28/12/2018 - Festive fishy fun and frustration!

Christmas this year was spent with the in-laws in Pembrokeshire. Knowing that the car would be packed to the gunnels I'd taken the precaution of leaving some tackle when we were down at the end of November. With Christmas Day festivities and Boxing Day recovery out of the way, I made plans to fit a couple of sessions into an early morning window between sunrise and high tide while everybody else was still in bed. 

Took advantage of the hour difference in tide times to travel up to the north coast first of all, knowing that I could fish the same state of the tide the following morning down on the Haven. Left bright and early and was in Goodwick before sunrise. Popped into the local garage to stock up with some more mackerel and mini-squid from their freezer, before heading along to the end of the breakwater. 

The large number of crab and lobster pots placed close to the breakwater meant that I was limited to fishing off the rock apron to the right of the beacon again, but I wasn't too concerned given my success there last time. Set up a one up, one down two hook flapper baited with mackerel strip tipped with squid on my first rod. Lobbed this out before setting up a pennel rig with a more substantial offering of a mackerel fillet and squid "sausage" on the other. 

However, the tip of the scratching rod had already started rattling and I wound in to find a double shot of small whiting on the end. Got them unhooked and popped them into my new Tronixpro "dry feet" bucket (a Christmas present from the kids) to recover.

This proved to be a real boon over the session and meant that the seagulls were deprived of any easy pickings! I'd had a few more "pins" when I noticed three positive pull downs on the pennel rod and wound down into a fish. Not the codling I was wishing for, but a feisty little doggy instead.

Had two more of these, one on the pennel and one on the flapper, and a few more small whiting in the couple of hours up to high tide, when everything went a bit quiet. The only further action was when I had a pull down on the flapper rod and wound down to feel a passive weight on the end. As I pumped the lead up and over the weed fringe a big edible crab appeared hanging onto the bottom hook......and then promptly dropped off! Packed up and headed back for breakfast against the tide of dog walkers.

The following morning I was off again before first light down to Milford Haven. I had been in two minds whether to go back to Goodwick, but I'd seen a couple of reports online from before Christmas that suggested there might be a few fish about. Set up out the back of the car about halfway along the sea wall. Tactics and baits were the same as the previous day - the scratching rig close in and the pennel lobbed out as far as I could. Over the next couple of hours I was kept busy re-baiting, but for the wrong reason - flippin' crabs! The little buggers absolutely demolished the fish baits, stripping the hooks on the flapper rig and whittling the bigger bait on the pennel rig down in minutes. Stuck it out for the two hours up to high tide, but with little confidence and the grim realisation that I should have indeed gone to Goodwick! Yet another blank at Milford - the Haven hoodoo continues........

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