There comes a time when I think to myself that it is time to try a new spot, just to see what is out there. It may be the case that it will turn out to be a complete waste of time or it could be the opposite and produce some good fishing. West Cove Pier is located in the South West of Kerry and is a nice easy laugh for the kayaks. We did fish here last year but that was only a short trip out. This time we could spend a little more time paddling around and checking what is on the bottom.
We arrived early enough with the tide dropping and a calm bay greeting us. We rigged up the kayaks taking with us some light gear and medium as it would be more of an exploring session that knowing what was out there. Rigs consisted of simple double hook ledger rigs which always get a few fish when not knowing what is about. Kayaks rigged up we hit the water.
The Irish Kayak Angling Species Hunt was on my fathers mind as we got on the water. He went just behind the pier and used a small size 12 hook and a split shot to tempt a small Rock Goby up. It is amazing the lengths we go to when wanting to get the species tally up. Not a great fight to say the least and with that we headed out the bay to get into some deeper water.
Once out of the sheltered bay the open sea was like a glass pane. Not a ripple on the surface and a reflection of the rising sun on its surface. The fishfinder was on and keeping a close watch on what was on the bottom or patrolling at various depths. I stopped in 60ft of water with a rough bottom and sent down my double hook trace which had two small mackeral baits on. The drift was not fast and pretty much at a crawling speed which was good too as it allowed me to consistently keep my bait bumping on the bottom. Then a double knock type bite which resulted in a small Ballan Wrasse. Down went the bait again only to produce another lovely coloured Ballan Wrasse. It was a sure sign that the area was going to hold a good number of these fish.
I decided to move off and try another area. This time a little deeper and around the 70ft mark with a rough patchy bottom. Again the double hook trace baited with Mackeral was sent down. A good number of bites happened which turned out to be Cuckoo Wrasse. It is amazing the color contrast between the males and the females. The males are vibrant blues, purples and various color pigments while the female is an almost constant orange and pink tinge with a spot on the tail area.
It was clear that fishing smaller baits was only going to produce wrasse. With that in mind I switched over to my SL20 reel on my light boat rod. I baited this single hook pulley rig with a head of a Mackeral. When using head baits I like to cut at an angle from the top of the head and across the body to keep some of the insides for added attraction. No need for cotton here. I hook the head bait through both lips and send it away down to the bottom. We were still drifting in and around 70ft of water. While waiting for the head bait to get some interest my lighter rod was still getting loads of action and next up was a Pouting.
The drift continued and the a breeze had come up. I deployed the drogue anchor to slow my drift down. The head bait then has a thump. I knew it was not a big fish but still something was interested. I thought it was a Conger Eel but striking into the fish it was clear it was not. I had the fish to the side of the kayak and it was a small codling. That was a pleasant surprise.
So with the morning turning into lunch time we decided to have one last drift. I came across a shady patch in between the rough area and had a small bite. During the morning I had a number of small Whiting and thought that this was one attacking my bait. Lucky I did not grab the fish when I lifted him out of the water as it was a small Weever Fish.
So with that concluding our days fishing at West Cove Pier we headed back in to the Pier were we launched from. I think it is great to get out and try new spots. It takes away the monotony of fishing the same areas and catching the same things. It brings back the excitement and the unknowing of what you can find. So that was it for another day out on the kayak. My days are numbered now on the Ocean Kayak as my Hobie will be arriving soon and I cannot wait.
Until next time,
It is not very often that I head out on the water for a days fishing where I am not prepared. I always have in mind the target species that I will be after so I choose my rods and tackle accordingly to what I am after. This particular Saturday the forecast showed a very settled day with a gentle breeze for the Kerry coastline. With this forecast it was near impossible not to load up the kayaks and head out local. That is the beauty of where I live. On almost every outing it is possible to find somewhere to wet a line.
My father and I both decided to head out local to a spot that does hold some fish but is not the best location to get into some real big fish. We decided to fish this mark as the wind would be behind us and would get us away from the Red Tide that was present across the other side of the bay. So with this in mind I decided to pack two rods for a pleasure trip. Rods that would deal with flatfish through to Ray. I decided to leave the spinning rod at home and I was soon to realize I should just bring it with on all occasions.
We decided to fish the last of the outgoing tide and then fish through to the start of the incoming. It was really just to get out there again as I have been tied up with work and organizing my trip away to the Hobie Worlds in China which is on next month. We packed a bit of frozen Mackeral to get us going while we tried for some fresh ones. I rigged up two bottom rigs for drifting. One with the single hook ledger and the other had my double hook trace ready after I had caught some bait on some small feathers.
We rigged up on the slipway where we launch from. The water was like a mirror with a gentle offshore breeze to be felt on the back of my neck. We both were quick to get in the water after a minor delay – I forgot my seat! As we paddled out to get into some deeper water my eyes were drawn to a fast moving small wake on the surface which was a telltale sign of a Garfish. My father called over and advised to use just a small hook on its own and a thin strip of Mackeral. I quickly took off one of my rigs and tied on a small size 10 Cox and Rawle Octopus hook. Here is where my dilemma of not bringing my spinning rod came in. The rods I had with me were way to big to be targeting Garfish but not one to be defeated, I used the lighter of the two rods and baited up a thin belly strip of Mackeral. I started to paddle slowly while feeding out line when all of a sudden the rod bent over and I had a take. Too excited I missed that fish but quickly baited up again.
It must have been no more than a couple of minutes and I had another take. This time I gave the fish some time before lifting into it. Out the water and almost walking across the surface came the Garfish. Shooting from side to side as it tried to get off the hook. These fish are amazing fun on light gear and I was kicking myself for not bringing my lighter rod. I landed my fist Garfish off the Kayak a short time after the brief fight. They are spectacular fish to look at with their streamlined bodies and their distinctive beak like mouth which is filled with tiny teeth.
There were plenty of Garfish in the area as they could be seen on the surface darting around. Another bait was put out and I paddled towards a sandy beach where I wanted to try a drift. In no time another Garfish was hooked and leaping out the water. Once landed I quickly got some photos and released it back to can on with it’s business.
I paddled over to the sandy beach and rigged up a simple single hook ledger and started drifting using my drogue. I was hoping for a flatfish or two but was greeted by a pesky weever fish on the end of the line. I try not to handle them too much due to their poisonous spine so the quicker they are off the kayak the better. I got a video of the weever fish burying themselves on a recent trip. it shows how they are so elusive when hidden beneath the sand.
The evening was creeping in quickly and with a couple of other fish to add to the Tally, my father and I decided to call it a day. I did however have to get another Garfish on the way back in and my dad got into them too. I must say that despite their small size they are exciting to catch and really do put a smile on my face. It is not always catching the biggest fish for me but rather what makes me interested and excited like being back in my youth days.
I guess I have learnt my lesson from this outing and that is to always be over prepared rather than under. Hopefully the temperature does not drop too quickly and October will throw up some good fish for all.
Until next time,