With wind, snow and freezing temperatures, topped off with a NE force 10 causing havoc in Holyhead, 2010 started in epic fashion. For My Way the year started the same as every other, being lifted out of the water for some well-earned TLC. There were not that many demanding tasks undertaken, more so time consuming. cheap nfl jerseys The deck was ground right back to the original gel coat, so that a new anti-slip surface could be bonded on correctly and also the cabin was given a good sand down and colour change.
As ever the engine was given an overhaul and any signs of possible problems corrected, thus helping us towards another problem free year ahead.
Launching early March our fishing adventures could be best described as up and down. Many days would see a fair number of fish come aboard, and others not so many – the only consistency being the elusiveness of anything touching double figures on the scales. That said, those who fish with us very early on know what to expect – plenty of whiting, dogs, dabs and huss. Weather permitting we can move offshore and locate the good spurdog packs and early tope. Sadly though March 2010 saw the winds roll and scupper all opportunities to catch the big uns.
Fortunately April saw the change in our weather fortunes as more settled weather and high pressure spells nestled over the UK and treated us all to calmer fortunes. This time of year we tend to go on the lookout for big bull huss, spring spurdog and if lucky one or two small tope that often run with the spurdog packs. Northern marks at the edge of Holyhead Deeps were not to let us down as our first jolly early April returned numerous double figure huss and spurdog to 15lb. Sadly no tope on this day, but being a good 6weeks before our general run started, we were not to down hearted. The following day a slight change in actual mark we fished, gave us the huss, spurdog and this time the tope we had hoped for, weighing in over 20lb. During this particular trip in early April we reached a good 12 species, including pollack, coalie, ballan, cuckoo, a good start to our 2010 adventures.
This good weather continued throughout April and fortunately for the anglers aboard the fishing was equally as good with numerous big spurs, tope and huss being found on the 2/6 offshore deep water marks.
May is when we start to turn our attentions to the abundance of large smoothhound that visit Holyhead for a feed on the many peeling crab in the area. Those familiar with our website and fishing aboard My Way, will know only too well how fond I am of catching these hard fighting small sharks. In shallow waters, and with bodies built for electrifying speed, smoothhound put up the best small shark fight in the UK!
Normally by the middle of May our hound fest is in full swing, however this year things were slow to get off the mark. On May 18th we had Dave Barham and Jim Midgley from the UK’s Boat Fishing Monthly magazine on board to film a new series of programs ‘Barham on Boat Fishing’ for the Web based Online Fishing TV . Typical, the smoothhound were in short supply, however we managed to scratch out a couple. You can watch the program via subscription or a pay per view on the OnlineFishing TV website.
Still struggling the following day, a change was on the cards to offer the anglers some good sport. With neap tides and settled weather upon us the next few days where going to be spent chasing big fish in Holyhead Deep. Our chosen mark was approximately 8miles SW of Holyhead’s famous South Stack lighthouse in waters of 250ft deep.
Disappointment at the lack of smoothhounds was soon forgotten about as over the next few days the anglers aboard My Way hooked into countless double figure fish – huss, tope and some quality spurdogs making many a happy smile. During 2009 we had tried to get a few days filming ‘in the can’ on spurdogs for Phill Williams website – Fishing, Film and Facts, sadly weather and spurdogs conspired against us. This year though with glorious weather and a fair number of spurs around, a quick phone call saw Phill hopping aboard My Way a mere 10hrs later. Phil wasn’t disappointed and managed some great footage with spurs to 16lb, big huss and some pack tope making special appearances. You can view the film Denizens of the deeps here.
During the last week of May, the smoothies started to trickle through. I was joined in the week by Ian and Matthew Burrett, father & son team from the famous Luce Bay charters ‘On Yer Marks’. Along with Family Burrett, came skippers and small boat owners from north of the border – all in search of big welsh smoothhound. The pressure was now certainly on, I have a lot of respect for Ian, not only is he a highly respected skipper, but also a keen conservationist who works tirelessly for all anglers. Spurdogs, Skate and many other sharks and fish species all owe a little bit of gratitude to Ian and his drive and enthusiasm within angling for more information please visit the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network website. The fishing was patchy, yet everyone managed to land one or 2 hounds with the biggest topping the scales at a very respectable 18lb 3oz; with Ian himself landing 4 great double figure smoothhounds.
Just as the hound fishing started to pic up, we had to break away for a couple days with the return of the Anglesey Boat Angling Festival, 2010 was the 6th outing for this festival. Scheduled to return during the last weekend of May in 2011, despite being a competition the Anglesey Festival is a very friendly fun event with prizes spread throughout the field of anglers.
Following the festival we turned our attentions back to the smoothhound, this time, they were back on form for us, with many high teens and 20lb+ fish coming to My Way including the biggest of 2010 for myself at 21lb 12oz.
Wrasse and inshore pollack, a firm favourite, have also proved to be a great hit once again. Slow to appear this year, the wrasse have started to become plentiful with ballan, corkwing, cuckoo and goldsinney wrasse all making an appearance, the rock cook tho still eluding My Way in 2010. Towards the end of July, the ballan sizes started increasing and reaching the 4lb mark Drifting under the cliffs around South Stack we were also seeing some good numbers and sizes of Pollack with plenty of coalfish and codling, with the odd fish going home at around 4lb in size.
The general fishing through June July and August saw many species and fish come aboard My Way, with the ray fishing proving exceptionally good with plenty of blonde rays, the bigger few going 15lb+ , some of them caught during the Anglesey Festival, at only 3 points reward, it’s funny to see a 15lb blonde ray cursed! Plenty of small blondes, thornbacks to 12lb and 3lb spotted rays are making for some good sport at anchor along with our usual suspects of dogfish, congers, whiting, dabs, gurnards and huss along with many other species.
Offshore the double figure sport continued throughout the summer months with the spurs being caught right through to September. Fishing in the deeper water we tend to tackle up big, with hooks rarely any smaller than 5/0. With spurs, huss, conger, ray and tope than normal catch, you just never quite know what has taken your bait. Reeling in a double figure shark, often over 40lb from 200foot of water really is an accomplishment, even the fittest and strongest among us require a rest after such an exhilarating fight
During 2010, the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers brought their Boat Team qualifiers to Holyhead; here anglers competed hard against each other for a prized position within the international team of Welsh anglers. The trials are also an excellent learning curve for anglers who have not only aspirations of making the National Team, but also those just wanting to learn more on rigs, bait preparation and tactics from a fishy fun weekend.
Having been part of the National Team for 6 years, it is a very proud moment for a true Welshman to qualify into this team and it is also testimony to the hard work and dedication they all have.
Early August and the weather once again became fairly unpredictable. One day we would have no wind, sunshine and some excellent fishing around the coast, then the following day we would be restricted to inshore marks, scratching for a variety of species and crossing fingers for a double figure something to put a bend in the rod.
An individual’s day on the 2nd was greeted by flat calm seas and the chance to run out to Holyhead Deep, for some possible tope and spur action. Here we managed to land a fair number of tope to 36lb and spurdogs to 16lb, along with numerous huss. However the NW 2 forecasted turned into a NW 4, which left a rather lumpy ride back in. On the morning of the 3rd, with slightly higher winds, I took the decision not to venture to the deeps, caught out in a NW for the previous day; we couldn’t take the risk of stronger winds that afternoon. It was a good call, the wind certainly picked up, though we we’re able to fish wholesale jerseys in the relative safety and calmer waters around Holyhead Bay. Fishing wasn’t as prolific; certainly a variety of species but the guys struggled for anything of note. I say guys, as Gina, the only lady on the trip showed them all up, quite possibly in fish count but also with the addition of 2 firsts, a spotted ray and a thornback ray!
We then ,lost a couple days to the weather, with strong winds still forecasted for the 07th, I had a chat with the crew from St Helens informing them that the deeps looked a no go, however if they we’re happy to come down early – we could get to the mussel beds and try for rays and huss. Everyone was happy with this call and our day was planned. In the morning though, the winds had eased and the forecast looked promising (another I don’t know what’s happening forecast from the Met Office). So after a brief chat to see if anyone had a rush to get home, our day was lengthened from 8hrs to 11 and a half in the end to get the LW slack in the deeps. So after a variety of species inshore including, wrasse and pollock on the drift, dogs, gurnards, whiting etc at anchor we ventured out to the deeps – where tope, spurs and big huss saw a brilliant end to a good days fishing.
There’s an old saying regarding our sport being called ‘Fishing and not Catching’. More anglers need to realise this and not expect the world every time they set sail. I’ve had the good fortune to fish with the St Helens guys for a fair few years now, this year in particular they have had 2 pretty duff trips with me with the weather scuppering our planned days afloat, then bingo, things seem to go our way.
The last tide of the early August neaps saw us set sail once again with only 2 things on our minds …. Wrasse and Deeps! Well actually 3 things, food as well. When the RAFA lads come out to play, we eat, eat, eat and also land a few decent fish as well. apply During this day, we we’re again joined by Phill Williams from Boat Fishing Monthly and Fishing Film and Facts fame. Before we had even set sail, I threw the sausages and bacon one of the lads had brought into the oven, these would provide breakfast for us an hr later. We started the day drifting for cheap NBA jerseys wrasse and pollack. Eventually making our way over to another area of rough ground that we knew held quality wrasse, with the odd pollack and codling. No one was disappointed; with single and double shots of wrasse over 3lb coming over the gunwales. After a few hrs of hectic drifting we had to move off the mark as the tide had changed and anchored up in Trearddur Bay for just over an hr, simply to while away some time before the tide had dropped sufficiently for us to anchor and fish the deeps with success. At 250foot depth and a very strong tide, a minimum of 2lb is required even during the last hr of the tide (thought we do get an hr at 8oz as well). I’d love to tell you about all the species we caught here, but we never really fished, most of the time was spent talking in the sunshine, football, jokes and anticipation of the deeps and the chilli and curry we had on the menu for later.
Well the deeps didn’t disappoint – plenty of tope and spurs, however the size had fallen. Whereas most of 2010 has seen spurs over the 10lb bracket, this time around we we’re plagued by spurdogs around the 5lb mark. That said, many on the trip caught their first ever, that’s always a big plus, with a couple lads also catching a tope for the first time, with Jay catching his first 10lb+ bull huss from a great depth of water! I won’t though go into detail of someone calling net for a ray that turned out to be a plastic bag!
The food, well, Martin’s chilli was awesome, Jon’s curry was fiery and Trish’s fairy cakes where out of this world. Fishing is good fun, but made all the more enjoyable with some great food as well.
September started off on a high, with very settled high pressure and sunshine bearing down on us for the first few days. Drifting offered plenty of ballan and cuckoo wrasse, with weights up to 5lb and 1lb 8oz respectively. I even managed to snare myself a decent wrasse during 1 trip out and break a long standing 4lb pb with a fish of 4lb 10oz.
The first week of September saw us fishing with the Armed Forces. Teams of 9 anglers from the Army, Navy and RAF fished a hard battle True against one another in the prestigious Inter Services Boat Angling Championships.
Inshore and the fishing was fairly hectic once again with a good variety of fish coming aboard My Way. Along with some good spotted rays, we had a few thornies and blondes. The blonde Ray on the right was a good size, however only tipped the scales at 15lb!
Other species included the world famous Welsh Tiger Shark, yep honest, it was reported so in the papers a few years ago – we normally call them dogfish though, plenty of red & grey gurnards around along with a few nice tubs. The Tub Gurnard is not a fish we catch in abundance, but 2010 has seen a fair few around the 2lb mark.
Further catches inshore included pollack, huss, whiting, codling, smoothies, dabs, plaice, strap congers and a few others.
We managed a few trips into Holyhead Deep, however after 5 excellent months gone by with huss, tope and spurs in abundance, the trips of September returned very few hard fighting sharks. Plenty of huss, however only a handful of tope and a few small spurs were really all that put bends in the rods.
October and November have been hard months from Vps Holyhead. I guess given the fairly settled weather through the year (wind wise that is), our time of good fortune had to come to an end.
That said, in between the winds, that on occasions reached a Storm Force 10 in Holyhead we have popped out of the harbour and been rewarded with some fairly decent days afloat.
Owing to lumpy seas and undesirable forecasts we have though been limited on the majority of occasions to fishing within Holyhead Bay. However, with some good churned up seas the fishing has been reliable on all occasions with typical autumn and winter species coming to the boat in great numbers. The Species count on most trips has included the good old dogfish and its larger cousin the bull huss, but also a fair number of codling, coalfish and pollack all averaging in the 3lb bracket.
These highly desirable fish have been topped up with an abundance of good size whiting, many of which have exceeded the 1 1/2 lb mark. OK not monsters of the English Channel, but for our shore, certainly a very good size and important for some – take-able … with a few chips, happy times!
It has been another good year aboard My Way; the fishing has been fantastic. It’s also been good and it’s also been dreadfully poor, that said I’m sure Aboard you have always seen My Way try hard to put you amongst the fish you desire. The last count showed that anglers aboard My Way have boated 47 different species of fish throughout the year, ranging from small gobies to big tope, here’s hoping to break the 50 in 2011.
The My Way species list for 2010 totals 47: –
Main fish list – black bream, bull huss, codling, coalfish, dogfish, dab, conger, flounder, grey gurnard, red gurnard, tub gurnard, haddock, herring, ling, thick lipped mullet, mackerel, plaice, pollack, pouting, blonde ray, thornback ray, spotted ray, 3 bearded rockling, greater sandeel, scad, ss sea scorpion, common smoothhound, starry smoothhound, spurdog, tadpole fish, turbot, tope, ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, whiting
Mini Specie – tompot blenny, dragonet, black goby, rock goby, leopard spotted goby, shore rockling, ls sea scorpion, corkwing wrasse, goldsinny wrasse, rock cook wrasse, lesser weaver