Smoothounds. Sharks of the shallow. Undoubtedly the hardest fighting fish inshore UK waters have to offer. And a personal favourite for me to target on the kayak. Smoothounds fight hard, run like steam trains and have the attitude to match their stylish looks. They can take you for a sleigh ride and give you a real run for your money. Even once landed they will not give up and if you are stupid enough to let them they will crush your fingers!
I got invited to meet up with two of my mates on Saturday to target these stunners of the shallows. I spent most of Saturday on the Navionics app trying to find structure, drop-offs, sandbanks or gulleys. I believe finding the correct structure, and depths is vital to being able to find the fish. Due to us fishing into the dark I didn’t want to push too far offshore and thankfully found a nice bit of changing depth. close to the rocks which provided a food source. Once id pinned my mark it was onto bait collection. Within 10 mins I’ve found a couple of peeler crab. After spending a few hours looking for hardbacks id found 5 hours worth of decently sized hardbacks. As I got home I set up the rods, packed the kayak, put the bait in the fridge and was bouncing off the walls all night I couldn’t sleep. The Hardbacks and peeler are super easy to store, all they need is a bucket with shallow seawater and some seaweed over the top of them.
The day had finally come! I was up at the crack of dawn. Last time checks of the weather and tackle and it was game on! I was up fishing at 7:00 and decided to grab the lure rod and see if I could pick up a morning bass, there was lots and lots of activity in the scorching morning sun. I was using the axia glide and had 3 bars of silver go for my lure and miss. On the way home I saw something cruising on the surface. When I stopped to take a closer look I saw it was a huge bass at around 7lb at least. unfortunately, it swam down into the deep before I could cast a lure at it. Fast Forward in the Day to 16:30 and I was walking the kayak down to the beach and getting ready for a launch at 16:45. By 17:00 I was anchored onto the ground perfectly and chucking lug baits hoping for bass until the sun went down. I managed a few big bites but nothing came from it. as the sun went lower I started to throw crab baits. The first bait thrown was a peeler crab on a running ledger rig with Cox & Rawles specimen extras. I put that on a really light rod hoping for some hounds on light tackle. To be exact it was a 10-40g lure rod with an Abu Garcia black max bait caster. on the other rod, I was using hardbacks hooked through the swimmer leg joints on the same rig. This rod is a 12-20lb Ugly Stik arguably the best boat rod available to man. we fished from 17:00-21;30 and surprisingly I didn’t get a single touch on peeler crab! all hounds came on live hardbacks. Between all 3 kayaks we had about 8 hounds landed. The sea couldn’t have been in better conditions, the swell was 0.3ft, and the wind was 6mph offshore you can’t ask for better than that! I made a video on the amazing session that you can find here: