2015 Fishing road Trip (Part 4)

Having departed the Bristol Channel the next trip saw us go in the hunt of Pollack off the Southern Cornish coast. I've fished this venue before and I was confident that it'd produce a good few fish for us. The launch at Cadgwith is straightforward enough over the heavy shingle beach, though recovery is somewhat more arduous!.

I love this area, once you push out from the launch the scenery is simply stunning. You see  kayaks just paddling around enjoying the views and I certainly can't blame them. However, we were here to fish and large Pollack were the prime target. We started off trolling as we headed westwards.

I was using a deep diver running 8-10 metres deep.  I had a hit quite early on and managed an average sized pollack which was a good start.

The wind direction wasn't ideal and it steadily increased preventing us from getting to the marks that I'd wanted to fish. We preservered, though the fishing was tough to say the least. We took a few more small fish, though the larger fish were highly elusive.

Having spoken to a local chap sometime later it transpired that the Pollack fishing was unseasonably late and wasn't expected to pick up for some time. Despite our best efforts we didn't fare too well, perhaps a little spoilt by our earlier successes?.

We called an end to the session early and drank more beer whilst planning another session at Sennen Cove. A group of kayak anglers had arranged to meet up the following day so we decided to join them. Sennen Cove is a popular surfing venue, one drive around the car park at midday will confirm this!. There was plenty of surf, though one side of the bay was sufficiently sheltered to launch. There's a harbour off to the left which is protected by a wall, a very sheltered launch spot, something that we'd be most grateful of at the end of the day.

Getting fresh bait is always a bit of a headache when visiting Cornwall. Local tackle shops are very limited with the only fresh bait being farmed worm with the chance of live sandeel when in season. Though the latter is never a cheap option. We were very short of bait (none!) so if we wanted any, we'd be catching it!

We headed out towards the centre of the bay and began feathering with some hokkais. I eventually found some shoals hard on the bottom, though they weren't the mackerel that I'd expected. They were instead Sandeel and they were coming up 3-4 at a time. I kept these in a rear tankwell were the regular sloshing of saltwater kept then alive without a problem. The Lowrance HDS 7 came in really handy whilst chasing the bait. Being able to utilise the structure scan to look left and right was most helpful in keeping me on the bait. There were also mackerel to be had and within 30 minutes we had plenty of fresh bait for the day.

I initially chose to anchor close to a drop off, though the tide was far stronger than I'd expected!. After carefully retrieving my anchor I moved 20 metres shore-side and the difference was amazing. Just a few metres took me out of the severe current . With a section of mackerel fillet down for bait I was soon into my first fish of the day, a Bullhuss.

I caught a couple more larger Bullhuss, though I failed to take photos as I was more into just enjoying the fishing. I'd planned to take some video during the week, though it never happened. It's nice to do, though at times it detracts from the fishing experience.

Daniel was having much better success spinning with Fiish Minnows and was catching some nice sized Pollack.

This caused me to change tactics and I started to fish with live sandeel, slowly fished on the drop and retrieve. Gosh, to say that it's an exciting way to fish is an understatement!. Most of the time my bait was hit halfway down on the drop, the bait being literally smashed with me having to hang onto the rod rather tightly!!!. I caught several nice Pollack to about 8lb using this method. I think that if I was to fish here again I'd take my livewell and fill it with Sandeel and spend the day targeting Pollack and Bass.

Below is the first fish I took to live Sandeel, not a monster but what fun!

I eventually fancied a change from Pollack fishing so I headed out towards towards two charter boats located further out into the bay and dropped anchor onto a clean sandy bottom. I was hoping for some Blonde and Spotted Rays so I baited up with some fresh mackerel on one rod and sandeel  on the other and the waiting game began.

The wait turned out to be quite short, a few nods of the rod tip and I felt the unmistakable weight of a ray hanging in the current, but what species??. A Blonde Ray broke the surface, another species for the trip!

This was the first of several, just one after the other, I certainly wasn't complaining. I then had a bite that was a little different and it certainly felt different once hooked up!. Something new?

Indeed it was, another new species to the kayak... a Turbot. A small specimen, but it was great to catch all the same.

Despite the ever building swell we continued to fish and catch throughout the day. Here's Daniel hooked up into a ray.

We eventually pulled anchor and headed over toward a reef that was looking a little intimidating due to the large swells that were rolling across it. We fished quite close in, picking up a few Pollack, though the swell continued to build. At the height of the tide the swell was large and it had started to detract from the fishing. There was clearly a lot of big surf hitting the whole of the beach... remember that small harbour to the side of the bay?. That's where we chose to recover to!

This bought our 10 day road trip to an end. We fished for 7 days, drove over 1200 miles and caught 23 species of fish totaling well over 750lb. It's definitely one of my most successful road trips and I have to thank Daniel van der Post for his excellent company. There were firsts for both of us and some great memories and plenty of empty beer bottles.

The 2016 road trip is already in the planning stages and it's likely that it will see myself and Daniel travel to Ireland, a completely new experience!

2015 Fishing Road Trip (Part 3)

We departed from Watchet and headed Southwest, driving through Devon before finally arriving in Conrnwall. The target species was Gilthead Bream. These can be extremely difficult to locate and are a dream species for many UK anglers. I was very fortunate to have been given some great direction on a previous Cornish visit and the plan was to fish the same area.

The area is the tidal river system and the Bream swim in with the tide. Previous experience has shown it can be quiet until the fish arrive, followed by a relatively brief spell of activity before quiet returns once again. It's allegedly possible to follow the fish upstream, though my success at doing this has been rather patchy!.

However, if the Giltheads aren't about there's plenty of small Bass and Red Mullet to keep a kayak angler amused. Bait was ragworm  rigged onto a running ledger made up with a 2oz drilled bullet lead with a 3-4’ 20lb fluorocarbon trace. The hook was a size 1/0 Sakuma 450 Chinu. Myself and Daniel anchored up in a couple of metres of water and waited.

As it happened we didn't have to wait too long. My first fish was a decent size at 3-4lb and gave me a real scrap on the light tackle. These fish are tremendous fun!

Daniel was not far behind me and landed himself a nice sized fish as well.

The images have been edited slightly as not to disclose the location. After chatting to the tackle shop owner in Falmouth is became apparent that netting is becoming a major problem. Giltheads are currently not protected in UK waters and are being caught as a 'by-catch' by netters who are allegedly targeting Mullet. It's very disappointing to hear this as these fish are not only great sport, they only frequent a handful of areas around the Southwest.

 Despite the potential reduction in fish population we caught more Giltheads. The action was steady.

When the Giltheads weren't taking the bait there were plenty of small Bass and Red Mullet that were more than happy to oblige. I don't recall having caught Red Mullet before, a first for me?.

I've heard of Giltheads that have neared 10lb in weight coming out from this venue. We weren't finding fish of that caliber, though what we were catching was quite respectable. I'm not so sure the Daniel believed just how difficult these fish are to locate and catch as he caught yet another good sized fish!

We actually ran out of bait at one stage so I pedaled back to the launch and drove back to the tackle shop to buy more ragworm, before driving back to the launch and pedaling back to the mark!. That wasted over an hour. The bait was expensive and quite poor quality to be honest, Farmed bait, 'bitty' and small. Still, sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

We only fished for a few hours and bagged 6-7 Giltheads between us plus a multitude of Red Mullet and Bass. Plenty of fish, but most importantly I managed to get Daniel hooked up into the elusive Gilthead Bream. Having ticked yet another box it was decided to change venue and target another species for the next session.

2015 Fishing Road Trip (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1, we left Pembrokeshire and headed down to the southern side of the Bristol Channel. I’d chosen to fish off Watchet, a place where I’ve enjoyed some fantastic autumn and winter fishing. Though this was summer, the water was warm so I was a little unsure as to how it would fish. 

It’s a pleasant location to fish, with an easy launch/recovery that’s only really hampered by a Northerly wind. The water is muddy, you’d have to travel several miles West to find clear water.

Expected species were Thornback Ray and Conger Eel, with a chance of a Smoothound. Baits were mackerel and squid fished on a simple running ledger rig. The tides were quite small so leads in the 4-8oz range would be adequate. I took Daniel further offshore into about 16m of water, to an area that has produced some superb fish for me in the past. Though as mentioned, this was summer fishing, so the big Cod and Conger eels weren’t going to be there. 

Despite the pleasant start to the day, the weather soon deteriorated and a sharp chop quickly developed across the sea. Though there were fish to be caught. We both caught several Thornback Ray and Conger Eel, though there were small fish compared to what I know can come out of this venue. That said, we were catching fish!

We were fishing two rods which saw one fish after another coming to the kayaks. It was busy fishing, never a dull moment!

Some fish were smaller than others!!. Below is a small Spotted Ray, not a particularly common species in the muddier waters of the Bristol Channel.

The weather had improved though a darkening horizon didn’t bode well, sadly I was proved correct a short time later.

We moved inshore out of the weather, though the decision was made that we’d enjoyed the best of the fishing and with the wind continuing to freshen, we decided to call it a day.

We’d stayed on the campsite on the top of the hill, just a mile or so west of Watchet. I’d certainly recommend it, hot showers and a great view, what more do you need?

The remainder of the day was spent drinking beer and planning the fishing for the next location, which was to be Cornwall. Target species were Gilthead Bream and Pollack, hopefully a few more would also be caught.