Welsh shore fishing falls into two distinct geographical categories; Cardiff is the dividing line, with the fishing to the east generally moderate and that to the west much more attractive. The easterly area, towards Newport and on to the Severn Estuary is subject to most powerful tides, the biggest in Britain, on occasions topping 42ft. The beaches are shallow, heavily laid with mud and have little to offer except silver eels and flounder and the very occasional bass in summer.
Whiting and cod make spasmodic appear-ances in winter but anglers looking for rod and line sport in South Wales are advised to travel on westward.
The cod show up best in the Cardiff to Porth-cawl section of the coast, although the early fish tend to be small and it is November before the bigger fish can be positively expected to show. It is extremely rare to catch a cod from the shore topping 20 lb. But the 44 lb. Fish that is the present British shore-caught record was taken at Barry in 1966.
Saltwater lagoons known as The Leys, located west of Aberthaw, produced three exceptional mullet in 1976 – two fish over 8lb. And the biggest weighed 9lb. 6oz. Outstanding fish indeed . . . and who is to say those were the biggest? Could be a British record fish there somewhere!
The Swansea areas westward show a major improvement, particularly in the summer fishing. Tope, ray and bass can be taken from the shore, along with flounder, dab and plaice. The Gower Peninsulafrom Mumblesaroundto Whiteford Point is good bass holding ground and it is generally acknowledged that the first shore-caught tope of each season come early in May around Burry Inlet.
Worm’s Head, the extreme westward point of Gower, is rewarding ground for bass and pollack.
The quality of the shore fishing remains high along Cefn Sidon beach through to Tenby with bass the main preoccupation of local anglers. Giltar and Monkstone Points, straddling Tenby, are both renowned for the quality of their bass fishing.
The shoreline through to St Davids Head is alternating rock and sand, with excellent surf fishing for bass at frequent gaps in the rock. The rock, while also producing bass, is good ground for pollack and some wrasse.
The offshore fishing is varied and in summer can be outstanding. Tope are prominent from Swansea to St Davids, some very big fish included. More 60lb. Tope have been taken in Carmarthen Bay than in any other area of Britain, including the record fish of 74lb.
Thornbacks and other members of the ray family, blondes included, show regularly and in substantial numbers, while conger fishing produces plenty of middleweight eel.
Blue and porbeagle shark are being hooked and landed with increasing regularity these days. The Welsh fervently believe that the por-beagles of 300lb. And more taken on the North Devon section must at times move through their water. We shall see!
Beach fishing at St Brides, Nash, Redwick and Goldcliff, yielding flounder, silver eel, sole, plaice and bass, and seasonal cod, whiting and pouting. Lugwormcan bedug at St Bride’s, Nash and Redwick, and ragworm is found east of Goldcliff Point.
Most species of flatfish are caught from Cardiff foreshore (reached via Cardiff Docks). Cod and whiting can also be taken. The nearest pier fishing is at Penarth, four miles away.
Boats set out from Cardiff Dock’s yacht basin and from the Rivers Ely and Rumney; summerfishing mainly for flatfish and conger eels, and in the winter for cod and whiting. Lugworm can be dug on Cardiff foreshore.
Cold Knap Point for winter cod, whiting andflounder, and Jackson’s Bayforsummerconger and winter cod, offer the best potential for the beach angler. Further west a point off the lime kilns near Rhoose offers conger and bass in summer and cod in winter.
Boatfishing at the mouth of Jackson’s Bay is also worthwhile. Harbour fishing is available at Barry Docks. Sulley Island can be reached at low-tide. Fair lugworm beds at Watchtower Bay, and good (if stony) ragworm beds on Sulley Island running east of the causeway.
Porthcawl harbour is surrounded by shoal-ridden channels. Tusker Rock to the south-east and the Scarweather Sands to the south- west are well worth fishing from a boat as they yield summer thorn back ray, winter cod, and plaice, bass, flounder and whiting all year round. Porthcawl pier is a noted venue for ray. Good lugworm beds at Trecco Bay.
Fishing from the pier gives good opportunities for conger and winterwhiting. Breakwatersat Briton Ferry, Neath, PortTalbotand Swansea docks for summer bass, winterwhiting, flatfish and the occasional cod or ray.
Great variety of boat-fishing in Swansea Bay between Swansea and the Mumbles. Bass, conger, plaice, skate, blonde and thornback ray, tope, whiting and monkfish are plentiful – the Outer Green Grounds beingthe most productive area by far. Lugworm dug between Oystermouth and West Cross.
Best conditions for shore-fishing, are found at Fall Bay, which gives good catches of bass. Boat-fishing for surface shoals of bass from Helwick Shoals to Worms Head. The fast tides around the Oxwich Point headland attract large tope (mackerel is plentiful in the summer for bait). Crab and live fish supplies are plentiful around Port Eynon Point, but lugworm are scarce.
Situated in the Burry Inlet, good sites for bass. Seasonal tope can be found in low water gullies and there is a wide range of bottom feeding species. The Loughor estuary is a noted spotforflounder. This is a well-stocked and varied bait area-the best quality lugworms being at Pwll, Llanelli.
Fine for bass. Winterflounder fishing in the Towy estuary at Ferryside (good lug beds), and in theTaf estuary at Llanybri.
The sheltered waters of the South Beach are noted for bass and mullet, as is the Giltar Point. Access by ferry to Caldy Island for bass spinning at several rocky points-the best being Eel Point and SandtapBay.
Boatfishing in Caldy Sound offers superb chances for large bass, whilethe Offing Patches (on the seaward side of Caldy Isjand) gives bass, tope and thornback rays.
Nearest and best shore fishing is at Freshwater East where a south wind creates good surf conditions for bass. A salt-water lagoon within the town offers mullet. Mackerel and dogfish can be plentiful. Big bass can be caught from the shore at BarafundleBay.
Milford Haven :
Milford Haven is a vast sea-water lagoon with deep water offering varied fishing: bass, ray, pollack, whiting, conger and flatfish are the primary species. Plentiful lug and ragworm beds within the bay. Most productive areas within the bay are at Angle Bay and Chapel Bay, with surf beaches at Marloes Sands. Freshwater West and Frainslake Sands. Boat fishing produces turbot, thornbackand blonde ray, tope and pollack.
St Davids peninsula offers largely untapped shore fishing for pollack, wrasse, bass and conger. The shoreline is rocky but there are some areas of sand, notably at Whitesand Bay, which offer traditional bass beaches. Much of theterrain isdifficult-which explains why it is so little fished.