No Smoothies at Cleveleys but a Small Bass and a Smaller Tope

Cleveleys sea fishing for Bass and Smooth Hound

After eagerly watching the weather and ordering 20 peeler crab and 20 black lug from Blackpool Angling Centre on Wednesday I woke up Saturday morning to find the wind hadn’t died down as expected and with the Westerlies blowing onto the Lancashire coastline the chances of catching a Smooth Hound sea fishing from Cleveleys, between Blackpool and Fleetwood, was slim at best.

But I’d got the bait and armed with a few extras from the freezer we made our way to the beach to be greeted by a surf that could only be described as ‘Bass like’. Good job we’d brought the lug, maybe a fish was on the cards after all.

Small Bass for Wendy at CleveleysAfter a bit of trouble initially with our two hook rigs getting tangled in the surf we both elected to fish single hook pulley rigs, armed with a 2/0 wide gape hooks, Wendy using Black Lug, me with Black Lug on one rod and Crab on the other.

Casting over the weed that the wind had brought into the shallows we left our baits for about 15 minutes before changing, any longer than that and the tide would have washed out any scent. It was getting a bit difficult to tell a bit from the movement of the rods due to the waves but suddenly there was a  thump on Wendy’s rod and a small Bass was landed, her first this year.

As high tide drew closer the wind did drop a little until on the ebb you could just make out some calmer water past the breaking waves.

I fired out a crab into what I hoped was a weed free zone, into this smooth water and left the other rod closer in, hoping for a Bass from the surf, then it happened, a bite that in no way could be mistaken for a wave. I wound down onto a solid weight, fish on! The line started kiting to the right and then I saw it in the last of the waves – a Smooth Hound! Carefully I lifted the rod high to avoid the weed and at that moment it went weightless as the fish either let go or wasn’t hooked properly.

I was gutted! To miss a fish is one thing, to actually see it then it get away is almost heart breaking.

Shaking I baited both rods up with crab and launched my baits into the same area as before, this was to be the last cast as the tide was ebbing quickly now and soon there wouldn’t be enough water to fish into to make staying any longer feasible.

Tiny Tope sea fishing at CleveleysFifteen minutes later it was all over, no fish for me this time so I packed away one rod while leaving the other out as long as possible. Wendy had packed up a few minutes before as it was getting a bit chilly now but as I wound in the last rod I felt a slight weight on the line and as it got closer in again it started going right.

Odd, this doesn’t seem heavy at all I thought, and then it broke the surface, the world smallest shark…

Yes, once again fishing during the summer on the Lancashire coast I had caught a tiny Tope, I think they’re getting smaller.

When you consider these fish, a top UK predator, can grow to over sixty pounds in weight this one was minute, it must have been one of this years young. After a quick photo (I’d shouted to Wendy to witness my fish…)  I slipped him back into the sea to start his reign of terror and after packing up and checking that we’d not left anything behind I made my way up to the car.

So, not a total disaster by any stretch, out of a lot of anglers on the beach that evening I only saw our two fish landed and although they were not the weeks target it was great to be out and we’d made the best of the weather we’d got.

Very small Tope sea fishing at Cleveleys
Young Tope - I'm sure they're getting smaller...



  1. Paul said:

    Always a good read mate. Unlucky with the smoothhound mate, you cant win em all!! There have been some reasonable sessions along there this year!! And there seems to be an aweful lot of very small Bass around too…..

    Keep up the good work!!!


    July 11, 2011
  2. Stu said:

    Thanks for the comments Paul,

    Just got back from Anglesey and after 2 weeks there I’m still smmothhoundless 🙁
    Oh well – just have to wait for a few easterlies then try up here again…


    July 16, 2011
  3. Dave Kirkman said:

    Hi, my friend has recently moved to Cleveleys and they live just behind the VUE cinema. I am trying to get him into sea fishing I saw some people fishing on the beach last weekend but because I was with the missus I could not get down to see what / if they were caching. Would a 12ft beach caster and reel be okay for starters and would you recommend fishing at low water or high tide? I have only really done boat fishing in the past and inland coast fishing, any help / feedback would be appreciated,

    Thanks in advance

    September 26, 2011
  4. Stu said:

    Hi Dave

    A 12 foot beachcaster would be fine as cleveleys is fairly steep so distance isn’t really an issue, if you can fish it in the dark even better. If you relatively new to the area I’d fish a couple of hours either side of high water as at low water you’ll be in danger of the gulleys filling in behind you which can make things a little dicey.

    Park as far to the right of the prom as you can get and anywhere along there will do – if you can get a look during the day at lowish water you’ll prob be able to find a few good gulleys to cast into when the tide floods.

    At this time of year the target iwll mainly be flounder with the whiting just round the corner although a few small codling are starting to show – best bait would be fresh lug or crab if you can get it.

    Hope this helps a bit


    September 26, 2011
  5. Dave Kirkman said:

    Hi Stu,

    Thanks for the quick response and appreciate your feedback, I generally go and scope things out prior to any fishing trip to get a feel for things and as you say I noticed the gulleys and how quickly these filled once the tide was coming in. I have also been online and noted all the sites for checking the out the tide times and saved them to my favourites on my laptop / mobile phone.

    I will get online and see if I can find a rod and reel so I can get a day out arranged.

    Thanks again and I will try and give you an update once I have been,


    September 26, 2011

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