Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

The Penn Fathom Tested on some Irish Fish!


Terry’s Blogs

Penn Fathom


Unfortunately I am not able to put the Penn Fathom through its paces in tropical climes, bending rods into GT’s and bronze whalers as seen in previous blogs, but I can still test its metal in the deep fast waters of the North Channel, Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland. The fish here aren’t exactly huge, unless of course you run into a tug of war with one of our common skate!

However, anchored in 500 feet of water with 3-4 knots of running tide and 3lb of lead should give me a fair idea of what the Fathom 40 is capable of. Commercial over-fishing has left us with little to target these days, but the deep, in-hospitable gullies and off-shore reefs still offer a haven for “animal” fish such as conger, spurdog, huss, black-mouth dogfish and the occasional leviathan of the deep, the common skate.

Anchored on one of my favourite marks, we waited for the tidal flow to ease a little. In full flood, even 4lb of lead will not touch the sea bed! The loss in angling time is not wasted as this allows the onion sack of finely chopped fish and bran attached to the anchor, to leach out its scent over a quite a large area. Any passing predators will home in on the source of the scent and hopefully our baited hooks, once the tide abates enough.

After two hours of tea, sandwiches, and general angling banter, finally the tide had eased enough to drop a 2lb lead to the sea bed, 500ft below. The rubby dubby had done its job effectively and my Penn Waveblaster was soon nodding fiercely with the first fish of the session. The Fathom is smooth and powerful, stunning in its black and gold livery, a superb match for the Waveblaster. It handled the depths and size of lead without any bother not to mention the 12lb spurdog brought safely to the net.



With a tag in the dorsal fin and back over the gunnels, my whole calamari squid hook-bait (injected with a syringe of Gulp salmon oil) quickly followed and overtook the spur on its way to the sea bed.

Another rod rattle and a decent huss this time, the Penn combo easily dealing with the arduous task of pumping double figure fish to the surface from 500 ft below!



This continued for the full four hours until slack water, normally the witching hour for large commons on this mark. Unfortunately, they failed to show on this occasion. Experimenting with a whole roach bait to see if a spurdogs tastes extend to freshwater baits, I tempted a bonus cod, a species not seen on this mark for 20 years! I’m not sure if it was the roach or the Gulp salmon oil that did the damage, but I’m certainly not complaining!


Cod has the biggest mouth just!



The Fathom is an excellent reel, capable, smooth and a pleasure to use. My only niggle is that I would have added harness lugs, for that odd occasion when an un-expected beast the size of a garage door picks up your spurdog bait, an event that has happened on too many occasions recently! An hour or so of tug-of-war is made a great deal easier with a shoulder harness, or maybe I’m just getting too old!

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Categories : Fishing reports