01/04/2024 - Bank Holiday bits and bobs

Managed to get down to Pembrokeshire for Easter despite the weather throwing everything at us on the way down, including a hail storm near Merthyr. Had an inkling that something was about to happen when the low temperature alert starting pinging as we came over the highest point on the A465. 

Luckily for us the worst of the shower had already gone through, but half a mile down the road we came across the aftermath - banks of hailstones big as marbles in the gutters and a dozen vehicles, including an ambulance, strewn across the carriageway and up on the verge. Thankfully everybody was out their cars and seemed okay, so we inched our way through and cautiously carried on. Once down at the in-laws it seemed as if it hadn't stopped raining since the last time were there at Christmas. The local River Cleddau was the colour of a builder's brew and tonking through, so I left it a day for some of that extra freshwater to flush out the esturary before heading to Pembroke Dock on Saturday morning for high tide. 

Had a bit of salted rag with me, so started off by fishing small sections down the wall on my scaled down, two hook flapper. Second or third  cast I felt a bump as the rig dropped past the kelp, so changed the rag on the top hook for a small strip of squid. Did the trick as next drop down it was taken with a bang by a fat, hand-sized pollack that gave me a good scrap on the light gear. Had seven more of these, all on the squid, whereas the bait on the bottom failed to attract any attention. When the tide starting running along the wall I moved around the corner and had a rock goby, then a black goby in successive casts. However, I failed to buy another bite over the next half an hour and with the tidal flow increasing and making it hard to hold bottom I called it a day. 

Popped in to see Roddy for some fresh rag but found that he'd stopped doing live bait and was winding down and selling off his stock. Therefore headed up to the town to J & M's Tackle instead. With Anglers' Corner over in Milford recently shutting, this is the only local shop to sell live worm now - a bit of a sad state of affairs for the visiting angler. Back home the laddo asked if he could come with me next time, so the following morning we took a bit of a gamble and headed to Hakin on the opposite side of the estuary. 

I knew that the wind had changed direction and was blowing from the South-East. However, I hadn't bargained on it being so strong. When we got to Hakin Point there was a brave soul already there with two bait rods out. However, the pier was being battered not only by a stiff breeze sweeping down the Haven but also by the resulting wind chop, which had churned up the water in the bay. Therefore didn't take much of a decision to jump back in the car and make the 15 minute journey over the bridge to Pembroke Dock. Was still a bit breezy stood out on the ramp, so we tucked ourselves around the corner on the pontoon instead. Tactics were same as before, but with fresh rag on the hook this time. Thought perhaps this would have made a difference, but it was again very slow. 

After a couple of hours we'd only had a few pollack and gobies between us and were getting a bit cold, so we packed up and headed off for a much-needed coffee. I suppose it is still early in the year and the sea hasn't had long to warm up, but equally fellow bloggers on the south coast are already catching what you would consider "summer species", e..g mackerel, garfish and black bream! Anyway, I wasn't going to keep flogging a dead horse, so this morning I headed off to Haverfordwest with a tub of worms and a box of jig heads to try for some brownies. 

Once again it was a bit parky first thing and there was a dense mist shrouding the Cleddau Valley as I dropped onto the A40. Police cars were blocking off Freemans Way due to an accident, so I had to take a quick detour through the town before parking up at the bottom of the section. Whilst it had rained in the night resulting in a slight touch of colour the level had been unaffected, so I got togged up and slid down the bank. Flicking a worm up to the head of the pool I had a rattle straight away as it drfited back towards me and a couple of casts later I had my first fin-perect little brownie. Carried on in the same vein, missing far more than I hooked and landed, possibly because I had to tie on a larger jig to keep the worm down on the deck. The brook was also "hungrier" than usual as I kept snagging up on the urban debris littering the bottom. 

This inevitably resulted in a bent or blunted hook and a new jig, so at the end of the session I had a handfull of scrap and a very short leader! Had to keep an eye on the time as laddo wanted to use the car to meet a friend later, but after a couple of hours I'd had eleven little brownies and a proper little "silver tourist", presumably about to start her perilous journey down to the estuary and out to sea (the vast majority of sea trout are females, their male partners remaining behind as resident brown trout). With a bit of colour in the water it was difficult to see the bottom at times and I had been sliding about on the rocks even with my studded boots. Crossing the brook to get to a spot on the other side I was just thinking to myself "I could have really done with my wading staff" when I slipped and fell forwards, ending up on all fours in the water and cracking my shin in the process! 

Luckily my waders and my rod survived, but it had knocked the wind out of me and when the next cast ended up in yet another snag I called it a day. Headed home to find that the lad had cancelled his plans, scuppered by another closure on the A40 at St Clears and cancellation of all trains from Cardiff, which meant that his friend was now stuck in Swansea. Happy days!