I have always wanted to catch more herring, mainly because I prefer them to mackerel for eating. Trouble is I usually only catch one or two a year by accident while feathering for mackerel. I did some research and it turns out there are distinct “populations” in the North Sea and the English Channel. I had heard reports of our local crowd appearing off Poole so there was a good chance they might be around Southsea as well.

I was delayed by the fog this morning so I lost a couple of hours fishing time. This meant my planned trip east could not be fitted in so I started off at The Blocks. Two completely bite-less hours later I decided to start drifting over a bank I know that often holds fish. The screen was full of fish at mid-water so I dropped the feathers, but no result. I scaled down to tiny hokkai meant for launce, and I felt some knocks but nothing connected. I tried a Fiish lure, in case these were bass. Nothing doing. I finally broke out a new string of relatively expensive hokkais made of fish skin and glitter on size 6 hooks, so somewhere in between the feather sizes I had been using. I started connecting but the fish dropped off. Then I started winding smoothly as soon as I felt a knock and fish-on!…only to have it drop off as soon as it reached the surface.  They looked like herring. Totally frustrating. Then I tried lifting the rod gently as the fish came to the surface so it was swung up and over the side of the boat in a swift but smooth movement. They fell off but into the boat at least. That was the technique that landed 17, mainly in ones but sometimes twos. The reason I was losing so many is because their mouths are very soft and the hook will tear out or quickly make a hole the the hook will slip out of.

Here’s the feather that did the damage. All the fish were caught in  20-30 feet of water. The link to buy a similar one is below, although I paid a lot more than that in the tackle shop. The line is quite strong, I think the reviewer is mixing them up with the tiny sabikis.

Herring feather


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