High winds ripped through much of the UK last winter and Anglesey certainly wasn’t let off. Sadly these storm force weather fronts cancelled our first few trips, but also left us in awe of the power and destruction Mother Nature can inflict when she so wishes.
These photos are from the Rocky Coast, showing the barrage of abuse suffered by Holyhead Breakwater in its on-going mission to keep the port safe from destructive storm fronts.
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We finally managed a few days afloat during the second week of February, armed with a group of regulars each trip was always going to be a fun day, laughter and fish to kick off the new season. The fishing was fairly decent for an early foray into Holyhead Bay with the rods returning a good mixture of dogs, whiting and Huss but also ray, codling and Pollack amongst the other species caught.
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The end of February we were extremely pleased to announce our new sponsorship deal with worldwide tackle giants Pure Fishing. This superb deal saw new rods, reels and lines etc. being made available to all anglers aboard My Way.
Thanks to some typically seasonal weather, we remained tied up for coming weeks, it was mid March before we were able to set sail once again. With the winds at Holyhead Port Control recording a constant F9 and gusting 10 on Saturday 07th March, we had already cancelled one day of a planned fun weekend of competition between members of the RAF and a posse of Welsh anglers. Waking up to howling winds early morning on the Sunday, it was with great relief that a couple hours later, the winds started easing ready for our 9am sail. With 4 anglers form each team aboard Spindrift and a further 4 from each aboard My Way it was going to be a fun day, more so for myself, my first real competitive match for a good number of years. I’ve had a few small goes in the last few years whilst running the boat, but this time H took charge whilst I stood on deck and tried my hand. 2005 and the World champs was the last time I fished a true points match!
Mid March and the weather allowed for a few forays into Holyhead Deep, where we managed to connect with a great number of big spurdogs and huss. Much of the new gear was put to test by regulars and novices alike, here Pete Minns testing a tipster in 200ft of water and a cracking 15lb spurdog on the business end.
Inshore a good early mixed bag was always on offer to the anglers willing to test out the early spring fishing. Typical catches included dogs, huss, whiting, codling, coalies, pollack and ray, with a number of other species also making the days extremely enjoyable and varied.
Early April and Easter, a very busy period for us again in 2015, Easter Sunday was a 30ft tide, with the inshore throwing up a few smaller fish for the crew, we opted for a mark in deeper water for the slack period in search of spurdogs.
We had already caught spurs in the Deeps during March and also had a few turn up on the mussel beds, so it was with some anticipation that big baits were lowered the 190ft down.
Thankfully we reaped the rewards as a plentiful number of spurs graced the deck of My Way, with many anglers catching spurs for the first time.
On the bank Holiday Monday and the following Monday we ran a couple 4hour trips, classed as introduction trips, they are a taster for youngsters and adults alike to the joys of fishing while afloat.
A good mixed bag of species with dogfish, huss, pollack, dabs, coalfish and rays being caught by our young anglers.
April continued to be yet another great month for spurdog fishing, with plenty of double figure specimens coming to the boat including many well into the high teens and one cracking 20lber.
The following photos showing our Penn & Shakespeare tackle being used to great effect in Holyhead Deep. Battling spurs and huss through 200ft of water with relative ease, and some great sport.
Read our Pure Fishing blog here
Having not managed to land a spurdog with us for a decade, things finally came good for Carl Burns. After landing a handful of double figure spurdogs through the month Carl hooked into this monster 20lb 3oz superb welsh record beater. Few photos and off she swam, brilliant.
Light tackle fishing can be great fun. It’s not always possible while fishing in Holyhead Deep to use extremely light gear and it does take patience. Late April and one HW slack I had a play with spurdogs on a Tronix HTO 25gram spinning rod, fantastic reel screaming and rod bending fun.
In between the trips and when the weather was dry, but blustery we cracked on with the painting of My Way topside. It pays to take your time and do the job properly, sanding down over a few days, it was then pre-coat and topcoat to the gunwales and outer cabin, both looking gleaming in the early spring sunshine.
Early season and weather permitting we always try to head out after the spurdogs.
They never disappointed, with countless double figure spurs joining us aboard My Way. One day in particular, will remain with me for a long while… it rained. Oh, did it rain, all 6 of us were totally soaked. But the fishing was worth it, with countless spurs and a few huss making an appearance.
Later April and into early May the Pollack and wrasse started to make an appearance around the more rocky ground we fish regularly. Normally they start to arrive after the 2nd week of April, signifying a change in seasons and species, but as with most things in 2015, they were late.
Fair to say that the whole year has been different for everyone around the UK with no distinct pattern to weather systems and water temperatures, all having a very clear effect on the fishing.
Plenty of fish ranging between 1 and 2lb and a good few reaching 4lb, lovely conditioned early season fish and great sport on light tackle in 35foot of water. Ballan, cuckoo and corkwing wrasse all making an appearance in May, with a good few being caught amongst the pollack, coalies and codling whilst drifting.
Mid May signals the arrival of the smoothhound into Holyhead Bay, just the odd one or two to start with then we begin to see the packs arrive. In its 5th year, the My Way Smoothhound Challenge has become a hugely successful event. Having been generously supported in recent years by Fladen UK, the 5 day event in 2015 changed sponsors. Worldwide tackle giants Pure Fishing My Ways official sponsors came onboard with GO Angling offering entrants a chance to win a Penn Squall 15 sized reel with Shakespeare Agility 12lb boat rod by catching the heaviest smoothhound during their day afloat.
Unlike last year when all 5 days of the even including evening trips ran unhindered, the 2015 event was to be blighted by poor weather. this left many days and evenings being rescheduled well into June.
On the days we managed to get afloat, the anglers saw many hounds being caught. Winners of each day coming up trumps with hounds in the high teens, with a couple twenty pounders with the best falling to Llandudno angler David Craddock with a fine specimen of 23lb 4oz.
Read our full May report here
With over 200 hounds landed ranging from 5lb to 23lb and countless dropped, the event was a raging success yet again
Read our 2015 Smoothhound Challenge report here
2016 Smoothhound Challenge spaces are already filling fast, book now here
The beginning of June started worryingly with high winds cancelling the first five days, thankfully the weather front soon abated and we started on a roller-coaster ride through June with all barring a few days being fished. We also managed to put together a good number of evening trips for those in hot pursuit of the excellent smoothhound action aboard My Way.
June, we do tend to concentrate on the hounds, after all they’re only here around 6 weeks in total whilst they follow the moult of the crabs. When moulting & growing into bigger shells the crabs ooze a pungent yellow liquid that drives marine life wild. From codling to smoothhound and numerous species in between, a peeler crab is considered quite a delicacy.
Mid June we decided on a few runs out to the deeps. Small tide and calm seas couldn’t be ignored! Hoping for spurs, tope and huss, we weren’t disappointed, although would have preferred a few more tope and spurdogs than the handful we caught, the huss were coming aboard the boat thick and fast.
From 200ft of water, double shots of double figure huss are hard work … and they fight all the way to the surface, putting some strain on the best gear and the most capable of anglers!
The smoothhound fishing continued inshore and really was on fire in 2015, with numerous double figure smoothies landed that included 9 over the magical 20lb mark. All weighed in a sling and released shortly after a quick photograph. The vast majority of the hounds also taken using very light tackle, spinning rods and light tipsters etc, powerful sport and great fun
Mike Thrussell jnr, with his new personal best hound of 20lb
Read our full June report here
Sadly though the weather for the first couple weeks of July played hardball with us and despite a full diary, we managed to sail on only a handful of days. Remaining inshore with the temperamental forecast, we still managed to bag a good variety of species for those afloat with us, including hounds, rays and some nice pollack and wrasse whilst drifting under the rocks.
Wrexham based angler Meilir, was desperate to catch his first tope, sadly some strong winds blew scuppering our travel to Holyhead Deep, so he had resigned himself to failure on one particular day. A glimmer of hope was offered when anchoring on the mussel beds, this time of year tope move in and the possibility of capture is always there.
By the middle of the month, the winds started to ease for us; fortunately this coincided with some neap tides. So after anchoring up in the bay for a mixed bag of species we’d often make the small journey to some slightly deeper water looking for a good variety of more predatory species such as spurs and tope.
Read our full July report here
July and into August, many days were spent species hunting. Whether at anchor or on the drift, always trying to find new species for anglers to add to their daily tally, or indeed their yearly tally.
Back in August I considered naming the 2015 ‘Mixed Fortunes’, temperamental weather once again playing a big part in the whole month. Still, with a fully booked boat, when the weather allowed we managed to sail whenever possible and locate some sport for our crews.
Species hunting has become very popular over recent years with various clubs or web based forums & Facebook Groups running competitions for anglers to see who can catch the most species. We enjoy species hunting too, changing rigs, baits, tactics to locate various types of fish, it helps hone your skills in to becoming a better angler. Learning more on fish habitats and feeding patterns can help us all catch more, it’s not simply about dangling a bait over the side of a boat or off the rocks.
Read our full August report here
Reported in our Pure Fishing Blog, Dave Craddock took part in the smoothhound challenge last May, landing a cracking hound of 23b, winning himself a Shakespeare Agility 12lb rod and Penn Squall 15 reel.
Helping the younger anglers get amongst the fish can be great fun. Most of the time they are extremely keen to learn, new tactics, rigs and new species. During the summer holidays we can concentrate on many types of fishing, drifting in particular.
September was another great month to get afloat aboard My Way. Weather permitting we had some great fun fishing both inshore and off towards a selection of areas around Holyhead Deep. September in the Deeps is not as predictable as other months. Ideally tope, spurs and huss all in good number is what we’re looking for.
Inshore the fishing remained spot on, with variety to the great bags of fish being caught by the anglers.
Sadly the wrasse appeared to be a little smaller than what we would normally see for September, expecting fish to be reaching the 4 to 5lb mark on a regular basis, I think the majority averaged 2 to 3 lb with very few going over 4lb, however, still great sporting fun.
Read our full September report here
Our first trips in October saw us fishing around Holyhead bay for a selection of species. One day with a great mix of novice and experienced anglers we had a species and fun filled day. After landing plenty of whiting on the big spring tide, we hooked up larger traces and concentrated on bigger species.
Earlier I mentioned humour and fun filled days, the photos above from October 2015 great examples.
By October the whiting were in the bay in force. To be fair, we caught a good number through the summer, with summer whiting often touching a couple lb, but by mid autumn they are often caught in 3’s one drop after another.
Whiting as well as great to eat, make excellent bait for huss and ray.
Through Autumn the fishing continued with at a steady-going pace, with some mixed bags for all the anglers to enjoy.
Read our full October report here
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When not concentrating on the fishing, there is always something to look at and enjoy, please enjoy the photos in teh gallery.
Thanks to everyone for their continued support. Good luck in everything in the year ahead, maybe see you afloat some time.