When the wind is in the East, the fish bite least” – Anon

The wind hadn’t changed direction or let up since yesterday. The same tackle and techniques would be employed once more. An early drift over a wreck with the mackerel feathers resulted in just one small pollack, so we moved back to the ray mark which gave a few fish yesterday.

For variety, I made up some cocktail baits of bluey and squid, bound together with bait-elastic. These I fished these straight down from the stern of the anchored boat.

Two thornback rays liked the offering. Both were a similar size to yesterday’s. Though un-weighed, I estimate both were about 4lb. Dogfish like it too, of course, but today I caught the same number of rays as dogfish. Some kind of record, I think.

Thornback Ray, Raja clavata

Spring tides necessitated heavy weights, making bites difficult to detect. Accordingly, both dogfish and rays would swallow the entire hook. Circle hooks didn’t seem to make a difference. Luckily I always have a pair of long-nosed pliers on hand for deep-hooked fish. Pro-tip: If you’re thinking of putting your fingers anywhere near a ray’s mouth whilst unhooking – don’t. My left thumb got a reminder of the strength of even a small ray’s rasping mouth..

Another common fish to the area –  grey gurnard – also accepted the fish/squid bait combo.


Grey Gurnard, Eutrigla gurnardus

It’s my first time fishing with bluey – aka Pacific Saury (Cololabis saira) – and I like the results so far. The flesh isn’t as firm as a mackerel (maybe due to the freezing?) but lashing it to squid makes a solid enough package. I’ll be trying blueys again.

Lastly, the ragworm-baited hook was snapped up by a fish that looked like a skinny pollack. It was actually a whiting; the first of which I’ve caught in this area . The whiting’s ‘overbite’ and needle-like teeth being the main points I use to distinguish between the two.

Whiting, Merlangius merlangus


At two o’clock, we’d had enough of the wind and being slightly sunburned and happy with our catch, we called it a day. Nothing to gut today, as all fish were returned.

This weekend has got me thinking about hook size. The first 4lb-ish ray on Saturday was caught on a tiny size 4 hook, and a small whiting on a comparatively huge 5/0 circle hook. I’ll worry less about correct hook size in future.

I’m not so sure about that east wind proverb. A decent tally of fish were boated, it’s just a matter of seeking out the best marks for the conditions.

Total Catch:

  • 1 Pollack
  • 2 Lesser Spotted Dogfish
  • 2 Thornback Ray
  • 1 Grey Gurnard
  • 1 Whiting