Some of  Allan's top preparation tips for sea anglers during the winter season. During the winter period some people fish actively whilst others store away their tackle ready for warmer times. 

Although this may be the case, I have to confess that I caught my largest fish in March from a charter boat out from Littlehampton in the English channel. It was a 28 lb cod! I have the photo to prove it!

It is an opportunity in the colder weather for those who fish in the harbour to look carefully through their tackle box and make sure it is all in good condition.

Traces for me have to be in top condition to ensure maximum success. After each fishing trip I always dry them out and inspect the hooks usually replacing them because new chemically sharpened ones can become blunt quickly after being dragged over shingle sea beds. Any signs of rust, replace them immediately.

I also wash reels in slightly warm water and lubricate as necessary.

I keep a log in my fishing diary when fishing line has been renewed listing each reel and  trace. There will be a number of methods that can be used to keep a trace so that it doesn't become a tangled mess  and the hooks are held firmly. I expect many of you have your own methods of achieving this. When I have any products delivered to my house they usually have expanded polystyrene packaging or similar and I recycle it in the correct bin but save a little for my traces and associated hooks and weights. 

With all the information out now concerning plastics in the sea, it is important that we as anglers play our part and when our devices for wrapping our traces around show any signs of wear that we dispose of it properly. This also includes fishing line after a tangle  that it too is disposed of properly.

Look out for more preseason tips.    

During April its a good time to sort through all your spinners,feathers and lures.

Especially any rusty hooks, small key ring connectors again for signs of rust or wear. Replace them if necessary, they are available from good tackle shops eg SAS.

With metal spinners using some wire wool they can clean up well.

You may find that some feather sets have suffered when last used and it is time to replace them so that you are ready for action this season!   

Allan's tips no 5


Keeping rag worms alive, although a challenge, especially in warm weather is possible. They don't like hot conditions, too many together in a small space and light.Tackle shops often use a fridge with trays spread out with a peat mixture keeping the worms apart. I use news paper, the black seaweed often found near the shore clinging to stones and a little sea sand/grit.

If it has been raining a good tip is to  wash the black sea weed in the sea, give it a good shake because they don't like fresh water.

When laying out the tray, place the weed evenly around it and then gently scatter the worms so that they work their way  through to the paper below. When scattering the worms look out for tails of worms and take them out because the live bait will have a shorter life other wise.

Place the tray where there is a cold area, the colder the better away from the sun, in the shade, out in the garage etc. I sometimes keep a few in the fridge inside a box. 

When I have decided a specific date to dig worms it might be many days from the actual fishing time and I change the black weed, news paper for fresh weed and sometimes in the hot weather use cool packs but have a layer of paper so that the worms are not in contact with them. I always put left over bait that that will not be used back in the sea in special places they like and have developed my own private worm bank! The green worms are the females and I often let them go investment into the future.

Whilst out fishing, if you wish to use left over bait/worms for another trip, it is vital that after reading this article, you keep the worms in a safe cool area/boat or beach as possible and certainly not in the sun at all. Ice pack/cool boxes will help. You will have a good supply of weed during the fishing action whether from a boat or shore to refresh you bait tray.Yes  black weed is the best. Note, the word tray as opposed to a box because of the greater area a tray has helps. If you are keeping worms for another possible trip, it is important that you don't have and tails with them because they will reduce their life. Keep the worms in moist but not wet conditions.

If you throw away old weed, dead ragworms and used newspapers, a good tip is to dig it into the garden as a bed for vegetables next season, but dig it deep because foxes love it! 

I have kept rag in a small fish tank with sea water regularly changed but ask me later! Allan.

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