Wednesday, February 12, 2014

St Catherine's Breakwater Fishing Guide

St Catherine's Breakwater Fishing Guide

So I have decided to do a general fishing guide on St Catherine's Breakwater and give out some information on how to fish it. I will also let you know the best baits, state of tide's etc. 

There is so many different tips and tricks to learn, even when pier fishing.

Learning where the sand patches are, and where the rocks are is what I recommenced you do first. Go down over a Spring Low Tide & check it out! Do not just go down there chuck out some bait and hope for the best. Sometimes a couple of meters in your cast can make a huge difference in catching fish and not catching fish! I thought this post would be very helpful for tourists and beginner fisherman to take a look at. 

St Catherine's Breakwater is Jersey's most popular Angling location to fish, this 600 meter breakwater throws up some outstanding fish on its day! Certain fish species feed harder on certain tides, so before I even think about going fishing here, I evaluate the weather/tides and target species that I am aiming to catch. The majority of fisherman that fish this breakwater target Mackerel. These can be caught here right through the Spring & Summer months, the most popular method of fishing is spinning with feathers. Pollock & Garfish can also be regularly caught on the Mackerel Feathers or another popular method is Float Fishing for them. Personally I find the back wall around 10 meters from the end the best place for catching them in quantity, but every day is different. 

Wrasse / Rockling
There is lots of boulders reinforcing the edges of the breakwater. Watch your gear if you are fishing close in! Sometimes if you are prepared with a load of weights in your tackle box, then it can be the best place to fish! Wrasse take cover in these boulders, it is sometimes good to use a weaker bit of line tied to your weight. This is because you will only loose your lead & not your hooks & fish you might have on your line.
Just a short cast out & fish right amount the boulders, personally i would only do this when fishing for Ballan Wrasse, use worm baits for the smaller fish & Green Crab for the larger specimens. There is a few deeper holes and good patches along the back wall for Wrasse. But you can work them out for your self :). Fish in the boulders when night fishing too as it is pretty good for Rockling, use small fish baits for best catches. 

Black Bream
Barrie Aubert with some Black Bream

From May till September a popular species to target is Black Bream, for those people that are wanting to catch one, I recommend near the end of the breakwater on the Back wall or Front Wall.

Fish on the Dropping Tide around 2 hours after high tide & you will have a chance of catching Bream right through until the flooding tide where the tide will be quite strong for your weight to hold bottom. Use a 2 Hook Paternoster with small Circle Hooks & Squid strips for bait.

Nearly every species of UK Rays have come from this breakwater at some point. Personally I have caught Small-Eyed Ray, Blonde Ray & Undulate Ray from the Breakwater and have witnessed a shore caught Marbled Electric Ray caught from the Back wall of the breakwater. 

Simon Gavey with a Blonde Ray

Sting Rays & Thornback Rays have also come from this Breakwater over the years! Rays can be caught from lower wall and the upper wall! If you are going to try I recommended going past the three arches on the breakwater and anywhere in between there and the steps at the end of the Breakwater (Back Wall included). 2/3 Hours either side of Low water for Undulate Rays tides under a 32ft tide is best. 

As for Small Eyed Rays & Blonde Rays I have had them when the tide is pulling strong and I am using 8oz + Grip leads to hold bottom so even fish over high water & you are in with a chance. Best rigs to use for Rays in General are Running Ledger & Pully Rig

Jack Gavey with a Small Eyed Ray

Depending on what species of Ray you are targeting you will need to be prepared with the correct bait! My Favorite baits to use at St Catherine's for Undulate Ray is: Small Pouting Dead or Alive, freshly caught Mackerel, Squid, Launce Sand-eel or Extra Large Sand-eel, Strips of Wrasse & Strips of Cuttle fish are also good! You dont need to cast far out for these Rays! If you are fishing with two rods, then cast one rod as far as you possibly can & the other one just an average cast. 

Do not forgot a Drop Net otherwise there is no point in targeting Rays as if you try and hand line it up the wall, it would have a very good chance of snapping your main line!! I use 4-8oz Beachcaster Rods with Multiplier Reels for all of my Bottom Fishing and normally use 30lb Main line for everything.

Thick Lipped Mullet
To target these fish you need patience and time! I use a 13ft light match rod & i float fish bread flakes at different depths. This type of Fishing is probably for the more experienced Angler, it requires plenty of bread based ground bait some polarized sunglasses and a bit of luck. (Try on the Stairs at the end of the Break water around low tide and fish just over the Boulders). p.s dont let the fish get the better of you, make sure you strike on the smallest of bites! 

Leigh Mullins with a Shore Caught Conger Eel

Conger Eel's
Over the years many Conger Eels have been caught from this Breakwater. I have caught them right out side the Tackle Shop near the beginning of the Breakwater. You get them all the way along the Breakwater! It has to be night time for them, and best baits i find are Fresh Mackerel, Cuttle Fish, Double Squid, Fresh Pollock & Pouting. I have personally had them to 41lb there with the help of Leigh Mullins & speaking of Leigh here is a picture of him with a 42lb Conger caught from the Breakwater. 

You will need to come prepared with the right fishing gear to fish for these fish! 150lb Line to your 8/0 Hook and use mainline above 30lb in Breaking Strain. Make sure you have either a Flying Drop Gaff or a big Drop Net otherwise you will have no chance in landing any Eels that you hook. If you dont have them with you there is no point in trying for them! It is always good to be with someone else, as they are very difficult to land them when fishing on your own.

Other Possible Catches
Bass- I personally dont rate this pier highly for Bass, but a few big ones do get caught there during the summer months mainly when live baiting small mackerel. Fish from the very end of the Breakwater into the tidal run.
Peter Jarvis with a Plaice 
Red Mullet & Sole - September to November on Worm Baits around the beginning of Breakwater Back wall & Front. 
Plaice - can be caught on worm baits throughout the Summer, hard to target as normally a Wrasse will get to your bait first. 
Dogfish - These fish are a pain for the serious Angler as they are normally a by-catch - Great for the beginners it is pretty easy to catch more than 10 of these in every session!
Smooth Hounds - Summer Months - Fishing in May to August & you will have a chance to catch one powerful fish the lower wall is best! Use Squid or Crabs - Sunset & Sunrise i find are the best times.
Trigger Fish - Mainly by-catch when targeting Black Bream they take Squid Strips & other fish baits.
Pouting - Plenty of these around at night caught on fish baits and worms baits use small hooks and you will catch them. 
Cuttlefish - Using Squid Jigs around September-November you are in with a chance of a few Cuttle fish i have caught them from the Slipway and along the lower wall of the Breakwater.

Phil Driscoll with a Starry Smooth Hound

So that is my little guide on St Catherine's Breakwater, Thank you for reading. 

P.S - Try to catch & release every Ray, Conger, Smooth Hound you ever catch down there so that other people can continue to enjoy the great sport that we have from this Breakwater!  
Tight Lines - Daniel Ferguson

1 comment:

  1. Hey Daniel. Thanks for sharing a few tips, so helpful for us beginners!