The pollock is a more common member of the Cod family and is a beautiful fish, brownish copper above, with gold and silver sides. Easily recognised by their protruding lower jaw and moody appearance, pollock offer a strong fight and a definite challenge to spearfishermen when they reach larger sizes. Pollock can exceed 20lbs but most fish caught are under 4 pounds. 6 pounds is a nice fish and fish over ten pounds are quite unusual except at certain locations described below. The minimum size is 30cm.
When to catch pollock:
We usually see pollock from June to November, but at offshore spots such as the Eddystone they can be seen for most of the year.
Where to find pollock:
Pollock are all around the coast of England and Wales. They favour areas with kelp forests and rock reefs. Almost any beach with a decent reef which is not fully exposed at low tide will hold and attract pollock.
Pollock can be found in good numbers in the Plymouth area, right out to sea. They are drawn to wrecks and are almost guaranteed to be seen when spearfishing a south coast wreck.
Behaviour and hunting:
Pollock will generally be found in the vicinity of kelp forests in water 6-20m deep. They will usually try to stay out of the current and are fond of underwater walls and structures, especially wrecks.
A good technique is agachon in the kelp forest, and pollock cruising over the kelp will often approach to investigate you. Small specimens are rather foolish, but big pollock over 5 pounds are wary and cautious fish, unwilling to tolerate you approaching them directly.
On spotting a big one cruising, try to use the kelp as cover and move yourself to a more advantageous spot to where you think the fish is going.
Always hunt pollock from the bottom. Even in moderate vis they are hard to see from above, being perfectly camouflaged against the kelp.
Pollock are more tolerant of a bit of movement and noise than big bass so are generally a little easier to catch.
Pollock will bolt into the kelp and get off your spear when shot, making a huge tangle. Pull them up quickly and dont give them a slack line!
“I dived to 8m in the flowing tide, the big kelp covered boulders forming a barrier to the current. Getting into cover behind the kelp I could see several mid sized pollock moving about. A large one, a bit further away, was cruising left to right. I ducked down below the cover, so it could not see me or vice versa, and quickly swam round a rock to get me closer. Hiding there, the fish soon came into view without seeing my approach and I was able to shoot and hit it with my 100cm Rob Allen. I pulled it quickly off the bottom as it tried to dive for the kelp and boated the prime fish.”
9/10, pollock is the best sashimi in the UK, better than bass! It is also good cooked in all sorts of ways- try roasted with wholegrain mustard.
Weapon of choice:
Rob Allen 100cm Carbon with 20mm rubber and 7mm spear