It’s that time of year when normally sane (if there is such a thing) sea anglers treck miles out onto a sandbar at New Brighton called The Rock Channel in the yearly pilgrimage to catch a Smooth hound. I had a go last year as you can see here with not much success but this time I’d at least heard of a few coming out the previous week.
As I was driving through Liverpool the weather changed dramatically for the worse and by the time I exited the tunnel on the Wirral side the rain was bouncing almost as high as the car windows – I was starting to think maybe I was a little mad to attempt this until I arrived at New Brighton prom. to be greeted by a few more like minded fools. We were there now – rain wasn’t going to stop any one sea fishing with the chance of a smoothy in sight.
We waded across the first big gully about 2.5 hours before low water and set off along the bank to a spot about 1/2 mile from the shore. The sand bar and gully has changed a lot since last year and although the initial gully was over waist high the bar was clear of water which made things considerably easier than last year when we were wading knee deep for the whole treck.
Reaching the spot I baited a pulley rig armed with a big 3/0 hook with some fantastic peeler crab bought from Blackpool Angling Centre on Saturday morning and cast out eager for my first hound and waited patiently. It’s a good job anglers are patient as this was repeated many times for the next 2 hours with only a few small Dabs and a Whiting coming out – somehow managing to get the huge hook in their mouths.
Further up the bar one angler managed 4 Smooth-hounds and he was only a hundred meters or so from us but for me and my friends today was not to be a smooth hound day. Non were caught to the right of us, nearer the ‘beach’ so maybe the channel was slightly deeper where he was, we’ll know where to go next time though.
The trouble with fishing this spot is it changes every year with the sands and channels shifting all the time so the first few trips are a bit ‘hit and miss’ until you find where the deeper water is and hence, where the smooth hounds are feeding.
We called it a day about 1/2 hour after low water as the tide races in at this venue and it’s dangerous to stay any longer, sea fishing is great but it’s not worth taking risks when they’re easily avoided. In a couple of weeks the water should have warmed a little more, the tides will be ideal and we’ll know where to set up stall so hopefully, I’ll be out again and just maybe I can catch my first Smooth Hound.