French Record Pollack at -7°C

After a rather calm end to the 2008 season, this fishing trip scheduled for the beginning of 2009 will leave an indelible memory with the capture of a French record pollack!

During the impressive freezes at the beginning of 2009, the period was more suitable for indoor activities in the warmth and winterizing the boat. As for me, the end of the previous year had been rather slow. I spent some weekends exploring new areas without much success. Yes, it happens to everyone. A change of strategy for the beginning of 2009 with the firm intention of finding big fish offshore in seldom-visited spots. It would be necessary to cover several tens of nautical miles towards the open sea with the objective of teasing big pollacks. But I am far from imagining what awaits me!

Even the water in the port is frozen

Even the water in the port is frozen

At five in the morning, the dashboard displays -7°C! I arrive at the port des Minimes at 7 am. I approach the pontoons to confirm what I thought I saw from a distance. Between the pontoons and the rocks, a layer of ice has formed on the surface due to moisture. This layer is relatively thick for saltwater. We leave the port with my friend Yannick’s boat; it’s the start of a long navigation. The sun rises under a clear sky. With the large windshield, we can chat throughout the journey without being bothered by the cold. The first wreck shows a good detection of fish. Unfortunately, the wind against the current is never good. This is confirmed once again as we register no bites.

I hook the pollack, it takes 15 meters of braid

Fighting with big pollocks
Fighting with big pollacks

We push even further offshore to another wreck; this time, the current drops, and the bites soon start. I set up a “chartreuse” coloured lure with glitter and register a tap, then a second one that I hook. This fish is heavy and soon starts to get agitated, stripping off  about ten meters of braid. I tighten the drag to control the sudden run. Gradually I retrieve line, but the fish doesn’t give up and makes powerful runs that almost make me doubt it’s a pollack. Meanwhile, Anthony, who is with us, also hooks a fish. I slowly reel in mine, which keeps down to the last meter under the boat. The distinct mark surfaces; it’s a superb fish.

Large pollock at the surface on the landing net

By sight, Yannick confirms that the pollack exceeds 8 kg. What joy. With a smile from ear to ear, I contemplate this magnificent predator, and we take the time to immortalize this moment with a souvenir photo. The pollack regurgitates a small, shiny bib indicating the prey hunted on the seabed.

Weighing in the swell indicates 9 kg

On the scale, the fish weighs a solid 9 kg. But with the slight roll of the boat, it’s difficult to find stability. Regardless, at this stage, I’m sure it’s a personal record.

This pollock is extremely plump, a monster!

I forget about the negative temperatures and am pleased with this powerful start. Unfortunately, the east wind picks up to at least 4 Beauforts, the sea gets rough, and fishing becomes less manageable. We catch another 7 kg pollack, but this sudden change in weather, unforeseen, prompts us to head back to the coast to fish in calmer rocky drop-offs. We reach another spot, a sharp drop from 20 to 35 meters. On the first drift, we hook two big pollacks of “only” 4 and 5 kg, on pink and chartreuse shads. But the subsequent drifts yield nothing, and we quickly head back to the port under a bright sun that has warmed the coastline. At the pontoons, the sun clears the remains of surface ice, offering an unusual atmosphere.

Huge French record pollock

At the weighing, to our great joy, my fish measures 9.8 kg, an accredited French record.