It’s been over 27 years since I had been boat fishing out of the Cornish harbour of Penzance, back then, while on a weeks holiday where I fished nearly every day on a boat called Mishana skippered by Nicky Morse. These trips were made up of a handful of holiday makers locally known as Emmits. Nicky had a young lad, Robin, crewing for him to help with the steady flow of Pollock and Cod coming over the gunnels.

Fast forwarding 25 odd years, a very early start saw me setting off from Minehead at 4am with a couple of friends heading back to this Cornish harbour for a species hunt on board ‘Bite Adventures’ skippered by none other than the grown up crewman Robin Chapman aka Chippy. Over the last 25 odd years, Chippy has established himself as one of the best charter skippers in the UK so we were in good hands for a multitude of species. The decision was made to allocate half the 10 hour trip to target the allusive Couches Bream. This would also produce a variety of other species by chance on whole squid baits.

A running ledger rig armed with a pair of strong sharp Cox & Rawle SCR29 Specimen Extra hooks to present the squid bait was needed, because the Couches Bream are an incredibly strong fighting fish. Frustratingly, the Couches didn’t show up for us. However, we still managed to knock up several other species including John Dory, Cuckoo Wrasse, Dogfish, Whiting and Pout on the squid baits.

The second half of the day saw us move about to various parts of reefs looking for different species. On one occasion, 4-5lb Ballan Wrasse were coming thick and fast. The rigs were armed with size 1/0 Cox & Rawle SCR40 Octopus or 1/0 SCR32 Chinu hooks to help bully the big hard fighting Ballans and stop them from diving into the very rough ground we were fishing over.

After everyone had their arms pulled off by the Ballans, it was off to target the John Dory that live on a near-by bit of ground that hold these fish. A quick change of tactics using a Portland rig with a long snood , with a needle sharp size 1 Cox & Rawle SCR30 Treble hook that I was very happy to have to test before they are added to the range. And what a very nice treble they are... strong sharp - and stayed sharp, what more can you ask for! The hooks were baited with a live Mackerel, and with the traps set, it was a waiting game as we drifted the John Dory grounds. Unlike the Couches Bream earlier in the day, the John Dory happily obliged, with a good few 3-4lb fish coming to the net along with Cod and Ling to near double figures - all on live baits.

During the day we were treated to some incredible sights from large numbers of Blue fin Tuna breaching and feeding close by. Back on the Quay side at the end of the day, I couldn’t help reflect on how things have changed since my last visit. One thing is for sure, I was pleased I had a few Cox & Rawle Hook Patterns with me to use and choose from. On these species trips, a selection of hook patterns and sizes are imperative for success.

I won’t be leaving it so long next time before returning to fish out of Penzance.

Craig Butler

A selection of species caught off of the Cornish Penzance coast..