Fish caught on this gear can still give a magnificent fight, though it is in the first few moments that the outcome is decided. The pollack, when hooked, will dive for the wreck. You must control its headlong rush without tearing the hook free or breaking the line, which is easy to say but not quite as easy to do. The best thing to do is to preset your drag so that the fish can pull some line off under pressure, then use your thumb as a brake to bring him to a halt and then start working him up through the water.
The standard method for pollacking is the use of a flying collar rig, with the red gill, jelly worm, shad, eddystone eel or other lure worked behind the weight on a long flowing trace. I have sketched the tackle below to make it clear but, basically, it is just a stepped-up version of the spinning tackle that you use from shore, only with heavier weights and a much longer trace.
Wreck Fishing - P.2
To work the tackle you hold the eel in your hand while you swing the rest of the tackle over the side. Let it go as the weight disappears and it will shoot down behind the lead without getting fouled on the main line. Then, when it hits the bottom, you begin to reel up, keeping a steady rhythm as you bring it up and away from the ground.
It is also useful to count the turns of the handle as you come up from the bottom. If you haven’t had anything within, at the most, forty turns, then it is unlikely that you will. Drop the gear down and start retrieving all over again. Sooner or later you should have a take, though you should not expect all your fish to be enormous. The majority will be fairly small, with a few whoppers showing on the odd occasion. A sixteen pounder, for example, is a very good fish.
A last word is on the subject of conservation. While I support conservation wherever practical, in pollack fishing on deep water marks it is not. The swim bladder is damaged on the fish’s journey to the surface and, to be quite frank, the kindest thing to do is to kill the fish as soon as it is on board. It is going to be eaten, after all, so it is not as if it is going to be wasted. Hopefully you should have a good day’s sport and then, at its end, have a good catch of fish to freeze for eating later. I certainly hope so, anyway!