Searching for Smoothound and Ballan Wrasse

We had a family BBQ on the Tuesday evening after I finished work in the shop. My eldest daughter asked if we could take the rods as we were going to Monmouth beach, so I grabbed my Bass rod, Willows 7ft spinning rod, a few leads, a couple of rigs, and a hand full of Peeler Crabs. We ended up doing more eating and fossil hunting than fishing, but Willow did manage to land a nice Ballan Wrasse of about 2.5lb, after losing a fish that was screaming the line off her Reel! I managed to land a Smoothound of about 5lb towards the end of the evening, which then got Willow determined, she wants to catch one!

This is where the plan was made, to get out of bed at 4am Thursday morning and head back to Monmouth beach in search of Ballan Wrasse and Smoothounds. I was thinking the hardest part would be getting a 6 year old, out of her bed and onto the beach for 5am, but at 6 minutes past 4, I crept into her bedroom being as careful as I could not to wake her little sister, gave her a little shake and said “It’s time to go fishing” she sat bolt upright, rubbed her eyes and proceeded to get out of bed!

We got to the Tackle Box just before 5am and quietly opened up to get our rods. I hadn’t had time the day before to tie any rigs, so grabbed a couple of the Spooked Fish, pre-tied rough ground rigs, chucked a couple more leads into the bucket, and sorted out 10 peeler crabs from the fridge.

We met up Josh and headed down to fish just to the left of a ledge by the Power boat club house. My first bait was cast out to about 80 yards, and resulted in a Dogfish almost straight away. A quick re-bait (this time using a bit more bait elastic, to try and protect my crab from any more Dogfish) and a gentle cast to about 30 yards resulted in another Dogfish after 10 minutes. There has been a fair bit of rain the last few days, and the water running down the cliffs was making the sea very dirty in close, which results in the Dogfish feeding quite happily along this beach in daylight.


At 5.40am Toby and Simon turned up (late!) to fish, along with Wayne, who had come down to watch.


High tide was going to be a 4 meter tide at 7.50am, so we decided to move a few hundred yards further along to a more sandy area on the bend of the beach, just before the area where the cliffs meet the beach, in the hope of less Dogfish and more Hounds. Willow cast her freshly baited rig, about 20 yards out, and I opted to try for the rougher ground 80-100 yards out, in hope of a wrasse in the cleaner water. 15 minutes later Toby’s rod nearly pulled off the rod stand as a fish picked up his Crab bait and made a run for it. a few minutes later he pulled a Smoothound of about 6lb onto the beach.


We carried on catching a few more Dogfish, then I had a good bite which resulted in me getting completely snagged up! After tying on a new leader, Rig and putting another bait on, I cast it back out to the same spot. 5 minutes later, another good bite resulted in a Ballan Wrasse just under 4lb. By the time we had done a quick weighing of the Wrasse and a couple of photos, it was high tide. Bites were now getting very scarce, as it normally does after high water.


We decided to pack up just after 8am and head back to the shop.

Willow was a bit disappointed she didn’t get her first Smoothound, so it looks like we will be heading back onto the beach very soon. It was a little odd we only managed the one Hound, as they normally feed along this beach in groups. Maybe it was the very dirty water? We were lucky with the weather, as although it was very heavy cloud and even darker skies out to sea, we managed to avoid any rain.

I must thank Toby Guest for remembering to bring the camera, and for letting me use the Photos on here.

Tight lines, if you are heading out in the next few days. I will be doing some diagrams of the rigs that we use in and around Lyme Regis at some point, but in the meantime I am more than happy to show you them if you pop into the shop anytime.

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