Friday, 29 July 2011

Britain's Bonefish

Llangenith beach on the Gower Peninsula is a surfers paradise. Set between two rocky headlands this long sandy beach faces the full force of the Atlantic.

Although surf beaches are associated with bass I was after the rare golden-grey mullet for which Llangenith is famous. Golden-grey's are the smallest of our three mullet species and can be identified by the golden spot on the gill cover. They can be found between the first and second breakers in water only a couple of feet deep, here they feed on marine invertebrates dislodged by the backwash.

My research suggested that the first hour of the flood would be the best time, so my plan was to fish an hour before low water and through the flooding tide. Using polaroids I hoped to spot the mullet working along the water table, indeed I had been told that they often tail like bonefish. I headed left from the access point away from the surfers and holiday makers.

My barbel rod was matched to ten pound line. I had tied up some two hook flapper rigs with 15 inch hooklengths and size 6 aberdeen hooks which would be loaded with maddies. The first couple of maddies were threaded up the hook shank and the remainder were head hooked, so that the bait resembled a medusa's head.Using a light lead of an ounce or two would mean that the rig would only just hold bottom and occasionally the lead would shift in the tide.

Second cast in and the tip rattled resulting in a flounder which put up a reasonable fight on the light tackle. A cast just beyound the second breaker resulted in a more positive bite with the rod pulling right over. This fish zoomed all over the place at speed. I was surprised how hard a pound golden-grey mullet fights. These mullet really are Britain's bone fish, If only they grew larger.

As the tide flooded I added a further five flounders including a double shot, a pristine bass of perhaps two pounds and a second golden grey mullet, slightly smaller than the first. My final fish was a small turbot

I really enjoyed my first experience of fishing a surf beach, it is really exilerating standing in the surf with the waves crashing against your legs.