Cameras, Cod and Conger

The plan was to travel to Plymouth from North Wales, get there early morning, and film some short DVD’s for a forthcoming sales conference. The drive down went to plan, as did the first part of the filming covering some new Shakespeare rods called Agility and Sigma, plus lures you’ll see in September. But at that point the weather intervened!

First it was showers, then as we started to film the new range of Penn Rampage rods that again will see the shelves come the autumn, it started to rain. We tried to carry on filming, but then the rain started to get heavier. Thunder rolled in the distance and lightening forked across the sky. It got darker and darker and the rain heavier and heavier until it was bouncing six inches off the floor. Four of us were huddled under one umbrella trying to keep the camera equipment dry.

Robert Valkeneer, Penn Product Manager in Holland, and I had been out in the direct rain facing the camera and were soaked right through. The rain was unrelenting and it was way too dark to continue to film. It rained constantly all that evening and well in to the night too. We got up at 4am the next morning and re shot the whole lot!

However we were scheduled to also jump aboard the Pure Fishing sponsored boat “Sea Angler 2” skippered by Malc Jones. We needed a few hours at sea for film footage and to catch some good fish to illustrate the new rods which we would be using on the day.

The bad weather was moving in again as we motored out through Plymouth Sound, but luckily it seemed to be hugging the coast, and by the time we were 5 miles out the sky cleared and we even enjoyed some hazy sunshine.

With time to fish short, the skipper’s decision was to fish a wreck in 245-feet of water. Our target initially would be cod and ling. Robert and I set up using the new Rampage rods with Berkley Ripple Shads and intended to “jump” these along the seabed to find the cod. The fish were unsettled and not feeding too eagerly, without doubt due to the very erratic weather, but we both hit cod, the best being a little short of 10lbs in weight.

Cod around 8lbs

As the tide picked up a little, the ling came out to play. We stayed with the same shad tactic and took ling to close on 12lbs. The ling wanted the shad literally within 2 or 3-feet of the seabed. Any higher and they ignored it!

Rob Valkeneer with his Ling

For the final hour or two we anchored in just up from the wreck and changed to conger gear. The idea is that the smell from the baits will drift back in to the wreck with the tide and draw the conger out to feed.

We didn’t have long to wait. I watched my rod tip dip very slightly a couple of times and released just a couple of feet of line to let the conger take the bait freely. Setting the hook the rod buckled over and the fish tried to back off retreating in to its lair. Heavy pressure got the fish moving and I eventually boated, photographed and released a 30lb eel.

Robert was also in to a conger and mentioned he’d only ever caught one small conger before in Ireland. The eel he was connected to looked to be a little shy of 20lbs, but he quickly took two more conger, the best being over 30lbs and a really nice fish.

Rob with his Conger over 30lbs

While waiting for the conger bites, I also fished a separate rod with a rig carrying small hooks baited with small strips of mackerel, just to see what was down there. I caught several pouting, poor cod, but then two cuckoo wrasse, one a big, beautifully coloured male that weighed 1lb 4ozs.

Cuckoo Wrasse

I was also enjoying a steady stream of conger which took the mackerel or herring baits almost instantly they hit the bottom. I landed two more, with one a little over 30lbs, then hit something more substantial.

This eel came up fairly easily for the first 30-feet, then got really mad, hammered the rod tip over as she turned her head and powered back for the seabed dragging all the line I’d made back off again. This went on for a few minutes, me gaining line, then the eel dragging a little back. Eventually we saw colour in the water and we lifted an eel of 40lbs or so over the gunnel for a quick photo before release. My last drop down produced another 30lb eel.

My Conger around 40lbs

A short but very enjoyable session that compensated for enduring some of the worst summer weather I’ve experienced in many years. It was also good to get some nice fish for the DVD’s on the new Penn Rampage rods, which I’ll be giving more details on shortly in future blogs.

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Categories : Fishing Reports