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Brighton and Hove beaches

Sussex Sea FishingBrighton and Hove beachesReproduced by kind permission of Craig Ide, Sussex Sea Fishing

There are many good fish to be had along this stretch of beach, the only problem is access due to the increased problems with parking in the area. In summer months the level of tourists make the beaches unfishable unless early morning or night time. Personally if fishing at night, I prefer Seaford beach as its less crowded and has less wierdos and nutters coming up to you whislt you are fishing during the dark, plus its still free to park in Seaford. FOR ALL ROUND fishing success along Brighton beaches the best rig to use is a 2 or 3 hook paternoster with size 4 hooks and beads on the bottom hook length and use king rag as bait because it is easily available from most bait stores (for more specific set ups read below).

Locations: There are numerous spots to fish along Brighton beaches but for the purpose of this website the brighton beaches stretch between the Brighton Marina and the west pier. Between these marks there are a few main spots mostly associated with groins as these make the beaches more accessable and help attract fish. There are some great spots along Brighton beaches and its no coincidence that they are all near the groynes as this is where alot of the bait is held plus is a structure for fish to feel safe around. The spots covered in this section are the Banjo Groin (madera drive near the concorde nightclub), Peter pans near the banjo groin (the stretch of beach about 100yrds to the east of the banjo groin), The Palace Pier groin (next to the palace pier), The donut or east street groin (the one with the metal donut type thing on) and finally the West Pier beaches (although i dont know how snaggy they are since it collapsed). Each location will be mentioned below.   

Tides: The majority of fish are caught around the high tide as fish come in shore to feed on the goodies the incoming tide uncovers. However the best thing about Brighton beaches (especially the West pier and Banjo beaches) is that on the low tide you often get a great surf and mini breakers on the low tide which species such as Bass and Flounders like to feed in. This means that at some spots you can target bass at any state of the tide.   

Spring: Spring is a difficult time of year for many fishermen as this is where we see winter species like Whiting and Rockling leaving the beaches whilst summer fish like Mackerel and Garfish are on their way in. Its a case of scratching around for fish, at this time of year the fishing really depends on the weather. If it is calm for a while you may catch the odd Mackerel and Garfish but if it is rougher then the sea will dirty up and many winter fish will return inshore. The most common fish targeted in this time of year are Plaice, Flounders and Rockling. These are often the common fish weighed on by match anglers from these marks at this time of year. Because the majority of these fish are bottom feeders it is important to try and get your bait on the bottom. There are a few ways to do this, for example, if your using a 2 or 3 hook paternoster in calmer weather try this, once you have cast out clip a1oz weight and let it slide down the line until it hits the top of the rig, (make sure you put a bead on you mainline before you attatch the rig as the bead will protect the knot from being damaged by the weight hitting it) slacken your line a little and this will ensure that all hooked baits are on the bottom where the fish are feeding.  

You will sometimes find that Flounders and plaice will often take 2 hooks which brings me to the next rig, the wishbone. For more specific examples of how to make these rigs please visit the rigs page. An important thing to note is that these fish will more than often hook themselves and there is little need to strike especially because the vibrations of the hooked fish will result in other fish being attracted and result in a double or treble hook up. 

Summer: In summer Brighton beaches can provide good fishing but are subject to large numbers of tourists as said earlier. Therefore the best times to fish are early morning or dusk. This is ok as this is the best time to target most species from brighton beaches anyway. Throughout the summer months you can expect to catch Bass, Mackerel, Thornback rays, Sole, Scad, Garfish, Smoothound, Flounders, Plaice, Dogfish, Mullet and Pout. My most prefered spots on summer evening sessions are the Banjo groin and the beaches directly to the east of them two hours either side of the high tide. When fishing these spots on a summer eve i use two rods, one with a 2 hook paternoster or pennel rig and the other for spinning and lure fishing. This maximises my chand of catching a wide range of species as i can expect Mackerel, Scad, Garfish and sometimes Bass on plugs, lures and Spinners (my recommendation is a 32 or 28gm dexter wedge). On the other rod i will use either a bass type rig (often the Pennel rig) with either a fillet of Mackerel, lots of Peller Crab or any Bass bait you fancy trying, If i catch a joey Mackerel i may use it as a livebait on a long running ledger or possibly free lined. Alternatively i will use a bottom type trace for catching smaller fish that come in at night such as Sole. I will most often use the ever versatile 2 hook paternoster rig with one up one down (see rigs page for any rigs mentioned), i use size 4 hooks with some beads on the bottom hook length and possibly a small spoon type spinner. If the sea is relatively calm i will use a 5oz plain lead as this allows the tide to slightly move the bait about and cover an area of the sea bed. 

Autumn: The Autumn Season is much like the Spring season but in reverse. In recent years the Autumns have been calmer and warmer meaning that the summer fish stay around a little bit longer. On occasions you will catch Mackerel, Bass and Garfish in the day and then catch whiting, pout and sole in the evening. 

Winter: Brighton beaches are highly under ratted for winter fishing. On its day it can rival many local top winter marks. You can expect to catch Bass, Pout, Whiting, Dabs, Codling. Hot spot areas include the Banjo groin and the beach behind peter pans. They produce loads of whiting on winer tides in the day and night. Evening tides will produce the better fish and you will also have the chance of catching the ever rarer Cod. A range of baits work in winter but a good tip is to use worm baits with a slither of Mackerel or Squid which can be deadly for hooking double and triple shots of whiting. I often leave the bottom hook with only worm as this will mean that your more likely to have a chance of catching a Dab. After Christmas you will begin to catch Rockling and flounders from Brighton beaches.  

Hove Beaches

These are also excellent at this time of year and the beach directly behind king alfreds swimming pool is renowned for producing better catches as its a slightly deeper beach. Hove beaches fish pretty much the same as Brighton beaches and you can use many of the same methods. It is also a productive spot in the difficult months from Jan-Mar where there doesnt seem to be much about. In these months you will catch Flounders and Rockling with some of the Flounders being big ones. As Flounders are hunt using scent, vibration and sight things like bright beads, sequins and spoons are an effective way of improving your catches. Combine these with a bunch of wriggling ragworms (any type of ragworm) and you should catch a few. You could use a standard 2 or 3 hook paternoster with beads (as discussed above) or you could use a wishbone rig as this can be a highly effective rig for flatfish. I would recommend using a normal weight not a grip weight (unless its really rough) because it allows your bait to cover plenty of ground and find the fish. The good thing is that you will also catch Rockling and other species of fish using these methods so if there are few flounders about you still have the chance of catching a few fish.

You also have a good chance of catching Bass here in summer months as well as Garfish and Mackerel. There have been a few rays caught in early summer from the spot behing king Alfreds and this is also a good spot (as well as the rest of Hove and Shoreham) for catching Smouthounds on peeler crab in summer.


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