It’s a mystery how, generally when the beach is lined with fishermen, it’s always a lovely morning.
It makes you wonder if they have a direct link to the heavens and put their order in! All year round they seem to manage to drop on the nice days – or maybe they cancel on the rough ones so it just looks like a coincidence!
The morning of Sunday 13 November 2011 saw the guys setting up between the Five Bar Gate and The Vue cinema at Cleveleys in a match organised by West Coast Tackle at Anchorsholme. Starting at 9.15am, the first task of the day is to draw the pegs. You will have seen the squares of yellow paint on te sea wall with ‘F’ and a number painted on them, in some places there are what look like the metal discs that you hang on a dogs collar with your phone number on. These are the pegs which mark out the pitch. The best ones are near the Five Bar Gate, so you can guess what they all hope for!
It was a north west competition on this day, although there are competitions on our beach which draw people from all over the UK. This day there were entrants from Cumbria and Morecambe, in what they call a ‘Knock-up’ match between the lads!
They each pay £20 to enter and when the competition finishes at 1.15pm the prize winner gets £200, with a second and third prize awarded, along with two zone prizes of £50 each.
Andy Whiteside from Larkholme was out on the beach, and he boasts the titles of former British and European Champion, a title which he won on the East Coast in 2005.
The types of fish are seasonal and change throughout the year, and Andy told us about what they were catching on the beach at Cleveleys. ‘Whiting, dabs and dogfish; skate cod and bass were coming up, and it seems to be dabs and whiting that are being caught today’, Andy explained.
It’s a sport that takes the competitors out in all weathers too. Andy provided a short masterclass in how fishing works. The day before the match, they go out at low tide ‘pumping’ for worms, where they collect black worms and yellow tails from the sand. Andy also uses Sand eels, mackerel and squid which you would normally buy from the tackle shop, although Andy is a fishmonger so he gets his from the dock at Fleetwood!
If you come to the beach regularly at Cleveleys you’ll know that it’s not just a bright, sunny morning sport, with the regulars out in all weathers and night and day. Apparently the fish are more confident at night and move further in to coast to feed, which explains why you then see all the little lights bobbing up and down on the beach while our local guys enjoy their sport.
There is a really good blog that you might enjoy, about fishing and walking in the north west, north Wales and Anglesey at http://seafishingandwalking.co.uk
Andy Whiteside, from Larkholme