I Smelt a record but let it go — and that’s what truly happened.
A family weekend in Anglesey we stayed over on a cheap deal at the Caernarfon Travel Lodge. I knew that this was a family first trip, and that I would’t get much opportunity to wet a line, but considering the hotels location right on the Menai Straights, and with a fishing pier less than 50 yards from the hotels front door, I could hardly resist packing a rod. I also knew that my wife loves it when I take the kids off her hands for an hour or two, so I also took along a few small drop nets for a bit of crab fishing. We caught crabs (and plenty of them) in the evening, and then first thing the next morning I very kindly offered to take the kids out again while allowing my missus time to get ready for the day at a leisurely pace….
Drop nets for the kids, 0-9g Daiwa Megaforce for Dad, set up with a drop shot rig, a half ounce bomb, single size 12 hook and a bit of Berkley Gulp Worm for bait.
I got the kids set up and crabbing (and they were catching some crackers), and then I let play with the drop shot kit at the North end of the T shaped pier
The tide had just hit its low point and the flow through the Menai Straights was halted for a brief period, the kids were having a good time, and I had a few drops down next to the seaweed and mussel encrusted pier stanchions – I had no idea what I might catch from there, but the pier legs looked like a great fish holding spot and I’d read online whilst doing a bit of research that the Welsh shore caught record black bream had been caught from this spot a few years back.
After about 15 minutes of nothing, the tidal flow had just restarted, and I got that very welcome rat a tat tat on the rod tip, and I reeled up a fish that I’d never caught before – A Sand Smelt — so another notch on the species hunt taking my tally up to 20 for the year.
It was a lovely looking little fish, an iridescent lateral line sheen, and a virtually translucent back.
So after the kids had taken a look, and I’d taken a few pics, the fish went back, and I recast.
The first fish had come 2ft above the bottom, but as try as I might (well for at least 10 minutes) I could’t get any more interest. So I gave the reel a few turns of the handle to fish in mid water, and was immediately rewarded again with another rat a tat tat on the rod tip and this time reeled in the bigger brother/sister/cousin/friend of the first Sand Smelt.
Having no previous experience of Sand Smelt (and not that much experience as a sea angler) I just thought – oh a bigger one, how nice. I took a couple of poor photographs and let the kids drop it back in via their crab drop nets.
Only the next day when I did a bit of Google Research about Sand Smelt – did i discover that the British Shore Record for this species is only 6 and a half ounces — and the fish I caught was certainly around that weight.
Not that I’m that upset …. I very rarely weigh fish, as its the thrill and enjoyment of catching fish which is my main pleasure, rather than trying to beat number on a digital scale.
Any way — who want to have the words “Smelt Record Holder” after their name ?? Mrs Fishing Fiend who is already a regular complainer about fishing related whiffs would readily agree that I hold this title by default.
The session on the end of the pier soon ended, as the tidal current soon picked up pace, and started lifting the kids crab nets off the bottom,,, and then it was time to pack up and return back to the hotel.
The rest of the weekend was spent on various beaches on Anglesey with the kids… the weather wasn’t the best with a stiff south westerly wind, plenty of seaweed milling about in the surf would have put an end to any beach fishing, and fishing off the rocks would have been dangerous… a little family time is a good thing.