Boat Angling Rigs
The Boat Fishing Paternoster (fig III) can, in theory, have any number of hooks suspended from the main line on snoods or droppers, with a lead attached below the bottom hook. The rig allows baits and lures or a combination of both to be fished at all levels from just under the surface, through mid water and all the way down to the sea bed. Another advantage which the paternoster has is that a number of baits can be worked or “jigged” together in an enticing manner without tangling with each other. It is recommended that for ease of use this rig should have no more than three droppers attached.
A second type of boat fishing terminal tackle is the Running Leger (fig IV) which can be fished tight to the sea bed for all the bottom living species from dabs to common skate. Again this can be a multi hook rig (three hooks, usually being the maximum). When fishing for larger species, such as tope or monkfish, one hook rigs are advisable to prevent two or more fish grabbing baits at the same time! Two large fish pulling against each other would put unnecessary strain on the terminal tackle and almost surely lead to a breakage. For some of these more “toothy” fish the trace should be made up from heavy duty nylon or multi-strand wire. The free running nature of this rig means that when a big fish picks up the bait, it can make off with it, without feeling any resistance. The angler should allow the fish to take line until it stops to turn the bait before swallowing. The strike should be delayed until the fish starts to move again.
There are many specialist boat rigs based on either of the above but one of the most successful fish catchers in the area is the “Flying Collar” (fig V). This is basically a leger rig with a longer than usual, fixed dropper. At one time wire coat hangers were cut and shaped to create long booms, but today at least one major tackle manufacturer produces booms for this purpose. The rig which normally uses an artificial eel or shad is best employed while drifting over a deep water reef or wreck and should be lowered to the sea bed and reeled back slowly toward the boat. This process should be repeated until fish are contacted. Pollack and coalfish are the main target fish but many other species have fallen to this technique including conger, ling and cod.
FLOAT FISHING FROM SHORE AND BOAT
One of the most successful methods for catching a wide range of sea fish is through the use of a Saltwater Float Fishing Rig. Despite what some so called “purist” sea anglers may think, float fishing is a true sea angling method, and in many cases it is the first introduction that beginners and freshwater anglers have to fishing in the sea. It is a very effective way of shore fishing from piers, harbour walls, rocky headlands or while inshore boat fishing. Mullet, mackerel, pollack, wrasse, and garfish can all be taken this way using baits as varied as bread, worm, shellfish or fish strips. The rig can be adjusted to suit the depth being fished and the float slides between a movable stop knot and the trace which is attached to the main line by a small swivel. Beads are inserted between the knots to act as buffers. The trace is weighed down with shot, with the number used being dependent on the size of the float and bait. As a general rule of thumb, the top third of the float should be above water. Size of hook and bait are dependent on the type of fish being sought and in fact a scaled up version of this rig can also be employed from boats where larger fish such as tope or shark are the quarry!