I prepare myself for another attempt on my record-beating seven species total….

In the midday August sun, we steam out to the Turbot Bank laying a couple of miles off the South Pembrokeshire coast. I’ve never caught a turbot here before, but if there is ever a place to use the ‘turbot spoon’ from the bottom of my tackle box, this is the place.

Abu Rauto Spoon

No turbot were harmed in making of this blog, but as expected a grey gurnard was the first to find the bait, quickly followed by a lesser weever. These are the two species, which I regularly encounter on this sandbank.

Grey GurnardEutrigla gurnardus

Lesser WeeverEchiichthys vipera

I switch tactics. In my hand I have one rod with mackerel feathers; in the rod holder, a rig set up for tope.

Greater Sandeel, Hyperoplus lanceolatus

The feathers find a greater sandeel, the tope-bait attracts a lesser spotted dogfish.Why couldn’t I have caught this one on the last trip?

Lesser Spotted DogfishScyliorhinus canicula

With four species on the boat, I mix up the technique once more. A nearby spot has given some good bass. I rig up a spinning rod with a Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk, my go-to bass lure. We troll over the likely location.

A pollack finds the lure first. Five species….inching closer.

Pollack, Pollachius pollachius

A flock of gulls is making a commotion on the surface. A sure indication of baitfish, and the bass working the shoal from below. As we get closer the surface is ‘boiling’ with bass smashing the small fish, coming straight out of the water. I don’t have to wait long before I feel a fish take my lure. Unmistakably a bass. I call for help with the netting. I’m ignored. The skipper is claiming to have a six-pounder on this mackerel-feather rig. I boat the bass as best as I can with one hand on the net, one on the rod. A nice 44cm bass.

The skipper was half-right. It was six-pounds of fish, but comprised of two three-pound pollack.

Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax

Another bass comes aboard in the same fashion. A little larger at 48cm.

Six species on the boat. The wind has picked up, and we make our bumpy way back into the harbour. One last attempt at another species. Mackerel? Wrasse? anything will do. The skipper snags a mackerel. Everyone cheers! Seven species. I sheepishly explain its a personal total, and not a boat total that I’m chasing. The crew is tired and look and look at me like I’m being pedantic. I needn’t worry. My own mackerel soon come on board.

Mackerel, Scomber Scombrus

I finally reach my personal target. What next? Eight species. No. I realise that I’ve been subconsciously chasing this target a bit too hard – chopping and changing techniques too often. My next voyages will be a more relaxed affair, perhaps trying out new locations and remaining there all day to fully explore the possibilities.

Total Catch:

  • 4 Grey Gurnard
  • 2 Lesser Weever
  • 2 Greater Sandeel
  • 1 Lesser Spotted Dogfish
  • 13 Pollack
  • 2 Bass
  • 2 Mackerel