Our Conger fishing trips target the bigger Conger Eels without having too many anglers on the boat which would reduce your chances of hooking or landing the personal best you are looking for. So if you want to catch our hardest fighting sea fish book a trip on Grey Viking out of Brighton and we’ll take you to the wrecks that the biggest Conger live on!
Many articles on the web cover Conger Fishing in detail but often leave you put off by sounding complicated. It isn’t! If you fancy catching a Conger Eel it’s as simple as booking onto one of our Conger Trips and even hiring our tackle and letting us organise bait so you can just turn up on the day without any further thought or preparation.
But if you are bringing your own tackle or simply want to understand more about how to fish for Conger – read on!
Latin Name: Conger Conger
If we’re going to catch a big Conger we have to target the places they live and quite simply the bigger specimens are found on wrecks in the English Channel, so Brighton is the obvious port from which to target Congers on a wreck fishing trip, with literally hundreds of wrecks within easy range of Brighton Marina. It’s down to the Skipper to put you on the right wreck and position the boat correctly to maximise your chances of catching that big Conger Eel, which is why you should book with us! We are also likely to catch Cod and Ling alongside Conger so there’s plenty to target. Congers are caught all year round but we specifically target them during the peak months of June to November.
On Grey Viking we’ve had Congers in the 90lb class with fish in the 35lbs to 70lb class caught regularly. Without doubt there are specimens to over 100lbs down there so the fish of a lifetime is certainly on the cards.
Conger Fishing Tackle, Rigs and Bait
When it comes to Conger Fishing your tackle should be simple yet robust. Lets look at Rods, Reels, terminal tackle, rigs and bait for Conger Fishing:
A rod in the 30lb class is considered to be the best all round option for Conger if you are fishing for sport but if you are holding out for a 100lb plus Conger or seeking a record then a 50lb class stand up stick is the way to go.
Don’t skimp on a reel for Conger Fishing, it’s far more important than the rod! Tried and tested reels include Penn Senator 4/0 size and Shimano TLD Lever Drag in the 20 or 25 size. AVET reels have gained a very good reputation in recent years too. On Grey Viking we carry and use such reels ourselves. Lever drags, such as found on the Shimano and AVET reels, can be useful but the most important factor is the reel must be strong and RELIABLE with a good drag !!
Conger Terminal Tackle and Rigs
You should spool up your reel with 30 to 50lb line to match the class of your rod and braid is an advantage over mono in the deep water we fish. With braid you can feel every twitch and get away with using less lead too. If you are using braid ALWAYS use a rubbing leader of around 80lb nylon mono and about 2 rod lengths.
As for rigs, keep your tackle simple! Use a slider boom then a bead followed by a STRONG swivel (a crane type 4/0 is about right). Tie your hook length snood to this swivel. As a starting point your hook length should be around 5 feet long (1.5 metres) and should be comprised of around 150lbs mono. Simple eh!! If you are hardcore specimen hunting add another 4/0 swivel at the end, then about 12″ of 250lb mono, then your hook.
Regarding hooks, use an 8/0 to 10/0 size O’Shaughnessy hook- simple! Please try to avoid using stainless steel hooks as they wont rust out of a deep hooked fish.
Bait For Congers
For Congers there are really on 3 baits to consider! Cuttle Fish, Mackerel Flapper or Pouting. In our experience most Conger fall to Cuttle and Mackerel bait but many anglers swear by using Pout so really it’s up to you and use what you feel confident with. We can reserve Cuttle baits for you ad we catch our Mackerel and Pouting on the day.
The skipper will choose the best wreck for the day based upon his experience. He will drop the anchor and the skill is ensuring that the boat settles in exactly the right position just uptide of the wreck. Once the skipper is happy that the boat has settled correctly you drop your baits to the bottom.
It’s a long way down – typically 60 metres (200 feet) so you’ll need the correct amount of lead to hold bottom. This will typically be 12oz to 1.5lb depending how much tide is running. A a rule of thumb it should be just enough lead that your line sits at 45 degrees from the boat, going back towards the wreck. If it streams out horizontally you need more lead and if its goes straight down you are using too much (or the tide is slack). Sometimes it pays to trot your lead down the tide so that your bait ends up even closer to the wreck.
Your baits will now be sitting just in front of the wreck and the scent trail of the big baits we use will encourage the Congers to come and investigate. It’s important to use a big hook and present the bait correctly with a well exposed hook point. If the hook is masked by the bait you are far less likely to connect with a bite.
The bite from a Conger can be surprisingly subtle, sometimes just a slight twitch on the rod tip. Hold your rod and pay out a little bit of line. If you feel another twitch wind down hard and lift into the Conger. Fish on ! The Conger’s first instinct will be to head for the sanctuary of the wreck so hold on tight and try not to give too much line and ensure your drag is set correctly!
Once the fish is away from the wreck you can take your time, pump and wind keeping the line taught but allowing the Conger to take line if you need to. Eventually your prize will surface and the skipper will T-Bar the Conger at the side of the boat or use a specialist landing net to bring the Conger aboard if you want it weighed and photographed. The days of gaffing Congers are long gone and we return all Eel’s in the name of conservation.