29/08/2018 - Summer sea round up

Signed up to the Sea Angling Diary project a while ago, not only to provide myself with a bit of an incentive to get out and do some fishing, but also to put back into the sport and to help provide accurate information about the impact that recreational angling has in the UK. You only need to look at the recent restrictions placed on recreational bass anglers and the subsequent acknowledgement that this was based on poor data to realise what importance such a study could have. A few days after signing up on-line I received my pack, which included a fishing log, a handy fish ID guide, a tape measure and instructions for logging catches using the dedicated web tool. August saw two family trips down to Pembrokeshire, so a few sessions were duly planned to fit around the prevailing tides. What follows are the diary entries for those trips - some more successful than others!

02/08/18 Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, -0.5 hrs HW +1.0 hrs. Grey and overcast with drizzle. Fished off the pontoon using a two hook mini flapper baited with bits of raw prawn. Had loads of rock gobies (as usual!) and a solitary, male corkwing wrasse. 

Lost three rigs to something that either broke me off or dived into the kelp and snagged me.  Did spot, but failed to tempt, several large mullet under the pontoon. A target for another time. Popped into Raven Trading just as the bait digger arrived with that morning's freshly dug haul of ragworm. Result!

03/08/18 Milford Haven wall, -2.5 hrs HW +1.0 hrs. Grey and overcast with showers. Had been warned that the harbour authorities were getting a bit zealous and had been kicking anglers off for "anti-social behaviour", so set up to the left of the mackerel landing stage and well away from the lock pit. Fished a double mackerel fillet at range on a pulley pennel rig hoping for a bass or a doggie and a two hook flapper rig baited with ragworm closer in for anything else. Got to high water with no interest in either, so fished down the side with the LRF rod with a mini two flapper baited with scraps of ragworm to relieve the boredom! Had several corkwing and ballan wrasse, pollack, shannies and a surprise silver eel (an addition to the species hunt) before my stomach called time and I headed home for breakfast.


04/08/18 Cleddau Estuary, Lawrenny Quay, LW +4 hrs. Sunny intervals with a light, changeable breeze. Had sorted out my gear the day before to find the tip ring on my lure rod had broken off in transit. However, a quick trip to see John at Raven Trading saw that easily rectified and at minimal cost, much to  my relief. Started by fishing weedless, soft plastics over the slack water period without any hits, before switching to hard lures as the tide picked up. However, I was only able to manage just one small schoolie on the usually dependable Megabass x120, so got the bait rod out for the last half an hour. Fished a two hook flapper baited with ragworm out on the crease and had bites straight away, resulting in two more schoolies. Saw a huge shoal of mullet topping at the mouth of the inlet. They all moved upstream past me in procession as the tide turned, presumably heading for their (as yet unknown) feeding grounds.

05/05/18 Cleddau Estuary, Lawrenny Quay, LW +1.5 hrs. Bright and sunny. Planned to fish with lures again. It was very still and calm when I arrived, so I opted to fish on the top. Set up an IMA salt skimmer with a sandeel fly on a dropper three feet up the leader as a "teaser". Fishing around the moored boats I had seven strikes in quick succession, which I converted into five schoolies - two on the teaser and three on the skimmer. Was building into a great session before I was called away to deal with a family crisis.

25/08/18 Fishguard inner breakwater, -0.5 hrs HW +3.5 hrs. Sunny intervals with a brisk westerly breeze, so fished off the right hand side of the breakwater, drifting float fished mackerel strips around over the kelp in the hope of a pollack, wrasse or garfish. Saw a grey seal catch and eat a large mullet a bit further along the breakwater and wasn't too chuffed when he later popped up right in front of me although from the way he barked at me I don't thnk he was pleased to see me either! After a couple of hours I'd had nothing on the float, so got the LRF rod out and switched to fishing angleworm and fish strips on a mini two hook flapper down the side instead. Had several small pollack and a tiny little poor cod, which was at least a new species for the year, before packing up. Still haven't really got to grips with the venue. It always looks more promising than it actually is, but I'll be back again in the Autumn to for codling and whiting.

26/08/18 Saundersfoot Harbour inner wall, -0.5 HW +1.0. Overcast with a stiff, offshore breeze. Had been looking forward to having another go for the garfish at this venue for a while. Arrived in the early evening just before high tide to find a few people already set up on the inner wall, including John and Jay from Raven Trading out species hunting. Was less impressed to find that the sea was very coloured due to the high winds we'd had earlier in the day. Set up the float rod anyway with mackerel strip and fished bits of prawn on a mini two hook flapper down the side of the wall. Had two shannies, so at least avoided a blank, unlike everybody else around me! There was a brief moment of excitement when John spotted a fifteen spined stickleback on the surface, but even this had disappeared by the time he'd set up a rig for it. Not a session to remember!

27/08/18 Hobbs Point, -0.5 HW +1.0. Overcast with strong westerly wind blowing straight up the Haven. Nearly turned around and went home. Had planned to have a go for the mullet under the pontoon, but it was so choppy it would have been like fishing off a boat! Fished a two hook flapper down the wall instead baited with whole raw prawns for a bass, pollack or wrasse and a mini version on the LRF rod, again baited with scraps of prawn for the mini-species. Bite detection was a bit difficult because of the wind. However, the rock gobies were obliging and I managed nine of these and a single pollack before I'd had enough.

In summary, I didn't really set the world alight this summer, but I suppose that's reality and not Youtube! Looking forwards, apart from the sad and tragic family event that cut short my first trip down to Wales, we received the happier news that my lad had passed his A-levels with flying colours and confirmed his place at Exeter University's campus at Falmouth to do Zoology. 

Whilst it's a flipping long way, it will hopefully open up a whole new world in terms of venues and species. First trip will be in September via Exmouth, so fingers crossed!