Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

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manchesterangler
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Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby manchesterangler » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:41 pm

I thought it might be interesting to share last weeks sea angling trips with you. My wife Karen joined me and as usual we always enjoy a friendly competition whilst fishing. We decided upon two diverse venues, the Fylde seafront and the Mersey Estuary. The winner would be decided by the longest combined catch lengths over the two five hour fishing sessions.

Day 1: Bispham Promenade, fishing 2:15pm to 6:30pm

We arrived nice and early, enjoying a nice walk along the upper promenade. It's a great vantage point overlooking the beach stretching from north of Gynn Wall boating pool on towards the Norbreck Hotel. I'm sorry there are no panoramic views as we forgot to pick up the camera with our sandwiches. None the less it set the tone nicely sat on a bench eating our lunch admiring the wonderful view across the long stretch of sand extending as far as the eye could see.

Bispham Angling supplied the fresh black lugworm which combined with a frozen Bluey, Mackerel and Squid made up our bait supply for the session ahead. We walked from the shop down to the lower promenade sea wall. The sunshine attracted hordes of anglers for the afternoon high tide, there were cars parked all the way along the promenade sea wall. Although busy, we still managed to find plenty of room to fish and settled into a fishy looking spot.

Initially I selected a spot whereby a smaller gulley spurred off a much larger gulley running parallel with the sea wall. This smaller gulley meandered past a small patch of stones before making its way towards a few small pools at the base of the sea wall. The main gulley was approximately 90 to 100 metres from the sea wall. The small patch of stones probably 65 to 70 metres from shore. However, a rush of blood to the head found a spot located 40 metres further south more appealing. The main gulley was a little closer in and the pool at the bottom of the sea wall looked a little deeper.

No sooner had we settled when two cars past us and parked up in the original spot I was thinking of fishing. In no time at all the tide had breached the sand bank between the main gulley and our fishing position on the sea wall. My words of wisdom to Karen 'Don't waste any time casting your bait into the water Karen as the Bass are renown for feeding in the very early stages of the flooding tide' had barely time to be blown away on the wind when I noticed the angler immediately to our right reeling in a fish. It was indeed a Bass of 32cm caught from the very spot where I was originally going to fish!

Not to worry the sun was shining and there was every chance they may swim our way, the rod tips were given our full attention in anticipation of some fishy activity.

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It wasn't long before the angler to our right caught his second Bass, slightly larger at 35cm. Thankfully before the mist of despair threatened to descend upon us my rod tip had the slightest of rattles. The bite didn't develop within twenty or so long seconds, so I decided to strike and hopefully set a hook into a fish. My rig had been fishing in the main gulley (approximately 80 metres from the sea wall) . Meanwhile Karen's rig was fishing half way down the sand bank towards the sea wall at her maximum casting distance of 50 metres. When we fish together like this sharing a tripod it is usually my rod tip that sees the first signs of fish in the early stages of the flooding tide.

Due to the shallow water and the 150 gram lead bouncing along the sand bank I wasn't sure if there was a fish on my line. A delicate reassuring nod on the light tip of my 15 foot continental style beach rod as the lead cleared to top of the sand bank brought a sense of relief and the first fish of the day, a small but perfectly formed 20cm Dab.

Karen was quick to reply with a nice sized Flounder at 30cm on the next cast. To say the sport was slow and sporadic would not be overly harsh during the following ninety minutes, basically a bite every other cast at intervals of ten to fifteen minutes. With two hours gone the scores on the doors were as follows;

Angler two to our right: 1 x small Bass.

Angler immediately to our right: 2 x small Bass @ 32cm & 35cm.

Karen: 2 x Dab (21cm & 23cm) and 1 x Flounder @ 30cm, missed a bite.

Myself: 2 x Dab (20cm & 25cm) and 1 x Flounder @ 18cm, missed a bite.

Angler to our left: Didn't here of or see a fish caught.

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We may have all gone for a chippy tea in the proceeding 1.5 hours over high water as there was not a bite to be for anyone. The deadlock was broken by the angler two to my right who managed to catch his third small Bass as the flow of the ebbing tide picked up. I had changed to an Urfe Rig combined with a 90 gram flat lead over high water in an effort to attract a bite via twitching baits down the side of the sand bank towards the sea wall. This rig was now moving very slowly across the sand bank now the tidal flow had increased. I had a cracking bite which resulted in a 20cm Flounder being gratefully caught.

Karen's static bait was hit hard producing a positive rattle on her rod tip. She set the hook and proceeded to cautiously reel in what was clearly a better fish.

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A happy angling chick with the largest fish of the day, a 35cm Flounder.

Just as we thought the fish were having deserts it all went quiet again. There was a mass exodus of cars leaving the sea wall even though there was still an hour of fishing tide left. Fortunately for me the Urfe Rig moving in the ebbing tide searched out one last fish, a 25cm Dab.

By the end of a difficult angling session the final catch returns were as follows:

Angler two to our right: 2 x small Bass.

Angler immediately to our right: 2 x small Bass @ 32cm & 35cm, one missed bite = 67cm.

Karen: 2 x Dab (21cm & 23cm) and 2 x Flounder (30cm & 35cm), one missed a bite = 109cm.

Myself: 3 x Dab (20cm & 2x 25cm) and 2 x Flounder (18cm & 20cm), one missed a bite = 108cm.

Anglers to our left: Didn't here of or see a fish caught although I'm sure they would have caught a flattie or two.

We enjoyed fishing a totally different venue other than our usual Mersey estuary marks. Essentially it was beaching fishing without all the mess of sand and moving gear up and down a beach. I have plenty to learn with regards to beach watercraft skills, reading beach features and tidal flows across the sand all appeal to my ever developing sea angling brain. Plus its mandatory to have a chippy tea when one visits the Fylde coast, a perfect way to end a day at the seaside!

I had to go in work the next day so our next session and final leg on the Mersey was scheduled in a couple days time. It was a perfect tide on a cracking mark with a good weather forecast. The stage was set for a grand finale on the Mersey Estuary.

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A light wind, cloud cover with occasional rain greeted us upon our arrival at the Liverpool docks. It had been four weeks since our last fishing session at this mark, a memorable one that produced my first, second and third Thornback Ray that I had ever caught from the Mersey estuary. Expectations were mixed, more questions than answers. Would the Whiting and Dogfish still be around in the numbers they were at the beginning of May? If not, what fish would be swimming around on this deep water dockland venue.

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Both Karen and I adopted scratching 1 up and 1 down rigs, presenting small worm and fish baits (fresh black lugworm, frozen Mackerel, Sandeel & Squid) on size 4 hooks. Forty five minutes came and went without as much as a bite, something we have not previously experienced on here. It was totally dead, not even any crab activity! I was left to contemplate and try and come up with a change of tactics.

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After rummaging deep into my angling knowledge pool, I came up with a plan B. The flooding tide was picking up so I changed the bottom hook on the 1 up / 1 down rig to a size 1 hook to present half a Sand Eel in hope of a Dogfish. My rig was being fished 70 metres from the dock wall whilst Karen was again at her maximum casting range of 50 metres. Within the space of ten minutes my rod tip indicated a classic Ray bite. A positive rattle followed by a slow heavy pull on the rod tip. It took me by surprise, surely not a Ray at this stage of the tide! My rod tip bent nicely into the unmistakable weight of a Ray that didn't want to leave the bottom of the Mersey. The fish fought doggedly all the way to the wall before surfacing. A nice sized Thornback Ray was quickly guided into our drop net. The fish measured 50cm across the wings and was photographed before being swiftly released.

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What followed in the proceeding hour and half was nothing short of unbelievable!

Karen was still without a bite until she followed my change of tactics. She baited with a black lugworm / squid wrap and it wasn't long before her very first Thornback Ray from the Mersey Estuary was hooked. A tense few minutes elapsed as she guided the fish towards us, especially whilst trying to get the fish in the drop net. Judging by the smile on Karen's face, it was well worth it!

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I've never experienced anything like this in my sea angling life. Between our two rods sharing a tripod we went on to catch a total of nine Thornback Rays during this frantic feeding spell. The successful bait for Karen was a Mackerel / Squid wrap presented on a size 1/0 hook. Meanwhile I had been alternating between half a Sand Eel / squid wrap on a size 1 hook and a whole Sand Eel / Squid wrap on a size 3/0 hook.

At one point we had a double hook up with both of us hooking and landing Ray simultaneously!

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Inevitably the sport could not last forever and sure enough the fish backed off as this big girl was being maneuvered into the dock and the lock gates were opened.

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We had a good hour without a bite. I have a saying when fishing; if you think it, then do it! What I mean by this is don't wait to change tactics because the moment might pass you by. I was convinced the Rays had not swam away because the fish we had caught were full of small crabs and other mashed up aquatic food. They were in this area in numbers for one reason only, to feed!

With this in mind I changed to a clipped 1 up / 1 down loop rig. This enabled me to cast those extra few metres with a big cast during the lighter tidal flow leading up to and over high water. My rig was now fishing at a distance of 90 metre, a little further into the deeper shipping channel.

The fish reaction was instant, within ten minutes a Dogfish. My next four casts over a period of an hour all produced a Thornback Ray.

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Bites eventually stopped just after High Water as the ebbing tide picked up. Unfortunately throughout this intense period of action Karen was unable to buy a bite casting at her maximum range of 50 metre. Although made up with her first Mersey Rays the session was tinged with frustration due to her limited casting ability. We ended what can only be described as truly remarkable session with the following catch returns.

Karen:

4 x Thornback Rays @ 30cm, 37cm, 42cm & 44cm = 153cm.

Myself:

1 x Dogfish, 1 x Dab @ 24cm,

9 x Thornback Rays @ 24cm, 3 x 25cm, 27cm, 41cm, 2 x 43cm & 50cm = 367cm.

We sat on the dock wall at the end of the session and watched a ship setting sail upon natures wild and unpredictable sea. This left us to ponder what fishy goings on are occurring in the murky depths of the Mersey. Sea angling still has that air of mystery to it, even though we have a good idea of what species might be possible to catch. We never know for sure what we might catch; sea angling at its brilliant, unpredictable and addictive best! I for one love it, and count the days down to the next installment.

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Steve Duffy
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Steve Duffy » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:41 pm

A very comprehensive report.Well worth reading. :clap: :clap: :thumbsup:
D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F
AGNB
Thats bang out of order !

Species--- Bass,ray,smoothhound,starry smoothhound,plaice,flounder,dab,LSD,huss,whiting,coddling,mackeral,pout,pollock.

Jackalulu
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Jackalulu » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:12 pm

Brilliant report and excellent fishing. Really enjoyable and very informative to read.
Next time out why not have a casting limit of 50yds and see who comes out on top. Just a suggestion. ;)

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Maerig the hunter
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Maerig the hunter » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:21 pm

Great read thanks mister well done to both of you :clap: :clap: :clap:
2017 species : Whiting :roll: rock salmon:roll: Flounder, shore crab, otterspool bigsnag, soreneck, acheing bells :lol:

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Bobdeniro2
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Bobdeniro2 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:23 pm

Cracking report and some great fishing :clap: :clap: :thumbsup:
2017: Bass, Saddled Bream, Codling, Conger, Dab, Blue Finned Damsel fish, Dogfish, Silver Eel, Flounder, Goby, Plaice, Pollack, Pouting, Rockling, 3B Rockling, TB Ray, Long Spined Scorpion Fish, Whiting, Ballan Wrasse, Ornate Wrasse

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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Willpower » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:28 am

Good photos and some nice rays taken from the Mersey.

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Brian900
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby Brian900 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:30 am

Great report and pictures. well done to both :clap: :clap: :clap:

manchesterangler
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby manchesterangler » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:59 pm

Thanks guy's, I've only just started fishing the Alex Wall this year. Probably had about seven sessions since January. It will be interesting to see what it produces over the next few months, especially when bites become harder to find :).

News Flash:
I took Karen onto a playing field to improve her casting. Very interesting results using different rod and reel set ups. She has now graduated to the 60 metre club, with a personal best of 72 metres:)

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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby tatch1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:55 pm

Belting report & photos :thumbsup: well done the pair of you :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

manchesterangler
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby manchesterangler » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:42 am

Just like to warn any anglers who may thinking of parking their car on a side street in the Bispham area and fishing the promenade. My car was parked in a side street north of Red Bank Road when I fished this session. I've since discovered what was causing a slow puncture that had appeared the next day. It took over a week before the blade of a Stanley finally dislodged and my tyre went flat. On closer inspection of the tyre when removed the slash of a blade could be clearly seen.

I'm not going to say anything else because any words that I may write might offend somebody..........

manchesterangler
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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby manchesterangler » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:59 am

I was parked on Pennystone Road, just north of Red Bank Road.

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Re: Fylde & Mersey, a tale of two different sea angling trips

Postby seaangler » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:38 am

Spot on report. :clap: :clap:
If people concentrated on the REALLY important things in life....... There would be a shortage of fishing rods and reels


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