Most of us catch the occasional herring when feathering for mackerel, but herring are around in good numbers at other times of the year – including now. They are not exactly a sporting fish but like mackerel, they are very good to eat and make excellent bait. I am still learning their migratory movements – last year I was catching them in late April and this year in mid-March, so there’s a start. After spending several hours at anchor catching nothing but a small whiting, I decided to fish seriously for herring. Result – 36 in half an hour. I was drifting, and either one small shoal stayed underneath my boat or the shoal was a quarter of a mile wide. The water was thick with fish, I could feel them pinging off the line before they took the feathers. Check here for herring fishing tips.
I tried smoking some this time. I used my standard brine and smoking method (see here) – the result was quite a mild taste, I think you could brine whole fish for up to an hour, and I will probably increase the smoke dust by 50% next time. Still tastes good though.