Our final sea fishing trip to Anglesey this year coincided with what was hopefully to be a run of Small Eyed Rays feeding up in the shallows of Cymyran Bay ready for winter and although the weather forcaste looked a bit rubbish we still took every single piece of fishing gear we owned to make the most of our time on the island.
We arrived on the Island just after lunch after stopping off in Liverpool to get our POLSAF permits sorted so we can fish Liverpool docks, and after doing the normal ‘on arrival’ food shopping grabbed some bait from Valley Baits in the form of some Black Lug, Sandeel and Squid made our way to Cymyran Bay to have a quick sea fishing session for a couple of hours either side of high water.
Although the wind was fairly strong and blowing at us which is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination we still thought there may be a chance of a fish or two, and with a bit of surf running even into the ‘bay’ formed by the bend in the channel between Holy Island and Anglesey proper I set up two rods; one with small size 1 hooks baited with either strips of Squid or Black Lug for Bass and the other with a large 3/0 hooks baited with Sandeel for rays.
The weather managed to stay clear but the fish didn’t turn up until about 1½ hours into the ebb when the rod armed with the small hooks and baited with squid strip gave a violent jerk then a typical slack line bite, indicating a fish had picked up the bait and was running towards the beach. I quickly wound down into it thinking ‘only a small one’ until I managed to get it to the edge of the beach where suddenly it locked solid as the fish got caught in the backwash.
All you can do in this situation is hold on until the the wash brings it ever closer, then once beached make a grab for it, hopefully before another wave turns up. Thankfully Wendy was very adept at this and the first and only Small Eyed Ray of the session was landed – a lovely 7lb 8oz female which after a quick photograph was safely released.
It goes to show though – even a small hook can land a big fish and it’s worth noting that it’s always worth using good quality gear and strong hooks – the rig that caught this fish was only armed with Varivas Semi Circle hooks – size 1 but they certainly did the job even if the rig suffered by having a few of it’s beads shattered, easily fixed though. Typically the rod aimed at rays caught nothing…
The following day the weather was truly dismal so our next session was Sunday night, same place, same state of tide but this time into darkness.
The weather was a bit kinder with hardly any wind and we glad we got there early as the beach to the left of our chosen spot was packed with anglers. Apparently lots of rays had been caught off the flat beach on the ebb but fishing a tide down on a flat beach is tough, always having to cast at maximum range and move to follow the tide out then 10 minutes later do it all again as your bait is only in inches of water. Not my idea of fun and the little bay we were fishing in almost guaranteed a decent depth of water for a couple of hours after high water.
We had high hopes as darkness usually helps beach fishing but again only one Small Eyed Ray was landed, another female weighing 5lb 5oz, this time on a beefed up two hook rig armed with size 3/0 Varivas Semi Circle hooks baited with Sandeel about 2 hours into the ebb.
We also caught Whiting and a small Flounder but this was to be my weekend for catching Small Eyed Rays with non falling to Wendy’s rod although we were casting the same distance using the same baits and almost identical rigs.
Monday was even windier and forcaste rain so we decided against fishing although we did have a look at a mark called Lily Ponds which looks promising for the future but I’m not a big fan of fishing rocks in 25 mph wind and rain, fishing is great, but not great enough to take that sort of risk.
We left Anglesey on Tuesday after calling in at the Pilot House cafe at Penmon Point already talking about our return visit in the Spring of 2011. Not that we’re addicted you understand…