Blunthead, also called "sea grayling"

Bullheads are attractive and valiant fish. These thermophilic species occur in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of the British Isles, flowing by the warm Gulf Stream. For several years, however, they have been migrating more and more to the north and they are also found in the shallows of the North Sea, and even on the west coast of Denmark.
We decided with a few friends to try to catch these fish off the Danish coast. I have already heard of two anglers from Vendsyssel in the north of Jutland, who became famous for their experiences and results in catching "graylings"”. Two years ago, they decided to specialize in catching these very fish. To this day, they have caught no less than 34 art of large and very cunning bluntheads.

So I immediately went to Vendsyssel and met the famous two there – Jan Bo Nielsen and Lars Hansen. I have rarely encountered this in fishing, for someone to record their sports achievements so meticulously. Data about all caught fish are entered into the computer and access to this information can be obtained literally in a few seconds. Jan caught most of the registered "graylings".

Denmark's record

His interest in these fish has aroused, when on the pier at Hanstholm (North Sea) watching a German angler, he saw a great blunthead landing after a hard struggle. He then turned to his colleague Lars with a proposal, to try to catch these fish together. Already during the first attempt he managed to catch a beautiful "sea grayling."” by weight 2.73 kg. To this day, it is the largest specimen in Denmark, caught in a sporty way. Hol fish, from the moment it is jammed until it lands, was immortalized on a video cassette.

At first I thought, that my modest skills will be completely insufficient here, until Jan and Larsen reveal to me the details of their sophisticated and extremely effective method. As it turned out later, it's not that complicated. Both of them use bread dough as bait (hook no 8). The sticks are like this, how to spin: light, length 2,10 m, about soft, almost like in a fly fishing rod, share. Otherwise – fishing line 'Trilene” in diameter 0,25 mm and a fairly large float (in cross section with a diameter 25 mm), to be able to throw far. The crude appearance of the float is somewhat contradictory to the fact, that for fishing with bluntheads it should be more delicate and sensitive.

Three ways

Jan and Larsen catch sea grayling in three ways (see picture).

1. Deliberate throws near a passing fish stock. If you can see fish just below the surface from the concrete coast or from the pier, you should try to catch them at depth 25 cm for a permanently installed float. The bait is thrown "right in front of the fish's nose". In the absence of any reaction and further movement of the fish. it's good to look for the next flock.

2. Fishing in estuaries. Bluntheads like to stay near estuaries (or pipe discharges) fresh water. Sometimes they are even found in rivers and streams far from the sea. Because of this, they stick to shallow places, that algae grow intensively in such places, constituting their main food.

The ground is setting so deep, that the bait hook is just above the bottom between the algae. Every move of the float reacts with an immediate cut.

3. Hand-held fishing on the edge of the pier. It is very fun, it is, however, according to Jan and Larsen, the most difficult way of fishing. This method applies, when bluntheads swim along the pier and feed on the algae growing on the underwater part of the pier. The reel brake must be very slightly set. The ground is set exactly to the depth, what is the border of the pier. The rod is put aside and held with the hand only by the line. Thanks to this, the fish can be given the bait right in front of the mouth. In the case of an I bite, he will jam with his hand and quickly grab the rod. Bluntheads react to a stuck hook with a sudden escape and therefore the reel should give the line slightly.

A dramatic hall

The landing of the "sea grayling" can take a very dramatic course. You often think, that the bait was taken, for example, by. sea ​​trout. A well-set brake will allow the angler to master the first lunges of the fish. The blunthead's mouth is very hard. In most cases, hauling the fish that is not too sieve is successful. Anglers fishing in the vicinity should retrieve their rods during this time. When fishing from a pier you will need a large, long-handled landing net. Our two Danes friends have fished more than once 8 "Sea graylings" daily.
Of course, that doesn't happen that often. They calculated, that on average they catch “2/3 of the fish per day”. Despite the fact that trips to these fish are not that frequent, every detail of them is experienced for a long time. This summer they will try to catch “sea grayling again” and thus enrich your experience and improve your fishing technique. In recent years, dullheads are becoming more and more numerous off the Danish coast. Even before 10-15 years of encountering this fish should be treated as an absolute coincidence, Not today. Large numbers of them can be found mainly in the vicinity of power plants. Warm water discharges allow sea grayling” to survive the cold winter in the North. Large bluntheads, by weight 4 do 5 kg, I also watched in Odeuse and Honstholm. At first glance, they are similar to large herring. The first dorsal fin, however, has spines, and the muzzle is pointing downwards. These fish have very small teeth, used to detach algae from stones. The digestive tract is long, as with all herbivorous fish (four times longer than e.g.. in cod). Bluntheads tolerate water pollution well and feel best near the mouths of sewage collectors, where they have enough food (alg).

Catching "sea grayling."” is a difficult art, however, they are fished heavily, due to their attractiveness. English anglers catch them with a very delicate float and a tiny hook, on which they attach mosquito or broomstick larvae (these are worms that live in the seabed, German name Wattwurm).

Another method of catching these fish, anyway, not very ethical, comes from Greece. You make a leader approx 40 cm z 10-15 hooks, on which pieces of white bread are put on. Such a set is thrown into the water right next to the wall of the pier overlooking the sea. Some foraging herds of bluntheads fall for it and take the bait into their mouths.

A rather clever method of catching these fish in the Mediterranean has developed among Dutch anglers. At low tide, they drive marked poles to the bottom. A container with groundbait is attached to each of them (pieces of fish or crab). The poles must be this length, to be visible at high tide. This groundbait is perfect for fish heads (see picture). You fish with the current from a boat near marked poles.

This is how Dutch anglers lure bluntheads. The bag with the bait is anchored with a pole when the sea tides. At high tide you fish from the boat "below" this spot.