Numpties guide to UK sea fishes
Probably the most sought after sea fish in England, Bass are big (sometimes), and
silver (always), and greedy (at tea-time). Young Bass are known as School Bass until
they graduate and become qualified Bass.
Bass like places where there are a lot of
critters such as crabs, worms, baby other
fish etc... Local anglers are usually quite cagey as to the exact locations of good
marks, therefore the best places to go are often rocky, weedy, shallow and secret.
Cod are primarily a deep sea fish from the North, you can tell this by their strange
accent and the way that they tend to stare at you. The best time to catch Cod is
when it's cold enough to freeze your bogies, the cold weather draws them closer
to the shore at certain points usually where the beach looks out onto deep ocean
water. A good ocean facing beach is Chesil Beach in Dorset although they do often
appear off other beaches by mistake.
Conger Eels are one of the most silly fish in UK waters. Not only do they look silly
(like a draught excluder), but they act silly. This is a fish which often grows
to lengths in excess of 5 feet long, it has immensly powerful jaws and feeds on
other fish, yet it only comes out when it's dark and it spends most of it's life
hiding in wrecks and rocky crevices - what is it scared of - ridicule? To find Congers
just look for rocks, preferably under water rocks.
There are two kinds of Dogfish in British waters, the Lesser Spotted Dogfish and
the Greater Spotted Dogfish or Bull Huss. Exactly why either of the family are known
as Dogfish is a bit of a mystery, they look more like Sharks than fish and the only
similarity with Dogs is that they have tails, wet noses and the tendancy to puke
up over your trousers with no warning. Dogfish don't really mind where they shop,
just so long as there are plenty of Bonio's around.
Flounders are generally flat. If a Flounder is not flat then it is either too young
to catch or not a Flounder. Due to this fact, they tend to stick fairly close to
the sea bed. Now, Flounders have soft white undersides and are quite ticklish. This
means that they prefer to live in places with soft muddy bottoms, please note that
lowering a Ragworm baited size 2 Mustad down the back of a scrum-half's shorts is
regarded as bad angling. Now that we have a few clues, we can start to home in on
a suitable venue, i.e. somewhere that the sea is held up with mud.
Plaice are very much like Flounders only not so ticklish. In Dorset they consider
Mussels to be a bit of a delicacy, consequently they tend to hang around on or near
Mussel beds. Where can we find Mussel beds? Well, there is a section of shoreline
at West Bexington where there are plenty of the aforementioned Mussel sleeping areas
and this is the place for Plaice.
Also known as "Bib", "Pout Whiting" and "Oh bugger", Pout are very much the smelly
paupers of UK sea fish. In fact the name "Pout" comes from the facial expression
of one who has just realised what has eaten £1.95 worth of frozen black lug. Pout
are edible if made into fish cakes which are smothered in HP sauce and eaten whilst
holding ones nose. The best way to catch pout is to go after a much more desirable
species with expensive bait.
Sole like Bass are a very sought after prize in sea fishing; so much so that the
first thing the skipper of a sinking ship will do is call for someone to "Save Our
Soles". Probably in mind of the hiding he will receive if he makes it home alive
without the tea.
This rare breed of fish was highly popular in the fifties, with many angling books
of the day eagerly illustrating how easy it was to go down to ones local pier and
bag up on Tunny with your faithful old split cane rod and a nappy pin.
Since the passing of the jet age, there has been little call for Tunny, and along
with Tarpon, Plus-fours and the British car industry they have been discontinued.