A general guide for fishing help in our area.
First and foremost,
Please speak by `phone, txt or email to Dave the Skipper to confirm our boarding place and time and to discuss what species you will be targeting, the duration of your trip and if any bait/tackle is needed.
Even in the summer , please wear/bring warm, waterproof clothing and wear sensible footwear.
Our preferred pick up point is Neyland Marina SA73 1PY. 2 hours drive from the Severn Bridge. You will board the boat from a stable pontoon, there are no ladders etc. There is a really good cafe and ample free car parking.
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We are incredibly fortunate here in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, to have a huge range of diverse areas in which to fish, as well as the experience and knowledge for you to enjoy your trip in a safe, fun way.
Inshore waters. One of the main areas that we fish is the calm and sheltered Milford Haven Waterway.
Here we have 24 miles of navigable waters with some of the most stunning scenery in the UK, no wonder it is the country`s only Coastal National Park.
The sea bed varies between mud and sand through to rock and kelp areas.
On the mud and sand areas we regularly make good catches of Thornback Rays with Small-eyed, Blonde and Spotted Rays often caught as well. For these bottom dwelling species a simple running ledger rig with a single fish or squid bait is usually the most successful method. On the same sea bed but usually in areas with a stronger tidal flow we make good catches of tasty Cod, Whiting and Gurnards. These can be caught either with a simple running ledger with the hook fished below the lead or a 2 or 3 hook paternoster trace with the hooks fished above the lead, fluttering attractively in the tide. Worm, fish and squid baits all work well for these species.
On the bottom near to the Rock and Kelp areas we often encounter one of the ultimate inshore predators, the mighty Conger Eels. These large fish range from 10 to 15 pounders known as Straps through to specimens in excess of 30 to 50 lb. The British Record Conger Eel weighing 133 pounds was caught less than 3 miles from the shore ! These fish will test your tackle and are worthy adversaries for anglers of any ability . Fresh or frozen fish baits presented on a single hook flowing trace works best. Please remember to use a strong hook trace of 250lb monofilament, not wire.
In the water column above the rock and kelp reefs we can target Pollock and Bass. These fish 0ften shoal up in prolific numbers and can be caught using a variety of methods from a single ragworm trotted back from the anchored boat to using mackeral feathers, Redgills, lures etc from a drifting boat. Usually the wind and tide conditions will dictate which method will be the most successful on the day so please check with the skipper for advise.
Huss and Dogfish, both of these small shark species can be caught from the Milford Haven waterway, providing fun and often constant sport. The majority of the BullHuss are in the 8 to 15lb size range with the possibility of catching fish in excess of 20 pounds weight, a true specimen. They can be caught on the mixed mud/sand seabed as well as close to the rocky reefs. Often we anchor close to shipwrecks that lie outside the main shipping channels and target these fish as well as the Conger Eels, so again strong tackle is needed.
Close Offshore, Reefs and Banks.
At the entrance to The Haven and within a few miles steam we have some big natural reef systems. Some of these lie in the full flow of the tide and some are more sheltered. All of them hold prodigious numbers of hard fighting fully fit Bass, Pollock and Wrasse throughout most of the year. We can target these fish either with natural baits, mainly ragworm, or with artificial lures. Both methods are good. We usually fish with the boat drifting, so that we can cover the maximum amount of productive areas. The skill for the skipper is knowing the areas where the tidal flow is just right, too fast and you`ll find it hard to catch fish, too slow and it will be equally disappointing. Fortunately Dave, your Skipper, has many years of experience and is one of the best at getting it just right !
The offshore banks are famous for the quality of the fishing. Indeed one of them is named the Turbot bank, giving a fair clue as to one of the species you may encounter there ! Again we can fish these banks either with the boat at anchor or on the drift, covering a larger area, depending on the tidal conditions. We regularly catch Plaice, Turbot, Dabs, Gurnards and many other species on the drift. At anchor we see Tope, Spurdogs, Blonde Rays and much more. Simple flowing traces work best with 6/10oz leads on the drift but upto 2lb of lead may be necessary on some tides at anchor.
A longer run offshore finds the Hats and Barrels reef system and The Smalls Lighthouse.
We pass Grassholm Island on the way out, internationally recognised as having one of the largest Gannet colonies in the world. Indeed its not until you approach the island that you realise that the summit is not snow capped but covered in hundreds of thousands of Gannets and their guano, too close and you`ll smell them !
The Hats and Barrels is a notorious and deadly reef. The tide runs fast out here and the area can not be fished on the larger tides. The sea bed ranges from depths of 60 metres to 2 metres at high water, with rocks exposed above the water on low tides. Huge pinnacles of rock below hold collosal shoals of voracious Pollock, Coalfish, Cod and Bass, This area can be hugely productive. We mainly fish with the boat drifting and use artificial lures. Expect tackle losses, so bring lots of 10 oz leads but you will be catching lots of quality fish !
The Smalls Lighthouse marks the outer edge of the reef system and is noted for it`s fine fishing but is also remembered for a macabre incident in 1800 which caused a change in lighthouse staffing policy. The two man team, Thomas Howell and Thomas Griffith, were known to be unhappy and quarrel. When Griffith died in a freak accident, Howell feared that if he buried the body at sea he may be suspected of murder. Soon the body began to decompose so Howell built a makeshift coffin and lashed it to the outside of the lighthouse. Strong winds tore the coffin apart and an arm of the body became exposed and waved in the wind in such a way that it seemed to be beckoning. Working alone and with the decaying corpse of his colleague outside beckoning to him, Howell managed to keep the lamp lit until he was finally relieved from duty. It was said that the incident had such a profound impact on him that he was unrecognisable to some of his friends. After this incident all British lighthouse were manned with 3 persons until automation in the 1980`s. The Smalls lighthouse is the most remote light maintained by Trinity House.
Other notable reef areas that we fish include the Bishops & Clerks at Ramsay Island, the Wild Goose Race and St Govans.
Offshore, Celtic Deeps.
For these trips we need a good weather window with light winds. The season runs from May through to November. Early in the season we see Porbeagles and a few Blue sharks and then, as the season progresses we see more and more Blue Sharks peaking in July, August and September. We drift fish for these in an area known as the Celtic Deeps, between 25 to 40 miles offshore. Probably your best chance of catching fish in excess of 100lbs in the UK, with fish in excess of 200lbs being caught every year. A trail of fishy chum is laid into the water and then the tension and apprehension builds as we wait for these apex predators to find our baits. On some trips takes can be almost instantaneous but usually there is a small wait. we often see huge pods of dolphins on the journey out to the grounds and have seen Fin Whales and Bluefin tuna breaching.
You are extremely welcome to bring your own suitable rods/reels/tackle but everything is provided onboard should you need it. We like to make you day as simple and fuss free as possible and provide all tackle, baits, chum etc. All Sharks are released unharmed back in to the water after a quick photo session.
General Tackle info.
For most of our angling a 20/30lb class rod outfit is more than suitable, even for the Blue Sharks. Most rods, tackle, traces etc are available on board FoC or at a small nominal cost. We expect willfully misused, abused and/or lost equipment to be paid for at cost.
If in doubt, ask. We are here to help.
07774 294 959.