2012 Aboard My Way

On 07th February My Way was re-launched following a 4week stint in the boat yard having some well-earned TLC following the rigours of the previous year afloat.

The next few days were spent completing a few odd jobs before getting the kit ready for our first trip of the 2012 season.

This trip was on Sunday 12th February, with a 30ft tide and 8 novices and 1 angler; it was going to be an interesting day afloat for early February. The big tides would keep us inshore, but a pleasant enough day was on the cards with a few different species.

Fortunately the day went without too much of a hitch for our newcomers, the inexperience not really showing through as each of the lads took to using the gear fairly quickly.

Sadly though the fishing was fairly slow on all the marks that we tried through the day.

Ever present were the dogfish, many coming to the anglers in braces and on the odd occasions as triple shots, mixed in with a fair number of small huss.

A few coalies graced the decks and with weights of around 2lb, they were quickly despatched as thoughts turned to a fish n chip supper for the fortunate anglers.

 

A few very small codling also came aboard along with a couple dabs. Gareth P a regular aboard My Way and experienced pleasure and match angler managed to break the monotony of double shots of dogfish with a small ling of a few lb. 

We also boated 1 small female thornback of around 6lb in weight.

  

Having cancelled a few days afloat a week because of high winds a more settled forecast was ahead of us for the last weekend in February. The tides once again on the large size cancelled any thoughts of a venture to Holyhead Deep, so inshore Holyhead was the order for the both days. Saturdays crew of regular My Way anglers were looking forward to the laughs as well as the fishing.

Pete ‘chilli’ Chant and company were all eager to get afloat, catch a few fish and have a good giggle at each other through the day. The fishing was cheap mlb jerseys fairly consistent for a cold February day – dogfish, small huss and small codling similar to 2 weeks ago were making up the bulk of the catches.

Amongst them, we also found a few coalfish around 2lb in weight and a few decent sized whiting.

Pete though decided to go one better than everyone aboard and landed a very nice inshore ling, the ling went un-weighed but was estimated at around 4 to 5lb.

During the second week in March we had some pretty mixed fortunes with the weather in Holyhead; both sunshine and rain in equal amounts and the winds not quite knowing what they should be doing.

Once again, the more settled weather early 2012 fell on spring tides with both days just under 33ft in height.

Not a terrible thing, but owing to the big tidal strengths around our area of operation it restricts our movements to inshore work.

We were rewarded each day with a great early season mixed bag, including dogfish, bull huss, coalfish, whiting, codling, and a fair amount of  thornbacks making it aboard My Way, all 2009 though smallish average size between 3 and 6lb but still first rays for the majority of captors.

Surprise catch in the shallow waters was a nice 16lb conger eel.

.

Further excitement was heard on the deck one trip when some plump coalfish came aboard; a few of the anglers then stopped everything … for sushi. One of the lads had brought along a top quality sushi making kit, rice vegetables, dips, etc. – we simply had to provide the fish. I then watched as in a very professional manner aboard a slightly rocking boat he eagerly prepared a sushi meal.

The end product did surprise me a little as it looked, identical to what you see in magazines or online food websites. .

Our first trip out to deeper waters west of Anglesey saw a group of My Way regulars from Wrexham rewarded with a good number of quality spurdog.

All that is except organiser Mike and crewman Harry who both took a barrage of abuse from anglers often onto their 2nd spurdog before our intrepid duo had even hooked into a dogfish .

Many spurs and huss made the bulk of the catch in the deeps, with dogfish adding to the numbers. With the spurdog weighing an average of 12lb, it was another great start to the season for our offshore exploits.

For a number of years, April has always seen the UK bask in a mini heat wave, as a few different high pressures roll over the country and reward anglers with settled seas and a good number of species and double figure fish, firmly wetting the appetite for the year ahead.

2012 however bucked this modern day trend well and truly, wind and rain scuppered many days out for anglers throughout the United Kingdom, especially in our small corner of north Wales.

The fishing when we have been able to get out has been difficult to say the least. Inconsistent weather patterns have in a way been reflected in the fishing we have had.

Inshore marks that have come up trumps one day with an early season haul consisting of dogfish, bull huss, spotted and thornback rays along with codling, coalfish, whiting tub gurnard etc. have the next day, struggled to offer even a dogfish. .

May is an important month in the My Way calendar, it focuses our attentions to the influx of smoothhound … big smoothhound !

My Way was booked on Wednesday 09th May by Graham Hinchliffe from Chester, for some early season action and hoping to whet the appetites for more of his colleagues, eager to get afloat for their first boat fishing session ever. The lads enjoyed a good morning with plenty of variety coming to the baits dogs, whiting, plenty of dabs, with a few coalies, spotted rays and pollack.

To end the day, we had decided to spend the last couple hours trying for a few smoothhound. After an hour of inactivity, Graham was sat near the cabin enjoying a cup of tea and biscuit, on the stern his rod arched over and line started screaming from his Abu 7500 reel. Quickly on the rod, Graham lifted into the smoothie and for the next 25minutes battled against what looked to be a very good shark!

When the smoothhound broke surface, it certainly did look a good one, having taken nearly half an hour to land and with the fish swimming around other lines, we had quite a tangle to contend with.

The mass of line was quite fortunate to be honest, as when I reached over with the net; I slipped and dropped it in the water! Thankfully a couple lines snagged onto the neck of the net and I cheap nfl jerseys managed to retrieve it, albeit a little sheepishly.

.

With the first few weeks of May turning out to be a major disappointment owing to consistently high winds, we were feeling fed up having cancelled far more trips than we had actually sailed.

The only highlight was our first smoothhound of the year, topping the scales at over 20lb in weight; we certainly wanted Rissoles to catch more!

As the 3rd week of May approached, so did a far better forecast, north Wales was wholesale nfl jerseys finally going to receive some settled weather, allowing us to set sail more often.

A few trips recently were made up with individual anglers, all regulars and all looking for some great sport from big Holyhead smoothhound.

One of the many football adversaries that I have made over the years is Curly a true blue Manchester City fan, loves to mention the ascendancy ‘Citeh’ have found themselves enjoying in recent years.

The fact it is all down to charitable donations from an oil rich sheik and not true footballing genius as when LFC conquered home and European football is apparently irrelevant … !

Never the less, we helped Curly bag his first smoothhound with a hard fighting hound on light sensor tackle weighing 12lb 8oz (photo left).

. All said though, the smoothhound fishing had been patchy compared to our high standards and certainly hard work when looking back to the reliability of recent years. Where one day we can go out and bag a dozen large double figures it will be followed by a day with just 1 or 2.

An example of this was late May 2012, when amongst the crew of 7, we had 4 anglers visiting from Newcastle Upon Tyne. Having found Roy, his first ever tope in 2011, the task this year was for a smoothhound.

The hounds though had other ideas, leaving the baits for a constant stream of dogs and small codling to devour. Through the day despite trying a couple of our more consistent marks for the hounds, the return was a paltry 2.

With the tides dropping for the following day, we decided that a trip off to Holyhead Deep was called for and then try for the hounds later in the afternoon. Our day started drifting for small wrasse, pollack, codling and coalie for an hour. As the tide dropped we made our way off to a mark offshore, which would see us anchored in around 180ft of water, with the drop off laying the baits around 220ft.

Roy was first into a fish, a nice spurdog just short of double figures; we won’t mention how the skipper knocked it off with the net though J. For the next 3 hours, all 7 anglers were treated to a big fish bonanza and from 200ft of water, they certainly felt it afterwards. Every 5 minutes there was call of net as double figure spurdog were accompanied by double figure bull huss!

.

I was joined one day by a group of good friends, Boat Fishing Monthly duo Dave Barham and Jim Midgley, Anglers Net Supremo Elton Murphy and the MD of  World Sea Fishing Mike Thrussell jnr.

Our plans were to have a ball in the deeps with the double figure spurs and huss, maybe even snaring a tope for our efforts. Everyone caught well from a variety of species, however despite, the mass of angling super talent aboard that day honours were won by My Way crewman GmbH Harry.

Having bought a £7 kiddies play rod from a shop in town; coupled with a small Abu 6000, Harry was determined to land big and have fun whilst doing it!

Drifting a couple wrecks on our way out to our chosen mark, Harry caught consistently on most passes, with pollack averaging 3 to 5 lb, this little fishing rod bent double as the pollack hit hard and made the occasional dive for freedom!

In over 200 foot of water, the fun really started , a spurdog was the target species for Harry, despite having been fishing these waters for many years, the spurdog always eluded his hook, congers, huss or dogfish usually getting to the bait first.

It wasn’t soon after dropping anchor that his rod was bouncing with a Anadrole: nice take from the depths. During the fight, Harry often had to hold the 4foot, 2 ring masterpieces straight down Aboard to allow the fish to take line without the risk of snapping! Eventually after a gruelling 20 minute battle, a …. Conger broke the surface! we laughed at this initial capture given the spurdog fishing of recent days, we then realised that a good 20lb conger had just been hauled from the deep water on what could be best described as a twig!

Following the success of our Smoothhound challenge competition in 2011, this year’s event was extended to 2 days and run over the bank holidays of the Queens Jubilee celebrations.

The aim of the Smoothhound Challenge is to simply catch the heaviest hound of the trip.

The main prize each day was a Fladen IM8 sensor tip rod, perfectly matched with a Fladen Maximus 444 sized multiplier reel.

These prizes, along with baseball caps were kindly donated to us by Fladen UK.

.

June saw My Way sail with great regularity. I wouldn’t say that the weather has been the best, far from it to be honest. But we managed to work around most of what the wind gods had being throwing at us taking each day as it comes.

This scenario helped out by some great crews, for example where our intended marks have been off to Holyhead Deep and the wind has blown, we have simply loaded up with a selection of rigs and baits including quality fresh peeler crab and enjoyed a species hunt inshore along with some great small shark action inshore.

Fortunately we have seen some very good double figure smoothhounds aboard My Way once again in 2012; sadly only 2 have topped the magical 20lb mark this year.

But with many anglers reaching personal bests averaging 15lb and a few with 18 and 19lb fish it has again been a successful period for us.

If our observations over recent years are followed, next year could be a return to bumper hounds aboard My Way.

A surprise species landed in June was a streaked gurnard. These are quite rare around the UK; I’d never seen one before during my personal fishing travels. Scratching around on a species hunt, Rob Field called a gurnard to upset his fishing companion Lloyd.

A quick look indicated a tub or very pale red. However on closer inspection the blue on the tips of the pectoral fins of a tub was missing and the colour was certainly not red, even the shape of the head looked slightly different.

I did have my suspicions then and took a few photographs before the gurnard was released to the sea. Home that evening I emailed the photo to a good friend who for me is second to none on fish identification, a hobby that has turned into a passion over years.

The reply came back ‘tis easy- a streaked’; superb and well done Rob

.

With the potential of only catching double figure fish Holyhead Deep is a great draw for many anglers. Huss, spurdog and tope are the usual suspects and it is always recommended that everyone tackles up on the big side, and goes all out to land specimen sharks.

There are other species to be had, whiting, dogs and grey gurnards the most prolific, but these are also achievable inshore, no point in missing out when in the deeps. July is an exceptional month with an array of double figure specimens waiting to be caught.

Where as inshore, a good day receives afloat can see up to 20 different species being caught, even more if small hooks and small baits are used when chasing mini species.

Following the Streaked Gurnard featured in our last report, I didn’t think we’d have another first aboard My Way for a long while, but I was proved wrong by Scottish International angler George Bell.

Whilst drifting under the cliffs of South Stack lighthouse George hooked into what could only be best described as a dead weight.

Calls of octopus and rock echoed around the boat until Georges catch broke the surface, an Angler fish.

Normally found in much deeper and colder water, this fish weighing at around 3lb was certainly lost at sea!

The weather in August was fairly decent for our small part of the country and it allowed My Way to sail everyday up until 17th Aug 2012. The early part of the month was spent on fairly large tides that restricted our movements.

Many of the days would start off on the drift looking for wrasse, pollack and codling, it’s a great way to move around our coast, travelling and fishing for some extremely hard fighting species.

Couple this with relatively light rods and reels and you have some great sport on your hands.

During August and September, we run many evening trips were we spend the vast majority of time drifting for these species, only anchoring up for the last hour to for a well-deserved break and enjoy our supper.

On one such evening trip we were treated to a fantastic sunset and some excellent fishing with plenty of ballans to 3lb and some extremely colourful cuckoo wrasse along with a few small pollack.

Following a hectic few hours drifting we anchored up to enjoy the last hour fishing on the bottom and give us some time to enjoy our sausage butties, the sport though was again hectic at anchor with a variety of species coming over the gunwales along with only the second ever tadpole fish to be caught aboard My Way, the icing on the cake though was yet to come!

Manchester angler Dave has become a regular aboard My Way in the last couple years.

Dave has been fortunate to work around the wind to get out and find some great sport, this particular evening trip was to be similar as cries of net echoed around the boat as I prepared the butties in the galley below.

This time Dave had managed to land a beautiful inshore ling.

A ling that took the scales to just under the 15lb mark, the biggest to be caught aboard My Way and our only double figure ling to date, well done, a fantastic fish for inshore shallow waters.

Towards the middle of August the tides started to reduce in size and with the first viable tide size upon us and very favourable weather we were off to Holyhead Deep for hopefully a little action with some double figure species.

The spurdogs reported earlier in the year had all but gone, but for the next few days the lads were all rewarded with numerous double figure bull huss and many small pack tope. 

I lost count of the number of tope in the 10lb mark, small but also great fun from 200ft of water. We did though manage to lose a few bigger tope each day, not the best thing to happen after playing the shark for 30 tiring minutes.

Right, a 32lb tope for Rob from St Helens Sea Angling club, a new PB.

We ended August with another good run of smoothhound. In Holyhead we tend to get a late run towards then end of Aug early September however most of these hounds tend to be on the small side with the largest around 8lb in comparison to the smoothies in the high teens and occasional 20lb+ sharks from early season in Holyhead Bay .

Sadly, it was yet another windy start to September in 2012, with the vast majority of trips being cancelled. We had the tail end of yet another hurricane to blow over the Atlantic to thank for the relentless barrage.

When the weather is that challenging, we can sometimes still get afloat. Being prepared we can still salvage from the wind an excellent day afloat with friends.

Here is Уход an extract from a review by Skegness club member Neil Jackson, following such a windy day aboard My Way …..

Our Shore Fishing Club had chartered My Way for a day’s general fishing which we were all really looking forward to the trip and Gethyn did not disappoint us. Though the weather was challenging, our skipper put us over the fish all throughout the day. Our species tally was ten plus with some good sized Wrasse and Bull Huss amongst them … good quality gear to use if needed. Tea and coffee were plentiful and a cooked lunch at anchor after a good morning’s catching …

(Thanks Neil, cheques in the post!)

.

Possibly the best capture for My Way in 2012 came late September with the capture of our third new species ever.

The Leopard Spotted Goby is the smallest specie that we’ve landed so far, but one that created great excitement for myself and captor Ari Jones.

My initial call was a Leopard, but then struggled with the possibility of it being a common goby. I texted a couple friends and uploaded a photo to our Facebook page, where some species hunting friends confirmed the capture to be a Leopard Spotted Goby, happy days indeed.

October came and the weather settled a bit and we managed a good number of days afloat. Inshore the fishing was still good with an array of different fish still available to the species hunter and those wanting a good all round general day afloat.

On our minds though when tides and weather allowed were the deep waters to the west of Anglesey and the possibility of some good sized huss and spurdog. The weather though was unpredictable, and it was a case of double checking the forecast on most mornings.

On anchoring in the deep the tide runs very hard, but undeterred everyone starts fishing, knowing the slack water period is fast approaching. You need that run of tide for the sharks to feed correctly, and getting it just right makes all the difference. Fishing through a strong tide though and retrieving anything up the 130ft of water can be challenging, .

On one trip it wasn’t long before Ann, a My Way regular was into something big, pulling back and taking line from her reel and it was at this moment she reminded me that she was yet to catch a spurdog, despite numerous trips out! This day in particular she wasn’t to be disappointed, managing to land 5 in total with a pb set at a very respectable 14lb!

Ann also went on to land a double figure spurdog and double figure bull huss on the same rig, from 130ft of water, great angling.

.       .

This Albino bull huss was caught by Huddersfield angler Tojo aboard My Way on 20th October 2012. The huss was creamy / white in colour and is the first that anyone aboard had seen. It weighed an approximate 4lb and was released shortly after a few photographs were taken .

My Way fun competitions have been running for a good number of years, primarily autumn & winter trips with the odd match during the summer months, they are nothing special other than a good general days fishing.

As you search for a variety of species and numbers of fish we record what you catch. These fish are awarded points against a pre-determined list, catch the most in fish points and you win! Prizes are also available for 2nd and 3rd places. Common fish such as dogfish and whiting awarded 1 point, wrasse and pollack 2 points and the likes of tope and huss the maximum 3points.

 

Through November & December the wind and rain continued to play havoc with our days afloat; much of the country and Anglesey in particular hammered with winds in excess of 50mph.

Fortunately on the days we have managed to sail the fishing has been fairly consistent with a good number of fish and a variety of species available for the anglers.

One trip in particular saw a family group hop aboard My Way for a day of catching, nothing in particular, the emphasis was on having a bit of fun and hauling a good number of fish 2011 aboard My Way along the way.

Fortunately the fish had read the email I sent out and we were rewarded with plenty, with dogfish and whiting making the bulk bull huss, dabs, gurnards and thornback ray amongst others adding to the fish count; many of the whiting well over 1lb in weight and going home for supper.

Thanks for all your support through 2012, fingers crossed for calm seas and excellent days afloat throughout 2013.