The two previous days had provided me with some decent sport and with the weather window due to hold for another day, it seemed rude not fish for a third consecutive day. The morning was a slow start as I needed to have the car exhaust replaced as a matter of some urgency. I chatted to a kayak fishing friend, Dizzyfish, and he was looking to fish Lynmouth. It’s a great venue so I was more than happy to fish it for a second day on the trot.
I arrived around lunchtime, having collected some bait en-route from ‘West Coast Tackle’ in Minehead. I’d stocked up on mackerel, a packet of squid and some sandeel. As per the previous day the tide was out so I let the kayak drift down the river towards to sea with me stumbling along behind. I was quite surprised at how windy it was, the forecast had been for 3-5mph wind, this was more like 15-20mph, at times gusting more. There was no sign of Dizzyfish as I paddled through the chop towards the eastern headland. To be honest I was seriously doubting as to whether I should be out there fishing!. I paddled towards the cliffs in attempt to catch a little shelter.
The cliffs here are high, they rise almost 1000’ above sea level. I looked towards three small secluded beaches and I saw what at first looked like a flamingo at the waterline!. Intrigued I paddled in closer and noticed it moving along the waters edge. The boulders along the beach are actually very large, allied with the height of the cliffs, judging size can be difficult. About 1/4 mile out I decided is wasn’t a flamingo at all, merely a person wandering along the beach. The odd thing was this beach was cut off at either end, was this person stranded??.
Before I got much closer the person climbed some rocks at one end and disappeared from sight, I could see little detail, being some distance out they looked like a matchstick person. I surfed some small waves onto the beach, threw out the anchor and tucked into some lunch. What a stunning spot, secluded with fantastic views. I sat on the beach looking out to sea, munching away quietly on a sandwich.
Needless to say I was rather surprised when a voice spoke directly behind me, passing the time of day. Though I was somewhat more surprised at what greeted me when I turned around. A man in his 50’s, a naked man!. Here I am sat layered up, wearing a drysuit and PFD in weather that to be honest, wasn’t particularly pleasant!. Oddly enough I didn’t have too much to say, so he disappeared along the beach taking up residence on a rocky outcrop.
The wind had eased off considerably so I decided to get afloat and do some fishing. I was quite surprised to see Dizzyfish a a couple of hundred metres further offshore, he certainly hadn’t been there fifteen minutes earlier!. After chatting on the radio it transpired that he’s been taking a break on the next beach along, just out of sight.
I paddled over and dropped anchor, Dizzyfish had already been out several hours though the fishing by all accounts hadn’t been too hot. The wind was gusting pushing the kayak left to right, the kayak pulling back into the weak tide as the wind eased off. Fishing within the headlands provides much shelter from the fierce tides of the Bristol Channel. If we’d been fishing 300-400 yards further out we’d probably have been sat in four or more knots of tide, as it was we were anchored up in a more pedestrian 1.5 knots.
I was still hopeful of catching a tope so I rigged one rod up with a whole mackerel mounted onto a running ledger rig, 8/0 Sakuma hook, short wire trace, 3’ of 80lb nylon, etc. The other rod was also rigged with a running ledger, though this time with 4’ of 30lb nylon with a 3/0 Kamasan uptide hook. I decided to use whole sandeel on this rig in the hope of tempting some bass and rays.
Things were a little slow to begin with, though as the tide increased the fish came onto the feed. First up was a small Spotted Ray which took a fancy to the sandeel. These really are a pretty ray and despite their relatively small size give a good account of themselves.
I then had a good run of Small Eyed Rays varying in weight from 3lb towards double figures. The smaller fish were generally coming to the sandeel, the larger fish taking a chunky mackerel bait. I had been fishing whole mackerel, though as the session progressed I was removing the tail, cutting it clean off two thirds of the way from the head. So it was still a particularly large bait, mounted onto an 8/0 hook. Despite this, the larger Small Eyed rays had no problems in taking a bait of this size.
These larger rays were really great sport, at times making some aggressive runs. If they weren’t taking line they were ‘kiting’ in the tide, great fun!
Looking through the various photos I took throughout the session I’d managed to catch two spotted ray and eight small eyed rays, more than I’d thought.
The wind came and went throughout the session, at times gusting guide hard. During the last couple of hours the heavens opened and it rained. Thankfully the PS200 drysuit has a decent hood, it’s not often it gets used, though it’s certainly a handy feature!. As the tide eased the fishing pretty much died off, though at around high water I picked up a couple of good sized Bullhuss in quick succession.
With the weather deteriorating and the fishing having gone off the boil, we decided to call it a day and had back into Lynmouth harbour. It bought to an end three consecutive days of fishing, the last day without a doubt being the most productive and enjoyable. A quick pint, a bowl of chips and some chatter in the local pub finished the day off very nicely!