Rods and Reels:

It’s best to bring two rods if you have space, one in the 30lbs class and a second, much lighter one like an uptider, a short Pike, Salmon or Carp rod or a boat rod in the 12lbs class. If space is short (and you can just take 1 rod) pack the 30lbs class. Your reels should be loaded with a good quality braided line with monofil as a second choice but NOT DACRON.

Terminal Tackle:

  • Lead: You will need a lot of lead as losses are quite high because of the rough ground; for the 30lbs class a selection from 6 to 14 ozs, with the most common being 10 ozs.
  • Feathers: Essential for Mackerel and, with a bit of bait added, they make a good all rounder for everything else. Try and make sure that the hooks are tied on securely; there are a lot that aren’t and some good fish have been lost as a result.
  • Hooks, from 1/0 for the flatties to 8/0 for Ling and Conger. 6/0 are the most popular for general flowing trace rigs.
  • Link swivels are very important and save a lot of knots. 50lbs are fine and they should have a good strong link.Tubular or triangular booms are essential for drifting and for anchor and again losses can be high.
  • Beads. These are always useful.
  • Jig Heads: These are great sport on your light tackle and are deadly for big Pollock. A selection between 1 to 4 ozs with 2 ozs being the most used.
  • Twin Tails and Shads. These are the best lures to put on the jig heads and you should have 4 inch and 6 inch ones. Colours are not all that important but try and vary them.
  • Pirks. Always good and well worth bringing, they should suit the rod in weight and be prepared to lose plenty, the treble hook can’t resist those rocky peaks but the fish love them as well.
  • Trace Nylon and Wire. 30 to 50 lbs mono is fine for a general purpose flowing trace. 80lbs plus mono is better for conger and ling. Wire is not necessary.


The bottom is very broken with lots of reefs, sandy patches, gravel, deep and shallow places. One of the best ways to fish it is when the boat is drifting so all the different types of bottom are covered and there is a better chance of getting more fish and different species.

A lot of the bigger fish are caught at anchor but it requires patience and the correct weather and tide conditions. John has plenty of good marks, the best of which are along the side of sharp drop offs.

Flowing Trace (see below):

  • This is a great way of enticing the better fish. The trace is kept as close to the bottom as possible with the baits wafting to and fro as the boat moves over the ground. Mackerel strips are the best and most convenient baits.
  • Mackerel Feathers: Every day starts by catching Mackerel or Launce for bait but baited Mackerel feathers are a very good all rounder to continue the day with. The best technique is to bounce the lead off the bottom and the secret is to keep working the feathers close to the bottom all the time.
  • Red Gills, Jelly Worms and Twin Tails: These are best used on a light rod and are deadly for Pollock and Coalfish. Lower the lure to the bottom and once there begin to wind it slowly all the way to the surface. The Pollock can hit anywhere from close to the bottom to beside the boat and their opening dash for freedom is very powerful.
  • Launce or greater Sandeel: This is a Bluewater speciality and great sport. Launce are very plentiful and will be caught using Mackerel feathers. They are then kept in the live bait tank and fished either drifting or at anchor on a flowing trace and are a very good bait for all the larger species.
  • Bait: Mackerel are freely available during the summer as are Launce or sandeel. Worms can be dug locally but they cannot be bought so if you want to use them either bring them with you or John will lend you a fork. They do add a couple of species so it may well be worth bringing some.