Plymouth angler, Scott Smy, ventured up to the Bristol Channel over the weekend to sample the boat fishing out of Minehead. Scott fished aboard Osprey, skippered by Steve Webber and has kindly put together this account of the day’s events. If you’d like to write a piece for our blog, get in touch via email to email@example.com
Boat fishing in the Bristol Channel during early April can sometimes be a bit fickle as it’s a month where you have the winter species such as Cod departing and the summer species such as hounds arriving. However, one species which is usually around in good numbers during this month is the bullhuss. Okay, so huss aren’t everyones cup of tea but personally I think they are great fish to target as a good double figure fish looks pretty impressive (especially in the photos) and they are usually obliging in taking a bait.
On this trip we were out with Steve Webber on his Cougar cat ‘Osprey’ out of Minehead. I can’t recommend Steve highly enough as his boat is superb, the banter on-board is always top notch and his crewman son William makes the best cup of tea in West Somerset (and there is plenty of it as well)!
With a gusty NE wind blowing Steve decided to point the bows of Osprey in the direction of Porlock Bay as he knew we would get some shelter from the wind tucked in behind Hurlestone Point. Whilst leaving the harbour was more like a roller coaster as soon as we rounded Hurlestone the sea flattened out considerably.
Our first mark produced the usual dogfish which can be a real pain in the channel during this time of year along with a few smoothhounds to myself up to 8lb. A tip for the hounds from the skipper is to make sure you don’t peel down your crab and instead try and mount it whole with legs and shell still attached. By peeling it the scent is released more quickly resulting in the doggies finding your bait before the hounds. By keeping the crab whole, it seemed to deter the dogs and allows the hounds to get a look in. I can only say that this tip definitely works as I was the only one on board presenting my crab in this way and consequently was the only one who caught the hounds. Always listen to your skipper.
As the tide died away Steve moved Osprey slightly further down channel to some rough ground inshore near Ivy Stone, promising us some huss. I don’t think the variety of squid and mackerel baits had been in the water for any more than 5 minutes when Adrian Kruger fishing at the stern hooked into a nice huss just into double figures.
From this point on virtually all of us landed a number of huss each with all of them into double figures, the best going just over 12lb. On bringing them into the boat it was evident to see why the huss were in the area in such numbers as they were all females with purses hanging out of them. It was therefore essential that all of the fish were treated with the utmost care and were returned to the water as quickly as possible.
As huss have a pretty impressive array of dentistry it’s essential to use a good quality trace line. I was using Varivas Shock Rig Nylon in 100lb and Big Mouth Xtra Hooks in 5/0. Frozen mackerel and unwashed squid proved to be the most productive baits on the day.
As the tide started to pick up we ventured even closer to shore and found more huss along with the inevitable doggies, strap eels, rockling and a nice 4lb bonus codling for Adrian Kruger. By this time the wind had all but gone and the late afternoon sunshine was beaming down, a stark difference to how it had been earlier in the day. It certainly rounded-off what was a cracking day out afloat on the Bristol Channel.