Pollack is common around the coast of the UK and Ireland, feeding mostly on small fish and sandeels, but they will also rummage on the seabed for worms and crustaceans. Occasionally confused with coalfish, the lower jaw of the pollack protrudes noticeably, and there is no barbel on the chin. The lateral line of a pollack (Pollachius pollachius) curves steeply upwards at the shoulder, and, being a member of the cod family, it has three dorsal fins. Its colour varies from one location to another, and ranges from brown to greenish-grey, to a golden, copper colour throughout the flanks.
|A Decent Sized Pollack|
Pound for pound, pollack is one of the hardest fighting fish caught off the UK coastline, especially when taken on LRF tackle. Traditionally, pollack wasn't regarded as a food source, their white flesh lacks the flavour of similar species. However, in recent years, thanks to the efforts of TV chefs, pollack has widely replaced cod and haddock. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in increased commercial fishing for the species.
Depending on location, the average size of pollack caught offshore is probably between 4-8lb, but in many areas, double- figure specimens are regularly caught, often on a daily basis. This is especially so during the first few months of the year when large aggregations of mature fish converge over offshore wrecks and reefs to spawn. At such times, it is possible to catch fish over 15lb.
Where And When
The vast majority of pollack are caught from reefs or wrecks, though fish are occasionally caught over relatively featureless ground. In some areas, such as the West Country, Ireland and Scotland, where deep-water reefs are located close to shore, pollack are caught in good numbers inshore, although fish in such areas will invariably weigh less than 10lb.
|Wreck Fishing For Pollack|
Boats fishing out of ports along the south coast of Devon and Cornwall have a long association with specimen pollack fishing over wrecks, along with other ports extending further east throughout the English Channel as far as Dover. Other pollack hotspots include wrecks located in the Celtic Deeps and St George’s Channel off West Wales, reefs around western and northern Scotland, and pretty much anywhere off the south and west coast of Ireland. Wrecks in the North Sea tend to be less productive in terms of the numbers and size of pollack they produce, but good fishing can be found here.
Tackle For Pollack Fishing
The traditional set-up for pollack fishing used to be a 12/20lb-class boat rod featuring a multiplier reel loaded with mono or braid.
|Boat Rod & Multiplier|
|Fisheagle Full Monty Boat Combo|
|Greys GR70S Boat Rod|
The traditional rig for catching pollack from a boat is the flying collar or versions of it. This consists of either a long, wire French Boom or, more likely, a plastic tube boom sliding on the mainline or leader, followed by a small bead and terminating in a small, high-quality swivel.
|Pollack Rig Example|
|Caught Using Red Gill Eel|
|Red Gill Pollack Lure Assortment|
Most anglers fish for pollack using lures. Typically, these will be one of the great many variations of artificial sandeel lures, such as the ever-popular 172mm Red Gill Eels. Shads have become very popular for catching pollack, especially the incredibly life-like range of Storm Wildeye Swim Shads in various sizes and colours.
|Bait Caught Pollack|
Pollack can also be caught on sea baits fished off a long flowing trace tied to the same rig as described for lures. Indeed, at times, a live sandeel or head-hooked king ragworm can out-fish anything else by a considerable margin.
|Pollack Caught On Mackerel|
The general method used when fishing for pollack over a wreck or reef is to position the boat uptide of the area to be fished, and then slowly drift back over it. The angler drops his bait or lures down to the bottom, then slowly starts to retrieve it up through the water column.
|Boat Fishing For Pollack|
|Penn Fathom Star Drag Reel|
This article was brought to you in association with Sea Angler Magazine.