17/04/2016 - A mixed bag down in Pembrokeshire
Second week of the Easter school holidays was to be spent in Wales at the in-laws. The wife had gone down a few days earlier, so I had plenty of room in the car for my "toys". Along with the bike went enough tackle to cover me for a number of eventualities, including LRF/light game, bass and trout fishing. The weather had been cold and wet prior to me heading down there, but was forecast to dry and warm up a bit. However, on my first trip down to Pembroke Dock, as well as only having a short window at the top of the Spring tide, I found a stiff, easterly wind blowing straight down a coloured estuary. Undeterred, I found some sheltered water down the side of the wall and opted for some bits of raw prawn on the light game gear.
Unfortunately, the bites were few and far between, but I still managed to winkle out a few coalfish and pollack in the couple of hours I was there. The next morning I was back at the same spot. The was a chap with his two young lads fishing when I arrived and as I got out of the car one of them swung in a small coalfish over the handrail so, rather than going for a bait attack straight away, I reached for the LRF rod set up with an Ecogear straw tail grub on a Shirasu jig head.
However, several casts along the wall later I was biteless and fishless, so it was back to the bait rod. Baited up my scaled-down one up, one down rig with scraps of prawn again and dropped it down the side. Didn't have to wait long before the tip knocked and I was into a small coalie myself, swiftly followed by his cousin the pollack - both obviously happier with a bit of prawn than a bit of rubber!
As the tide dropped I made my way down onto the floating pontoon and dropped the bait in the gap between the wall and the pontoon itself. Had another pollack before the gobies moved in. Was surprised that I'd not had any before then, once they were there, the little tinkers didn't leave the bait alone!
Had a few more of these, like peas in a pod, before calling it a day and heading home for breakfast. The next trip was to freshwater and to the River Cleddau near Llawhaden. It was warm and sunny when I got there and there were a few flies coming off the water, which I later identified as grannoms. However, from my vantage point on the road above the river, there was no evidence of any fish actively rising, so I stuck with the team of wet flies I'd set up before leaving the house - a couple of spiders on the droppers and a gold head nymph on the point.
Waded in and flicked a short line into the fast, shallow riffle at the head of the run. Had a quick rattle on the rod tip almost straight away that I took to be a good sign and very next cast I had my first little, Welsh spottie of the season in my hand. Carried on down the run and had a couple more in fairly quick succession, all on the point fly. Small caddis flies were making their way past me upstream in their hundreds now. I'd got my Tenkara rod and some dry imitations in the backpack for this eventuality.
However, rises were still few and far between, so I carried on with the wet flies, taking a couple more little spotties before reaching some deeper, smoother water down by the bridge.
Had a few minutes leaning up against the wall and giving the water a good scan. Despite the apparent abundance of fly life the rises I did see were very sporadic and random. Didn't seem much point in setting up the Tenkara, so carried on downstream taking one last fish on the point fly as it literally dangled under the arch of the bridge. The last trip of the week saw another venue and another change of tactics. An early morning low tide saw me down at Lawrenny with the lure rod after a bass. It was slack water and flat calm when I first got there, so started off with a surface lure, switching to my favourite Megabass X-120 once the tide started moving and a breeze had picked up, rippling the surface. Used the tactic of having a "teaser" fly 3 feet up the leader from the lure that had been successful last year. However, despite thrashing he water for about two hours I didn't have a single touch! Left a bit disappointed, but hopeful that on my next trip it'll be a bit warmer and that the fish will be a bit more responsive. Roll on May!