Fishy Tales from the Emerald Isle –

Bag a Bull-Huss…….Terry’s Travels

One of the advantages of targeting Bull-Huss from a boat is that you rarely have to travel too far off-shore to find them. This can be a handy contingency plan when poor weather conditions hamper an off-shore trip. Huss prefer mixed ground, that is to say, sand and shingle that borders reef, broken sea bed and kelp beds. Huss that inhabit pure weeded areas are often darker in colour, whereas the sand-shingle, reef fish tend to have an amazing leopard-spot colouration.

A double-figure Huss taken over clean-broken ground.

Huss will take a range of fresh sea-baits presented to them, the most popular being mackerel, squid or octopus, pouting, poor cod or whiting. Strangely, I have taken many double-figure Huss and conger on fillets of rainbow trout. Farm-reared Rainbows have a very high oil content which, I am quite sure, is the attraction. Gulp salmon oil also works well when injected into a bait or used as a dip.

Inject Gulp oil for added attraction

Squid and mackerel are high on the Huss bait list.

Rainbow trout fillets work well

End rigs should be reasonably heavy-duty, as conger, spurdog and sometimes common skate will make an appearance, and you do not want to miss out on these bonus species. I tie paternoster rigs on 150lb mono. It will not put the Huss off and offers maximum possibilities of landing larger fish. Pennell rigs can be an advantage, and hooks must be razor-sharp. Huss will often hold a bait right up to the surface and let go at the last minute!

this whiting bait landed several Huss, as can be seen from the teeth marks!

Although Huss are powerful fish, with the larger specimens putting up a reasonable scrap, it is wiser to fish with 30lb class tackle in case any of the afore-mentioned species make an appearance.  I have had several lighter rods smashed over the years when Common Skate have picked up a single calamari or mackerel strip whilst targeting smaller species.

this skate took a Huss bait

Always anchor for Huss, they prefer a static bait, and if possible, introduce a scent trail to speed the process up. An onion sack with freshly chopped mackerel and bran tied to the anchor chain will do nicely. Hook size will depend solely on bait size, and specimen Huss have the capability to swallow very large baits! A minimum of 6/0 is recommended, and I repeat, super-sharp!

Huss and whiting together. In many areas, whiting are a primary food source for predators.

One last thing, if you think that you have hooked into a decent Huss, have someone on standby with a landing net. On more than one occasion, I have landed a double figure fish as it broke the surface, just as it spat the bait and hooks back at me! Happy Huss hunting.

specimen sixteen pounders don’t come along too often, but it’s a magic moment when they do!

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