Kayaking for Carp

Last year I scheduled in two days of trying to entice a Carp onto the end of my line. On both occasions the crafty Carp eluded me while sucking up all the free offerings I fed my area with. Very frustrated I left them behind and vowed I would have another go at them – but next time I would get one. So I decided to head back and target a Carp off the Kayak. This time I had a game plan in action and after some information regarding the baits and rigs to be used on the lake, I was soon on the road making the journey to the chosen venue.

Carp waters that allow kayaks on are few and far between, so having contacts within the venue of choice is a great help. I have tried and failed with attempts of getting permission to fish certain Carp waters. This venue is not deep at all and the Carp can be seen sunning themselves and hiding out around the weed beds. It is extremely exciting to watch them cruise around the shallows coming within inches of the bait. Frustrating at most times but rewarding when one is hooked.

Paddle out day 1

I arrived at the location just after lunch time on the first day and without hesitation I was at the side of the lake taking a walk around to choose where to fish. I could see some decent Carp patrolling in the shallows so this was going to be my main focus in the sunshine. I baited a deeper swim as a back up but it seemed most of the action was happening in the center of the lake. I unloaded my kayak and took as little with me as possible. Just rods, cameras and bait were loaded up.

This lake fishes very well on luncheon meat. Cutting it into 10mm cubes was the bait of choice. I had pellets to feed which were fed in one or two handfuls every so often to get the Carp feeding confidently. One of the mistakes I made on the first day was that I did not have much experience with Hair Rigs. I was using a light ledger rig with a size 10 hook and just hooking the luncheon meat on. This turned out to be the downfall of my days fishing.

Day 1 in reeds

I got into position by paddling into the rushes to keep the kayak still. I was in such a position to allow me to watch the Carp patrolling across me. They would take the same patrolling routes and it was only a matter of having the bait in front of them as they came passed. I put a handful of pellets and a couple pieces of luncheon meat out as feed and could see it sitting on the bottom. It did not take long till a carp moved in on the feed and stirred the bottom up as it hoovered up the freebies. I waited and then put my bait in while not spooking it. The Carp was a good size and I watched with my heart in my mouth as he moved towards my bait. Something distracted me and my eyes shifted away from my bait when the reel started peeling line and the shallow water erupted as the Carp made an attempt to get free. In the split seconds this all happened it was over as I lifted the rod to feel nothing…..

What could be wrong that I would miss a take like that. This happened a total of five times this afternoon before the light faded and I had to pack up my gear. When out the water I chatted with the local lads and it was concluded that my baiting up was the issue and I was given a braided hair rig to try. I was disappointed that I had missed so many good fish and wondered was that going to be my only chance. I fished a swim that night with a friend of mine and landed a small Carp and Bream off the bank. I did not get much sleep that night due to the thoughts of the Cap I had missed and how I was going to get them.

Rigging up day 2

The next morning came with an overcast sky. I felt confident when arriving at the lake. I walked around the lake once again and noticed the Carp were not that active out in the shallows of the lake. Taking this into account I baited two deeper swims around the edge of the lake and headed back to set up my kayak. This morning I opted to float fish these swims. I used a size 10 hook and smaller pieces of luncheon meat. With the kayak set up and ready I paddled over to the first swim I baited up and tucked into the weeds. I noticed immediately there were feeding fish in the swim as there were fizzing bubbles and moving weeds around the bait. I quickly baited up and made sure the length of the trace ensured that my bait was just on the bottom. I kept a constant watch on the float waiting for it to disappear under the waters surface. Ten minutes went by and then the float slipped under the surface and I set the hook. The fish took off straight towards the weeds and then across the swim. As I got it closer to me I saw it was a small Carp. After a good fight the net was edged underneath the Mirror Carp and it was lifted on to my lap. Success at last. Not the big ones that patrol the shallows but a Carp all the same.

Netting Carp 1

Holding Carp 1

Carp 1 face

After releasing the Carp I moved over to the second swim I had baited up as the first Carp disturbed the area so I let it settle again. On arriving at the second swim I once again saw a lot of activity. Bubbling and moving water as the fish fed. I cast the luncheon meat into position and within a minute it was under the water as fish took off with the bait. Another great little fight on the float rod and a small Common Carp was landed again. Quickly unhooking the fish I released it and got my bait in position again.

Luncheon meat day 2

The float once again disappeared and I was in again, this time a better fish. It went all over the swim, into weed beds and into the shallows. I was only fishing 6lb line so there was not much I could do but play him. I netted the Carp which was approximately 4 or 5lb. Once again not a monster but a better fish. I got some photos and watched as the Carp swam off. I caught a small Rudd too. Probably the smallest Rudd I have ever caught. At home that evening I went to check my footage from the day. I was not too happy to see that my camera facing me did not get the photos of the third Carp and I only had a glimpse of it from the rear camera. Oh well, fishing and using a camera.

Fighting bigger carp

Bigger Carp in net

Holding Bigger Carp

So that was my carp fishing trip. I finished early the second day, before lunch time. I packed up and made my way home. Happy that I had accomplished landing a Carp off the kayak. A new experience and one that is rated up with some of the more exciting ones. I am sure to try again some time.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.




Mixed Bag in the West

This weather of late has not been doing Kayak Fishing any favors. Wind seems to be on the forecast for most days but Sunday was a break in the horrible weather that allowed the kayaks to hit the local deep water mark. Sunshine was the order of the day and a slight westerly breeze creating a gentle ripple on the Atlantic swells was present. My Father and I got ready in the morning to target anything that was willing to take a bait. It has been a while since he has been out so he was more than eager to wet a line.

Paddle Out

IMAG0204Getting out to water that was in the region of 120ft and comprised of a rough bottom, there are a variety of species that can turn up at this mark. So rigs were kept simple and a double hook trace was used with two Cox and Rawle – Long Range Worm Hooks in size 1. Although these hooks are predominantly intended for the surf fisherman, they make an ideal hook for the kayak in the way they make great Mackeral strip bait presentation. We bought out with us a few frozen Mackeral in case there was not fresh bait to be got but as soon as we made our way through the channel my dad was into some lively fresh Mackeral – bait sorted.

We then made our way to the deep water where we started our drift across the rough ground. Dad was immediately into a Cuckoo Wrasse. I was drifting with bigger baits hoping to see was anything of size around. Next up was an Octopuss for my father. This place is jammed with this creatures and they always are entwining when bringing them onto the kayak. I carried on drifting and got into a small Ling which was followed up by a Cuckoo Wrasse.

Holding LingHolding Cuckoo Wrasse

By now my dad had paddled over to the cliffs where he informed me that he was into a large Conger Eel. I asked him if he got a photo and his response was somewhere along the lines of “I am not bringing that thing on board”. Oh well. I on the other hand was still on my drift and came up with my own Octopuss. Its amazing how difficult it is to get them off the kayak when they are sucking onto the plastic of the hull. I got a few photos of the little guy and watched him shoot back down to the depths.

Holding OctopussFollowing this was a couple of tiny Poor Cod and a Pouting. I then headed into the shallower water around the inside of the island. There is a mixture of sandy and rough ground bottom. I drifted first over the rough area to see what would pick up a full side of Mackeral fillet.

Holding Pouting

The rod bent over and I was onto a decent fish. It must be a good fish to have taken the Mackeral fillet. I was surprised to see a hefty Ballan Wrasse hit the surface. I caught this Wrasse on a 4/0 Cox and Rawle – Uptide Extra hook tied on a Single hook ledger rig. I got a few pictures of this lovely Wrasse and watched as he made his way back down.

Holding Ballan Wrasse

Ballan Wrasse Mouth

Drifting once again and the rod with the whole side of Mackeral doubled over again and after a couple of runs to get back into the rocky bottom a fine sized Pollock greeted me. What a fight these fish have in them and are always a pleasure to catch. It is almost a case of setting the hook and holding on.

Holding Pollock

So we ended our day with a handful of species between us. Another great day out local. The weather made it a pleasure to be out there and the fish are always an added bonus. I hope that the weather eases so that I can get more fishing in.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.


Fishing the East Coast

Another weekend meet was organized by the Irish Kayak Angling Club which was to be held in Cahore, Co. Wexford. I have never fished up this side of the country so it was a new experience to me. I Irish kayak angling logodid some research online as to some of the species that may be caught and one that I had a particular interest in was the Smooth Hound. I have never targeted these fish so I was excited to hear from the guys on the site that they can be plentiful in the area. Bait for these members of the shark family seemed to be predominantly Peeler Crab although I had read articles of them being caught on other baits but being the first time I would be targeting them I stuck with the tried and tested Peeler Crab. My good friend Dave came to the rescue and sorted me out with the Peeler Crab as collecting them was not an option.

I had arranged to meet Pat Gill at his house on Friday and I would follow him up to Cahore. We were soon on the road and heading up to this new area for me. Our first stop was to Court Town Angling to collect our species cards and also bag up on the owners local knowledge. For a relatively small shop there was no shortage of gear and the owner was only glad to pass on his knowledge. Filled with enthusiasm we made our way to put home for the weekend. Pat and myself decided to head out for an hour before it got dark as we were both eager to see what was knocking about. kayaks loaded we were on the water in no time. there was a slight chop on the water but nothing to severe.

Paddle outThe rig of choice for the Smooth Hounds I used my tried and tested single hook ledger rig which I used for the whole weekend with a 3oz weight. The trace line was 20b fluorocarbon coupled by a 3/0 Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra hook. It seems there is nothing really that these hooks cannot target and I am a true fan. Baiting up one rod with a Peeler Crab and the other with a Rag Worm, they were both sent out. Within a minute or so there was some action on the rod baited with the Rag Worm. Striking into the fish I knew what was on the end – a Dogfish. They were plentiful and any other bait besides the peeler crab was immediately devoured by them. So both rods were then baited with Peeler Crabs which gave me some time away from the pesky dogs.

Baiting up

After a while my one rod got a decent take and setting the hook I knew this was something different. The fish was taking line and giving a solid account of itself. It must be a Smooth Hound. After a minute or so I got my first glimpse of my first ever Smooth Hound. I was delighted to see that they are plentiful and that I got one on my first attempt. I lifted it into the kayak and got a couple of photos. They are amazing looking fish and a pleasure to handle. I let it go and realized that I hadn’t taken a photo on my species hunt card. Oh well, I would have to catch another one.

Smooth hound 1 on surface

Holding smooth hound 1

I heard Pat who was behind me, he was into a Smooth Hound. I disconnected from my anchor using the quick release system and addled over to him to get a photo. Pat was chuffed with his fish. He ended up getting two this evening. I carried on fishing till almost dark hoping for another Smooth Hound which did make an appearance. After another really good fight I landed another Smooth Hound on the Peeler Crab Bait. I took some photos and got one of the fish with my species hunt card this time. After releasing the Smooth Hound I pulled the anchor and headed back in.


The camp site was a laugh that night. Great to meet the guys from the site and put a face to their names. Stories were told till the early hours of the morning. Saturday was forecast to be blustery and waking up it was apparent the forecast was spot on. The breeze was already picking up. The competition was due to start at 11am so all the kayaks were readied and all were out on the water ready to fish. My plan was to head out and get a Smooth Hound and then come in and fish the shallows when the wind came up. The action was almost instant as I anchored up in approximately 30ft of water in the tidal run. I sent out two rods baited with Peeler Crab and was into a Smooth Hound in no time. I only needed to catch one but ended up getting into four as I stayed in the mark to get a Dogfish which also was not long in showing up.

Smooth Hound 3 Holding

Smooth Hound 4

Smooth Hound 5

Smooth Hound 6

I pulled the anchor and headed in to the shallows to target some other species. I was fishing around a rough ground area and managed a Corking Wrasse and a tiny Whiting. Not much to brag about Corkwing Wrassebut it was points towards the competition. I needed to catch a Bass and a Flatfish at this stage.  I tried for the Flatfish but could not seem to get a take so I decided  to head back in for a cup of coffee as it was raining and something to warm up was a good idea. I trolled my way back along the shore line pulling a Tackle House Feed Shallow behind me. As I came passed a rocky outcrop the rod bent over as a Bass picked up my lure. I was delighted as this was my first Bass on a Feed Shallow. I do not lure fish much. I got some photos and let the Bass back on its way. Not a monster but a bonus when they are not really on the feed.


Releasing Bass

After a hot cup of coffeee and a discussion with some of the lads that were on the shore I headed back out to the reef area. I anchored up and tried some small baits on size 10 hooks. Ballan WrasseI broke pieces of Rag Worm and fished them on a light spinning rod. I was immediately into loads of small Corking Wrasse. After a while I got a better bite and landed a small Ballan Wrasse.More points but still a pleasure to catch. This was my last fish for the day and I headed in to get into some dry clothes and demolish a plate of Pats curry which was a treat on a miserable evening.

Sunday morning I woke early to catch a Flatfish. Early was at 5am and in an hour or two I was back in and landed a small dab which meant I had completed the challenge. The weather was glorious on the Sunday and as I was a little tired from all the fishing I chose to relax for the day. Reports came in that there were plenty of Smooth Hound around and various species. At the end of the day I was awarded some excellent prizes by the clubs sponsors which I will post later. It must be said that the organisers, sponsors and everybody there deserves a big thank you for making the weekend an enjoyable event.

Here is a video of the Smooth Hound Action from the weekend.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

Getting Out Local…

As the title describes I got out on a local mark that has always been good to me and a few others. Its a great mark to fish with a vast amount of species but I was after some Ray for a bit of sport and SCR 44see what was making an appearance. The tide was due to start coming in after lunch time so I fished that last two hours of the outgoing tide. I bought along some of my frozen Mackeral as they had been patchy enough in the recent weeks so I was not to certain whether I would get some fresh ones. I still had one rod with feathers to give it a go should I come across any on the fish finder and I am glad I did.  My two other rods were rigged up with simple single hook ledger rigs as I would be drifting. On the business end I had a circle hook pattern from Cox and Rawle. They are great hooks for a higher percentage of lip hook ups which makes releasing a breeze. The pattern is the MUTSU CIRCLE HOOK in size 2/0. The water was so calm in the morning and inviting. I set up my gear and headed out.


Only a short paddle out past the rough ground saw vast amounts of bait fish showing up on the fishfinder. I stocked up on a few for the session and kept it in the back of mind to stop on the way back in to get some for the freezer. Out I paddled to some deeper water, only about 35ft. This mark is relatively shallow so I needed to get out a bit as to not be plagued by dogfish. Getting out I had the two rods for the Ray and baited them both up with a fresh fillet of Mackeral, slit down the centre long ways, pinned once on the hook to stop it spinning on the drift.

Waiting for a takeThe drift was slow enough with little to no breeze at all. Rain showers were constantly on and off but the weather was warm so it was not uncomfortable. First take was good and the rod bent over after watching the weight bounce along the bottom on the rod tip. Reeling down into the fish is all I do when using a circle hook pattern. I was into the first fish and definitely a Ray species. A couple of solid runs I had an idea of what this was and it was confirmed when a small Painted Ray hit the surface. These Ray are great fun to catch and a welcome sight in amounts the larger quantities of Thornback Ray.

Painted Ray 1After releasing the first Painted Ray it was not soon after that I had another take. Once again the rod was bent over into another Ray. Great fight and I was again holding another Painted Ray for a photo.

Painted Ray 2The rain was becoming short heavy spells but nothing that was going to deter me just yet. I had a few dogfish which are ever present but knowing there are Ray here I continued on. Then a rattle of a bite and up came a greedy dab which somehow manage to take the Ray bait.

Greedy dabThe Thornback Ray then decided to make an appearance as the tide stated pushing in. I had three fish in a short period of time. No real big ones but still some action on the rod!.

Thornback 1

Thornback FaceTo finish off the day a small Thornback. But great to see a good head of Ray in the area. I stocked up the Mackeral supply on the way back in and packed the freezer for an outing or two coming up. It was good to get a calm settled day in amongst the weather at the moment.

Last small thornieUntil next time,

Tight Lines.