Smoothound are one of the best fighting fish in the UK and are one of my favourite species to catch in the Solent.
When can I catch Smoothound?
They usually arrive in the Solent towards the end of Spring in search of crabs shedding their shells otherwise known as Peeler crabs. The best months of the year to catch them is generally May through to August.
Where can I catch Smoothound?
Lee on Solent, Hayling Island and Selsey are some good spots to target these species however they can be caught from most fishing marks. I tend to fish a couple hundred yards from the shore in about 20 feet of water over sand banks. I've even caught them in Chichester Harbour using Lugworm.
What bait should I use?
Peeler crabs are one of the best baits to use however they can also be caught on Hardback crabs, Lugworm and squid.
There are plenty points of view on the best bait and how to present it to catch them etc but to be honest I find that just a single Hardback crab with a few strips of squid generally does the trick.
What Tackle do I need?
They give a good fight so I would say you need a rod with some strength. I use a 20-30LB class UGLY STIK boat rod which has more than enough power to handle these hard fighting fish. The rig I use is a running ledger with atleast a 4/0 hook on the end. Depending on where you're fishing you might need a big lead to counter attack the pull of the tide to keep your bait on the bottom.
I hope I've answered all of your questions on how to catch Smoothounds in the Solent and I've made a video as well which you can watch by clicking the link below. Good Luck and tight Lines