Pouting (Trisopterus luscus)

Average Weight

Big rod-caught pouting can weigh 1 Kg (2¼ lbs) or more. The average pouting weighs around 0.6 Kg (1¼ lbs).

Also known as

Pout, Bib and Blegg



The pouting is a small fish, rarely growing larger than 30 cm in length and has a short life span of around 4 years. Its body is rounded and red-brown/copper in colour with a white/cream underbelly, it typically has 4-5 dark bands on its sides although these can fade after it has left the water for some time. The pouting has three dorsal fins, with the first being particularly recognisable due to its significant height and triangular shape. It also has a noticeable barbule on its chin and a small dark spot at the base of each pectoral fin.


So how do we catch one?

Best Baits

Fish strips such as mackerel, herring and squid are ideal for catching pouting. Ragworms, lugworms, mussels, cockles, small crabs, shrimps, prawns, sandeels and razorfish can also all be used.


Pouting can be caught thoughtout the year. During June, July, August and September it comes inshore shallow waters, from October to May it withdraws to deeper waters.

Favourite Feeding Places

Pouting favour areas very close to the seabed to look for food, however they can rise to feed around the mid-water level. Pouting prefer to feed over sand-grit, rough and rocky ground, with wrecks, weed-covered boulders and pier supports being hot spots.

Best Locations

Pouting is common throughout most British waters although the best catches are in southern waters.


Best rig for catching pouting

Shore Fishing

If fishing from the shore for pouting, a basic leger rig or a two hook paternoster rig are recommended.

Basic Leger Rig

This rig is used to lay hookbait on the seabed. The distance between the hook and swivel can vary, but should be at least 300 mm (1 ft). This rig works so well because your line is able to pass through the weight’s “eye”, meaning that shy or suspicious fish can tug the bait without instantly sensing the resistance.

Two Hook Paternoster Rig

This is a flexible rig which allows you to present two baited hooks above the seabed, with two different hookbaits being able to be used should you desire. Beach casting anglers reduce seabed wear and tear on the knot by clipping a small split ring onto the weight’s “eye” and tying line to the split ring. Alternatively, the line can be tied straight to the weight. 3 way swivels can be used instead of the blood loops. The distances between the weight, 1st blood loop, 2nd blood loop and top swivel/or split ring, can vary but each should generally be 460 mm (1½ ft). Similarly, the distance between hook and blood loop can vary but should be about 200 mm (8 inches).

Boat Fishing

A three hook paternoster rig or a two boom paternoster rig are ideal when boat fishing for pouting.

Three Hook Paternoster Rig

This rig allows you to present three hooks and baits above the seabed at various depths. Because you have three hooks, you can therefore use three different baits, giving you a further advantage. The distance between each blood loop can vary, but should generally be at least 460 mm (1½ ft) and the lines connecting hooks to blood loops should be at least 200 mm (8 inches).

Two Boom Paternoster Rig

The two boom paternoster rig allows you to present two baited hooks above the seabed and is free to move with the current. The presence of plastic booms removes the possibility of lines tangling and encourages vigorous movement of the baits in a current. Further to this, you can use two different baits at once. The distance between weight and boom can vary, but each spacing should generally be at least 460 mm (1½ ft) and the hooks should each be at least 200 mm (8 inches) from the booms.

Top tips

  1. When fishing with a float or paternoster rig aim to offer your baited hook(s) between 355 mm (14 inches) and 1 m (3 ft) from the seabed.
  2. Prevent small pouting from biting by using a large bait – big fish like big bait.