Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

It’s uncanny how many times the Crazy Sandeel produces pollack when things have gone a bit quiet

It has happened too many times now for me to put it down as merely a fluke - you’re pollack fishing off the rocks, a few fish have either been caught or hooked and lost (typical pollack fishing!), and then the fishing goes quiet. On goes a Crazy Sandeel and as if like magic you catch or at least hook fish again - it’s just frigging deadly. I know that pollack can be very colour picky at times and that marks can go quiet if you have hooked a few fish, but it’s uncanny how changing over to a Crazy Sandeel can produce fish once more.

Last week over in Kerry we made the decision to head for one of the most stunning pollack marks I have ever been lucky enough to see, indeed this place floats my boat that much I considered resigning my post as a co-guide with John Quinlan and fishing myself! Seriously, it’s just an inspiring place to be. Anyway, a few fish were either landed or lost and things then went a bit quiet. I said to Andy that now was the time to clip on a 150mm/20g Fiiish Crazy Sandeel………

I think the problem if you like with the Crazy Sandeel has always been that anglers aren’t aware how it’s meant to be fished. Hell, when I first tried bumping the lure down a current (categorically not how it’s meant to be fished I subsequently found out), I kinda dismissed it as not being nearly as good as the Black Minnow and left it alone for a while. Nope, the Crazy Sandeel needs to be ripped hard to get it working, and nine times out of ten you will then get hit as the lure drops and you are cranking back down to it - and this is how I told Andy to fish the lure. The lads are good anglers and he susses it out straight away.

A cracking shore pollack from the same location last October.

So it’s gone quiet on the pollack, Andy puts on a Crazy Sandeel, and first chuck he hooks up (on the drop) yet doesn’t hook the fish. A few casts later and he hooks a donkey pollack (on the drop) that he saw clear as day but his line snapped - I got some video footage of all this and will post it up in due course when I had a chance to edit it together. I have seen this happen too many times now for it to be a fluke, and I am fast coming to the conclusion that the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel is just about the most lethal pollack lure I have ever seen. Back in August over in Kerry we went out on John’s boat a couple of times with our clients and it was almost uncanny how many pollack the Crazy Sandeel produced, but you’ve got to get it moving (rippling).

How often do you watch fish swimming about in say a harbour or marina? I am out in Lanzarote this week with my family and I was watching a bunch of mullet mooching around the other day (well I can’t not can I?!), but it’s when they put on a burst of speed that I am reminded so much of how you need to get the Crazy Sandeel looking when you rip it - at a slow speed the lure’s doing squat, as intended, but now rip it hard and it literally comes to life, just like a fast moving/swimming fish or indeed sandeel. It’s almost uncanny if you ask me how lifelike this lure is when you bring it to life.

We then moved on to another pollack mark and one of the lads landed a few more pollack and also a couple of wrasse on the Crazy Sandeel. I accept completely that there are masses of different lures that work well for pollack, but I have spent enough time either using or being around (guiding) the Crazy Sandeel and pollack fishing now to deem it a lure that I’d feel uncomfortable being without. Obviously I spend a fair amount of time talking about all things fishing with John Quinlan when are are doing our co-guiding thing, and it was interesting to hear how, pollack aside, he has become completely convinced about the Crazy Sandeel as a bass lure, indeed he was telling me of a number of occasions when the lure was the only thing the bass were interested in taking - which of course tends to suggest that the bass were feeding on sandeels of course, but how many of all the other lures we carry are also along the lines of a sandeel? I can’t help but wonder how much more I have to learn about what I think is a fascinating lure that here in the UK is generally very misunderstood.

And below is my work that will be out in the next issue of Sea Angler magazine, including a review of the Crazy Sandeel.