A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE (Rhyl harbour) – Blog entry 592

A casual glance on social media reveals that Rhyl doesn’t get a very good press. In fact it invariably gets a massive thumbs-down. So why do I choose to spend a couple of weeks every year in the area on vacation? Well, as the title of this week’s blog indicates and a viewing of the video will reveal, it’s all about rolling back the years. In the days of the old industrial fortnight, that’s where our family holidays were spent in the 1960’s and early 70’s.

I only caught one flounder this week
I only caught one flounder this week

Rhyl harbour is where I caught my first ever sea fish, a tiny flounder. And what was the first one banked on this holiday trip. Yes, as you can see in the accompanying video, it was a case of snap. Not many anglers fish the harbour as there are definitely bigger fish to be found elsewhere. If I lived in the area it would be different, but as a vacation-angler I’m happy to fish for memories. The older you get, the more nostalgia plays a big part in your life.

A tiny rockling, but I love them
A tiny rockling, but I love them

The second fish of the week was equally tiny, a shore rockling. I like big fish, of course, but there’s something special about small ones. Perfection in miniature, for sure. The next couple out were bigger though, a cod followed by a whiting. The conditions were wet and windy but the fish were in and feeding. Rhyl harbour is never going to set the fishing world alight. But for me personally, the opportunity to cast a line in the place where it all began, has a greater pull than catching bigger fish elsewhere.

Returning a whiting to Rhyl harbour
Returning a whiting to Rhyl harbour

With an extensive lugworm bed on the beach by our caravan park, a couple of years or so back I invested in a pump. I must confess though I am nowhere near the experts when it comes to collecting bait. Whilst they are very much pump-worm, pump-worm I am more pump-pump-pump-pump-pump-worm. And that’s being generous. It’s usually a case of getting there in the end. Still, it’s good exercise and always a thrill when a big, fat juicy lugworm appears on the sand.

No chips with this cod, it went back
No chips with this cod, it went back

As always, my vacation gave me the opportunity to take in some different wildlife to what I’m used to back home. The highlight was a common seal basking on the exposed sand at low water. I actually spotted it as my wife and I drove over the bridge, so we went to the caravan, got the camcorder and returned to capture it on film. As far as the birdlife was concerned, the usual suspects put in an appearance on the local beach: sanderling, redshank, little egret, common gull, oystercatcher, ringed plover and turnstone.

Rhyl harbour at high water
Rhyl harbour at high water

I also took in a couple of Welsh Premier League games during my stay in North Wales. I’ve been on air with The New Saints radio show this season and the games featured TNS. The first game v Airbus UK was a draw, while the second, on the road at Bangor City, was an emphatic 5-0 victory. The Saints are well on track to retain their league title. I have been enjoying doing the programme, and it’s been great to get such positive feedback. Fishing and football, it’s not a bad life is it? (Published November 15 2014)