Darkness would be the most productive time to fish the beach, with bass and sole as target species.

Deal Pier is the only local daytime venue worth trying at the moment, with the slightly deeper water holding a few more fish. Rays, dogfish, mackerel and smooth-hounds are being caught from the lower deck, with pouting, wrasse, pollock and gobies from around the Pier piles.

Deal AC 1919 will be holding their junior Pier festival on Sunday, July 23rd from 11am till 3pm. The competition is open to children under the age of 16 years. Entry fee is £1 which includes the Pier rod charge. All the juniors win a prize along with free drinks and sweets. For more information, phone Pat Heath on 01304 361248.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 17.2°C, offshore (Downs) 18.3°C.


Saturday, 8th July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Dave Andrews had a hectic time in the latest Deal AC 1919 Pier match. Taking advantage of the clear sea, he opted to drop his bait around the Pier piles which hold the feeding fish. In the three hour comp he lured a total of 37 sizable pouting, 3 wrasse, a scad and a blenny for a total weight of 5.500 kg (12 lb 2 oz). In the nonstop fishing, Steve Hackett failed to catch him up and returned 3.320 kg (7 lb 5 oz) to the scales for second position; beating Graham King's 3.110 kg (6 lb 13¾ oz) into third. It was left up to John Green's dogfish to take the first and second heaviest fish of the match weighing 0.720 kg (1 lb 9⅓ oz) and 0.550 kg (1 lb 3⅓ oz) respectively.

With the clear sea, mackerel have been showing from the beach and Pier. Using feathered lures, Deal Pier has seen a few over the high water although Dover's Admiralty Pier has provided the most. When these fish are shoaling they make easy targets for the anglers. Without taking more than necessary, they have delicious eating qualities, or can be frozen down as bait for future fishing trips.

This year has not been a good season for thornback rays at Sandwich Bay, yet Deal Pier is still the favoured venue for these fish. Most days are seeing a few caught from the lower deck. Stuart Bush landed a fine specimen of 4.100 kg (9 lb ½ oz) and this ray is presently the 'fish-of-the-month' for the Pier. Herring, sand eel and bluey are the preferred baits to target the rays.

Rays have not been the only decent fish to show from the Pier as the 'Saturday night gang' proved. During a 90 minute session in the darkness they managed to land 20 smooth-hounds on crab baits. Martin Foulcer had six and Neil Creed five, although the largest fish fell to Kevin Gisby's bait at 7 lb 12 oz (3.515 kg).

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 18.3°C, offshore (Downs) 17.9°C.


Sunday, 2nd July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Saturday night gang strikes again.

Deal Pier's Saturday night group are making the most of the smooth-hound season with their latest catch reaching 20. Martin Foulcer found six with Niel Creed close behind him with five. The largest 'hound of 7 lb 12 oz (3.515 kg) came to Kevin Gisby's rod in the 90 minute feeding spree.

Wayne Shorter Neil Creed Kevin Gisby Martin Foulcer and Kevin Gisby Martin Foulcer

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.1°C, offshore (Downs) 17.2°C.


Saturday, 1st July 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

A group of anglers have been successfully fishing the lower deck of Deal Pier on Saturday nights for some time. Using the right tackle and their knowledge, they very seldom come away without a result. Their latest session comprised plenty of dogs, a ray and a bass of 5 lb along with several decent size smooth-hounds. The best 'hound of 9 lb (4 kg) fell to Martin Foulcer's rod when he presented a frozen peeler crab on a pulley rig. Smooth-hounds are normally crustacean-eating fish and do not have sharp teeth, although very shark-like in their features. A recent national newspaper report stated that a smooth-hound had attacked a surfer off the south coast - which found ridicule from anglers who know that they are harmless. The two types of smooth-hound - starry and common - can grow to just over 20 lb (9 kg) in weight and are known for their strong fighting abilities.

The Pier has also been a successful venue for Darenth fisheries owner Paul Davis who, at the time of writing, has caught a grand total of 42 thornback rays this season.

Sam Price has won the June 'Fish-of-the-month' competition (and vouchers) with his 5.85 kg (12 lb 14⅓ oz) ray. These tackle vouchers are kindly donated each month by Deal's two bait and tackle shops Pleasure Angling and Channel Angling for the largest fish caught from the Pier. As a generous gesture, Mr Price, who is 26 and comes from Dover, is donating them to a group of disabled anglers who regularly fish the Pier. The vouchers can be used to stock-up on lost tackle and bait.

Martin Foulcer's 9 lb 'hound Martin Foulcer's bass Shane Bradford's smooth-hound

Anglers and promenaders will be pleased to see the very popular Pier attendant Chris Burrows back on duty after a long illness.

From 1st July, the government's ban on retaining bass has been lifted. One sizable bass (42 cm or longer) per day may be kept from the angler's catch.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.1°C, offshore (Downs) 17°C.


Sunday, 18th June 2017

Catch report by (Matt) londoncityangler

The original plan was to fish the Pier on Saturday night but it was closed forcing us to delay our start until Sunday morning. My hopes for a smooth-hound or skate were not that high but I thought I would start the session with big bluey/squid combos on both rods anyway. Starting with casting every 15 minutes to asses the crab problem my fears were proven right - even the heavily wrapped baits were getting destroyed. I went into the 'cast rod 1, rebait a rig, cast rod 2, rebait a rig and repeat' routine for the first 2 hours with only my bait supply going down and my fish count going nowhere. The bait was being destroyed so quick it was unreal, with a max of 10 minutes if there was anything left the presentation and scent trail coming from my beautifully crafted cigar was destroyed.

The anglers all around me were having lots of action from under the Pier with pouting, bass and even a fair size wrasse being caught.

I was almost giving into the temptation to join them when finally I had a couple of firmer plucks and my first dog was soon on its way in. This gave me the confidence that just maybe the fish could get there before the crabs stripped the bait off my hooks. The next 4 hours were not amazing and very hard work but I ended up with 6 dogs, a dog-and-crab combo and this little smooth-hound that made my day and the trip a success.

On another theme, through course of habit from being a carp angler and religiously feeling my lead down to the bottom, on numerous occasions I was bumping into fish on the way down. The feel is very subtle and unless you knew what you were looking for would be easily missed. As a conclusion, there must be schools of fish there mid-water but the crabs destroy anything you put down on the bottom before they get a chance to sniff the scent.

My thinking cap is now firmly on and hopefully in time for our trip next year I will have a better plan to defeat those pesky crabs. Or at least keep the bait down there for 20 minutes with a bit of confidence.


Saturday, 24th June 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

During the recent spell of hot weather, the catch rate for the anglers seems to have deteriorated somewhat. The sea temperature has risen and the colour has disappeared from it making the fish shy. The only chance of a decent catch of fish is either from the boats or after dark from the Pier or beach. The last two daylight beach matches have seen just a few bringing fish to the scales, leaving the majority fishless.

Deal & Walmer Angling Association held their weekend comp on one of the hottest days this year. Of the 14 competitors, only four weighed in with the odd dogfish to the distance casters. Louie Smith topped up his two dog win with a fish on his last cast at 1.180 kg (2 lb 9½ oz). In second place was Luke Hutton's single dog for 0.780 kg (1 lb 11½ oz) beating Steve Swan's similar catch of 0.650 kg (1 lb 7 oz).

The Deal AC 1919 did not fare much better in their evening beach rover match. A dogfish of 0.670 kg in his bag with two pouting put Fred Leach in pole position for a total of 1.250 kg (2 lb 12 oz) which was the heaviest catch of the match. John Green found three pouting weighing 0.790 kg (1 lb 11¾ oz) for second spot beating his son Patrick Green's single dogfish for 0.650 kg (1 lb 7 oz). The only other fish caught was a dog of 0.580 kg (1 lb 4½ oz) from Ken Withington.

Deal Pier seems to be fishing better with the deeper water holding a few fish. Some rays have been caught and a few bass as well. The late night Saturday anglers found the smooth-hounds feeding on crab and live prawn baits with them amassing 12 fish up to 5 lb (2.26 kg).

There have been a few mackerel caught from the Pier and it should not be long before the conditions are ideal and the main shoals arrive.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 16.7°C, offshore (Downs) 16.5°C.


Saturday, 17th June 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The recent southerly breeze and spring tides has put some colour in the sea and helped with the catching of fish. However, the down side is that it has brought a lot of weed inshore and made angling off the beach almost impossible at high tide. Once the tide breaks, and is on the way out, the fish start to feed again and the weed settles down.

Dogfish have been found in vast numbers from the Pier and their larger brothers, the smooth-hounds, have also been showing. The Saturday evening group bagged-up on some nice specimens from the bottom deck of Deal Pier. Equal best from the smooth-hound catch went to Wayne Shorter, with a fish of 4.200 kg (9 lb 4¼ oz). All of the 'hounds came to peeler crab baits fished on pulley rigs.

The Pier also produced the top weights in the latest Deal AC 1919 comp. John Green brought 18 dogfish to the scales to win the event with 9.360 kg (20 lb 10¼ oz) beating Fred Leach's 8.090 kg (17 lb 13 ⅓ oz). In third place was Dave Andrews who struggled with the weed on the beach for 7.860 kg (17 lb 5¼ oz).

Birchington AC had similar problems when they held their beach match at Walmer. Kevin Scott found enough dogs through the weed to come first with 4.270 kg (9 lb 6½ oz) in the five hour comp. With a large pouting and dogfish, Terry Wraight's 4.080 kg (9 lb) was enough for second and Dave Andrews was third with 1.660 kg (3 lb 10½ oz).

From June 16th the close season for freshwater fishing in the rivers was lifted. Stretches of the River Stour should produce some nice size roach and chub plus good catches of bream. With the settled weather approaching a day on the river bank is inviting, however, an EA licence is required and anglers are requested not to leave litter at their swims. The minority, who do, makes bad publicity for the majority who enjoy and respect their sport.

The seventh D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign is to be held tomorrow (4pm to 8pm) at Sandown Castle. Please remember that all competitors should be present at Sandown Castle no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 3:30pm.

The match leader-board is published here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 15°C, offshore (Downs) 16.7°C.


Sunday, 11th June 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

It was once said that Deal was the Mecca of sea angling. This belief must still be acknowledged as many of the 'away' fishing clubs hold their matches on the Deal beaches and Pier. Last week was no exception and, to my knowledge, there were three clubs that held their matches on the same day.

The first was on the Kingsdown beach at Boundary Road where Margate AC had the best result. Paul Davis captured 13 fish for a total weight of 16 lb 2 oz (7.314 kg)to win that event. In second place was Ian Day with a slightly smaller catch of 11 lb 13 oz (5.358 kg), beating Bill Kinch into third position with his six fish catch of 9 lb 4 oz (4.196 kg).

At the far end of the beach at Sandown, the Herne Bay AC staged their evening comp with a large entry of 35 anglers. Local man Andy Manning used his peeler crab to success and amassed two smooth-hounds and three dogfish for 11 lb 8 oz (5.216 kg). He also had the heaviest fish of the match with his smooth-hound of 4 lb (1.814 kg). In the clear settled conditions it was close for the second and third spots with Rob Bates four dogs pushing 6 lb 12 oz (3.062 kg) against Saul Page's four dogs and a pouting for 5 lb 8 oz (2.495 kg).

Deal Pier saw the Greenhill SAC fish their match with Simon Stephenson catching 78 pouts for 7.760 kg (17 lb 1¾ oz). Raymond Phillips stayed on the dogs with 3.640 kg (8 lb ⅓ oz) and in third place was Ray Phillips with 3.060 kg (6 lb 12 oz).

On Friday, Dover angler Sam Price was the first to have his name entered on the Pier's 'Fish-of-the-month' board for June. His catch was a fine 5.800 kg (12 lb 12½ oz) thornback ray, which will be hard to beat. Price was fishing from the far north side of the lower deck and lured the fish with bluey bait. Smooth-hounds were making an appearance for the late night Saturday anglers, with a few being caught around the 8-9 lb (3.6 - 4.0 kg) range.

The seventh D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign is to be held at Sandown Castle on Sunday, 18th June (4pm to 8pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at Sandown Castle no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 3:30pm.

The match leader-board is published here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 13.9°C, offshore (Downs) 14.9°C.


Sunday, 4th June 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

For many anglers, competition results can be boring. However, it shows what is about at the moment, with top class anglers targeting them. As can be seen in the following report, it is mainly dogfish.

Birchington AC held their Deal rover match last weekend. With miles of beach to choose from it can be hit and miss to get on the fish - especially when the sun is shining and the sea is clear. These conditions did not stop Gordon Morris from charming 11 dogfish out on a mark near Walmer Gardens. His 7.300 kg weight was enough to top Keith Day's 6.020 kg for second position. Club chairman, Terry Marsh, came third with an all-dogfish bag for 3.620 kg. Heaviest fish was a 0.900 kg dog for Gordon Morris.

The Deal AC 1919 evening beach rover saw the top five competitors catch over 5 kg of sizable fish apiece. It was neck and neck up to the last cast for Dave Andrews when he put two more dogs into his 11 fish total of 6.250 kg. Up to that point, Graham King was keeping up with him with his nine dogfish for 5.640 kg. Martin Jenkins just missed out on second spot with 5.490 kg bag of dogs. The heaviest fish was, yet again, a dogfish of 0.900 kg for Fred Leach and, as no flat fish were caught, Martin Jenkins took second heaviest fish with 0.850 kg.

The settled weather has brought in a smattering of mackerel from Deal Pier and one was reported from the beach. Thornback rays are not so prolific at the moment and Paul Davis took the fish-of-the-month award with his 5.700 kg ray caught from the Pier in the middle of May. The June award is, at the time of writing, up for grabs and the board on the Pier entrance remains blank …

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 14.4°C, offshore (Downs) 14.6°C.


Saturday, 27th May 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The latest Deal Angling Club 1919 Pier and beach match became hectic for the nine competitors who fished the evening comp. For those who went on the Pier they had a choice of fishing the concrete stanchions for pouting or seeking out the dogfish. Graham King started on the pouting catching an incredible total of 59 sizable. On the flood tide he changed tactics and cast out for the dogs, securing eight and a massive total weight of 10.550 kg. Luke Hutton's preference of the beach, found him at Kingsdown catching the dogs. On his last two casts he topped-up with a double and triple shot giving him a weight of 8.420 kg with 15 dogfish for second position. Also on the Pier and the pouts was Dave Andrews, who, with a few dogfish, put 7.940 kg onto the scales for third. The heaviest fish in the match was caught by local tackle dealer, Fred Leach, with a dogfish of 0.920 kg. As no flatfish were landed, Brian Smith took that pool money with the second heaviest fish, a dog of 0.800 kg.

Although I have been fishing all my life, I must admit I'm a bit shaky on naming the mini species that live around the Pier piles. Not knowing my goby from my blenny, the fish I recently caught on the Pier in competition was identified as a 'Montagu's Blenny' and weighed all of 0.070 kg. When I looked up the mini record size of my 20 cm fish, I learnt that Montagu's blennies only reach a maximum of 7.6 cm. So I'm none the wiser - if it was a 'Butterfly blenny' then it would have been a British record; however, the other three different species records are higher than my 70 gm fish. Either way, I was grateful as the fish saved me from blanking - although I did come last in the match.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 13.3°C, offshore (Downs) 14.8°C.


Sunday, 21st May 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

There have been very few reports of fish being caught from the local beaches at the moment. May weed is affecting the fishing, although the north Kent coast is seeing plenty of large smooth-hounds to those lucky enough to have peeler crab as bait.

The Pier's fish-of-the-month board has been upgraded for the third time this month when Darenth Fishing Complex owner, Paul Davis, tried some salt water angling. Davis has been putting quite a bit of time on the Pier with great success with the thornback rays during the past couple of weeks. As reported last week he had as many as nine rays in an evening session; however, his latest catch is the heaviest ray so far which tipped the scales at 5.700 kg. His successful bait was a sand eel wrapped in bluey fillet.

Another group of anglers were singing the Pier's praises when they landed 12 bass, dogs and pouting from the lower deck. They also stated that their largest fish, a bass of around 10 lb, was lost at the net. Their bait was peeler crab and all the bass were returned to the sea unharmed, as is the law at the moment.

The Deal & Walmer Angling Association held an evening Pier match on Sunday which attracted an entry of 17. Fishing up to darkness saw the proverbial dogfish showing, although numbers were down due to the sea clearing of colour. The fishing was difficult and a third of the competitors failed to weigh in. Winner was Richard Yates who topped up his three fish with a double shot of dogs on his last cast. Yates' five dogs went 2.980 kg beating Steve Swan's five dogfish for 2.144 kg. In third place was Martin Jenkins with 1.800 kg and he also had the heaviest fish of the match, a dog at 0.720 kg. No flatfish having been caught, Tim Fagg's 0.700 kg dogfish took the second heaviest round fish award.

The seventh D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign is to be held at Sandown Castle on Sunday, 18th June (4pm to 8pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at Sandown Castle no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 3:30pm.

The match leader-board is published here.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 12.2°C, offshore (Downs) 12.9°C.



Sunday, 14th May 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

So far this month, Deal Pier has continued to provide sport for the anglers with dogfish, smooth-hounds, rays and some fair size whiting. It was reported that one angler had 9 rays in an evening from the lower deck, north side, averaging 5 lb to 7 lb. Kev Gisby was the first to put his name on the Pier fish-of-the-month board with a thornback of 3.750 kg. A few days later, this was bettered by one of 5.050 kg caught by Swanley angler Brian Drury.

Dover specimen hunter, Brian Price, has found some cracking smooth-hounds from the Admiralty Pier in a daylight session from the outer wall. He landed a 'hound of 12 lb followed by a 14 lb 10 oz whopper (see image) being guided into the net. Brian's secret is that he uses hardback crabs instead of peelers, as they attract too many dogfish. Mounted on a 4/0 circle hook which allows minimal damage to the smooth-hound and easy un-hooking for a safe return. When returning these fish from a high wall, it is best to put them back into the drop net and then lower it back into the sea.

The Marines AC held their open, prostate cancer charity match in varied conditions along the beach at north Deal on Sunday. Showers, sunshine and a fresh south-west wind kept the sea coloured; although there was a bit of May weed over the high tide. However, the dogfish still showed with a few whiting and pouting. Winner was Kevin Gisby with seven dogs and a dab for 9 lb 12 oz. Second and third places went to Dave Alldis (8 lb 7 oz) and John Chidwick (6 lb 10 z). The heaviest fish was a dog of 1 lb 14 oz caught by John Libby. The club managed to raise a total of £133 for the prostate cancer charity through entries and raffle moneys.

The sixth of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Deal Pier (promenade deck) on Sunday, 21st May (5pm to 9pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at Deal Pier Approach no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. by 4:30pm.

For those who need an incentive, the match leader-board is published here

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 11.1°C, offshore (Downs) 11.8°C.


Sunday, 7th May 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The main feature of this past week has been the strong, cold north-easterly wind. It has made the sea rough and brought in vast quantities of weed on the strong tides which has hampered the beach anglers. With these conditions, Dover Admiralty Pier has been a better option as it is sheltered from the northerly wind. There have been a number of medium size smooth-hounds caught on peeler crab from the end section, although Josh Buckingham was skilful enough to land a specimen. The fish was caught after the tide started to ease and gave a good scrap as he brought the 17 lb 8 oz 'hound to the net. These fish are regarded for their sporting abilities, with many saying they are the hardest fighting fish in the sea. Although edible, most anglers return them to fight another day. Father and son, Frank and Mark Ballard also released their fish after a good day on the Admiralty Pier. They caught a ray of 9 lb 14 oz, smooth-hounds, pouting and a small conger eel.

Saturday night saw a slight wind change to the north which pushed the dogfish inshore for the Margate AC beach match fished at north Deal. Although the conditions were not ideal, veteran angler Tony Libby showed his worth when he pulled in 21 fish for a convincing win with 26 lb. Martin Cooper could not catch him up and came second with 17 dogs for 20 lb 2 oz just beating Paul Davis into third position with his 19 lb 3 oz. Most of the other competitors managed to weigh-in around 10 lb of fish making it all worthwhile.

The Marines AC are holding a prostate cancer charity open beach match at north Deal on Sunday 14th May from 11am till 4pm. Book-in at the Coast Guard shelter prior to the competition.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 11.1°C, offshore (Downs) 11.1°C.


Saturday, 29th April 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The expected thornback rays did not show in the latest Deal and Walmer Angling Association's beach match at Sandwich Bay Estate. It was slightly disappointing for the 18 competitors who had to make do with a few dogfish, dabs and whiting. With the shallow water, casting at range was essential and everyone was trying to get maximum distance. Steve Swan pulled in a triple shot of dogfish, after putting his bait out 150 yds plus; however, he only managed one other for the rest of the match. With the fish being spasmodic, it was left up to Andy Manning to win the event with six fish for 3.010 kg. In second place was Martin Jenkins' 2.770 kg and in third, Steve Swan's four dogs for 2.440 kg. Heaviest round fish was a dog of 0.890 kg caught by Mark Wilkie and heaviest flat, a dab of 0.150 kg from Brian Smith.

The following evening saw 17 members of the Broadstairs and St Peter's SAC hold their competition at Walmer and Kingsdown beach. The evening rain did not put the fish off with Mike Ferrier catching 17 dogfish and four pouting for a points win of 436. Second place, with 379 points, was Neil Creed and third, Dave Andrews' 280 points. The longest fish - dogs barred - was Creed's 35 cm pouting.

Deal Pier is still producing the rays, with Kevin Gisby catching five, from 5 lb to 9 lb, in a weekend session. Sittingbourne couple, Steve and Keia Neville, caught their first ever thornbacks, which were large at 5.100 kg and 4.750 kg. They were fishing from the extreme south end of the lower deck over a two day period and their successful bait was bluey.

With only a day to go, it looks likely that Ivan Rubins has won this month's voucher for the heaviest fish caught from Deal Pier; with a 6.110 kg thornback ray.


Ivan Rubins with his thornback ray

Ivan Rubins holds three fish-of-the-month Pier records:

  1. heaviest thornback ray (6.917 kg, 15 lb 4 oz, January 2012)
  2. heaviest fish (post 2009 - the above thornback ray)
  3. heaviest dogfish (0.95 kg, 2 lb 1½ oz, March 2010))

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 10.6°C, offshore (Downs) 10.9°C.


Monday, 24th April 2017

Catch report by Stephen Neville

Fishing from the Pier's lower deck on Monday, Stephen Neville caught this female thornback ray weighing 5.100 kg (11 lb 4 oz).


St George's Day 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

The largest bass from the area at 19 lb 4 oz has been caught from the Ramsgate charter boat Skerry Belle. Angler Wayne Milton landed the mega bass in only 28 feet of water, using peeler crab as bait. The fish, which is just short of the British boat caught record, was duly returned to the sea alive after capture.

Even on the short tides the dogfish came out to play in the latest Deal AC 1919 beach comp. Half of the competitors fished the extreme limits of the rover match at the slipway in Sandwich Bay. Their aim was to catch a ray, however, none showed up, although the largest fish was caught there. Paul Cox's 0.800 kg dogfish was enough for the heaviest round fish in the match. The winner, Dave Andrews, fished from the south limits at Walmer and bagged-up with 12 dogs and a few bits for a total weight of 8.070 kg. Graham King could not catch him up with 10 dogs for 6.140 kg and tackle dealer Fred Leach put 3.550 kg on the scales for third place.

The rays are continuing to be caught from Deal Pier in good numbers, though not as many large females as in the past. The fish are appearing most days for those who are targeting them. Roo Hodges had a good mid-week daytime session and landed four from the bottom deck, as did Ken Withington who equalled that number. A few thornbacks from the promenade deck have also been reported.

Local boat Gary Anne, skippered by Dave Lawrence, has also been in amongst the rays with some catches into double figures for his anglers. Most of the fish have been coming from a mark two miles off Sandown Castle.

On the fresh water scene, Tom Skirron caught a 30 lb 8 oz carp from the Cottington lakes and female angler, Claire Whitty, catching one of 14 lb 6 oz.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 10.6°C, offshore (Downs) 11.1°C.


Sunday, 16th April 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Over the last week, Deal Pier has produced some very large thornback rays. It started when a group of local anglers had a great session on the Pier last weekend. Fishing from the lower deck, they found the fish feeding on the ebb tide. Shane Bradford landed a ray at 5.700 kg, which was one of two thornbacks that he caught on a pulley rig with size 4/O hooks baited with bluey. Close behind him was Martin Foulcer's 5.370 kg ray, which took peeler crab on a similar rig. Another ray of 2.100 kg was landed by Ian Morris and Kevin Gisby caught a bass of 2 kg. The following evening, Kevin Gisby landed another ray of over 5 kg. Not to be outdone, Ivan Rubins put a superb 6.150 kg thornback onto the Pier's fish-of-the-month board beating the other contenders. This fish is going to be hard to beat, although the other anglers will be making every effort to try before the end of the month. Along with plenty of dogfish and pouts, all of the fish were returned to the sea alive. To catch the big thornbacks, large fish baits are a must.

Local anglers, Shane Bradford, Kevin Gisby, Ian Morris and Martin Foulcer enjoyed a Saturday afternoon session on Deal Pier. They had rays to 5.700 kg, bass 2 kg and plenty of dogs and pout. All the fish were returned alive to the sea.

Greenhill SAC held their evening beach match at Sandown Castle with an 11 entry of anglers. Darkness brought the fish on the feed and a good selection of dogfish, pouting and whiting were caught. Although the club use a points system, the winner, Dave Sales, had 16 fish for over six kilos to amass 6,384 points. With nine fish, Ray Phillips came second with 5,522 points and Simon Stephenson came third with 5,192 points. The largest fish of the match was a dogfish of 0.860 kg caught by Dan Wall.

Since the 1st April, Deal Pier's new opening times are 8am till 10pm weekdays, 8am till midnight on Fridays and all night on Saturday/Sunday.

The fifth of the D&WAA members-only 2017 competitions takes place at Sandwich Bay (10th Green) (51.259633, 1.391961), a 5 minute walk (0.3 miles) south of the Sandwich Bay Sailing & Water-ski Club slipway at Cambridge Avenue, Sandwich Bay, Kent CT13 9PU (51.26345, 1.39016) on Sunday, 23rd April (5pm to 9pm). Please remember that all competitors must be present at the Sandwich Bay (10th Green) 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) 10.5°C.


Saturday, 8th April 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Thornback rays have moved back in on Deal Pier again, with several being caught at the weekend. The largest last week was a magnificent 5.400 kg landed by Great Chart angler, Roo Hodges. Fishing the north side of the lower deck the ray was safely guided into the landing net and then weighed-in by the Pier attendant. Dover's Admiralty Pier was the venue for an 8.700k g Blonde ray which was captured by Martin Humphries. This is his personal best ray, which fell to a bluey bait.

With Deal Pier back to summer hours, eight of the ten competitors who fished the latest Deal AC 1919 comp decided to give it a try. They were not disappointed, as this was where the winning weights were decided. Spying the clearer sea water, Dave Andrews conjured-up 14 sizable pouting from between the Pier piles. As it got dark, he switched his tactics to the dogfish and caught six, bringing his total winning weight up to 4.370 kg. Brian Smith managed seven dogs for second spot with 3.700 kg putting Graham King into third with 2.370 kg. However, the heaviest fish went to Neil Creed, who was fishing the beach, with a dog of 0.730 kg. Creed also had the heaviest flat in the match as well, a dab of 0.120 kg.

With the sunshine, the sea temperature is warming and encouraging the shore crabs to moult. Peeler crabs are being found in large numbers from around the Kent coast and it should only be a matter of time before the smooth-hounds show as well from the beaches.

Since writing last week's journal, the Environment Agency has increased the fees for a freshwater fishing licence to £30 and £20 for senior citizens and disabled. Nevertheless, the fine for not having a licence has not changed at up to £2,500.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 10°C, offshore (Downs) 10.4°C.


Saturday, 1st April 2017

Dave Chamberlain's angling journal

Plenty of dogfish were coming off Deal Pier after last week's north-easterlies. Pier attendant Gordon Bushell cast a line from the lower deck on his day off and was rewarded with an 8 lb ray which fell to herring bait. Warren Hayes has tried to better the 4.420 kg thornback ray that he caught earlier in March, but to no avail. The dogfish would not leave his large herring baits alone, with one being caught almost every cast. However, he was awarded the Pier's March 'Fish-of-the-month' voucher for his previous ray.

Apart from dogfish and whiting, the rays have been a bit thin on the ground from the beaches. This was proven when Steve Stephenson had enough dogs to win the Herne Bay Herons AS Jackson cup match for a total weight of 10 lb 14 oz. This weight was good enough to beat 16 of his fellow members who fished the club's Deal beach rover.

Thornback rays have been showing from the Admiralty Pier at Dover. Reports of multiple catches have been told with the largest at 11 lb. When fishing the Admiralty, it is always prudent to take a drop net, as many large fish have been lost because of the height of the Pier wall.

From April 1st, freshwater anglers will need to renew their fishing licence. This will enable them to use up to two rods at any one time. The annual cost is £30 a year, or £20 for pensioners and disabled. There are one-day (£6) and eight-day (£12) licences available for the casual angler, and to be caught without one could end up with a fine of £2,500. Click here for details. Until the end of the close season in the rivers on 16th June, this licence is valid for lakes, pond and pits.

Current local sea temperatures: inshore (beach and Pier) 9.4°C, offshore (Downs) 9.7°C.

The fourth D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign is to be held at Hythe (Imperial Hotel) 51.06768, 1.09396 on Sunday, 2nd April (1pm to 5pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at the Hythe venue (i.e. in the car park located at the junction of the Marine and Princes Parades opposite the Hythe Imperial 4-star hotel and Twiss Groyne - see Google Maps link above) no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. 12:30pm. This match:


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.

The fourth D&WAA members-only competition of the 2017 campaign is to be held at Hythe (Imperial Hotel) 51.06768, 1.09396 on Sunday, 2nd April (1pm to 5pm). Please remember that all competitors should be present at the Hythe venue (i.e. in the car park located at the junction of the Marine and Princes Parades opposite the Hythe Imperial 4-star hotel and Twiss Groyne - see Google Maps link above) no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled start time i.e. 12:30pm. This match:

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.


Top