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Where to Fish Coastal

Newton / Porthcawl

Newton in Porthcawl is a great venue to fish especially in rough weather. You can either fish the Point towards the furthest end of Newton Village at low water, or the beach in front of Beach road at high tide.

At the Point the ground you fish over is a mixture of weed covered ledges & coral. Although the sand seems to be making more of an appearance, you will still need a " rotten bottom " lead system to avoid tackle loss. The angler fishes from either the ledges in front of the 2 pillars of rock half way down the shoreline or the old sewer pipe to the west of the pillars. Rigs used should be kept basic to avoid tackle loss, so single hook fixed or pulley rigs should be used with gripweights to 5oz needed to hold your bait in the tide. Baits such as crab, squid & ragworm will produce specimen size fish throughout the year. The Point is renowned for its Smoothound fishing in the summer with both Starry & Common Smouthound being caught to double figure weights. Other Summer species include Conger eel, Bass, Wrasse & even Trigger fish. Winter fishing consists of good bags of Codling & Whiting. Low water is the best time to fish , with the 2 hours before low proving the most productive.

The beach is predominantly a high water venue which fishes best when a South westerly wind is blowing, roughing the sea up in the Channel. The beach can be fished anywhere from the new slip to Ogmore river mouth, with the old slip & the black rocks being the most productive spots. Rigs used should include small hooks for target species such as Whiting, Codling, Flounder & small bass. Best bait would be lugworm.


Ogmore River Mouth

The River mouth is a popular for several reasons. Firstly it is capable of being fished even when the weather is poor. It is one of the few local venues you can fish when the wind blows south wersterly, as it seems to do a large percentage of the time in South Wales. Secondly it can be fished in several different ways.

Standard beachcasting tactics work well where the river enters the sea with codling, bass conger eel and turbot the target species. The river mouth is also a great place for lure fishing for bass, where if conditions are favourable fish up to 10lb + have been known to come on plugs and plastic soft baits.

Fly fishing has also been known to lure bass and migratory fish such as Salmon and Sea trout to the net. Further up stream flounder and dabs can be targeted using small hooked paternoster rigs , watch leads and mud rag as bait. Hybrids to 4lb have been known to come out in early Autumn.

Last but not least there is the thick lipped mullet that frequent the area around the sewer farm bridge. They can be caught using either float or ledger tactics with favoured baits being bread, mud rag or sweetcorn. The optimum time of the tide to fish is debatable, although best catches tend to come 2 hours either side of high water.


Ogmore Beach/ Deeps

There are several hotspots that can be fished on Ogmore sea front although in reality you can fish anywhere you can pitch a rod stand. The beachfront at Ogmore has traditionally always been known as a high water venue although present day it is increasingly being fished with some success over low, especially when targeting specimen rays that make an appearance spring & autumn. The beach to the East of the river mouth is a great place to target specimen Small Eyed Rays at low water using up & over pulley rigs and sandeel as bait. Next to this there is the shingle beach at Fishermans rock in front of the car park.This is an easy place to fish high water in winter when looking for codling and whiting. It is also known to turn up turbot in early spring. If you keep heading east through the five bar gate at the end of the car park is an outcrop of rock known as "Cod Gulley". The mark is fished over high water for Small eyed rays and conger eel in spring & Autumn, and Cod in the winter. Rigs used should be 3/0 pulley pennell with 5oz/150g grip weights to hold in the tide, which is partularly strong on the drop. Suggested baits are Sandeel and squid in the summer, and lug and squid in the winter.

Further east again around the next bay ( Hardys) are the ledges known as the Sea lawns, so called because of their proximity to the old Sea lawns hotel. Similar tactics will produce the same results as the gulley, including the chance of a specimen Conger eel. I will add a note of caution to both these marks. Both are South Westerly facing so are prone to being submerged by sea swells in even the calmest weather Please check weather conditions and sea state before fishing here, never fish alone and always respect the Sea.

Last but certainly not least is the infamous "Ogmore Deeps" . Famous for its haul of 20lb cod caught almost daily in the 1980's Ogmore Deeps is a large causeway of rock found to the east of Ogmore village. It can be reached either from the carpark at the rivermouth or the car park over the cattle grid at the other side of the village.At 400 yards long you would be forgiven for thinking there is plenty of room to fish however in reality there are really only 3 or 4 places you can safely put a rodstand and cast. Caution is again advised when fishing here. As it is south westerly facing , the Deeps bears the brunt of any weather thrown in its direction. Also the ledges slope away from the waters edge and the sea especially on big tides has a tendency to fill in from behind on the lower middle ledges , trapping the angler at the waters edge . It is advisable to never fish alone and never to take you eyes from the sea. The ground in front is a mixture of sand broken rock and coral. Personally I don't think a weak link weight system is needed as although there is rock it is possible due to the angle of retrieve to get most of your end tackle back. Best spots to fish are the high ledges at either end of the deeps and an area in the middle where there is a lower ledge 10ft wide that is ideal for landing fish.

Ogmore Deeps fishes all year round and it is posible to find many different species there. Of coure there is chance of a big Cod using live bait rigs at distance, but it has an awesime reputation Smoothound, specimen rays , conger eel, bulllhuss and of course Bass. Baits fished in close , either float fished or ledgered will turn up Pollack or Pouting. A whole squid or mackerel bait could also entice a monster conger eel to make an appearance. The rigs used will depend on the target species . Pulley rigs or Up and Over rigs for rays and cod. Fixed rigs for Conger or Bass. Baits like wise, with sandeel proving a great universal bait to coax a bite from most species. Mackerel baits for whiting and small Turbot . Try Cuttlefish for specimen Conger Eel.

The Deeps fishes all year round.


Shark Fishing in Wales

I was recently asked to join a good customer on a boat trip for shark off the West Wales coast. So 4am in the morning we set off  for Neyland and joined Skipper Nick on Celtic Wildcat. Nick was to ferry us out to the Celtic Deeps, a mark 35 miles out in the Irish sea, to fish for shark in 300 foot of water. This was a type of fishing I had never done before. Luckily for me I was with Andrew Samuels, a very experienced big game fisherman who had caught shark all over the world. Andrew was kind enough to supply the gear and advice on how to land these large predators. Tackle used was 30-50lb class stand up boat rods coupled with 6/0 size lever drag multipliers. I was looking forward to the sport so chose the Abu Garcia Suveran 30-50lb downtider coupled with a Shimano TLD20 Leverdrag multiplier loaded with Berkley XTS red 30lb monofilament. 

Weather conditions were ideal, with a slight South Easterly wind and little swell . After a 2 1/2 hour steam to the mark which involved a lot of Dolphin spotting & bird watching we eventually reached the mark. A mesh bag was filled with cut up fish such as mackerel, pouting and trout and hung over the side of the boat, creating a slick which drifted away from the boat, hopefully luring sharks to the boat that would pick up the scent with their incredible sense of smell. Everybody clipped on their end tackle which consisted of a 15ft rubbing trace of either 400lb monofilament or wire, normally 49 strand attached to a 4ft wire trace and a 12/0 circle hook with its barb cut off . Circle hooks are now the preferred choice of the shark angler, as they are easily removed because of their tendency to always catch the fish in the side of the sharks mouth. A balloon is attached on a sliding float fitting , normally a wide bored zip slider above the rubbing trace allowing the angler to adjust the depth at which the bait is presented. The hook is then inserted behind the head of the baitfish, usually a mackerel and thrown over the side, leaving it to drift away in the current.



There was 8 anglers on board, so 8 rods in the water all with baits at varying depths so we could find what depth the fish were feeding at. Bites were a bit slow to start with but after an hour the ratchet on the rod next to mine started to slowly click, then whizz as the bait was picked up by a shark which tore down tide away from us at lightening quick speed. The fish quickly stripped 30 yards of line off the reel before Butch picked up the rod and engaged the drag to set the hook. There followed a 15 minute tussell where Butch gained line on the reel, only for the fish to go on another run. Finally the fish came to the side of the boat where it was steered to the stern and an open door which allowed Nick to pull the shark aboard and remove the hook. 

The first shark on board was a Blue of about 40lb. Everyone congratulated Butch on being the first to boat a fish, also hoping that they were next. Over the next 4 hours every rod on the boat landed a shark, all Blues, except me and Andrew. By 3 o'clock I still hadn't had anything and was beginning to think it wasn't going to be my day. But then as silence descended on the boat my reel screamed as the ratchet went. Something had picked up my bait and torn downtide, stripping 40 yards off my reel. I slowly engaged the leverdrag and lifted the rod into the fish. It seemed well hooked as the pressure was relentless.
I can safely say that I have never had anything put a bend into a rod like that. The tip was at right angles and the reel feeding line out, even though the drag was set . Eventually I managed to stop the fish. and slowly started to gain line. pumping and winding . The weight on the line made my arms and my back ache. All I could think was that I hoped the knot I had just tied above the rubbing trace would hold. To lose a fish because of that would have left me distraught. Eventually after a short fight, that seemed to me like hours we could see far below a bar of white , as the shark turned and twisted in its attempt to escape. The shark was brought to the surface and steered to the stern of the boat where Nick pulled the shark onto the deck. I'd broken my Blue Shark duck.
Shark Fishing in South Wales
The shark was unhooked and handed to me for a short photo session , then released over the side , to swim off , hopefully to live and fight another day. The fish was estimated to weigh 45-50lb, so I was very pleased. Biggest on the day was estimated to be 120lb and we boated around 30 fish between us, including 4 for myself. With the day almost over, and the skipper mindful of the failing light time was called & all gear was reeled in. The long journey home was shortened by another display of dolphins dancing  in & out of the Wildcats wake. A fantastic day and one I will never forget. A big thankyou goes out to Nick the skipper of the Celtic Wildcat for his enthusiasm, expert knowledge, patience & help. Also thankyou to Andrew Samuels for all his help, the kit and the driving to & from the venue.   
Shark Fishing in South Wales

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