With the strong winds continuing of late it came as a bit of a surprise to learn that our 2 day charter trip was sat nicely in a window in the weather and deemed a goer.
Armed with 50lb class tackle, friend Tommy and I headed off the next day on a 6 hour drive to Plymouth in search of a Conger Eel or two. We were to be part of an ‘individuals’ trip with 10 other anglers aboard “Size Matters” skippered by Kevin McKie.
Arriving late evening we quickly checked into the hotel and joined skipper Kev and some of the other lads for a quick obligatory pint whilst arranging a sailing time of 6am the next morning.
The day dawned fairly clear and with only a light wind we headed out to one of the many distant wrecks in the English Channel.
Once arrived and anchored skipper Kev briefed the boat on what could be expected and advised us on the best way to handle any eels that showed an interest.
A fairly pacey run of tide dictated lead weights of a minimum of a pound and a half which barely had time to settle on the bottom before the first Eel took the bait.
Minutes later a mid 20lb fish came over the side, a new PB for the captor.
Almost as if this fish had rang the dinner bell on the way up, it signalled a continuous flow of action as eels left their lairs to find our mackerel flapper baits and rods all around the boat were bent over into them!
A stream of 20 to 30lb fish continued for the first 90 minutes or so with multiple hook ups and at one stage the back of the boat resembled a snake pit with the tangle of writhing eels.
As predicted by Kev, despite their size the bites from these fish were surprisingly timid and the bigger fish gave the shyest of bites. Resembling the faint pluck of a crab with the occasional nod I gave some slack line to a biting fish before then feeling a heavy nod.. I quickly wound into the fish and lifted, immediately the rod bent right over and pounded as an angry eel tried to swim backwards and get back in to the wreck .. keeping the pressure on and getting those vital few turns of the reel handle I managed to keep it out and slowly pump it up to the boat between a few powerful dives and furious head shakes. A spinning mass of muscle surfaced at the back of the boat and instantly I knew it was a new PB which pulled the scales down to 41lb. Made up!
Steadily the fish seemed to increase in size with more fish in the 40lb bracket surfacing including a fish of 48lb.
Eel after eel came aboard as well as a showing of good Ling to 22lb
a few Pollack including a cracker of 18lb
and also a lovely Cod of 16lb for one lucky angler
before the bend in Tommy’s rod and braid peeling from the reel signified a better fish had joined the party..
A long heavy fight ensued before the beast finally came to the boat, as it came aboard its sheer girth made it obvious as the days biggest eel and what would turn out to be the pool winner at a thumping 61lb!
By the end of day 1 the total stood at 45 Congers, 9 Ling, 3 Pollack and that fine Cod. Twelve tired but happy anglers hardly noticed the long trek back to port.
That evening spirits were high and the chat all about the next trip out. It was decided to target another mid channel wreck that had produced very good numbers of Pollack before but never been anchored over.
Virgin wreck fishing it was then… this time leaving port at 7.30am. The wind had been stronger during the night leaving quite a bit of swell but once again it remained dry for us. The excitement was increased on our way out by the sighting of some Bluefin Tuna, leaping clear of the water as they hunted, truly amazing to witness these huge magnificent fish.
As the anchor dropped anticipation was high. However with the smaller tide the run took a little longer to pick up and we had to work harder to get the fish on the feed. Double flapper baits were dropped to increase the scent trail and eventually they ventured out of the steel hulk below.
Sport turned out to be a lot slower this time round and the general stamp of fish smaller but perseverance saw us end day 2 with a few more PB’s for the lads, and a total of 6 Ling to 19lb and 27 Conger, with my mate Tommy taking the biggest fish pool yet again with an eel of 45lb. Very well done mate!
A lumpy sea made for what seemed a much longer trip back in but overall an enjoyable and memorable 2 days fishing with PB’s all round.