January through to early April produces some huge pollack from the offshore wrecks situated in the English Channel. Fish well over 20lbs are likely, but any fish over 16lbs is considered a good one.
This is fishing you can enjoy on light tackle such as 12lb or 15lb class rods and reels for maximum sport too.
Signs are that this late winter period coming could be one of the best for some time and expectations are high. To get the best from the superb offshore action, here are 5 top tips that will help you increase your catch rate.
TOP TIP 1
Wreck and reef dwelling pollack mainly feed on sandeels and small baitfish. Top lures to try are Berkley Gulp Sandeels, especially the 5-inch “Sardine” and “Sapphire Shine” types which prove particularly effective in deeper water fished on Flying Collar rigs with a 10-foot long hook trace of 12 to 20lb Penn Fluorocarbon.
Alternatively, as spring arrives, if there are good numbers of mackerel available, swap to the Powerbait Pulse Shads in “Perch” which look exactly like small mackerel in the water, alternatively the Powerbait Pulse Shads in “Natural” imitate small silver bait fish such as herring if are present. Fish these on Flying Collar Rigs or on a Leadhead.
TOP TIP 2
On both wrecks and reefs pollack tend to lift in the water column when the tide run is easing, but will drop back deeper and seek out areas behind rocks and wreck structure that break the tide run as the tide flow increases. Experienced anglers count the turns of the reel handle to gauge depth noting how many turns it takes, on average, to locate feeding fish. This enables them to keep their lures working in the main feeding zone to maximise their catches.
TOP TIP 3
Work the lures by letting them descend slowly to the seabed, then as you feel the “tap” of the lead weight touching bottom, click the reel in to gear and begin a slow, steady retrieve. Count up to 25 turns of the reel handle, then drop back to the seabed and start a new retrieve. Vary the speed from time to time to gauge what the fish want on the day.
Sometimes a very slow retrieve works especially when the fish are situated close to the seabed. If the fish are up in the water column, often sat at 30 to 70-feet off the seabed in depths over 200-feet, then a much faster retrieve can trigger the best response if all else fails.
TOP TIP 4
Pollack do not grab a lure they literally suck it in by dragging water back through their gills. On the rod tip you feel a sudden but progressive increase in pressure as the line slowly tightens. It is important now that you continue the slow retrieve and do not strike. As the pollack fully engulfs the lure it will turn back and power dive for the seabed as it feels the hook which secures a good hook hold, so there is no need to strike at any stage. Also keep your reel drag set light enough to easily give line when the fish crash dives back for the seabed.
TOP TIP 5
For all boat pollack fishing make sure you use either a clear mono main line, or a clear mono/Fluorocarbon leader if using braided line. Pollack have exceptional eye sight and are easily put off by coloured lines and leaders when fishing clear water in good light levels. This is why Penn Fluoro carbon is the recommended hook length material. It is virtually invisible in water and increases the number of fish you will catch compared to clear mono, plus its more durable than mono should it come in contact with the wreck structure.