Morecambe Bay is located in the northwest of England just south of the Lake District National Park. It is the largest expanse of intertidal sand and mudflats in the UK, covering a total area of 310km². This geographical wonder of the UK can also be extremely dangerous, quicksand fast moving tides and extremely strong currents demanding respect and caution.
Morecambe Bay sands
I arrived at my location on the coast of Silverdale near Arnside, a luxury static caravan literally 40ft from the shore. The tide times weren’t ideal 1-3pm or 1-3am however because of my close proximity to the water I still managed to get in a decent amount of fishing over the 4 days. This previous post describes in greater detail the tackle and bait I would be using on this trip.
My first session started on thursday night at 12.30am when the water had risen enough to cast into and hold ground. I decided to use one rod (Greys GRX-S 12ft Bass rod and Shimano Titanos 5500 XSA reel) making it easier to see what I was doing because I had forgotten my head torch. It was particularly eerie that night, no wind and flat calm black water slowly covering the huge area of sand. I decided to fish close range casting up-tide 100ft keeping the bail arm open for a few seconds to allow a bow form in the line. I sat on the hard rock watching the isotope attached to the end of the rod twitch as a bat would occasional brush against the line. After several casts the rod tip juddered before springing upwards as a fish dislodged the 4oz weight. I lifted into the fish and wound like mad, a nice sized flounder of around 1.5lb. I was pretty tired come 2am so decided to pack up and get some sleep ready for the next day as well as removing the horrible mess the black lugworms had left on my hands and jeans.
Session number 2 started at around 1pm on the Friday, this time fishing two rods. One with a pennel rigged sand eel to see if any other species lurked in the strong currents of the incoming tide. The other a 2 hook flapper rig with small sections of black lugworm. Broken cloud and an onshore wind provided ideal conditions to get sun burnt and compared to the session 1 the tide really came ripping through.
On previous visits I have seen various military jets fly around the bay at low altitude and at great speed. 30 minutes into the session I heard something strange coming from beyond the hills to my right. A shape appeared over the trees in the form of an Apache AH MK1 helicopter followed by two others. Grabbing my camera I started to take some photos, one of the pilots (I like to think this is what happened) saw I was snapping away and diverted course flying very low directly over me. For some strange reason I got all patriotic and started punching the air “whooping” at this small part of the £3billion British attack helicopter fleet.
Apache AH MK1 helicopter
Apache AH Mk1 helicopter
Weed proved to be a problem throughout the afternoon building up quickly masking the bait and putting a greater amount of drag onto the line. Fishing both short and long range was unproductive and I only started to get bites very late into the session when the tide was well on it’s way out. The bites came thick and fast but nothing positive, eventually something had taken hold and I discovered what had been nibbling at the lugworm. A 2ft long sand eel was on the end of the line which although is quite an achievement it wasn’t what I was after. I unhooked the eel and quickly released it back into the water.
Large Sand Eel
After blanking in the day I was determined to catch and ventured out into the night. The moon was full and the broken cloud provided me with a greater amount of light than the previous nights fishing. A shooting star streaked across the nights sky but my wish of catching that didn’t come true. I packed up at around 2.30am and went to bed.
I was under a particular amount of pressure to catch some flounder as we had guests and I had promised fresh fish for the BBQ. Previous sessions had been relatively relaxed in approach but because of the need to provide food I set myself a schedule for the next couple of hours. This consisted of fishing close range in the channel at the start of the tide, fishing longer range when the tide was at it’s highest then back to close range when the tide started to turn. I also decided to change baits every 20-30minutes to keep them fresh, in the strong current small sections of lug can become washed out very quickly.
10 minutes into my first cast I had landed 1/2lb flounder followed by couple of other small fish but still needed to land something more sizable. As the tide began to turn the tip of my carp rod started to judder. I clambered up off my behind and watched the rod tip slam over, I was rewarded with a nice flounder of 2lb.
2lb Flounder caught at Morecambe bay
Satisfied with this fish I decided to pack up and join my guests. We cooked the fish on the BBQ with salt, pepper and lemon. It tasted absolutely amazing.
This was the final session of my trip and after my previous success I decided to take a more relaxed approach, catch some fish and get wind burnt to buggery once again. I employed the same tactics of short and long range fishing depending on the tide. I had more success when the tide was at it’s highest catching a number of fish of 1lb+.
Towards the very end of the session I think I set a record of the worlds smallest line caught flounder. I have no idea how the flounder managed to end up on the end of a 2.0 hook, it was pretty amazing to see the fish in miniature. The greedy bugger swam away to fight another day.
Worlds smallest line caught flounder
In conclusion Morecambe bay was a great place to fish, not only did I enjoy catching but also BBQ’ing and enjoying beautifully fresh fish with family and friends. I didn’t get round to testing out the Dvice casting capsule but will certainly give it a go in the future. I will leave you with some other photos I took during my stay. Enjoy.
Morecambe bay sands sunset
High tide at Morecambe bay
Shiman Titanos XSA reel and Greys GRX-S bass rod
Shimano Titanos 5500 XSA
Rod tip of Greys GRX-S Bass rod and carp rod
Morecambe bay sands
Morecambe bay sands