Targeting Spurdogs – A First

Having never caught a Spurdog (Squalus Acanthias) off the kayak, not even off the shore, I was always keen to land one or at least try for them as they appear at certain times of the year and thus can be actively targeted when they arrive. From looking into information regarding the Spurdog and catching one, they feed on most fish baits and will also take a crab bait. So that was the plan – Sandeel baits.

Kayak Pulley Rig

I got a phone call from Kevin Brain who runs a guiding and tackle store at www.kbfishingireland.com. We decided that we would load up the kayaks and head to the venue to target the Spurdogs on the incoming tides using Sandeel baits. Kevin has all these baits in his store so there was no need for going out to get bait. The tackle setup used comprised of just simple light rods with spinning reels which would make the fishing more fun rather than heavy gear. Kevin used simple single hook ledger rigs while I used one rod with the single hook ledger rig and the other I went for the kayak Pulley Rig that Cox and Rawle sent me.

Paddle Out

The wind picked up in the afternoon but undeterred i ventured out on the kayak to find the channel on the fish finder while Kevin opted to stay on the land and fish. The area we fished has a strong enough tidal flow but a two ounce weight fished away from the kayak was sufficient. The Sandeel bait was made up by taking the head and tail off to stop it spinning in the tide and rigging it on the Pennel Rig without bait elastic. On the other rod with the single hook ledger I used another Sandeel bait with the head and tail removed but bound this on the single hook ledger rig as I was only using a single hook.

Sandeel on Pulley Rig

Waiting for a TakeKevin was the first to see some action as the Spurdog started to move with the tide. I looked over and he had a really nice Spurdog landed and I could hear his excitement across the water. Not content with just the one, no sooner had he released it and his other rod went. Not as big as the first but still a fine sized Spurdog and after a quick few photos Kevin released it to carry on with its duties. It was only a matter of time before they passed me.

KB first Spurdog   KB Spurdog 2

Waiting patiently I saw my first rod have a sudden thump of a bite. This rod had the single hook ledger rig with a Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra 2/0 hook attached at the business end. Picking up the rod I felt the thump again and then a good solid take to which I responded by setting the hook. A good weight at the end could be felt as the spinning rod bent over.

Spurdog 1 Fight

After a good fight on the light gear I was greeted by my first ever Spurdog. I was extremely happy to see the fish break the surface. Not as big as Kevins fish but when having never caught one, I didn’t care what size it was only that I had it on the kayak. I soon realized where they get their name from as the have extremely sharp spines or spurs in front of the dorsal fins which can be seen in the photos below. Handling these fish should be done with caution as I would not like to get one of those spines stuck into me. After some photos the Spurdog was released and swam away gracefully.

Spurdog 1 Front

Spurdog 1 Spur

Spurdog 1 Face

Spurdog 1 Front 2

Spurdog 1 Release

During the fight I noticed my second rod getting a take. I opened the drag on the reel while fighting my first fish and let the second run away. After releasing the first fish I picked up the second rod and felt the fish was still there. Another Spurdog came to the surface but was much smaller than any of the fish caught this day. Some photos taken the Spurdog was released. From never catching one to having and evening session of landing two was a great success in my eyes.

Spurdog 2 Fight

Spurdog 2 in Water

Holding Spurdog 2 Front

Releasing Spurdog 2

I have to say that the Spurdog is a stunning looking fish and a pleasure to catch. It is great to see them swimming away as well. That was it for the evenings action as the fish had moved on with the tide. It seems there is a small window of opportunity within the tidal stage where these fish come through but this was only my first ever outing for them so only time will tell. A really enjoyable even with Kevin Brain and check out his website for all fishing updates and information.

KB Fishing

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

 

 

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Pollock on Soft Plastics

I cannot remember the last time I went out on the Kayak to fish for Pollock. I have always been sidetracked by targeting more uncommon species which has greatly reduced the absolute fun side of my fishing which is pretty much why I took up fishing in the first place. My father and I decided with the Easterly blowing we would fish a sheltered area of the bay where there is relatively deep water with good kelp beds and rocky ground. We we going to put the fun back into the fishing and get some hard fighting Pollock.

The tactics we decided on was to use soft plastics. I opted for a Fiiish Crazy Sandeel on one rod while on the other I rigged up a Lunker City Slug-Go in pearl white coloring which is a favorite of mine. I rigged these up simply by attaching a Cox and Rawle Brass Ball Bearing Swivel with Snap and then using a lead head which allowed me to keep in contact with the soft bait while jigging it on the bottom. The snap swivel allowed me to change the lead head should I have required more or less weight.

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It was not long while paddling and trolling my soft bait that I had the first take. Full of excitement I grabbed the rod and landed a small Pollock. Delighted with this I headed over to where my father was fishing and started drifting while jigging the Lunker City Slug-Go. Fish after fish came to the surface as the tide came in. Every fish making a desperate bid to bury itself in the mass of snags hidden below the surface.

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I don’t think my small spinning reel has had such a tough day out but it stood up to the task and made the fishing even more fun while trying to stop the Pollock . Jigging the soft bait to imitate an injured bait fish is the idea when I am fishing for Pollock.

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vlcsnap-2015-04-21-20h15m17s146Nothing to complicated when it come to catching Pollock on soft baits but it is a whole lot of fun. We fished the incoming tide this evening and lost count of the Pollock we had caught.

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Here is a video from the afternoons fishing.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

 

Fishing the Estuary – 16/04/2015

Looking back on past fishing logs that I keep to compare on a year to year basis I was drawn to the thought of fishing an estuary that produces some great fishing as the weather starts to warm up. It is still a little early for this spot to really come alive and produce some great fishing but I decided to give it a try anyway. The day previous I had dug some fresh lugworm as it is a hard bait to beat for all round fishing. I also got a few peeler crab as an added bonus. The plan of attack was to fish the incoming tide from low. The rig I chose to use was my all round single hook ledger rig with a two ounce weight and a Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra 1/0 hook.

Single Hook Ledger Rig  C&R Uptide Extra HooksI arrived about an hour before low tide which gave me time to set up my kayak and rods and wait till the tide started pushing in. I would be anchoring up in the channel and fishing two rods. It is quite comfortable as the tide holds the kayak in a straight position allowing both rods to be fished out in front of me. The weather was pleasant but a few blustery squalls came through. I was after a bass but knew there would be some flounder around so I was pretty confident that I would land a fish or two.

Kayak Rigged

Anchored up in position, the tide started to move. Both rods were baited up and cast away from the kayak in front of me. There is not much of a problem with weed at this time of year but as the water temperature rises the estuaries get plagued by weed which makes it extremely tough to fish.

Lugworm BaitI stared getting small takes but did not connect with anything until I had the familiar rattle bite that is often associated with Flatfish. I set the hook and felt a good weight. I caught a glimpse of the Flounder and was surprised at the size of it. It gave one more run which is great to feel from a Flatfish as it is a sign of a decent one. I got it next to the kayak and lifted it in. A lovely coloured and plump Flounder. I took a couple of Photos and put it back to fight another day.

Flounder 1 fight

Holding Flounder 1 Front

Holding Flounder 1 Rear

It was not long after I had another take which too was a sure sign it was another flounder. At this stage of the tide I would of had a Bass by now so confidence in getting one was all but gone. Still, I had another Flounder on and it was another good sized fish which put up a good account of itself and fishing with spinning rods really makes catching fish much more fun. Once again, a few photos and the Flounder was sent back.

Flounder 2 Front

Altogether I was happy with my result for the mornings tide. I headed back in after the second flounder. The first fish was caught on lugworm while the second fish was caught on a lugworm and Piddock bait. Both rods were rigged with the trace shown in the photo above. Nothing over complicated but effective.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

Pike on the Fly

I would not consider myself as an excellent flyfisherman but I am competent and do catch some fish on the fly. These tend to be mostly trout species so when Allen from Irish Kayak Angling and Bantry Bay Canoes grabbed my attention and started educating me on catching pike on the fly, needless to say, I was eager to get one using this method. I have only ever used spinning gear for pike and lures such as hard baits and soft plastics so throwing a fly for these predators is a new experience for me and looking into Allens Pike fly selection I quickly realized that it was going to be the biggest fly I ever casted.

With the weather being so good this last week we were both fortunate enough to get the morning out together at a local lake which holds some monsters. We were given permission to target the pike that inhabit the waters so it was all systems go. As well as pike, the lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout but it was the pike we focused on. Allen arrived to pick me up at 8.30am. I was up much earlier with thoughts of what I could be landing. So we threw my things into the Bantry Bay Canoes Van and strapped my kayak on the roof next to Allens Hobie.

Bantry Bay Van

 

The lake was flat calm and we could see a few trout moving around the surface. Full of enthusiasm we rigged up the kayaks and the rods. It was soon apparent that Allen had a slight advantage with his Hobie Kayak but I will get into that later. Allen gave me a choice of what fly I wanted to use. I asked him what he would choose and funny enough we both chose the same one. A rainbow trout coloured pattern. Much Larger than anything I have ever casted but not the biggest fly in his box. I chose this pattern as the lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout and I have caught Pike here on rainbow trout coloured shads. It seemed like a no brainer to go with it.

Allen and Hobie

Pike Fly

The fly was attached to a wire loop to loop section to stop the Pike biting through. We made our way over to the first spot we were going to drift over. This is where I saw the benefits of the Hobie Kayak. I had to use a drogue and every now and then use my paddle to correct my drift line. Allen on the other hand had no such issues. Both his hands were free and just using his feet was able to hold his line or move quickly to another position. I must say I was impressed with how effortless it seemed.

Fly cast

We fished hard for most of the morning with Allen only getting one quick grab and drop. Things seemed like they were going to be tough. All I wanted to do was get my first Pike on the fly. The day seemed to move so fast and before long it was two in the afternoon. We decided to call it a day. On the last few casts over an area of weed and rushes I was finally rewarded with a sudden thump and a weight on the end of the fly line. Lifting into the fish I knew it was no monster but still a Pike on the fly.

Pike Fight

 

After a short battle the Pike was lifted carefully into the kayak over my lap. A small Pike but very aggressive when taking the fly as it was really taken with intent. I quickly got a few photos with the Pike and held it in the water to recover and be released. This didn’t take long as it shot away once it got in the water. I was delighted just to catch one on the fly and can really see the attraction to catching Pike on the fly. I can only imagine the excitement of catching a really big Pike on the fly. So a success in my eyes and I learnt a few new tips. Thanks to Allen and thanks to Bantry Bay Canoes.

Holding Pike

Pike Mouth

Until next time,

Tight Lines.