Artificial sandeels

Artificial sandeels are made of rubber and come in a fantastic range of different colours and sizes.

Colour and class

Both bass and pollack take artificial eels at night, picking up on the vibrations set up by the waggling tail. But the colour of the eel is an important but often overlooked part of shore and boat angling. Pollack tend to prefer red and sometimes yellow by day -though their peak feeding time is at dusk when, against all logic, a black eel proves most deadly. Bass prefer a white eel during the day with again a black one at dusk.

Mackerel go for the brighter colours -red, yellow and fluorescent green eels fished from beaches, harbours and off rocky areas. Late evening into night and dawn are again the best times to use eels.

The artificial eel comes ready provided with a hook that is well hidden in the body. This can be replaced with a smaller one when shore-fishing for small pollack, for example. But if you’re fishing over a wreck, you may want to use a stronger, larger hook. The rubber body is versatile and can accommodate different sizes to meet your needs.

Shore fishing with eels

Artificial eels up to 20cm or so long can be used for shore casting for bass and pollack from rock marks facing the open sea, very rough, boulder-strewn beaches, harbour walls or breakwaters. Try to fish the eel as close to the sea bed, rocks or weeds as possible to maximize your catch. Tackle losses are inevitable, but the fish are there. If you’re after bass, aim to fish near outflowing freshwater streams, over rough ground or alongside rocky promontories where there are small tide races. Alternatively, simply move a few metres along the beach with every cast to cover as much ground as possible.

Boat fishing with eels

Artificial sandeels are also excellent lures for boat fishing. Trolling a freelined eel 80-100m behind a boat to cover shallow marks usually attracts attention from bass. The ebb tide is usually the best time to use this style of fishing, when bass move back on to the reefs from the beaches.

You can also tempt big pollack and coalfish by using eels over war-time wrecks. A flying-collar rig with a long trace is one of the most popular methods to present the eel. This long trace is needed to get a proper action from the lure and, set up this way, tangles are rare.

Black, red and yellow eels in the longer sizes are best, but coalfish in particular are often caught with small, gaudy fluorescent pink or green eels.

As an alternative you can fish two small artificial eels above a pirk on very short hook snoods. This is called killer gear. It is just jigged up and down close to the bottom until a fish takes one of the lures.

It is an effective way of taking fish, but is considered by many to be unsporting.