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Name

Pollack (Pollachius pollachius)

Average Weight

Big rod-caught pollack can weigh 7.25 Kg (16 lbs) or more. The average pollack weighs around 2.26 Kg (5 lbs).

Also known as

Lythe

IUCN Status

LC – Least Concern

Appearance

The pollack has a dark olive-green back, gold/silver sides, which can be a copper colour in some areas and a white underbelly. It has a particularly strong lower jaw which distinctly protrudes and there is no barbel on its chin. The pollack has a high lateral line which distinctly curves upwards and it has three dorsal fins.

So how do we catch one?

Best Baits

Whole fresh small fish such as sprats, pilchards, sandeels are ideal for pollack fishing. Fish strips such as mackerel and herring are also good. Ragworms, prawns, peeler crabs and shrimps can also be used.

There are also artificial baits which can be used, rubber or plastic sandeels, spoons, devon minnows or pirks can all be used.

Seasons

Pollack can be caught throughout the year, during May, June, July, August and September pollack is best caught inshore, from mid-October to April it withdraws into deeper offshore waters.

Favourite Feeding Places

The pollack favours the base of weed-covered rocks, reefs and wrecks at which to feed.

Best Locations

The biggest catches are deep water off the West Country, and southern Ireland although pollack can be caught from most rocky areas around the British Isles.

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Best rig for catching pollack

Shore Fishing

Rocks, piers, jetties or harbour walls are the best spots for catching pollack and a sliding float rig or a rotten bottom rig cast onto rocky seabed are ideal.

Sliding Float Rig

For this rig you want to use a narrow float. Tie a stop knot onto the main line at the position where you want the float to stop. Modify when necessary to account for the rise and fall of the tide, etc. A ball or barrel shaped weight is perfect for this rig, attach the smallest weight needed in order to cast the distance you are aiming for and hold your bait against any strong current(s) at the depth you expect fish to be feeding. The distance between the hook and swivel can vary, but should be at least 300 mm (1 ft).

Rotten Bottom Rig

This rig is perfect when fishing over reefs or rocks where you understand that you may lose a trapped weight, but are reluctant to lose swivels, hooks and long lengths of line along with it. Should your weight become inextricably caught amongst the rocks, steady pressure on your line by pulling with gloved hands (do not strain your rod) will break the weaker “light” line attaching weight to the main line. The lighter line should be ABOUT half the breaking strain of the main line. The distance between weight and swivel can vary, but should generally be at least 200 mm (8 inches). The hook should be a minimum of 150 mm (6 inches) from the swivel or blood loop on the main line.

Cost-effective rotten bottom rigs can be constructed with expendable weights such as bolts, nuts and stones with naturally worn holes etc. (see B below).

DO NOT make sweeping overhead casts from the shore with a rotten bottom rig as the weight could break off and injure someone!

Boat Fishing

 If you are fishing from a boat for pollack a rotten bottom rig is advised (see above).

Top tips

  1. Live small fish, hooked via the upper jaw behind the lip make the best bait for catching pollack.
  2. Pollack rise to feed near the surface at dawn and dusk, therefore these are the best times to catch pollack. During the day pollack dive deep down and stay close to the seabed and stay tight against rocks.
  3. Hooked pollack are known to dive amongst rocks and this can snap your line. Avoid this by keeping your line taut and reel-in as fast as possible.
  4. If you want really big pollack, the best spots are above rocks and wrecks in deep offshore water.