They say history often repeats itself, and sea fishing seems to be no different. I was down in Plymouth with Shakespeare Category Manager James Robbins filming some product and sales videos, but also looking to field test some new Shakespeare rods we’ve been working on.
We filmed all day Wednesday, so apart from a very short LRF session resulting in small pollack and shannies late that evening, fishing was not in the plan. The Thursday was different though, as we needed some fishing shots of product in action as well as still photos for future advertising. We were due out with Malc Jones who runs Sea Angler 2, a boat sponsored by Shakespeare and Penn.
For once the weather was good and the sea pretty settled apart from a rolling swell. We headed out for bait and feathered up a series of launce, herring and mackerel. Malc then chose to fish the reef ground for pollack.
On the day we didn’t get huge numbers of launce, which are a brilliant bait for the pollack, so while the other two lads fished the fresh eels, I stayed with artificial lures.
The lads were instantly in to pollack and found some nice fish to 4lbs or so. They were fishing the eels off booms using a longish 10-feet in length trace of 20lb Fluorocarbon.
I started with a new Agility 8/12lb class boat rod prototype and started banging out a series of smaller pollack, also to 4lbs. The fish are still shoaling up even now after the severe storms we all experienced last winter, but Malc knew the marks that were likely to produce and we kept hitting fish after fish. Heading further west we found some better fish to 6lbs, maybe a little bigger. Malc grabbed a rod too, and produced the one and only codling of the day, a fish between 3 and 4lbs. All in all we had constant sport throughout the day.
In between I switched over to a new 9ft Shakespeare Tipster rod we’ve been working on matched to a 4000 sized fixed spool reel loaded with 15lb braid and had a whale of time fishing for the pollack on this light gear. This rod features a new concept tip designed to give better bite indication when used with lighter lines, and especially braid, and you will hear much more about it in the next couple of months.
With home time approaching Malc decided to motor back in a homeward direction, but intended to stop on a small wreck, just for a couple of drifts, in the hope of a bigger fish. The lads again used the last of the launce, but I changed over to a white Berkley Powerbait sandeel.
We were all in to pollack straight away, but nothing bigger than about 6lbs. I sent my eel back down, felt it touch the seabed, but instead of instantly starting to retrieve it I chose to leave it sat there while the boat drifted on maybe another 25-yards or more while still releasing line off the reel. This would shallow the angle that the eel rose up from off the bottom and can sometimes get you a bonus cod as the eel stays near the bottom longer.
Literally, just as I started to retrieve the sandeel, I felt a “tap” on the eel and the rod tipped pulled over. This was no pollack, and also lacked the head shaking habit that cod so often display. I did wonder if it might be a whiting, but there was some decent weight there and I was unsure. It could easily have been a big pout.
Slowly the fish came up through the water column and when it broke surface it was indeed a whiting, and a pretty big one too. I got Malc to weigh it and the lowest reading went 2lb 12ozs. It beat my previous best by just 2ozs, a fish taken in June the previous year also aboard Sea Angler 2 with Malc. A feeling of déjà vu then, and history repeating itself.