Welsh Bassing

Last week was spent on a long-awaited family holiday to Wales, south Snowdonia to be precise, and with the coast on the doorstep it gave me the opportunity to get some early morning fishing in on a few of the days. Never fished this area at all so was very much an experimental few sessions based on a bit of Google maps research for some likely looking ground, Ordnance Survey map cross-reference to find access and checking out for any information I could find on the web that folk have kindly shared about general areas to try. Research complete I settled on a couple of marks to focus on as I’d only have a few hours before breakfast on the days I could get out. Weather-wise it was an absolute scorcher with little or no wind so on paper that was not ideal for the bass though the tides were decent.

After checking the weather and predicted surf forecasts I decided on the open sandy beach for my first foray as it looked likely it would be getting calmer and calmer as the week progressed. The surf was not big at all when I arrived on a rising tide but there was some white water to give me encouragement. On went the Patchinko 125 and I waded out edging myself along through the water every few casts. It didn’t take long for a first hit but it didn’t connect – they were there at least! Couple of casts later though one did connect and my first bass of the trip was landed… nothing huge – a 45-50 cm fish but good scrap nonetheless in what surf there was…

There then followed half an hour where I had good sport with half a dozen bass connecting in the surf and plenty of missed slashes at the Patchinko. The best was a fish around 55cm that completely engulfed the lure and in the process had cut it’s gill rakers to shreds – it was bleeding badly. I usually practice catch and release where I can but sometimes you have to weigh up a situation and it was more humane to despatch this one quickly and take it for the table. It was over the minimum landing size and it would not go to waste that was for sure.

The fish moved on and so I made my way further along the beach with the tide still on the flood. For half an hour it died, zero action but then once again I was back into them – all bass again in that 45-50cm bracket and I picked off a further half dozen or so fish…

The tide was a fair way up by now and it was time to head back to the ranch for breakfast. Nice first little Welsh bass session though and the bass that I took for the table was gratefully received. That evening it was stuffed with garlic, lemon, salt and parsley then grilled to crisp up the skin on the fire pit and finally served with a caper and lemon sauce. Pretty tasty!

On the next morning that I ventured out it was to some rougher mixed ground – plenty of boulders with patches of sand and shale in between but it was flat calm – not a ripple. Same as before I started out with the Patchinko 125 and first cast no sooner had I made the first twitch the lure was nailed by a small bass which was duly released. Then it got frustrating as there was an abundance of fine green weed in the water that within a few seconds of a retrieve was fouling up every lure I tried… weedless rigged lures or not. Tried to get away from it but it was everywhere so I made a decent trek along the coast to try and properly get away from it… this worked to some degree as eventually I found a clear patch at distance using a Savage Gear Seeker metal that produced a couple more small bass. Then something more interesting happened…. I had clearly hooked into another small bass and it was darting around in the water when the rod tightened up and line started being taken before going completely slack. Reeled in…. Both the fish and my Savage Gear Seeker were gone with my fluoro leader cut clean through just above my lure clip. I can only think it was either a seal, though I had not seen any surface at all, or more likely in my humble opinion a tope had picked the bass up and gone with it… but who knows, it will remain a mystery! With thoughts of breakfast I headed back having a couple of casts along the way but the fine green weed was worse than ever.

My final trip out was on the penultimate morning of our stay and was at the other end of the beach to which I’d gone to on my first session of the week. Again the tide was pushing in and there was a bit more surf this time. Same as before I put on the Patchinko 125 and within a cast or two I was in but this time it was a much smaller bass – maybe 30cm at best. At least there were fish there but then it got silly with almost a fish every cast and all small ones around 30cm. Swapped lures out and they were taking anything…. Savage Gear Sandeels, Tide Minnows, Zonks, metals and even the big Patchinko they weren’t shy with! Lost count but there was a plague of them so I moved on down the beach in the hope of snaring a bigger one but it just wasn’t to be… you know it’s time to come off the beach when you see garfish chasing and snapping at your lure!

And that was pretty much it on the fishing front but lovely mornings and what a beautiful part of the UK, completely new to me.

Aside from the fishing what a real tonic for the extended family following what everyone of us has been through – really great to catch-up in a truly beautiful location. We will be back I surmise!

Anyhow, I’ll finish with a few more snaps to round this blog post off including the spectacular scenery and incredible weather we were blessed with…

Until next time…