Fishing with a Friend

Dave is a good friend of mine for many years now. We played in a band together any yes, we fished a lot together. He was very interested in the kayak fishing scene and was very keen in getting one after I took him out for a session last year. So he grabbed a great deal on an Ocean Kayak Trident and has since been waiting with anticipation for the day in which both our schedules allowed us to get out to sea for the first time together.

Dave really wanted to get out and get to grips with his new gadgets and to see generally how fishing was done off the kayaks. I told him that it was just like fishing from the shore with regards to simplicity of the rigs. Dave is a very good shore angler so I have no doubt he will fit into the kayak angling very easily. So we decided on a nice easy laugh and sheltered area for his first voyage to sea. With the Irish Kayak Angling Cork Meet happening this coming weekend we decided we would give the area a go to see was there anything about.

Rigged up, we headed down to the water and I couldn’t help but notice a slight resemblance between us….

TwinsWe got out on the water and started getting Dave’s fishfinder sorted and in no time his Lowrance HD with Chirp was showing an amazing high definition screen of the bottom. I am very impressed with this fishfinder. Soon we were paddling to the deeper water at the end of the head land to find some baitfish. We we soon on the Mackeral and I took a photo of the screen of my fishfinder to show the baitfish below us. Dave got into them too and although it is not a huge fish to start him off, he got his first fish off his new kayak.

Dave fishfinder

Dave Mackeral

Fishinder BaitfishWhile stocking up on the Mackeral I came across a shoal of Herring. Strange I thought. Once we had enough Mackeral bait to replenish the diminishing stock in the freezer we paddled out to find a little deeper water. This area is quite shallow and drops off very gradually so it was a little bit of a paddle to find 40ft of water but our drift would take us all the way in. I found the best method to catch flatfish is on the drift. They love the moving bait. Most baits will catch them but I seldom stray away from a thin piece of fresh mackeral strip just hooked once so that it does not spin. Beads and sequins are personal choice and all work. My single hook ledger rig was once again the rig of choice couple with my favorite hook pattern, Cox and Rawles Uptide Extra. I was on a size 1/0 for the flatfish. Simplicity.


Flattie BaitIt was not long till I had my first Dab on the kayak. The telltale rattle bite signaling that there was one interested. Nothing that was a record breaker but still such great fun on a spinning rod. They are intriguing fish the flatfish species. Dave lost one at the side of his kayak but was not going to be beaten. I got the old friend, the Dogfish. But the Irish Kayak Angling Meet here has them down as a target so there it is. Never a shortage of these guys around.


DoggieDave was next and got himself his first flatfish of his kayak in the form of a Dab. He was delighted. No doubt when he gets to grips with all his toys on his kayak there is an angler to keep an eye on! Not happy with just the Dab he then said he wanted a Flounder. Off he went to the shallower water and within a couple of minutes he was holding one for a photo.

Dave Dab

Dave FlounderSo that was our evenings paddle. dave got to test his new gadgets, get into some fish and both of us enjoyed having a laugh out there. It just makes fishing that bit more better. So with the meet there this weekend, I think there should be some fish caught. There were a good number of boats fishing for Bass on the lure.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.


A Bit of Kerry Magic

The forecast showed a nice clear spell to get the kayak out and try get a Tope. Once again I loaded the car up the night before to head down early to catch the first high tide. I called over to Kevin Brain the night before to pick up a good supply of Mackeral baits. Check out his latest catch reports and website at With the car loaded it was an early rise to hit the road down to Tralee Bay.

Cox and Rawle Pro Pack uptide 4:0 6:0As in my previous write up on the Ray I got in my last outing here, my rigs were much the same. Single hook ledger rigs tied on 30lb fluorocarbon trace line to a short length of 20lb nylon coated wire to prevent the Tope from biting me off. I prefer to tie my wire direct to my fluorocarbon trace line as it then takes away the need for a swivel and a crimp thus making the presentation much more neater and appealing. This I learnt as a youngster while fishing for shark on light tackle back in S.A. On the business end was the old faithful and very good hook, the Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra. I used two sizes which were 4/0 and 6/0.

I arrived at the spot which was like a pond with not a ripple on the surface and the sound of Seagulls whining as they do. I felt confident that there would be some good fish caught today. As a fisherman there is an inner feeling that is felt when you know that it is going to be a good day. with no hesitation the kayak was loaded up, the GPS turned on and the paddling started to the position of choice. The tide really pushes here so I use a longer chain to hold my anchor in place and reduce the risk of it pulling out and me drifting away off the mark. I dropped the anchored and baited up the rods.

Casting out bait

With the baits sitting in position it was only a game of patience. As the tide pushes here in the middle stages there is quite a heavy amount of weed passing which makes it a little frustrating but the rewards of sticking it out are worth it. As I waited patiently I had my first bit of interest. Lifting into the fish I felt the solid resistance and a good run. The familiar fight of the Stingray. After a short but good fight I got the small Stingray to the side of the Kayak and took a quick photo carefully before letting it get back to its business.

Holding Stingray

The tide really started moving after this so I decided to explore the area as I have never really had a good nose around the place. What I came across was some really good looking features that have been noted and I decided to give them a go. With the bass season open and the tide running it made it ideal to target some. Using the tide run to my advantage I fished extra light and by this I mean Bass bait riggedjust a simple double inline hook setup. No weight, nothing, just the hooks. Sandeels are flooding in all around the place and most fish are stuffed to the gills with them. I had no sandeel with me or lures so I had to improvise. Using the white shiny belly of the Mackeral, I cut a thin strip and rigged it up to flow in the top layer of the water and not spin. The key is to not let it spin. Paddling slowly against the tide did the business as I hit four Bass in no time at all. Two were above the size limit and two were little schoolies. What great fun on a spinning rod and just a hook.

Bass 1

Bass 2 in water

Holding Bass 2

The tide was easing off at this point so I decided to head back into position for the change of the tide. It was not long till I had a good take. The line peeled off the reel and I was in to a good fish. After a few powerful runs I got the fish to the surface and was delighted to see a good sized Stingray. I decided to take it into the shore as I was very close and get a photo to show the size of it. Once I got the photo and carefully handling it, I put her back and she glided away.

Fighting beach stingray

Stingray on Beach

After releasing this Stingray, which was kindly assisted by two shore fisherman, I went back out to my anchor and readied myself again. The rod doubled over again and I was into a heavy fish. Bigger than any fish I had this day. It went round the kayak, under the kayak and stuck to the bottom. I finally got a glimpse of what was a really good Stingray and bigger than the one previous. I did not want to handle such a fish on the kayak or go back to shore with it so I unhooked it next to the kayak and watched it swim away.

Big Stingray

The tide was flowing fast again at this stage and the weed was coming with it. I had another take and found myself attached to a decent Thornback Ray. Covered in thorns but nice patterns on its back, I took a photo and let it back into the tide.

Holding Thornback revised

Waiting for the tide to ease I went in to stretch my legs and have a bite to eat. My bait was looking a little worse for wear at this stage but I still felt confident there was a Tope there with my name on it. I went back out and baited up both rods with whole joey mackeral with heads and tails removed. Waiting patiently my Shimano Trinidad started peeling line off, this was a Tope. I lifted into the fish and he ran off with the current. The fight was great as the Tope tore back up the current past the kayak and gave a great account of itself. When he cam up next to the kayak I lifted him carefully onto my lap. A couple of photos and I was a happy chap. The Tope was released and swam away.

Holding Tope

tope face 2

A really good day to be out just soaking it in. Fishing, thats what its about.!

Until next time,

Tight Lines.


Lots of Ray About

As the title says there are quite a few Ray of all species around at the moment which is good to see. There is plenty of baitfish in the water too in the form of Sandeels. The Mackeral on the other hand Morning Vieware a little patchy but when coming across the odd shoal it is easy enough to get a few for some fresh bait. I was making my way down to Tralee Bay to get a Sting Ray which just so happened to coincide with a few others from the Irish Kayak Angling Site. I did not mind this as I had my own agenda to complete. Tralee Bay is a great place to fish as there is an abundance of fishing opportunities that can be had. For me, it was the Ray I wanted.

Bait comprised of Peeler Crab, Mackeral and some Launce that I had caught previously. Because there is a chance of coming across a tope here in Tralee Bay, I started off with a short section of 20lb Nylon Coated Wire to stop the tope biting through my mono trace line. For Ray I find that heavy line and wire is a deterrent and thus I try to use the lightest possible gear I can when fishing. Where is the sport and skill in landing fish after fish with heavy gear? But that is just me. My trace of choice was just a simple single hook running ledger trace with a Cox and Rawle 4/0 Uptide Extra Hook. Trace line was only 20lb mono and a 3oz weight is plenty on a smaller tide.

Morning Paddle Out

The tide was near full when I arrived at my chosen mark. I anchored up and started preparing the rods. Both rods fished the same rigs. The Mackeral baits I had needed a little extra help to keep them on the hook so the best thing is to use some bait elastic. This done, the rods were sent out hoping for some quality fish.

Anchored Up

Watching the rods for any sign of interest with great enthusiasm, one of the rods had a knock. The rod then bent over and line started to be taken from the reel. I lifted into the fish only to feel a solid weight. The fish took a good run before I gained on him. After a good solid fight my first fish greeted me in the form of a Stingray. I try not handle these fish too much due to their tail which hhas a self defense mechanism which are spines that have a poison on them. I have heard really bad stories about people who have been impaled by these spines so I take extreme caution with them and respect them. They are amazing creatures.

Stingray in Water

Holding StingrayI quickly removed the hook from the Stingray and let it back on its way. It was not long until I had another take. This time not as hard as the Stingray but a decent take all the same. Once again I set the hook and a short fight later up came an Undulate Ray. I have caught a number of these over the last few weeks and it is great to see such numbers of these ray around. After a few quick photographs I let the ray go after admiring its lovely patterns and markings.

Holding Undulate 1Next to take the bait was the more familiar ray that I am accustomed with. A solid fight with the aid of the tide and soon I was greeted by a Thornback Ray. As the name suggests they are covered in thorn like spines so I like to keep an eye out on where I am holding them.

Holding Thornback

Thornback TailThings started to die down at this stage and I was ready to call it a day. I had a good day so far but I had one last take which turned out to be another Undulate Ray. All the fish I got were on Mackeral baits and to be fair there was nothing to complicated about getting the Ray. Keeping it simple and fishing the right tides always gets me fish.

Holding Undulate 2So that was another day out. Plenty of ray around the place and a pleasure to catch. Soon the Bass season will be open again so that will give me something to target.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.