With my usual shore fishing buddy John having a few days off, and with my missus away with the girls in Tenerife, we just had to get out for a bit of bait drowning. John has fallen behind a touch with the SCSF annual species hunt (not that he is really trying), and I am seeking a few more to add to this years list. So we decided to have a daytime bash on mini-mecca Swanage Pier.
A hot, calm day with very little cloud and only a slight easterly breeze, we arrived and set up around 11am.
Glorious Calm Day on Swanage Pier
One small 8ft 10-40g spinning rod was set up with a 6g Chubber float rig with Sz 6 circles to 8lb F/C aimed at Mackerel, Garfish, Pollack and any other predators or pelagics floating around. The use of the Chubber floats provides that bit of extra finesse than the commonly used ‘sea floats’. I dislike those normal ‘sea floats’ you see in most tackle shops. Big, bulky, unwieldy chunks of plastic that cast like bricks and need a decent size fish to register. Not for me except in special circumstances, usually distance or bait size.
Our LRF rods were set up for bait as opposed to lures with SSG single shot rigs and Size 8 hooks for a bash at the minis. We also took along a couple of light Bass/Flattie rods just in case we decided to up the stakes a bit with hook / rig size (a brief go but basically it didn’t happen). Bait was Squid strip or thin Bluey belly strip on the floats, with Ragworm and Squid strip the prime baits on the LRF gear.
Under the Swanage Pier Main Deck
Right from the off we were hit again and again by hard fighting Corkwing and Ballan Wrasse (up to around a pound) which are always great fun on the UL set-ups, and even more so with our trying to control fish determined to wrap us around every pier snag available. It was pretty amazing that throughout the whole day we only lost one rig to a snag.
Typical Ballan Wrasse from Swanage Pier
In addition to the main culprits we also bagged a few Sand Smelt (new species for John) which came mainly to Squid strip.
And a host of deep diving, hard hitting Pollack (largest around a pound) on the float fished strips. These proved to be some of the most entertaining fish throughout the day with some pretty challenging runs and dives through the timbers.
Swanage Pier Pollack
Bonus fish included just the one Long-Spined Scorpionfish, my first Mackerel and my first Tompot Blenny of the year. Those Tompots are always feisty little scrappers with a strong pair of nipping jaws, as my finger tip will testify. Ouch!
First Mackerel of the Year
The Garfish didn’t show apart from one early in the session that snaffled John’s float fished squid strip and promptly shed the hook after a brief but typically spirited fight.
We decided to pack up around 7pm after a very enjoyable day. Could have stayed longer but John has an appetite to rival the two fat ladies when he is fishing and was feeling a bit low cos his larder bag was empty.
John pondering the lack of food.
And then……..and then!!!
On my final trot through with the float rod I had what I thought was another decent Pollack make for Peveril Point with my Bluey Strip. A very hard fighting fish this one, and didn’t feel much like a Pollack, more like a Bass. Nope. In comes a fish I haven’t caught in many a year.
Allis Shad 1lb 1oz
Over the moon with this fish. Fought like crazy and weighed in at 1lb 1oz. Quickly unhooked, weighed and returned to fight again.
A cracking day out rounded off with fish ‘n’ chips picked up on the way home. Now to prepare for tomorrows trip to the Haven Hotel at Poole Harbour entrance. Garfish please! Bass anyone!