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. The 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 distance casts can be needed to reach the fish, and these beaches also get very busy during the day. Night fishing sees the tourists disappear and the fish come into shallower water and chances of catching improve. Lugworm, which can be dug locally, 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 the estuary can also be good for bass in the summer with plenty of spinning marks that can see bass caught close in. Dogfish can be plentiful from the beaches in summer with more desirable species such as smooth-hound and various types of ray also a 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 are great fishing opportunities 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. Peeler crab or hardback crab on a 3/0 – 4/0 hook fished at range could catch a smooth-hound from this area, 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 around and will take most baits if they are present. 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 various flatfish species. Smooth-hound and rays are also a possibility here. Low water is the best time to fish for them. 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 present. Dogfish can be out in number at times can be caught to worm baits fished close in, as can flounder. 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. Nearby 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 or late night is the only times fishing is possible. View this area on Google Maps here.

Sandwich Bay
Sandwich Bay © Mike Pennington

Sandwich Bay – Sandwich Bay is around 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 with ragworm, lugworm and peeler crab baits all producing fish (but step down to size 4 – 6  hooks if sole are the target). Smooth-hounds can be caught here with peeler, hermit or hardback crab being the best baits to use to catch this species. Thornback and undulate rays are also possible catches to mackerel or herring strip, bluey or sandeel baits, although distance casting may be needed. Whiting also arrive in the winter months along with some cod. View this area on Google Maps here.

Deal Pier
Deal Pier © Dr. Duncan Pepper

Deal – The pier is an excellent sea fishing venue that 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). 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 good cod can be caught along with dab and whiting. Anglers must buy a ticket to fish on Deal Pier and the pier may be closed to anglers at certain times of the year. View this area on Google Maps here.

Admiralty Pier
Admiralty Pier © John Marvin

Dover – Admiralty Pier produces species that are ideally suited to catch on lures and float fished baits such as garfish, mackerel and smaller pollock. Bass, sole, gurnard and rays may show to bottom fished baits and there is a chance of smooth-hound to crab baits on size 3/0 – 4/0 hooks. Winter sees flounder, whiting and dab, as well as some very good cod. The 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. Update: as of 2021 it looks likely that Admiralty Pier will be closed to anglers. View this area on Google Maps here.

Folkestone Harbour Pier
Folkestone Harbour Pier © Bill Henderson

Folkstone – Like many marks around this area Folkstone Harbour 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). There is also the 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. The 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 mark which produces plenty of fish and a range of species. It is a steeply sloping shingle beach that provides access to snag-free deep water close in. Locally dug black lugworm is the top bait which 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 ragworm or lugworm 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 fishing at night or when the water is carrying some colour will see the fish coming closer to the shore and increase the chances of 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 maggot, earthworm, small fish strip and bread baits and light gear and a quiet approach. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hastings Pier © N. Chadwick

Hastings – Hastings Pier was closed to public in 2006 due to being structurally unsafe and burned down in a fire in 2010. The pier has since been rebuilt and reopened and fishing is allowed, although anglers must buy a ticket and there are a large number of rules and regulations to follow and the pier is often closed to anglers. The beaches around the pier are also good fishing marks. The pier and beaches can produce a range of species. These include bass to peeler crab and ragworm baits, Dover sole and silver eels in the summer and flounder, codling and whiting in the autumn and winter. Thornback ray are also a summer possibility for anglers casting sandeel or bluey baits a long way, as are smooth-hound to crab baits. View this area on Google Maps here.

Pevensey Bay
Pevensey Bay © Kevin Gordon

Bexhill and Eastbourne – The beaches around this area can produce bass and silver eels in summer with peeler crab often accounting for the best fish. Cod and whiting are caught in winter and dogfish are caught all year round. A number of big smooth-hounds are also taken from this area every year to crab baits. The pier at Eastbourne is an excellent summer light gear venue where mackerel, scad and garfish can be caught on lures or float fished baits, although weever fish can also turn up in catches so anglers must be careful. Angling was banned on Eastbourne Pier in 2016 but has been allowed again since 2019 although anglers must now be members of an angling club to fish from the pier. Bottom fished baits can see Dover sole, and school bass caught in the summer and 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 and cod and flounder in winter. This mark generally fishes best over low tide, but anglers should be careful as there is the risk of sinking into soft mud in certain sections. The White Horses mark near Pevensey Bay will produce silver eels and dab in spring, bass, dogfish, Dover sole, mackerel and flounder in the summer. Bass and flounder will remain through autumn, with cod and whiting appearing in the winter. View this area on Google Maps here.

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 cliff marks can be dangerous. Areas that give access to deep water offer good lure fishing and spinning for bass with mackerel also taken. The point known as the Ledge is best for bass fishing which can also be caught in the mouth of the River Cuckmere. 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. Sea trout can also be caught here but a licence is needed to target 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 wide variety of species. The mark 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. The summer sees mackerel, garfish and scad caught on spinners, lures and float fished baits. Bass, dogfish and potentially thornback rays also be caught on bottom fished baits. There is also the outside chance of catching an unusual species from here such as a black bream or even triggerfish. Whiting and cod turn up in winter, along with flounder and rockling. The east side of the beach (towards Beachy Head) has deeper water and can fish better when the 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 – Parts of Newhaven Harbour such as the East Arm offer good fishing, although many areas which were once accessible to anglers have been closed. Summer will see pouting, gurnard, mackerel, silver eels and bass caught, and mullet can also be present on calm days. Late summer can be an excellent time for Dover sole which are caught on worm baits on size 4 – 6 hooks. Winter brings cod, whiting and flounder. 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.