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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been conger hunting. Tried off the rocks North Anglesey Wednesday night. I decided to chuck a pulley rig in whilst I made up a running ledger with 150 lb mono just to get fishing. I'm not really watching my rod while I'm tinkering so I finally reel in to swap rigs and in the meantime something has chewed through the 60 lb snood. So I'm in the right place at least. Conger 1: Me 0.

Within half an hour I get a run off what I think is another conger as it just felt different to anything else I have landed. It was very powerful and seem to send shudders up the line as I fought it. I had managed to shift it a bit but the beast managed to get a tail hold and that was the end of that. It went quiet after that and there were no more bites. Conger 2: Me 0.

After a good lie in and a feed I get down to the rocks around ring bolt and fished from about 4 till 10 on Thursday. No sign of life at all. Baits just staying untouched. Congers must have seen me coming. Conger 3: Me 0. As I walked off I saw 2 headlight further was along that stretch towards the end. Would be interesting to hear how they got on.

Oh well, that's fishing for you I suppose. I have learnt some useful stuff though for next time though such as if your going conger fishing don't be tempted to chuck in a normal rig to do "normal" fishing at the same time as guaranteed that will be the one you get a conger on due to sod's law. Maybe also not to fish two rods and concentrate on feeling the bites on one rod as I think I may have missed bites due to looking for rod movement and maybe they were more delicate and dropping the baits. I'm not sure, maybe they just weren't there for most of the time.
 

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Unlucky buddy.

Conger are curious fish and I think quite challenging to catch. Strike too soon and you won't hook them. Strike too late and you won't land them.

More often than not the initial bites are very delicate. Don't strike at this stage or you'll pull the bait away from the fish. Just leave it and let the bite develop.

If it's a Conger and it takes the bait, you'll eventually get a short run (I always fish with a softly set drag). Wind up the drag and strike promptly because at this stage more often than not it is on its way back to it's den and if it gets there, you probably won't get it back out.

The "shudders" may have been the Conger spinning; they do that a lot :)

Hth
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unlucky buddy.

Conger are curious fish and I think quite challenging to catch. Strike too soon and you won't hook them. Strike too late and you won't land them.

More often than not the initial bites are very delicate. Don't strike at this stage or you'll pull the bait away from the fish. Just leave it and let the bite develop.

If it's a Conger and it takes the bait, you'll eventually get a short run (I always fish with a softly set drag). Wind up the drag and strike promptly because at this stage more often than not it is on its way back to it's den and if it gets there, you probably won't get it back out.

The "shudders" may have been the Conger spinning; they do that a lot :)

Hth
Cheers Kev, all advice is very welcome :) I'm certainly new to targeting them specifically although I have chucked a big bait out close in a few times on the off chance whilst doing other things but not really focused on it. This was my first attempt at fishing for just them but I'll have to up my game next time. I think if I'm going to get one I need to go for them with one rod and not spread my attention hoping that 2 rods will double my chances.

When you say let the bite develop do you mean wait until there is a significant rod bend before striking and ignore the initial twitches? Or just give it longer in general from the first signs of interest?
 

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Good effort and at least you had one on so you must be doing something right, just a shame you did not manage to land it.;)
 

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When you say let the bite develop do you mean wait until there is a significant rod bend before striking and ignore the initial twitches?
Yes mate, although personally I back the drag on my reel right off (and put the line out alarm on if your reel has one). The eel can then pick up the bait and move off with it without too much resistance to alert it that something is wrong. So I'm not looking for a big bend in the rod, I'm waiting for the ratchet to click on a short run.
 

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Congers can become a bit of an obsession! 90% of my congering has been sight fishing for them along rock armour in Shetland. Being able to see them take the bait in crystal clear water really helps with striking at the correct time - something I have struggled with in murky water/at night. I'm sure you'll get a good one soon, doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong!
 

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Unlucky there but at least you hooked one so keep trying and you'll get one soon.

I'm no expert but I find the trick it to pump and wind like a lunatic at first to get the buggers away from snags, I once read that if you don't give yourself a hernia then you're not pumping hard enough! :D

Once they're in open water the battle is half won..................................... well maybe a third then ;).
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes mate, although personally I back the drag on my reel right off (and put the line out alarm on if your reel has one). The eel can then pick up the bait and move off with it without too much resistance to alert it that something is wrong. So I'm not looking for a big bend in the rod, I'm waiting for the ratchet to click on a short run.
Thanks for the reply Kev. That makes things a lot clearer :) I was using a Penn 525 and an Okuma Magnetix and had the line alarms set for some but not all of the time. It's surprising just how much my rods tips were able to bend and bounce in the tide without the ratchets sounding. I was coming to the conclusion that I'd miss delicate bites (which I'd heard conger can do) just relying on the ratchet but from what you've said I'd be better leaving it on next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Congers can become a bit of an obsession! 90% of my congering has been sight fishing for them along rock armour in Shetland. Being able to see them take the bait in crystal clear water really helps with striking at the correct time - something I have struggled with in murky water/at night. I'm sure you'll get a good one soon, doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong!
How deep down can you see up there? it must be really good fun to fish for them like that and no wonder it can be obsessive if you can actually see the buggers! I can just imagine standing there willing the [email protected] to take the bait and swearing a lot when it doesn't lol! :)
 

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I was coming to the conclusion that I'd miss delicate bites (which I'd heard conger can do) just relying on the ratchet but from what you've said I'd be better leaving it on next time.
Set it as light as you dare. The drag option also eliminates the risk of a big fish pulling your gear over or into the briney :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Set it as light as you dare. The drag option also eliminates the risk of a big fish pulling your gear over or into the briney :)
That's a very good point and in hindsight I hadn't set it light at all. I've always had it set just so the main line wouldn't break when bullying a fish in. I've just relied on watching the rods and grabbing them in time if that ever happened. However, given the amount of *** breaks I have I should really be more careful in future.
 

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How deep down can you see up there? it must be really good fun to fish for them like that and no wonder it can be obsessive if you can actually see the buggers! I can just imagine standing there willing the [email protected] to take the bait and swearing a lot when it doesn't lol! :)
In the right conditions you can see 30-40' down! Although most of my congering is done at 5-15' down, if that sometimes. I use an onion sack filled with mashed up coalfish/mackerel to draw them in and to see them swimming towards you is the most exciting bit! I use a 20-30lb boat rod and just put the bend on them, give them no quarter! Had them to 21lbs and holding a fresh eel that size right under the rod tip whilst it's spinning like a crocodile is pretty exhilarating!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In the right conditions you can see 30-40' down! Although most of my congering is done at 5-15' down, if that sometimes. I use an onion sack filled with mashed up coalfish/mackerel to draw them in and to see them swimming towards you is the most exciting bit! I use a 20-30lb boat rod and just put the bend on them, give them no quarter! Had them to 21lbs and holding a fresh eel that size right under the rod tip whilst it's spinning like a crocodile is pretty exhilarating!
That sounds great Stu, also quite surprising to hear big ones can be in fairly shallow and clear water. It sounds counter intuitive. I guess they are used to the clarity and become confident enough to mooch about. Sounds like a pretty surreal fishing situation.
 

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It's definitely not "traditional" congering, but I suppose all fishing/fish behaviour is dictated by the conditions presented :)
 
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Plus in the summer in Shetland they don't have much choice other than to move around in daylight!
 
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Thanks for the reply Kev. That makes things a lot clearer :) I was using a Penn 525 and an Okuma Magnetix and had the line alarms set for some but not all of the time. It's surprising just how much my rods tips were able to bend and bounce in the tide without the ratchets sounding. I was coming to the conclusion that I'd miss delicate bites (which I'd heard conger can do) just relying on the ratchet but from what you've said I'd be better leaving it on next time.
Try resting your rod with tip pointing down at the water, you will get a better line out indication, or like I do, hold it, often the eels are living under your feet and swim towards you when they take, holding the rod and feeling the line will give you a better idea of what's happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Try resting your rod with tip pointing down at the water, you will get a better line out indication, or like I do, hold it, often the eels are living under your feet and swim towards you when they take, holding the rod and feeling the line will give you a better idea of what's happening.
Cheers Oct that's much appreciated :). I've never heard that about pointing the rod for getting a better line out indication, that is a really useful tip. Holding the rod is something that has occurred to me but in a way getting a tripod turned me into a lazy angler in some respects. It's been too tempting to plonk the rod down and sit back and watch for bites.

I know most anglers I come across on the rocks are also using a tripod and watching, not feeling, for bites. I don't use one when float fishing or when fishing small baits down the sides but for most of my ledgering I'm guilty of relying on my tripod too much I think. I've got away with it fishing for many species but maybe for consistent conger fishing it just won't do.
 

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Unlucky on the Eel but they are finicky and sly buggers at the best of times.
 
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I was fishing Plwhelli harbour entrance one night. we had been fishing for bass and bream. As we re baited we just lobbed our old baits into the rocks just covered by the water in front of us. After a couple of hours we started to wrap up, while the other lad tidied up I went down the rocks to the waters edge. I like to look into the clear waters with my headlamp to see the life down there. I couldn't believe my eyes because right in front of my with its back out of the water was a 4ft conger and he wasn't alone. My headlight didn't even bother him as he grubbed among the rocks 2ft from my picking out all our old baits. My mate passed one of my rods down to me. With sandeel on the hook I was trying to dangle my bait in front of its mouth. I actually bumped it on the head with my lead a couple of times and it still wasn't phased. I eventually hooked it, but..... I then realised i only had a size 3 hook on 10lb line. It just shrugged me off and decided it had had enough and swam off across the surface back up the channel. I was supprised so see how they actually swam. They go perfectly straight and just use there dorsal and anal fins to swim. I've looked for them each time i've been down there but not sen them since.
 
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