After an unsuccessful little mission Monday night with the lures I headed out with the heavy gear in search of a so far elusive Anglesey blonde ray. I was optimistic about getting a fairly decent session, with the tides a similar height and time as a couple of weeks ago when I landed 4 small rays. In fact, with the cloud hanging round I thought my chances would be even better this day.
As usual it was up and over, and pulley rigs the main plan of attack, and I took a spinning rod to try a few different things with. First casts on the bait were quiet so I gave them about 45 minutes before retrieving. Even though there was no indication of a bite, one felt a little heavy and I was hopeful of a small ray. Unfortunately it wasn’t, the fish popped up on the surface far out, a sure sign of a doggie though I’ve done well to avoid them for nearly a couple of months now.
With the heavy rods remaining very quiet I rigged up the float on my spinning rod to see if there was any pollack or mackerel around. I was targeting the pollack letting the float drift mid-water around the rocky ledges, and from past experience mackerel can be caught near the bottom in bright daylight. Casting the float away for the ledges didn’t bring any luck so I concentrated on fishing close in. Very quickly I was into a nice pollack, the best of the day at about 1.5lb but it appears this one was related to Harry Houdini. I thought it was safe on the rocks until, as I went to get the camera it managed to throw the hook, side down the rock face, down a crevice and out the bottom, landing in a rockpool before making its way out to sea!
Fortunately I need not have worried about the missed photo opportunity, as throughout the session the pollack fed at a steady pace. The best action seeming to be after high tide as the change in currents helped to push the float near and around some submerged kelp beds.
For an hour or so I put the float rod down for a short while, fishing hard with the heavy rods during the time I’d been told would be best for a blonde ray. I saw a couple of bites, and had a couple of mashed baits, but with no hook up or big pull downs I put the rattles down to crabs or small dabs pulling at the sandeels but not being able to swallow them. I picked up the float rod again, content with the bit of sport the pollack were providing, casting close in to the ledges. Not a rod length out the float disappeared again. This time it was clearly a better fish, stronger thumps and a longer first run had me frantically adjusting the drag to make sure the fish could take line if it bolted again.
The fish made for a kelp lined gully, so I had a scramble around the rocks to get myself in a better position to land in. I could see a dark back and convinced myself it was a decent pollack so took my time making sure the fish wasn’t going to steam off again. It was near the surface a couple of times before diving back down but only the last time it popped up did I realise it was actually a bass, and a decent one as well. Taking extra care, and using the swell to land it rather than lifting it out the fish was plonked at my feet. Easily my biggest bait caught bass of the year, and the most unexpected; definitely the best session saver I could have hoped for. A couple of photos and like them all it was back in the water, didn’t take any measurements but I put it in the 3-4lb size, compared with the ones I’ve had earlier in the year.
After the excitement of the bass a decent ray would be the icing on the cake. However the longer I went without a bite the less hope I had. After getting a few more pollack on the float I decided that it wasn’t my day for the rays and retrieved the heavy rods. There was a bit of weight on one and as it came closer I saw a gurnard had taken a fancy to the double sandeel, and it was a nice sized one, bigger than the ones I had last year anyway! Still not what I was after but another welcome bonus.
I was off the rocks and a quick refresh before heading out for my planned evening session. Target was tope again from the beach. As well as frozen mackerel I took a couple of pollack from earlier in the day for fresh bait. First casts were made as the sun went down and although there was a bit of swell I was confident there would be tope passing through. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. I had one bite almost right on high tide which took some line and a single pull down of the rod but whatever it was didn’t come back. I put it down to dogfish, but if doggies were present I’d have expected a few more bites from them. I’ll never know, but the mystery is what drives me to keep trying these places. If you’ve enjoyed the post and would like notifying of the next update, its free to subscribe with the button at the top right of the page. Cheers!