Is there a more beautiful sight to the bass fisherman than a flock of terns diving for baitfish?
The easterly winds had strengthened, meaning another day within the confines of Milford Haven. This time we decided to target bass and try further upstream. I set up two lure rods for trolling – one with a Red Tiger Berkley Frenzy Flicker Shad and the other with a Silver Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk.
I can’t think of a more reliable indicator of fish than diving birds. The skipper pointed the boat into the middle of a feeding flock and we dragged our lures through the middle of the action. The fish finder was showing good contacts mid water, and almost immediately I was into a fish. It was just a small schoolie bass which had taken a fancy to the Berkeley Frenzy.
I handed the productive rod onto another crew member and took up the Rapala. It was an unfortunate move as the silver Rapala didn’t interest any fish today. Though, two keeper sized bass took the red lure, coughing up several whitebait onto the deck as they came aboard.
The feeding flock (and shoals I imagine) dispersed, so we anchored up away from the main flow of the river. I set up the bait rods as we had done yesterday, and cast out the squid and ragworm baits into a falling tide. Crabs were a nuisance, stripping the ragworm and chewing the squid before any fish could find the bait.
We relocated onto a nearby mooring, and set out the three rods once more. I was hoping for a big bass to come along to take the squid, and for a flounder on the ragworm-baited flounder trace on the lure rod. Only one solitary dogfish was interested in the squid, but a couple of fish hooked themselves onto the ragworm-baited trace. Another schoolie bass, and a flatfish. Flounder? No! On examination it was definitely a plaice and not a flounder as expected. I was surprised to see one this far from the open sea. It was a fat little thing and weighed 12oz.
For me, one of the pleasures of fishing is the other wildlife encountered. The bird-life on the river today was impressive. A pair of red kite – which are becoming more common in Pembrokeshire – a couple of buzzards, and best of all, hovering over the waterway, an osprey. The first time I’d ever seen one. Amongst the usual heron, terns, mute swans, oystercatchers, cormorants and gulls were an incongruous trio of black swans.
A final trolling session of the day supplied a few more bass for the boat. I hooked and lost one, but boated (and returned) another small schoolie. A great weekend of fishing, which shows what can be achieved even when the weather forecast is unpromising.
- 3 Bass
- 1 Plaice
- 1 Lesser Spotted Dogfish