South East England

Whitstable Beach

Whitstable Beach © Steve Weaver/Rockybiggs

Whitstable – Marks around the harbour can be productive for silver eels, flounder, dab, lesser-spotted dogfish and school bass. Similar species are caught from the pebble beach, casting between the wooden groynes. Open sandy beaches heading towards Seasalter can produce flatfish such as dabs and flounder as well as bass when there is some sea running. However, these beaches can be quite shallow, meaning long casting can be needed to reach the fish, and they also get full of tourists. Night fishing sees the tourists disappear and the fish come into shallower water and chances of catching improve. Lugworm can be dug locally and seems to be the top bait. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hampton Pier

Hampton Pier © Nigel Chadwick

Herne Bay – Spring will see flounder and silver eels caught from shore marks and estuary which can also be good for bass in summer with plenty of spinning marks that can see bass caught close in. Dogfish can be plentiful from beaches in summer with more desirable species such as smooth hound and various types of ray also a distinct possibility. Whiting and cod also make an appearance in the winter to the usual lugworm, squid and frozen peeler crab baits. Hampton pier is a good all round mark to fish for school bass, silver eels and lesser-spotted dogfish with ragworm, lugworm and peeler crab in the summer, and mackerel will also go for spinners, feathers and daylights. In winter there can be plenty of whiting which will take most baits, plus codling to lugworm and squid, flounder and dab to worm baits. High tide is the best time to fish here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Reculver Towers

Reculver Towers © Penny Mayes

Reculver – (three miles east of Herne Bay) There is great fishing oppourtunities around the towers of St. Mary’s Church with the sea walls and boulder marks around here offering flounder, dab, codling and whiting in winter and bass, dogfish and possibly Dover sole being caught to worm and crab baits in the summer. The beaches around the church and opposite Reculver Caravan Park also offer bass, dogfish and flatfish. However, from these marks peeler crab or hardback crab on a 3/0 – 4/0 hook fished at range could catch a smooth-hound, and there is also the chance of thornback ray and even a stingray to sandeel, bluey and mackerel fillet baits. View this area on Google Maps here.

Minnis Bay

Minnis Bay © David Mastin

Birchington and Margate – Minnis Bay is located in Birchington-on-Sea and offers dogfish and bass from the shore in summer, as well as thornback ray to mackerel fillet, bluey or sandeel baits cast at distance. Smooth-hound can also be caught if the sea is calm with crab baits (peeler, hermit or hardback) the best choice of bait. From autumn onwards whiting can be out in force with mackerel strip said to be the best bait, but in reality they are not fussy and will take most baits. Codling will also show. Kingsgate Bay, Botany Bay and Joss Bay all within a mile or so of each other between Ramsgate and Margate and consist of sandy stretches with rocky outcrops and offer the chance of bass to peeler crab or ragworm baits, as well as dogfish and flatfish. Low water is the best time to fish for them. Smooth-hound and rays also a possibility here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Ramsgate Pier

Ramsgate Pier © Penny Mayes

Ramsgate – Ramsgate pier and harbour offers plenty of whiting and some codling in the winter with the rest of the year seeing flatfish such as Dover sole, pouting and some school bass. Dogfish can be out in force at times as well and flounder can be caught to worm baits really close in. The pier, as well as other nearby marks around the harbour have plenty of mackerel taken over summer, with garfish and pollock also taking lures, spinners and float fished baits at times but the area can become packed with anglers. Beaches offer similar species with a number of large rays and smooth-hounds also caught each year, but beaches can be very busy with tourists in summer so very early morning/late night only times fishing is possible. View this area on Google Maps here.

Sandwich Bay

Sandwich Bay © Mike Pennington

Sandwich Bay – Sandwich Bay is five miles north of deal and has snag-free sand and shingle ground. It is fishable at any stage of the tide and can produce a wide range of species. Silver eels, lesser-spotted dogfish, bass and flatfish such as flounder and Dover sole are all caught in the summer. Multi-hook rigs are the best choice with size 1/0 hooks (maybe down to size 4-6 if sole are being targeted) with ragworm, lugworm and peeler crab baits all working. Fish can be caught close in at high tide. Smooth-hounds can be caught here at fairly close range if the weather is calm. Peeler, hermit or hardback crab are the best baits to use to catch this species. Use single hook rigs with 3/0 hooks in a strong pattern. Thornback and undulate rays are also on the cards to large mackerel or herring strip, bluey or sandeel baits. Clip down rigs and cast them out as far as you can to be in with a chance of catching this species. Whiting arrive in the winter months along with the cod. Try a pennell rig with lugworm and squid or whole squid baits to try and catch a big cod. View this area on Google Maps here.

Deal Pier

Deal Pier © Dr Duncan Pepper

Deal – The pier is an excellent sea fishing venue which offers a huge range of species. Summer bait fishing can produce species such as gurnard, dogfish, pouting, Dover sole and school bass to worm and mackerel strip baits fished on two hook flapping rigs with size 1/0 hooks (smaller hooks may be needed for the sole). There is great opportunities to fish light here with spinning for mackerel great fun for youngsters and float fishing also catching mackerel along with pollock and possibly a black bream. Presenting a float fished mackerel strip on a size 2 hook close to the surface can also catch a garfish here. Mullet will also be caught by anglers using stealthy tactics, very light gear and small hooks and baits such as earthworms, bread and maggots. In winter switch back to standard beachcasting gear to target the cod which come in. A large squid or cocktail bait made up of a combination of frozen peeler crab, squid, lugworm and mussels can catch a big one. Dab and whiting will also be in during the colder months and provide sport between cod bites. There is a charge to get on the pier and it has variable opening times so check this while planning a fishing session. View this area on Google Maps here.

Admiralty Pier

Admiralty Pier © John Marvin

Dover – Admiralty pier in is a top mark. In summer it produces which are ideally suited to catch on light gear such as garfish, mackerel and smaller pollock. Bass, sole, gurnard and black bream may show to bottom fished baits and there is a chance of smooth-hound to crab baits on 3/0-4/0 hooks. Winter sees flounder, whiting and dab, as well as a few very good cod. Go with big baits and hooks to catch a decent sized cod, with size 1-1/0 hooks for the other winter species. Tidal flow can be strong here and anglers can have problems holding the bottom – short casts and big grip leads help, but at some times fishing can be very difficult due to the tide. The pier has variable opening times and there is a charge to access the pier. View this area on Google Maps here.

Folkestone Harbour Pier

Folkestone Harbour Pier © Bill Henderson

Folkstone – Like many marks around this area Folkstone pier offers a good range of species. In the summer mackerel are caught on spinners along with garfish and scad, while Dover sole, dogfish and school bass can be caught on ragworm and lugworm baits (small sized 4-6 hooks needed for the sole). Outside chance of a smooth-hound to a peeler crab bait or a conger to a large fish bait on heavy gear. The cod and whiting are in during winter, as well as plenty of dab. Ground is mixed and there are some snaggy patches where tackle will be lost. There is a charge to access the pier for anglers. Nearby Rotunda beach also offers decent cod fishing to similar tactics in winter. In summer this beach produces big bass when the sea is running, as well as plaice and Dover sole in the summer and lesser-spotted dogfish are another regular catch from this mark. View this area on Google Maps here.

Dungeness Shingle Beach

Dungeness Shingle Beach © Simon Huguet

Dungeness Beach – Famous old mark which produces plenty of fish and a range of species. It is a steeply sloping shingle beach which provides access to snag-free deep water close in. Locally dug black lugworm is the top bait. The fish are switched on to feeding on this and it accounts for a large proportion of catches. The whole area produces fish but the areas next to the power station and the point next to the lighthouses are particularly favoured by anglers. Summer sees silver eels, lesser-spotted dogfish, sole and bass (some of which can be very big) from this mark. Try three small (size 4-6) hooks baited with rag or lug on a flapping rig for Dover sole, and a size 3/0-4/0 hook single hook clipped down with peeler crab for a smooth-hound or big bass. In winter whiting can be around in vast numbers and flounder and dab can show as well. Big cod are here and are caught on the black lugworm, but a whole squid on a pennell rig or a mussel and lugworm combination will also catch them. This mark can get very busy with anglers when fish are in. View this area on Google Maps here.

Rye Harbour C Mark Duncan

Rye Harbour © Mark Duncan

Winchelsea Beach and Rye – Winchelsea beach can be a little shallow to get species such as cod and thornback ray coming in, but can produce flounder, Dover sole and silver eels. It always fishes best after a storm or bad weather and coming at night or when the water is carrying some colour will see the fish coming closer to the shore and increases the chances of the shore angler catching. Species such as flounder and silver eel will travel quite far up the River Rother, and can certainly be caught from Rye Harbour. Mullet can also be observed here and can be caught by the angler using the usual maggot, earthworm, small fish strip and bread baits and light gear and a quite approach. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier © Brian Snelson

Hastings – Hastings pier was closed to public in 2006 due to being structurally unsafe, and burned down in a fire in 2010. However, the wreckage of what is left of the pier has decent fish present, including potentially big bass. Peeler crab and ragworm baits can work, as can a live-baited small fish. Surrounding beaches also produce bass, as well as Dover sole and silver eels in the summer and flounder, codling and whiting in the autumn/winter. Thornback ray are also a summer possibility for anglers casting sandeel or bluey baits a long way. Tourists can be a problem when day fishing in summer months, so night or very early morning is the best time to fish here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Pevensey Bay

Pevensey Bay © Kevin Gordon

Bexhill and Eastbourne – Thankfully, attempts to ban angling in Bexhill have failed. Beaches around this areas can produce bass and silver eels in summer with peeler crab catching the best fish. Cod, whiting are caught in winter and dogfish caught all year round. A number of big smooth-hounds are also taken from this area every year. The pier at Eastbourne is an excellent summer light gear venue, with spinning or float fishing for mackerel, scad and garfish providing great fun. There is a fair few weever fish caught here on feathers and daylights so be careful. Bottom fished baits can see Dover sole, and school bass caught in the summer, codling, whiting, flounder and dab in the winter and dogfish all year round. Pevensey Bay is a nearby beach made up of sand, mud and shingle. Dogfish, plaice and sole and chance of a ray, big bass or smooth hound during summer, cod and flounder in winter. This mark generally fishes best over low tide, but be careful as you can sink into soft mud in certain sections. White Horses mark near to Pevensey Bay will produce silver eels and dab in spring, bass, dogfish, sole, mackerel and flounder in summer. Bass and flounder will remain through autumn, with cod and whiting soon joining them. View this area on Google Maps here.

Update: Eastbourne Pier was severely damaged by fire in late July 2014 and will therefore be out of action for a long time to come.

Beachy Head

Beachy Head © John Webb

Beachy Head and River Cuckmere – Beachy Head has some great venues to fish but can be a long walk and think twice about fishing near cliffs – rockfalls have injured people in the past! Areas that give access to deep water offer good lure fishing and spinning for bass with mackerel also taken. Point known as the Ledge best for bass fishing. River Cuckmere is runs inland (obviously) from the South Downs Way and has bass in the mouth of the river. Mullet, silver eels and flounder can also be caught here and all travel surprisingly far inland. Float fishing can be an effective tactic to catch the eels, bottom fished baits will catch flounder, and stealthy tactics, groundbaiting and light gear will be needed for the mullet. Spinners and plugs will get bass and there is also the chance of a sea trout, although technically a licence is needed to take this species. View this area on Google Maps here.

Seaford Beach

Seaford Beach © Simon Carey

Seaford – Seaford beach is a good venue that produces a nice variety of fish. Point known as the Buckle in the middle of the beach is a favourite of local anglers. This is a steep beach that gives way to deep water at high tide, but can also be successfully fished at low water. Summer sees mackerel, garfish and scad to spinners, lures and floatfished baits. Bass, dogfish and potentially thornback rays will go for bottom fished baits. Also chance of something a little bit more unusual from here such as a black bream or even triggerfish. Whiting and cod turn up in winter, along with flounder and rockling. East side of the beach (towards Beachy Head) has deeper water and can fish better when sea is rough or after a spell of bad weather, especially for the cod. View this area on Google Maps here.

Newhaven Habour

Newhaven Habour © Mike Lis

Newhaven – East Arm offers the chance to cast into the bay or out towards Seaford beach. Summer will see pouting, gurnard, mackerel, silver eels and bass on the cards, as well as mullet to the usual tactics. Late summer can be excellent for sole. Winter brings cod, whiting and flounder. Port authorities are constantly restricting access to various parts of harbour to anglers and some good fishing marks are being lost to anglers due to lack of access. Further inland along the river offers some sheltered fishing points for similar species. Nearby Peacehaven and Rottingdean have some good rock marks to spin for bass from, with shore marks near the cliffs at Rottingdean also fishing well over winter for cod, whiting and flounder. View this area on Google Maps here.