The inshore fishing generally lacks variety, the shore angler having to be satisfied with bass, flounder, dab and plaice, with mullet in and around the harbours and estuaries.
Much of the shoreline in the southern area is of rock and stone, most discouraging for inexperienced visiting anglers. At the extreme southern end of the section, Strumble Head is a noted area for big wrasse – although the fishing activity there is very light due to poor access. Pollack and mackerel in season also show here.
St Davids Head fishes similarly, with bass showing to surf fishing from the sand of Whit-sand Bay.
Much of the foreshore is of stone or there is a rocky cliff line which effectively discourages angling by all but the most experienced. Poppit Sands, near Cardigan, and the Traeth Penbryn beaches north of Aberporth offer welcome breaks in the hard terrain. There surf fishing produces bass, flounder and other flatfish.
The area where the sand gives way to rock is always a favoured area for bass on flood tides as the fish come browsing through the crevices searching for food.
New Quay also offers comfortable fishing from sandy beaches but northwards a stony foreshore predominates to beyond Aberystwyth. Then the shoreline’s character changes with sand predominating.
The first break occurs at Borth, a late-season bass beach which is inclined to fish dourly earlier in the year. Bait is difficult to obtain locally and this unhappy state continues northward. The fishing is limited although the ground is good and tope, bass and flatfish, including the occasional turbot, can be taken.
Huge expanses of sand occur at Barmouth, extending far beyond Harlech to Criccieth. Bait remains the problem and anglers who have the foresight to bring their own peeler crab or worm bait can be sure of some summer sport, particularly in August and September if bass are the target species.
West Wales boat fishing is relatively superior to its shore sport. The principal points of exit are New Quay, Aberystwyth and Barmouth.
This is thornback ray fishing par excellence. The fish are more numerous than elsewhere along the British shoreline, the most spectacular – but never subsequently rivalled -catch was of no less than one ton of thornback taken on an Endeavour Group boat based on Aberystwyth. The fish averaged 12 lb. Each and were taken by four Trafford Park, Manchester anglers – over 180 thornbacks on one dayl
Catches of 20 fish per day to each boat are by no means unusual, with the fish weighing over 20lb. But continuing to average 12 lb. Tope, too, are numerous. Trawling is restricted off parts of the West Wales coast and this has helped create a build-up of stockfish which rod and line anglers can tap without ever being likely to diminisfi it.
The tope weigh up to 60 lb. But average just over 30 lb., the bigger fish being female. The boats also catch quantities of bull huss and dogfish, neither highly-prized if only because they steal bait intended for rather more exciting species.
The deeper water further offshore continues to hold ray and tope, with turbot showing spasmodically. One excellent turbot ground which has given anglers fishing out of Aberystwyth 150 fish in successive seasons is some 16 miles offshore. The turbot caught to date have run to just over 15 lb.
Porbeagle and blue shark move into this section of Cardigan Bay in July but anglers have not as yet taken advantage of this annual occurrence.
Good bottom-fishing in the sheltered inshore waters of Fishguard Bay. In the harbour, plaice and dab can be taken from the sands, with pollack, pouting and wrasse found nearthe breakwaters. Conger, ray and dogfish are also present. Shore-fishing from Fishguard Lower Town sees ray, bass, conger and pouting plentiful in the sandy crevices.
Fishguard looks all set to become a major deep-sea fishing centre in the future, but for the time being the presence in abundance of many deep-sea species remains unexploited.
Beach fishing at Gwbert and Poppit sands: the channel between the rocky shore at Gwbert and Cardigan Island is ideal for spinning for bass and pollack. Poppit sands (south of the river mouth) holds bass and mullet waiting to ascend the Teifi river to the salt-water lagoon above Cardigan. Poppit sands contain large quantities of lug.
Further along the coast, spinning from the rocks on the right-hand headland of Traeth yMwnt gives mackerel and the occasional pollack. Boat fishing in the Teifi estuary is worthwhilefor bass and pollack and Cardigan Bay has superb tope and ray and some shark in 20 fathoms.
Good bass from the harbour wall, but fishing is only possible from half-tide up. Mackerel are plentiful but other bait is scarce. Generally the same conditions apply for boat fishing as off Aberystwyth , the exception being that in this southerly part of Cardigan Bay pollack tend to be both larger and more plentiful.
Aberystwyth: The presence of sand belts, rocky reefs and muddy harbour and river mouths attracts a wide variety of species-mullet, mackerel, pollack, flounder, whiting and dogfish being the most plentiful. Bass are caught off the stone jetty and from the Tan y Bwlch beach which extends south.
Fishing out in Cardigan Bay gives dogfish and bull huss along the 20-fathom line. Many species can be caught in 8fathoms: tope, bass, thornback ray, wrasse, porbeagle and blue shark, conger, ling, cod, monkf ish, gurnard, black bream and John Dory among them. The most productive areas are at the Cynfelyn Patches and Sarn Gynfelyn.
The Dyf I estuary is noted for bass and flatfish. The Ynyslas Dunes on the south bank is the best spot. The channel and quay are also profitable. Lugworm can be dug on the south beach at Ynyslas. Boat fishing off the estuary and bar for flatfish and some pollack.
Situated at the mouth of the Mawddach estuary, Barmouth offers good fishing for bass and flatfish. When tides allow, fish the extreme western point of Ynys y Brawd islandforbass. Fishing from Barmouth railway bridge over the Mawddach estuary-ledgering for bass at the Barmouth end is productive. Mullet can be caught in large numbers from thequay. Facing Barmouth, fishing at Penrhyn Point at the estuary mouth yields bass and flatfish.
For boat fishing, a wide sandy seabed in four to five fathoms extends for six miles west of Barmouth and produces ray and pollack. Mackerel plentiful for bait.