Autumn Dreaming

Venue: Pink Bay, Porthcawl. Monday 28th October 2019.

Weather: winds 8 mph north-easterly, pressure 1026mb, temp app. 5 degrees.

Tide: High of 10.5m at 6.03 a.m. one tide before highest tide of the cycle.

Moon phase: new moon.

Fishing time: 2.30 a.m. – 7.30 a.m.

Method: Clipped down up and over rig at longer range, two hook paternoster fished at 20-60 yards.

Baits: ragworms, frozen black kugworms, squid, sandeels, frozen razor clams, frozen peeler crabs.

It seems like an absolute lifetime since I’ve fished, let alone written anything on here. Come to think of it, it seems like a lifetime since I’ve done anything other than work.

The school in which I work recently underwent its inspection, meaning that for weeks leading up to the event it was all hands to the pumps. Being a middle leader, I knew that I’d be busy, but I had no comprehension of exactly how many demands the inspection would actually make of me – the sheer amount of time and energy I’ve expended has been crazy. During the five days of the inspection week itself I literally managed 14 hours of sleep…in total!

That’s all behind us now though and, although the effects are still hanging around like a case of jet lag, I’m starting to feel more human, starting to feel more myself and starting to feel, as always, that pull toward the shoreline that can never be denied.

Over the last few years I’d always seemed just off the pace, looking up to find that it’s already spring and the best of the autumn/winter fishing has already passed me by. I was determined for this not to be the case this year, particularly as I’ve streamlined the tackle and have new rods and reels to bed in.

The weather has been dire of late, with lashings of rain and gusty weather drowning any realistic thoughts of fishing, but a forecast window in the weather meant that I woke up on Saturday to a clear day, the first frost of the season on the rooftops

and that clean, crisp air inviting me one again to get out of doors, shake off the office fug and get the lines wet.

There was, of course, the small matter of a rugby World Cup semi final, with dreams of a first Welsh final appearance, to get out of the way first! Alas, it wasn’t to be this time so, immediately on Sunday’s final whistle, it was out into the garden for me to potch with the gear. This is an aspect of angling which I actually love. Half of the excitement is caught up in the prep – tying rigs, loading reels, organising boxes and so on, and this is really well captured by a guy called Mark Williams in a video on his new Youtube channel. If you have time, check it out here as it’s well worth a watch. If you end up reading this Mark, well done to you mate. I really enjoy watching guys like him as many of them produce these videos (a not insignificant amount of work in itself) out of sheer enjoyment, which really comes across well.

Anyway, back to the session in hand. I finished potching, banished memories of the South Africa defeat and packed the car ready for a very early start where my autumn dreams would switch from rugby to that end-of-year staple in the British sea angler’s daydreams- the cod. A few have been caught already near the bridges to the east, so I was hoping that they’d started a push westward in search of rich feeding grounds.

After a 7.30 bedtime, a 12.30 alarm, the usual WhatsApp banter and a shortish drive I was meeting Dai at 1.30 ready for the walk down to Pink Bay. I still have this lingering feeling that this beach owes me a good winter session, so I’m planning to hit it a few times this year. Let’s hope I’m right!

We got down there sharpish and set up as quickly as we could, not an easy feat given that the tide was already tonking in and we were having to walk back with it every couple of minutes. Nevertheless, the first baits were in the water by about 2.30.

Things looked good at first as Dai had the first bite within about ten minutes. Nothing came of it, but at least there were some signs of encouragement. I had brought the kitchen sink in terms of bait, so was hopeful of a decent session.

These early signs weren’t actually borne out for me until 3.45 when a lovely bass of around 2lb absolutely nailed my sandeel and squid bait at short range, and gave a spirited tussle all the way in.

It was a beautiful, fin-perfect little fish that brought a genuine smile to my face and warmed up the rapidly cooling morning.

It would be lovely to say that the session really kicked in from there, and that we got our cod, but that would also have to remain a dream, for the time being at least. The rest of the session passed by in a staccato rhythm of dog fish, sometimes even double shots!

Highlight of the session was definitely when Dai dug out the gas stove and knocked up some lovely bacon and egg rolls.

Honestly, if it weren’t for the stubby legs, hulking shoulders and birdsnest beard, he’d make someone a lovely wife!

By the time the end of the session swung around at 7.30, the morning was shaping up to be a gorgeous one

but we were utterly knackered and keen to get the trudge back to the cars out of the way.

Still, it was great to get out again. As always, the company was tip-top (cheers again mate for the grub and the banter!) The weather was fine and we’re definitely now making the transition into the time of year when I really start to come to life. The inspection hangover is definitely vanished now, and I’m really looking forward to the next one already!

Tight lines,



2.30 – first baits in the water.

3.45 – 2lb school bass taken on sandeel topped with squid on botyom hook of flapper at 60 yards.

3.55 – Dai caught a dog fish further out on bluey/sandeel combo on up and over rig.

4.05 – Double shot of dogfish on flapper at 60 yards. One on ragworms and one on sandeel tipped with squid.

4.50 – Dogfish for Dai. Tap on my range rod on sandeel/squid/frozen blacks.

5.00 – Dogfish for Dai. Tap on my range rod on ragworms.

5.40 – Dai had dogfish

6.35 – Dogfish at range on ragworms.

6.40 – Dogfish on bottom hook of flapper on sandeel tipped with squid.


Number of fish – 43 ( 24 dogfish, 5 pouting, 4 turbot, 2 whiting, 1 flounder, 1 smoothhound, 3 small-eyed rays, 2 conger eels, 1 bass)

Number of species – 9

About simon smith

Teacher, husband, father, angler and author based in South Wales.
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