There’s a hulk of rusting ironwork at the decommissioned Royal Naval Armaments Depot located on the north shore of Milford Haven. Known variously as Newton Noyes Pier or Wards Pier, it is out-of-bounds to shore based anglers, but I’ve often seen small boats anchored up close by. I’ve never caught anything there, but I decided to position the boat nearby for another attempt. Spoiler Alert: Not a bite.
We move on to our favourite mark for thornback ray further down the Haven toward the open sea. Using my light beach caster, I toss the 3/0 hook baited with ‘bluey’ away from the boat.
The rod tips shows movement and I bend the rod into some serious resistance. Unmistakably the character of a ray. I am somewhat relieved this mark has delivered; it’s been a few years since I’ve actually caught a ray here. Using a wide-mouthed net the ray is safely netted. 7lb 8oz. A quick photo and the fish is released to flap away. Not a bad fish for my fist catch of the year. Part of me can’t believe it is June before I catch anything, but 2021 is anything but a usual year.
Another smaller ray is caught in the same way, plus the inevitable The heaver boat rod fishing with squid, right under the boat, remains untouched.
The sea state isn’t a rough as feared, so we nose out into the mouth of Haven, to try our luck with mackerel feathers. I catch a string of five pollack. (I’m sure there would have been six, but for the a missing hook). They are all small fish. Identically sized. Where have all the big pollack gone?
I also snag a sandeel and couple of grey gurnard. This gurnard is the largest I’ve caught. I’m told they make great eating despite their spiky appearance, and half the body-weight being head. I keep this one back for the table.
The gurnard, filleted and pan-fried was excellent. Better than bass in my opinion.
- 2 Thornback Ray
- 1 Dogfish
- 1 Greater Sandeel
- 6 Pollack
- 2 Grey Gurnard