Friday, 8 March 2013

Anglesey : High spirits and LRF ghosts.

On Friday I had a job delivering antiques to North Wales and as always my fishing gear was first into the van! I had permission from the family to stay a couple of nights and so I hastily arranged to meet up with Ross Johnson who would put up with me and hopefully put me onto some fish! I had also hoped to meet up with fellow The Lure Forum member Lee Goddard, but unfortunately  Lee couldn't get any time off so that plan was scuppered before it started. After a six hour drive I unloaded the van and was free to start my time off in Wales. I have fished a bit in Anglesey before and was really looking forward to exploring it again with my lure gear. I met Ross after he had finished work and rather than do a night session we decided it would be much more civilised to have some dinner and chill with a few ciders, so we could be focused and ready for fishing on Saturday. A few turned into lots and I awoke feeling rather wretched, however after trip to the cafe to grab breakfast I felt human enough to head to my first port of call, Lyn Y Gors fishery. The plan would be to have a fish there for three or four hours then head north to the coast to hit a mini species mark at high tide.

I went into the excellent tackle shop and checked it would be OK to dropshot for perch, they were fine with this and suggested I try the pleasure lake and the reed lake. I managed to escape without entirely emptying my wallet, merely  buying some new sunglasses, and headed to the pleasure lake first. I have fished the lakes a fair bit in the past using various coarse tactics and indeed I hold the venue record for crucian carp (2lb 12oz, from the reed lake), however I have never lure fished there. I would be using my standard LRF gear 7'10" Graphiteleader Corto EX rod, Shimano Technium 3000SFC reel, 6lb Sunline Super PE. I tied a dropshot rig comprising of a four foot length of 8lb flurocarbon leader, two foot down I attached a #12 Decoy offset worm hook, with the barbs crushed, via a palomar knot and 5g dropshot weight which could be positioned from 1inch to two feet away from the hook.

Conditions were ideal for me but not ideal for perch being bright and sunny with not a drop of wind. I rigged up a two inch tail section of Gulp! Sandworm in natural colour and began to cast about the lake but it wasn't until I had reached some overhanging trees hat I had some interest. As the lure came past the tree there was a couple of bites but I couldn't connect with the culprit. Then as I was surveying the tree I noticed several large white shapes milling about under the branches, ghost carp! I cast again and brought the lure past where they were, hopping the lure across the bottom and pausing in front of them. I shook the rod tip with a little slack line which allows the worm to jerk and wriggle before lowering the rod tip and letting the lure float down to the bottom. Sure enough a couple of the carp came over to investigate and one picked up the lure, I struck and pulled it out of its mouth! This spooked them and the shoal disappeared, but it was very interesting that they were trying to take the lure.

I carried on making my way around the lake, exploring around trees and overhangs with the lure. I got halfway round the lake when I noticed a large ghost carp, with his head down and tail up grubbing about right by my feet. With shaking hands I dropped the rig right in front of him, straight away he came over to investigate and just sucked the lure into his mouth! A flick of the wrist set the hook and the fish powered off towards the floating islands making the reel sing and the rod arch over in a powerful curve. He felt heavy but the rod was quickly sapping his strength, he turned and started coming back towards me, trying to get into the tree roots beside me. A bit of side strain turned him and soon he was swimming in ever decreasing circles and before long he was at my feet. I didn't have my net with me so I gently cradled the fishes belly and lifted him out before laying him on some nice soft,damp reeds to unhook. It was a real chunk of a fish and I estimated it to be  between seven and eight pounds and probably the heaviest fish landed on my Corto Ex to date. I quickly unhooked it and grabbed a few photos before slipping him back, getting a face full of water from his tail as he powered off.

What a result! A fine ghost carp on the lure.
Even carp can't resist Gulp! Sandworm.
I estimated it at between 7 and 8lbs, as you can see he's a real chunk!
Love it, probably my biggest Ghost carp to date and on a lure too!

I felt elated. I had thought there was an outside chance of a carp but really I thought the possibility of them being interested in lures was tiny, hence no mat or net! I was also pretty impressed with the control I had over the fish with my ultra light rod. Once it goes into a good curve , it really drains the fish without yanking its mouth off and the rod soaks up the runs so it doesn't take that much line even off a fairly lightly set drag. I started to work my way back towards the reed lake as I wanted a crack at the perch in there but soon again I ran into another shoal of carp grubbing about in the margins. I made a couple of casts  and they came over to investigate the lure but they were just nudging the line before turning away unimpressed. I then decided to ditch the weight and just cast the weightless tail of gulp, this worked a charm and as I watched the lure slowly sink through the water then I saw a carp rise up and engulf it! I struck and quickly turned it to run away from the shoal before playing it in the open water. After a nice tussle he was soon landed, another nice ghostie about a couple of pounds.

I managed to grab a couple of shots of the second carp as he made his way to my hand.
Another carp falls to my lure, this time a ghost mirror around the 2lb mark.

I slipped him back and had chance to repeat the same process catching another chunky ghost of about 5lbs before I headed over to Reed Lake. I really only had about 10 minutes on there before I had to leave as it was approaching high tide so I headed back to tell the staff about my exploits before heading north to the coast.

My third carp of the session put a great bend in my LRF rod.
I unhooked this guy without landing him, and put him at about the 5lb mark.
Reed lake was so calm it was like casting into the sky.

After a short drive and a lot of climbing about I reached the mark. The plan here would be to try and target a tompot blenny as well as try and pick up some early wrasse. I stuck with the same dropshot rig I had been using at the fishery and soon enough I had landed a common blenny, then another ,then another! In total I had fifteen common blennys and not one tompot between them, Doh! I wasn't too disappointed though as a nice little ballan wrasse and a few corkwings also made an appearance and after a winter of not seeing any wrasse it was great to catch some again! Pretty soon the tide began to drop and the light began to fade signalling the end of the action, so I packed up and made my way back to the van.

Hooray! My first Ballan of 2013 and probably my smallest ever.
The first corkwing of 2013, a brightly coloured male and quite a chunk too!
I have really missed wrasse over the winter, so it was great to catch them again.
The last fish of my Anglesey adventure, a nice female corkwing wrasse.

I drove back to meet Ross, who had just started to recover from the previous nights' exploits and we headed to grab a take away. We scoffed the food then grabbed our beachcasters and set off to the north west coast to try for conger and bull huss. Night fishing is always very atmospheric and was even more so for me as we climbed around on the rocks in the dark. We weaved our way over dark deep gullies and down slippy glass like weed covered rocks to the mark. We were fishing fairly at close range targeting the rock ledges and gullies with mackerel baits. Ross was first in with a nice huss which he allowed to self release at his feet. I had a couple of dropped runs but Ross's fish was to be the only one we saw before we had to call it a night and head back.

What a day! I was really chuffed I had manged to pack so much fishing into such a short space of time and I was still buzzing about the carp all the way back to Edinburgh! All in all it was another great trip to Anglesey and made much more fun because of Ross' great hospitality. I now owe Ross a fishing trip up here so when he gets a chance I really want to show him our north west coast, who knows what we can turn up there!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

NB : Whilst I am experienced in catching and handling carp I would never advocate fishing for them without a landing net or a unhooking mat.


  1. It was a shame to miss you though glad you had a good time.

    1. Thanks Lee, next time for sure we will get together, either up here or down there!