Wayne McKeown is one of the top Welsh anglers. With a list of catches fitting for someone who has spent a lifetime fishing, Wayne is a very down to Earth kind of guy and was only too happy to give us an interview. So over to Wayne now…
Me: What were your first memories of fishing?
First fishing memories are down the local river when i was about 10 yrs old with a bubble float fishing for trout which weren’t there due to the state of the rivers with all the mining activity, as for sea fishing , my first trip was when i was 12yrs old, got up at 3 in the morning a 112 mile journey to St Davids, what a stunning location for a first fishing trip, caught a pollack and a dab and i was hooked!
Me: What was the first fish you caught that made it something to get into more seriously?
I can’t really say there was 1 fish that pushed me further, it was just a progression, i put a lot of time and effort in , i just wanted to catch more and bigger fish, so once you find the right methods of catching it,s just a case of putting the hours in on different marks, tides and weather conditions!
Me: What’s the shore fishing like in Wales?
Wales has probably the best fishing in britain, with miles of sandy beaches, estuaries, deep water rock marks and shallower beaches of rock and broken ground theres loads of different species to catch… specimen size rays, bass, smoothounds,flatfish, conger eels bull huss, wrasse and other species are regularly caught!
Me: You were one of the first to discover big blonde ray from the shore over there how did that begin?
A small group of us were always out trying new marks,when we heard of a mark that had been producing some smalleyeds throughout the winter , this was a mark that i had fished a few times previously quite a few years before ! we put a lot of hours in on this mark before a blonde was caught, but knowing there was a chance of another one we kept going and the fishing got better and better until a good night was myself landing 5 double figure blondes with 2 over 20lb the biggest being 24lb 10ozs
Me: What other ray species do you get there?
We also get smalleyeds,thornbacks, spotteds and the occasional stinger…
Me: How is the cod fishing in Winter?
The cod fishing has has got worse over the last 10 years, winter cod fishing was my favourite time of the year, where if you put the hours in you would catch a few double figures every year, alas now, some places have a good run of codling, but doubles are rare although the odd 20lber does get caught!
Me: You also like your boat fishing what kind of boat fishing do you enjoy?
I like most types of boat fishing, from uptiding for rays and smoothounds to wrecking for cod and eels down the south west of England, but the best fishing in Britain is probably the blue and porbeagle shark fishing from the southwest coast of wales, pioneered by a good friend Andrew Alsop skipper of Whitewaters !
Me: What has been your favourite catch over the years?
Mmmm? that,s a tricky one ! i,ve been very fortunate in my angling life, and had a lot of special catches, but i tried for 16yrs to get a 20lb cod off the beach and finally did it one wet dark winter night in 2001!
Me: Where else in the world would you like to fish and for what species?
I’ve been to Norway twice cod fishing with moderate success, and fished Namibia, landing a 250lb bronze whaler shark from the beach! i think Florida for the tarpon would be 1st on my wishlist of angling destinations!
Me: What are your fishing hopes for the rest of the 2014?
I hope all sea anglers remember it can be a dangerous sport sometimes, so think safety and remember no fish is worth risking your life for! on a personal note, it’s coming up to my favourite time of year with the blonde ray fishing starting to pick up so it,s going to be a lot of late nights and hopefully some big fish!