When the whiting are biting

Over Christmas I was in Devon with family, so of course I took some fishing tackle with me. After a couple of days of turkey, mince pies, drink etc I was ready for some fresh air, so I headed out for a spot of rock fishing.

I wanted to check out a potential new fishing location (or ‘mark’ in sea angling parlance), in Plymouth. In the event I didn’t like the look of it, so it was back to Torbay to a mark I had fished before.

By the time I got there it was low water, about half past two, so I would be fishing a rising tide with the light gradually fading. This is often a good set of circumstances for sea fishing.

I cast out quite a long way, beyond the rocks onto clean sand. It was then a matter of putting the rod onto a tripod, tightening up the line and watching for signs of fishy interest.

Rock fishing

It didn’t take long for the rod tip to twitch, signalling that somewhere out there a fish had located my worm bait on the bottom. I soon caught a dogfish, then a bit later, a nice whiting:


After it got dark, I started holding the rod, keeping the line taut over my fingers. Fishing like this, you can feel the line pulse and twitch when the fish attack the bait. It’s a rather weird sensation, especially in the dark when your sense of touch seems to be heightened.

By the time I packed up at high tide, I had caught several good sized whiting and some pouting (smaller than whiting, but members of the same cod family). All the whiting came at long range while the pouting where close in, by the rocks.

The next day my brother-in-law converted the whiting into fish and chips. He is a dab hand in the kitchen (no pun intended). Served up with some sea beet he had foraged, they were good eating, quite delicate.