Out Local for a Quick Session

With my recent weekends being taken up with kayak fishing meets and competitions I was due a trip out with no pressure but only the silence and solitude one gets with the sport of kayak angling. This is why I took it up in the first place and fishing for the fun of it is really my key ingredient which gets me excited about fishing. I am blessed to stay in an area that has the open ocean only a couple of minutes away so packing the car and getting fishing is only minutes away. The weather was perfect, overcast and a slight breeze to keep the kayak moving on the drift. I decided that I would fish one of my favorite local marks that is stuffed full of Ray and Flatfish but also throws in some variety. It was just after lunch time that I decided to head out and arriving down at the water I was glad I chose to go fishing.

The water was like a mirror with not a breath of wind between the light showers throughout the day. I could see the Gannets diving on bait fish just behind the edges of where the rough ground ends. I rigged up the kayak with the essentials, set up three rods and headed out. I bought along some frozen bait which I had caught from previous outings just in case the fresh bait would be scarce which proved true in the Mackeral department. Two rods were rigged up for ray and I have been using a double hook trace for drifting that has been the success in my recent meets and seems to get most of the fish when I am drifting. So with one rigged up with this, I rigged the other with my old faithful single hook ledger. I kept the weights down to 2oz as there was not much wind and the drift would be relatively slow. Hopefully the images below show clearly enough the rigs I was using. On a side note, I was trying out the Cox and Rawle – Kayak Bass Rig which is one of the new additions bought out by Cox and Rawle. I never really use ready made rigs but today I did and cannot speak highly enough of the quality in the rig.

Double hook trace

Kayak Bass Rig

While paddling out I came across some shoals of baitfish on the fishfinder but they would not take at all so I opted to start drifting in 32ft of water with some of the frozen Mackeral I had bought out with me. It could not have been five minutes before the one rod bent over as a definite Ray made off with the bait. After putting a smile on my face I saw my fist Spotted Ray from this mark break the surface. They have the most amazing markings. This was quickly followed by another two in quick succession. From never having them from this mark to three in row was a pleasant surprise and they all fell to the double hook trace.Spotted Ray 1

Sotted Ray 2

Releasing Spotted Ray 2

Spotted Ray 3

Continuing on with the drift I saw more ,baitfish on the screen of the fishfinder and went down in size with the feathers I was using. a couple of twitches at the depth where the bait was showing and up came lovely small scad which I threw in my livewell for bait. I put one on the single hook ledger and watched as within minutes the rod bent over and I was into another Ray. A Thornback this time. While fighting that Thornback the other rod went and I set the hook and need up with two on the kayak.

Live Scad

Thornback fight

Double Thornbacks

After releasing the two Ray I moved position to start another drift. The same thing again, another Ray on within a couple of minutes. This spot is jammed full Ray and makes a great spot to have some fun. Every drop was a Ray and although they were not monsters it was great to be out and just enjoying it.

Thornback 1

In between a few rays I had some Dab which were taking the Ray sized baits. Another Spotted Ray showed up followed by yet another Thornback Ray.

Tiny Spotted Ray

Thornback 4

This is what fishing is all about for me. Being out there and taking in the surroundings and catching fish is just the bonus. I think I will be scheduling in a few more days like this and with a bit of luck I might add some good fish too.

Until next time.

Tight Lines



Irish Kayak Fishing Open Co. Cork

Well, the day finally came when the Irish Kayak Fishing Open was to be held down in Broadstrand, Co. Cork. It was originally intended to be held in Courtmacsherry but a change of location was decided upon by the organisers. I have fished this area before and it has the potential to throw up a few different species and a couple of surprises should luck be on your side. The event was to be a species based competition with the most number caught taking the first place. There were fantastic prizes that were put up by the sponsors which was an added bonus to the days fishing. The sponsors included Progressive Distribution and Cox and Rawle. A big thank you must be said to these sponsors for supporting the event.

progressive distribution Logo small cox and rawle

The format of the competition was straight forward and comprised of fishing from 11:00am to being back on shore at 16:00pm. No More than two rods were allowed to be used at any one time and the person with the most amount of species at the end of the allocated time would be the winner. Very clear and precise. The day started with a very informative talk and demonstration by the RNLI which involved all the necessary information regarding using flares. I must say that it was very beneficial to witness this demonstration as it provided an excellent insight into using them and the effects of not using them correctly. With the morning registration over and the general chat about fishing it was time to paddle out and get some fishing done.

Paddling out I watched the fishfinder screen for any signs of fresh Mackeral. In around 30ft of water I came across my first shoal and with a set of Shamrock Glow Worms which were given to me by Andrew of www.Andrewmcilhonekayakangling.blogspot.co.uk, I let them down to the depth where the shoal was showing. Straight away I was into some fresh bait and the first species for the competition.


I paddled out further out to the reef that sits just outside the bay to see what was around the rough ground and maybe pick up a few more species which turned out to be a good idea as the wind was picking up and there was only a short window to fish here. I sent down a double hook trace baited with some of the fresh Mackeral I had caught and was rewarded with a small Whiting and a Poor Cod. That bought the tally up to three and I was getting into a rhythm at this stage.


Poor Cod

Knowing that there was definitely a Pollock or two around I switched over to a small metal jig in a green color which I would use to drop down to the bottom and work it up to get the Pollock to chase it and engulf it. This did not take long and within minutes I had a small Pollock on my lap ready for a photo.

The wind was picking up at this stage so I made a decision to head over to the sandy bottom to anchor up and try my luck at anything that was in the area. I had heard there were Thornback Ray here but never caught one so I put a bait out for them on a Single Hook Ledger Rig. On the second rod I continued using the Glow Worm Rig baited with small strip of Mackeral and was pleasantly surprised to catch a small Scad.


The weather was really turning at this stage but I decided to stick it out and wait to see what was next on the list. My rod with my Ray bait bent over as something picked it up. I lifted into it and felt the familiar tension on the line that resembled a Ray. After a good fight on the light Rovex Rod a decent Thornback Ray came to the surface. Species number six.

Thornback ray

Holding Thornback Ray

Delighted with the Thornback ray I put out another bait hoping for the Dogfish that seem to be in vast numbers whenever I do not want to catch them. Time was running out when I finally got one and I don’t think I have been so happy to see a Dogfish wrapping around my wrist. A quick photo and he was let go. It was great to see the fisheries guys out on the water keeping an eye on things and just gave that added bit of security. By this time I had to paddle in against a wind straight in face and see what else had been caught.



Back on shore we were greeted by a nice cold beverage and soon the species were being discussed. I was delighted to find out that I had come in first place with seven species followed by my father who took second place and Paul, who I met for the first time, came in third. Prize giving followed and once again a big thank you has to go out to the sponsors and the organizers for this event and I am sure with prizes like this on offer it can only be better next year.

Another win under the belt and a fantastic day out. What more can one ask for….

Until next time,

Tight Lines.




Irish Kayak Angling – Derrynane Meet

As the title reads, this weekend was the Irish Kayak Angling – Derrynane Meet held in Kerry. This is another one of the many meets held by the club and is a great way to meet new faces and catch up with friends. Derrynane is a great location to fish that holds a vast quantity of various species. The weather forecast for the weekend looked like it was only going to be a one day event with strong winds and rain forecast for Sunday. As I write this the rain is pelting the windows in the house and the wind whistling with force. No kayaking today then!

So it was yesterday the competition was held. Fishing was to commence from 11:00am to 19:00pm. A few guys arrived on the Friday. Species cards had to be collected from the local tackle store which is owned by the local guide and bass guru, Kevin Brain of KB fishing Ireland. Check out his website for the latest catch reports and information. Saturday morning I arrived at the shop with the two kayaks belonging to myself and my dad on the roof of the car. There were a number of guys already there and by the look of things, stocking up on fishing gear. I had a brief chat with Kevin, picked up a few pieces and made my way down to the launching spot which was the public slipway which leads straight out into deep water.

The challenge for the competition was to catch a Mackeral, Pollock, Flatfish and a Ray. This gave everybody a great chance at completing it as these species are in abundance in the bay. 11:00am came and we were out on the water. I had one rod rigged up with feathers to get the Mackeral and the Pollock just outside the entrance of the slipway. My first drop down with the feathers produced a string of four fresh Mackeral. Great for the challenge but also great as I had fresh bait for the Flatfish and the Ray.

Derrynane string of mackeralSecond drop down and I was into a Pollock for sure as the rod bent over as the fish tried to make its way for the snaggy bottom. I got him up and it was no monster but a Pollock that was needed. Third drop down got me another string of Mackeral and one more Pollock before I made my way over to the sandy ground to start drifting for Flatfish and Ray.

Fighting Pollock

Landing Pollock

There was a nice swell on the water with a good breeze which made me choose to deploy my drogue anchor. I started drifting over the clean sandy bottom in approximately 50ft of water. One rod was rigged up with my old faithful single hook ledger trace which had a Cox and Rawle – Uptide Extra 2/0 hook. The second rod had a double hook trace that I use for drifting. I will put together a post on tying this rig up as it works really well for almost anything when drifting over the clean bottom. On this rig I used Cox and Rawle – Uptide extra size 4 hooks. The weights were only 3oz as the drift was slow with the drogue anchor out. For the Flatfish and Ray, the bait needs to be hard on the bottom and just bumping along with the drift of the kayak. The bait was just fresh Mackeral fillets. With the single hook ledger rig I fish a bigger bait for the Ray in the form of a whole side of Mackeral, sliced down the center and the two pieces pinned once on the hook. This makes a lovely fluttering bait.

Ray bait

It was not long, in fact a few minutes and I had my flatfish on the kayak. A lovely Turbot that engulfed the Ray bait. I got a couple of photographs of this amazingly camouflaged fish and let him back down to his hunting grounds.

Holding Turbot

Turbot Head

Meanwhile my father was having success of his own and was into the Ray out a little deeper in water of 60ft. I headed out that direction and in a short while after starting another drift the rod with the double hook rig had a good take and I set the hook and knew immediately I was into a Ray. Telltale signs of short runs to get back to the bottom and solid pumps on the rod. A Thornback Ray hit the surface and was quickly landed onto my lap. Photos taken and I announced that I had the challenge completed. There was joker fish in play still and this was a Triggerfish. With the weather not so good the last few weeks, the Triggerfish was going to be something special to catch on a day like this.

Holding Thornback 1

I decided that I was not going to target a Triggerfish as I did not feel any confidence that I would come across one today so I carried on with the drift and hit a nice few decent Dabs. In amongst the Dabs were a good number of Thornback Ray.

Double DabsLanding ray 1

Holding Thornback 2

Cuckoo Wrasse Derrynane MeetFinishing the drift I headed out to the deeper rough ground outside of the bay to see what was there. The radio was buzzing with fish being caught by others and a good few had also completed the challenge which was great. Getting out to the deeper water I dropped the baited feathers and got a take which came up as a Cuckoo Wrasse. Besides this and a few small Pollock, the fishing was not that productive so I headed back in for another drift.

More dabs and Thornback Ray showed up and there was plenty of action to be had. I then hooked a fish that fought different to the Flatfish I was getting. When it came to the surface I was surprised to see a big Scad. It took the double hook rig baited with Mackeral on the bottom.

Holding Scad

Holding Thornback 3

I met up with Andrew and we paddled into the Slipway to stretch our legs and catch some monsters. We used size 14 hooks with a tiny piece of Mackeral. I got a Common Blenny and then Andrew got himself a Rock Goby and a Common Blenny. I then got a Rock Goby on a bit of Berkly Gulp Worm. We both knew that a smallest fish prize was on offer and Andrew definitely deserved it with a whopper of 8.5cm.

Common Blenny Head

Rock GobyI went out for a final drift and got some more Thornback Ray and Dabs. The fishing was constant throughout the day and by the sounds of things everybody was into the fish. My father landed a Painted Ray and a number of Thornback Ray. He too finished the challenge and got a few species.

Dad Painted RayFighting ray

Holding Thornback 4


So another good days fishing and great to catch up with the guys from the club. A big thank you to the sponsors and the Irish Kayak Angling Club for organizing the event.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.