One of the most effective terminal tackles is the running ledger, with the sliding boom holding a lead of sufficient weight to hold the bottom. This will depend on the strength of the tide. Leads come in all the standard shapes — grip, torpedo, and bomb — and all do their job well when used at the right time and place.
The running-ledger rig with boom, swivels, a two yard leader and end hook, will work well on practically all types of seabed, except rocks. Here, some form of paternoster is necessary. With this rig, the angler will feel the weight hit bottom but know his hooks are placed above this. If care is taken to keep the sensitivity to a fine degree, with the lead just in touch with the bottom, the hooks will not snag.
Tackling-up is the first job, while the boat is heading out to the mark.
First make sure that any items of gear not needed immediately — extra clothing in case of a squall, spare rods, food and drink — are all stowed away in the cabin, or somewhere out of sight. When fish are coming aboard there must be no unwanted gear to get in the way, especially if a conger is thrashing about in the boat. Boat owners do not look kindly on anglers using seatboards or the gunnel for cutting up bait strips from mackerel or squid. Always use a baitboard and a sharp knife.
Mackerel taken on feathers specifically for baits should be left in a bucket of seawater or in a keepnet over the side in order to be kept fresh. This lively fish is by far the best bait for almost every type of sea fishing, and in the spring and summer a bout of feathering as soon as the boat is at anchor is advised. Sometimes a boat can halt on the way out and be allowed to drift over a likely area for as long as it takes to get sufficient mackerel for the day’s fishing. But don’t assume that mackerel will always be around. A standby bait — herring, squid, lugworm or rag-worm — should be acquired before setting out. Most sea angling centres have tackle shops nearby which open early all through the week so that anglers can buy frozen baits and odd items of tackle.
Wait before dropping down
When the boat anchors, wait until the craft is steady before dropping down the lines. It may take a few minutes for the boat to sit right in the tide.
Watch out for the marker buoys of lobster or crab pots.
Sometimes a small sail may have to be hoisted to hold the craft steady in the tide if the wind is coming from the side. The stern corners are the ideal places from which to fish. From these places the lead can be of just enough weight to get the bait down, and then allowed to work out with the tide, but always being kept in contact with the seabed. The anglers behind them must have heavier weights to avoid tangling. The successful off-shore angler will adjust his tackle so that he is in constant touch with the bottom.