Sea Fishing Herne Bay
A key feature of Herne Bay Coastal Park is sea – and where there’s sea, there’s usually fish.
The coast from Hampton to Reculver is a popular stretch for anglers, and there are two clubs full of fellow enthusiasts happy to discuss the catch of the day. Heron Angling Society is based at the Red Shelter, near to Hampton, while Herne Bay Angling Association has its headquarters in Central Parade near the clocktower.
If you fancy dipping your toe – or your line – in the water, where should you start?
The first thing to bear in mind is that Herne Bay, at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, is a tidal area. Which means that if you don’t want to find yourself staring at an expanse of mud rather than water, you need to check the tide times.
You can fish from a boat or the beach, and bait, tackle and everything else you need is available Ron Edwards’ shop in the High Street. Unlike freshwater fishing, you don’t need a licence but it is important to be aware of conservation measures and minimum catch weights.
So where should you cast your line?
Hampton is a popular spot, although not without difficulties. There is parking and the Hampton Inn is conveniently located nearby. There is a small pier and species caught there include bass, eels and flounders in summer, and whiting in winter. You can dig lug to use as bait, or try ragworms or crabs.
At the other end of the coastal park, Reculver also yields good results including rays. Like Hampton, there is parking and the nearby King Ethelbert pub, as well as a cafe and toilets at the country park visitor centre.
The area in front of the towers is particularly good for catching bass, and further east, near the Coldharbour Sluice, a calm evening tide often carries smoothhounds and rays.
Night fishing is also popular for the hardier angler, but as at other times it is important to be aware of the changing tide – and to wrap up warm!
The Heron Angling Society
is more than 110 years old, and has an impressive archive chronicling fishing through the ages off Herne Bay.
Much of it was reviewed by life member Kevin Morris for a booklet celebrating the club's centenary. The foreword to Heron Angling Society, The First Hundred Years, was written by fellow life member Peter Samsworth, who reminds readers that their sport is at the mercy of the elements. He wrote: "The Heron Angling Society has experienced many changing climates and conditions over its 100 years, including the passage through two major conflicts."Just as the waters which form the arena for our activities have ebbed and flowed so also have there been highs and lows and times of clam and storm. "The reward for our efforts has also varied, as records show, but our aims remain the same and has always been the case it is nature that finally controls our achievements."
Some of the biggest catches over the years were a 55lb tope, caught by T Winkley in 1926, a 60lb 4 oz monkfish caught by Mr Morris in 1927 and, in 1933, AE Wilkinson caught a 44lb 4 oz tope and won a News of the World rod.