After Dan and Chris’s guided session last weekend there was little chance to rest as I had Barry booked in for a guided lure session on the Tuesday. Faced with the same issue of the weather forecast making things tricky to predict, I spent much of Monday and Tuesday morning getting out with the lures at some new marks where hopefully there would be a decent level of water clarity.
During my preparation sessions I came across marks that were full of bait fish, initially I thought the water was dirty before realising it was fish, with mackerel of a range of sizes relentlessly smashing into them. This gave me a fair bit of optimism, and reading a few recent reports suggested that there were bass in amongst the mackerel. I tried a host of lures, different marks and techniques but unfortunately no bass showed for me.
I decided to take Barry into the Swellies, an area of fast currents and rocky pinnacles, situated between the two bridges that span the Menai Strait. We were starting around low tide and the current had yet to get going properly. We had some nice areas of slack water and eddies in front of us so I instructed Barry to go for casts around these regions. The thinking being that the bass would be sitting out of the main flow waiting for the current to bring them their meal.
Looking in the water it was obvious there was a lot of bait fish around even here, and not long after starting fishing the water in front of us erupted as they made a desperate attempt to reach freedom. While Barry carried on with the surface and shallow diving lures, I stuck on a long silver bar spinner to see what was causing the commotion. As expected it was a mackerel, and a really small one at that, perfect live bait size and I was hopeful that the bass would be following up the shoal. In between using his own lures I gave Barry a couple of mine to try, the main ones being the IMA Narbarone and Maria Angel kiss sandeel due to their action and likeness to potential prey at the time.
Despite walking up and down the bank there was no sign of any bass, and as the current got stronger the areas of slack water were severely reduced. With my confidence in the mark fading we made a move up towards Penmon where hopefully the water would still be clear and over high tide we could fish shallow diving lures over the rocky ground without too much risk of snagging.
In short, nothing happened. The water looked good but it was a case of being in the right place right time and sadly we weren’t. I was determined to find Barry a fish, however with a long drive back he, quite sensibly called it a night. I’m certain that the fish would have turned up at some point but that could have been long into the night.
With the frustration of not being able to provide Barry a fish I got back on the lures over this weekend. I revisited Penmon, but faced with completely different, very murky conditions I decided not to waste much time there, heading back to the Swellies just on the turn of the tide. I lost faith in the lures pretty quickly and after a quick rummage I found a few late season peeler crabs. These were lashed on and just lobbed out, again aiming for calmer areas of water. It wasn’t to be though, as either wrasse or blennies were stripping the baits in seconds, thats if I managed to get the gear back at all.
After stopping in Menai Kayak Angling for a bit of up to date information and a couple of new lures I was back in the Swellies for the slack water again. Admittedly I wasn’t particularly confident again and as expected I drew a blank. It is, however all learning, it has taken people years to master fishing within even this short stretch of water and it will be the same for me and hopefully the hard work will pay off in the long run. In addition it has apparently been hard going for many fishers in the area. Dave in Menai Kayak Angling suggested that the abundance of baitfish and small mackerel mean that the bass have simply gorged until full up, and a bass that isn’t hungry is less likely to make an instinctive strike at a lure. Lastly the rain that fell early in the week may have had an impact, as all that freshwater would now have worked its way into the Straits, and that might partly explain why the water clarity was slightly reduced on Monday compared with Saturday.
I may be completely wrong with these thoughts but persistence will definitely pay!