North Wales is one of the top destinations in the whole of Europe to go sea fishing, with that in mind pack your kit and drive over for a spot of sea fishing at one of our many amazing locations here. With so much diversity in our fishing spots you can fish at any direction of wind, most of the year and target many different species of fish here. Locations can be as easy as beach of more advanced rock locations, catching anything from Bass, Ray, Cod, Pollack, Flatfish, Conger, Tope, Soothhound and many more. You can fish from the shore, boat, kayak, you can even spear fish which I’ve been doing lately- which we will covered in another article. Needless to say you options are as infinite as your imagination and time constraints! We have the best Fishing team in the world based here around the coast of north Wales most of whom I’ve grown up with and fished with since a very young age and they all are very approachable friendly guys.
World championships come to North Wales
This year is a very special year in the sea fishing in north Wales world as north Wales is hosting the Sea fishing World championships here in Llandudno, the competition has never come to these parts before so in fishing terms is like the PGA golf tour arriving at the the home golf course! Teams from all over the world will descend on our shores over (4 Days plus two practice days) to battle it out in summer conditions. The style of fishing has changed dramatically since I ws involved in the competition circuit many moons ago. The ethics and sustainability have improved dramatically by introducing a measure and release system from a continental style which is fantastic from a conservational stand point.
The Welsh team have never been in such good shape and have been performing clinically against their very seasoned veterans in many fish offs in the past year. Local fishermen from holyhead Angling club James Fraser (former world 2) along with Alan Hughes, Garry wood will be heading up the team from this corner of the Island. Other tema members from north wales include Shane Russel, Andrew Hutchings and Chris Equeaell.
Fishing in north Wales
Fishing in north Wales is a bit like being a kid in a sweet shop. There are so many beaches, so many rock marks, so many styles of fishing, Long range shore, spinning, fly fishing (yes thats right fly on the sea also), boat fishing, beach fishing, rock fishing, spear fishing, kayak fishing ..I could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift. Most people come to fish in north Wales with the beach fishing or in mind targeting specific specie at a certain time of year. Fish like Birds migrate and therfore we get an influx of certain species arriving at our shores at certain times of the year.
Top marks for fisherman travelling to the north Wales
A simple google search can find you details on fishing in Anglesey or north Wales how to get to these locations you may have to dig a little deeper as info can be a little hard to come by online from my searches. Each area is subject to different wind, tide and weather.
The winter months
In February (as I’m writing this) its the poorest time of year to go sea fishing in north Wales, the reasons are that the majority of winter fish species go out into deeper water to spawn and avoid the cold easterly winds that cool the surface temperatures of the water here. Most marks we fish are very shallow and heavily intertidal so shallow water cools quickly with dropping air temperatures fast. The saying from our fishing forefathers on there island goes ” when the wind blows east the fish bite least” and this is very true. jJust as land mammals go into hibernations so do most winter fish species. Now I say most as there are always exceptions to the rule. Cod are cold blooded beast from Scandinavian water which thrive on these colder snaps, in fact the colder the better, but usually in these parts they turn on after a strong westerly blow followed by a still flat calm cold stint in the weather.
Species to target here
Coal fish, Whiting and Cod are the main species to target wit bait from the shore in winter months in Anglesey and north Wales. Conger, Ray (Thornback mainly) dogfish, but Huss and some other smaller species are also prominent here. If your after small species targeting them indervigually herring, rocking, poor cod and pouting are more than abundant in the waters here also. In fact saying that in winter I find you are better off actually targeting specific species solely and then deciding on mark, tide and bait in that style. Its worked for me for many years. There is something quite nice about going to target Cod on a 30ft tide at low water at the end of holyhead breakwater and getting a whacking result of a catch.
What bait to use
Winter baits have to have scent and good visibility and with that comes the search for good fresh baits. If your travelling in from afar to Anglesey or north Wales you will need to either source the bait from a local shop Anglesey bait centre Beaumaris or Winnies worms in Holyhead or bring your own bait from your locality. If you have extra time you may be able to head to the foreshore with a fork and dig some of your own worms (Lug worm and ragworm) work well. I find its best to combine these work baits as a cocktail with some oily bait such as mackerel or squid that has a scent trail and a visual appeal like a flag. Lugworm and squid work well for me in winter for most species. If you can get hold of black lugworm that will be even better for the cod and Whiting here. Sandeels, mackerel and other fish baits such as blues and launce do work well on their own for poor cod, pouting, whiting, ray and dogfish. You will need lug though when your fishing for descent cod though. For bigger species such as Huss, conger and big ray, whole squid and whole mackerel work a treat. Other great top baits if you can get them are muscle, clam, razor fish and peeler crab.
Local tackle shops
ABC marine tackle shop owned by Malcom is the flag she fishing store in the whole of Wales as far as I’m concerned and he has the most amazing knowledge and expertise that makes most islanders bow to his experience. A former oceanographer and expert fishermen, he truly knows his stuff. This coupled with the diverse amount of equipment I the store both technical and bait is pretty damn awesome.
Winnies worms is run buy a friend and former angling mentor as young teen Mark Evans who is another expert fisherman on the Island of Holyhead. He is another very knowledgeable chap who knows every knock and cranny in that neck of the woods. He is very well connected to the welsh team (as is Malcom) and gets all the good feedback on whats been catching and where and freely advises well. His store is a little smaller and near the Malcom but he has also a good bait and tackle selection there too.
Tackle Equipment for winter fishing in Anglesey and north Wales
In winter Im a little old school in my tactics and to be honest I go back to what I know and fish with my tried and tested system for winter fishing. I Fish with two rods, one close in one further out. Both similar rods and reels, just with a varies rig set up and hook / bait size. I will use bigger hooks at longer range accompanied with a bigger bait on a 2 hook rig (1 up 1 down on a cascade swivel) ill do a blog on rigs again if this is a bit advanced at this stage. The other rod will be fishing close in with smaller hooks and smaller baits targeting smaller species, maybe a 2 hook flapper with size 1s. Both reels will have 15-18ld Daiwa line with a 60-70ld shock leader. I use 4 rigs two on two off when I’m fishing. You can always buy premade rigs if you don’t have the time to make your own.
List of my fishing tackle for winter fishing
List of my fishing equipment that I would use for beach fishing in winter
Zziplex beach rods a TZ500 and ZF250
Pen 525 fishing reels
Abu 6500CTs if I’m fishing a beach mark focusing on smaller species.
I use and Ian golds double rod rest with yellow heads
Thermals I use diving ones the old one piece fluffy ones.
Breakaway 5,6 and 7 oz weights
Scissors, fileting knife, bait elastic, to-aware boxes (I have two one for terminal tackle and one for scissors, nail clippers, bait elastic etc)
I keep a series of small boxes for clips and hooks
Flask for hot drinks
Rod hold all bag by Mustad
Fish holding bag by titan
Hook lengths I use maxima chameleon or flourocarbon
When should I go in winter sea fishing ?
Well you can narrow your chances to getting a better fishing session for sure by figuring out what you want to target firstly. Then make a few calls to local fishing shops and check some forums like world sea fishing to see whats catching and where. The check the tides, bigger tides work well or rather better most of the time in most locations as a greater body of water is moving around. Target a 30ft tide and fish low water up maybe mid tide up to the top, (note this is a very broad way of doing this but for layman terms I’m going to make this simple to give the beginner angler a greater chance of a first time catch). Evening tides work work well so Low water in winter at 230pm near sundown so you are able to fish the tide up into the night. If the wind is blowing from the east had to the west of Anglesey and have the wind over your back and vice versa. A light westerly onshore winds work very well. Try and fit these factors against the location your targeting and do the math!
Tips and tricks
Match your size of hooks to the species your targeting
keep your casts about 20-30 minutes apart as scent trails fade and crabs are hungry
Use longer hook lengths and rigs to get move movement in your bait
3 hooks maybe a lot to bait up but 3 baits leaves a lot of scent trail in the water
Know thy beach.. go and suss your locations out at low water and find sand divets and ripples where fish my congregate.
Alter the distance and angle of your casts to maximise the seabed covered
Keep an eye on snags at low water and avoid them with your casting. Tackle is expensive!
Carry a second headlamp incase your batteries die in the cold
Do your math on the tides and weather don’t get caught out
Jot down what worked each time you catch, what baits, tides and conditions
Whatsonnorthwales is doing sea fishing lessons this year 2018. If you are interested in taking some 1-1 tuition or group courses on beach and rock fishing with myself or other amazing local guides, then click here and drop us a message. We are thinking of doing some day and night fishing lessons which will incorporate some technical skills like rig making, bait gathering, preparation and storage, rod choice, kit choices and terminal tackle, plus a lot of theory as to why to fish, where, when, how to maximise your chances.
Useful Links :
Useful Reading :
Tides move fast here and can cut you off at night at a moment notice – don’t be in a place you don’t know on a whim. Do your tide research well in advance. Floatation suits are ideal for winter, we love them for safety and warmth. Tell someone you are going fishing and take a mobile with you. Rcok fishing in winter at night has its dangers that I shouldn’t need to go into really, common sense pays dividends here. Ferrys come in fast at night and you should be very aware of the swell they generate. If your in a spot of bother call the RNLI or Coast guard and they can advise further. Tight lines. Nick
Editors note * There are a number of guideline to follow on catch sizes and amount these days. Pls do not take under sized fish home and return the juvenile fish to swim another day. Bass fishing there is a total ban in force until further notice. Look up the species you intend to target and find out its minimum size limit if you plan to take one home. We tend to catch and release almost all of our catch these days.