So the last two and a half weeks I have occupied myself targeting smoothounds on Anglesey. Apologies for the lack of photos on this post, there was a lot of hard fishing and a sprinkling of bad weather made it difficult to know when to get the camera out.
First session was Saturday 4th, myself, Paul and Arwyn headed over to Llanddwyn Island. This is the only place I’ve ever caught a smoothound and with good numbers now being caught on the boats I thought this would be as good a place as any to start. A hot day made the walk to the end difficult, and I got there a bit early, to try for some mullet. With very few signs of fish I cracked on to the end to be joined by the other two a bit later on, they just made it onto the rock before it got surrounded by the tide. With the big tide I thought weed might be the biggest problem, but that turned out the number of boats parked up in the bay, casting range was quite restricted for the three of us.
The fishing was a none event until it got dark, up to high we managed a few doggies and a single pollack between us. As the tide picked up I had a good take on half a bluey, resulting in a huss, however it spat the hook right at the surface. Next cast same thing happened, then Paul had the same thing happen with two huss himself and it wasn’t looking to be our night. By now the current was picking up and I was starting to get a bit of trouble with weed on the line. I was looking at packing up when Arwyn, who hadn’t managed anything at this point, shouts he’s into a fish and a nice one too. Lo and behold another huss is at the surface and with a bit of careful manoeuvring we were able to land it, one fish certainly making the session before the long walk back.
The following Monday we made plans to try a mark nearer Holyhead, and having seen pictures of some good hounds from that area the previous couple of days we felt like we were onto a winner. However the session was interrupted, just as the tide reached the supposed ideal time, by a giant black cloud heading our way, reminiscent of Independence Day when the space ships first appear. It brought with it thunder and lightning, and being stood next to a 13ft conductor stick was not where we wanted to be. We scrambled to the nearest building until the worst of the rain and lightning had passed before making our way back to the rods in the cars. It seemed that the storm went either side of us but it was a good while before we felt safe to return to our gear, and look for a clean pair of boxers. Once fishing I had a session to forget, needlessly losing three sets of end gear and after the last time couldn’t be bothered setting up again.
The Wednesday after that, with a little bit of bait leftover I went out to Lillypond. I decided to take a walk and see if I could fish a different ledge but I wasn’t too happy getting down there on my own, so ended up at the regular ledge, getting distracted by taking a few nature photos on the way. On the drive down a hare bounced along the road before a buzzard flew out of a field onto a rock ledge. On the coast there was a seal lazing around in the bay and a couple of rock climbing goats halfway down a cliff, some sights that made up for the poor fishing. After finding snags on the first couple of casts I moved further to the right. The fishing was pants, I only had one doggie, two other fellas did a bit better catching dabs and a couple of plaice.
Fast forward to Saturday just gone, after a 10 day break I decided to head to a mark that me and Paul tried a couple of times last year, and ended up getting an absolute soaking. Conditions were looking pretty good, slightly overcast, minimal swell and light breeze on my back, however the sky cleared up slightly and I thought that might put the fish off a bit. It started slowly with just a couple of doggies, then as the sun went down I had two tiny smoothound pups in two casts. Despite them being small I was chuffed with getting my target. With high tide still to come I was optimistic that the adults would be around but it started to look like it wasn’t to be. As I started packing up I give the leftover crabs a drink I happened to glance up and the rods and notice the squid rod was bent double. After a bit of a tussle with the fish taking line I thought I had the specimen I came for. There was a brief hairy moment when the fish got stuck under a ledge right in front of me but a bit of patience and it came out. I was more than slightly shocked when a decent thornback broke the surface. A quick weigh and she was 8lb 2oz, and biggest of the year. At this point I packed up making sure the session ended on a high.
Monday night came so me and Paul decided to use up the last of our crab at Sandy Beach. We felt that the conditions were favourable and got set up pretty well in the middle of the beach. It was such a nice evening and a cracking sunset, however that meant that it didn’t get fully dark until about 11pm. Despite throwing everything into it we only managed a couple of doggies between us. It was a slightly frustrating end to the hunt, especially knowing that good fish had been caught throughout the two weekends I fished, however the next set of big tides I’ll be back out after the big one, hopeully with a few more pictures as well!