I spent a little time over the past
big spring tides, and will do again on the coming big springs falling either side of the Easter weekend, just walking some of the beaches I fish checking to see what the winter weather has done to them.
With the winter weather being so calm and cold generally and the sea pretty much flat calm for long periods, many of the gutters and depressions in the beaches have simply filled in, the beaches appearing to be just flat boring sand now.
Don’t worry though if your local beaches lack feature at the moment. April can be a windy month here in the
UK and we’re bound to get some good surf conditions in the next few weeks that will dig out the channels and expose new features.
Fish like features as the food washed down by the tide will collect there and therefore congregate the fish. What features are we looking for then?
Deeper gutters that run parallel with the beach are the obvious ones. These carry the tide and as the tide washes in over them, water borne food such as worms and shellfish washed out of the sand by the surf fall in to the gutter.
Small sandbanks are also good especially those with a deeper gutter running in towards the beach between two sandbanks. These are natural routes for fish to follow in as the tide advances. Baits put here are literally right in the path of the fish.
Small patches of shingle or rough ground are also food and fish collection points. Also note weed beds, seed mussel beds and raised patches of shingle amongst sand. The ends of wooden groynes always create a little depression of sand right at their ends where the tide digs it out and these also collect waterborne food and are hot spots for sole, flounder and whiting in season.
Small streams flowing across the beach will pull in flounder and come summer also hold the odd bass.
If you fish the mouths of estuaries for bass it’s also worth checking these out as many main channels will change over the period of just one winter. A good way is to try and find some height so you can look at the estuary mouth from above. Do this on a rough day and you’ll see where the surf breaks indicating shallower water, and where the sea is flatter and therefore deeper. This helps you identify the likely routes bass will use to run through in to the main estuary. This advice also holds true for shallow surf beaches where white water indicates a shallow depth and surf breaking closer in shows deeper water beyond the breakers.
Our beaches are constantly changing and anglers spending time in reconnaissance have a big edge on those that just cast and chance it. Take a mile of beach and it maybe only one or two areas just a couple of hundred yards long that will hold the bulk of the fish. Fish outside these and you’re far more likely to blank.
Keep track of your beach, note the changes and the new features that appear and fish these for consistent catches.