Shakespeare Salt Sea Rigs
Shakespeare Salt Sea Rigs
Any excuse to spend a day on the sea!
Shakespeare Tackle Company threw a few sea rigs my way, to have a wee play and see how they perform. From the impressive array available, I chose five different patterns that would be appropriate for my local marks.
The "Flat Jacks" are similar to the old "Hokais" which are well tried and tested, and require little introduction. Tied on 60lb mono and size 2/0 reasonably heavy hooks, they will take a wide variety of species available. A fabulous and proven "all-rounder" for sure.
The "Pink Goblins" I have used before, tipped off with Mackerel fillets, having success targeting Ling, Pollack and Coalfish. Tied with 60lb mono and strong, slightly "beaked" hooks, the head of the lure is luminescent, a great attractor for deeper, darker venues.
"Silver Dream Lure" is a blue-silver pattern tied on strong 3/0 hooks, again with 60lb b/s mono. Somewhat shrimp-like in profile, there are days when they are un-beatable. These come with luminescent beads, and baited with a strip of Mackerel, again work well for most of our predatory species.
The "Lumi-Flash" is another great all-rounder, but ultimately a Mackerel-basher it has to be said! Resembling small bait-fish, sandeel or whitebait, it is a killer for small Coalfish, Pollock, Mackerel and Herring. Baited with thin belly strips of Mackerel, lethal for bottom feeding fish such as Gurnards, Whiting, Codling etc, and baited with Rag worm over reefs can be superb for Wrasse.
This leaves the "Kestrel Rig". Obviously a Sandeel pattern, this rig is the main stay of much of my smaller species tactics. For an off the shelf rig, it is one of my favourites. Luminescent eel-like body tied again with 60lb b/s clear mono and strong size 2/0 hooks, this rig will cope with most predatory species around our coast. Superb for Cuckoo Wrasse, Pollock, Coalfish and Whiting in particular.
Well, that's the product guff, how did our day go? Being mid-week, I managed to tempt my old mucker Glenn Drennan away from a day's work. Glenn and his brother Martin run a successful Kitchen manufacturing-fitting business, ( Hugh Drennan and sons) designing and constructing bespoke high end kitchens and are extremely busy lads, so stealing Glenn for a day doesn't come easy!
Coalfish, excellent bait for the deep water marks
I was now under a small bit of pressure to deliver a decent day on the water, but Glenn's been at this fishing lark long enough to know how unpredictable angling can be. A day on the water is always better than a day at work...on most occasions!
Always pleasurable to see the Black-Mouthed Dogfish
Glenn loves the small stuff, hunting about over reefs for a variety of species. I get a kick out of that too, but usually lean towards the bigger species whenever possible. So I suggested a compromise. We have to play with some of these Shakespeare Salt Rigs, so that will be the afternoon taken care of, but a few hours in the deeps to start with will satisfy my appetite for the big stuff, assuming there were a few "lumps" knocking about.
Small Spurdog on the Skate gear
First stop was a drop for bait, and the "Salt Lumi Flash" were the perfect item of choice. And of course they soon tempted a few Mackerel and Coalfish, enough for the days sport ahead. With tide half way through the flood, I had a three hour window to drop the anchor in the deeps and get the big guns out. Glenn opted for light gear, not interested in the "tug of war" Skate fishing. On the other hand, I absolutely love the Penn Ally rods and international 50's combos, and have them in the gunnels at every given opportunity.
More like it
A slow enough session, with Glenn successfully scratching about, picking off Black Mouthed Dogs, and small Spurdog. A couple of similar sized Spurs annoyed me until the "Ally" buckled over and I was into my target species, a "barn door" to put me and the gear under a bit of pressure. Winched to the surface for a trophy shot and an ID tag, she was soon back to the depths, and in good health. Ok, I'm happy now, let's go reef hunting.
I have a number of reefs marked out on my plotter in this area, and have fished most of them. The usual problem is inclement weather not allowing me to venture out so far, or spring tides that make the reefs impossible or too dangerous to target. With the flood tide nearing high water, and light breezes, we had a good three hours to go through the "Salt Rigs" and see what we could manage to tempt.
All the Rigs produced, as I knew they would. They are all popular fish catchers. However, without doubt, the "Kestrels" were head and shoulders above the rest. This happens regular, where one particular rig out-fishes anything else on the boat, so we ended up sticking with these for the last few hours of the day. It shows that you should always carry a varied selection if possible.
Loads of Codling made a show, which is fabulous to see, Coalfish, Mackerel and Pollock too of course. The predominant species proved to be Cuckoo Wrasse in their spectacular and diverse colouration. We both "filled our boots" as we say in Northern Ireland, with Glenn pipping me at the post landing an Irish Specimen over the magical 35cm barrier. Does that beat a 160lb Skate? Debateable, I will leave that up to the reader.
Wondering why the Kestrels were doing so well on this occasion, a Codling "coughed up" what it had been feeding on. Ah, all became clear. Obviously an abundance of small Sandeels below the boat. Talk about "match the hatch"! Mackerel, Coalfish, Pollock, Codling and Wrasse were having a banquet down there, and the eels were on the menu.
Back to the Shakespeare Salt Rigs. They are well tied, you won't have any problems with knots un-doing etc, hooks and mono are all good quality, and the entire range all catch fish. They vary in price from £1.50-£2.00 depending on which ones and where you purchase them, but definitely a worthy item range to carry in the box. One trip doesn't constitute a test, so I will be using them again over the next few trips, and see how they perform.
Hope this was of interest, feedback always welcome.
Tight Lines, Terry.