"Fishing from Rhuol"

There was a lot of fishing in Rhiw, most went out of Rhuol in Hell’s Mouth, but some used Porth Ysgo or Porth Cadlan. We had most fun when we used to go out fishing for gurnards or herrings, everyone used to go out together. We had to have strong boats to hold the three to four hundred fish that we caught when we went to the fishing grounds in Bardsey sound. We would row out of Rhuol until we reached the tide and then we went with the tide until we got to the fishing ground, of course depending on the tide we sometimes sailed out to Garreg Ddu (Black Rock) near Bardsey. We’d leave at six in the morning and stay there all day, often late into the night more often than not having to row back against the tide. The flood tide was always much stronger than the ebb. I once remember my mother along with other mothers being very worried as it was 2 am and no sign of the fishing boats, but the truth of the matter was the fishing was good that night and how could we poor folk leave the fishing ground when so much fish were waiting to be caught? My father said we should raise the nets and leave for home, but Wmffra Garth said "Not much point coming back at Christmas" We had to seize the day when fishing was plentiful and readily available. We used to catch a lot of gurnards but we had to go out beyond Bardsey to catch them out to the deep water. Some of the lads could swim quite well and I remember one hot afternoon Jack Ship and Edwards Tynllan swimming back and forth in the tide and having a whale of a time. Remember there were many boats at the scene so rescue was at hand. Most sailors at the time couldn’t swim it was thought too risky to teach them lest they be tempted to jump overboard in times of danger and create more problems.




"Gurnard" "Mackerel" "Herring"

There were a lot of boats in Rhiw years ago and I remember the names of a few of them. There was the Firefly a 25 footer built in the garden of Congol near the hay ricks, Evan Nant used to call her the "Old Ram", she was a good strong boat and steady in a storm. My father had a boat with John Williams Ty Mawr a carpenter and tailor side by side. Evan the Smithy and Richard Pritchard Felin Bodwrda the miller shared another. The fishermen were far better at handling the boats in the sound than the sailors were. Take Evan Ty Croes Mawr he was an excellent boat handler, one of the best, he was coming home once in quite a storm and he was holding the tiller rigid and looking back at Bardsey for bearings and not saying anything his lips tightly closed and suddenly he let go of the tiller and said " OK lads anyone want to take over now?" Thankfully he got us safely home that stormy night. He would never take risks at sea or show off he had a great respect for the sea and knew of the dangers lurking within, if he thought the weather was not favorable then he would stay close to Rhuol to fish, he really was the best of all the boat-handlers of the time.


I eventually got my own boat the "salmon trout" it was an old boat from Bodeilas, it was a narrow boat but a handy little one for me, it was later sold to someone from Nefyn and then on to South Wales. Salem was the name of the Pen Nebo boat she was the boat off the Porthmadog sailing ship of the same name, the ship probably got into difficulties some where and lost the boat and that’s how they came by it. Then there was Edward Bodsara’s boat at the time they lived in Tyn Borth the cottage on the beach at Rhuol, his father was Griffith Sion Huws a weaver and maker of lobster pots, they would go out during the herring season. We would all be waiting outside the limekiln at Rhuol when the weather was bad and we would wait for advice from Griffith Sion Huws, someone said " there’s a lull now we’ll go out after the next lull" "No you won't there's no point looking forward to the lull it’s what comes after that you should look at"

Daniel Rowlands

Memories chronicled in 1965

 when he was 89 years old


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