25/08/2023 - Estuary blues

Whilst we'd already had our main summer holiday in France, I'd got enough leave in the bag to be able to have a few days in Wales either side of the Bank Holiday. The weather forecast leading up to our departure had been all over the place, but it looked as if we were going to be in for some cool, windy, unsettled weather. 

Tides were not ideal either as we would arrive in the middle of some very small neaps. However, the bass and LRF gear went into the car along with everything else anyway. First morning I was up at 5 AM to get down to the estuary for low tide. The forecast had been for light winds, but as I got out of the car I could hear the sound of stays pinging against yacht masts in the breeze. Got the waders on and walked down to the water's edge, the dropping tides evidenced by parallell lines of seaweed and various bits of flotsam and jetsam. 

The wind was coming over my right shoulder and riffling the surface of the water, but around the corner in the lee of the quay it was nice and calm and looked spot on for some surface lure action. Therefore started off with a Fishus Espetit, with a teaser fly on a dropper tied on with a water knot about three feet up the fluorocarbon leader. Second cast I'd just started "walking the dog" when there was an eruption just in front of the lure as a fish snatched the fly. Played it all the way in and was just drawing it into the shallows when it came off! The angle of the light on the water had prevented me from seeing the fish the clear water, so consoled myself that it had just been a little 'un from the lack of significant resistance. 

Thought this might have been a good sign, but despite working the area hard over the next hour I had no further takes or follows. The tide was pushing in now and the new digital display on the quayside had started ticking over as the water level began to rise. Swapped the lure for a shallow diver - a Megabass X-120 - and started making my way against the tide up to the mouth of the inlet. However, despite thrashing the water for another hour, I was still fishless when I reached the point. Despite it being a small tide, there was still a decent incoming push and the mullet (some huge ones judging by the distance between their dorsal and tail fins!) were now taking advantage of this, flaunting themselves as they made their way to who-knows-where further upstream. 

Snipped off the teaser and swapped the lure for the normally reliable Savage Gear V2 weedless eel and started bumping the bottom in the flow. My enthusiasm was waning now and when the lure became irretreivably stuck in the rocks I called it a day. The following morning I was up early once more, but headed further up the estuary to a spot I'd noted on one of our walks where another inlet (known as a "gut" in these parts) joined the main channel on a sweeping bend. My theory that it could hold fish at low, slack water seemed to be confirmed as I walked down to the water. 

The margins were alive with mullet, pushing right up into the shallows to feed. Therefore started with an Espetit in a mullet pattern to "match the hatch", again with a teaser tied in above it. On only the second cast the water exploded and I found myself connected to a fish, albeit very briefly as it ran straight into a big clump of bladderwrack before I could react and came off! Had fleeting visions of deja vu and missed chances, but was rewarded a few casts later with a schoolie that stayed attached. There was more surface activity now that didn't look mullet-related and casting into the general area I started getting bangs and knocks on the rod tip, before hooking another bass on the Espetit that was barely hand-sized! Had four more of these ambitious little buggers on both the surface lure and the teaser, before I swapped over to a Megabass X-120 in an attempt to get away from them. 

However, this didn't work as on the very next cast another tail nipper hung himself on the end single. Luckily I wasn't frustrated for very much longer because they seemed to clear off as quickly as they arrived. Unfortunately so did everything else as the action completely died a death! Half an hour later the wind that had been coming over my shoulder suddenly changed direction and starting blowing stright into my face. When I felt the first few spots of rain I looked up to see the far bank of the estuary greyed out, so decided to hot foot it back to the car, only narrowly getting to shelter before the heavens opened. So a a difficult and disappointing couple of mornings, but at the very least it was more information added to my expanding file on bass fishing. 

This was added to further by a subsequent trip to the local tackle shop where I was told that a 10-pounder and an 11-pounder had recently been caught and released at Lawrenny - now they really would put a bend in the Nebula!


  1. I hope you meet one of the biggies soon.

    1. Hopefully! Cornwall in September, so fingers crossed.