Smoothound have become a cult fish amongst sea anglers over the past two decades. Being caught in mainly shallow water this allows anglers to use light, balanced, tackle to maximise their high-octane fighting ability.
Here’s the tackle you need to catch smooth hound from a boat
Best rods for smoothound fishing
For standard downtide fishing, a 12/20lb rod between 7ft 6in and 8ft is the workhorse of your rod armoury.
In deeper water situations use a 20/30lb class rod. In shallower water, and when uptide fishing, experienced anglers prefer to fish a European style Touch Tip rod between 10 and 11ft in length.
These cast a long way, but also offer more versatility and better bite detection due to the soft tip when the smoothound are moody and bite-shy.
- PENN SQUADRON 11 TOUCH TIP – RRP £83.99
- DAIWA SEAHUNTER Z BOAT ROD 7ft 6in 12/20lb – RRP £60
Best reel for smoothounds
A multiplier reel holding around 300yd of 30lb braid plus backing matches the 12/20 and 20/30lb rods perfectly.
In shallower water with the 12/20 rod, you can use a multiplier with a line capacity of 300yd of 20lb braid and backing. The longer Touch Tip rods are best fished with a 5000 to 6000 sized fixed spool reel loaded with 30lb braid.
The fixed spools offer easy casting away from the boat and have a faster retrieve rate that helps cope with smoothound that suddenly change direction creating slack line.
- PENN BATTLE 111 5000 FIXED SPOOL – RRP £118.99
- DAIWA SL20SH – RRP £90
MAINLINE & LEADER
In very shallow water you can use 18lb mono mainline with a 40lb fluorocarbon or mono leader. In deeper water, and when uptide fishing, braid lines will give you a major advantage in reducing tide pressure on the line.
They also require less lead weight to keep in contact with the seabed and offer excellent bite detection due to the non-stretch characteristic.
30/35lb braid is a good all-round compromise with a 60lb braid leader or, in shallow depths, a 40lb fluorocarbon leader which is less easily seen by the fish and has better abrasion resistance when in contact with a stony seabed.
- AXIA X8 PE BRAID 30lb 300m – RRP £19.99
- SPIDERWIRE STEALTH SMOOTH 36lb 300m – RRP £36.99
Best rigs for smoothounds
Use a simple sliding ledger with a Zip Slider boom sliding on the leader stopped by an 5mm bead. Then tie a size 2 rolling swivel on to the leader.
The hook length is tied to the free eye of the swivel. This rig gives instant contact through the sliding ledger, leader and mainline direct to the rod tip as the fish takes the bait.
When fishing over rougher ground attach your lead weight by a weak link. This can be a few twists of telephone wire, or use a short weaker link of line 25 per cent lighter than your main line.
This allows the lead weight to break free but not lose a fish to a snag.
- ZIP SLIDER RIG – ZIP SLIDER TYPE BOOMS X 10 – RRP £5
Hooks you need for smoothound
The most effective smoothound hook is a medium wire Viking pattern in size 4/0.
These are heavy enough to land record smoothound but have a widish gape that allows the hook point to be positioned well clear of the bait for immediate contact with the jaw of the fish. Be wary of longer shank Aberdeen hooks.
Smoothound will fight at an angle to the line in the tide and this can see the long shank act as a lever and pull the hook point out.
- MUSTAD VIKING 79515 NP-BR – RRP £8.50
- TRONIXPRO BIG DOG 11 size 4/0 – RRP £2.75
Hooklengths need to be 30 to 40in of 30 to 40lb fluorocarbon. Mono is ok but is not as resistant to the rough rubbing gums of the smoothound, nor when in contact with snags and rocks.
If the smoothound are picking up and dropping the bait, lengthen the hook length. If you get little indication on the rod tip but find the bait is repeatedly gone, shorten the hook length to get more direct contact on the take.
- BERKLEY 30lb fluorocarbon 50m – RRP £7.99
Keep lead weights as light as you can get away with. Ideally just heavy enough that when you lift the rod tip, the weight will drop back a few feet then hold again.
You’ll hit more bites if the fish can lift the weight up when it turns away in the tide as the lifting of the weight pulls the hook home before you strike. Round ball weights snag less over rougher ground, but over mixed ground bomb shaped weights are fine.
Carry weights between 4oz and 12oz for general fishing, though some areas may require heavier leads.