Arguably the most famous name in boat rod circles is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik. To celebrate the recent introduction of the new Ugly Stik GX2 range of boat rods, Shakespeare decided to undertake a UK tour with the rods. The format is to visit as many of our sponsored boats around the country as possible, and using the same rods, catch as many varied species on a wide range of techniques, just to prove the versatility of the GX2’s.
Our start point was aboard Sea Otter 2 out of Whitby in Yorkshire with skipper Paul Kilpatrick. Paul is one of Shakespeare’s longest serving sponsored boats with a reputation for catching large numbers of cod, as well as ling and sometimes halibut. Our mission on the day was to target cod using artificial shads fished off short jumper rigs using Ugly Stik GX2 12/20 and 20/30lb class rods and reels loaded with 30lb braid line.
The rig we chose is simple, virtually eliminates any chance of tangles, and is cheap to lose should you snag up in the some times rocky ground. Here’s how to build it.
On to your main line tie on a size 3/0 American snap link swivel.
To the same swivel eye tie on 5-feet of 40lb clear mono, or better still Fluorocarbon line.
To the end of the hook link tie on the lure of your choice.
The lead weight attaches to the link on the swivel and you are ready to fish.
As for lures, we used a variety of Shakespeare Devil Own shads, Hellfire Fish, Hellfire Worms, and Berkley Powerbait Sandeels and Ripple Shads. We caught fish on all these lures. The best colours tend to be semi clear colours with blue, pink or black in their makeup, also pearly white, plain black and red.
The technique to fish this rig is simple. Drop the lead weight and lure to the seabed. When you feel the weight hit bottom, remember the length of the hook trace at 5-feet and retrieve in about 8 to 9-feet of line. This sees the lure up off the seabed about 3 to 4-feet. Now lift the rod to near vertical, then allow it to fall back down to almost sea level but keeping the line tight to the weight. This sees the lure lift and fall in a natural swimming action. The majority of the fish will take the lure as it is falling back towards the seabed.
Jumping aboard we were joined by anglers Dirk Rigby and Debbie Oswald from Selby, Tom Thorn and Mac MacDonald, both from the Newcastle area, also Mike Thrussell Jr, editor of worldseafishing.com. The Shakespeare crew consisted of David McCartney from marketing, James Robbins, the Shakespeare category Manager, and myself.
It was a sunny day, with a steady breeze and a light swell. Skipper Paul elected to fish inshore over some rough ground and instantly we were in to codling. These hungry fish hammered the shads and sandeels and the inshore ground produced a steady string of fish for us, but after a couple of hours Paul elected to push further out.
The breeze was stiffer here and we were drifting faster, but still cod in the 2 to 5lb range came steadily aboard. As the tide eased towards slack and bites eased away, skipper Paul decided to move back on to the inshore ground, and as before we hit fish after fish.
There is no mistaking the bite when a cod hits the shad. You feel a sudden judder on the line and the rod tip hammers over. The fish invariably hook themselves and bore for the seabed. There is no need to strike.
Bites again came thick and fast on the inshore marks with crewman Dave Jones kept busy netting fish with everyone heavily in to the action. It was on one of these marks that Mac MacDonald hooked and landed what Paul deemed to be the biggest fish of the day, with Mac duly presented with one of the Ugly Stick GX2 rods used on the day by Marketing Manager Dave McCartney.
Our last stop of the day was on a broken up wreck just a mile offshore from the harbour. Two quick drifts here produced more cod before reluctantly the bow of Sea Otter 2 was turned for home.
Not just an enjoyable day’s fishing then, but the perfect introduction to the Ugly Stik UK tour. Paul Kilpatrick and Whitby certainly did us proud, and we’re looking forward to getting back out with Paul for some more fishing in due course, but next we’ll move on to a new venue and fish a new technique for different species with the Ugly Stik rods.
Keep your eye on the Shakespeare Facebook page, as there will be some announcements shortly regarding the next stage of the Ugly Stik tour that will see you in with a chance of winning a new GX2 rod, and fishing alongside the Shakespeare crew.
Check out the first Ugly Stik Tour video on Youtube now.