Friday, 5 March 2010

A date with Colin!

Lyle Stantiford is the youngest skipper in the Weymouth Charter Fleet and has recently taken charge of Supernova, a catamaran.

We sailed from Weymouth out into the English Channel and then westwards, a journey time of two hours with a distance covered of 30 miles. An interesting fact I discovered is that land disappears after 14 miles due to the curvature of the earth. We were in search of pollack from the wrecks, most of which date from the second world war and which lay in two hundred feet of water.

Pollack are a member of the cod family and renowned as a sporting fish. Twenty pound class tackle is used with an eight foot 30lb fluorocarbon trace and either a shad, jellyworm, redgill or sidewinder lure at the sharp end. To avoid tangles a boom is used carrying a 10oz lead to a rotten bottom. You do lose tackle in the wreckage so keep it simple.

The skipper aims to drift the boat downtide over the wreck motoring back to the start of the drift once the wreck has been covered. On the skippers instruction you lower your lure down to the bottom before retrieving steadily for 40 turns, lowering back down and starting again. When a pollack takes you feel a series of taps, do not strike, keep retrieving at the same speed until the pollack dives for the wreck and hooks itself. At the end of each drift you pull out whilst the skipper repositions the boat. By changing the lure type, size, colour and the speed of retrieve you hope to find the magic combination.

Lyle tried desperately hard to put us on pollack, moving between six wrecks during the course of the day. On wreck two I took a small pollack of around two or three pounds on a six inch black and red tail sidewinder eel fished slowly. The third wreck produced a lovely pollack of 11lb (precise weighing is difficult on a rocking boat) to the same tactics. The fifth wreck produced another slightly smaller pollack to a fast retrieve on Lyles advice. Between the eight of us we accounted for five pollack which was I am told a poor day.

The marketing people are promoting pollack as a sustainable eating fish, renaming the fish "colin". I can vouch that pollack are good eating, one fillet from my eleven pounder provided three meals.