The harbour at Ramsgate gives access to a huge amount of fishing throughout the year, including fantastic bass, ray and tope sport, plus plaice, turbot and smoothhounds
Focus on boat action at Ramsgate in Kent.
Ramsgate is a busy port and one that is steeped in history. It was one of the main embarkation harbours during the Napoleonic wars, resulting in many of Ramsgate’s streets being named to commemorate the association with this period in its history, including the harbour’s main thoroughfare, Military Road.
During the Second World War, Operation Dynamo was launched, and an odd assortment of yachts, motor cruisers, fishing boats and other small craft assembled in Ramsgate, before crossing to Dunkirk to ferry men from the beaches to waiting ships.
These ‘Little Ships’, like the men waiting on the beaches, were under constant attack from German aircraft and guns, and 765 vessels involved in the operation were lost. Despite heavy losses, the valiant ‘Little Ships’ assisted in the rescue of 309,739 troops, around 40,000 of whom were landed at Ramsgate.
Throughout the year there are plenty of species to target out of Ramsgate, but perhaps the most sought after are thornback rays, bass, tope and smoothhounds during the summer, and cod and whiting in winter.
Most of these species can be found in the outer reaches of the Thames Estuary and southern North Sea. However, the Ramsgate boats also have the option to head south and west into the English Channel, where they can reach some superb plaice, turbot and blonde ray grounds.
There are also numerous wrecks to be found, and these can be a haven for the bass, plus a few cod, pollack and even gurnards.
It has been known for some of the boats to catch black bream on the wrecks during the autumn, and in recent years there has been some large blonde rays caught on the banks too.
The fishing out of Ramsgate can be very different, depending on which way the boats head, so you’ll need to contact your chosen skipper to discuss exactly what you’ll be fishing for on the day.
Trips are often mixed days, where you will catch a wide range of species, but some of the skippers run species-specific trips, especially during the summer, so you’ll either be going all out for a tope, or you’ll be going hunting for bass or smoothhounds, for instance.
As a general rule, there are three rods that will cover all eventualities. Much of the summer sport involves anchoring and uptiding, so a decent uptide rod and reel combo will do the job. A 12/20lb-class boat rod will cope with any downtide fishing at anchor for species
like the tope, cod and rays. Then you’ll need to go for either a spinning rod or a 12lb-class boat rod when drifting for the bass, turbot and plaice.
With regard to terminal tackle, anything goes. Use light kit for the bass, plaice and smoothhounds, then step up a notch for the summer tope and blonde rays.
When it comes to rigs, a simple running leger is about as easy and effective as it gets. The real key to success is bait quality and presentation in the Thames. Fresh peeler crab, hermit crab, mackerel and ragworm baits work well during the summer, while good old local lugworm and squid are the winter staples.
Royal Ramsgate Marina is geared up for visiting anglers and boaters. There are currently six full-time charter boats operating from here, and there are berths for more than 700 vessels.
Inside the huge marina building there are toilet facilities, plus showers and even a coin-operated laundrette.
The postcode for the marina is CT11 9LQ. For more information, you can visit the website at: www.portoframsgate.co.uk ■
Ramsgate harbour is set within the safety of the Royal Ramsgate Marina
There are six full-time charter boats operating out of Ramsgate
caught This 19lb 4oz bass was by on board the Skerry Belle just a few Wayne Milton – it was ounces off the British record
Blonde rays to over 20lb have been caught in recent years
It is possible to find some great turbot fishing