I used to dream about wining the lottery, now I just dream about going fishing again. All the indicators are pointing to a level of relaxation on the social distancing rules, probably in a couple of weeks time. If the government are starting to phase people back to work, there is no reason why a sport such as fishing can’t be included in acceptable forms of exercise and relaxation. When that time comes what do we have to look forward to? I have highlighted just a few of my favourite fish and the ones I will be targeting as soon as we get a chance to get out there.
Mackerel – One of my favourite fish for so many reasons
I love the arrival of the first Mackerel, it heralds the start of the new fishing year for me and with the shoals come the predators and other species that live off them. They are once of the best baits you can use for lots of different species including Bass, Cod, Rays and Conger, not to mention the smaller species such as Gurnard, Whiting, Garfish, Pollock and Pout.
Not only are they a great bait, but I think they are one of the tastiest fish in the sea. You can cook them in so many ways, even right there and then on the beach. If you have any recipes that you would love to share with our other readers then please email me at [email protected]
Gurnard- A very underrated fish
Another fish that joins us in the early part of the summer is the Gurnard. Although generally not a large fish, they are easy to catch and delicious to eat. You don’t need to cast far either, as many can be caught with 40m of the shore. I love the vibrant colours of the different species such as the streaked Gurnard pictured below.
A three hook flapper rig baited with ragworm and tipped with Mackerel is one of the best ways to target them.
Smoothound – One of the most powerful fish in UK waters
Never leave your rod unattended if there is the chance of Smoothound being around. Even a 4lb hound will have your rod out of its rod rest and heading towards the sea in seconds. When I target Smoothound I only use one rod, I have learned my lesson the hard way that they normally come in packs. I have never met anything as powerful in this country as a double figure Smoothound. These fish hit hard and just keep going, they are solid muscle and often feed in areas of strong tidal. flow. Live Peeler crab and Hermit crab are undoubtedly the best bait, but on occasions that can be caught on Ragworm or Squid. They feed just as happily during the day as they do at night. Some of the best Smoothound fishing is in The Solent, the Bristol Channel and Thames Estuary, although we do get a few on Chesil, they rarely break into double figures.
Mullet – The ghosts of the harbour
For those of us lucky enough to live near a harbour or estuary, then seeing Mullet swimming gracefully bye is a common sight. They can often be seen sifting through the silt and grazing on weed growth, slowly moving from one spot to the next. However once you hook a Thick Lipped Mullet all hell breaks loose. They charge away and attempt to wrap your line around every obstacle in the harbour. They won’t give up easily, unlike their close cousins the Thin Lips, whose fight normally lasts less than 30 seconds. If caught in open water they are delicious to eat, but once they have spent a bit of time in the harbour they lose their eating appeal to me.
Best baits are float fished bread for thick lips and a Mepp’s spinner and bit of ragworm for the thins. I am in the midst of writing an article on catching both species.
Yes I have left loads of species out, especially some of the big ones like Bass, but in truth I don’t really start my Bass season of until September. Lets hope that’s not when we are first allowed to go fishing again.