Rough cut - but we'll be back

ANGLING: It was with the weather in mind that Ipswich Sea Anglers planned their day trip to Samphire Hoe. This venue is situated just to the south of Dover and because it is on the rocky side preparation is important if you are going to succeed.


It was with the weather in mind that Ipswich Sea Anglers planned their day trip to Samphire Hoe.

This venue is situated just to the south of Dover and because it is on the rocky side preparation is important if you are going to succeed.

The main species at the Hoe are wrasse, pout and pollock, all of various sizes. To go with these you may find garfish, bass and mackerel.

There are, of course, others which occasionally show up, like conger, but for these fish specialist

tactics are required.

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The Hoe regularly produces some enormous bass – they can be seen swimming along the sea wall looking to pluck a meal from the well-stocked crab population.

Down to tactics, firstly bait. It couldn't be more simple, a bucketful of king ragworm is all you need for the bottom species, along with a few strips of mackerel for the garfish and pollock.

It was with this thought that Pop Provins, Nigel Rowe and myself found ourselves dodging the

showers as we made our way to the ragworm beds for the required bait.

There had been plenty of digging activity but we still managed a couple of pound of worms in just over the hour so I suppose we couldn't complain.

As we washed up in the river it started to rain, again! At least the forks and waders would be clean to put back into the car.

The trip was planned for last Saturday so as we had dug the worms on the Thursday evening they needed traying-up in sea water for a day and a half in preparation.

This allows the worms to clean themselves out. Putting a small amount of sea water in a cat litter tray and placing them in the fridge is the best way of keeping them.

Don't put too many in one tray and keep an eye on them, removing any worms that look like they are on their way out.

I spent most of Friday evening carefully wrapping them in newspaper. Putting about eight to 10 in each wrap, I find they redden up nicely while drying them makes them easy to handle.

I know anglers who advocate vermiculite as a way of drying out the worms but I find that with care this is not necessary.

Keeping the worms out of the sun and warmth of the car is always a worry. To combat this you can use a cool box or portable fridge.

Be careful not to crush the worms with ice blocks as the vibration of the car can completely flatten them into a mush by the time you arrive at your chosen venue.

Fourteen names had been put forward for the trip at the previous week's club meeting and it was agreed to meet at 6.0am. Some chance of that, someone is always late!

The alarm went off a half past four, allowing me time to pack the car, make a flask and pick Pop Provins up. As we drove along the Holbrook road a large deer stepped out in front of me.

A fantastic sight to see but sadly a few get hit by cars every year. This time it was lucky – were we going to be?

As the early part of the day came to life the prospects looked good – clear blue sky, no wind and plenty of sun which are perfect conditions for Samphire.

We must have been very keen because, believe it or not, everyone arrived on time and we were on our way on the dot of 6am.

For anyone planning such a trip, you have to go to the first roundabout in Dover, right round it and back out of Dover on the same road. This is because you cannot cross over the A20/M20 due to crash barriers.

A one-way tunnel, which is a bit on the dark side so have your lights on for safety, brings you out onto the Hoe so just follow the signs to the car park and don't forget to buy a ticket.

It's all snaggy so go prepared. Rotten bottoms are a must, along with plenty of leads. Nothing special, just nuts and bolts will do. Tackle is best kept simple. Two or three hook flappers with size two fine wire hooks and short snoods for the wrasse and pout.

If conditions allow spinning and float fishing are tremendous. Mackerel feathers or small hockies will catch all the mackerel you'll need.

If you've never caught a mackerel and then used a slice for bait you're in for a treat. It's nothing like the stuff you buy as fresh in the shops.

The favoured pegs are to the right and above 180. Saying that, fish can come from anywhere and there are some lovely marks to the left as well. It's so easy to get to that you can try different places along the wall. If you don't find one you like the first time try somewhere else.

The venue is relatively safe for children, with a concrete wall barring your way from falling off the side. Be sensible and you will have no worries.

There are plenty of fish straight down the side of the wall so casting is not necessary. Youngsters should catch plenty.

Pop's first cast with some lures landed a double shot of pollock, not a bad start. I must have had a really rocky peg as my lead count went through the roof during the day.

But I persevered and caught fish through out the day. Colin May, fishing the next peg to me, put a whole squid down the wall in search of bass. He left his reel on a ratchet and settled down to some wrasse bashing with his other rod.

After a while the ratchet started to go but he was disappointed as whatever had picked up his bait had gone into the rocks and broken him up. Perhaps one of those conger?

The morning continued to be busy with mackerel feeding at high water. We landed three or four at a time and these fish proved great fun and the highlight of the day because the weather worsened and the sea became too rough to fish.

The water went cloudy, just what you don't want there, but in the short time we had enjoyed it enough to ensure that we revisit the place again next year.

Any clubs wishing to make a day of it at Samphire Hoe, please get in touch with Ipswich Sea Anglers.