There was a kayak demo event at Mudeford Quay this weekend supported by Ocean Kayak and Crazywater. There were plans to fish for Conger on the Saturday evening, so as a day out it seemed quite appealing. I’d also not fished that area before hence it was a new mark, always interesting!
It was good to look closely at some of the kayaks, getting up close and personal really does allow you to suss out the various pros and cons that you’d never gain from viewing photographs, etc.
I was on the water for 7pm and found myself drifting for thirty minutes whilst waiting for the other kayakers to appear. We were soon paddling west with the tide towards the chosen mark. The wind was at times rather brisk, though it was an offshore blow so it wasn’t too concerning. Once around the headland the chop picked up a little, an underlying swell was also present, though it was very fishable. I anchored up in 10m of water and found myself facing The Needles, quite a pretty site with the setting sun proving some extra colour.
I’d decided I was going to concentrate on catching a Conger Eel so a whole mackerel was mounted on one 6/0 pennel rig, with another bloody mackerel (less one fillet) mounted on the same rig on the other rod. After weeks of fishing the Bristol Channel it was quite pleasant to be using 3oz weights as opposed to weights between 8oz and 2lb!. The fishing was quiet, though small Bream were present in large numbers and they were terribly effective at stripping large fillets clean off the trace.
It’s not common for me to drop a large fillet over the side to retrieve two bare hooks 20 minutes later. I only ever take two rods afloat, though I decided to take a third rigged with small feathers to hopefully catch some fresh bait. Small strips of mackerel on the feathers produced and endless stream of pouting and small bream, though a few mackerel were also caught.
It was these fresh mackerel that I was after and they were soon hooked up as live bait and dropped back down to the depths. At one stage I was fishing two live baits, one pout and one mackerel.
It was whilst I was unhooking a Bream that the rod with the live baited mackerel literally slammed over and line started stripping from the reel, the rod tip was bouncing violently though by the time I’d dumped the feathering rod it was gone, all over in 4-5 seconds. I knew there was a reason that using more than two rods was a really crappy idea!. What was it?, probably a bass, perhaps a Tope.. I’ll never know!
So I was back to being sensible and fishing two rods. With slack water approaching fast (the better time to hook into the larger Conger) fresh baits were lowered down to the sea bed. At approximately slack water one rod started to nod a little and line was slowly being stripped from the reel, classic conger stuff!. I waited for a short while before picking up the rod and tightening up to the bait. Sure enough there was the odd hard knock at the bait. Striking lightly I felt the weight of a good fish though after a few seconds of head shaking it was gone. I quickly lowered the bait the 3-4’ back onto the sea bed and within ten seconds it was back. Again, I waited for 15-20 seconds before lifting into the fish, though the result was the same.. fish on for a few seconds then off. It didn’t return after that so I reeled in and found the end of my 80lb trace had been bitten off.
Sometime after 11pm the other anglers headed in, though I wanted to fished for a little longer. On a few occasions I’ve seen Bass swim very close to the surface and under the kayak at night, no doubt attracted by the stern light. However, I saw something a little surprising, a Smoothound swam only inches below the surface and under the kayak, not once, but twice. The second time I managed to get my headlamp onto it so there was no doubting what it was. Fifteen minutes later I had another visitor, a Dogfish this time. I found it quite amazing and it finished off the evening quite nicely!
The paddle back was just over 1.5 mile and it was a very pleasant one, I really do enjoy paddling at night. Ok, so I missed a couple of good fish, though that’s just fishing. A few small species on the light rod provided some entertainment and bait. The sunset and scenery were great, so no complaints. It was a great venue, somewhere I’ll no doubt visit again in the near future.