Last throes of winter giving up big pollack
Winter wreck fishing for pollack continues to hold up and big specimens are still available at marks in deep water.
A hulk drift fished from the Plymouth charter boat Sea Angler 11 proved productive for pollack, whiting and cod.
Specimen of the trip was a pollack of exactly 21lb that took a lure offered by Modbury-based angler Rob West.
Heaviest of the whiting was a specimen of 4lb that fell to Plymouth Rodbenders SAC member David Gicquel and a number of the cod weighed close to double figures.
Paignton SAC members also found success fishing offshore, notably Ray Nathan who caught a fine ling of 29lb 8oz. John Bovey came up with a pollack of 16lb 8oz and achieving double figures with this species is not all that difficult beyond 15 miles of the Devon coast.
There's good news from the Skerries Banks where Paul Chinnock had a specimen of 3lb 15oz 8 drams and Terry Buckle a fish of 3lb 8oz 7 drams. These and numerous others of lesser size shows that the flattie season at the banks is up and running.
Honiton Sea Angling Club beat off competition from clubs across England to win the Sea Angling News award for recording the greatest number of specimen fish over 100 per cent in 2010, with a commendable total of 74.
The club's overall best specimen of the year was a shore caught pollack of 9lb 1oz by Terry Hartnell, who fished a mark in Area T which covers Scotland and Ireland.
Much is being said about the gradual phasing out of commercial discards. An article on the subject published some time ago gives food for thought.
The writer suggested that one day's discard from commercial boats of unwanted fish is greater that all the catches made by rod and line anglers over a ten-year period.
If this is accurate the whole business clearly makes a nonsense of involving recreational anglers in sanctuary zones in which the number of fish taken would be minimal in a very limited number of visits.
As one angler said to me only this week: "Boat angling as we know it is on the threshold of total destruction if what is being promoted in respect of sanctuary zones comes about."
Plymouth Rodbenders SAC member Steve Rochford attended the Annual General Meeting of the South West Federation of Sea Anglers and spoke of the negative reaction to the proposals put forward in the 'finding sanctuary' project that seeks to establish 'no take zones' in the South West and most notably off the Dorset coastline.
A press release just received on the discard issue says factory ships that continue to fish when nearly full have to dump many tons from the final net when topping up. It makes the point that once the fish have been in the net their chances of surviving are very low.
Even more immoral is the practice of 'high grading' where fish already in the holding tanks are dumped to make space for a more valuable catch made later.
The fame of conger eels from English waters has spread as far as Japan and I have been requested to contribute pictures of them, including that of Vic Evans' 1995 rod caught world record fish of 133lb 4oz for an exhibition devoted to 'Eels' that will run during the summer months.
The request came two days before the earthquake and tidal wave that devastated much of the coastline.