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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mission accomplished thanks to some friendly guidance

I had to wave goodbye to the South on Thursday morning and make my way back up to the North Wales coast, hoping to pick up a package of lures I had ordered especially for my Ireland trip. On arrival back in Bangor though I found out my package had been delayed, brilliant. All was not as bad as it seemed though as being Thursday it was Andy's fishing night, so we had arranged to hit an Anglesey mark to try our luck with the blonde rays. Now I've walked the area with my lure rod but never really new exactly where to go with the beachcasters. As I was there a good 6 hours early it was straight on the phone to Andy for a bit more info on where to head and after a second call to Terry I eventually sussed out the ledge I wanted to fish. Unfortunately it was already taken so I had to improvise and move along the coast a bit keeping an eye wide open for a suitable ledge to fish off. I found one nearby and set up with one rod with an up and over running ledger rig and the other with a standard pulley rig. Both rigs were baited with sandeel/squid and mounted on 4/0 sakuma extras. After not a sniff in over an hour and losing one of my rigs to a snag, I decided to move marks to pass the time until Andy arrived. I chose sewer pipe as my mark and as expected I had a good few wrasse down the edge but again the distance rod remained action free. Whilst there I had a visit from Terry in which we discussed a few plans for Ireland and generally chatted rubbish about all things fishy. Before I knew it the time had come to re-visit mark one and meet Andy.
This time round the preferred ledge was free so I began rigging up hoping that my fortune had changed for the better. One rod out and starting on rod 2, over the hill came Andy. We had a tactical talk and out went rod 2 again baited with sandeel/squid. It wasn't a long wait before I got my first bite and brought in a nice little spotted ray (as seen in Andy's report). This got us a little excited and expectant of a good haul, but as always seems to be the case, it was to be the only ray of the night. Andy had the right idea by switching to a set of feathers in the hope of some fresh bait and when he had one bump off first chuck, it wasn't long before I joined him. In around 30 minutes I notched up a small haul of fish; 2 mackerel, 3 launce (including a new PB in picture) and a lone pollock. Now with some fresh bait available, it was back out with a side of macky and we started getting some regular bites, as expected though in came a number of annoying doggies which varied from being rather large ones to almost anorexic ones. With only dogs showing now, I decided to have a drop down the side and caught a number of small wrasse including ballans and corkwings before the darkness came in and the wrasse action died. I tried switching baits to chunks of mackerel hoping for a rockling or just something different but nothing was happening so I just lobbed it out and left it. Andy had also switched tactics on one of his rods and opted for a bit of scratching, resulting in a number of whiting which made a handy fresh bait. It was very slow going and watching my tips motionless for long periods was making me see things. I thought my scratching rod was knocking but everytime I concentrated on it nothing would happen. As I lost interest in it though it shot round and this time it was definitely a fish. I struck into it and felt a small resistance and thought I was into a whiting just like the ones Andy was catching. To my great delight though it turned out to be a small grey gurnard (species 47)
My only other highlight was this huge spider crab that took fancy to my macky fillet. To put its size into perspective, the ruler its attempting to destroy is 45cm long so its fair to say it was rather large, another PB :)
With this the session ended, another very enjoyable session with some great company in which all sorts of tips and marks were exchanged. Not a bad result in the end with another new species and a couple of PB's and a great new mark to add to my personal log book. Will definitely be back out with Andy soon as he's been a pleasure to fish with on the few occasions we've managed to get out. One day we'll smash it up!

That brings me to todays short session. As mentioned at the start of the post I had originally come over to get a package and this time I'd had an email to tell me it was due for arrival around midday, about time. Anyway I made the 90 minute trip over to pick it up and thought I may as well have another bash at the blondes. Conditions were very different to the session a few days previous with a good chop on the water and the tide this time on the flood . I whacked out 2 rods with pulleys and just left them to do there thing. I had left them a good 45minutes and was starting to think about packing it in. Typically though this is when my rod arched over and the line slowly started inching from the spool. I picked up the rod, waited for a good pull and struck into a nice weight. A nervous and exciting few moments at the side and I started to see the wings appear beneath me, first the spots and then the blatent blonde ray patterns, I had got my target :) (species 48) I took my time landing it safely and got a couple of nice photos before releasing it to be caught again another day. My scales unfortunately ran out of batteries the previous session and I had completely forgotten to change them so I couldn't weigh it. At a guess though I would say it was around the 8lb mark which seems to be a number I can't go beyond when ray fishing. This would be my only bite of the 2.5 hour session but did I care, not one bit. What a lovely fish to save a blank and yet another species I'd never caught. This year just gets better and better. I am starting to believe that this target of 60 species may be achievable. 

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,
Ross