01/12/2018 - Making the most of it
My wife had Friday off this week, the benefit of doing "twilight" insets at school, so we took the opportunity to flash down to Pembrokeshire to take some stuff down for Christmas. Whilst the weather forecast for the weekend wasn't brilliant, some fishing gear was thrown in as well, together with two large mackerel and half a dozen squid I'd rescued from the discounted aisle one night at Tesco.
The forecast on Friday morning was for a stiff wind from the west. When the tides were factored in an early morning start on the north side of the Haven seemed a good bet, so I set off for Milford at first light. However, setting up on the sea wall, I'd only been there a few minutes when a squally shower came in and blew the rods off the rest! Throwing everything back in the car I drove the short distance to Neyland marina, where I knew I could tuck myself around the corner out of the worst of the wind.
Set one rod up with a mackerel and squid "sausage" on a pulley pennel rig and punched it out into the channel marked by the green and red navigation bouys. The second rod I set up with a one up, one down scratching rig, again baited with mackerel and squid strip "cocktails" tipped off with squid tentacles, and dropped it in a bit shorter where I thought the weed fringes ended. The water clarity wasn't brilliant due to the wind and recent heavy rain, but I thought the baits would be smelly enough to compensate. However, after a couple of hours with no indications on either rod I wound in the scratching rig to find it was locked solid in a snag and had to pull for a break. Also, winding in the other rod I found that the bait had virtually been stripped off the hooks without me knowing. Rebaited the pennel rig and fished on until just before high water, but unfortunately remained fishless.
Was in two minds the following morning, but when the wife said she was off Christmas shopping with her mum I thought I might as well try again. The wind had switched around and was now blowing from the south, so I got in the car and headed up to Goodwick on the north coast. Walked to the end of the inner breakwater and dropped onto the rock apron to the right where it was marginally more sheltered from the wind and free of lobster pots. Again, fired out a mackerel/squid sausage on a pennel rig on one rod and a scratching rig with squid-tipped mackerel strips on the other.
Didn't have to wait long before the scratching rod started nodding away and I was into my first fish of the day - a pin whiting. Soon became obvious that there was rather a lot of these about as the baits were being attacked as soon as they hit the water, resulting in stripped hooks or more mini-whiting.
After an hour I wound in the pennel rod and wasn't surprised to find the bait had been shredded by the little, toothy beggars. A small whiting has a big gob so, as well as being able to destroy a sizeable chunk of mackerel in quick time, they were easily getting the baited, size 2 Aberdeens I was using on the scratching rig down their necks. Unfortunately, this made unhooking a bit tricky and at least one expired in the process. Rather than feed the seagulls, I put it to good use and re-baited the pennel rig with it and punched it out again, hoping it would put the others off. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to make much difference as an hour later I wound it in again to find it had been similarly shredded, so carried on with just the one rod until high tide. Packed up having had fifteen whiting in total and made the long walk back along the breakwater a bit happier than the day before!