|Guided Shore Fishing on the Cardigan Bay
Coast of Mid-Wales
2021 season: latest news
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26th September 2021 update
Been a tough few weeks on the fishing front, to the extent that I've been putting off potential customers who are more local until things improve. Often calm weather and great rafts of floating weed inshore have made things difficult, although I've done a handful of trips with visiting novices, school-bass being caught in small numbers on each occasion and one better fish of 48cm to me one evening. Apart from them though, it has been incredibly quiet - the mackerel have stayed offshore and the sandeels are a bit thin on the ground too, meaning the larger predators like the rays are mostly offshore too, with respect to the clean surf beaches where I take novices for the sake of their sanity!
With a week of much stornger onshore winds and big swells in the imminent pipeline, the hope is that the weed gets piled up on the shingle out of the way. It has been floating around our part of the bay with the variable wind-direction and it always takes a good onshore blow to get most of it high and dry. The photo above was taken at Borth mid-August.
One special pleasure-fishing trip was to Strumble Head for a few hours fishing with my old mate, Brolly, who was getting over Long Covid, having had it for an incredible 16 months. We found a comfy mark and Brolly fed the wrasse with ragworm, while I tried to tempt pollack, coalies or mackerel with lures - to no avail. So the mackerel are scarce down that way, too. But it was great to see Brolly out on the rocks again - a real milestone, considering what Covid did to him.
I visited the reef under Borth Head on a couple of afternoons and even there the fishing was poor - the sandbanks that normally hold greater weevers and gurnards seen to have scoured, leaving harder and rather barren ground. Here too, there was no sign of the mackerel, but on one occasion whilst feathering, there was a powerful take and in the distance a silvery fish leapt out of the water. Picking up metres of slack line, the rod bent into a good scrap. The fish was kiting around and I assumed it was a decent bass, so you can imagine my astonishment when I landed this allis shad of around 45cm. If it had been a bass, from the fight I would have expected a fish of 4-5 pounds.
Shads are legally protected and must be returned quickly, so after taking the photo below I slipped it back in the water and off it sped.
That was my Welsh shore species number 49, and I'll be very surprised if I ever catch another, given that it was the first one I have caught in nearly 40 years of sea angling along this coast! The large iridescent scales drop off very easily, and I wonder if it's a defence mechamism, as deployed by poor-cod when predators try to grab them. I reported the catch to NRW for their records.
Looking ahead, things should improve after this coming windy week. The predators will take an interest as the whiting move inshore for the winter - they may already be here as some fair-sized bull-huss have been taken around Tywyn just lately. Something is attracting them, although anglers are struggling to find gaps in the weed. Let's hope that changes in the coming weeks!
1st August 2021 update:
And we're up and running at last! There was a delay in sorting out the insurance since some policies have been ditched or have changed rather a lot - probably to do with you-know-what, finally sorted last week. Ironically the first trip last night was with a consultant epidemiologist!
The fishing is a bit quiet at the moment but we had a couple of school bass nonetheless and the weather-gods played nicely. Am working through the backlog of enquiries in approximate order of them coming in. Please bear with me as I work with that and our temperamental weather (e.g. the second half of this coming week looks like a complete no-no at the moment). The emphasis this month will be on coaching beginners: the beaches are incredibly busy especially by day so evening trips at quiet venues are the order of the day. I am double-jabbed as of late June and it is easy to keep socially-distanced on beaches of an evening - just make sure to have hand-sanitiser on you and you will be welcome.
4th May update:
Hi all - from an unseasonably chilly Dyfi Valley! The wood burning stove was lit for the second morning in a row. After the frostiest April here on record, the weather contnues to throw tantrums, with winds touching storm force yesterday, accompanied by driving, heavy rain. I did get out last week, early one morning to Aberdyfi on the lures, but one knock was all I could manage. Water was absolutely gin-clear and the day brightened up very fast - neither ideal. Good to know I could still cast though!
I have a feeling spring 2021 might be a bit like the mid 1980s, when I rarely bothered fishing until Whitsun. A few bass and the odd garfish have fallen to lures on some local marks - and a few mackerel offshore too, but a cold spring is a slow one for shore-angling. Never mind - I am a month into my first COVID jab and after the second one, plus any immune system adaptation time, I will restart the guiding. I'll be able to say more about that in a few weeks. In the meantime, once these winds peter out (whenever that is) I will commence fishing the local marks to see how everything is coming along. Evening low tides should help avoid sands chilled by these colder nights. Watch this space!