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  Gone Fishing  Fish File



Meuschenia hippocrepis - Horseshoe

Leatherjackets are one of those fish you seem to catch when fishing for something else. Personally, I hate leatherjackets, as they have a tendency to invade whiting grounds and grabbing every bait, but have been told they are excellent tasting fish.

Once caught, gut the fish and remove the head immediately and flesh placed on ice. Cut thru the backbone from the top of the back just behind the spine and tear the head free from the body. All of the guts usually comes with it. Then peel off the skin from the neck to the tail, and the fish is ready for the pan. The reason that you should clean Leatherjackets straight away is that the fish's stomach is very smelly and this permeates the flesh as the fish dies. I might eat a Leatherjacket one day, most probably with vengeance !

Leatherjackets can be caught most times of the year, but are more prevalent from December till April. They can be caught close to rocks at night or overcast days from the beach, and from first light as well. They tend not to like bright, sunny days and will usually venture out into deeper water, returning late afternoon in the rising tide.

Legal Minimum Length

No legal length set - just as well !

Bag Limit

Doesn't appear to have one - good ! The less there are in the water, the better !

Type of Tackle

Use line between 4 to 6kg.

A rod around 1.8m is ideal for both jetty, rock and boat fishing.

Hook Selection

No.6 - 9 Beak-Nickel "Holdfast" nylon snelled hooks that come pre packed are ideal. It may pay to use long shanked hooks, as they tend to swallow the hook well and may/will bite through your line.

Baits Used

Cockles, Squid, Red Meat, Fish Flesh, any bait meant for other fish - including gents for gar.

Berley Mix

Crushed cockles works well, so does squid heads dropped on slop lines to attract whiting. Off the beach and on rocks, cockle shells and mashed pellets and bread mix will stimulate them.

Rigs Used

Rig No. 1
When fishing on the bottom, keep the hook traces short, so as to detect bites quickly and reduce hook losses. The same applies on a float rig, where bites must be struck quickly, so as to hopefully hook the fish in or near the lips. Doing so will prevent the fish from swallowing the hook whole, and allowing them to bite your line with their razor-sharp teeth.

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