How to catch smoothhound

The Talk Sea Fishing guide to smoothhound fishing focusing on when, where and how to catch smoothhound from the boat and the shore in the UK and Ireland.

About smoothhound

There are, though there has been some debate about this recently, two types of smoothhound, the common and starry smoothhound. But given the differences in the two fish as outlined below, many anglers feel that the two types are distinctive.

To identify common smoothhound from starry smoothhound check the nasal flaps which on the common smoothhound are broad and the dermal denticles on the skin are narrow with basal ridges but smooth ends, also the body has no markings. The starry smoothhound has narrower nasal flaps and broader dermal denticles, plus usually has small white star type markings scattered across the body flanks, though sometimes these can be missing so are not to be relied upon as absolute identification. General colouration of both species is a grey back shading to a grey/white belly. There is also some geographical difference between the two types.

Smoothhound can only really be confused with tope. The key difference to note is that the smoothhound have flat, broad grinding teeth, but the tope’s teeth are triangular in shape and sharply pointed, basically shark like. The tope’s lower tail lobe is also long, whereas the smoothhounds is short and blunt.

Both types of smoothhound are shallow water fish tending to be found relatively close in shore and along the surf line, but they can be found down to about 70-metres. They feed on shore crabs, hermit crabs and edible crabs, also squat lobsters, sea anemones, but will also take worms such as lug and rag.

Common smoothhound

Common Smoothhound

Starry smoothhound

Starry Smoothhound

Another key factor separating the two types of smoothhound is that the common smoothhound is viviparous, meaning the young are nourished from a pseudo placenta formed by the yolk-sac membrane connected to the mother. They give birth to up to 15 young which can measure up to 12-inches in length. The starry smoothhound is ovoviviparous with the young developed within the mother by a yolk-sac but with no membrane connection to the mother. They give birth to between 7 and 15 babies, the number depending on the overall size of the mother.

The breeding season is somewhat unknown but appears to fall into the period January to April.

It’s interesting to note that the common smoothhound are actually less common in numbers in UK waters than the starry smoothhound are. Also, the two distinct types will often be swimming and feeding together.

Shore Fishing for Smoothhound

Due to their fighting prowess, average size being between 4 and 8lbs off the shore, and being available in good numbers usually, the smoothhound has become a cult fish for sea anglers, with anglers living well away from the smoothhounds preferred grounds being willing to travel long distances for the privilege of fishing for them.

When and Where to Fish

The shore smoothhound season is much the same as that for boat fishing with the first fish appearing in the south usually in early very late March and early April, but it will be mid to late May the further north you go, and in southern Scotland into June before they really show. They stay usually until mid-September, but thin out quickly from the later stages of August, especially if the weather is unseasonably windy and cold with rough seas.

Like so many fish, the effect of warming seas and milder winters generally has seen the smoothhound frequent British waters in increasing numbers, also resulting in their range extending beyond what it was say two decades ago.

The most noted areas are the Hampshire, Sussex and Essex coast, the east coast beaches especially Lincolnshire, and in the past decade they have penetrated further north taking in the Holderness Coast of East Yorkshire.

Chesil Beach in Dorset is arguably the best of the southwest marks and it’s not until you venture into the confines of the Bristol Channel that the smoothhound fishing becomes consistent again. The South Coast of Wales offers exceptional fishing with the marks west of Aberthaw the most favoured, though of late, as smoothhound numbers have risen, they are being caught further east along Cardiff Foreshore and even at Goldcliff. Although some smoothhound get caught west of Swansea they become scarce and even along the west and Mid-Wales coast, very few are ever caught, and those that are, tend to be very small fish. The smoothhound fishing improves with fish caught from the south coast of Anglesey and from the Holyhead area.

Chesil Beach

In the Northwest the Mersey Estuary has become a smoothhound mecca over the past 15years or so with shore marks producing fish well into double figures. They are also caught from the beaches inside Morecambe Bay right up to the Mull of Galloway in southern Scotland.

Ireland is also a major hotspot for smoothhound activity with the Wicklow beaches down to Kilmore Quay especially good. Heading west the fishing becomes much more inconsistent, but they are starting to show more and more and have been recorded from Cork harbour and also in Kerry, but that seems to be as far north on the Irish west coast as they go.

A good guide to shore smoothhound is to read and take note of the charter boats. If the boats are catching smoothhound close to shore, then at some stage they’ll be within shore casting range too!

How to Identify Fish Holding Features

In the past, the best smoothhound marks where the rougher ground beaches. This is the type of ground they are naturally most frequent on. They like ground that is made up of broken rock with sand patches amongst it, or generally even depth boulder ground but with bigger boulders breaking up the monotony. They will work this ground thoroughly but do like to run the edges of rock that sit alongside sand, and also search any deeper areas where the tide will deposit food. Also, put baits alongside the edges of any weed beds as smoothhound love to search through these looking for crabs.

As their numbers have grown over recent years, and their habitat increased northwards, smoothhound have become more accustomed to running clean sand beaches, such as those along the Lincolnshire coast, but this also applies to where accepted grounds in the south of the country.

On the shallow sandy beaches, ground feature may not so obvious, but fishing close to or into this will dramatically affect your overall catch rate. The features to look for are the shallow gullies or gutters that tend to run parallel along the beach. These are created by tidal currents, therefore carry some run of tide which the smoothhounds prefer, plus any food washed along the sand by the waves and tide will fall into these gutters and hold there.

A good trick is to visit the beach at low water. Get down on your hands and knees, head close to the sand, and look across the beach. This gives you a better perspective of how it lays. Identify areas where water holds in depressions for longer. These again, are areas where food will drop and lodge. Also position for later reference, areas where small sandbanks sit higher than the surrounding sand, also areas where there are a series of small scoured out holes. These will all hold and produce fish once the tide floods over them.

The other obvious feature to look for are areas of small boulders or stone that break up the sand. These are the real hotspots and baits placed here are the most likely to be taken. Even flat areas where sand joins up to shingle can be enough to draw in and hold the fish. This is often the point on deeper beaches where no ground feature can be seen to make a start if the beach is backed by shingle that never fully uncovers at low water.

Another thing to look for is when the tide has built up some depth, visually search the surface water for current lines and cast to these. Current edges hold food and the smoothies will work the edges of these. These can also be identified by looking at the high tide line and noting where there is a build-up of water borne rubbish such as sticks, logs and plastic washed up along the high tide line more so than in other areas.

Beach features

Tides

The best tides to target shore smoothhound are the middle-sized tides rising to and including the biggest spring tides of that cycle. That said, the tides just before the highest springs tend to be the most consistent in many areas, so it’s wise to remember this and start with these then adjust to other tides as you learn more about the venues you’re fishing. Once the tide goes over the peak high, then you’ll find catches will quickly fall away.

In areas of very fast tides, such as the Bristol Channel, then smaller tides can still produce, but again it tends to be the ones that are rising higher every day after the smallest tide of the cycle that sees the fishing improve.

As for the best times of tide, then expect the best of the fishing to be in the middle hours of the flood tide, say 2hrs up from low water to one hour before high water on the majority of marks. Slack water, at both low and high tide, there tends to be a lull in bites. Some marks, mostly the deeper ones, may continue to fish as the tide ebbs, but it’s more often the case that the shallower the venue the quicker the smoothhound will push out on the ebb and be quickly out of range.

Looking at the overall picture smoothhound like calmer seas, say short surf tables induced by onshore winds up to F4. Once the sea gets rougher and the surf tables higher, then the smoothhound tend to move out. A lot of anglers rue out rough seas as a waste of time, but that’s not quite true. On shallower venues, this is often the time when small groups of much bigger fish or single big fish will work through this ground, so it is still worth fishing to a degree.

Weather Patterns

Ideal weather patterns for smoothhound are prolonged periods of relatively calm weather with easy seas and a light surf. Onshore winds up to F4 are often perfect producing a light surf to displace food but are not too rough for the fish to work the ground properly. They will feed in both clear and coloured water, but in clear water expect them to be further out in slightly deeper water, and closer in if the sea carries some colour.

A change in barometric pressure both up and down can often trigger better feeding activity, so checking the barometer during the week and watching the weather forecasts can be a big edge.

Smoothhound can be caught in daylight, but they are often best targeted off the shore at night and they are one fish that work closer on nights when there is some light in the sky in the weeks immediately before and after the summer solstice.

Longer periods of rough weather and seas will force the smoothhound well out to sea and pretty much kill off the shore sport until conditions settle. They don’t like heavy sediment and suspended weed in the water at all.

Bites and Fight

Smoothhound bites can vary. Sometimes they just knock the rod tip and give a little slack line. Obviously, watch the rod tip and line, and if it does fall slack, pick up the rod and wind in fast until you feel the weight of the fish.

Sometimes, smoothhound hit the bait at full speed and hammer the rod over often pulling the rest over with it. These fish usually self-hook.

Sometimes they repeatedly pick up and drop a bait. The rod tip keeps nodding then nothing. Leave these baits for a while as the fish can come back or other fish pick it up.

A hooked fish in shallow water will run, at speed, usually into the tide when it feels the hook, but sometimes they choose the opposite direction and turn to run with the tide increasing the rate the line leaves the spool. In both cases, let the fish have all the line it wants against the drag, but be mindful of snags. As soon as the fish tires, put pressure on it and keep it coming. They will continue to run, but the runs get shorter. Expect a last final rush back out to sea as they feel the water shallowing, even big fish, can be led in with incoming waves.

Smoothhound

Shore Tackle

With smoothhound being caught from both clean sand beaches and from the rough ground, it means we can employ a wide variety of tackle to target them with the emphasis on lighter tackle in some cases to maximise the fun.

On the clean sand surf beaches bass tackle is perfect and more than adequate even for big fish. The rods to choose are 2-4oz rated with a length of about 11ft 6in. Try and choose one with a softish tip, but with power coming in quickly in the upper mid-section and feeding into a fairly stiff butt. Rods with this blank format will offer excellent bite detection, but more importantly, cast a decent crab bait out to the 75/80yds mark when using a smaller 2.5 to 3oz grip lead, but also has the power in the mid-section and butt to really dominate a big fish when needed. The reel to use need only be an ABU 6500 or AKIOS type loaded with 15lb mono and a 40lb shock leader.

When long range casting is needed, there are two options. A typical UK beachcaster around 13ft rated to cast up to 6ozs and matched to PENN 525Mag3 or similar reel loaded with 18lb line and a 60lb shock leader will handle the range and the heavier seas when needed.

Alternatively, anglers keen to maximise casting distance without learning powerful casting techniques, have adopted the longer European style rods and big fixed spool reels. The rods tend to be 14 to 15ft generally, though some are 16ft. These rods are formed around blanks with a more through action than the shorter standard beachcasters but are still very powerful with fairly stiff butt sections. The longer rod increases the speed and leverage at the tip which in turn increases the lead speed adding yards to the cast for roughly the same amount of physical energy expended. These rods are teamed with at least a 7000 sized fixed spool reel, and usually the larger 8000 models and will be fitted with one of the more efficient long shallow spools designed to maintain a higher line profile for longer during the cast to increase line flow and therefore distance cast.

Large fixed spool reel for smoothhound fishing

The line to use on these bigger reels is 20lb to 30lb braid. This is much thinner in diameter than mono of the same breaking strain, plus has less overall weight, so it casts further having less wind resistance and less dragged weight for the lead to pull. You obviously need a shock leader and some anglers choose a tapered mono leader, though others prefer a heavier braid. In both cases the main end section of shock leader should equate to 60lbs to take the casting pressure when using the average 5 to 5.5oz lead weight and bait. This outfit will cast to extreme range with a simple overhead or better still, off-the-ground casting style.

Over mixed rough or rough ground, then casting distance may still be needed. Revert back to the standard 13ft beachcaster rated to 6oz but use a tough reel such as the PENN 525Mag3 but load with 22lb mono line and the 60lb shock leader.

There is one other scenario, tackle wise, that is worth exploring. This is for very shallow beaches that require you to reach fish right at the extreme end of even a good casters range. It is called lining back. This is best done with the European style beachcaster, but you need an 8000 fixed spool reel not with a shallow spool, but with a traditional deep spool. This should have a short length, say 20yds, of old mono added to the spool, then load the rest to just under the lip with 30lb braid and a shock leader. The trick is to wade as far as you can, cast as far as you can, then slowly walk back a few yards at a time as the tide floods in. This leaves a bait well out in the tide in deeper water that cannot be reached by a standard cast and will take smoothhound on very shallow beaches when conventional casting can’t. With say 400 to 500-yards of braid loaded on to the deep spool, you could potentially have a bait 350yds out.

How to Build a Shore Smoothhound Pulley Rig

Shore Pulley Rig

1 – Begin with 54-inches of 60lb clear mono.

Shore Pulley Rig

2 – At one end tie on a Tronixpro Lead Link with clip.

Shore Pulley Rig

3 – Slide on a size 5mm bead, a Pulley rig bead and another 5mm bead.

Shore Pulley Rig

4 – 25-inches above the bait clip, tie in a figure-of-eight knot.

Shore Pulley Rig

5 – Slide on a standard rig crimp then a 3mm rig bead followed by 5mm bead, then tie on a single 4/0 Mustad Viking 79515 hook, or similar pattern. The crimp and beads for the stop knot to avoid the bait flying up above the hook during a powerful cast

Shore Pulley Rig

6 – An inch or so above the hook, crimp the crimp in place. Alternatively, if you want a movable bait stop, change the crimp for a 5-turn Grinner knot made from 22lb Powergum.

Some anglers use a 2-hook pennel system, but you do not need two hooks for smoothhound as they pretty much take the bait straight in. A bait presented on a big single 4/0 is just as effective and avoids the chance of the top hook snagging when fishing into rougher ground and when playing fish.

Shore Baits

Smoothhound can be very fussy and only a couple of baits work well for them. Baits such as lugworm, ragworm, sandeel and mackerel may take the odd fish, but are not consistent and should really be ignored if you want consistent catches.

Razorfish is a third-choice bait that can work immediately after rough seas on both sand and rough ground beaches. Sections of big squid or whole small squid are good in certain areas, but smoothhound like fresh baits, so make sure the squid is top quality and not old stuff that’s been in and out of the freezer. To present squid, the best way is to pass the hook down through the body from the tail end stitching it repeatedly until the hook access the head. Make sure the hook is inside the head. Smoothhound are another fish that will nip the head off and leave the rest of the bait. The best way is to bring the hook out at the head end of the body but fold the head underneath the hook then wrap the whole lot with bait elastic for security. Keep the bait no more than 3-inches long if you want positive takes and minimal dropped baits, the fish losing interest.

The top bait by far is shore crab either as a peeler or as a hardback. Peeler are best presented by removing all the legs and brittle shell from the body. Cut the remaining body in half, push the two halves together around the hook and bind well with bait elastic. This forms a fat sausage shaped bait small enough for the fish to take into the mouth easily, but a bait that is oozing juices making it easy to find.

If the fish are picking up and dropping a bait, here’s a trick to try. Peel all the shell off the body of the crab and remove the legs on one side only. Cut the dead crab between the eyes to halfway through the body. Push the hook in to the body with the legs attached and slide the whole bait around the hook until the hook point is clear. This leaves the crabs leg laying along the upper hook shank. Bind these in place, and the crab body, with bait elastic. Keep this body no bigger than a 50p coin. This forces the fish to take the bait from the hook end enabling better striking and hooking.

Peeler Crab Bait

1 – Peel all the brittle shell and legs from a dead peeler crab which needs to be about the size of a 50p piece or slightly bigger.

Peeler Crab Bait

2 – Cut the crab body in half lengthways.

Peeler Crab Bait

3 – Slide one half of the body up the hook and just over the hooks eye.

Peeler Crab Bait

4 – Slide the second half of the body on to the hook and leave it sat in the bend of the hook with the hook point well exposed.

Peeler Crab Bait

5 – Bind the crab to the hook shank with a few turns of bait elastic.

Peeler Crab Bait

Top Tips for Shore Smoothhound Fishing

  1. If a smoothhound picks up and drops a bait, leave it where it is for a few minutes. More often than not the fish will come back for second try, or, another fish will beat it to it and pick up the bait as it homes in on the scent.
  2. Don’t keep casting to the same spot all the time. Search what ground you have in front of you systematically casting to different places and to different distances to try and establish exactly where the fish are.
  3. When rough ground fishing, if crabs and small fish are quickly whittling away at a crab bait, carry some squid with you and wrap the crab in squid, add bait elastic to form a sausage shaped bait, then punch some holes in the squid to release the crab scent.. The tough squid will protect the soft crab long enough to give the smoothhound chance to find the scent ail and follow it to its source. Smoothhound swim into the tide, so when a specific mark ceases to fish, consider moving up the coast a short way to a new venue to intercept the fish as they travel onwards with the tide.

Boat Fishing for Smoothhound

Boat smoothound fishing

When and Where to Fish

Both common and starry smoothhound can be found all-round the UK coast, though the commons are more southerly based and tend to venture only as far north as southern Scotland. The starry smoothhound has been recorded as far north as southern Norway. To the south they can be found down in to the Mediterranean and off the North African coast.

Noted areas in the UK for top smoothhound fishing are the East Coast as high as The Wash, the Lincolnshire coast, the Thames Estuary, The Hampshire coast, both sides of the Bristol Channel, Anglesey’s northwest corner, Morecambe Bay, and Luce Bay in Scotland.

Smoothhound can be found over sand banks and sandy gutters, in amongst mixed rough ground scattered amongst sand, they especially favour eel grass beds, also shingle banks and any areas where big boulders break up general low but otherwise evenly contoured rough ground.

Smoothhound are mostly caught in daylight and much less frequently at night. They have a habit of being on ground for just a few tides, then disappearing. What’s happening here is that with smoothhound being a group fish they can fully clean out the food supply in a given area over two or three tides, then need to move on to fresh ground.

The middle sized rising tides to the highest spring tides will invariably produce the best fishing. They like some tide run and the key time of tide can often be the middle two hours when the run is strongest, though just after low water on some marks can be equally good.

Books and features on smoothhound often depict them as preferring mirror calm sea conditions, and they can be caught when the weather is calm, but they are built to swim effectively feeding on the seabed, so a good sea swell in shallow inshore water can often lead to good catches, especially in a calming sea after a spell of windy weather with coloured seas.

Boat Smoothhound

Tackle for Boat Smoothhound Fishing

Uptide rods were once the main weapon in the smoothhound angler’s armoury, and these remain popular now only in The Wash area, The Thames Estuary and inside the Bristol Channel. Rods of 9ft 6in to 10ft and rated 2-6ozs are ideal, no need to go heavier, and you can match them to reels in the ABU 6500 or similar AKIOS reels, though tough gears are advised and the Penn 525Mag3’s are popular loaded with 20lb line and a 40 or 50lb shock leader. Only on the biggest tides when very heavy leads are needed to hold down would the heavier 6-10oz rated uptiders be used, as these way over gun even the biggest smoothhounds. Again, go for the PENN 525 reels and upgrade the shock leader to 60lbs.

In other areas where tide run is less harsh, most experienced smoothhound anglers will opt for an 8lb to 15lb class rod about 8ft to 8ft 6ins, and again match them to the 6500 or smaller PENN 515 sized reels. 15lb mono line is enough, but do add a lighter 25lb Fluorocarbon leader to minimise any abrasion on the lighter main line and guard against body contact from the fish.

The Talk Sea Fishing crew prefer to fish with one of the modern soft tipped European style boat rods. A rod about between 10 and 11ft is perfect when matched to a 050/060 sized fixed spool loaded with 20lb braid and a 30lb Fluorocarbon shock leader.  These give maximum sport, but also have other added advantages.  They enable you to cast away from the boat for some distance to both get your bait away from other angler’s baits. This can be very important when bites are slow and the fish few and far between. The soft tip also helps improve the bite detection when smoothhound are being fussy in taking the bait, which is often. The lead is also less likely to pull hard into rough ground when you’re fishing to a static lead and tight line. Smoothhound are prone, once up to the side of the boat, to one last powerful dive. Along with a correctly set drag system, the soft tip also cushions these sudden dives and lunges helping to protect the hook length.

Using lighter tackle for smoothhound

In all cases a Fluorocarbon shock leader is the best option. Importantly, Fluorocarbon is much more abrasion resistant than mono, so is obviously the better choice material for a leader that is inevitably going to come into regular contact with the rocky and unforgiving seabed. Secondly, smoothhound are often in water with some clarity, and the clear low-vis Fluorocarbon is less easy for the fish to see. Also, being stiffer than mono and with less stretch it complements the low-stretch braid and improves bite detection, especially when casting well away from the boat. 

How to Build a Boat Smoothhound Rig

Uptide Rig

1 – Begin with about 24-inches of clear 60lb mono as the rig body line. Tie on a Gemini Lead Link at the base.

Uptide Rig

2 – Slide on a rig crimp, a rig bead, a rig swivel, another rig bead and another rig crimp. Position the swivel about 2-inches above the lead link and crimp it in place.

Uptide Rig

3 – Finish the main rig with a size 4 rolling rig swivel to connect to the end of the shock leader.

Uptide Rig

4 – The hook trace needs to be 30/40lbs mono or Fluorocarbon to combat the grinding teeth of the ‘hound. Fluorocarbon has more abrasion resistance than mono and is the better bet. Make it between 3-feet and 6-feet in length. Go short in a slow to medium tide run, but longer in a fast tide.

Uptide Rig

5 – The best hook pattern is a Mustad Viking 79515 between 2/0 and 4/0 depending on bait size. One hook is enough for smoothound as they have a big mouth and being a shoal or group fish tend to be greedy.

Follow our guide on how to make an uptide smoothhound rig  in our sea fishing rigs section.

Boat Baits

Squid is a good bait for boat smoothhound, especially a whole body, but makes sure the hook point is positioned in the head otherwise they can nip off the head and miss the hook positioned further up inside the body. This is a common mistake!

Razorfish is a good bait after a rough sea when there is colour in the water. Rag and squid or rag and crab cocktails also work well. Smoothhound will occasionally take fish baits, such as mackerel, but these are far less reliable than crab, squid and rag.

The main food source for smoothhound is the common green shore crab. Most anglers think that peeler crab or soft crab are the best baits, and they are good, but these tend to be attacked quickly by lesser species such as dogfish, pouting, poor cod and whiting which quickly destroy the bait. If the smoothhound are in good numbers and bites are quick to come, then these baits will work well, but if the fish are fewer in number and bites slow, then you need a longer lasting bait. This is where the green hardback crab comes in. These are what the smoothhound are looking for making it the top bait.

Some skippers put traps out to catch hermit crabs. These make an excellent smoothhound bait in all areas. Some anglers like to slide the hook through the soft abdomen and down through to body to exit between the claws. Other prefer to position the hermit crab the other way around with the hook coming down through the body and out through the length of the soft abdomen. A hungry smoothhound won’t really care which way you present the bait, but if the fish are picky and constantly dropping the baits, have the abdomen by the hook point and secure the legs to the hook shank with bait elastic.

How to Prepare Shore Crab for Smoothhound

Hardback Crabs

The simplest and most effective way to present a hardback crab is to push the sharp hook point up through the rear part of the belly at the back of the crab, say between 1 and 1.5cms and a little off centre towards one edge of the body. Now bring the hook point out through the upper back to fully expose the hook point. This is all you need to do for general downtide fishing.

To add casting security to a hardback crab, bend two or three legs up along the hook shank and bind with bait elastic. We also like to leave some free legs dangling though, to help the bait present in as natural a position as possible.

Smoothhound crab bait

Peeler Crabs

Peeler crab has two main ways to present it.

The first is to leave the shell on, pass the hook through from the belly and out through the back on one side of the crab, then bind the legs on that side to the hook shank with bait elastic. Leave the legs on the other side but cut small nicks into the body to release a small amount of scent.

The second way is to fully peel the crab, cut the body only halfway through, then bend the whole crab round the bend of the hook and up the hook shank until just the hook point is exposed. Now bind securely with bait elastic.

Top Tips for Boat Smoothhound Fishing

  1. To reduce the effect of tide, drag on the line many anglers now use braided main line which is much thinner in diameter for the same breaking strain than mono line is therefore reducing the effect of drag. Braid also allows a lighter lead weight to be used and still hold bottom, plus it’s also more responsive and will show shy bites better. However, because braid does not stretch, it pays to use a mono shock, or better still a Fluorocarbon leader about twice the length of the rod to absorb casting pressures, but also to give a little stretch when fighting fish at close range right by the boat prior to landing to preserve a good hook hold.
  2. Smoothhound bites show usually as an initial series of slight knocks on the rod tip, followed by a screaming run or slack line as the fish takes the bait and turns back with the tide run pulling the lead weight free. Wind in any slack line until the weight of the fish is felt then set the hook with an upward strike. The fight is a series of fast runs and dogged resistance, but bigger fish will hug the bottom then go off on a long blistering run, then stay deep again, only showing on the surface right behind the boat as they fully tire.
  3. Smoothhound have tough mouths so make sure you use a honing stone or hook file on none chemically sharpened hook points to make sure they are ultra-sharp to gain a good hook hold on the strike. Knife edge patterns such as the Mustad Viking 79515 can be honed to an ultra-sharp cutting edge and are the most popular pattern. Be careful with chemically sharpened hooks. As good as they are, they are prone on bigger fish to snapping suddenly as their metal composition does not allow for the leverage pressure exerted by heavier tackle when all the pressure is on a hook point that has minimal penetration.
  4. A good tip when fishing amongst sandbanks in a light to medium tide run, but only when fishing off the stern of the boat, is to cast a plain lead well out and slightly uptide and beyond the other anglers. Let the lead swing round with the tide until it comes to a stop at the base of a sandbank. Smoothhound like to work along the base of sandbanks as food washed in by the tide will locate here.
  5. When uptide casting, or when using the longer soft tipped rods, don’t just keep casting to the same distance and same spot. Use what arc you have to explore the ground yard by yard, dropping short and casting longer to cover all the ground in front of you. This can identify tiny little areas of rough ground or depressions that seem to produce most if not all of your bites. This will be a spot where water borne food gets naturally washed in by the tide and fish repeatedly visit it.
  6. If you’re struggling for bites, try gently lifting the lead up off the seabed a couple of feet then dropping it back. This makes the crab bait lift and flutter and can often induce a bite.

Penn Slammer

Penn Slammer III

23lb 3oz Smoothhound

Twenty Pound Smoothhound Club