Plenty of Cod and Pollock!
Leaving Soverign Harbour with hardly a breath of wind, blue sky and the sun shining!
The Easter weekend saw some rather uncharacteristic weather for a UK Bank Holiday! For once we had little or no wind, clear blue skies and the sun shining.
It was therefore with more than a little excitement that I set the alarm clock for a 4.00am wake-up call in order to make the 150ml drive to Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. My friend Denis Froud had invited me down to try a spot of wreck fishing aboard his custom built 12mt cat ‘Aristocat’. Denis and his crew had been finding some good sized cod and pollock over the past two weeks so hopes were high that we could find a few fish over the wrecks. At least if the fish were not showing it was warm enough for shorts and shirt sleeves.
We knew where we were heading – Or at least Captain Den did!
The plan was to drift one or two wrecks until we found the fish. In previous weeks the cod in particular had been very fussy and hard to tempt. Stuffed with sprats they were not ready to chase that hard and a slow retrieve with small soft shads had been the successful method. When fishing this way I prefer the simple Whitby rig with just a swivel connecting you to your chosen lead and your trace coming off the top of the same swivel.
However if possible I wanted to catch using vertical jigs. I have been very successful with this method in warmer climes and was keen to try it out on our own favourite species.
A good selection of jigs to try.
On the drift I usually fish 1grm of jig weight for every foot of water. As we were to be fishing in around 140ft I had brought a range of jigs from 100grm to 250grm. That way all bases were hopefully covered.
I had chosen the Penn Atlantis 7000 size reel loaded with 30lb Berkley jigging braid and a Penn TRQ Jiggiing rod.
Conditions were as near perfect as you will find in the English Channel. The sea was flat calm and very clear. Time to get the shorts out and take off the fleece! Once we arrived at our first wreck we calculated our drift with the tide and took Aristocat above the wreck allowing for this. First drift and two of the other lads were in. A Pollock and a Cod were soon dropped into the fish box.
In the net!
Second drift the same happened again with all the fish coming to soft shads on a slow retrieve.
Although I had wanted to catch on the vertical jigs I had only had a couple of small knocks with the jig just a few feet off the bottom. This is where a good jigging braid is worth it’s weight in gold. The coloured markers allow you to calculate just where your jig is in relation to the wreck. Everything was working but the fish were just not playing. Reluctantly I changed to a small Berkley Soft Shad in ‘Spicy’ orange. Next drift and bang! Fish On!
There then followed a steady succession of Cod and Pollack on most drifts to the same ‘Spicy’ shad.
I tried a vertical jig several more times but with the fish really wanting a super slow retrieve it was hard going to make the method work. Not one for too much hard work when fishing for pleasure I reverted back to the soft bait.
We finished the day with 26 Pollock and Cod plus a few Whiting and the inevitable Pouting (some of these were monsters). None of the fish were massive but a couple went into double figures and on ultra-light gear were great sport.
What was also good to see was that the Mackerel had arrived in significant numbers. A couple of the lads were going to fish bait and tried their feathers a couple of times. Each drop resulting in a full-house of Mackerel.
Back to try vertical jigging again soon!