Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best wishes for the festive season!

We had some fantastic fishing this year, notably a vast improvement in the ground fishing over more recent years. Thornback Rays were plentiful through July and August, reaching sizes of 15lb, some of the best ray fishing we have seen for many years. Compared to 20-30 years ago there is very little commercial activity in our area now and the stocks of the larger species of ground fish are recovering and becoming more plentiful.  Bull Huss were thick on the ground and with a few tope which mixed things up a bit.   The best tope was about 40lb and the little sharks are always fun to catch and release.  This year we have been calculating their weight from their length and girth measurements so they are less stressed when they are returned to the water.  A few spurdog were also caught on a couple of days this year.


A fine 35lb tope








As mentioned earlier in the year, the season was slow to start due to the exceptionally cold water temperatures at the beginning of the year, caused by the harsh winter. The mackerel were about 3 weeks late but when they did arrive we had a very good year for them and fresh bait was very rarely a problem. They didn't hang around at the end of the season though and made a quick exit early on in October.  

The summer was exceptional weatherwise with many calm days which enabled us to fish considerable distances from Conwy exploring the offshore wrecks. Pollack fishing was very good at times in May and June but tailed off a little after that. We saw a good stamp of fish on some days up to 10lb in weight. Cod were conspicuous in their absence this year after promising signs last year. Coalfish were caught along with the odd ling on some days.




One notable trip was a three day trip to Ireland. We travelled over to Wicklow through the Menai Straits, fished wrecks on the way over, had a day fishing out of Wicklow and then fished on the way back on the third day. Some exceptional pollack fishing was realised on the trip back with many fish in the 6-12lb bracket and one 14lb and one 15lb. It was a fun trip all round with a good 'craic' ashore in Wicklow where the locals made us feel very welcome.











Whales and dolphins were seen on numerous occasions this year. We now see Bottlenosed dolphins quite regularly in the Great Orme and Conwy Bay area. We sighted Minke whales on three occasions and we saw one instance of one completely jumping out of the water and breeching. It gives us confidence that there are plenty of feed and fish around to attract these large cetaceans to our coast.


It was great to see so many new faces this year, trying sea angling out for the first time. The ground fishing will hopefully continue to improve in 2014 allowing even the most novice of anglers to have a fantastic chance of a catching a big ray, tope or huss.

On line booking is becoming more and more popular with many people buying vouchers for their friends and family as presents. Please don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about buying vouchers online.

We'd like to take this opportunity thank all our clients for their custom throughout this year and wish you a very happy Christmas and tight lines in 2014.





Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Isle of Man angling trip

We had a two day Isle of Man trip booked this weekend on Sunday and Monday.  It was a tough decision as to whether to put the trip on or not as the forecast gave strong southwest winds on Sunday afternoon. However less wind on Monday would mean a more comfortable day to travel back home to Conwy. So we left for the Island on Sunday morning.

We fished a few wrecks in the shelter of Anglesey but fishing was slow with a few pollack up to 6lb. The wind freshened as forecast so we decided to make a dash over to Port St. Mary and arrive a couple of hours early,  extending the day on Monday, when the weather was forecast to be more favourable. We arrived in Port St.Mary to be greeted by a bustling harbour wall full of people and stalls. The annual queenie festival was being held that weekend. Queenies are basically a small scallop and the lads took advantage of some great food stalls to recharge after the hard trip over the Irish Sea.

The following morning as forecast the wind had altered direction and decreased.  We fished some of the reefs and wrecks around the Calf of Man which produced steadyish pollack fishing to about 4lb. Many fish were taken on live launce which we caught on a sandbank just off the Calf.

The wind continued to decrease and allowed us to start our journey home via 4 or 5 wrecks. About 8 miles to the south of the Island we spotted many gannets and shearwaters working. We stopped and had the best mackerel fishing I have seen so far this summer. A couple of the lads had smokers at home so were very pleased to catch some mackerel to smoke.

The pollack fishing was steady, with fish up to 7lb. We also had one ling and the odd coalfish thrown in.

The wind continued to decrease for a pleasant passage back to Conwy. We were also treated to a display from a few dolphins as we drew closer to Anglesey.

The weather looks unsettled again for the next couple of days but by the end of the week it finally looks to be settling down for a few days.













Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TT action!

Last weekend was a busy one for us. The weather has been exceptional, over this last week, and I don't think we've had a spell of calmish, hot weather like this for at least a couple of years.

We undertook an unusual and very enjoyable job on Friday, ferrying some keen bikers over to the Isle of Man to see the Senior TT race.  They were all from north Anglesey so we picked them up from Amlwch. Tides dictated a 0300 start from Conwy but we snatched a little shut eye and breakfast in Amlwch Harbour before picking up the lads at 0600. It was a beautiful morning and as we drew closer to the Isle of Man the sea really was mill pond like.

After putting the lads ashore in Douglas Harbour we had a greasy spoon brunch and then had a look around the Grandstand. The Island was buzzing, as it always is on race week. The Senior Race was started and then delayed, so we finally watched most of it at Quarter Bridge.

We left the Island at about 1830, again into glassy calm seas and after dropping the lads back at Amlwch we arrived in Conwy at about 2230. It was a long old day but fun and brought back many memories of when Dad and I used to watch the racing over there in the nineties. The lads have booked the same trip for next year.






Two angling trips, on Saturday and Sunday, again in good weather, but not quite as calm as Friday, saw steadyish pollack fishing on the offshore wrecks. Fish came in to 7 lb and Mally also had the first decent cod of the year at about 4lb. Hopefully they will become more plentiful through the next couple of weeks towards the end of June.

The annual algal bloom is at its height at the moment but we did notice over the weekend that it is starting to die off. The algae multiply so rapidly that the water is stripped of the nutrients the algae feed on so the population crashes and dies off. When this happens the water in the Conwy River has a distinct, strong smell of ozone. So hopefully the water will clear over the next couple of weeks as the bloom dies off, allowing the mackerel to come in, along with many of the other summer species. The algal bloom is an essential part of the marine ecosystem and most fish and shellfish species time their spawnings with the bloom.  Their larvae then have food to eat whilst they spend their first few weeks suspended in the plankton.





video










Yesterday rounded off the weekend with a trip to the lobster pots. Fishing for lobster is still pretty slow but this is now the period where they moult, mate and hatch the eggs they have looked after through the winter. The crab however are very active with plenty in the pots. Some very large male crab around too. If anyone local to the Conwy area would like to buy some reasonably priced brown crab or lobster please feel free to give me a call (07710819747).

I still have a space on a two day Isle of Man trip, 30th June - 1st July, £165 including 1 night B and B, if anyone fancies a short angling break.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

All the ducks lined up!

Its not often they all line up, but they did today. We sailed, with Royal Tottington SAC, from Bury, on a 10 hour offshore wreck trip this morning, encountering calm seas with a light air from the north west. Perfect size tides too so the drift would not be too fast.  The ebb tide carried us down to the west and we tried a couple of wrecks but the fishing was a little slow with a few small pollack.

We ventured a little further out and our new spot produced 4 nice pollack to 7lb on the first drift. Consistent fishing saw pollack falling to many different artificials, notably 6 inch white sidewinders having the edge. The fishing fell away as the ebb slacked so we moved further out again. The final wreck gave the best fishing of the day, over low water, with 5-6 fish a drift not uncommon. The lads ended up with well over 100 pollack up to 8 lb with the main stamp of fish between 3 and 6lb.

A long steam home, carrying back the flood, in the sunshine, went by quickly as the lads busied themselves filleting their catch.

Great fishing, weather and a good bit of banter thrown in, a day that will be hard to beat, thanks lads.

Reports from inshore today tell of an early showing of tope with one of 30lb landed on another charter boat from Conwy.

We have still not caught one mackerel yet, as water temperatures still struggle to reach 10 degrees, but hopefully they will arrive soon.

I have space for one on a two day Isle of Man trip 30th June - 1st July,  £165,  including Band B, if anyone fancies a short angling break.










Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Still no mackerel but inshore ground fishing is ok.

Its nearly June and we have still not caught any mackerel. It appears that the consistently lower water temperatures this year are discouraging the mackerel's movement north through the Irish Sea. Despite the knock on effect of having to use frozen bait instead of fresh mackerel the inshore ground fishing has  been ok. Three trips this last weekend produced plenty of whiting and dogfish with a few dabs.  A few bull huss to 12lb and one thornback weighing about 9lb were caught.

We haven't been to the offshore wrecks for a couple of weeks now but the pollack fishing should be ok and we are hoping that the cod we saw in June last year turn up again this year.

As usual trips with room are listed on the website but if you have any other dates you'd like to book don't hesitate to phone.

The last two places on a two day Isle of Man trip on 30th June-1st July are still available. A great fishing break costing £165 including 1 night B and B.

Below a few pictures of the lads over the last few days.





Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lady Gwen's Last Day

My old boat 'Lady Gwen II' finally departed Conwy yesterday to start a new chapter in her life in Northern Ireland. She will be working as an angling boat from the port of Ballycastle.  It was an emotional day despite the fact that I hadn't been to sea in her for over a year.  Lady Gwen had been in the family since new, 32 years ago. So as you can imagine I have spent thousands of days on her, many of which were with my Father, Meurig.

She was lifted onto a low loader and travelled up to Troon on the lower reaches of the Clyde. Her new owner will sail her over to Ballycastle across the North Channel, as soon as the bad weather period breaks.  Many great memories went trundling up the A55 today, but already I have quite a few associated with my new boat 'Gwen-Paul-M'.

The fishing well offshore is still ok for pollack with a few coalfish mixed in. Inshore there are plenty of whiting, dabs and dogfish. One of the other angling boats in Conwy did catch a couple of mackerel the other day and within a couple of weeks we should hopefully start seeing them in numbers.  Dad always used to say that we would start seeing them by Cup Final Day which I think is this weekend, but everything is late this year.

I have space for 5 on an 8 hour ground fishing trip this Sunday if anyone fancies a late notice trip.




Tuesday, April 23, 2013

At Last - Good Signs Offshore

A weather window today allowed another foray to visit some offshore wrecks. Even in Conwy Bay the signs were there, hinting towards a big change in the water temperature, since a fortnight ago. Temperature inshore had increased from 4.7 to 8.7 degrees! Offshore the difference was less marked, rising from 6.7 to 7.4 degrees. Doesn't seem like much, but enough to put the pollack back on the feed. We had about 40 pollack to 7lb. Not startling fishing but at least the season seems to have finally started. Pollack fell mainly to rhubarb and custard 4-6" sidewinders.

Another charter boat from Conwy also had plenty of whiting, dabs and dogfish inshore on Saturday.

I have room on both Saturday (27th April) and Sunday (28th April) on 8 hour inshore fishing trips if anyone would like to book.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cold water temperatures.

The first angling trip of this year, yesterday, proved to be very poor. The cold winter has lowered the sea temperature to over a 1 degree centigrade cooler than is normally seen at this time of year. This doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference to the activity levels of fish and other species inhabiting the Irish Sea. The water temperature inshore was 4.9 degrees C and closer to the Isle of Man the temperature rose to 6.7 degrees C. The water in the western Irish Sea is deeper than in the east so retains more heat through the winter than the shallow eastern side. We fished 7 wrecks up to 37 miles from Conwy and only managed to catch one pollack. We had an hour ground fishing on the way in and managed to catch some whiting, dabs and dogfish.

So the next angling trip is in a fortnight and with warmer weather predicted from next weekend hopefully the sea water temperatures will start to rise. I'll be potting later this week to bait up the gear ready for the start of the season.


Satellite image of sea surface temperature (24th-30th March) (NERC)





I spent most of last week taking advantage of the perfect late winter season snow and ice climbs to be had in Snowdonia. Its been a long season of winter climbing this year and due to the persistent strong easterly wind through this last cold spell there have been some amazing ice formations up there.