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.
Second 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finishing 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.
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.
I 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.
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,