Time for the usual monthly update. In all honesty its been a very slow month with strong winds from the south west or west, meaning many marks were of limits until 5 days of balmy calm weather meant it was all systems go. Currently it is back to howling winds, with only very small breaks appearing.
I spent a bit more time on the freshwater, both the River Dee and a couple of different lakes. Grayling were on the agenda for two trips. I had high hopes after a successful session last time out, however this time as I arrived I could see the river level was much higher than last time. On checking the level charts the river had risen nearly a foot in the morning as I drove down. The run off from the fields and smaller streams had deposited a ton of silt into the river, reducing the clarity. As grayling tend to be sight feeders it meant I’d have to drop the bait right on the nose of one to stand a chance of catching. I did have one bite, unfortunately it threw the hook before I caught sight of it.
The next trip down looked much better; river levels remained stable, water crystal clear. I was getting set up when gale force gusts of wind and accompanying rain rolled through the valley. Fortunately the worst of it passed but strong winds persisted making it tricky to control the float. A quick chat with another angler who was fly fishing suggested there weren’t many grayling on the stretch, he had just three in the morning. As I found myself, they were thin on the ground, in fact non-existent. The only action I got was a couple of brown trout, albeit one a tidy size.
The lake sessions have been somewhat less successful, a lot of time spent playing around with set ups, so by the time I got it right most of the fish had stopped biting, with just roach and perch interested in the baits.
When the skies finally cleared, the winds dropped and temperatures touch 20 degrees in February, I had to make the most of it. I had three sessions planned, and just hoped that the background swell rolling in from the Atlantic would ease off.
First session was targeting bass from the beach. A big tide and long surf tables meant the spool was showing after most casts, and with the baits so far away from the rod tip spotting bites proved difficult. However as the flood started, I saw the occasional knock from doggies finding the bait. Another bite and another fish on and it looked like it would be another doggie until it began zipping right to left in the shallows. Sure enough it was a bass, at maybe 2lb a nice fish to get into early in the year.
I had hoped to get down the Llyn for a try at the tope but the large background swell would have kept me off the mark, so I opted for a day time beach session for flatties. Unfortunately shallow beaches in day light normally don’t mix and this day that was definitely true. However it would have been rude to have not been out in that sunshine.
A longer session was planned later in the week on the rocks after rays. I arrived in good time and as expected not too much happened in daylight except a few whiting. The first better fish was a huss, although a real baby as I thought it was a doggie until I got a proper look at it. I wasn’t sure how the unseasonal conditions would affect the rays and losing a bit of hope as we were well into the window I’d have expected them. I’d just started chomping on my food and with typical timing I had a bite on a rod cast slightly shorter. Smart money would have been on a decent huss, but it stayed deep and eventually a thornback ray about 4lb surfaced. With the first one out the way it set the tone for the next couple of hours, a steady stream of rays until the end of the session. I finished with six rays, mostly 3-5lb but one better around the 9lb mark. Great way to end the month, fingers crossed for some better weather again soon!