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Estuary Codling

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 Following recent reports of some nice 2-3lb codling moving in to the local estuaries, I had a short evening session at Deganwy this week trying out a few rigs and new terminal tackle.

  This venue can be a bit of a tackle graveyard with a severe current pulling you in to snags so heavier than usual leads are required to hold bottom, and tapered leaders are a must to minimise weed build-up on the leader knot.

 I set up the first rod with a standard single-hook Sakuma 3/0 paternoster clipped down with a Breakaway Imp and Gemini SRT spring, loaded with frozen lug and squid and a few attractor beads. This was cast in to the channel with a 190g Gemini lead fitted with an "uptide" insert to combat the current.

 The second set up was my first try with the new Gemini Premium Pulley swivels, this time with a 4/0 pennel clipped to a Genie Rig clip behind another 190g sinker.

The weed was horrendous!

Within minutes both rod tips were rattling away as the hordes of pin whiting shredded my baits to pieces but gradually the tips were bent further and further down under the sheer weight of the weed... My trusty Shakespeare Salt rod rest was doing an incredible job of defying gravity and somehow keeping the rods upright!

Each cast was producing a tiny whiting or hooks stripped bare and every so often I was losing a rig as the weed was pulling me in to a snag but eventually the target species was claimed.

  Only about half a pound at most but it was a promising sign they were there, it was just a case of keeping those pesky whiting at bay long enough for the cod to be able to get near the bait.

 After high tide came and went the weed somehow got worse, with lost rigs now becoming a regular occurrence as the 15lb main line simply could not cope.

 Luckily I had my spare reel with me just in case, an old Abu 7500 loaded with 80lb braid from my Norway trips, so I gave up on the standard beach approach and switched to rock tactics instead.

 Stepping up to 210g sinkers, using one rod with braid straight through (no mono shockleader) and deploying the really nice Premium Pulley rigs I was able to winch in some massive hefts of decaying bladder wrack with the odd little surprise thrown in...

 This set up held bottom really well against the ebbing tide and I was able to bully my end gear back with no further tackle losses, after each retrieve it was just a case of cutting off the rig and re-tying the knot instead of stripping all the weed. In the darkness with clear skies it was FAR too cold for wet hands!

 So in the end nothing massive to report, just the four codlets and around a dozen whiting, however it was a gorgeous evening to be out in the crisp Winter air and very satisfying to overcome some difficult conditions and achieve the target species.

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