Work and bad weather have restricted my fishing time so far this year, but you have to make the most of it, and I’ve still managed to catch some decent fish.
The plaice were bang on time this year, but not in the numbers expected. I bided my time until I thought their numbers had built up enough and fitted in a midday session in North Wales. There was a bit of floodwater about after heavy rain, which can put the plaice off, but I started the session catching a couple of nice dabs and few whiting. I knew that an hour or so after low water is usually the best time for a plaice, so bided my time.
Normally I’d be fishing fresh peeler crab, but a trip to pick a few two days before fishing proved that the first peel was late this year and there were precious few crabs about due to the persistent cold west to northwest winds. I’d have to rely on frozen crab from the freezer. As low water came and went I started baiting with the crab, but there was still no sign of a plaice.
It was close to a couple of hours after low water when I watched the deliberate slight bow I’d left in the line, this to make sure that the baits were hard on the seabed, lift up and drop back. This is a typical plaice bite. I waited just a few seconds longer for the bow to lift again, then struck in to the fish. I could feel it pumping away, trying to get its head down and hugging the seabed. It felt weighty, and when I slid the fish ashore it looked bigger than I’d envisaged. It was still a little thin after spawning, as you would expect this early in the year, but I gently weighed it and watched the scales bounce down to 1.5lbs. Not a bad fish to start the plaice season off with. By mid summer it would be close to 2lbs after normal feeding. It was the only plaice of the day.
Boats trips have been hard to come by, so far. I’ve already had five trips cancelled due to bad weather. I did get out off Holyhead in North Wales with Gethyn Owen aboard “My Way” just for a couple of hours one afternoon during a brief calmer period and found some nice codling, huss and other smaller species fishing lug and squid baits. It’s great to see so many codling about and I’m already thinking about just how good the coming winters fishing for cod might be.
Two of the boat trips I’ve lost to the weather were scheduled to fish the Irish Sea wrecks. These fished well for me late last year and I’m hoping for more of the same this coming summer. I had a lot of pollack to 16lbs on light tackle last year, with my top lures being the Shakespeare Devil Own shads, and the Berkley Power sandeels. If you have a wrecking trip coming up, I find the pollack really like the clear coloured Pearl/White shad, though all the colours catch well. If you want to try for a cod, fish the Red Tail shad in the 6-inch size and keep it tight in amongst the wreckage.