After 3 months away I’d been itching to get back onto the water. I’d missed the odd day where fishing would have been possible as I was looking for a window of 2-3 days to make travelling down to the Bristol Channel worthwhile and cost effective. Eventually the weather was looking good with 3-4 days of light south westerly winds forecast. I was up early, leaving the house not long after 4am with a drive of around 2 ½ hours ahead of me. I’d booked my fresh worm a few days earlier and it was left in a hidden location by the tackle shop owner the night before. That was duly collected and I was soon rigging up, hopes were high!
There was a light surf and once a few hundred metres out I paddled east and anchored up about a mile offshore. The tides were at the bottom of the neaps with around 9m of water movement at the most. Because of the lack of tide flow for this area I wasn’t expecting too much action to be honest.
That said I was into my first fish within a couple of minutes, a small codling of about 2lb. The Conger were present in large numbers and by the end of session I’d bagged up seventeen fish between 7-25lb, though the average weight was perhaps 10-12lb. A handful of Bullhuss, a small thornback ray and plenty of Dogfish were also caught.
Baits were a double squid topped off with fresh lugworm mounted onto a 6/0 pennel rig on one rod, the other rod being baited with a fillet of mackerel. I fished for around eight hours and despite the lack of Cod I’d still managed a good amount of fish throughout the session.
I’d taken the opportunity to try out my new Hero 2 headcam, whilst mounting my Hero HD onto my fish finder, a temporary measure until a YakAttack Panfish Portrait arrives.
The following day saw me launch around 9am and I decided to fish closer into the reef into the reef in the hope of some Cod. Fresh lugworm isn’t cheap to buy and I was wanting something in the freezer to show for my efforts.
The fishing was an awful lot slower than the day before though I was soon into my first codling of the winter, a nicely conditioned fish of around 5lb.
A few small conger and several dogfish were caught and as the tide slackened off the Whiting were relentlessly attacking the baits. I picked the odd one up by accident, though to target them I’d of had to reduce my hook size dramatically. I wasn’t after them so I persevered with my usual setup. As the session progressed I dropped a few fish though managed to catch a couple more Cod to bring the tally for the day to three.
The evening closed in and the sunset was quite wonderful, it really finishes the session off perfectly. I’d considered sleeping in the car, though I was that exhausted I drove the hour back to my weekday work accommodation to enjoy a hot shower and a good nights sleep.
I’d decided to empty to GoPro cam SD cards, so I popped them into the laptop and transferred the files from the first card onto the hard drive. The second card saw me select all the files and hit delete… gone. Not impressed in the slightest. My data recovery software didn’t detect anything on the SD cards so all was lost. I’ve since found another piece of software that does work well on SD cards so hopefully I wont have such problems in the future should I mess up. Lesson learned, don’t mess with stuff when you’re knackered and need sleep!
The third and final day saw me fish the same location and the weather conditions were poorer with a steady swell sweeping down the channel. Still, it was very fishable and I’d soon bought several Conger eel to the kayak. I’d not managed any Cod by high water and it was shortly into the ebb that I capsized which marked the end of that days session!
So despite the disappointing end to the three day session, the fishing had quite prolific and I had no real complaints. The water temperature is unseasonably high for this time of year which I personally believe is holding the main cod run back so I expect it’ll be a late Cod season this year. However, it’s keeping the Conger in the shallower water which provides some great sport.
I’ve ordered a new dry suit which will hopefully be hear in the next 48 hours. I’d been unable to re-enter the kayak due to a flooded dry suit, though I don’t wish to launch again knowing that my last self recovery was unsuccessful regardless of the circumstances. To that end I’ll have a morning testing out my new suit whilst doing some self rescues before I fish again, hopefully that will be this weekend!.
Below is video clip taken over the first two days. I’ve included a short piece of footage on setting the anchor as I was recently asked about that. I forgot to film recovering the anchor though I’ll be sure to do that during my next daylight trip.