Sea anglers can be spoilt for choice in the winter – and there is always something to go for...
Winter is usually a good time for sea anglers but if the cod and spurdog aren’t playing it is worth thinking outside the box and targeting other species.
You may think January or February isn’t the time to be thinking of ray, but some very big shore-caught ray are there to try for if you put the hours in.
If you’re looking for more general fishing, it seems there are still some good whiting about and now is also the time to target the humble dab, a small but very sweet-tasting flatfish.
My personal theory is the big females come close in to feed up before spawning and if you hook a ray at this time of year, the chances are it will be a good one.
Try fishing from rock marks onto a sandy bottom after dark and if you can get through the dogfish, you could be rewarded.
One January I managed an 11lb 4oz small-eyed ray from the right-hand-side of Capstone in Ilfracombe over low water and an 11lb 2oz from a similar mark, as well as a 5lb spotted.
There’s also a daylight chance of ray if you head up channel to Minehead and beyond.
Big blonde ray, too, can put in an appearance and are well worth targeting at this time of year.
A whole squid has accounted for most of mine, but good-sized mackerel or bluey baits are also well worth a try, as is sandeel.
If fishing somewhere such as Capstone, please take care. The rocks can be very slippery, like glass in places and the tremendous tidal flow can be a bit of a shock for the unwary.
If it’s rough or there’s a big swell, it’s best avoided, as even experienced anglers have been caught out there by rogue waves.
If there is anything you would like me to cover in this column, or you have competition results, pictures or stories of a successful fishing trip, do contact me on the email below.