Early Morning Sea Fishing Assault on the Rock Channel for Smooth Hounds

Sunrise at The Rock Channel, New Brighton
Dawn breaks over a mirror like River Mersey

Sea Fishing… it brings out the nutter in some people and last weekend I joined the crazy crew as a few of us arrived at the mark known as The Rock Channel at New Brighton on the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside at 4:15am. Yes, you read that correctly just past 4 in the morning, I’d left the house at 3am arriving to meet a few of the guys from the Wirral Sea Fishing forum after driving South through an eerily quiet Southport and Liverpool.

This was my second assault (and probably last attempt for the year) on The Rock Channel to try and catch a Smooth Hound so after a quick chat we got suited and booted, waded across the gully and about 30 minutes later were fishing into the last of the ebbing tide as the sun rose over Seaforth Docks on the other side of the River Mersey.

The weapon of choice was a standard pulley rig armed with a Varivas 3/0 Big Mouth hook and baited with peeler crab. It didn’t take long for a greedy little Dab to somehow get it’s mouth round the bait and register the tiniest of bites. As the sun rose this was to be the standard scenario for the trip – the bait would hit the sea bed and a few minutes later the rod would give a little twitch and hey presto – another Dab – there must be hundreds of them.

Considering how many anglers turned up by the time the tide turned, if the Smooth Hounds were there, someone would have caught one but for some reason, even though they’ve been there for the past couple of weeks – they weren’t there on Sunday and after looking at the forums today – the results show they’re not there today either.

Maybe they’ve had their fill of Crabs out of the Mersey estuary this year, maybe with it being a big tide and the weather being so hot recently the waters too warm at low tide as it empties a lot more, maybe we were all just a bit crap… who knows, I know some of the guys I was with are very accomplished anglers and helped develop / discover this mark and they don’t why the smoothies weren’t there either so it just goes to show…

You can be in the right place at the right time, armed with the right bait and have fantastic local knowledge but if the fish aren’t there you’re just plain out of luck.

Anglesey for a couple of weeks in a couple of weeks so I doubt I’ll be out sea fishing till then as I’ve a load of stuff to get ready, although I may just sneak in a trip to the River Douglas to see if I can snare a Flounder or two or maybe go to Mere Beck and have a practice fly fishing before attempting to catch a Bass on the fly on Anglesey.


  1. Ian said:

    At least you beat the blank there. It looks like you are doing everything right, it’s just one of those things, I don’t mind catching dabs they are very tasty. Any sizeable ones?

    I had a decent weekend Sat was rubbish Sun better on the bass – no keepers though. Nice blog I always like to read you fishie type exploits. Thanks for making the effort

    June 29, 2010
  2. Stu said:

    Hi Ian – yep, beat the blank unlike a few of the other guys. Some of the Dabs were takers but I returned them as I didn’t have a cool box / bog to get them home – which is a good job as by the time I got to the car the temp was rocketing and it took me an hour to get home – they’d have been half cooked by the time I got them to the fridge 🙂

    Thanks for the kinds words.

    June 29, 2010
  3. andy said:

    I notice that the smoothies are always fished in the R

    July 3, 2010
  4. andy said:

    I noticed that the smoothies are always fished for in the Rock Channel at low-tide. Do they show-up anywhere else at high-water: Harrison Drive, Seaforth rocks, New Brighton / Egremont prom ? I’ve had one on the Gyn at Blackpool !

    OOOOOOOOPS ! Big fingers, sorry about the error !

    July 3, 2010
  5. Stu said:

    Hi Andy

    As far as I’m aware the bigger ones mainly show up at low water, I think they only go into the river as far as the Rock Channel so the yearly task is to figure out how much the channel has changed and work out where they are.

    Saying that I know a few get caught at high water on New Brighton prom but I couldn’t tell you where about exactly. Never heard of any coming out further up the river though or over one the other side at Seaforth – we were discussing this while staring at our paralysed rods last week 🙂

    Like you (although you caught) I know they come out on the Gyn and I’ve also seen a couple come out at Cleveleys but that’s the extent of my Smooth Hound knowledge for round here.

    Going to Anglesey soon and I believe you can get them of Llandwyn so might have a go there.

    Thanks for visiting.

    July 4, 2010

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