Bank Holiday Monday. Sunshine. Light winds. Let’s do this! First trip out on the boat this season. Actually, it was the first time since April 2012 due to last year’s terrible summer.  As it was early in the season, I decided to try a few different locations and techniques, to see what was around.

Initially we tried trolling with a Rapala around a few previously productive places in Milford Haven. This didn’t supply the early bass as hoped, so we headed out to the reef of Mid-Channel rocks at the mouth of the Haven. I clipped on the small Mustad Shrimper hokkais onto one of the two heavy duty boat roads, hoping for herring, or maybe even the first mackerel of the year.

Two pollack quickly encountered the lures. One was foul-hooked and fell off as it was boated, but the other came aboard. No other fish showed an interest (and fish of this size are a pain to unhook on small hooks) so I switched the small hokkais for Jumbo 6/0 pink ones, added a pink Slug-Go at the top of the rig for variety, and directed the boat onto another nearby reef.

In a mad five minutes, several pollack of up to three or four pounds – mixed in with a few smallish coalfish – came to the boat. The biggest pollack fell to the pink Slug-Go. Next trip, I’ll dedicate more time to the Slug-Go, trying out different colours.

Pollack, Pollachius pollachius (above), Coalfish Pollachius virens (below)

That was enough pollack and coalfish for one day, so it was time for another change of location and tactics. We moved the boat over a nearby sandbank. I baited size 1 Aberdeen hooks with ragworm, added a mixture of coloured beads as attractors and started the drift. My yellow, orange, and green bead combo wasn’t delivering. I re-rigged with a green & black configuration, a fresh ragworm and was straight into a small dab. The bank was rather quiet, three drifts giving only two dabs to the boat.

Dab, Limanda limanda

Time for a late lunch, so we anchored up in a nearby sheltered bay. I dropped the beaded rag rigs straight over the side, which resulted in a continuous stream of small dogfish, which are a pain to unhook with the small hooks. I also tried a little spinning, with a Dexter Wedge, with no result.

Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula

So, no noteworthy specimens, but a good result for this early in the season.

Total Catch:

  • 3 Pollack
  • 1 Coalfish
  • 1 Dab
  • 3 Lesser Spotted Dogfish