Choughed to bits (wrasse article and video, entry 373)

Although my family holiday on Anglesey only lasted a week, I did that much fishing and was so flowing over with stuff that I wanted to share, that I have ended up writing three articles and producing four videos! My weekly Angling Journal entries are roughly based on the fishing over the previous days, but there’s no point in being rigid about these things. From what regular readers tell me, ultimately they just want to follow my angling adventures, it doesn’t matter whether each article is based on a literal seven-day period or not. And as far as I’m concerned, as long as the sessions actually took place and what is recorded is true, that’s what really counts. So flexibility is the order of the day.

To complete my time on Ynys Mon (that’s Anglesey to us English speakers), I switched to a part of the island that is very familiar to me as I have fished there before on previous vacations. However it wasn’t the familiarity that brought me back but rather the big ballan wrasse that hug the rocky shoreline. Sessions in the area in the past have yielded some cracking fish and that was the carrot that dangled before me. Although I had enjoyed my short evening trips on the Trearddur rocks, I am a specimen angler, and the prospect of of landing a really big fish was one that I couldn’t pass by. So with my wife and daughters spending a day on the beach back at base, I put the gear in the car and set off in pursuit of something that would give me a real bend in my rod.
 

As you can see from the photograph above – and definitely hear from the accompanying video – it was a windy day. If we think the weather changes without warning for us as coarse anglers, then spare a thought for the sea fisherman. What can be a calm peaceful mirror-like ocean one minute, can be a whipped-up concentrated storm the next. And that’s why, if we have to be safety-conscious when fishing inland waterways, how much more so do we need to consider personal safety when by the sea. On that front I was OK as not only was I fishing from a safe platform but my boots provided more than a confident grip as I stood above the waves crashing in. I did encounter a few mackerel-obsessed holiday makers (I’ve lost count of the times people asked me if I had caught any mackerel), who apart from the impractical dress of shorts and tee-shirts were doing more than risking becoming wet and cold as they slipped and stumbled over rocks in flip flops and trainers.

 

I ended the session with not so many fish as when I hit the rocks in Trearddur, but they were bigger overall. And the icing on the cake was the fish on the right. What a cracker! You certainly know when you have a big ballan on. My wife caught numerous fish, all small really, but one that was a little bigger she described jokingly as saying she thought a shark was on the other end of the line. I don’t know what she would have said if a real monster had taken her crab line. A whale maybe! But seriously, just like any other fish, once you catch one of specimen proportions then you really do marvel at what you have just caught. But regardless of the size, like all the others we caught, it went back to fight another day.
 

My tackle was as previously described in an earlier article/video. The only change I made after a while was to substitute the 4″ float for one an inch bigger. And whilst 2.5cm may not seem anything when you compare the vastness of what lies before you, it really did make a difference in terms of presentation and visibility. Just like coarse fishing, small changes can make big differences. I certainly enjoyed myself and walking back to the car I felt like I have done so many times on that stretch of coastline, thinking to myself that I really must make a specific journey there. Due to the distance that would have to be a few days in total and I’d fish as much as I could and grab a few hours sleep in the car when needed. Maybe next year now, but either way I know that I’ll be back whether roughing it or as part of another family vacation.

 

The headland walk back to the car was littered with common ragwort plants. These are the sole food source of the cinnabar moth, a name that you may not be familiar with. But if you have ever seen a red and black moth, there’s a chance it was a cinnabar. But more people are probably more used to seeing the caterpillar than the actual moth. It is a very distinctive one colour-wise and always reminds me of my beloved Wolves! They were very common when I was a kid, but have declined 83% in the last thirty-five years. That’s why it has been so encouraging to discover so many all over Anglesey. A stronghold or on the way back? I’d like to think both.

And while I was in the north-east of the island, I had to visit one of my favourite birding places. Cemlyn Bay. The stills on the left are of a ringed plover and sandwich terns.

 

   

As it’s late in the summer the birds weren’t on nests as I have seen them while on holiday in June. Instead the adults were being kept busy catching sandeels to feed all the hungry mouths that awaited them on the two islands in the lagoon. Not to mention noisy mouths. Whether it’s a human baby or a juvenile bird, when they want feeding they let the whole world know. There were also numerous ringed plover as well, included lots of youngsters there, a healthy sign that the species has had a successful breeding season. Other birds I saw included a little egret, red-breasted mergansers, a juvenile dunlin and a single curlew. But the best of all was kept right till the end when two choughs landed in rough grass alongside the water. That really rounded my holiday off perfectly. I was chuffed to bits with the fish and definitely choughed with the birds. Groan. I think I’ll get me coat. See you next week!

 

Video number 40 on the list

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