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Jim Whippy on Sussex Angling May 2015

Shore Fishing

The codling stayed around until mid April but in general seem to have moved on now, probably due to the start of the May rot. Unfortunately the whiting have once again hung around with many undersized ones pouncing on the bait before anything else gets a chance. Flounders and eels have at last made an appearance and the first of the bass have been caught. Fred Wassell landed a beauty of 5lbs 12ozs during an over 50’s daylight match at White Horses which won him the match by a big margin. Gary Banfield took second place with two whiting, two flounders and a small bass. Eels can be weighed in provided they are kept alive in a bucket of sea water and returned to the sea as soon as possible. Eels have been in decline in recent years but a spectacular amount of elvers were observed entering our estuaries last year that could be measured in tons. This should help stocks to recover along with bans on netting them in the freshwater rivers where they spend most of their lives. A few very small smooth hound have been caught so during May you could find as many as five or more different species over one tide although they will mostly be on the small side. It should be possible to catch flounder, eel, smooth hound, whiting, pout, bass and plaice. Others that could show up are rockling, dab and even a black bream although we usually have to wait a little later in the year to see any of these.


Jim Whippy was start up editor of Sea Angling News, Total Sea Fishing and Boat Fishing Monthly.

He is also an accomplished match angler having won numerous competitions over the years and has represented England at international level.

He is currently based in Eastbourne where he keeps his boat. Jim is one of the UK’s most experienced sea anglers and has fished all over the world. he has published 2 books ‘Shore, Pier and Boat Fishing’ and ‘Sea Fishing’

Fish of the Month - the Plaice

This month we focus on the plaice, mainly because so many have been landed from our beaches over the past six weeks. One of the hotspots has been from splash Point to the top of Cambridge road in Eastbourne where regular bags of five to 10 plaice have been taken in a session. It does depend on the clarity of the water, best time being in clear conditions. Young plaice can be miss-identified, as their red spots are not as bold as mature specimens, a glance underneath will reveal an almost see through white belly. If it was a flounder the underside will be a milky white and run the finger round the edge of the fins of a flounder and find a row of spiny scales.

Timbo Macsporran 2


It’s the same old story in the boats with the weather curtailing trips in the second part of April. Early in the month with some settled weather the boats found some impressive cod in mid channel. Anglers on ‘Deep Blue’ had fish up to 26lbs with a good number between 15lb and 25lbs. The pollack are not so numerous as they were in late March but the bass are moving inshore as the water warms up. The plaice are not on their usual marks on the banks off Hastings but there are plenty of small ones close inshore.

26lb cod from deep Blue

A double figure Cod caught on Deep Blue

Steve Dell