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Shore Skate Fishing

Starting off from the beginning, I was always brought up around fishing, As a young lad I spent a lot of time with my father fishing around the east coast. Back then we weren’t fishing for anything special, just the usual dog fish, cod, ling ect, but little did we know that even back then there were local anglers tackling much bigger and rewarding fishing in our local waters! It wasn’t unto we went into lock down that I started to get back into angling and that’s when I decided I wanted to start targeting common skate. Even more so that during the summer months they turn up very close to my local area so it’s an absolute treat for all us local anglers.

The above picture is of me with my very first female skate, if I remember right she weighed in at 147LB! It took me almost a year and a half to finally catch one, after many blanks & failed hook-ups the day had finally come. And that night is when my obsession for these beautiful fish started!! Since then I’ve gone on to land in total 14 Females up to 205LB & 5 males up to 149LB


Where I fish our preferred baits are typically mackerel, anything from small Joeys to whole jumbo mackerel but I do like to switch it up now and then and use blueys & whole unwashed squid cocktails which I find just as effective. In reality anything that gives off a good smelly scent is sure to work when targeting skate.

Terminal Tackle

When it comes to targeting skate and the tackle I like to use I like to try and keep it as simple as possible: Starting with main line I like to use an 80LB braid straight through to my trace, for traces I typically use 200/250LB mono, a 6FT rig body with a 3FT hook snood! but have landed a few previously on 100LB mono. When it comes to hooks my favourites at the moment are Koike 10/0 circles in a pennel formation with the barbs crushed, we’ve found this to give us virtually no deep hooked fish and almost every time hooked in the side of the mouth as shown by my picture above!


When it comes to picking rods and reels I like to use ones that pack a bit of power, my current setup is 2x Kompressor SS paired with my Daiwa BG8000 but I’m looking forward to getting out this year and putting my Limitless Avenja PRO-sport through its paces!! Which I can already tell will handle the job. Before I switched over to fixed spools I was using either Penn 535’s or Fathom casting specials which I personally found to be top reels for the job and they’re reasonably priced! Really any beach caster with a bit of back bone will handle a skate!


Typically most of my skate are taken over clean sand or muddy bottoms but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t catch them over other types as I’m sure many people have hooked into them at the most unexpected spots which I have in the past, which takes a bit more doing trying to retrieve such a big fish over snaggy & kelpy ground!

Skate fishing has to be one of the most rewarding these days, but it’s can also be one of the most testing types also. It can take months or even years of targeting just to get that first interaction with one but when that day finally comes it will be sure to change you from there on!! Nothing beats that sound of a screaming drag, your rod thrashing around in the rod rest and feeling your heart beats reach 100MPH knowing that you’re moments away from strapping into one of the best fights of your angling life.

Martin Gibson