Kent Coast Sea Fishing Compendium
The building in the background is the Guildford Hotel which was demolished in 1974
Sandwich Bay is situated behind the Royal Cinque Ports golf course north of Deal and is reached:
- via a right of way along the Golf Road 1.1 miles from the Deal end of Golf Road at 51.23636, 1.3984 to The Chequers Inn, Golf Road, Deal CT14 6RG (01304 362288) at 51.251010, 1.39189, or
- by following the sea wall north from Sandown Castle (at the end of Sandown Road at 51.238420, 1.40170) for 1 mile (not recommended as the surface is rough and the path very exposed).
The shingle beach at Sandwich Bay gives way to a smooth, sandy seabed with virtually no snags to hamper your fishing. This means while your rod taps to the tune of thornbacks, smooth hounds, Dover soles, eels and bass … your sessions are going to be enjoyable.
The Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course (1920)
The most popular mark anglers choose is known as the 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 (51.26332, 1.38849). Small boats and leisure craft are launched and landed at the slipway (also a top mark: 51.26345, 1.39016), so always be aware when casting or retrieving that there are no incoming or outgoing craft.Slipway and 10th Green fishing marks (LIDAR map)
Target times should be when the water is coloured, especially after a south westerly blow, on a medium to big tide. A good tip is to fish from low water up to high, but if you can arrive an hour before you start to fish, then you may just have the pick of the marks, before the beach begins to fill with arriving anglers.
If thornback rays are in your sights then the top baits are herring and mackerel fillets, sand eels and bluey, all mounted on a single 4/0 hook or Pennell-pulley style rig. From low water, a longer cast may be required to reach the fish, but as the tide creeps up the beach almost anywhere can produce catches.
Peeler crabs are essential when you want to target smooth hounds and eels. Use the same rigs for the hounds as you would rays, but multi-hook rigs with size 2 Aberdeen hooks are best for the eels.
Some nice Dover soles can be caught but night tides will be best for these. Use a two-hook boom rig loaded with ragworms, and if you can reach 80 yards then you stand a real chance of locating them.
Good bass are taken every year and if it's these you seek then think short. Big baits like mackerel heads, flappers and fillets or whole squid, should be dropped at the edge of the shingle. As well as fish baits, bass will be attracted to yellowtail lug tipped with ragworm.
Night tides may prove to be more productive, so keep all lights off the water and try not to crunch about on the shingle too much, so you don't spook them. Specimens over 11 lb have been landed here in the past.
Summer offers bass, thornback rays, smooth-hounds, dabs, soles and eels. Winter gives cod (150+ yards), codling, whiting and pouting.
In the winter yellowtail lug gutted or live are good for catching cod. Tip with mackerel, herring or a sand eel for whiting. Peeler crabs are good for the cod during the winter and in particular December and January.
Keep your tackle simple as no specialist gear is required at Sandwich Bay. A 13-14ft beach caster coupled with a multiplier or fixed-spool reel will do the job easily.
Load your reels with 15-18 lb mainline but use a strong shock leader in the region of 70-80 lb. This helps if a smooth hound rolls on the shingle at the edge, where its rough skin can cut through mono very easily.
Always use breakout sinkers, usually 5-6 oz or 7 oz may be required in a particularly strong tide. Not only will this keep your bait anchored to the bottom, but they actually do help to hook fish.
Stour Estuary Sandwich Bay Stour estuary (LIDAR map)
Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve
… is one of the most important coastal nature conservation areas in Britain. With its complex mosaic of habitats and unique location on the migratory flight path, the reserve is home to a huge variety of water birds.
The sand and mud flats are also important to the livelihoods of local bait diggers. The most important roosting sites for the birds, including internationally significant numbers of up to 12,000 Golden Plovers, are the mudflats just off the edge of the saltmarsh as shown, and at Shellness point.
An agreement has been reached between local bait diggers and bird-watchers to help lessen the impact of human disturbance on the birds within the National Nature Reserve.
Pegwell Bait Digging Workshop - Actions Agreed:
- Kent Wildlife Trust's "GrantScape Biodiversity Enhancement Project" improvements will include new information boards around the reserve, which will explain its importance for birds and their sensitivity to disturbance
- Further information in the form of a flyer/leaflet - with maps to indicate the most sensitive bird roosting sites - to help raise awareness, especially amongst visiting diggers
- General publicity will help raise the profile of the National Nature Reserve
Avoiding Roosting Birds in Pegwell Bay
- Bait diggers will use simple 'avoidance' actions - such as walking around the main concentration of roosting birds when going to, or from, their digging site
- Other visitors will be encouraged to stay on the marked paths, and to avoid using the mudflats
- For all to keep a 'watching brief' - to help monitor the level and type of disturbance to the birds
- After at least one year, the nominated representatives will meet to discuss the effectiveness of the above actions to review the situation
The Thanet Coast Project and Kent Wildlife Trust have been working with local people to reduce disturbance to wildlife from coastal activities. This bait digging/bird watching workshop was held in December 2007. Further information on the Thanet Coastal Codes can be found at www.thanetcoast.org.uk and about the reserve at www.kentwildlifetrust.co.uk. The Kent Wildlife Trust wardens can be contacted on 01843 851137.
At Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate
Postcard (postally used 1914)
"Sea Fishing for Amateurs: A Practical Book on Fishing from Shore, Rocks, or Piers" (1904) Frank Hudson at page 93
Sandwich (Kent) - Fishing: Fair. Fish: Bass, codling, dab, grey mullet, plaice. Best Months: May to October.
"Modern Sea Angling" (1921) Francis Dyke Holcombe at page 264
In Pegwell Bay, not far from the entrance to the "mystery" port of Richborough, there are sometimes some good flat fish.
"Modern Sea Fishing" (1937) Eric Cooper at pages 44 to 48
We must now consider the case of the angler fishing on sand … The variety of fish may be caught from such positions will certainly not be large, but the flatfish can now be added to the bass and cod of the shingle bank.
Wading, though not essential, may be advantageous on many shores, particularly if the water should shelve very gradually and you are unable to cast out a good distance.
The length of the cast will have to be greater than that necessary from the shingle. Exceptions to this will, of course, be found, many shores shelving rapidly. Generally a cast of 40 yards should be aimed at as a minimum for shore casting; in some waters 60 or 70 yards may be necessary.
Tides, though not slack on all shallow shores, may be generally considered less strong than those on (shingle beaches) …
The ground tackle which should be used may be the same as that (for shingle beaches) … but it is even more important that the paternoster should be as fine as possible … As the lead can generally be light for this casting, a trace may be used instead of the paternoster and it may carry one, two or three hooks. For bass a single hook, or at most two, will be best. For flatfish three can be employed satisfactorily. If you combine in the one tackle a hook or hooks above the lead for bass, and a small hook on a trace for the flatfish, it is ten to one that when the bass takes the bait, it will be that on the hook which it was not arranged he should take. If he is a heavy specimen he will probably break away.
The remarks previously made on reconnoitring the ground you intend fishing are, of course, equally applicable to the sandy shore. From a cursory glance, the stretch of sand may appear flat and devoid of life, yet on a closer inspection it will be seen that it is made up of banks of firm sand, with channels of a more muddy texture in between. On the incoming tide, the little flatfish will be feeding on the minute crabs and almost microscopic shell-fish, and here in pursuit of them will come the bigger fish. On the sandbanks, where during your inspection you will have seen the cast of the lugworm, there will be a plenitude of food when the tide is up.
"Sea Angling" (1965) Derek Fletcher at pages 185, 186, 191 & 192
The stretch of the English Channel which borders Deal offers a large variety of fish, making an ideal spot for the keenest fisherman or the veriest amateur. Proof of this is the evidence that one lady angler caught 365 lb of fish in one day.
The beach-angler can fish all the year round. During the winter months the locals fish to the north of Deal where there is an eight-mile stretch of sand . Dabs, flounders, whiting and skate are generally to be found. In spring to autumn the fishing is more central, on another five-mile stretch of shingle beach, with patches of rock . From here codling, dogfish, pouting, flatfish and a few bass are landed.
Boat-fishing, when conditions are favourable, can be followed in all months. Late spring brings in the skate in large numbers. Also the tope are on the move and these fighting fish can be caught into late summer. Very deep water is to be found within a quarter of a mile from the shore. During the tope season, which is mostly on the Goodwin Sands four miles from Deal, large bags of mixed fish can be caught by those who prefer general fishing to tope work. Mackerel can be had on feathered lures, also skate, dogfish, dabs, whiting and conger.
In summer months good sport is had with bream, pouting and flats quite near to the shore. Autumn brings in the codling and whiting shoals, skate, dogfish, herring and sprats. Conger enthusiasts will find plenty around the numerous wrecks that surround the area, but it is best to have the services of a local boatman. Boats, rowing or motor, can be hired.
On the mouth of the River Stour, this is a great centre of both freshwater and sea-fishing. Sandwich Bay is about 1½ miles from Sandwich itself, and the river end of the bay is usually the best. Flat-fish can be had in most months, bass and silver eels in the summer; codling, whiting and pouting in the winter.
The centre of the bay is good, but fishing is hopeless during the summer holiday season which usually lasts from Whitsun until September. Local anglers usually avoid this section for this reason. The most popular area is from the Guildford Hotel  towards Deal. The beach has a good depth of water and big fish are caught here, codling, whiting, pouting and dogfish in the winter, with bass in the summer. Skate come into the bay between Easter and Whitsun, but a north-east wind is needed to catch them. The most common fish in the bay are flounders, with other flat-fish well to the fore. It is only possible to fish on high water for about four hours, two each side of the top.
The bait is mainly lugworm, but cockles and mussels can be used. Yellow-tail lugworm are found in the centre beaches of the bay, with common lug near the river mouth. The yellow-tail is the largest and best bait for the East Kent coast and bait diggers come from neighbouring towns.
 Pegwell Bay to Sandown Castle
 Sandown Castle, Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown
 Demolished in the summer of 1974 (see postcard image above)
"Sea Fishing in Kent" (1973) Hugh Stoker at pages 34, 37, 38 & 40
Deal and Walmer … Shore Fishing
… 3. Sandhills. North of Deal the shoreline becomes progressively more sandy and gently shelving. There is useful shore-casting in this area between Sandown Castle and the 6th green of the adjacent golf course, particularly during the autumn. Catches include codling, whiting, dabs, sole, plaice, dogfish, pouting and occasional flounders in season. The sole are mostly taken after dark. Local yellowtail lugworm is a good bait here …
… Now for a selection of boat marks. Those numbered 6 - 11, and 14, are positioned fairly close inshore, and are the ones best suited for visiting anglers fishing without the guidance of a local boatman. Even so, it is always a wise precaution to select a mark which will provide one with a favourable tide for the return journey …
9 Trawler Buoy
A green wreck buoy marks the position of a sunken trawler about ½ mile off Sandown Castle. This is a likely spot for cod in season, and surrounding sandy ground may also yield flatfish, dogfish and ray.
10 Sandhills Area
Various locations within the comparatively shallow area of Sandwich Bay are likely to yield thornback ray, dabs, plaice, sole, codling, dogfish; also flounders in season. Some of the sole run to a good size but are mostly taken right inshore in only a few feet of water. The river Stour empties into Pegwell Bay, at the north end of this area, and this freshwater outlet provides an attraction for flounders. In fact most kinds of flatfish are likely to be encountered in the sandy shallows and channels.
11 No 1 Buoy
Situated about 1½ miles off the Sandhills shore, this is a very popular fishing area and, unlike most other boat marks off Deal it can be fished during Spring tides. One rewarding position lies a few hundred years north east of the buoy and here one may catch good thornback rays (sometimes very plentiful) as well as dabs, plaice, dogfish, codling, etc. A local angler commenting on this mark also says: "At one time it was the only place around Deal to produce turbot. I have seen 8 or 10 a day caught, but they were mostly small, around the 4 lb mark. Lately, however, they have been catching much larger ones here and there over a wider area."
13 South Brake Buoy
This mark is noted mainly for thornback rays and dogfish, together with large pouting …"
Local Bait Grounds (Chart symbols are shown in brackets)
Lugworms (L) can be dug on the extensive tidal flats of Pegwell Bay. Yellowtail lugworms can be dug along the shores of Sandwich Bay.
Cockles (K) are also found in the sands and shallow pools of Pegwell Bay. They make an excellent bait for plaice, whiting, soles and many other fish.
Peeler and Soft Crabs (C) are most likely to be found during the warmer months around L.W. springs, on rocky and weedy stretches of shore. One likely area is the extensive stretch of rocks bordering the west wall of Ramsgate harbour. Also further round towards Pegwell Bay, where the low tide rocks adjoin softer ground, and among the chalky rocks in the Broadstairs area …
"Estuary Fishing" (1974) Frank Holiday at pages 93 & 94
… Many flounders are caught by anglers surf-casting for bass especially when a rolling leger is used. I have heard it said that flounders do not like a rough sea but this has not been my experience and one of our best bags - consisting of fish on or over the 2 lb mark - was taken from a moderate surf in late September … It was noticed that fish in these conditions were feeding close to the shore, often in no more than a couple of feet of water. If spiked leads had been used in anchoring our tackles far out in the surf the baits would not have rolled round and picked up the flounders. These tactics have paid off on so many occasions that we now use them as standard routine when we want flounders.
… In the south-east flounders start their return from deeper water in early spring. In the Stour estuary in Kent, for example, good catches start to build up around March. Flowing three-hook leger traces are widely used with small (No. 4) hooks on 6-8 lb snoods. Weed is often a problem at this and other estuary locations. Lug is a popular bait on the Stour. Many locals believe that neap tides are the best for flounders and that the best time to start fishing is about an hour after low water, just as the tide starts to lift. On the Stour, as with many other estuaries, there is always the chance of an additional bonus in the form of a spring codling or even a few school bass.
"Fisherman's Handbook" (1977) The Marshall Cavendish, Part 9 at pages 231 to 235
The Kent Coast
Map showing the sand banks and wrecks where fine cod and conger are fished
The Kent coast offers some of the finest sea angling in the British Isles. Many species are encountered with cod predominant, particularly during the autumn and winter. The great advantage of fishing this coastline is that excellent fishing can often be had only a mile or two beyond the embarkation point.
The North Sea, ebbing and flowing through the Straits of Dover, gives rather fierce tides, but the relatively shallow water compensates for this. Rarely is it over 14 fathoms deep, and is on average 7-10 fathoms. There is good fishing up the Thames as far as Gravesend and the Isle of Sheppey but this is estuary fishing. Open sea fishing begins at Whitstable.
Whitstable is reached directly from London via the M2 and A299. The sea around this town is shallow for the first five miles out, and on average less than three fathoms deep. Boat anglers can expect to find dabs, whiting and cod in winter, and flounders, eels and bass in summer. Shore anglers enjoy beachcasting for the same species from the gentle shelving beach east of the harbour.
Herne Bay lies 4 miles to the east of Whitstable still on the A299. Several available charter boats will take anglers to the famous Pansands for the excellent bass fishing in the summer, or to the broken ground off Reculver for winter cod fishing.The town was famous for its tope fishing before the war, but this species seems to have declined since then. The average depth here is about 3 fathoms until one reaches the shipping lanes nearly 7 miles out.
Most varieties of seafish are caught in the appropriate seasons with thornback ray and smooth-hounds especially prolific during the peeler crab season in April, May and June. For the shore angler, fishing from the Eastern Promenade can be very rewarding, particularly in the autumn and winter after dark. Unfortunately the ¾ mile long pier was closed as being unsafe in 1968.
The twin towers of the ruined church known as Reculver are 3 miles east of Herne Bay. The beach here shelves gently. and thornback and stingrays are caught during spring and summer and cod and whiting in autumn and winter. Shore angling is good for another 2 miles east of this landmark.
Several charter boats are on hire from the harbour at Margate. The water here is 5-6 fathoms deep and the bottom, except at Margate Sands, is of chalk and flints, unlike the sand and gravel bottom at Herne Bay. Excellent bass and thornback ray are caught during spring and summer. The North Foreland Lighthouse is south-east of Margate, and the Elbow Buoy is approximately three miles out at sea from this point. Here one can expect the finest cod fishing to be had in the British Isles.
Many dinghy anglers favour the Longnose Buoy which is nearer, being a mile offshore, and where similar catches can be made. During the summer, bass fishing is good off the inshore chalk ledges and artificial lures are very successful. In the town there is a stone jetty and promenades from which most varieties can be taken depending on the season.
Broadstairs, on the A225 about 4 miles south-east of Margate, has a harbour where boats can be chartered to fish the same area as the Margate boats. Shore angling is possible from the harbour arm and from the chalk ledges north and south of the town.
Ramsgate, south of Broadstairs, is on a direct route from London via the M2, A222 and A253. With its very large harbour and excellent boat facilities, it accommodates both individual and charter anglers. The boats fish as far as the Elbow Buoy, particularly in winter for the cod, at North Goodwins for thornback ray during the summer months, and at Quern Bank for the good bass fishing. Pegwell Bay, which is a shallow water mark, is good for flatfish and whiting. Shore angling takes place from the harbour arms and a large variety of fish are caught although the ground is rather snaggy from the western arm. Large shoals of mullet abound inside the harbour during the summer months and can be caught on freshwater tackle. Other shore stations include the Chines and Under-Cliffe.
Sand and shingle
Although Sandwich lies a mile inland from the coast there is a road through the sand dunes to the shore. The chalk of Ramsgate has now given way to sand and shingle and excellent sport can be had by the beach angler from this point. Big catches of cod are made during the autumn and winter, and mainly flatfish, including soles, through the summer.
South of Ramsgate, and accessible via the M2, the A257 and the A258, Deal is the Mecca of sea angling. Large numbers of charter boats are launched from the steeply-shelving shingle beaches and just about every species of seafish has been caught at some time in these waters. A number of wrecks, particularly on the Goodwin Sands, provide good conger fishing, and in the summer tope and thornback are still caught in fair numbers over the sands. There is often good plaice fishing north of the town and south of Kingsdown, but the town's reputation is primarily for winter cod and whiting. Angling is allowed throughout the year from the modern pier and also night fishing at weekends.
Known as the gateway to England, Dover boasts a magnificent harbour with several angling charter boats. This is the narrowest part of the English Channel and the tides are therefore the strongest, but on neap tides the fishing is good, particularly for conger, cod and pollack found among the many wrecks. The water here is deeper than the rest of the
Kent Coast and the bottom is very hard chalk with fissures. Varne Bank, lying nearly half-way across the Channel, can provide good cod fishing throughout the summer with brill and turbot often a bonus. For the shore angler, the large harbour gives plenty of opportunity, although the eastern arm was closed to anglers many years ago. The Southern Breakwater is only accessible by boat, but a ferry service will take anglers for a nominal charge. Admiralty Pier is free fishing and anglers will often be shoulder to shoulder feathering for the vast shoals of mackerel found here during the summer.
Folkestone Harbour, approximately 5 miles west of Dover, has charter boats which fish Varne Bank in summer and supply good inshore fishing in winter. Several of the inshore marks have 14 fathoms of water, and the sea bed is very rocky particularly off the Warren. Conger to 30 lb are not uncommon near the British Rail Harbour Arm where anglers may fish for a small charge. West of Folkestone, the first mile of shingle beach runs off to snaggy ground, and further westward gives way to sand. This beach extends for 4½ miles, and the road at the top known as Princes Parade enables one virtually to fish from the car. Many species are caught here including bass, conger, plaice, cod and whiting. West of Hythe are the Military Ranges, where fishing is prohibited except on special occasions.
Dungeness is reached via the A259 to New Romney, then the B2071 out to the point. From Hythe to Dungeness the tide goes out so far that very little beachfishing is possible, but at Dungeness itself the steep shelving beach of shingle and the deep water make it ideal for the beach angler. Many years ago Leslie Moncrieff made this station famous for its cod fishing during the winter months. With the right conditions, anglers catch more cod than they can carry, and many of them are over 20 lb. In summer Dungeness and Dengemarsh provide excellent sole fishing and quite often large shoals of mackerel come right to the water's edge. Nearly all species of seafish are contacted; at one time there was even a small thresher shark caught from the beach here.
"Sea Angling Around Britain" (1977) Trevor Housby at page 11
I always think of Ramsgate as the start of the Channel cod grounds. I can remember many trips down from London in bitterly cold winter weather when boat marks situated only a few hundred yards offshore have produced a seemingly endless stream of cod and codling. Ramsgate cod never grow to a vast size but what they lose in quality they certainly make up for in quantity. Lugworm always seem the best bait in this area and a bunch of big black lugworm fished on leger or paternoster usually produced a flurry of good bites, seconds after getting down to fish level. On days when bad weather made boat fishing impossible, I used to fish from the shore at Pegwell Bay, again often with good results. Ramsgate, like Margate, is basically a holiday resort, which means that during the summer months the beaches are jam-packed with swimmers and sun-worshippers. Under conditions like this, fishing is out of the question but at night or during the winter months Pegwell Bay, the Western Undercliffe, or the Marina Slopes can fish well.
"The Sea Angler's Guide to Britain and Ireland" (1982) John Darling at pages 12 & 13
There are some dramatic changes in the shore line as one works south along this section of the Kent coast. The rocky ground north of Ramsgate contrasts sharply with the shallow sands at Pegwell Bay. The water deepens slightly south of the Stour estuary, round the broad sandy sweep of Sandwich Bay, a place many anglers visit if sou'westerlies at Dungeness make fishing impossible. Around Deal, the beaches are steeper still, of shingle, mixed rock and sand below the water line, which in turn becomes very reefy if the South Foreland area. This continues round to Folkestone, becoming sandier at Hythe, and more shallow again at Dymchurch before the dramatic depths and tides at Dungeness Point. The water is deep along Denge Marsh but is shallower again at Camber and towards Rye Harbour.
The main fish species caught from the shore are cod, flounders, dabs, pouting and whiting in winter; bass, conger eels, small tope, mackerel, scad, garfish, small pouting and whiting, plaice, sole, some cod and some dogfish in summer. Many of the locals fish for sole and bass in summer, big dabs and large cod in winter.
Mullet are common in the harbours at Ramsgate, Dover, Folkestone and Rye and in the Stour and Rother estuaries. These are mainly thick-lipped, but thin-lipped mullet are found in the Rother and a few golden grey mullet are taken from the beaches.
Boats from Ramsgate, Deal, Walmer, Folkestone, Dungeness and Rye Harbour all provide good fishing in winter for big cod until late December when huge sprat shoals move in and blot out everything but small bottom feeders. Offshore grounds provide good tope, spur dogfish, flatfish, some rays and black bream and smaller species in summer. The wreck fishing can be very good for medium pollack and ling and for good cod in summer. The Straights of Dover have several large sandbanks like the Varne, which also provide good cod and infrequent turbot fishing in summer.
Slipways are available for those with boats on trailers at Broadstairs (4 hours before and after high water); Ramsgate harbour (not at dead low water); Deal Rowing Club; Dover (all states of the tide); Folkestone (all times); Sandgate, behind the rowing club; Princess Parade, Hythe, and at Rye Harbour (not at dead low water).
The tides, especially to the north of Dover, run hard and in a confusing pattern. The visitor is advised to obtain expert advice for setting out. High tide times are 2½ (Deal) and 2¾ (Dover) hours before London Bridge. Tidal Streams are very complex.
There are thriving sea angling clubs at: Dover SAA, 14 Priory Road, Dover (Tel. 01304 204772); Deal AC at 13 The Marina, Deal; Deal and Walmer AA at South Toll House, Deal Pier.
A Plenty of blow-lugworm at Pegwell Bay. Dig it by trenching, but moat diggings to keep out surface water. Keep an eye open for hovercraft. Lots of good black lugworms which should be dug individually with a proper lugworm spade. Dymchurch and Dungeness, Galloways and Rye.
B Plenty of peeler crabs among the rocks in spring and autumn, also piddocks and rock worms here.
C Small harbour ragworm from the Stour and Rother estuaries.
D Storms often wash in large numbers of razorfish etc at Hythe and Dungeness.
3 Sandwich Bay
Provides excellent surf fishing in winter for cod, but too popular with tourists in summer. Locals favour different areas. Two main access points are along the toll road at Sandwich and along the road to the Chequers pub from Deal. Large whiting, some bass, lots of flatfish and the occasional ray are caught there. Long range casting is often vital.
"Sea Angling: Kent to Cornwall" (1990) Mel Russ & Alan Yates at pages 21 & 22
Pegwell Bay is the large sandy bay below Thanet and has little or no angling interest because of its shallow nature. It does, however, offer excellent bait digging for common and yellowtail lugworm. A half-circle moat dug with a flat-tined potato fork open at the sea end drains off excess water. It's then possible to lift 300 lug per tide.
Famous for its yellowtail lugworm, Sandwich Bay is accessible only via the Sandwich Bay Estate toll road. Daily toll tickets in summer are £2.50 per car, whilst a season ticket is £17.50. The bay is shallow at its eastern end and deeper at its western end - consequently the best fishing is at the latter end, although the shallows do offer excellent sport with eels, flounders and the odd bass in the summer.
During the winter months best results come from the Sandwich Bay Yacht Club end of the bay, with cod to 30 lb having been landed. From October onwards dabs, sole, plaice, pouting, whiting, eels, flounders, codling and cod are caught regularly with low water as productive as high, provided it is dark. Farther west is Sandown, which fronts the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and is reached via the potholed extension of Golf Road. This is a private road which follows the path of the ancient highway between Deal and Sandwich.
Sandown comes into its own in winter with codling being caught at very short range over high water. Indeed, long casting is not necessary here and the venue is ideally suited for those anglers with limited casting skills. Half-way along the road is an ideal angling base, the Chequers Inn, which has a large car park at its rear within 150 yards of the beach. Top baits all year at Sandwich Bay and Sandown are yellowtail lugworm.
"Sea Angling: Kent to Cornwall" (1990) Mel Russ & Alan Yates at page 34
Kent Alan Yates
Boat angling guide to the Kent coast
A large and well-equipped charter fleet operates out of Ramsgate harbour with boats not restricted by tide except during very low springs. Boats find fish all year with cod inshore from the North Foreland marks throughout the winter months and during spring. In summer the main venue is the Goodwin Sands, with its many wrecks and sandbars holding thornback ray, tope, bass, plaice, smoothhound and dogfish. The inshore area of the Stour Estuary in Pegwell and Sandwich Bays holds flatfish for much of the year, with some good catches of plaice recorded in spring and summer. Limited launching facilities are available at Ramsgate harbour and at the Eastern Undercliff.
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