A cold water species which is found on both sides of the Atlantic. Usually encountered in small shoals inshore around rocks or offshore around wrecks and obstructions. They are predator species which live on small fish such as sandeels, sprats, small herring and mackerel. They tend to live or as usually encountered in mid water or close to the bottom. Smaller fish are normally found close to shore whilst the larger specimens are found in deeper water.

The average size of Pollack captured around the European coastline is between 8 to 15lbs. Larger fish are found on the deep water reefs offshore and around the wrecks and obstructions. Most fish in these areas average between 18 to 25lbs. The current British Rod Caught record is 29lbs 4 ozs caught by W. S. Mayes off Dungeness, Kent. in 1987.

Pollack are fine fighting fish and can be exceptional fighters on light tackle and in shallow waters around reefs. In fact there is no greater sport than catching these species over wrecks and reefs along the coast of the English channel.


Pollack can be taken on a wide variety of baits. Over reefs, live sandeel or strip baits are favoured. Small lures such as Eddystone Eels may be used or Rapala plugs either by trolling or slow retrieve in a tidal situation. On wrecks the favourite lure is the Eddystone Eel which was responsible for catching the UK Rod caught record. Pirks are also a favourite especially the chrome Norwegian type.

The pollack are often seen during the winter months clouding the screen of your echo sounder as they shoal over the wrecks just up tide. A typical echo sounder trace is shown below.

The method of catching Pollack and Coalfish is essentially to go up tide of the wreck in your vessel allowing sufficient time for your lures to be working at sufficient depth before reaching the wreck. A slow retrieving method is employed. If no contact with fish occurs, drop down again and repeat the process.

A typical pollack/ coalfish rig is shown on the left of the screen. The longer the trace the better within reason. I favour a minimum of twenty (20 feet) with at least one swivel in the middle of the trace to stop any spinning. If you afford them ball bearing swivels are superior to the standard swivels for anti- twisting effects.

Typical lures used are those like Eddystone Eels. People have their own favourite catching colours but I always favour those which are a red or orange colour. 

A 15 to 30lb Class Rod with a suitable multiplier reel like the PENN 4.0 High Speed. If your using killer gear, your rod will need to be in the 50lb class rod , perhaps a stand up stick type, with a reel of the PENN 6.0 High Speed type.

When fish are really dense over wrecks in the winter, "killer gear" can be employed. This typically is at least five Eddystone Eels on a single trace of about 150lb breaking strength with each eel being about 3 feet apart with a 12oz perk as a shiny sinker. This gear is deployed at speed, and then retrieved at speed. When a fish hits you simply hang on as others are likely to follow. As they fight against one another, a slow wind of the fish to the surface is employed. Make sure that clutch is not set to tight.

A single pirk can also be employed to catch pollack and this is worked at speed. Best tackle to use is something like a PENN 4.0 High Speed Reel and 30lb mainline.


Reef fishing for Pollack can be one of the most exciting sea fishing experiences with light tackle. A lightweight spinning rod combined with a small multiplier with 10 to 20lb line is the way to go. The end rig can be a fine wire boom, one to six ounces of lead as a weight depending on the tide or wind strength and a trace of at least 20 feet.


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