Sunday, 19 September 2010

Species Heaven!

Amlwch in Anglesey was developed as a port and shipbuilding yard to serve the mines of Parys Mountain at the height of the copper boom. This picturesque harbour is set within a deep ravine. 

For the angler this venue offers deep water at all states of the tide, useful as I would be fishing the flood right up from low water. The breakwater would also provide shelter from the driving wind and rain.

Terry from Telboy Tackle had advised me that a recent match was won with seven species.

I set up my stall for the mini species hoping for the smaller wrasse species that had so far eluded me. A barbel rod would maximise bite registration and matched to ten pound line would enable me to lift fish up to my lofty perch above the water. A cut down set of size 12 sabikkis would be baited with one inch long sections of worm.

The bait would be lowered alongside the wall where the fish would be lying in the scoured out base of the wall and amongst the weed growing out of the stone work.

Even though I had arrived at low tide I had bites right from the off, catching several small ballan and corkwing wrasse in various shades of green and brown, some tinged with red. Wrasse bites start off as a series of rattles before the tip pulls down as the wrasse dives for it's bolt hole. It is surprising how even a fish of less than a pound can hoop a barbel rod over!

The next bite was different, just rattles which resulted in a leopard-spotted goby. This species has only recently been re-discovered in British waters by scuba divers. This goby is vividly marked, the almost translucent body being covered in large orange and red blotches with fins tinged with blue.

This was to be the first in a series of gobies which included more leopard spotted and several rock gobies. In contrast to the leopard-spotted goby the rock goby is rather a drab fish with mottled colouring ranging from fawn to purply brown in the breeding male. The first dorsal is edged in orange.

I had bites almost every drop down rarely waiting more than a minute before the rattles started. As well as the wrasse I caught tompot blennies, pollack, pouting and poor cod over the next few hours.

I did catch one example each of the rock cook and goldsinney wrasse. The rock cook has a rotund appearance and can be identified by a distinctive pair of dark bars on the caudal fin. The head is marked with vivid blue lines  similar to a corkwing and the scales above the lateral line are edged in blue.

The goldsinney is a more delicate looking wrasse which is identified by a dark spot on the upper caudal wrist and another on its dorsal fin. I am not sure whether the golden yellow colouring on the side is present in all cases.

I would commend fishing for mini-species to any coarse angler on holiday by the sea, it really is good fun and the colours on some of these fish wouldn't be out of place on a tropical coral reef.

I packed up at 6.30pm with so that I could find my digs in daylight. Would tomorrows boat trip provide me with my first cuckoo wrasse?