g n i l tt Ba
k c a l l o P c i t Atlan
ent Rider S The Illex Elem eat sport r gr fo es ak m 210M m with the 90m when rigged now. in M k ac Bl h Fiiis
ly l, Steven Nee a g e n o D h it w ation ntic from his fascin which the Atla k c lla o p g n ti h Following on e fig some of the fin connects with for. coast is famed
a always worth Chartreuse is they simply – try for pollack can’t resist.
ollack may be, in many people’s eyes, a humble fish and some even claim they aren’t great fighters – I beg to differ. There is very little that can prepare you for the initial smash and grab of a pollack as it hits the lure and dives for the sanctuary of the bottom. Your success will all boil down to one small split second – if you can stop it going to ground, the odds are you will land it safely on the rocks. However, if you fail to stop it, then I’m afraid it will most likely end in a stuck lure, broken line or a damaged ego – but that’s fishing! This summer has been less than kind weather-wise, with westerly gales and big swells making it a struggle to get near my usual haunts. Eventually, however, autumn brought settled weather and with it, the first real opportunity to chase some decent pollack from the shore.
08 Irish Angler November 2013
Pollack Paradise Slack tides wouldn’t be my ideal choice – I prefer greater tidal variants and therefore stronger currents – but we had to take what we had and go for it. We set off mid-morning aiming to be on our chosen mark around mid-tide. The plan was to keep on the move but focus on three specific spots which we knew could potentially produce that beast we had been searching for. When we arrived the tide was flooding, it was warm and overcast – all looking very promising, but would the fish be willing? This particular mark is perfect pollack hunting territory – granite slabs step down into deep water close in. The bottom is carpeted with thick beds of kelp intersected by deep gullies. A strong right to left current rips across the mark, bringing food to the big eyed predators below.
This mark is not for the fainthearted as, at high tide, you are completely cut off from the mainland. This isolation and solitude is what makes it a special place – once you commit to the mark you know you will be undisturbed by anyone. Timings are critical and we have spent years perfecting this trip but it is well worth the effort. If I had to draw my ideal spot for pollack this would be it. The gear was fairly standard – we used short, powerful rods between 7ft 3in and 7ft 7in casting up to 28g. They were matched with Daiwa 2500 and 3000 fixed spool reels, loaded with 20lb braid and a long 20lb fluorocarbon leader. A
longer leader will help when working around rough structure and will also, in theory, be invisible to the fish – preventing them from spooking. Rigged up with a 12g, 120mm Fiiish Black Minnow I cast out, slightly to the right to compensate for the current rip. I have talked about ‘sink and draw’ before, but it is a killer technique. On the third cast we watched in awe as a pollack of around 4lb nailed the lure on the drop. Having a tight drag set is crucial – you need to stop that fish before it dives. Have confidence in your terminal tackle. If your knots are correct they will hold up just fine. Anyway, after a few dives we slipped the net under and it was safely landed. Not a bad
November 2013 Irish Angler 09
start! We fished on for another half an hour or so with only a few bites – was that it? Switching to the new Megabass Dot Crawler, rigged weedless, we worked a new stretch of water. It’s a new soft plastic to me but one which is already earning a fierce reputation amongst bass anglers. Weighing 28g alone, it truly is a beast. Big pollack seem to like it too! A few casts later – bang! The rod locked up and the headshakes started pounding. This wasn’t a small fish. Is this what we came here for? We landed the fish weighing a shade over 5lb – not a goliath but a solid lump of a predator like this makes any trip special. The pollack were all in superb condition, fat and fighting hard. It was great sport and we managed a few others around the 4lb mark. Sadly the big monsters from last year didn’t make an appearance but we weren’t complaining.
‘There is very little that can prepare you for the initial smash and grab of a pollack as it hits the lure and dives for the sanctuary of the bottom.’
Fishing in deep current rips Current is a key feature to look for when targeting any predatory fish. Pollack love to roam around any structure where current flows over, often trapping baitfish and other food in the turbulence. Shads or paddle tails are a tried and tested method for targeting these inshore predators. The tail omits vibrations that appeal to the predatory nature of the fish. I find weedless jig heads to be the best approach for two reasons. Firstly, they should snag less in the weed and secondly, the fixed weight gives you direct contact with the lure. You can easily change the weight of the jig head to compensate for depth and current strength. What you are aiming to do is get the lure down to the bottom, cutting through the current. Then, once the lure is near the bottom, start working it up through the water column. I use a ‘sink and draw’ motion, as mentioned previously. The majority of the time the pollack will smash the lure as it falls. For this trip I started off using the 120mm, Fiiish Black Minnow. We also used a variety of other paddle tails lures from brands such as Illex, Megabass, IMA and Fish Belly. It is worth experimenting with colour – sometimes natural colours work well and then perhaps their preference will switch. In our case they changed and started hammering our chartreuse/white lures. Carry a selection and be prepared to experiment. Fighting with nature The more time I spend beside this ferocious body of water, the more I see how dangerous and unpredictable it can be. When conditions allow, it sports some of the best fishing on offer, but sadly due to the weather systems it creates, it can hinder you as an angler. It does start to wear you down and become disheartening, but what keeps me going is the knowledge that when that weather breaks, it will produce days like this one. We had been waiting for a day like this all summer and finally all the hours of waiting and watching paid off. It can be frustrating as an angler to watch the weather hold back your plans but when the Atlantic bites, you have to respect it and choose your battles – this time we seized the moment and came out on top.
Streamlined, big-eyed predators – pollack are built for hunting amongst the reefs.
10 Irish Angler November 2013
d plenty deep water an Granite slabs, stomping e im pr e th – of current ngry pollack. ground for hu
November 2013 Irish Angler 11