WHERE & WHEN
The vast majority of mature coalfish are caught from deep-water reefs or wrecks, though sizeable fish are occasionally caught over relatively featureless ground. In many areas, such as Scotland and the north-east coast of England, many small coalfish, typically fish below 2lb, are caught by anglers fishing piers, breakwaters, open beaches and within the lower limits of some estuaries.
Boats fishing out of ports in Cornwall have a long association with specimen coalfish as the species used to be common throughout much of the south-west and western coasts of the UK and Ireland, but they are much scarcer today, especially fish weighing more than 10lb.
Big coalfish are still abundant throughout the Orkney and Shetland Islands, which is where most of the really big fish are caught in British waters.