Everyone likes to see dolphins and porpoises. A dozen or so broke the calm surface in an unhurried yet purposeful swim off to starboard. We slowed the boat to watch and take photographs. The sickle-shaped fins and cream patches on their sides identified the species as the common dolphin. The pod seemed a family group with a mixture of different sized animals. They headed for the misty horizon and we continued toward our destination: a favourite trolling spot for bass.

The bass may or may not have been there, but pollack hit every lure offered to them. The fish averaging 2lb or thereabouts. I tried every variety of my preferred trolling lure – the Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk. Fire Tiger, Glass Minnow, the colour didn’t make a difference. A pollack would take it within a minute or two of the trolling run. A bigger Rapala floating magnum gave the same result.

A Pollack, Pollachius pollachius tries to shake itself free from the Down Deep Husky Jerk.

With the boat engines cut, I tried casting a lure towards the rocks. A Fiiish Black Minnow or Dexter wedge couldn’t tempt a bass, or a pollack for that matter. The other rod, set up for feathering near the sea bed, pulled in pollack after pollack. The bass weren’t playing ball today; we put aside the rods for an hour and enjoyed the scenery visiting the tiny St. Govan’s chapel wedged into a cliff face.

St. Govan’s Chapel

I’ve visited the chapel many times, but had never seen it from the sea before. A grey seal bobbed just offshore. I took over the feathering rod whilst eating lunch and took a few more pollack and a grey gurnard.

Today’s sea state allowed a trip to the nearby St. Gowan’s Shoals, an underwater reef a few miles offshore. It is rare that conditions allow a visit to this mark – very calm conditions are needed and it lies within Castlemartin Firing Range. I rigged up a 5/0 hook and wire trace, hoping for a tope, huss or conger. Bait was an issue however and I was reduced to using strips from the side of a pollack. Not widely recognised as an effective bait, but beggars can’t be choosers. Nevertheless, a fish took the hook. My imagination raced at what my capture would be. A turbot even? No. Another dogfish, albeit a slightly larger specimen than those found inside the Haven.

Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula

The other rod took some greater sandeels and mackerel, which gave me some more bait options, but another dogfish was to be all today. No bass, but a great day out on sunny calm seas.

Total Catch:

  • 11 Pollack
  • 1 Grey Gurnard
  • 2 Lesser Spotted Dogfish