North Wales fishing is generally of high quality, the only below average section occuring east of Rhyl where the Dee estuary has created shallow water and vast sandbanks. This, while producing bass from time to time, can offer only flatfish and mullet fishing of any calibre.
From Rhyl to Llandudno there is a marked improvement. The flatfish remain but with the addition of numerous bass of all sizes. The most profitable bass shore stations are at Abergele, Llanddulas and Penrhyn Bay.
Each provides bass on and over the double figure mark every year. The ground is not perfect – for angling – but the broken rock is attractive to bass. Late summer and autumn fishing is more productive, with black lug rated as good a bait as peeler crab – which is more difficult to obtain.
With tope numerous offshore, there is the chance of these fish from the shore. The local technique is to cast a big fish bait out at low water and fish the tide up, paying out line as the water moves up the beach. This technique offers only one chance to a rod on each tide since the bait cannot be recast the massive distance necessary to put it where the fish are likely to be.
The area between Llandudno and Bangor is varied. The estuary of the Conwy provides excellent flounder fishing, silver eel and bass prospects are good. Sandbars and banks are numerous but these can be dangerous if anglers walk too far. A flooding tide can sweep inshore at speed, cutting anglers off from the mainland.
The safest places – and these offer the deepest water – are in the very mouth of the Conwy and the shoreline between Llanfair-fechan and Penmaenbach. Plaice can be taken here, as well as flounder and bass.
Vast areas of sand are exposed at low water between Llanfairfechan and Bangor. Worm beds are numerous and peeler crab can be obtained from half-tide down at Bangor and from the weed and rock on the nearest section of Anglesey.
The massive Lafan sandbanks dry out for as much as three miles, making them extremely dangerous to other than the most experienced.
The Menai Strait is a popular fish holding ground. Codling are present throughout the year, flatfish are numerous and bass and conger are both found in some strength.
The Swellies, a powerful tide rip at the Bangor end of the 12 miles long Strait, contains pollack, conger and bass. The bass run large and the conger weigh to over 30lb. With, no doubt, much bigger eels available to be caught.
The shoreline is accessible from Bangor to the southern side of the rail bridge on the Bangor side. Access is not quite so easy on the Anglesey side but the shore can be reached from the southern side of Menai Bridge.
Port Dinorwic offers small boat launching sites and shore fishing for flatfish and codling while the southern end of the strait provides the chance of tope both from boat and shore. The area around Aber Menai, on Anglesey, is particularly promising.
South of the Menai Strait is the famed bass beach of Dinas Dinlle. This fishes best in late summer and autumn and bass are taken over its full length.
At the Aberdesach end the terrain becomes more rocky but good shore fishing exists virtually unbroken to Morfa Nefyn. Bass and flatfish are the prime species but there is also a good chance of thornback ray to fish bait late in the season.
The shore onwards into the northern edge of the Lleyn Peninsula is rugged and little fished. The offshore ground is equally wild and with trawling impossible in most areas the fish stocks are substantial. The shoreline offers bass, pollack, coalfish and wrasse but boat fishing is over some of the best fishing ground Wales has on offer.
Tope are both numerous and large. The thornback population, which arrives in April, a month earlier than the tope, and stays in force until late autumn is perhaps the biggest known but untapped source of these fish anywhere in Britain. This is particularly true off the Lleyn Peninsula.
Sand is intermittent west of Criccieth but returns in the section between Pwllheli and Abersoch. Shore sport is not outstanding, but includes bass and plaice. The underhanging tip of the Lleyn Peninsula offers a much more varied set of possibilities, with thornback, dogfish and, in winter, whiting available, in addition to the usual bass and flatfish.
Wreck fishing came to North Wales in 1975 and the results immediately revolutionised offshore catches of cod and pollack. Areas where big cod have generally proved difficult to catch suddenly produced quantities of double figure fish by drift tactics with pirks and imitation sand eel lures.
And in 1976 the first attempt at anchored fishing over wrecks produced conger including a new Welsh record fish of 54lb. Many other eels over 30lb. Have been landed and it seems distinctly likely that eels as big as those taken off the West Country will be caught in the years ahead.
The out-facing shores of Anglesey offer good fishing for wrasse, pollack, bass, flatfish and mackerel. Some of the best shore fishing for bass exists in the area from Red Wharf Bay, through Penmon Head to Beaumaris. This is excellent ground for collecting peeler crab and for both rag and lugworm. The best bassing comes in late summer on flood tides but fish are taken early in the year and even in winter from time to time.
Port Lynas and much of the north-facing coast to Carmel Head is ideal terrain for wrasse and spectacular results are made in season with hardbacked crab, bait and worms. This same area yields pollack, coalfish, mackerel and dogfish. Bass are there too but this is less productive bass territory than exists to the east.
Dulas Bay is the best bass prospect and tope can be taken from the shore during periods of calm weather when the water is clear.
The west coast of Anglesey offers intermittent sandy beaches with the chance of thorn-back, plaice and dab in summer and both cod and whiting in winter.
Holyhead, as well as providing the exit point to excellent boat fishing from North Stack round to Treaddur Bay for the usual species, has shore and inshore fishing for bass, mullet and flatfish.
The south-west coast is a continuing series of headlands and bays with bass a possibility all along. The headlands offer wrasse, pollack and dogfish, with the bays, which often have sandy beaches, offering flatfish and bass on favourable tides.
The boat fishing out from Holyhead is not long ranging but porbeagle and blue shark offer developing sport.
Bass and flounder taken off Carreg yr Ymbil (Gimblet Rock) seaward of the seafront promenade. The harbour mouth is now populated with mullet and bass. East of the main town, Abererch Strand is worth visiting for bass, plaice and flounder.
Difficult in summer because of its popularity with tourists, butat othertimes Aberdaron sands fish well for bass. Forboatfishing.one mile south-east of Aberdaron, the islands of Ynys Gwylan Fawr and Ynys Gwylan Fach offer good conditionsfor mackerel spinning and pollackfeathering. Both isiandscan be reached by dinghy in fine weather. Apartfrom mackerel, bait is generally scarce.
The cliff-bound quay is the last easy access to water before Nefyn. The most accessible water is shallow, but long distance casting can yield flatfish, bass and dogfish. There is a limited supply of lug near the quay.
Shore fishing sites in the Menai Strait at Belan Point, Abermenai Point and Traeth Melynog (tope on fish baits and flounder, dab, bass and whiting on lug), all within a radius of 2j miles of the town. The Caernarvon shore offers prime marks for tope, winter codling and whiting. Nearby muddy Foryd creek is fished for mullet, flounder and bass. The Caernarvon Quay wall is noted for bass, flatfish, mullet and eel. Further along the coast are good bass marks at the Mermaid Inn (Brynsiencyn) and Caernarvon Ferodo Works.
Boatfishing at Belan Narrows is noted for tope and flatfish. The area between Belan Point and the Mermaid Inn fishes well for bass and flounder. Lugworm are dug from the Foryd creek or from Traeth Melynog.
Shore fishing at the Moel-y-don Old Ferry crossing can give good catches of bass and winter codling. In Port Dinorwic itself, the Old Quay wall is a prime site for small conger, bass, mulletand plaice.
Theclosing of Bangor pier has meant that the foreshore is now heavily fished for whiting, cod, plaice and bass. Rag can be dug on the beach. The lagoons and channels which surround the sands of Traeth Lafan are populated with bass; spinning will probably give best results.
Conwy Morfa extends west of Conwy from the river to the headland of Penmaen-bach and the local lug beds provide bait for plaice, flounder and bass. Boat fishing in Conwy Bay provides large catches of bass which can be taken at low water over the shallow rocksand sand banks. Codling, whiting and dab also present.
Away from the west shore, the Black Rocks provide a noted mark for shoaling bass (taking locally dug rag), and dab. Fishing from the pierand jetty yieldsflounder, dab, plaice, bass, cod ling, and whiting, while conger, wrasse and pollack are taken from marks on the Great Orme headland.
In a boat off the Great Orme, most of the deep sea fishing is carried on beyond the Constable Bank. Inside it, the sand and patches of shingle yield tope, thornback ray, flatfish, dogfish and pollack. Both lug and rag can be dug on the west shore.
Good marksfortope, bassand flounder are stretched along the bay at Penrhyn Bay, Rhos-on-sea, Old Colwyn, Tan Penmaen Head, the Quarry Jetties, Llanddulasand beacheseasttoKinmel Bay. Fishing from the Victoria Pier yields dab, whiting and bass. Good quality lug beds are found all along this stretch of beach. Boat fishing onthe3fathom linegivestope, ray, whiting and codling.
The pier has been demolished. Flounder can be ledgered in the immediate approaches of the harbour on lug or rag dug nearby. Boat fishing inside the 3-fathom line fortope, skate, plaice, dab, dogfish and occasional small conger. Further out, deep sea fishing isfortope, ray, gurnard, monkfish and most flatfish.
Fish from the Brittania Rail Bridge for mullet, bass, cod and whiting. The island of Ynys Llandysiliocan be fished for bass and flounder using rag. The St. George’s Pier and slipway are two sites on an otherwise inaccessible shore-bass, conger, dogfish, mullet, whiting, cod, pollack and wrasse can betaken.
Boat fishing in the area from Llanfair PG to Pwll Fannogi, in 12 fathoms of water over a rocky bottom, gives winter cod and summertope, thornback ray and conger. Anotherfavoured spot is around the Swellies, where strong currents create a holding ground for cod, conger, bassand pollack.
Apart from the main channel at Gallows Point, the beach is stony and fish difficult to locate. The pier and sea wall are popular fishing venues, but catches are small. Rag can be dug in stony areas at Beaumaris, but much better king rag is located to the east at Aberlleiniog.
Fishing from Amlwch Harbourand rocks produces small conger. Eastwards along the coast, the rocky Point Lynas has ledge and rock fishing on its eastern face-wrasse, cod, whiting, conger, ray, dogfish and pout a re visitors.
Favoured spots for boat fishing are at Ynys Amlwch (East Mouse Island) outside Bull Bay, two high sand banks off Port Lynas lighthouse and Porth-yr-Ysgaw where ledgering can give skate, pouting, ray, conger, gurnard, dab, whiting, cod, coalfish and pollack.
Fishing the British Rail Mail pier and breakwater produces conger, ray and tope on strong terminal tackle and fish bait. Bass and dab onlightertackleandlug bait. Further into Holyhead Bay, at Penrhos Beach, the sand and muddy stone that fringe a great gulley fishes well for bass, dab, flounderand mullet.
When boat fishing in the harbour choose a buoyed rocky area or wreck out of the way of main shipping -cod, whiting, ray, flatfish, dogfish, congerand tope can be caught. The best deep sea fishing is 10 miles out in the Irish Sea.
Local lug will attract flounderand dab. Bass can be ledgered at Traeth Crugyll, just north of the town. At Rhosneigr itself an outcrop of rock 100 yards out on the sands fishes well for bass, flatfish, dogfish and thornback ray. For boat anglers a rocky bottom gives way to sand and it is here that most of the fish are caught in the inshore waters.
Bass, wrasse and pollack are taken from the rocks; ray, skate and tope from the sand. The 10-fathom mark runs along Carreg Goch. Both rag and lug can be dug from each side of the neck of sand leading to the rocky island.