July 2017

Bass fishing July 2017

Well the bass fishing here on the Welsh coast has been brilliant compared to past seasons. Theres a lot of small fish about but there are also a good stamp of fish about too.

This is a very short blog post which highlights the best pictures from the month of July so far. After writing this post I have to carry on working away to get ready for the next arriving guests tomorrow morning.

Nathaniel James, playing in a bass from heavy water and rocks. Thanks for joining me.

Are the banning of the gill nets already having a positiove impact on our beloved and precious bass fishery that we have fought so hard to protect?

Brian playing a bass - July 2017-1

Regular client and friend Brian Brooks playing in a nice sized fish. Brians passion for lure fishing is infectious and we always have a lot of laughs when he joins me.

Brian with a nice bass July 2017-1

Nice fish Brian and thanks!

Nathaniel returning a bass July 2017-1

Nathaniel James – Releasing one of six nice fish caught on an early morning session with me.

Me releasing Brians bass July 2017-1

Another clients good bass being released to fight another day.

Tobias Fly casting - July 2017-1

Tobias Oetjen joined me from Germany this month. He landed quite a few fish on the fly and he also hooked into a big bass on the lure. Unfortunatly the large fish came off the hook after a very good run. We were both gutted, but then thats bass fishing on this exposed coastline.

Tobias Fly casting (forward) - July 2017-1

I very much enjoyed watching Tobias and his superior fly casting into the lovely Welsh surf.

Me with a nice bass July 2017-1

A fantastic stamp of fish, the shoreline is producing some good fish here on the Welsh coast.

Phil Thompson playing a bass July 2017-1

A new client Paul Thompson playing in his first bass onto the shingle.

Foraging and food

Foraging and food continues to be busy and this week I have filled my available days three times.

The comments on the food have been amazing as always.

Lobster and the shoreline - July 2017-1

Lobster and the shoreline – July 2017

The foraging dinner consists of six courses. Working alone, I have had very little time to photograph each individual dish.

Stack rocks - July 2017-1

Stack rocks – July 2017

There are dates available in August, September, October and November at the moment.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch to avoid dissapointment.

matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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June 2017

Bass fishing – June 2017

Well the weather here at the beginning of June was atrocious the swell and the surf was horrendous and I had to move bookings around due to the low pressure we were experiencing here on the Welsh coast.

Colin with bass a 2017

Colin Humphreys a regular guest and a passionate bass angler with a bass of five and a half pounds. This size of fish has been a regular occurrence throughout June for clients and myself when I have found time to fish.

Colin Humphreys above has been coming since I started the bass guiding.

Colins a good fisherman and it was a real pleasure to see him land this quality stamp of fish on his two days with me. Again there were more hook ups and lost fish, but we had lots of fun while we clambered over the rocks and weed in search of our lovely silver friend.

Dave Young casting-1

Dave above joined me along with his brother Michael and Pete. We had a lovely time and Pete lost good fish of about three pounds.

We had a lovely time and Pete lost good fish of about three pounds. The biggest fish of their trip was lost, just at our feet! There were some good hook-ups with better fish but they were just nibbling our soft baits and not commiting fully to the take. There were lots of fish around but they were not that big maybe two pounds and under, we had fun just catching and getting the fish straight back into the sea. So not many good photos for the three days that these wonderful gentleman joined me.

Chris Cant and his Personal best bass :)

Chris Cant another regular guest with his personal best bass. The photo doesnt do this fish any justice as this went to the 5lb mark. I hope I can get Chris another PB when he is coming with me for five days in November.

June bass 2017

Another fine bass getting ready to swim off.

Dave Young loving it 2017-1

Casting into “Chaos”, this type of fishing really gets the adrenaline going!

Indias fish 2017

The lovely India with her first ever fish and its a lure caught bass and again a good one of five pounds.

I got a proper soaking landing this wonderful fish for India. We were all ecstatic when India landed this bass.

India had never fished before and rockhopping can be very hard going. India really impressed me though, she never wavered or whinged even though the terrain was hard going.

Me going to put a bass back June 2017-1

Me taking a guests bass down to the water to be released.

There will be lots more fun to come on the bass fishing front in the next few months. Its very exciting and the best start to the main season I have had in terms of fish since I started.

Are the banning of the gill nets already having an effect?

Foraging and food – June 2017

The foraging and food side of things are equally as good.

The arrival of the first chanterelles and porcini has already happened!

People have been blown away by the food, its always a wonderful experience for my guests.

Its a real pleaser for me though because I cook in front of the guests and they can watch me work away right in front of them, then they get these amazing plates of the foraged goods we have picked and the best of Pembrokeshire ingredients is paired with them.

A first porcini 2017 end of June

David, Grace, Eileen and Chris. Wonderful people who joined me last week, we had a really lovely time and its always fantastic to have such enthusiastic guests along.

Pickles and cured and air dried lamb-1

Pickles and cured and air dried lamb – Served with flatbreads that are proven for twenty four hours and local butter.

Egg and the woodland 2017

Egg and the woodland – Slow cooked duck egg yolk, Chanterelle and porcini, oxalis and last years mushroom sauce. (Sorry this photo is a bit out of focus)

Earth and sea 2017

Earth and sea 2017 – Pembrokeshire new potato slow cooked and cooked over embers, sea radish, sea buckthorn, spear leaved orache and marsh samphire. 

The dish above is a new addition to the food courses on the evenings dinner on the mid summer foraging day. I love to turn these humble ingredients into something special. Its a wonderful thing to again be able to experiment with the wondrful produce we have on offer here in Pembrokeshire.

Lobster and the shoreline 2017-1

Lobster and the shoreline.

-Stack rocks--1

Stack rocks.

Brown crab

Wonderful Pembrokeshire brown crab. I love cooking these whole on the BBQ at this time of year. I also sometimes use the crab meat in the seaweed broth that I make.

The comments and the feedback have been amazing and the secret is now getting out about the “culinary wizard living in the woods of Wales” (a comment from the you tube video that was recorded last year)

Coming onto the subject of filming the second week of June saw me filming again with a more mainstream T.V channel.

When I know more details about the release I will let you know as well.

I didn’t do any thing over the top for this filming shoot as I needed to keep things simple as the setting was based on a BBQ.

Foraged goods for filmong

Some amazing early June produce that I gatehred for a filming shoot.

 Things are getting increasingly busy for me now at www.fishingandforagingwales.co.uk.

Its been a long and hard journey for me to get this far.

Some people don’t realise I spent four years living in a bell tent with no running water or mains power supply.

I have now got a more stable set up and I am very happy with the way things are coming along. I count myself as very lucky to of been able to chase a dream and to of travelled on this journey, I hold each experience I have encountered very close to my heart.

Each person that joins me and returns are now more like friends and without the help of their support I wouldnt be where I am today.

I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support.

Cwm Yr Eglwys

Cwm Yr eglwys.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch as there is still room available in August. Then we are into September, October and November.

There’s places left for both experiences but don’t leave it too late as even this morning I have filled three places with foragers and diners for August.

matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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Bass fishing, foraging and food – May into June 2017

Bass fishing, foraging and food – May into June 2017

Another late May bass 2017-1

I would like to have had the chance to get a blog post up sooner than now but its been the busiest May I have had since I started my venture four years ago now.

A bass landed in late May 2017-1

The foraging and food side of the business has been extremly busy and every weekend has been virtually fully booked. I have welcomed guests from the United states, Italy and Germany and in all honesty I have had little time to get out fishing.

When I have had the chance though there have been plenty of good sized fish about.

This year I have been using hooks sizes of 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0 in the soft plastics I have been using. I am trying to weed out the smaller fish and I have landed some better fish and I think it is due to this method.

The new Tulala Glissando 240 Bass rod is now in production and is available for me to order from the team in Japan. For anyone interested in getting their hands on one of these fine rods please do get in touch. You can also trial it out on my fishing days out. The rod is in the 5g to 25g range, its light but has so much power and is also suited for putting lures over some tasty white water. I will get some nice photos of the rod as the finish of it is just stunning. Its taken three years of work to get this rod perfect for our style of fishing for U.K bass.

This weekend coming and the rest of June I will be very busy with fishing clients and I am expecting very good things in the field of chasing our friend the bass. Although I am keeping an eye out on the swell and surf which seems to be coming in pretty rough this weekend.

I hope at some point I will be able to do some more fishing for myself too, I love the food side f the business it’s a huge passion for me but the fishing is a nice break for me to have. I love being right there next to the sea and the anticipation of the bass hitting a lure is always there. Your always on the edge.

I really thought and was deeply hoping I would have had a few free days (yesterday and today) to get out but at the moment the swell and surf is coming in high so I wont get a chance. This does give me the chance to get on with other important things going on behind the scenes within the business though.

Foraging and food

As you all probably know I run the business single handedly and I deal with everything from enquiry emails to guests and the upkeep of the website and this blog.

The jobs I have to complete for the food side of the foraging days are also the preservation of plants and meats for the later season.

Most of these foraging tasks are extremly labourious and you have a very small window to get the job done, the plants I need to collect are not around for long. So if the tasks don’t get completed and you miss your chance then your in real trouble.

Serving food at the level I want to is all about consitency and being disciplined and of course timing is everything in both fields of what I do.

Wild garlic seeds

Jobs like picking basketfuls of wild garlic seeds for preserving are very time consuming, each seed then has to be picked off the old flower heads.

Wild garlic preserved in different stages.

Wild garlic preserved at different stages of its life cycle – Shoots from December and January, Flowers from April and May and the seeds from Late May into early June.

Cured and air dried lamb 2017

My cured and air dried lamb leg – This cured meat is something I am very proud of producing. It has a lovely strong lamb flavour and is so addictive to eat. It will alwys be part of the foraging dinners. Its a real example of what can be achieved with the best of Welsh produce. With a little work and time something perfect is produced.

Manorbier asparagus, sea buckthorn and shoreline shoots.

Manorbier asparagus, sea buckthorn and shoreline shoots.

Lobster and the shoreline 2017

Lobster and the shoreline. Perfect Pembrokeshire lobsters need nothing but what lives close to the environment in which they live in to bring them to another level. I always focus on bold flavours and for the main products to speak for themselves. I am so confident in Pembrokeshire produce that very little has to be done to them to make them truly shine.

Elderflower fritter, perl las and pickled elderflower.

Elderflower and perl las with pickled elderflower.

“Elegug stacks” – The cliffside at springtime. Gorse flower custard with birch and ash meringue. A dish with the nesting birds of south stack rocks and the Pembrokeshire coast in mind.

The feedback on the food has been amazing, theres never been a complaint and there should never be as I am so meticulous in everything I do.

I need to keep this blog post short as there is plenty of work to be done and preparationns need to be made. I wish you all the best for now.

Stay posted. :)

Note* – If you would like to join me on any of these wonderful days out on this wonderful coastline, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Skomer from the mainland-1

matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

 

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A new bass account opens – Early May 2017

A new bass account opens – Early May 2017

The last few weeks of the very early season have been a very busy time for me. From private dining to foraging and food days out its been great.

I have been joined by some wonderful people from as far away as L.A and Milan over the first May bank holiday. It seems people are now starting to take some notice of what I am doing and they are coming to enjoy the environmentally influenced food that I am producing.

The main focus for me on this post entry will be focused on the bass and wrasse angling from one day out on the coast over the weekend just gone.

The first weekend of the bass lure angling days was a success and within a few casts Dave Carron a good friend and regular client was into his first bass of the season. I was ecstatic for Dave as he really works hard on his lure fishing. It was also my birthday on the day we were out so the first sight of silver really made my day.

Dave Carron - Happy with the first bass of 2017.

The first bass clients of the season arrived this weekend just gone and the fist bar of silver was caught and successfully released.

Hooked into a bass

The first bass of the season tearing line from the spool and taking a run.

Playing A bass

Almost there with the fish – A final run just before we landed the bass, unhooked it and we got it swimming off again.

Dave carron - Holding a bass.

A nice sized fish of around the 5lb mark. I love the way bass change colour over different ground. Their camouflage mechanism always fills me with wonder.

Wrasse landed in a pool.

Dave’s other catch of the day a nice sized Ballan wrasse is always a welcome sight. I love getting clients to target the hard fighting wrasse on my days out. The techniques used sometimes require patience but the rewards on some days can be very good.

 I am keeping this blog post short as I am trying to get things ready for the weekend with more guests arriving, and theres lots to arrange around my outdoor living lifestyle. I am also itching to get some personal fishing done while I can.

Stay posted and don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you want to experience some wonderful days out.

Email – matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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The start of the season 2017 – Foraging and food.

The start of the season 2017 – Foraging and food

The season at fishing and foraging Wales always starts with foraging and food.

Over the winter months I have been thinking of ways to iron out any creases to take the food to the next level.

I am always seeking to improve on what I am doing and this year I feel that I am almost there with the foraging & food dishes.

Its always difficult when your working on your own with nobody to bounce ideas off, because not only should a dish taste perfect it has to look perfect. Plating a dish has never been an issue for me, but there is just always that element in the back of your mind of “I should of done it this way or maybe that way?”

Oyster deep fried in rye, sea buckthorn, sea radish and scurvy grass flowers-1

Oyster deep fried in rye, sea buckthorn, sea radish and scurvy grass flowers.

I feel now the dishes tell a story of the areas I work in and they are almost set in stone now, the tasting menu if you wish is just a way of me showcasing my skills as a passionate and creative chef. There are still more ideas to be worked on, but as a solo craftsman I have to be realistic and as honest as I can be, both to myself and to the people that join me on the foraging and food experience days.

Cured and air dried welsh mountian lamb.

Cured and air dried welsh mountain lamb.

There is a balance in what I am doing and the new ideas that I am constantly writing down will have to wait until the near future. This waiting and being patient is hard, as I have a creative mind and because of the unique nature of what I am doing its difficult to try to contain myself.

I am on this journey of discovery and it seems crazy that I am the only one to see the vision and to be learning this great knowledge of what surrounds me single-handedly and alone. I am blessed, imagine turning a corner and discovering a plant that has the taste elements of grapefruit to it, a seaweed with the taste of truffle?

Pennywort.

Pennywort in prolific amounts on the bank.

The list is endless and even though there is time left, why do I always feel like there is not enough time.

Always with the constant thought of am I missing something?

Although I have to keep my mind focused and concentrate on the task ahead, which has always been to create something worthy and that is true to my surroundings, true to the country which I love and also true to my beliefs of sustainability.

Egg in the hedgerow - April 2017

Egg in the hedgerow – April 2017

Ash shoots just emerging.

An Ash shoot just emerging.

I love the way that simple things like the ash shoot above pair so well with the other finds that also emerge at springtime, take a pairing of ash shoots and morels for example. I love the way that with a little knowledge things can come together in this natural way, its almost like you don’t even have to think, the answers are right there in front of you.

These inspirations happen with natures timings and with very little effort. You kind of get – its a meant to be feeling!

I love to take ingredients like the humble onion to a new height of the “umami” sensation we all crave. Just with technique, onions, water and allowing time I can create something sublime.

Onion and butter broth in the pot-1

Onion and butter broth served in a small clay crock pot.

A perfect Pembrokeshire lobster, what could be better?

Live lobster 2017 -1

A perfect Pembrokeshire lobster.

To kill a lobster or any other animal for me is never any easy task. The majority of people take for granted how easy it is to buy something pre-prepared off a shelf, but to take somethings life and to then honour that creature and to serve it to the highest level possible.

How can I do this fabulous creature justice? To pair it simply with elements of its nearby surroundings, some seaweeds, shoreline plants and a sauce made from the heads and shells, every part of the lobster is used.

Lobster and the shoreline-1

Lobster and the shoreline.

The cliff-side at springtime 2017.

The cliff-side at springtime 2017. A homage to the sea birds that nest on the Pembrokeshire coast.

It won’t be long now before I am out chasing bass myself and guiding clients along the wonderful Pembrokeshire coast line.

I don’t like taking clients out chasing bass until May as the fishing can be a little sporadic in April, and I think its only fair to take people when I believe is the best time to start.

Catching big bass on soft plastics Slug-gos by day and night is an absolute wonder.

The bass will be here in good numbers soon, I will be out chasing them myself when I can and of course guiding guests.

Stay posted :)

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any of the experiences I offer.

Email – matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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A look ahead to the 2017 season.

Looking forward to the 2017 season

Well Its not far off now….

Every year holds the same anticipation, but this year more than ever I can hardly contain myself. Its that time to change the old rusty hooks on my lures and head out chasing the bass again here on the Welsh coast.

More experiences will soon arrive the first take from the first bass of the season.

The sound of the sea, the sound of the surf.

The sight of white water as it pushes in on the moving tide.

You get those feelings that make you feel magical inside, the butterflies…or is this the passion and the love I feel for our sport and this species?

And all the time the coast is inspiring, a revelation and at some points it feels overpoweringly exhilarating.

I cant wait to have the first sensation of a big bass hitting my lure and racing off in the current, or even the sight of a big girl coming up and checking out my lure and turning away right at the last second, am I sick..? No even seeing those big fish is a true spectacle, catching is one thing but just being there in the thick of it and the experience is just magical.

Bass catch and release Wales

Another wonderful bass swims off back to where it came from.

The above and below release shots of this good sized bass I caught late season last year were kindly taken for me by my good friend David Miller

I am looking forward to spending some quality time with David as its been a long winter and I have been busy working and writing as much down as I can when I get the time.

Bass turning 2

One flip of the tail and the bass swims off strongly.

Wave hitting rocks

Each passing wave will offer a chance of a good fish and this year I will be playing around with some new techniques with soft plastics, whats that then you say?

Please do stay posted to find out more, I want to put more up on the blog about fishing techniques and methods and I have just bought a new laptop which is pretty snazzy and this will hopefully allow me for quicker uploading of photos and words. I am also hoping to do a lot more on my video channel which is pretty basic at the moment but can be found on you tube.

Wild horses 1

Armed with the new Tulala Glissando 240 I will be working hard to catch as many fish that is possible.

Catching big bass on soft plastics Slug-gos by day and night is an absolute wonder.

Catching big bass on soft plastics Slug-gos by day and night is an absolute wonder.

I love fishing soft plastic lures right through the season. I love the Lunker city sluggo in 4.5in, 6in and the 7.5 inch eel imitiation. These lures are also deadly for bass at night fished in the “soft needle technique”.

There’s absolutely no easier way to fish than when using these wonderful soft plastics. Takes from bass can be very subtle so sometimes you don’t know how big the fish is until you set the hook, then it a case of hold on to your hats as the bass takes an initial dive to try and get back to its place of ambush.

The violent head shakes of the bass are a true show of its power. It always amazes me that for their size how hard these fish fight. In surf and current and when the “chaos” is in full flow then there is no better feeling than the sound of line being pulled of of the reel.

Takes with soft plastics are often immediate as well, bass will very often take as soon as a lure hits the water. If you can get a lure in the right place then you are onto a real winner.

There will often be shows from my most beloved and favourite sea bird the gannet, these wonderful birds often come close for a look at the lure I just threw out or they will often swoop down closer over head. An added treat in this already wonderful place.

Gannets

A wonderful photo of a gannet by my friend David Miller.

The foraging year also holds so much promise as well I will soon be rooting around the countryside looking for mushrooms and hopefully this spring the morels will make an appearance.

Springtime morels 2014

Morels – The real king of the edible fungi world. Will the conditions be perfect enough this year for the morels to fruit?

Lobster and the shoreline 2016

The lobster and the shoreline – My well established signature dish, and just one of the dishes for the foraging dinner.

Cutting chanterelles 2016, foraging with fishing and foraging wales

Chanterelle hunting – In late summer and autumn chanterelle hunting is a real treat.

This winter I have been inspired to write down as many new dish ideas as I can, I will be quietly testing these new creations out when I get a chance. Most are inspired by the environment in which I work, I am always striving for perfection in my dishes. I work alone so dishes have to look good but they also have to be structured so that I can plate them to look consistently good.

Porcini In Wales - Foraging & Food - Foraging Wales, Bass Lure Angling Wales, Bass fishing Pembrokeshire. Foraging and fine food Wales.

The smell of porcini on the autumn woodland breeze.

Part of my office

The sound of the babbling brook its all heading our way very soon.

Stay posted.

Note * – If you want to join me this year please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Set dates for foraging have been set and places as far as August and September are already filling up.

Fishing dates for 2017

The bass fishing will commence in early May this year then they will run into late November.

May

Sunday May 7th – Full. May the 8th up to the 13th (Monday to Friday) – Available. May the 13th and 14th – Full.

May – Monday the 15th and Tuesday the 16th – Available

Monday 22nd May – One place available. May the 23rd to the 30th – Available.

June

Tuesday 6th of June – One place available. Wednesday 7th June – Available. Thursday 8th of June – One place available.

Friday 9th and 10th June – Full.

Sunday the 11th up to Thursday the 15th – Available.

Monday June 20th – Available. Tuesday the 21st – Full. Thursday the 22nd – One space available.

Friday the 23rd – One space available. Saturday the 24th – One space available. Sunday the 25th – Available. Tuesday the 26th – One space available.

Friday 30th June – Full.

July

July 7th and 8th – One place available. July 10th to the 14th – Full (11th to the 13th – One space available & fly fishing only)

 July 20th – 28th – Available. July 29th and 30th – One space Available.

August

Tuesday 8th – One place left. Wednesday and Thursday the 9th and 10th – Available.

Friday and Saturday 11th and 12th – Full. Sunday the 13th and Monday the 14th – Available.

September and beyond

Four days have already gone – I will post dates for the rest of September through to November at a later date.

 Foraging dates for 2017

Foraging starts in April and will run into late November.

April – Friday April – 21st – Four places left. Saturday April 22nd – Available. Sunday the 23rd of April – Available.

Saturday 29th April – Full

May

May – Saturday the 6th of May – Available. Sunday the 7th – Full.

May 18th, 19th and 20th – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – Available.

June

June – 3rd, 4th – Available.  June the 17th and 18th – Available. Thursday June 29th – Four spaces available.

July

Saturday July- 1st – four places available. Sunday the 2nd of July – Available. Monday the 3rd to Tuesday the 5th – Available.

Saturday and Sunday July 15th and 16th – Pending.

July 17th – 20th – Free.

August

1st, 2nd, 3rd 4th and 6th – Free – . The 5th is full – Pending.

18th – 20th – Available – Four places available on the 19th.

September and beyond

I will post September through November dates at a later date.

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Filming with Munchies – A look back to May 2016 and the story so far – “A step forward”

Filming with Munchies – A look back to May 2016.

I really should of shared this here on the blog back in May when the documentary was published via social media, I am not sure whether any of my blog readers were aware that back in March 2016 I did some filming with the lovely people at Vice.com

The video can be found below - and I am about 10mins and 35seconds in.

As you can probably tell I was quite nervous at the beginning of filming.

It was a hard for me to do the filming as I am quite a reserved person. I have never been a great fan of cameras in my face, although I do at the end settle into the cameras being there. I felt at ease towards the end when I cooked for Charlet and the team, and the cameras seemed to disappear.

After the release of the film I have had emails from around the world congratulating me on a huge step forward, my website actually went down three times after the release of this part of the documentary.

Maybe people would or will one day eventually start to realise what it is I am trying to achieve, or in a way to see the way I am going which is against “the grain” a change from the normality.

The comments and emails actually touched me, I have been revelled as a genius in some comments and “more of a food visionary than Heston Blumenthal”. In that respect people are correct in the way that I dont use any food additives or unnatural substances to achieve what I am looking for.

Bass on rock

Nothing is delivered to my door, if something is in trouble as the trouble bass are in then they don’t get used, I never kill a healthy bass though and I only ever take them if they are badly hooked and virtually dead at my feet.

The story so far – “A step forward” 

I sometimes feel that I need to put more engaging things on my blog posts, and in time I will share more knowledge here, its just finding the time. Although everything is all written down.

The rest of this blog post delves into what I feel needs to be said.

I dont want this blog post to be a rant or to sound pretentious, theres plenty of that in the world and theres plenty of really bad stuff out there at the minute.

I won’t talk about world politics. We all see whats going on in our faces when we switch the news on.

If we all started to really look at what is important on this planet with the little time that we have here then you would realise that theres only one god we should be worshipping and thats mother earth, “bring back paganism in a more modern form”

Its also not a dig at commercial chefs as they’re jobs are hard enough.

I fortunatly walked away from the commercial world of kitchens, I hated being couped up in a hot hole for twelve hours of the day and being treated like dirt, wheres the fun in that?

Setting up fishing and foraging Wales was an escape and a step back into a world that has always on my doorstep. The things we need are so close we become blind to them.

Money is a necessary evil we all need it to get on in the world, although when your throwing prime bass and turbot away for a little macaroon in a little red book then you really need to see that your completly out of touch with whats going on and what is vitally important.

I feel that theres a bit of a blinfold being put over peoples eyes as in my last quote above, people think because things are foraged or are deemed “local” then thats sustainable?

Well they are not.

Yes I have played around with things like Cladonia rangiferina, but when it grows at 3-5mm a year and your picking or getting it picked by the bucket load then this is no good for the important eco systems that exist. Lichens as we know are also an important and natural litmus to gauge air quality it tells us how much sulphur is in the air. For anyone reading this and has an interest in the Welsh environment this important moss is regrowing in the South Wales valleys due to the closures of the coal mines many years ago now.

Fishing and foraging Wales has now become a search for knowledge and the realistion that I can actually run my business with everything coming from a small area that is just 610 square miles, (not 1,322,710 sq mi, if theres any keen chefs out there I hope you get it? :). Okay 610 square miles is still a pretty big place, but to be able to get everything from fungi to oysters, lobster to the humblest acorn is just well, quite mind blowing really.

A revelation to start a revolution?

The way that my business is run there is a low carbon footprint (I wish it could be smaller) I gather everything myself and I do get my lobsters in from a local supplier, meat obviously comes locally when needed too.

Porcini erruption

I did at the end of last season buy a caravan as some of my regular clients and friends know I lived in a bell tent for 8 months of the year for four years. I could not continue to do this as it was extremly hard, no electricity no running water.

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As I say in the video though this was a good thing for a while, as I had no distractions through this time. I enjoyed those first four years having the solitude the chance to study an important area…Well who wouldnt’t? Empty quiet nights looking up at the stars with no one around but me, a chance for deep thoughts, big thoughts.

I have to thank my close family for putting up with the “insanity” and to thank them from the bottom of my heart for me being absent from family life (four months was the longest period that I didn’t see my partner and my son and daughther for this season).

I thank them for allowing me to go out and gain knowledge, each day I learn something new about what is here in my surroundings.

If great food dishes are created by memory, and then in turn by using the inspiration I take from doing what I love, then I am spoilt as a chef.

The world is my oyster “No Wales is” and its enough :)

If your looking for a wonderful and special Chritmas gift and are fed up of buying people or yourself  ”Things that are eventually not going to be needed again” then please dont hesitate to get in touch. :)

Telephone – 07515380169

Email – matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

 

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The end of the bass season 2016

 

The end of my bass season – November 2016

The beginning of November has been good on the lures, and I have had one or two larger bass falling to soft plastics.

Wonderful bass in the dark in the autumn on soft plastics.

Theres always a chance of some good sized fish at this time of year.

I like to use larger soft plastics, worms, slugs, shads and goby and blenny type hard lures work a treat and when the weather conditions are right then you can get a real surprise.

The autumn is now here in earnest, the leaves are all but gone.

Last Thursday there was a crisp frost and the temperature hit 0c on the rock marks I fish. The water temperature is still 14oc so theres still bass around. Theres lots of crab in the rockpools and prawns too, plenty of sand smelt as well for the bass to be hoovering up close in before they eventually go offshore to feed and reproduce.

The good thing about this time of year is that the sunrise is later and sunset is earlier. After a hard summers bass fishing and guiding this is quite welcome. Instead of the 3 or 4am starts its been nice to be getting up at around 6am instead so a bit of a lay on in bed. I am back home for around 6pm or 7pm.

Rainbow 2016

Wonderful but colder autumn mornings are well worth the rise from a warm bed to see specatcles like this.

Its not always about catching the fish though, we all know as bass fishermen that its really nice to catch them, but there are speactacles on this coastline that just need to be seen and heard. The otters swimming around the rocks on some of the marks we fish, the calling of the curlew on a crisp autumn morning.

Beautiful memories to keep and treasure for the memory bank, which is worth more than all the money in the world.

Chris cant with a bass

My good friend and regular client Chris Cant. Chris is always full of enthusiasm when he comes down to join me. He always works hard for his bass. See you in 2017 Chris.

Bass 2 November 2016

Another fine spikey specimen.

Bass 3 November 2016

Although just where has the time gone?

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was setting up camp and getting ready to chase bass on lures back in April.

Tent set up in July 2016

The last few days have seen me making time to pack up and start thinking about the 2017 season.

My first bookings for foraging arrive in February 2017, the wild galrlic will be shooting up soon and theres always plenty to look for along this coastline with a milder climate.

Ready for Pickling

Before I go any further I have to give everyone who has joined me this year, and also in previous years a big thank you. I cannot thank you all enough for your support.

As the sunsets on another season, we the recreational angling sector have all got a lot of work to do this winter. We all need to be getting involved with signing the petition (below) to stop the netters.

Even if your not a fisherman or lady then I see this as an important step for anyone with an interest in the flaura and fauna of our Islands. Bass are not just an important sportfish but they are also important to the ecology of our seas.

We need to get these important emails stating our concerns about the future of the important bass stocks. Please send your emails into George Eustace, and your local M.P’s and A.M’s if you live in Wales or Scotland.

We all now have this wonderful oppurtunity to stop the greedy and selfish practice of gill netting in all our waters on the U.K coast, so lets get that done.

Here is the link https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/172441 please sign it and get it shared on social meda as much as you can.

Theres more advice on who to email and how to write emails concerning bass on the Save our Sea bass website.

Stay posted.

For any bookings for the 2017 season please get in touch as I am already filling the diary steadily from the ebd of February and into March already.

The tide books are in and there will be set dates for foraging and food for the 2017 season.

Email – matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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Fishing, foraging and food – October 2016

Fishing, foraging and food October 2016

Again another month has passed by and I have been very busy out and about, but in all honesty it has been mainly on the foraging side.

Dave Carron with a bass. As soon as Dave hooked into this bass another bass of about double the size followed underneath the hooked bass. This sight is quite a regular occurrence.

Dave Carron with a bass. As soon as Dave hooked into this bass another bass of about double the size followed underneath the hooked bass. This sight is quite a regular occurrence.

We had continuous easterly winds over the beginning to the middle of October and this led me to move bookings around to other dates in November, and if the weather doesn’t play ball then people that have paid can be moved into the early 2017 diary dates.

Easterly winds for me can produce fish, but it can be very hard work. From a professional point of view, I would not feel right taking money from guests with the wind direction and placing them on the marks I fish.

So other than a few successful guided bass trips I have been concentrating my efforts on getting out into the woods and looking for fungi at the beginning and into the middle of October.

Over the hills and far away

Chanterelles and Hedghog fungi have been out in force this year.

Chanterelles (pictured) and Hedghog fungi have been out in force this year.

I eased off on my personal bass fishing for a few weeks as well, its a lovley change for me to get out in the hedgerows and the woodland.

It’s great to have a change of scenery from the sometimes raging sea and the chaos of the waves and the current, walking into a woodland can be a revelation.

The way the sunlight beams down through the early autumn woodland canopy is something to relish.

Another reason for me getting out and about like this is again to search for knowledge, as the foraging days out continue to grow I need to gather and preserve and get knowledge of other areas as well.

Gathering fungi is very exciting for me as sometimes you never know what your going to find. It is also important to me to gather fungi for drying for use in next years foraging dinners.

Other than drying fungi I have been busy making porcini oil and flavouring vinegars with seaweed. Rosehips and rowan berries have also been preserved.

Porcini have been quite plentiful and I have found quite a few new local patches which should yield again next year.

An almost perfect porcini

I do thouroughly enjoy the “silent hunt” rooting around in the early autumn and late autumn leaf litter can give such a special feeling, especially when your finding fungi.

Chanterelle in the leaf litter

A wonderful chanterelle down in the leaf litter.

Fly agaric

A brightly coloured fly agaric – Amanita muscaria. I know these wonderful looking mushrooms can be processed to be deemed edible, but I would never dream of eating one of these or to serve one to a guest.

I love seeing fly agaric on my days in and around the woodlands, there are so many stories attached to this most wonderful fungi, the mind starts to wonder as your strolling around.

Its easy to drift off and keep thinking of new food ideas when your out wandering along the countryside, its completely peaceful. Theres almost zero interference and I think everybody should be getting out and about and away from the hustle and bustle of busy towns and cities at least once or twice a year. Peace, silence and tranquility is good for the mind and indeed the soul.

Porcini on the woodland floor.

Bouchon (champagne cork) porcini down in the pine and spruce litter. The inspiration for the dish pictured below.

Porcini, preserved beech leaves, burning spruce 2016

Gently cooked porcini, porcini emulsification, preserved beech leaves (from spring), burning spruce 2016.

The dish above found its inspiration from finding some small bouchon ceps. The beech leaves were preserved back in late spring.

This dish is eaten with the fingers and the burning spruce gives a very autumnal feel to everything.

Not all the food for my dishes on the foraging dinners is all foraged. Most of them are but theres such great ingredients around me it would be rude not to be using the local farm shops and local shellfish sellers. Wales needs its food ingredients to be shown off the way it should be, simple and with elegance.

Slow cooked and burned beetroot, beetroot pickled in seaweed vinegar (beetroot reduction.

Slow cooked and burned beetroot, beetroot pickled in seaweed vinegar (beetroot reduction).

In Wales food has always been simple, dishes like Cawl, Stwns (a mixture of potatoes and turnips with buttermilk) some fish with bacon. Oysters were well known staple in the past.

My goal here has always been to keep things simple yet lift them to another level, but to also try to stay true to my roots.

Taking simple vegetables like a humble beetroot and the onion dish (below after the oyster photo) turning it into something special is a great feeling.

These kind of ingredients just go to show that we dont always need the finest caviar or the best white truffles to achieve greatness.

Every ingredient is equal to each other. With a little knowledge and thought you can take these ingredients and create something that is sublime. There is a lot more to learn and lots more to achieve. 

Oyster deep fried in Rye, sea radish flower and wilted leaf, sea buckthorn.

Oyster deep fried in Rye, sea radish flower and wilted leaf, sea buckthorn (served at the table).

Onion and butter broth.

Onion and butter broth. 

The onion broth above is so simple in execution but yet it is so tasty.

Its just local onions caramelised and cooked slowly in water, reduced and finished with butter. This simpicity could be taken to another level and be used in conjunction with other ingredients to compliment them. I work all alone at the moment so new ideas and future plans have to somewhat stay on the back burner (excuse the pun).

For now though I am happy to keep the humble onion, helped along with the help of some butter as the star of the show.

Lobster and the shoreline 2016

Lobster and the shoreline – Sauce from the lobster heads.

Pembrokeshire lobster Is there anything better?

Woodruff underneath birch 2016

Woodruff underneath birch 2016 – Woodruff mousse underneath birch bark meringue.

Drying some of the last fungi for 2016, in prepartion for 2017.

I have quite a few bookings left for fishing into the middle of November, I love November as a bass fishing month.

We get some decent sized fish along the coast and hopefully some guests will be lucky enough to hook into something decent “A proper beast”.

The third week of November will see me heading back indoors for the winter. I am looking forward to spending time with my daughter who just turned one this month.

It also gives me time to think of the next steps forward for fishing and foraging Wales.

Stay posted :)

Note – If your looking for a place on either the bass fishing or foraging and food days next year, then please do get in touch. I have just ordered my tide tables and there as I have said before will be strict days for the foraging and food days next year so dont hesitate to get in touch to avoid dissapointment.

These days out make particularly good Christmas presents for friends or loved ones and a very popular.

Email – matt@fishingandforagingwales.co.uk

Telephone – 07515380169

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Late August into mid September 2016

Bass fishing late August into mid September

I must apologise to all my followers and readers about not putting up a blog post for a while now.

The truth of the matter is that I have been very busy with both guided bass fishing trips and the foraging and food days also.

There simply has not been enough hours in the day.

Matt Powell bass guide

Above – Releasing a nice bass back into the surf.

The bass fishing went very quiet for a time in August, it was quite frustrating for me as I know the fish are there but getting hook ups was a really tough challenge.

I want to look at new approaches next year. When I have been out and able to fish for bass I have had lots of follows and swirls from big fish, but getting them to take lures has been very tough.

This is a real thought provoker and a huge challenge for me.

You have to take everything as a positive in this sport otherwise you can go stir crazy. “The curse of a hardworking bass guide”

On the flip side these challenges are good though, it gives me food for thought and to always think to progress with my chances and my clients chances of landing bigger bass.

I hope these studies will maybe be the chance and the key to unlocking consistency in landing bigger fish more often than usual.

Releasing a bass in the surf

Above -Sitting in the surf releasing a clients bass.

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Above – Another silver bar goes back to swim again.

Spiky bass in the dark

Above – Bass on soft lures in the dark make for great fun.

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Above – Chris Richards with a nice bass, Chris lost a good sized fish going into dark on his first evening out with me.

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A great stamp of bass in 2016

John Hayman with a nice bass 1

Above – John Hayman with his first ever lure caught bass.

I hope that the rest of September will continue to get better on the bass lure angling front.

I have to thank each and everyone of my regular and new clients who have joined me this year.

I am really looking forward to spending time with you all next year.

Foraging and food

My foraging and food days have been very popular this year.

I will need to plan around set dates for these days next year.

The reason being that there is the same mis en place (food preparation) time in a table of two as there is in a table of four, six or eight.

I will be setting up one table for up to six to eight people with more of a communal feel. Think of it as private dining and the meeting of new friends.

It will be set around the same principles that I cover on a normal foraging day outing where we cover all the aspects of the shoreline, estuary and woodland edibles.

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Above – Chanterelles and hedgehog fungi have been out in force this year.

Sinuous chanterelle close up

Above – A first discovery for me the sinuous chanterelle.

Food

The dishes below are all from the late summer and into early autumn foraging and food days out.

Some are new and some are just slightly changed from previous dishes.

Deep fried oyster 2_edited

Above – Oyster deep fried in Rye, sea buckthorn, laver powder and sea radish.

Onion broth and butter

Above - Onion and butter broth.

Duck egg 2

Above – Slow cooked duck egg yolk with chanterelles and wood sorrel.

Burned beets and sauce

Above – Burned beets, pickled beet and beetroot reduction.

I love this time of year as the local Pembrokeshire root vegetables are arriving. Sweet beetroot are slow cooked sous vide at 88 Celsius for 4 hours then burned on the outer to bring out a sweet and smoky flavour. They have proved delicious and as good tasting as any cut of meat.

Lobster and shoreline edibles best

Above – Lobster and shoreline edibles and lobster sauce.

Woodruff underneath birch 2016

Woodruff mousse underneath birch meringue, preserved late summer fruits and honeysuckle.

Anyway I must head off now as I have another busy weekend of foraging and food days coming up and preparations need to be completed.

I know its a little while off now but I will soon be selling my vouchers for fishing foraging and food for Christmas presents, so please do get in touch if you want to purchase anything for friends and family.

There’s still a little time left for the main bass and foraging and food season as well so please do get in touch for dates and bookings.

All the best for now – ;)

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