The smoothhounds that visit the Lincolnshire coast offer great sport on light tackle, and I always try to fit in a summer session for them with fishing buddy Wayne Leason.
This summer was very busy for both Wayne and me, and finding the time to get out fishing was very tough, but with an opportunity of a midnight high tide on a favoured mark we decided that this was one session we couldn’t miss.
Our chosen mark for the night tide was Chapel St Leonards near Skegness, a very popular seaside resort town that sees the beaches packed with holidaymakers during the day. However, by night the beaches are very quiet and offer great sport from an array of fish.
The sort of wonderful sunrise that anglers regularly witness.
We decided to meet up on the beach for around 9pm, looking to fish the last three hours of the flood and three hours of the ebb – prime time for hounds. We were armed with 100 fresh peelers and ready to go.
On our arrival we’d met Rob Allen; now this bloke is no stranger to the Lincolnshire coast and we knew that if he was here we should be in for a great night! After exchanging the customary greetings we tackled up.
Both Wayne and I go for the long rod and fixed-spool combination, but we differ on makes and models. I decided on my old Greys Triplex 16ft rods and Penn fixed spools, and Wayne the Tronix range of Conti rods teamed up with Shimano reels. I load my fixed spool with 65lb Whiplash Crystal braid and Wayne opts for 20lb mono with a 60lb leader. However, we both use Pennel pulley rigs with 3/0 Sakuma Mantas and 2/0 circle hooks.
From the very first cast we were off the mark, with Wayne first to hook into a hound, and soon a very feisty five-pounder was ready for its photograph. Then I followed suit, and shortly both mine and Wayne’s rods were going for it. Within half an hour our second rods had to be put away because it was so hectic running for takes all the time. We just couldn’t keep up!
We decided to set ourselves a challenge – just how close can you catch smoothhounds from the shore. The second rods came back out and were baited with crab, although I cheated and boosted mine with Bio Edge Crab Potion, and we just lobbed them 15 to 20 yards out. Unbelievably, inside 10 minutes we were both into hounds – you could have waded out in the amount of water we were casting into. As midnight neared so did the slack tide as it swapped over from high to low, which offered a respite and the chance of a cup of coffee with Rob.
We talked about how many small hounds there were this year compared to previous years, which in my opinion is a pain but a good sign for the future. Cups down, we were back to it. At this point Wayne had to head off as he had work in the morning, but I stayed on.
As the ebb took hold the fish started to slow down and a slightly better stamp of fish turned up. The average size on the flood tide been 5lb and we were looking forward to the rest of the shift with some bigger fish.
Dawn had started to break and the lovely summer’s night gave way to a spectacular sunrise. All of a sudden a different type of bite went away on my rod, and first I thought it must have been a decent flatfish, but then I soon changed my mind when the rod tip slammed over and the slack line dropped.
After five minutes of runs and pulls I landed a lovely silver slab of prime bass, which soon turned a gold colour reflecting the sunrise. I quickly unhooked it and popped it on to the scales for a new personal best bass for me at 5lb on the nose.
I was very happy, but not to be outdone Rob, who was battling through tiredness, decided to hook into a couple of bigger fish. His best hound was touching 13lb, which raised hopes in us all for what was to come.
However, as the sun rose higher and with bites slowing down we decide to call it a day. We had caught around 100 hounds between us that night, all safely returned and looked after ready for the next time we meet.
Scott Moore with a new personal best bass of 5lb.
Never overcook your casts – the biggest fish can be very tight to the shoreline.
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