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Wittering, Selsey and Pagham - the year ahead

Written by John Medlow, Southern Angling Specialists

What follows is a shore angling forecast for the year ahead for the West Sussex coast from Wittering in the east to to Pagham in the west to give you an idea of the species prevalent at different times of the year.

January and February
Selsey E&W - Rockling, odd Whiting, Pout, very odd Cod.
Pagham - Rockling, odd Flounder, Whiting, Pout, Eels.
Wittering - Generally slow, odd Bass and Whiting.
Top bait - ragworm for all species. Squid and lugworm cocktail for larger species (Codling and Whiting).
Top rigs    - Two hooked clipped rig size 1.
    - Two hook flounder rig with beads
Top tip - expect Dogfish anywhere after a strong southerly gale.

March
Selsey E&W - Rockling should be gone by now.
Looking for early season Bass and Bream. From the point to the Lifeboat station is good for Bream. Early Smoothhound on West Beach along with a few Plaice.
Pagham - Early season Smoothhound (often very large). Some plaice will be caught. Other species becoming more numerous. eg Bass, Pout, Eels & Wrasse around Rock Groynes.
Top bait - Squid strips (Bream)
                -    Mackerel chunks - Bass
Top rig - Try a shrimp rig for Bream tipped with Squid.    

April/May/June/July
Selsey E&W in full swing for Smoothhounds, Bass, Bream up to about 2lb. Excellent fishing.Adrian Farley with a prime Selsey smoothhound
Pagham - great fishing now for large smoothhounds up to 20lb, Bream up to 21/2 pounds. All along the coast  from Selsey to Church Norton to Pagham is good close in fishing for Bass.
Wittering - Starts coming into its own now for Bass both schoolies and large ones. Spinning, fly and bait all very good options.
Top bait - Crab for Smoothhounds
                - Mackerel chunks or live bait for Bass.
                -     Ragworm and Squid for Bream.
Top rig - 2/0 or 3/0 Pulley Rig

August
Selsey - Last of the Smoothhounds. West Beach time for a few Stingrays and thornbacks to show. Stingers prefer Ragworm to fish baits. First Sole will start showing at night on light tackle. Coastguards, West Sands and bottom of Selsey High Street are known hot spots.
Pagham - Much the same species as Selsey - less Sole but the added bonus of Tope up to around 40lb. Strong arms, strong tackle, lots of link, wire traces and a juicy fresh mackerel bait are a must. Night tides are best.
Wittering - too crowded with holidaymakers, forget it.

Top Bait - Small rag for Sole, Peeler Crab for Smoothhounds, Mackerel for Tope.

September
Holiday makers have gone and it's big bass time. Night fishing is best. Be very quiet and keep lights to a minimum. Live Pout and Mackerel are brilliant baits at this time of year. Squid a good second. Fish very close in. Early season Codling will show of the point at Selsey or at West Beach.
Sole in abundance on the West side of Selsey to specimen size (1 1/2lb).
Coastguards is a hot spot. Big Bream starting to thin out although the smaller ones will stay until October.

Top baits - Ragworm for Pout.
Pout for Bass
Small ragworm for Sole.
Top rig - 3/0 single clipped down rig baited with half a mackerel for Bass. Watch out for Tope!

October
Selsey stilll good for Bass, Whiting will show, Codling becoming more frequent.
Top bait - Black lug and squid cocktail.
Top rig - 2/0 pennell.

November/December
Cod or bust! If it's still mild Bass will still be around and Pout will still be present in numbers. Fish at long range for all except Bass. Night tides essential.
Top bait - Black lug and squid cocktail - Cod
- Tiny mackerel strips - Whiting.


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