ARE you a keen lure angler that enjoys spending a
few hours working a spinner off the beach for bass? Eastbourne offers some top action if that’s your bag.
Eastbourne is a well-known coastal town that attracts plenty of holidaymakers and sightseers every year to take in the cracking stretch of coast there.
Usually, fishing at a summer holiday resort presents a few problems to the angler but at Eastbourne it is actually possible to wet a line and bag up on mackerel, bass, scad and mullet.
At the right time of year, usually about July to August, it is possible to see vast shoals of mackerel chasing whitebait and breaking surface. Sometimes they can be literally under your feet, which always brings the locals to the beach for the easy pickings. There are bass to be had behind and underneath the shoals of mackerel and sometimes the sea boils as fish eats fish, eats fish!
To get there, all you have to do is find the A259 coastal road that goes through Eastbourne, then some minor roads in the town that will take you to all the marks.
This is a big reef of rocks that jut out into the sea on the eastern side of the town. To find it, simply follow the roads into town and look out for a big sewer works, locally known as The Castle. It is so-named because, to all intents and purposes, it does look like a little fortress. As it happens, it is the most up-to-date treatment site – so there are no worries about odour or debris. By the works, there is a pay-and-display car park that is the most convenient place to leave the motor. From there it is only a few minutes walk to the point, which offers some cracking summer sport using lures off the rocks. Winter provides the usual species, however fishing this area can mostly end up with lots of tackle loss because the ground is very snaggy.
The Martello Tower
This area is near to Langley Point but the feature to look for is the tower on the land. This will line you up with another reef of boulders that jut into the sea. The summer provides excellent lure fishing for mackerel and bass, which are found literally along the rocks and which follow the whitebait as the tide rises. For the bass it is best to use plugs but when the mackerel show, little spinners and feathers bring in the fish by the bucket load. Always be careful when venturing onto the rocks, and look for sensible platforms to do the fishing from. A good piece of advice is to make sure there is an escape route for a quick exit if the tide rises too quickly.
This is the outlet for the sewer works and when the tide is out it offers a cracking platform to fish off. Keep an eye open, as the sea soon rushes in and there is every chance you could get wet feet. The best way to fish this spot is to work a lure among the mass of giant boulders, where the bass are lurking in wait for a passing meal. Do have a rod ready with a little spinner or feathers because, if you keep alert, you can see shoals of mackerel passing right by your feet. Sometimes you have to be quick or you could miss them, but don’t worry as there is usually another shoal following that will swim through. Also there is a chance of a pollack or two that can fall for a well-fished lure among the rocks.
There is a club that has to be joined before you can fish here, and it costs around £10 to join. After this it is only a nominal fee per rod when you endeavour to have a go. To get the best results, fish around the pier legs using heavy line for the mullet and bass, but do remember to take a drop net with you because it makes landing a fish a lot easier. It is also great fun for the kids as they can use little drop nets with a piece if fish in it to catch some crabs and other sea creatures. If you don’t fancy fishing off the pier, then you can always set up beside it and fish along the legs. However, think ‘safety first’ and don’t try power casting as there are people on the pier. For the best results, work lures around the pier legs for the bass.
This part of the beach is to the west of the town and is known better to the locals as The Fir Trees. To get there, follow the coastal road west until you reach a large block of flats called South Cliff Tower. Simply leave your car parked on the roadside and look for the walkway down to the beach. The path zigzags all the way down to the shoreline, where you will see a rocky reef that runs along it a few metres out.
Use your plugs and lures to try and coax a bass out, and, for the most fun, wade out to watch the fish swim around when the water is very clear and work a lure along the reef. Legering is possible by casting over the reef, but do be aware that the potential of gear loss is high because of the broken ground. The best plan of attack is to arrive at the beach at low water to suss it out.
This is probably the most famous landmark in the whole area and, to the locals, the fishing area is known as The Sugar Loaf. To access this beach follow the coastal road until it bares sharp right where there is a prep school called St Bedes. Adjacent to the school is a lane with a barrier to prevent vehicle access. Leave the car in a sensible place and walk down the path to some steps, which lead down the cliff to the beach. Again, this is predominantly a bass fishing mark and for the best possible results lures must be used. There is no particular localised hotspot as for several miles the whole area can produce some exceptional bass. The secret is to travel as light as possible and work as much of the area with the plugs.
Tony’s Tackle, 211 Seaside, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN22 7NP, Tel: 01323 731388 or 01323 739562.
TF Top Tip
Take a selection of small, brightly-coloured spinners with you for the passing shoals of mackerel. Try using a Gemini Genie swivel to quickly attach your lures to your main line.