Please feel free to comment.
The weather forecast was just about perfect, a light southerly breeze that would provide near millpond conditions. Having not fished the area before, the first session was to be a day session, fishing into the dark if required. The tide was around nine metres!, so I didn't know quite was to expect with regards to tidal flow and the ability to anchor comfortably. My local yak fishing partner joined me for the day.
The mark we were fishing was a reef very close inshore, literally within a couple of hundred metres of the shore, and the paddle to the mark was a short one. I'd taken a selection of bait, mackerel, crab and squid. A full side of mackerel is very versatile and can catch a variety of species such as conger, bass, cod, rays, etc. The wires traces were used at all times because of the chance of a conger.
The tide was running quite hard though the water depth, initially around 6 metres, meant lighter weights of around 4oz were sufficient to hold bottom. The mackerel bait was getting constant attention and it wasn't long before I hooked into another conger, and this was definitely a better fish. After a few minutes it was alongside and in the yak for a quick photo before removing the hook and returning it.
The T-bar disgorger was earning its keep, keeping my fingers well clear of those teeth!. I varied the baits on the other rod, using crab and squid, though it was getting very little interest.
A gentle tapping showed that a conger was messing with the mackerel and it wasn't long before yet another conger was stripping line from the reel. I try to fish as light as possible and it was cracking fun with my 6lb rod and small ABU reel. This fish was fighting hard and it was quite some time before it made an appearance. A few dives were made for the bottom though it finally came close enough for me to grab the leader. These fish have a lot of power and can dive hard without warning so it's wise to have a rag wrapped around your hand whilst handling the line.
I almost paid the penalty for switching to a lighter conger rig when one particular fish fought very hard in the tide and I probably applied a little too much leverage at times. The fish wasn't lost, though as can be seen from the photo below it was a little too close!. Also, the cost of only using one swivel whereas I normally use two - line twist!
A few more smaller conger were taken with a dogfish making an appearance, thankfully just the one. There was cracking THUMP, THUMP, THUMP on the squid,crab combo, though I missed the bite and it didn't come back for a second look. Possibly a cod or a bass, i'll never know!
My yakking partner was fishing slightly further out was suffered from a slow start to the session, though he soon found some decent sized conger with a few dogfish thrown in for good measure.
We fished into the dark as the tide ebbed and the fishing action soon tailed off. There was however some shouts of joy from the other yak so I released my anchor and paddled over. At first I thought I could see the head of a large conger, but no, it was a big cod!
We weighed it back at the car a couple of hours later and it was bang on 16lb, a cracking fish by any standards!
After six hours of fishing we called it a day and headed home, but what a cracking session!
Please feel free to comment.
That's the hatch fitted, though I took the opportunity to introduce some internal storage space to make the hatch more usable. A washing bowl was sourced locally, though it turned out a tad large to fit through the hatch opening. No problem, the hatch was removed and the bowl slipped inside the yak. One thing I didn't want was the bowl slipping forwards or aft, nor did I want it fixed in position, hence preventing access to the inners of the yak. I decided to 'fix' the bowl using rubber strip and the type of clips that can be found on a rucksack.
I'm considering fitting a hand-operated bilge pump inside the yak, attached to clips ahead of the bowl, thus allowing the bowl to be slid aft and the bilge pump to be removed and operated if required. Just a thought - watch this space.
However, this wasn't the case!. Whilst fishing in Essex the other week I was relaxing, leaning back into the seat, keeping an eye on the rod tips. With a bang I was thrown to the left, not enough to lose my balance and capsize, but enough to wake me up good and proper!. The seat had gone limp and looking into the footwells revealed a broken brass seat snap (see photo).
I cant say I was too pleased!, luckily there was nobody in the vicinity to hear just how displeased I actually was!. Fortunately I had a length of rigging chord with me which was used to secure the seat for the remainder of the trip.
Whilst looking through the garage a day or two later, I stumbled upon the original Big Game seat from Ocean Kayak. The snaps are also brass (left in above photo), though the build is far more substantial, the quality better, with the tolerance on the locking mechanism not as tight. All four where duly swapped over and the seat is now fully serviceable, what's more it's better than new, it's just a pity it didn't leave the factory that way.
Great seat, rubbish hardware!... upgrading the hardware will be required at some point in time.
Please feel free to comment.
- Get one with a front entry zip
- A relief zip is a must
- Neoprene neck seals are more comfortable
- Get built in dry socks
Kokatat Super Nova Paddle Suit
I had it imported from KFS in the United States which resulted in me being stung for some VAT and import duties, though it still worked out at a reasonable £250. Having spoken to the helpful folk at KFS I ordered the next size up in order to accommodate various layers of clothing as required, and to ensure it didn't end up a little too tight in general use.
The suit duly arrived and it was given a test run. I'd purchased some thermal gear including a pair of snowboarding pants. Once fully layered up the suit was donned and it proved very easy slip into. The front zipper making it especially simple, and pushing through the neoprene neck seal was straightforward. There's a Velcro tab so the neck seal can be tightened to suit once on.
The wrist seals are latex and have proved comfortable, requiring no trimming prior to fit, a year down the line they've not loosened at all. Again, there's Velcro on the wrists so all can be tightened up once the suit is on. A drawing is fitted around the waist allowing the suit to be pulled in once you've expelled the air making is far less baggy than one without.
A relief zip is fitted which in my eyes is an absolute must, fitting one as an aftermarket conversion will cost a drysuit owner upwards of £60, not cheap!!
Here in England the summers are short and the winters seem never ending. I've spoken to people who've purchased dry suit with latex ankle seals (no socks) and they all tend to agree that they do not suit a cold climate!. The Kokatat has sewn in dry socks and they are extremely effective!!, I've worn anything up to 3 pairs of thick socks on at any one time under the suit, with wetsuit boots being over the dry socks. Quite simply it's brilliant and my feet rarely begin to cool off even when the temperature drops below freezing, they're certainly never cold and for me that's a big thing!.
How does it perform in the water?, well as my kayak is a Prowler Big Game its stability means I've yet to capsize whilst actually fishing or paddling, though it has been tested for a few hours whilst doing capsize/recovery drills in my local swimming pool. No leaks whatsoever and it's comfortable, even submerging in the suit (only achievable without my PFD) resulted in a tablespoon or two of water penetrating the neck seal. When wearing a PFD my shoulders are well above the water so water penetration into the neck seal is rather unlikely.
The material is proving to be very hard wearing and it has additional layering around the elbows, seat and knees where the most abuse is to be expected. After a year consisting of 70+ trips it still looks like new.
The manufacturers state that the Tropos fabric is also breathable so your perspiration will go out through the membrane even though liquid water won't come in. I don't sweat inside the suit, though I generally have a couple of layers on at any time which will tend to wick any sweat away from the body. It doesn't soak with condensation internally so it seems to live up to the hype.
So, after a year how do I rate it?.. Well is extremely comfortable being easy to slip into or remove. The front zip makes life a pleasure, I’ve tried rear entry zips and they are difficult at the best of times. The neoprene neck seal is preferable to a latex item, especially when spending several hours afloat. It’s sufficiently watertight to keep water intake to a bare minimum when capsizing. The high risk area for water ingress are the wrist seals, though being latex these are very effective. It'll eventually be replaced with another or something very similar when I do eventually manage to wear it out, and that wont be for a long time.
Please feel free to comment.
- Chota Mukluk Quicklace boots
- Crazy Creek Chair III
- C-Tug kayak trolley
- Daiwa Exceler-X 3000 FS reel
- Garmin 60CSx handheld GPS
- Guardian Expedition Light
- Hero GoPro Wide video camera
- Hi Marine ‘Mini Angler’ Kayak – Initial review
- Hobie 2015 Adventure Island – An overview
- Hobie Mirage Outback – Initial review
- Hobie Pro Angler 12 – tried and tested
- Humminbird 565 fishfinder
- ICOM IC-M33 VHF radio
- Jotron strobe light
- Kokatat Super Nova drysuit
- Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier
- Olympus 795SW camera
- Palm Kaikoura PFD
- Princeton Apex headlamp
- Prowler Big Game Kayak
- Scotty Slips Discs & Offset Gears
- Sealskinz Hat
- Shimano AX boat rod
- Stohlquist Fisherman PFD
- Suunto Orca compass
- Typhoon PS220 Xtreme – Initial review
- Wind-on leader & Skate trace
- YakAttack PanFish & DogBone camera mounts
- YakAttack GearTrac
- YakAttack VISICarbo Pro light
- Yakmate 3
- YakAttack Omega Pro rod holder
- Adventure Island – Rigged for Structure Scan
- Camera mounts
- Deep water anchor reel
- Deep water anchor reel for anchoring
- GearTrac – track system from YakAttack
- Hobie Outback anchor trolley installation
- 2015 Hobie Outback Lowrance HDS 7 installation
- 2015 Hobie Outback Rectangular Hatch upgrade & liner
- Hobie Outback rigged for fishing (part1)
- Hobie Outback rigged for fishing (part2)
- Hobie Outback rigged for photography
- Hobie Outback - Rigged for sailing
- 2015 Hobie Outback - Rigged for Structure Scan
- Hobie Outback rudder upgrade
- Hobie Sidekick AMA Outriggers Installation
- Kayak battery & anchor light improvements
- Mirage Drive – Turbo fin upgrade
- Prowler Big Game centre hatch
- Prowler Big Game rigging
- Prowler Big Game – Rudder installation
- Bilge Pump Installation
- Dry Box Modifications
- Dry storage box for the rear tank well
- DIY kayak trolley
- Extendable camera mount
- Garage rod rack
- GoPro Hero2 – modifying for night filming
- Hobie 8” hatch bag
- Hobie Livewell modifications
- Homemade priest
- Kayak trailer (1st attempt)
- Kayak trailer (2nd attempt)
- Kayak trailer (3rd attempt)
- Livewell & dry box (part 1)
- Livewell & dry box (part 2)
- Lowrance Elite 7 HDI installation
- Lowrance TotalScan Transducer Upgrade
- Kayak loading bar
- Rear loading bar – suction mounted
- Removable cutting board
- Roller roof bars
- Swingaway Transducer Arm
- Savage Gear Pro Landing Net - Modified
- Fishfinders – are they worth it ?
- Fitting ABU smoothie washers
- Practicing re-entry drills
- Rigs for downtiding
- Shimano Charter Special 1000LD overhaul
- Throwing a Cast Net
- Waypoint transfer from a Garmin 60Csx to an Elite 7 HDI
- What do I take afloat ?
- Winter clothing
- Winter clothing upgrade
- Chirp Sonar – how’s it work ?
- Insight Genesis – now improved
After the success of the previous cod fishing trip to the East Coast, the opportunity came along for a repeat visit and it wasn't going to pass me by.
The weather forecast was showing light north easterlies which were to increase slightly as the day passed by. It was another early'ish start, leaving around 6pm I had a three hour trip ahead of me. I' d arranged to meet up with a few of the locals, bacon sandwiches were available on my arrival, brilliant or what!!
The loaded yaks were pulled a short distance to the seafront and away we went.. I cheated somewhat and had launched a few minutes earlier..
Fishing was about 1.5 miles offshore with the bait being a squid/lug combination as per the previous trip. The fishing was sporadic compared to the previous trip and the fish were somewhat smaller, for me anyway.
The wind picked up and was it cold!!, in fact it was possibly the coldest conditions I've experienced, probably purely down to the wind. I've fished sub-zero temperatures before without problems, though the wind child and sheer exposure of the North Sea made is very cold indeed. Though you have to bear in mind we were out there for six hours, the cold only really took hold halfway through.
Fish were being caught steadily throughout the day, with a few over 6lb.
So another cracking trip, I caught around twenty fish with the majority being returned to fight another day. Though 6 hours of driving with 6 hours of fishing on top took its toll..... next time I'm going to stay overnight in a B&B !
Please feel free to comment.
Over the past 4 weeks my efforts to catch a Solent cod have failed miserably. There isn't a great run of cod through the Solent, though a few do get caught every year.
Desperate measures were required, so the decision was made to travel 3 hours up to the Essex coastline where catch reports have been promising.
Preparations were made and I set off with my local yakking mate at 4am, arriving at the chosen destination shortly after 7am. The conditions were just about perfect, flat calm with barely a breeze, though there was still quite some mist about half a mile offshore. We'd taken the opportunity to meet up with a couple of Essex kayak fisherman contacted via a forum. They were kind enough to ensure fresh lugworm was waiting for us when we arrived. Preps were made ready for the launch.
The chosen mark was almost 1.5 miles offshore, though the tide was at low water slack making progress relatively quick. By the time we'd made it to the mark and dropped anchor the tide was already moving at a good pace. Both rods were rigged with running ledgers and 6/0 pennels rigs loaded with a squid/lugworm combination.
The mist finally cleared by late morning, though the wind picked up and the drizzle remained persistent throughout. Nothing too unpleasant, certainly not compared to the weather of late!. As the morning progressed the fishing picked up with a multitude of codling coming to the yak. The most prolific time seemed to be just before mid-tide, lasting for about an hour. There were quite a few pouting and smaller whiting, though thankfully not in the numbers I've been experiencing locally as of late.
As the tide eased off the fishing slowed down dramatically which resulted in me calling it a day around high water. I kept a few nice cod for the table, along with a handful of smaller codling and whiting that had been deeply hooked. The best fish was a shade under 7lb with another two around the 6lb mark.
Paddling back in I noticed a large charter boat about 1/2 mile closer inshore. Never one to miss an opportunity I pulled my stringer of fish from the water plonking them squarely on my lap in preparation for the paddle past, from the various comments it appears they weren't sharing in my good fortune!.. I know, probably not the best of sporting etiquette but it did make me smile.