Just out of Milford Haven’s shipping channel, lies a sandbank (or maybe a mudbank?) that I was curious to try out. A new length of anchor rope made this accessible for the first time. It isn’t far from my favourite ray-mark and I hoped for a bull huss or maybe a conger eel. Using a combo of mackerel and squid on a 3/0 hook, I cast the Abu uptide rod away from the boat. I had no luck today finding anything interesting. A couple of the Haven’s most numerous inhabitants, the lesser spotted dogfish, were the only catch.
After forty minutes, we decided to move on.
Upping anchor, we motored out to the same reefs as yesterday. I hoped for more luck with the cod today, or another bass.
At this time of year, most seabirds have already bred and departed so the skies were quieter than spring and early summer. A few gulls and a fulmar circled the boat as we pulled in the relentless pollack.
This species was the only one we were catching. The largest being around 2lb. No bass. No cod. I set up a paternoster rig (1/0 hooks and mini-squid) to try to tempt something else. Result: more pollack. Using feathers couldn’t find any mackerel of any size either. Time to try something different.
We cautiously navigated the notorious Jack Sound to take the boat into St. Martin’s Haven; a journey best undertaken on slack water on calm days. This is a location that usually delivers mackerel when all other places fail. Not today however. A large grey seal, and a second sunfish of the weekend (a little smaller than yesterday’s) were the only distractions. We moved onto the ‘Hand Marks’ nearby. Without sonar, we couldn’t find any features to fish, and aimlessly drifted in the area without a bite. Even a wild goose would tire of this chase. The boat headed back through the sound.
Resuming fishing with mackerel-baited hooks and soft-plastic lures could only more pollack. No bass to be seen.
A final roll of the dice: Tie on a Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk. Troll over a mark that on one memorable occasion gave a good bass with every pass (although it hadn’t been productive since).
The boat turned at the end of its first pass. The Rapala – a hundred yards behind the stern – swung round in the current, the rod jerked and the reel sang. Fish on! You can always tell by the fight that it is a bass, and not another pollack. Bass fight all the way to the boat; pollack give up and allow themselves to be meekly dragged across the surface. Safely netted, this bass measured up at just under 52cm. (10cm over the minimum to retain).
Over the next few runs, the lure was picked out by a fish every time. A couple of smallish pollack and two more bass (51cm and 36cm). Very happy with this great result coming late in the day. The sun and long day had taken their toll. Time to head for home.
- 2 Lesser Spotted Dogfish
- 7 Pollack
- 3 Bass