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Wreck fishing near Eastbourne


Wreck fishing is a skill which takes years of practice to get the anglers over the boat every time

The art of wreck fishing on the drift over off the Eastbourne wrecks is using shads and sidewinder lures on an 8ft trace, a 20lb to 30lb class rod with 30lb line and 25lb leader. Fish can be caught in front of or on top and even down tide of the wreckage, especially when the tide is running hard. I find that when I fish the wrecks off Eastbourne, the Cod like the smaller tides as they are lazy swimming fish. Whereas, the Pollack like a hard run of tide as they are harder fighting fish and can prove to be great sport on the light gear. We find that the Cod are around 10 to 20 turns off the bottom and Pollack are 20 to 40 turns off the bottom, depending on the strength of the tide. This sort of fishing is known as Gilling and it is a very successful and enjoyable way of fishing.

Conger fishing is great sport and they are one of the hardest fighting fish. We use a 50lb class rod with a Penn 4.0 reel and a 50lb main line. Attached to the line is a boom and then a trace of mono 200-300lb around a metre long. Conger eel fishing is normally when the boat is anchored up tide of the wreck. We have found that the eels are not too fussy how much tide there is running as they will feed through small or big tides. Mackerel is one of the best baits along with cuttlefish as you can always have the added chance of a big Cod on the cuttle bait. While fishing a wreck off the south coast near Eastbourne, the biggest Conger caught aboard Ocean Warrior 2 was 103lb and was caught by Andy Matthews in 2003. (This eel was returned back to sea alive). Conger eels up to 60lb, 70lb, 80lb and 90lb through the years have been common place aboard Ocean Warrior 3. All eels are returned to sea alive as they are such fun to catch and it helps to preserve fish levels, and as they have no fish bladder they are able to survive once returned.

Ling fishing we find that baiting up pirks while drifting over the wrecks or using a Mackerel flapper at anchor works well. This especially works well when fishing in the area more southwest of the Eastbourne coast in the deeper water (200ft range).

Another alternative to wreck fishing is inshore ground fishing. This proves to be an enjoyable and relaxing day, especially when we are unable to get out to the deep wrecks due to the weather. Inshore fishing also offers a great variety of fish to catch off the south coast, the species you are likely to catch are; Plaice, Dabs, Brill, Black Bream, Turbot, Gurnard (red and tub), Bass, Smooth-hounds, Tope and Rays. For the flatfish, we use a 6ft flowing trace with beads and occasionally a spoon above the hook as an attractor. Lugworm or rag worm tipped with a little bit of squid works well off of Eastbourne, especially around the Royal Sovereign lighthouse tower. Smooth-hounds like hermit crab and squid baits, while Tope prefer a fresh Mackerel flapper bait. Bass is a harder fish to catch, but anglers have found that the most successful way is to use live baits, whist drifting over the wrecks inshore. Black Bream are a hard fighting fish for their size and can be found on the ground. We get bigger Bream around the Eastbourne wrecks up to and around the 5lb mark. The method of catching Bream is to use a three hook paternoster rig, and I prefer to use hook size 1.0 circular hooks. The Black Bream breed on the rough ground off the Kingsmere Rocks, near Littlehampton during the months of April to May. We find that on the wrecks we find the bigger Bream around August to September. Fishing is an all year round sport and through the winter months of October through to January, we catch Cod and Whiting on the inshore marks.


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