Beaches are one of the most popular fishing destinations in the UK and it is not difficult to see why – many feature easy access, snag free fishing and a multitude of different species to catch.
Despite many beaches looking similar there can be a huge range different features hidden beneath the water and every beach will require different methods and techniques to catch the fish which are present there. The beaches around the British Isles offer great views, snag free fishing and the chance of some very good fish – just avoid the crowds that descend on these venues in the summer months!
Sandy beaches are home to many me species of fish which are highly sought after by anglers. Flatfish are obviously adapted to live on flat sandy seabeds and are a regular catch from beaches.
Flounder are often caught very close to the shoreline as they come into incredibly shallow water – they will happily feed covered in just a few inches of water. Sandy beaches can also hold ray species with thornback rays the most commonly targeted ray species in the UK.
Cod are a familiar catch to many beach anglers in the winter, while summer can see big bass coming into very shallow water as they feed just behind the breakers when some sea is running.
Pouting, whiting and silver eels will all also show around sandy beaches, and anglers fishing on sandy patches which are located next to rocky areas may find themselves having the best of both worlds as species associated more with the rocky ground will also be caught.
These sandy beaches have an ample supply of razorfish, crab or lug-worm can bag some decent sized bass and flatfish here.
For mackerel or mullet, the islet of Burry Holmes is the best bet at Llangennith. Watch the tide though! Here soft bait such as crab or mussel is the preferred lure.
The large expanse of quiet sands at Whiteford offer a multitude of locations to set up rod and line. Flatfish and bass are the usual catches here using lug or rag-worm (which can be dug for locally). At low tide, fishing at the disused lighthouse can result in a good catch of flatfish.
For all you fishing equipment and bait visit Country Stores in Gowerton.
Beach Fishing Equipment
While some anglers use tournament and specialist distance rods these are not necessary for successful beach fishing – a general, all round beachcasters are designed for this type of fishing (hence the name). In terms of reels a decent quality fixed spool reel or a casting multiplier would be perfect. As there is very little chance of getting snagged, but a need for distance, it makes sense to use 15lb main line with a shock leader of the appropriate strength. Other equipment needed would be some kind of rod stand or rod rest, and most anglers bring a fishing box that they can sit on during a long fishing session.
When targeting flatfish on beaches anglers often step down their equipment and fish using light gear – usually 11ft bass or specialist flatfish rods which are rated to cast 2-4oz, as the snag free conditions allow gear this light to be used.
Most anglers find they have much more fun and enjoyment fishing for flatfish such as plaice, sole and flounder which are unlikely to weight more than 1lb using this type of gear, and angler targeting bass may also use this type of set-up due to the additional subtlety and finesse this type of equipment offers.
Beach Fishing Rigs
As with all types of fishing the species being targeted dictates the rigs that are used. Anglers fishing close in for flatfish will more than likely use multi-hook rigs as casting range is not important and having three baits in the water allows a greater scent trail to be built up and increases the chances of hooking a fish – the three hook flapping flatfish rig would be a good choice for this kind of fishing. For general fishing where a range of different species are being sought at medium range the two hook flapping rig is a good all rounder for fishing a beach mark. However, anglers fishing at long range would be better off using a clipped down rig such as the single hook clipped rig down if putting a big bait out for a larger species such as a cod or a ray, or using a cascade rig if targeting smaller species.