At 05.15, the headlights light up my living room as Paul Cozens swings into the drive for our Holsworthy SAC club trip out of Penzance aboard Capriole, with skipper Dave Paddock.
Five of us, plus rods, tackle and lunch, cosy into into Paul’s small estate car and we set off for the one and half journey south to Penzance.
The weather for today is due to be hot and the seas calm, so if we manage to locate our main target species, the haddock, it is looking like a perfect day for most ?
Meeting up with skipper Dave and crewman John for the day, and all 7 of us on board, Dave lets us know it will be a short steam out of about 45 minutes and we will be fishing for haddock over a wreck straight away. Recommended set up being baited feathers or hok-eyes.
At the wreck and fishing in around 160 foot of water, we all drop down on the first drift. Between the 8 of us fishing, there are multiple and varied tactics – Myself, Andrew Braunton and crewman John opting for the advised squid strip baited feathers (I tend to start with the skippers recommendations, as they are fishing it every day!). The slow jigging boys, Paul Cozens, Richard Flynn and Brian Hopcroft stick with their preferred method, whilst husband and wife team, Mike and Janet, drop down a straight forward boom baited with some large mackerel fillet.
Although the fish are showing on the sounder, the first drift is fishless, as is the second. The skipper decides to move around the other side of the wreck and straight away the first pollack comes aboard, courtesy of slow jigger Richard Flynn, a fish of around 6lb.
After a few very tentative plucks, my rod is next to bend and this time it is our target species, a haddock.
As I re-bait my feathers I take out one of the small squid I have and slice open the body to make some strips. To my surprise and everyone’s amusement, the content of the squids body (about 1.5”) is completely full with its’ last supper”, a whole baby fish of the same size !
The next few drifts all continue to produce fish, but with myself, Paul, Richard and crewman John the only ones catching, pollack between 3 and 5lb, and no more haddock, the skipper decides to move out a couple of miles and give another wreck a go.
Change of Tactics
During the short journey to the next wreck, some take the opportunity to change their rigs. Mike and Janice change over to baited feathers, Andrew changes to small baited hok-eyes and Brian puts on a smaller jig and baits the hook with a small strip of squid. Paul does what he always does and changes his jig, but if he doesn’t get a take after 2 or 3 drops, he will change it again. No one can ever criticise his work rate, that’s for sure !!
Once at the wreck the skipper spends a bit of time positioning the boat so that we drift perfectly over the wreck. These minutes prove to be well worth it, as Paul’s rod bends over first drift and he is into a better pollack, a nice fish into low doubles. Richard soon follows, as do Andrew and myself, all boating pollack between 4 and 7lb.
Next drift, crewman John brings in another haddock, followed by Brian’s baited slow jigging technique resulting in a nice red gurnard.
The pollack come steadily for the next 4 or 5 drifts, with no rig, tactic or presentation proving to have the advantage, but unfortunately, no more haddock.
As the sun beats down and we approach slack tide, the skipper decides we move off and anchor up over some rough ground, just off a pinnacle mark.
“Ding a Ling”
With fresh baits down, squid and mackerel, or both, it’s a slow start. The odd small pollack and obligatory doggie or pouting, but nothing to get excited about. So, after 15 minutes, the skipper decides to drop the boat back another 20 meters and it’s all change.
Immediately, Paul is into a reasonable ling of around 15lb and I quickly follow with a pollack of around 6/7lb. Andrew, Richard, Mike and Janet all follow suit with some more pollack, Mike then has a small ling and, of course when at anchor, the obligatory LSD’s.
And then that’s it ! 20 minutes of action followed by 20 minutes of nothing. Not even a doggie.
Turbot and Plaice for Christmas ?
There had been rumours we were aware of that some nice turbot and plaice where coming on the sandbanks. So, with fishing at anchor proving to be hard work, slow at best, and another hour or so until the tide picked up and we could get back on a decent drift, we decided to give it a go on the sand banks.
Ragworm and squid strip the baits, plus an impressive array of coloured beads and what can only be described as Christmas tree decorations on the booms and leaders, (their Grannies would have been so proud – I should have got photos!) we gave it an hours’ fishing for the flatties.
Well, it was clear only the doggies had ever heard of Father Christmas, as they were coming thick and fast, but the flatties were obviously busy working with the Elves, as they were no-where to be seen. An hour later, with the tide picking up, we were (thankfully) off to finish the day on the drift and looking for some decent pollack.
Given timescales, Dave decided to head towards home and fish an inshore wreck, looking to pick up some bonus pollack in the short time we had available.
As the very first drift of the day, we had the same anglers reverting back to their original rigs and set ups. We were now fishing for bragging rights. And it was close !!
And so it was to remain.
Every angler caught plenty of fish, all but one fish being a pollack of between 3 & 5 lb. But it was Brian Hopcroft who managed to winkle out a grey gurnard and clinch the species title on the day with 6 species (pollack, pouting, red and grey gurnard, doggie and poor cod).
But to be fair, Paul Cozens put in a good shift. Not quite making the 6 species but by alternating between slow jigging, gilling and bottom fishing, he managed 5 species (mackerel, doggie, pollack, ling and pouting), which also included the biggest pollack and ling on the day. So some might say he just shaded it ??
And with that, we headed off home. We didn’t do to well on our target species, the haddock, but everyone caught plenty of fish and Dave the skipper gave it his best, working really hard for us to find the fish all day. Top man and looking forward to the next trip. The Holsworthy SAC boys are always good company, good banter and, possibly more importantly, always willing to share information, experience and tackle to those that are new to the sport or venue.
Another great day (I don’t think I ever really had a bad day fishing – well apart from when I fell in twice on the same day; walked off the edge of a jetty into 12 foot of water playing a barbel; had to go to hospital with a 6/0 in my thumb and….. no, I’ll save my mishaps blog for another day. Maybe I’ll put it out there to see how it compares to everyone else … that might be fun!)