I recently teamed up with Pure Fishing category managers Rob Wyatt and James Robbins aboard the Penn/ABU/Shakespeare sponsored Plymouth based charter boat Sea Angler 2 skippered by Malc Jones. The aim of the trip was to shoot some DVD film for some product presentations, the product being new lure/spinning rods, boat rods and some new reels including a new low profile reel scheduled for the ABU range.
I’m a real fan of these low profile reels and would be matching it to an ultra lightweight, slim diameter 7’4” prototype rod designed specifically for lure fishing and loading with 20lb Berkley Whiplash Crystal braid. Jimbo was also using a longer version of the same rod, with Rob fishing with prototype Penn boats rods and a new Penn reel.
Due to the late lasting and very cold winter, stocks of baitfish such as mackerel and herring were late arriving and virtually non existent, however there were launce sandeel about and we initially targeted these using lumo Shrimp rigs to get some fresh bait aboard.
The lads set up with flying collar boom rigs using long 10-foot 20lb Penn Fluorocarbon hook lengths and the fresh launce as bait. The launce is let down to the seabed then retrieved slowly up through the water column presenting the big sandeels naturally as the pollack expect to see them.
I also chose the flying collar rig, but opted for artificial Gulp Alive baits starting with a 6-inch Sapphire Shine sandeel mounted on a 4/0 hook.
The first drift proved unsuccessful, but at the start of the second drift I released the tackle until I felt it touch the seabed, then began a slow steady retrieve, It was just a few feet up off the seabed when I felt a steady increase in rod tip pressure as a pollack drew the sandeel in to its mouth. Its important to keep up the steady retrieve all the time you feel this rod tip pressure increase as otherwise the pollack may lose interest in the bait.
The light rod curved over and line hissed off the reel as the hook found a hold and the fish dived back for the seabed. The beauty of these short, lightweight lure rods and the low profile reels is that the fight with a fish is so much more enhanced, especially when using light braided line as I was and it increases the fun factor ten fold over conventional tackle.
The fish fought hard, but gradually came upwards until it showed on the surface. A fat 7lber!
Pollack came in bursts as the fish were not in the numbers they should be yet for the time of year, but the fishing was consistent enough with skipper Malc working his known ground systematically.
We were all catching fish, but then Rob went quiet as his rod bent in to a much better fish that took a fresh launce sandeel. The fish went back to the seabed several times taking line off the reel, but skipper Malc was ready with the net and a fine pollack well over 11lbs was lifted aboard. That’s a good fish from reef ground!
We stayed with the pollack through until just before low tide slack water and accounted for well over 20 fish, but the 11lber remained the biggest on the day.
We tried briefly for conger over slack water, but though Rob hooked and lost one they showed little interest. James capped the day off with a ling about 6lbs which Rob held for the camera as Jimbo was doing most of the filming. Whilst conger fishing I dropped a speculative set of small feathers over the side and was rewarded with a full string of mackerel, the first full string on the boat this year, which shows that things are building up nicely now after the very slow start.