“Sorry, we don’t have any ragworm” the man at the tackle shop tells me “They’re farmed in Holland and they didn’t want to send them in the hot weather”. Oh. The recent heatwave – although now passed – is still having an unexpected impact on my fishing.

I’m in Torquay for a few days break. The town’s Princess Pier offers an easy few hours of Float fishing for summer species (mackerel and garfish), but I’m hopeful there’s a chance of some interesting smaller species amongst the pier’s pillars. I wanted to use ragworm as bait to target wrasse; I’ve never caught a goldsinny and rock cook and would love to catch one. I resign myself to making do with the Isome artificial ragworm I usually carry with me

I walk along the pier, past the scene of this year’s yacht fire which had melted away the iron railings, and onto the end section. My nostrils tell me that this is still very much a working fishing port. A couple of anglers are already float-fishing. I walk past them, and set up a two-boom rig with Isome worms. In a case of “when in Rome” I put out a float myself. Not having any fish bait for the garfish and mackerel I’m not too hopeful.

A compass jellyfish floats past. A young cormorant works the wall for its fish breakfast.

I jiggle the boomed rig in the water beneath me. With my polarising sunglasses, I can see several small fish swarming around the rig. As I wind in, a tiny fish shoots out of the water aiming for my bait. The are some very keen fish. I don’t have to wait too long before I hook into the world’s smallest pollack.

Pollack, Pollachius pollachius

Tourist boats are giving a running commentary as they leave the marina. “…and ahead of you, that big white building is the Grand Hotel where famous residents have included Winston Churchill and The Beatles…”. An oystercatcher with its distinctive “peep peep” call flies overhead.

Pouting, Trisopterus luscus

More smaller fish fall to the Isome. Pouting this time, but with such small fish it really is hard to tell the species apart.

Over high tide the pier becomes quite busy with float fisherman. The guys either side of me catch a mackerel apiece. I hear of a garfish being caught near the end of the pier.

Time’s up! I have to be elsewhere. I’m booked for a ride on the 900 horsepower Raptor.

Total Catch:

  • 3 Pollack
  • 3 Pouting