High Hopes off Holyhead

Yep, it’s been too long since I posted a blog, but yet again I’ve been busy with work, so fishing time had to be limited. However, sticking to that short session strategy I mentioned in previous blogs, I have been out doing some rock ledge wrasse fishing with some success, also some LRF fishing for sea scorpions, shannies, rock gobies and other small critters using 1g lead-heads and Gulp Sandworms. I should have been out shark fishing too, but the boat developed an engine problem a couple of days before and could not be fixed in time. This was a major disappointment, but these things happen, so you have to be philosophical and get on with it.

Out of the blue came the chance to fish with Skipper Gethyn Owen aboard his boat “My Way” working out of Holyhead in Anglesey, North Wales. The ideal tides for this area are small neaps and especially the middle size tides. We had big spring tides, but still felt confident of a decent catch.

A big high pressure weather system was sat over the whole of the UK. It was very hot, the sea calm and clear, with barely a breath of wind as we left the harbour and turned southwest towards South Stack Lighthouse. We chose to creep in close under the cliffs and try for a few ballan wrasse. These were quick to show taking small ragworm baits, but dropping down to smaller hooks saw a couple of us add goldsinny wrasse, pouting and poor cod. I was using a 2-hook adjustable rig and by pushing the top hook to the very top of the rig to create a flyer trace fishing well up off the seabed and baiting with a thin strip of mackerel, I added pollack to the species list.

The wrasse were not big here and skipper Gethyn wanted to move further south to shallow reef ground to target some bigger wrasse. This worked a treat as we hit both ballan wrasse to well over 3lbs, and small cuckoo wrasse, again on ragworm baits, though a few took small mackerel baits intended for other species.

The intention then was to move again to an area of mixed broken ground. Here we had a chance of bull huss. I set up a simple sliding ledger rig with a metre of 40lb Fluorocarbon for the hook trace and added a size 4/0 hook. This I baited with the tail cone of a mackerel, but with the tail fin cut off to stop any chance of the bait spinning. First drop down I had the dreaded dogfish.

Second drop down I felt something more substantial take the bait. It was a huss about 5lbs. I stuck with the same cone type bait, but reduced the weight of the lead I was using intending to bounce the bait back down tide with the current, which was now running strongly. I had to release a good 25-metres of line before the lighter weight would just about hold.

The bait had only been in position a couple of minutes when the rod tip bounced and bounced again. I waited until it pulled right over, then wound in to the fish. There was more weight with this fish but it came off the seabed easy enough, then hung in the tide. Keeping pressure on the fish forced it to swim around in a tight clockwise circle, then I saw a white shape materialise with a sandy coloured back and up came a decent huss. I didn’t weight it before release, but it looked somewhere between 8 and 9lbs in weight. There were other smaller huss caught too.

I switched over to the adjustable rig with size 2 hooks on, and added codling to the days species count, with other lads aboard adding whiting, one black bream, more dogfish, pout and poor cod. The day had passed quickly, and though we upped anchor and headed for deeper water to try a couple of late drifts for spurdog, the spurs where not at home.

Having had so many boat trips cancelled in the first half of the year due to bad weather, this was just my second day afloat actually fishing myself and I really enjoyed it. We’d had nothing big, but amassed a dozen species between us, plus had a good laugh. Frankly, for me, it was exactly what the Doctor ordered. Some relaxing fishing in amongst a good group of lads with a skipper and crew who cracked jokes and found us some good mixed fish on a day when the massive tide suggested we might struggle.

I’m currently testing some new ABU Suveran rods and Penn reels, so I intend to get out to sea a bit more often over the next few months with sharks and wreck fishing on the list, maybe some inshore bassing with surface popping plugs too. That said, the shore fishing is picking up now as we look towards the end of summer and I aim to be hitting some bass and mullet, but also want to fit in a couple of sessions for black bream off the shore. All three of these lend themselves to the short session strategy I mentioned. I’ll be keeping you posted on successes, and no doubt some failures too!

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Categories : Fishing Reports