what's on offer?
area - and beyond...
long Aberystwyth-Tywyn stretch of the Cardigan Bay coast
(see map R) has a rich variety of fishing-grounds.
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.
Extensive shallow reefs that dry over low tide reward
the angler prepared to travel light and who doesn't mind
a bit of rock-hopping.
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.
I 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.Going
down to the Cardigan district or up to Pwllheli
therefore equates to a surcharge of £20 on the total
fee. Travel time for local marks between Aberystwyth and
Tywyn 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 fit, agile and who can
handle steep scrambles. Such venues are also far more
weather-sensitive, needing not only light winds but dry
weather and no appreciable sea-swell.
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 others 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 marks.
the trips on offer
Quick taster-sessions for families: 2 hours
£45 per family.
Venues: Borth or Tywyn beaches
Afternoons or evenings (the latter recommended),
depending on tides, daylight and weather.
Season: April/May through to late autumn.
These short sessions are an ideal activity for
holidaying families. They are simply about
experiencing shore fishing in a relaxed way,
without having to work hard to develop the
required skills - if you find you like it, that
can come later! Ideal, too, for the youngsters as
it's not too demanding on a young attention-span!
We fish two or three rods, depending on
conditions. I look after the stuff like rig
selection, baiting up, casting etc and you get to
bring in any fish that might come along! I will
also point out and tell you about any other marine
life that we might see. Tackle and bait are
provided as part of this package.
Shore fishing: a comprehensive short course
for complete beginners: 4 hours
Cost: £70 per person,
including all tackle and bait. Max. 4 persons.
Venues: Between Aberystwyth and Tywyn.
Daytime through to dusk. Between 1pm and 9pm,
depending on tides, daylight and weather.
Season: April/May through to late
November, December too if weather stays mild.
These trips are more intensive than the
taster-sessions and are aimed at people who
have decided to give shore fishing a go but
who need a few pointers. It can seem that
there's a daunting amount of things to
learn, but it's not that bad really!
Learn about the right tackle to use, 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/presentation and the basics of
casting. A lot can be crammed into four
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. Beginner-friendly places, in other
words. Here, with your own rods and reels or with
equipment provided by me, you will learn how to
bait-up your rigs, basic casting and how to
respond to bites, and about the marine environment
and how to work with it. With a maximum of four
participants for each course, one-to-one tuition
will be possible throughout and by the end you
should feel far more confident about giving it a
go on your own.
Targeting individual species,
improving your fishing and exploring the
area: bespoke trips
Cost: £15 per
person per hour plus bait. Travel surcharge
applies for venues south of Aberystwyth and
north of Tywyn.
Max. 4 persons.
Cardigan Bay Coast
Day/night: Any time between 2pm and 10pm
tides and weather.
Season: April/May to late November as
These bespoke trips are for a) anglers who are
new to the area and would like to be shown a few
popular marks, b) those who have been fishing
(including coarse or fly but not sea) but would
like to branch out into sea-angling, c)
relatively inexperienced sea-anglers who want to
improve or develop specific skills or d) those
who are seeking to add a certain species to
their list. Tackle can be provided but most of
you will have your own. Bait can be supplied at
cost if required.
This part of the Welsh coast is rightly
well-known for highly desirable 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. In 2017, another angler
and I caught nine small-eyed rays in a single
evening trip. Good-sized bass are caught every
year, with spring, early summer and autumn
providing the best surf-fishing. Smaller
school-bass can be abundant at times.
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.
During settled conditions 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.
Aberystwyth also offers two jetties to fish from
when conditions are settled; their bouldery
skirts are home to a wide range of species that
respond to small baits fished close-in - this is
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. Bull huss are another frequent catch and
provide a lot more entertainment than dogfish!
Reefs offer interesting and varied
ground with deeper water and clean ground within
casting range, with the range of species that
such ground offers.
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 baits, a
pleasant method that involves travelling
light and keeping on the move.
Night-fishing? An Introduction: 4 hours
Cost: £60 per
person plus bait. 2-4 persons.
Venues: Tywyn to
Aberdyfi, Borth and Ynyslas, Aberystwyth.
Day/night: Evenings into
darkness, depending on tides, weather and time of
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
light at Tywyn, waiting for the
whiting to appear. They did!