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TODAY’S BEST SHORE AND BOAT ANGLING MAGAZINE
ICELAND Three fish every cast! SHORE ACTION
0 0 0 1 £ EN K O T E L K TAC
INSIDE! arcia, Penn, AbupG re ea Shakes PAGE 55
John Wilson hauls up a giant halibut HOW TO
CATCH PRIME MID-WINTER FLOUNDERS
BE A BETTER
COD ANGLER BAIT, TIPS, TRICKS & ADVICE FOR ROCK AND CLEAN BEACH FISHING
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RON THOMPSON SHELTER AND 2 FREE LED LAMPS FOR £59.99
SEA ANGLER ROCK FISHING WORDS BY PAUL FENECH PICTURES BY MIKE DOBSON
Secrets of a successful rock hopper Nothing is guaranteed in ﬁshing…until you head for the rocks in search of cod. Here are a few pointers to help you locate the shore angler’s favourite species
SEA ANGLER ISSUE 447
SEA ANGLER ISSUE 447
EASY ENTRY ANGLING
WIN TOP SHAKESPEARE SALT TACKLE PRIZES Each issue we will award a 13ft Salt Beach FS rod with matching Salt XDS 080 fixed-spool reel and shore rig wallet worth nearly £150 to the best two questions published every month.
14 pages of advice, help, and tackle and bait tips follow to help you become a happy sea angler
Do you want to be successful in your ﬁrst winter cod season? Our staff writer and cod fanatic Paul Fenech offers you guidance to help make it happen…
What’s on the menu for a winter cod? T here is really no straight answer to the question of what is the best winter cod bait because cod will eat virtually anything. Lugworms are great in winter, either fished alone or as part of a cocktail with
crabs, razorﬁsh and squid. A good indication of what cod will be feeding on is to walk the shoreline during or after a recent storm. Generally you can ﬁnd all sorts of shellﬁsh, such as razorﬁsh, whelks, cockles and clams, along with worms, washed up, and this is probably what the ﬁsh have moved in to feed on. During a settled spell, cod may
move further away from the shore, so a bait that has lots of scent, such as live or frozen peeler crabs, yellowtail lugworms and white ragworms, may just give you the edge. Don’t be afraid to mix baits or experiment if things are quiet. Fishing is very unpredictable, and often what works on one venue may not work on another.
Look for shellfish after a storm
Three levels of skill to help you catch more ﬁsh Start off with EASY ENTRY ANGLING then climb the ladder to MOVING UP A GEAR and continue to learn with MASTERCLASS
DON’T LET YOUR BAIT BE A WASHOUT Trial and error determines the length of time between casts
One of the more frequently asked questions by first-time shore cod anglers is how long to leave a bait in the water. Obviously there are certain things to consider, such as how many small fish are around, or are bait-robbing crabs at work? While cod can pick up on a scent from a distance, it is important to keep a fresh scent trail going. I like to leave
Use new bait on every cast
a cod bait around 20 minutes before changing it but this can drastically alter during any session. After 10 minutes of your first cast has gone by without any interest, reel in and check the bait. If it is intact, put a fresh one out and leave it until a bite develops, as it is quite obvious that small fish and crabs are not present. If your hooks are bare, then you need to cut each cast
should offer new, fresh bait if time down until a fish picks it is to appeal to feeding fish. up on your scent. Treat every cast as if Don’t get into the it were your first. habit of pushing This is where bait up the double-patting snood and is handy – as adding fresh IF YOU HOOK A you retrieve to it. Always SMALL FISH, IT MAY ATTRACT A one rig it can remove old BIG COD be replaced bait because it with another will be washed you prepared with out, the juices are fresh bait after making the gone and a hungry cod will previous cast. probably ignore it. Each cast
BIG COD LOVE A LIVEBAIT Time to set up a spare rod
One of the reasons large cod venture close to the Swivel trapped between beads shore is to feed on the many and stop knots small fish. If there is deep water close in on your beach, it is possible that a big cod is only yards away from you, hunting a whiting or a small pouting. Many anglers have been fishing for cod with a huge bait mounted on a Pennell rig only to hook a small fish that in turn attracts a cod. A good tip if this happens is to fish with a second rod armed with a Pennell rig (right) that has a small top sliding hook above a large bare hook. Add a small piece of squid or mackerel to the smaller hook and leave it for a whiting or pouting to hook itself. Hopefully a big cod will pick up on the distress from the small fish and engulf it – along with the bare hook. Have the clutch on the reel correctly set because a big cod can drag a rod into the sea as it swims off.
60lb hook snood
Small hook sits above large hook in a Pennell
“Hopefully a big cod will pick up
on the distress
from the small fish and engulf it"
SEA ANGLER ISSUE 447
skills THRee RiGS YOU MUST TRYâ€ŚNOw! Why a Pennell set-up helps you hook more fish ďƒ
Pennell pulley rig: Nothing beats the two-hook Pennell set-up for large cod baits, such as a lugworm and squid cocktail, or a whole Calamari squid or crab. The two hooks in one bait theory is spot on. One hook is placed at each end of the bait, so no matter which end the fish takes the bait it finds the hook. This is especially effective for a long snood of lugworms and can be used on any terminal rig. Apart from being great to combat
snags and rough ground, this rig is popular because it is the simplest of the streamlined clipped rigs to construct. Two-hook loop rig: This rig is in the domain of the match angler, but it is without doubt the most streamlined two-hook rig around. By clipping two baits in line astern of the lead weight you can achieve big casting distances. For piers and marks where distance is not so crucial, a simple unclipped version of the loop rig is the one-up, one-down flapper.
Livebait rig: Cod are not averse to snaffling a pouting or a whiting, and an effective livebait rig set-up is a single snood paternoster. Tie a small size 2 hook on the end of a 30lb snood and then a size 4/0+ hook from the eye of the size 2 so that it hangs alongside. Bait the size 2 with a small lugworm. The theory, which works, is that a small fish takes the size 2 and is then grabbed by a cod, which ends up on the bigger hook. Crafty but deadly!
Top tip Bad weather exposes poor casting, so improve your skills
Fish takes bait and is caught by one of two hooks
Big bait has a hook at each end
Sea angler iSSue 447
Learn the art of compromise
Cod have huge mouths and can engulf large baits, so there is no need for small hooks and neat baits, although there is an important relationship between bait size, presentation and casting distance. Do you cast short with a large bait that will attract fish to it, or cast long with a small bait that has a limited scent trail? Compromise is the answer. Match the bait
to the conditions and err on the large and juicy side when possible. Lugworms and squid are the two best baits, either together in a cocktail or on their own. One lugworm does attract the attention of the smaller species like whiting, and can be torn off the hooks. A whole Calamari squid will last longer and is perfect for bigger cod. Other cod baits include
peeler crabs, although these are difficult to come by in winter and mostly effective for codling. Crabs have some use for the bigger fish when cocktailed in a large mixture of baits. Other regional variations, which form parts of cocktails, include ragworms, white rag, razorfish, mussels, queen cockles, cuttlefish, frozen uncooked prawns, plus small live pout and whiting.
“no matter which end of a Pennell the fish takes the bait it finds a hook”
Sea angler iSSue 447
n Spawning: Cod spawn between three and six million eggs at one time. n Year class: Shoal cod all tend to be the same size
reflecting their year classes. The shoals thin out as the fish get bigger and with fish being lost to both netting and predation. n Great escape: Cod survive over rough ground because the commercial netters can’t get at them.
cOD pROSpecTS aROUND THe UK
Will the fish show in your region? While prospects for codling this winter have looked good since autumn, it is the lack of bigger cod that most sea anglers will be concerned about. After a poor winter last year only a handful of regions have any hope of the bigger fish returning. The fact is they are caught once they reach gill net size and few escape to grow bigger. Regions looking for a flush of bigger fish are the
South and South East, with anglers from Suffolk down to Sussex hopeful of lots more fish over 5lb this year. Elsewhere, regions like the North East, Mersey and South Wales do have a flush of small codling this year. Although big fish are usually possible almost anywhere, the future looks brighter for some regions than it did at this time last year.
Match anglers hope more cod will boost events
Rig mainline is pulled through the pulley bead
Stop bead prevents swivel jamming in pulley bead
n Colour: Red and brown cod are camouflaged for living in kelp.
Lead weight breaks out and rises off sea bed
THe BiG cOD qUeSTiONS
Why doesn’t spinning work for cod from the UK shore? It could be due to the coloured water. During a recent trip to cod-packed Norway, I cast a small pirk from the shore and got a cod almost every chuck. Our fish regularly take small pout and whiting. Perhaps no-one has persevered with the right types of lures while fishing from our shores.
Why are yellowtail lugworms said to be best for cod? Are they? Lots of winter anglers get paranoid about having yellowtails or black lug because they are tougher and may stay on the hook longer. However, a bunch of common lug is often more juicy in terms of leaking blood and a scent trail than one yellowtail.
story and pictures by Dave lewis
anna stood up to the plate, “a took the rod off me and hung on
with grim determination”
I’m a celebrity...ta Television presenter Anna Ryder-Richardson – famed for Changing Rooms and 80
Sea angler iSSue 447
Singing the blues
Anna Ryder-Richardson, husband Colin (left) and Andrew Alsop get to grips with a blue shark.
ake me sharking! I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! – wanted to go fishing. We obliged… Sea angler iSSue 447
BOAT ANGLING CLINIC
Q&A Written by Dave Lewis
Boats and boat angling can throw up all sorts of little problems. Dave Lewis is on hand to help readers who have questions that need answering
XM LIFEJACKET WINNING QUESTION Know your tides Why is fishing better on spring tides than neaps? Darrell New, Ashford, Kent Dave says: The strength of the tide is a trigger for all fish to feed, and this is important for all anglers. Spring tides are bigger and stronger, which does turn on fish, especially powerful predators like bass. However, at times a spring tide can be too powerful and the fish switch off, meaning the tide run might be unfishable. That is why clever anglers watch the tides, aiming to fish a building or dropping tide when the run is not too fierce. Neap tides are the weakest and may not spur fish to feed, so anglers have just a brief window when the tide reaches its peak. Understanding tides and the way they affect feeding habits is one of the best skills an angler can learn. Charter anglers can rely on the skipper who knows how the tides affect the fishing in their area.
Pros and cons of uptiding Is uptiding a better way to catch cod than downtiding? Roger Cary, Dymchurch, Kent Dave says: In one simple word, no. It is a much more sporting and fun way of catching the nation’s favourite fish because the rod is longer, you get great bite registration and it feels like the fish is fighting back as your bring it towards the boat. In truth not everyone can uptide at one time on a busy charter boat – maybe three anglers along each side can uptide with a couple more rods over the stern downtiding. The downtiders score on two counts: the uptiders are banging out lots of scent, which leaches from their baits and draws the fish uptide to it, where they are nobbled first by the downtide outfits. The downtiders can also feed out line from the stern and pick up bonus incoming cod. The uptiders have to use much more balanced tackle, they have to cast well uptide (depending on the strength of the tide), then they have to pay out line until the spiked sinker digs in, and set their rod tips, waiting for a drop-back bite. It is more technical and probably more rewarding – a 15lb-plus cod on an uptider can really brighten your day.
Uptiding requires balanced tackle
TOP TIP ALWAYS WEAR A
FLOTATION SUIT OR LIFEJACKET WHEN YOU ARE BOAT FISHING
It’s time to collar fish What is the best rig for drift fishing? Bernie Fletcher, Dartmouth,Devon Dave says: Let’s go for your local wrecks. You need a flyingcollar rig, which comprises a braid mainline and a 50lb clear nylon leader that carries a 1ft tube boom stopped with a bead and quality swivel. Tie a 6-10ft trace of either 30lb mono or fluorocarbon to the swivel. Attach a size 3/0 to 5/0 forged hook to the end for fishing big shads or a finer size 3/0-4/0 Mustad BLN for jellyworms. Many soft baits come with hooks that stick out of their backs, and some have belly weights. This same rig can be used for fishing a live sandeel or launce, so just scale down the hook size to match the eel.
SPONSORED BY XM QUICKFIT LIFEJACKETS The best question from a reader each issue wins a selfinflating XM lifejacket worth £52.99. The extensively tested waistcoatstyle lifejacket has 150 Newtons of lift, water-activated gas inflation, CE approval, lifting bracket, oral inflation top-up, whistle, SOLAS reflective tape, fast, simple re-pack and re-arm, and three-year warranty. Web: www.platimousa.com
Keep warm and safe while fishing in winter
Have a clothing option What’s the warmest flotation suit I can wear? J Whitehead, Brighton, Sussex Dave says: All flotation suits are warm, even the cheap ones. This is because the buoyancy foam, fitted into all suits, not only keeps you afloat but also keeps body heat in and the wind out. So you win on all fronts. I think the issue here is not what is warmest but what is best for fishing from autumn through to spring. One-piece suits really keep you very warm, but on spring and autumn days you can overheat. This is why many boat anglers opt for a two-piece suit, which gives options depending on the weather. When it is really cold they can suit up and wear jacket and trousers, when the weather is milder or as the day warms up they can switch to wearing just the jacket, even unzipping it to let out unwanted body heat.
Send your boating and boat fishing questions to Dave Lewis, Boat Angling Clinic, Sea Angler magazine, Bauer Media, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. SEA ANGLER ISSUE 447