The only consolation is that this is without doubt one of the best times of the year to go seeking a specimen fish as they begin packing on protein in preparation for the seasonal migration to warmer climes or maybe just the drift down the channel to stay within the embracing warmth of the Gulf Stream on the edge of the Continental Shelf.

The sprats, mackerel, herring and pilchard provide the main feed as the sandeels leave our shores. So the baits and lures have to become bigger and fatter or more "in your face" as the youngsters are so fond of saying.

In that short Autumnal season when the sandeels go and the sprats, herring and mackerel become the main source of food inshore as well as in the deeper water, then the dumpy "shad" lures or fat and shiny pirks become the lures of choice.

In the past few years "soft" pirks consisting of a leadhead, sometimes up to 16 ounces, combined with a six inch shad lure have wreaked havoc amongst the winter shoals of pollack and coalfish at the Western end of the Channel. Tossing the lure underhand uptide for a few yards as the boat drifts over the wreck gives it time to plunge deep before the wreck can grab the lure, then as the wreck shows on the sounder screen a fast movement of the lure up through the shoal of fish will inevitably almost inevitably result in a hook-up.

Most of the time an eight ounce leadhead and a six inch shad fished on 20/30lb superbraid makes a superb combinationů. Try it. It works well for me!

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