Smoothhounds at Minehead

Bank holiday Sunday and I was out on the boat with Mike. We both took along a dozen and a half fresh peeler crab to supplement our usual bait of sandal, herring and squid in the hope that the first of the smoothhound would be around.

The skipper reported that they had been catching a few hounds in Pollock bay during the week, so we felt confident, and the southerly wind, even if it was a little brisk allowed us to get offshore from the start. All in all, things were looking promising. The wind and resulting waves made fishing quite a challenge but as is the case with a southerly wind on this section of coast, it was still bearable.

We both fished the usual two uptide rods each and were into the inevitable hordes of dogfish immediately, which didn’t let up all day. Any fish or squid bait was invariably found by the pervasive dogfish within minutes of being cast out. It was the fresh peeler crab that as expected found out the quality fish with all the smooth hounds falling to crab. When fishing crab here we always fish them with the shells still on as it really doesn’t put the crab crunching hounds off but can at least dissuade the dogfish to some extent.  Whilst I’d usually use a pennell rig for fishing other baits, when using crab we tend a use a single 6/0 hook as it seems to help present a whole crab better and ensure the hook point is clear.

We both had a selection of smoothhounds with several in double figures. My biggest of the day was 14lb, although Mike lost one that appeared to be considerably larger! Shame he didn’t get it on the boat as it would of made for an impressive picture.

Looking forward to next trip at the end of the month when weather permitting we should have the chance to try for some more hounds. Next time I’ll enlist the kids in catching a bucket full of hardback crabs the day before, for bait. The skipper had been out the previous week with some chaps that had had great success fishing hard backs for the smoothhound.. Not surprising really as crabs hard or peeler are what hounds eat. Catching hardbacks is much easier and cheaper than getting peelers, so maybe next trip I’ll do a test and fish peeler on one rod and hardback on the other and see if there’s any appreciable difference.

Smoothhound Minehead