Team VMO and a few pals have been spending the winter months targeting conger eels and we thought we would pass on a little information that could help you if you decide to do the same.
Conger eels are very powerful and use their muscular body to make life difficult for the sea angler. Preferring to feed at night in many regions, they will come out of their lairs and prowl upon small fish that are confident to feed under the cover of darkness. For this reason, the most popular bait choice is small whole dead fish or a fillet from a larger fish. Mackerel, pout, poor cod, rockling and pollack are all effective eel baits.
Tackle needs to be robust so rods with plenty of power and reels with a lot of torque are the order of the day. Without this combination, you may not be able to apply sufficient pressure to keep the eel up in the water and away from the sea bed where it could back up into a snag and remain there. The Ron Thompson Accelerator is an excellent rod with bags of power. A reel such as a Daiwa Saltist 30BG loaded with 25lb Varivas Yellow Sport will give you a fighting chance of winning the battle.
End tackle should be strong and simple. A running leger for close range work or a pulley rig if you want to cast further is all you will need. The conger has a set of powerful teeth that will make light work of monofilament traces so wire is recommended. Mason 49 strand wire will resist kinking and is extremely durable. Hooks such as the 8/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra are tough enough to take a lot of strain and will keep their razor sharp point throughout the session.
Eels should be handled with care, and returned to the water after weighing. They are not the tastiest fish in the sea, but they certainly provide one heck of a fight!