What if I could tell you of a place where it is not unusual to catch at the least half a dozen fish each trip, where it would not be unusual to see several double figure pollack, big ling, maybe a bass or two, occasionally cod, maybe even conger if the skipper decided to anchor at slack water. Add to this an amazing variety of other species ranging from wrasse, pouting, whiting and so it goes on. Where often you get a full days fishing with perhaps a little over two hours total travelling time for the day. Where over the years I have seen basking sharks, leather backed turtles, black and white killer whales spouting columns of water high into the air, where dolphins have played in the wake of the boat so close you could have touched them with a rod tip, where huge shark have ripped my catch away just feet under the boat. This is not some exotic sun drenched location, this is on my doorstep, this is the Eddystone Reef and the ring of reefs that surround it like a necklace of exotic jewels.

So how do you get to fish offshore reefs such as the Stone? It couldn't be simpler. Almost any of the Plymouth or Looe charter boats will take you there, often at a much more reasonable cost than for a wreck trip. Usually the boat will leave at some time between seven and eight o'clock in the morning and return between five and six in the evening, travelling for an hour and a bit each way, a stop for mackerel or sandeel feathering adding an extra fifteen to twenty minutes on the way out. Tackle is simple, a 12 to 20 pound class rod will take care of most of the fishing and give you some excellent sport. If the Skipper decides to anchor for conger at slack water then a thirty pound class rod might be advisable. A good all round outfit that will perform both tasks quite well is a 12/20 pound class boat rod matched with a mid size boat reel loaded with 20lb super braid or monofilament.

If you get a taste for this sort of fishing you might like to invest in an even lighter outfit, but truthfully these lighter outfits should only be used when there are few people on the boat or you fish from your own boat. Yes, the Stone is the ultimate place to fish from your own boat. Most of the regulars like to fish when the tides are rising toward the top of springs. The best tides being about half way between the neap, upward to the few days past the top of the spring. But be aware that the tides are a couple of hours later on the Stone than shown in the Plymouth/Looe tidetables.

My favourite tides are the few days over the top of the spring tide, when the top of the tide is early and late in the day. Fishing a sunrise on the Stone is quality of life experience which lives in memory forever. End tackle is a simple series of variations on the flowing trace rig. What must be allowed for, is that although you will have days when the average run of fish will be less than double figures, you are 14 miles out at sea and it is not unusual for a pod of big fish to move in for a few days. When I say big fish, I mean big fish, Cod to 42lbs is the best I have personally seen from the reef. I have seen more than a few Bass over 15lbs, my personal best pollack went a shade over 18lbs and a week later a coalfish of 21lbs took the same Eddystone eel, so experience dictates that although light tackle fishing will give some fine sport, rig it right or you could lose the fish of a lifetime.

A long trace might be made from 15lb line, but the short length to the hook needs to be say 20lb minimum to allow for the abrasive action of the fishes jaw if the fish is not lip hooked. This short rubbing length is often made from 20-25 fluorocarbon line by those who know how good this type of line can be. Trace length can be as little as a few feet on the small tides and yards long on the big tides sounds the wrong way round, but use a long trace on a small neap and you will spend more time untangling than you will fishing, which is one of the reasons that I prefer the bigger tides.

The use of a boom is virtually essential so that separation between the trace length and mainline is maintained as the bait or lure is lowered to the strike zone. If you find that tangling still occurs, shorten the leader length and slow the speed of the drop.

The new Ziplock and 300mm Knotless booms are superbly suited to this style of reef and even deep water wreck fishing.

Live sandeel bought from local tackle shops or greater launce caught close in to the Eddystone reef, using miniature lures tied with white cock feathers on size 6 hooks, are undoubtedly the ultimate bait in season. Lures such as the Eddystone and various Shads and Jellyworms will catch pollack, cod, coalfish and occasionally bass.

When things get tough, the best alternative option to attract the fish is King ragworm or the smell, flash and movement of a properly presented mackerel strip.

Use a whole side of mackerel if you are searching out a reef conger or ling. If you are fishing specifically for pollack, coalfish, cod or bass with strip, slice the mackerel strip lengthways along the dotted line indicated by the bone locations. Then rig the strip "thin end" first, so that it does not spin as it sinks. There are a few little tricks to presenting strip properly, you can tie the thin end of the strip to your leader line with shirring elastic before inserting the hook so that the elastic tie lies tight against the eye of the hook. Secondly, the hook can be fastened with a loop so that the lask end of the strip can be trapped against the eye of the hook with the loop. Thirdly, thread a plastic bead onto the leader line before the hook is tied to the line, then leave a three inch long spur of line which is passed through the bead, fastening the end of the strip just above the eye of the hook.

A strip bait presented like this will flutter enticingly when slowly retrieved. After lowering the bait, feel the sinker tap bottom, quickly reel in a few turns to take the rig clear of the snaggy rock bottom and wait for the fish to find the bait. It pays to very slowly reel up say 25 turns, drop the sinker till it taps bottom again, then again a very slow retrieve for another 25 turns so that the bait is constantly on the move. If a hard fighting reef Pollack finds your bait and gently plucks at the bait, continue reeling till you feel the weight of the fish pull your rod over into a carbon cracking hoop.

Keep the rod high, let the fish run against the resistance of the reels drag, which should be set to about a third of the lines breaking strain. As the first powerhouse dive concludes, begin lifting the rod high and reeling on the downstroke, pumping the fish up from the depths. Do this slowly letting the rod and reel do the work, ensuring that the fish never gets any slack line. At some time the fish will put in another hard dive or two. When this happens let the fish run, avoid increasing the power of the drag by putting your thumb on the spool or tightening the drag. Set your tackle up right, have confidence in its quality and how you have set it up.

There is much to be learned and enjoyed from fishing these offshore reefs, it is a quality fishing experience which borders on the addictive and is for me an addiction which I am in no hurry to break.