Friday, 3 July 2009

Pembrokeshire, Porth Clais

Porth Clais harbour, from the cliff path to the west of the inlet.

Porth Clais, sometimes written as Porthclais, is a picturesque inlet with harbour a short distance from St Davids. The road to Porth Clais is signposted from the main roundabout in the centre of the city (anywhere else I would have written village, such is the size of this city), turn down Goat Street.
There are two car parks at the head of the harbour, one owned by the Harbour Trust and one, adjoining but further away, owned by The National Trust*. For anyone used to parking charges in Southern England, £2 a day comes as a pleasant surprise. There are toilets in the National Trust car park and a kiosk that sells ice cream, drinks etc alongside NT souvenirs.

The Harbour wall at Porthclais.

There are rock ledges which offer access to deep water for float fishing for bass, wrasse and pollack; these are not for the faint hearted, take local advice before you venture down the cliffs; there are climbs well known to the keen rock-climber so the going is not likely to be easy.
Access to the harbour wall is to the eastern ( left ) side of the inlet along a well defined narow path that climbs up and along the top of the low cliffs and descends by a steep slope and steps onto the broad flat wall.
The water can be crystal clear, as can be seen in the photograph above, and the rock fringes to the inlet can be seen under the water, ideal territory for wrasse and pollack. There is little tidal flow within the inlet so float fishing is a leisurely affair,use a small strip of silver mackerel belly as bait, or a head hooked ragworm. Letting the float drift down the right hand side near the rocks should get results although you will need to look out for other harbour users, kayakers and small boat users have right of way through the entrance.
There are a great many small fish to be caught along the wall, drop a small hook baited with ragworm among the rocks and weed and very soon a blenny or small wrasse will be on it. Large wrasse can also be caught close in, along with small pollack. The ground further out seems to be mainly snag free sand and ideal ground for flatfish; after dark should see dogfish or maybe bull huss moving in. Some nice bass are caught here, try an early morning session when there are fewer people and boats to spook the fish. Light tackle can be used here, distance casting is not required and a light rod can be used for spinning, float fishing or legering.
The venue is safe for children above toddling age, there is no railing to the wall but the inner wall should provide plenty of crabbing opportunities to keep them occupied.

As with most fishing spots in West Wales, buying bait can be a problem; there is a tackle shop in Haverfordwest, County Sports at 3 Old Bridge, Haverfordwest SA61 2EZ, tel: 01437 763740. They have a range of frozen baits and stock live ragworm. It would be best to phone and order ragworm as supplies can be erratic.

There is a shop in Solva, just down the coast, ( Bay View Stores on the left as you go down the hill into Solva) that sells fishing tackle and frozen baits and is open until 7 or 8pm.

OTHER LOCAL VENUES ......Newgale.......Fishguard

Tide Times for the next seven days

* note, being in Wales you may not recognise the wording on the NT sign, luckily the NT Logo looks the same in Welsh, there is free parking for NT members