Frankly the weather on my local Cardigan Bay coast in Wales for the past month or more has been generally pretty much unfishable. I still have not had a boat trip out this year, all being called off due to bad weather. Shore fishing has fared little better. It’s been the weed that has made the fishing really tough, and this has been reflected with other anglers as catch reports currently are as scarce as hen’s teeth. The amount of weed on the beaches and inside the estuaries has been incredible.
The cold sea temperatures have also delayed the incoming spring sea species by about a month, and this seems fairly general right around the UK. It’s periods such as this when I envy coarse, game and carp anglers. I know they have weather issues too, but consistent strong winds are not a major problem and they can usually find somewhere to wet a line.
However the sea season will get going eventually and I’m optimistic we’ll see some good fishing when the weather finally does settle down. It’s just a case of hanging in there!
With the wind screaming in from the Atlantic recently, I had little choice but to head back up to sheltered waters of The Dee Estuary in North Wales, which I’ve covered in a recent blog, and have another go at the plaice. We’d had heavy rain just prior to the trip and this can affect this mark badly. Nevertheless the session started with a steady return of dabs, but then an hour and half after low water I picked up a nice plaice about 1.25lbs on a fresh crab bait. That was the only plaice of the day, but I did catch a very colourful vivid yellow with brown patches sea scorpion, a species I’d not had on this mark previously and it gave me a new species for this calendar year too.
I’ve hung back from trying for a bass. The crabs have been slow to start peeling with the cold conditions and with little food supply inshore the numbers of bass, other than a few sub 3lb schoolies, would be limited. Anyway keen to catch a bass I eventually could not resist and threw caution to the wind deciding to ignore the extreme wet and windy conditions and venture out to fish a low tide mark. My fishing buddy actually declined to fish this night as he felt a bottle of chilled white wine held more promise. As I walked on to the beach I could see the huge amounts of weed, including deep water kelp, this to give you an idea just how rough it’s been, that had been ripped out by the storms. The surf was full of it. My mate’s decision to give it best looked a good one!
Undeterred I made a long cast out in to a gutter that ran across in front of me. It was a case of wading out as far as possible and holding the rod high to keep the minimal amount of line in the water to limit weed collecting on the line. Low tide came and went without a bite. Low water also saw the wind strength increase to near gale force and persistent rain start to fall. I was just about to pack up when I felt a double knock on the rod tip. It was faint, but definitely was not weed. I left the bite to mature and felt just one more pluck. The information coming back through the rod was minimal, but I decided to retrieve. Straight away I felt weight there, but it was pretty much dead weight. The rig was about 15-yards out when I felt a double thump on the rod tip and saw the line pulling across the surf a little. It was a tidy flounder about 1.5lbs and a heap of weed. Fishing on my own I had no choice but to photograph the fish on the sand, but you can gauge the estimated size from the 3oz lead also in the shot. I had one more cast and decided to quit as the wind and rain were now lashing in. No bass alas!
Is it me or are we seeing a flounder revival? Numbers fell rapidly during the last 20-years due to commercial flounder fishing for pot bait, but currently we seem to be catching increasing numbers, and of a decent overall size too. Long may it continue!