what's on offer?
The local area - and beyond...
20-mile long Aberystwyth-Tywyn stretch of the Cardigan
Bay coast (outlined in map R) has a rich variety
We have beautiful, almost snag-free sandy beaches where
bass, rays and flatfish hunt among the surf-tables.
Steeper shingle beaches give access to deeper water.
Mixed and rough
ground offers a challenge but the rewards can be
spectacular, while the extensive shallow reefs that dry
over low tide reward the angler prepared to travel light
and stay mobile.
Such a diversity of marine environments not only attracts
a wide range of fish and other marine life to this part
of Cardigan Bay but also offers plenty of opportunities
for anglers keen to get away from the crowds and explore
more remote sections of coastline.
fish right around Cardigan Bay and have done so ever since taking up
sea-angling, so I'm quite happy to guide anglers further afield from my
main twenty mile section of coast, so long as customers understand that
travel time outside of the main area counts as work time. It's another
hour, for example, down to the Cardigan district or up to Pwllheli,
which for the return journey equates to a surcharge of £20 on the total
fee. Travel time for local marks is, in contrast, covered within the
overall cost of the trip. The main difference in terms of fishing is
that NW and SW Wales have good deep-water rock-marks where sizeable
pollack may be caught. This sort of fishing involves travelling light
and using lures from steep rocks, so I would only take those who are
agile and can handle steep scrambles. Such venues are also far more
weather-sensitive, needing not only light winds but dry weather and no
swimming around and when?
Hereabouts, the shore fishing season begins in earnest in
the spring. From some point in April onwards (it varies
from year to year depending on sea temperatures), we see the arrival of the bass, rays and
turbot. In most seasons, weather and sea conditions permitting,
mackerel (and garfish) are present in good numbers by
mid-summer. They come close-in on evening tides during settled weather when they
hammer the baitfish, making the water appear to boil in
the process. Larger predators feed on them in turn.
July and August see the sand beaches busy with holidaymakers, but we
can find peace and quiet along more remote shorelines. This is an ideal
time for novices to learn the basics, for visitors to have an explore,
for targeting various more obscure shore species and for species-hunts.
Autumn sees the beaches quieter again and the fish come back into the
surf. Night tides also start to produce whiting, dabs and codling. Some
years see an intense, late run of mackerel especially if we get an
The whiting, dabs
and codling are present through to the New Year and until
early February except in very cold winters. Late February
to late March is the quietest time of year and the ideal
time to sort out and maintain the tackle. With all such factors in
mind, I operate from the middle of April or early May through to late November (into
December and beyond if conditions are bearable).
Getting to the venues is straightforward, and I will meet you there at
an arranged time. Anybody booking a trip will be emailed a map with
precise directions and information about parking which is either free
or a nominal expense at the majority of the locations. Minimising the
number of cars by car-sharing is a seriously good plan as it will make
parking more straightforward on busy days. Some venues require walking
a fair way, over uneven ground, but some are very close to parking.
Please let me know your preferences (bearing in mind the easier the
access the busier the venue during the main summer holidays). For Llyn
Peninsula rock-fishing, the climbers' cafe under the crags at
Tremadog is an ideal rendezvous for those unsure of the route down to
the trips on offer
Shore fishing: a short course for complete
Lion Hotel, Machynlleth (indoor part); between
Aberystwyth and Tywyn (outdoor part).
Daytime only. Indoor part: 11am-1pm. Beach:
between 2pm and 8pm depending
on tides, daylight and weather.
Season: April/May to late November, December
too if weather stays mild.
To newcomers to shore
fishing, it can seem that there's a daunting
amount of things to learn, but
it's not that bad really! Learning how to
tie a few critically important knots, how to
treat the marine
environment responsibly, understanding the
basics of the weather and tides and how they
can affect the fishing, choosing appropriate
rigs, bait selection and presentation, the
basics of casting and you are ready to hit
the beach. The good news is that if the
weather's bad we can do a lot of that
With that in mind, the tuition will be
divided into two parts. Once you (and your friends) have booked, we start by arranging to meet
for a couple of hours in Machynlleth, at the
spacious White Lion Hotel, for a coffee
morning with a difference: a full briefing
on the basics of shore fishing. The briefing will include
learning the knots and making your own rigs
(such as the one illustrated R). Once I have checked each rig to make
sure it has been tied correctly, you hang
onto them because the next step will be to
The second part, either
on the same day or a later date to be arranged,
will be a four-hour session at the beach. We fish
venues that can produce a variety of species in
daylight, over mostly clean ground with few snags and where
long casting skills are not necessary. Here, you
will learn how to bait-up your rig, basic casting
and how to respond to bites, and more about the
marine environment. With a maximum of four
participants for each course, one-to-one tuition
will be possible throughout and by the end you
should feel confident about giving it a go on your
Night-fishing? An Introduction
Venues: Tywyn to Aberdyfi, Borth and
into darkness 3pm-10pm depending on tides, weather
and time of dusk.
Season: September, October, November, December and January too if the weather stays mild.
If you have done a bit of fishing, know your
knots, are happy with your casting but have never
fished at night this is for you. Night tides,
especially in the autumn and early winter months, are often very
productive. Venues have been chosen that
produce a range of species in darkness and at
various stages of the tide. Expect to catch from
the following list: whiting, codling, flounders,
dabs and dogfish plus odd bonus species. Don't
forget your headtorch, though. We set up before
darkness to make things easy - it's worth it for
last light at Tywyn, waiting for the
whiting to appear. They did!
Targeting individual species, improving your fishing and
exploring the area
Venues: Throughout the area
Day/night: Any time between 2pm and 8pm depending
on tides and weather.
Season: April/May to late November as tides
These bespoke trips are for anglers who are new to the area and
would like to be shown around, those who are fishing but would like to
improve or develop their skills or for those seeking to add a
certain species to their list.
part of the Welsh coast is rightly well-known for species such as
small-eyed rays, bass and turbot but there's a lot more to it than
that. The Species page shows just what's possible around here: I even have a greater weever mark, believe it or not!
By shore standards the turbot run to a good size. The Welsh record of 10lbs came from
the Tywyn area and I've had several in better
years in the 4-6lbs range. Smaller specimens in
the 1-2lb bracket are reported most years. Both
small-eyed and the less frequently seen thornback rays run to double
figures, although smaller specimens are most
frequently encountered. Good-sized bass are
caught every year, with spring, early summer and
autumn providing the best surf-fishing.
For the small-eyed rays and turbot, both day and night tides produce
though you will be relieved to know that I've
done just as well in broad daylight as I have by
sacrificing an entire night's sleep. Sea-conditions and tactics are far more important.
settled conditions (remember them??) in July and August, the more
popular beaches can get very busy. But that's not a problem: there are
literally miles of more remote reefs and mixed ground extending from
the north of Tywyn to the south of Aberystwyth, so that
there is plenty to explore even at the busiest
time of year.
Mixed ground beaches are well worth fishing: in June 2012 an
experimental trip for tope at one such venue,
with two of us fishing whole mackerel fillets,
yielded a double-figure bass to me. Reefs offer
interesting and varied ground with deeper water within casting range. Closer
in, when sea-conditions permit, there is the chance to indulge in the
traditional local technique of
float-fishing for bass with crab and/or prawn
pleasant method that
involves travelling light and keeping on the
move. You do the fishing while I concentrate on bait supply with my prawn-net!
Venues: Aberystwyth Stone or Wooden
Day/night: Any time between 2pm and 8pm
depending on tides, weather and daylight.
Season: May to late November as tides
Fun sessions to see who can catch the most species
in a few hours! These venues abound in
mini-species with predators like pollack and bass
also present. It's rough ground in places but
that's where many of the fish are lurking: keeping
rigs simple will minimise tackle-losses. If you're
into LRF these venues are the places to bring your
gear! Daylight tends to be the most productive
Aberystwyth's Stone Jetty - all sorts of