KINGSFERRY Bridge is the only connection
between the Isle of Sheppey and the mainland in Kent. Not only is it a well-known landmark, it offers some top action for anglers too.
The stretch of river that runs under the bridge is actually the Swale and because there is open sea either side of it, it offers some bizarre tide races with the sea running in both directions and creating natural food traps.
Because of the nature of estuarine waters, fish are always present, feeding on the natural food sources. With so many species available it is well worthwhile giving this area a go because it is actually very difficult not to catch fish here!This is because estuaries offer fish the kind of conditions where they can thrive, with a regular fresh food source being deposited each day on the tides. The riverbanks are alive with shellfish, crab and other mini-species that frequent the shoreline.
To get there could not be easier; simply join the A249 and follow it until you reach the bridge where the various hotspots are located.
Following the A249 towards the bridge, you will see a roundabout just before the bridge. Take a left turn here and then immediately right, which will lead you to a car park. Unfortunately the car park is private, which means that you will have to leave the car in one of the ample lay-bys on the roadside. From here, simply walk to the left for about 500 metres or so where you will see a wooden structure in the river a few metres out from the bank. This feature is actually a lighthouse to help guide the boats through and being a structure it also holds fish.
Try tempting a bass from around the structure with a lure and for the other species such as flounder, codling, whiting, pouting and eel, deploy the normal legering tactics with lug, ragworm or crab as bait.
When you arrive at the same car park as for the lighthouse, all you need to do to find this mark is walk straight through the private car park to the riverbank where you will see a jetty. Fishing from the jetty is permitted and the way to approach this spot is by setting up as far out on the platform as you can and trot a float rig down towards the bridge for the bass. For bait use a sandeel, strip of mackerel or squid on a suitably-sized hook. Another tactic is to work a lure around the jetty legs to try and winkle out a bass that might be lurking there. Normal legering tactics will bag you all the other species including a fair helping of eel. However, do watch out for the jet skiers as they do tend to speed up and down this stretch.
The Bridge Slipway
To get there, leave the car in the same place as for marks one and two. From there, simply head off towards the bridge where you will find a slipway which you can set up on. The best way to fish this spot is to work a plug, red gill or some similar sort of lure to draw a bass. The bass do grow to some decent sizes because of the regular food source available to them. If you should decide to leger for other species, then be aware that there are a few snags to grab your gear. On an incoming tide, cast your bait as close as you can to underneath the bridge because this is where the resident flounder will be lying, which do grow to some decent sizes. However, it is not totally necessary to fish under the bridge as fish will be travelling up and down the river during the tide races, following the feed, so a little bit of prospecting can go a long way.
To get to this spot, leave the car in the same place as the first three hotspots. Then walk to the right, preferably at low water, under the bridge. Boats are kept this side of the bridge and because of the nature of all the ropes and lines, this area is a refuge for the bass and mullet. The best time to fish this mark is on the flood, as the fish will be chasing the freshly-dislodged food particles created by the incoming tide. Use a lure for the bass and bread for the mullet fished under a float. Legering will be almost impossible because of all the anchor ropes. It is more than likely that you would lose a lot of tackle if you were brave enough to have a go. If you do manage to bag a good fish, don’t let it take too much line because there is every chance that it will try and snag you on one of the many ropes.
To find this spot is a bit trickier than the others. What you do is to carry on over the bridge on the A249 until you see a little turning on the right-hand side, signposted ‘Nature Reserve’. Take this turning and follow it to the end where you will reach the river. Pay attention as you are driving along because at the end the road finishes and there are no barriers to warn or guide you. Park up anywhere around there and walk to the left where you will see a point creating a kind of bay between it and the car park. Fish anywhere along this stretch for flounder that feed there on the flooding and ebbing tides. This spot is in fact a favourite match venue for the locals who hold regular flounder matches here. Tactics are simple as all you need to do is leger lug, rag or crab on a three-hook flapper to tempt the flatties.
The Dock Wall
After having turned off left at the roundabout just before the bridge on the A249, go immediately right and follow this road to the end. At the end is a sort of industrial estate where you can park the car up, just before entering the site. Look to the river side of the road where you will see a gap in the hedgerow with some steps leading up the bank. Follow this track to the river and then head off to the left where you will see a point on the mouth of a dock. The water here is very deep, in fact, up to 80 feet in places. So if you like deep water, this is the mark for you. Despite the depth of water, it is recommended to lure fish for bass that live there as well as the usual legering for all other species. Eel also play a big part of the catch, so bait up with crab for best results.
Island Bait & Tackle, 68 Halfway Road, Minster, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 3AT, tel: 01795 668506
Sea Angling Centre, West Street, Queenborough, Kent, ME11 5AD, tel: 01795 660594
Unity Tackle, 88 Unity Street, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1HX, tel: 01795 423912
Ashford Tackle Shop, 26 St Michael’s Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3DN, tel: 01795 426011
TF Top Tip
Try spinning with a small, frozen sandeel for the bass. Doing this can often produce more takes than when using plain lures. Use a flat lead when targeting flounder and eel. It will move around in the tide and drag your baits over any lurking fish.