Haydn Ross is the proud owner and skipper of ‘Tuskar 2’, an immaculate, fast and extremely spacious Evolution 38 charter fishing boat. He moors it at Cardiff Bay Marina.

Haydn has boat fished in the Bristol Channel from a young age. Now, he's interested in getting youngsters and their parents fishing, as well as other members of the general public, and runs bookable fishing trips aboard Tuskar 2.

two males preparing fishing bait.
Dave Lewis holding a fish.
Tuskar 2 - a small fishing boat at a dock.

Dave Lewis with a fish and Tuskar 2

The inshore grounds off Cardiff Bay, where Haydn sails, produce numerous different sea fish species, several of which are regularly caught weighing over 10lb. These include conger eel, blonde, thornback and small-eyed rays, smoothounds, cod, bass and bull huss.

Several smaller species can also be caught, including plenty of dogfish. While these eager bait takers are often decried by experienced boat anglers, they are a more than welcome catch for any child or novice angler, and most days catching one can be pretty much guaranteed. All of these can be caught within a 15-20 minute run from the Cardiff Bay Barrage lock gates.

A boy with a fishing rod off the side of a boat.
fisherman with rod and sea in background.

Waiting for a bite…

All aboard!

I joined Haydn on the first of two back-to-back four hour trips he was running one day. We sailed with a full crew of twelve, which included several children and their parents - some of which were making their second or third trip aboard Tuskar 2.

Haydn took us to a patch of mixed ground close to the shore in Sully Bay, where many of the species previously listed can be found. The 20-minute journey there was ideal – barely a breath of wind and warm sunshine.

A  family hold up a blonde ray.

A specimen blonde ray for the Gwillim family!

Haydn, and his son/crewman Lennon, were faced with the somewhat daunting task of looking after 12 novice anglers, but they were more than capable of handling the challenge. Twelve rods were already set up, rigged with a simple, efficient and pretty much tangle free running ledger.

An equal number of hook lengths pre-baited with squid or mackerel were hanging close by out of harm’s way, ready to be quickly attached. As a result, within minutes of the anchor taking hold, each of the crew were eagerly watching the tip of their respective rod for that first nodding indication of a bite. As and when required, Haydn and Lennon regularly changed baits or offered other assistance.

Tuskar 2 boat in the dock with people on board.

Family fishing on the Tuskar 2 charter boat

First fish of the day fell to Steve Huddleston, who had travelled down from Brecon to spend the day fishing with his son and grandson. Steve, who generally fly fishes for wild brown trout throughout the Brecon Beacons National Park, boated a rather modest thornback ray. The smile on the face of the proud grandfather could not have been bigger had he caught one much larger. Moments later, Filiz Gwillim from Cardiff, fishing with her husband and son, was proudly displaying the first dogfish in front of my camera. Leighton Hopkins from Marshfield, who had brought along his son, was next after landing a lively strap conger. He was quickly followed again by Filiz, who had added a thornback ray to her tally.

Despite the fact we had caught a few fish, Haydn was sure we could do better. He started the engine, called for lines in, and took us to another area, where he felt there was a better chance of seeing a few blonde rays. The second mark was located just off Cardiff Bay, just minutes from the barrage, and within no time at all the move was fully justified when Irfan Gwillim, Filiz’s son, hooked into what clearly was a much bigger fish. The young lad certainly had his hands full but with patience, grit, and just a little help from his dad he eventually managed to bring a very decent double figure blonde ray to Haydn’s waiting net. Dogfish, too, were more plentiful at this mark with youngsters Brandon Lee McLaughlin and Max Ball quickly catching their first fish of the session.

Two adults and a child on a boat hold up a 14lb starry smoothound fish.

The most impressive fish of the trip - a 14lb starry smoothound

The most impressive fish of the trip though was a 14lb starry smoothound that top rod Filiz caught, not long before Haydn once again called for lines in as our trip was at an end. Most if not all of the crew were having such an enjoyable time they wanted to stay out longer, and on the way back in it was heartening to hear several of the family groups already making plans with Haydn and booking a return trip.

Shortly after dropping us off back at Cardiff Marina, Haydn welcomed his second crew of the day aboard Tuskar 2 and set off on the afternoon trip. Within an hour of him sailing my phone was pinging to announce the arrival of an image from that session, the first of 14 blonde rays, the biggest weighing 18lb, that were caught during the four hour trip. In my book this ranks as seriously good fishing for a full days charter!

Further information

Tuskar 2 is licensed for up to 12 passengers. She can be booked for short trips or multiple day trips. You can follow Tuskar 2’s fishing adventures on the Tuskar charters 2 Facebook page.

To find out more about sea fishing in Wales, including charter boat fishing, beach and shore angling opportunities, visit the Fishing Wales website.

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