The boat pitched and rolled under a grey sky. I was struck with a thought. If this weather were in April rather than July, you would even say we were having a poor Easter. My favourite Milford Haven Ray mark was the first destination of the day. The Thornbacks were targeted with whole mini-squid on 3/0 hooks and ragworm (from County Sports, Haverfordwest) was used to tempt smaller flatfish. Nothing was interested in our baits at this spot. Not even a dogfish. So we upped anchor to test the sea conditions at the mouth of the Haven near Saint Ann’s head.

A confused sea made for uncomfortable fishing; just standing up in the cockpit was difficult. This wasn’t much fun, so the boat was anchored again in one of the sheltered bays that line the approach to the Haven. Previously in this very spot I’d had some mackerel at anchor, so the feathers went over the side. A few lifts-and-drops of the rod-tip and the fish were on. A string of five mackerel came aboard. In my book, catching your first mackerel is the sign that the summer has officially begun.

Mackerel, Scomber scombrus

A pause to unhook the catch, take some photos, and the feathers were back into the water. And straight into the shoal. A few fish threw the hook at the surface (as I debated whether someone should deploy the net) so the mackerel-count was now seven. This was enough for dinner, so I made the switch to bait fishing. I think that this cove must have a rocky bottom, as the only other fish caught here were dogfish and a ballan wrasse.

Ballan Wrasse, Labrus bergylta

To escape the rough water, we pointed the boat east further up the haven. The gloomy weather continued, and I could only catch more dogfish. The first Bass of the year remains elusive.

Total Catch:
  • 7 Mackerel
  • 4 Lesser Spotted Dogfish
  • 1 Ballan Wrasse