Nine pages of ex­pert an­swers.

Q: I’m new to shore fish­ing and re­ally keen to learn more. Liv­ing in the West Mid­lands, I need to travel, so what venue would you rec­om­mend for me to visit for some prac­tice? CRAIG COX, STOURPORT, WORCS

PF says: I would cer­tainly set your sights on Ch­e­sil Beach, in Dorset. With around 18 miles of shin­gle bank, you should find your­self plenty of space to fish. Al­ways get an up-to-date weather fore­cast be­fore head­ing off and let some­one know when you’re likely to be re­turn­ing home.

Q: I have pur­chased some fly-fish­ing kit and would like some ad­vice. Where would you rec­om­mend I fish, and how should I ap­proach a South Coast venue? PAUL CORDWELL, BY EMAIL

PF says: It re­ally de­pends on what species you in­tend to tar­get. I’ve done quite a bit of fly-fish­ing from the shore, tar­get­ing species like pol­lack, bass and mack­erel. I pre­fer to use a fast-sink­ing line with a long fluoro­car­bon leader, and, de­pend­ing on the strength of the tide and sea con­di­tions, I adopt quite a fast strip of my lure.

I look for deep wa­ter from rocks where there is quite a bit of kelp when tar­get­ing pol­lack. Mack­erel can be su­per fun too, and are usu­ally very close to the beach.

For bass, I pre­fer to be in the wa­ter, cast­ing par­al­lel to the beach rather than straight out. I also keep mov­ing, cov­er­ing as much ground as I can.

Q: I am trav­el­ling to the sea lochs in the west coast of Scot­land soon to tar­get spur­dogs, con­ger eels and rays. I will be us­ing my win­ter cod rods and reels, but what rigs should I use? IAN DAVID­SON, STONEHAVEN, AB­ERDEEN

PF says: To be hon­est, I reckon a pul­ley rig or a fixed pa­ter­nos­ter will be your best bet.

Use strong hooks of around size 4/0 or 5/0, with at least 80lb mono snoods when tar­get­ing con­ger eels.

It may also be worth­while us­ing a rot­ten-bot­tom sys­tem too, which means if your lead weight gets snagged in the rough stuff the weak link breaks and you get the rig and fish back.

Q: I like the idea of bait­ing my rigs at home and then freez­ing them. This would en­able me to sim­ply clip on the rigs at the venue to save time. How­ever, I’m wor­ried that freez­ing mono may af­fect the strength of my snood. Is it safe to do this? GLYN ED­MONDS, CORN­WALL

PF says: This is a fan­tas­tic way of util­is­ing left­over bait from a pre­vi­ous ses­sion, and a tac­tic that I use of­ten. Rather than throw­ing un­used bait away, I freeze it on to sev­eral snoods and use them when bait is dif­fi­cult to ob­tain. As far as I’m aware, the mono doesn’t suf­fer any ef­fects from freez­ing, and I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced any prob­lems do­ing this.

Q: I use the spi­der hitch shock­leader knot, but I’m find­ing it takes too long to tie again if I break off. What is the quick­est and best shock­leader knot to use? CAL­LUM CAM­PION, BY EMAIL

PF says: I al­ways use the half hitch uni-knot. I find it sim­ple and quick to tie, and ex­tremely strong and re­li­able. Rather than re­peat it again here, turn to page 87 where our cast­ing con­trib­u­tor John Holden ex­plains how to tie this knot.

Q: Can you tell me the best method of dis­pos­ing of old hooks? AN­DREW RICHARD­SON, BY EMAIL

PF says: My favoured pref­er­ence is to save all of my old hooks in a plas­tic con­tainer. Then, I drop them into an empty baked beans or soup can, crush the can, then drop it into the re­cy­cle bin.

Q: What is the best way to clean my hands af­ter us­ing smelly baits? I al­ways seem to have a faint smell, even af­ter a good scrub. JOSHUA STANBRIDGE, BY FACE­BOOK

PF says: I al­ways keep a small tube of hand sani­tiser in my tackle box. They are avail­able from most drug stores or chemist and are ex­tremely good for keep­ing your hands clean and smelling fresh. You could also use pa­per hand wipes that con­tain clean­ing qual­i­ties and scent.

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