Wrecking for Pollack starts in January when the bigger fish congregate on the deeper offshore wrecks in the English Channel to feed until they spawn in April.
This period is the time to try and catch your personal best Pollack when the fish are at their top weights. After spawning the Pollack fishing continues into the summer months, tailing off from the end of July.
If you fancy a trip targeting big Pollack with one of Brighton’s leading wrecking skippers give us a call! Grey Viking won the Brighton Pollack Competition “Winning Charter Boat” for two of the the three times we entered it so you’ll be in good hands!
Latin Name: Pollachius Pollachius
If you are new to Pollack fishing or deep sea fishing in general we’ll show you what to do and you can hire our tackle as well if you need to. If you are interested in more information about how to catch a big one and for those of you using your own gear please continue reading and all will be revealed!
Without a doubt Pollack are our most prolific species and a very hard fighter too so you’ll need to be fit and strong for a day’s fishing when the shoals are feeding hard! Typically the Pollack caught are 8lb to 20lb in size. The British record boat caught Pollack is 29lb 4oz caught by W.S Mayes fishing off Dungerness in 1987 and we are convinced there are fish that can beat that record on the wrecks off Brighton!
Tackle for Pollack Fishing
To enjoy the fight of these sporting fish it’s best to use light tackle for Pollack fishing. A rod in the 12-20lb or a light uptider is ideal paired with a 7000 size multiplier. You can use mono but it’s better to use braid in the region of 30lb to feel every pull of the fight and to get away with using less lead. Depending how much tide is running you’ll need weights of 6oz to 10oz. If you are using braid a 25lb nylon or fluorocarbon rubbing leader of 2 rod lengths should be used. If the tide allows it can be good fun to go lighter still with a 6lb class rod or even a carp rod and fixed spool reel!
Pollack rigs could not be simpler – a standard Flying Collar Rig incorporating a plastic tube or wire French boom around 12″ to 16″ long is best. Attach your lead weight to the boom using a “weak link” – we use stout elastic bands for this. The idea of a weak link is that if you get stuck in the wreck (which happens to all of us) you increase your chances of retrieving your boom and lure if its the lead that’s stuck.
Your hook length snood should be mono or better still fluorocarbon of around 25lbs. Fluorocarbon can be a slight edge for 2 reasons, firstly because its invisible in clear water conditions and secondly it tends to be a bit stiffer than mono so it’s less prone to tangles. The length used depends on what type of lure you are using.
For Pollack we use lures such as the humble Jelly Worm and the newer Redgill Evolutions. Another good lure to use is the Sidewinder range which are very popular. The Jelly Worm has caught countless big Pollack over the years and remains a very good choice, especially at slack water when it’s tail action still tends to work in attracting a fish to strike, whereas lures such as Sidewinders need the tide running to get them “swimming” properly, which is what the Pollack finds irresistible.
Our personal favourites are the Redgill Evolution lures. These look almost identical to the traditional Redgill but have an internal weight and hook incorporated in the same way as Sidewinders and Shads of various types.
The advantage of a lure with an integral weight is that your hook length snood is much shorter, 6ft to 10ft is perfect, whereas un-weighted lures such as traditional Redgills and Jelly Worms really need a much longer hook length of 12ft to 20ft or more depending how fast the tide is running. The advantage of the shorter hook lengths with the weighted lures is less tangles, which means more fishing time!
The other big advantage of the Redgill Evolutions is that, like the Jelly Worm, they work well at slack water with a tail action that still seems to attract fish without any tide running.
For all these lures it pays to carry a selection of colours and sizes with black, red, orange, pink and blue/white being the most consistent catchers in sizes from 4″ to 6″. Our personal recommendation? Get some Redgill Evolutions in both the 115mm and 178mm size. The colours to bring are “Sunset”, “Bright Red Afterburners” and “Blue/White” and then you’ve got the most consistent catchers in our experience.
Pollack Fishing Method
The method for Pollack Fishing is simple, but can be knackering! We fish by drifting over the wreck, working our lures up and down. The Skipper motors uptide of the wreck, turns off the engines and gives the signal to commence fishing.
Lower your chosen lure over the side and allow the long trace to straighten out in the tide to avoid tangling and then lower it to the bottom. Once our lure has hit the bottom re-engage your reel and start winding slowly.
Work the lure by winding between 20 and 40 turns (your Skipper will advise you how many turns depending what is happening on the wreck) then lower back down and repeat the process.The skipper will tell you when we are coming up on the wreck. This is for 2 reasons, firstly because most Pollack are caught just in front of, on top of, or just past the wreck and secondly so that you are aware of when we directly on top of the wreck.
When directly over the wreck be vigilant lowering down as your tackle will be landing on the wreck itself and as the boat is moving don’t linger, get winding. This gets your tackle up and clear of the wreck, minimising your chances of getting snagged up.
When you get a bite DON’T STRIKE – just keep reeling and the fish will be on. You’ll know when it is because the Pollack will dive for the bottom with you hanging on for dear life! For this reason make sure your drag is set correctly and allow the fish to take line as it dives, but try and stop the Pollack from getting into the sanctuary of the wreck as if it does it’s likely to be game over! Once the fish is clear of the wreck you can take your time. Play the fish by pump and wind, allowing it to take line if it dives again and all should be well.
Once you are catching remember how many turns up you are and share that with the crew so that everyone is catching at the feeding depth on the day. If the fish are being difficult and hard to catch try experimenting. Change your lure to a different colour and/or size and try varying the speed of retrieve.
At the end of the drift the Skipper will start the engines which is your cue to reel in as it’s time to motor back up the tide to start another drift. You’ll likely visit several wrecks during the trip depending on the Skipper’s plan for the day and how the fish are responding.
Pollack are caught on all tides, spring and neap, but they tend to go quiet over slack water. At certain times of the year there will be both Cod and Pollack on the wrecks and the methods described in this article will see both species landed and sometimes Bass too.