On many occasions I have been in the predicament of not being able to carry some sort of cooler bag or something to keep the fish I catch as fresh as possible. In the middle of the summer months, any fish stored in the rear well is soon to be a victim of the sun. So to over come this problem I was in need of a cooler bag to store bait and my catch of the day.
Bantry Bay Canoes are brilliant in solving issues I have when I need to improve my kayak fishing to make it more comfortable and hassle free. I was shown the FeelFree Fish Bag Cooler. Now, I fish from a Hobie Revolution 16 and the first question that came to my mind was – will this fit on my kayak?
My question was purely based on the fact that the FeelFree Fish Bag was designed for use with Feelfree Kayaks. So with this in mind it was a quick test to see how this Fish Cooler could be incorporated into being part of my Hobie Revolution 16. The front hatch on my Revolution 16 will not be used while out fishing and will only really be used for access when running cable or fitting any additional items to the kayak. The idea of mounting the Feelfree Fish Cooler on the bow of the kayak was something that would suit my style of fishing and would be out of the way.
Now that this cooler would work on my kayak I can go through a few details to outline why I chose to use this cooler. The Feelfree Fish Bag comes in two different sizes which are large and medium. I decided to use the medium size as it fits perfectly on the bow of the kayak. It is large enough to store bait and of course fish. The bag itself is very light and thus will create no extra weight burden while out on the water. It has numerous mounting clips that made it very easy to mount on the Hobie. This was done by clipping down the bag at various points on the bungee cord which holds down the front hatch.
The inside of the Feelfree Fish Bag is lined with an insulation foil to keep anything inside cool and away from the sun. But Feelfree have included an extra removable liner bag that folds close and is held inlace in the main bag via velcro. This is brilliant as fish and bait can be stored in the liner bag which will keep the main bag free from fish which makes cleaning very easy.
Access to the inside of the Feelfree Fish Bag can be done in two ways. There is the main front entry which is opened with two zips on the side and a velcro flap over the top. When out on the water it is easy to gain access into the bag which makes things a little easier while out on the water. The second access point on the Feelfree Fish Bag is via the top. This is a velcro opening that gives direct access into the internals of the Fish Bag. A carry strap has also been included to make transporting the bag with fish in very easy.
I really do like the feel of this bag and the quality is very good. I can’t wait to get out and test it and see how good the insulation properties are. I plan to take some small ice packs with me to keep my bait from thawing out to quickly and becoming warm. Big thanks to Bantry Bay Canoes for once again providing me with what I need to make my fishing that bit easier.
The specifications for the medium sized Feelfree Fish Bags are as follows:
Length: 16.25 in / 41.28 cm
Width: 23.6 in / 59.94 cm
Height: 7.4 in / 18.8 cm
Weight: 2.75 lb / 1.25 kg
Volume: 46 L
Until next time,
It is always great to receive a phone call during the week to discuss the possibility of getting out on the kayaks. It has been a long spell of consistent rain and heavy winds which have made my kayak fishing come to a standstill. Needless to say that when I heard that there was a break in the weather I was filled with the excitement that most fisherman get when they know they are going to wet a line. The plan was to fish in South West Kerry where there is a deepwater mark that holds a vast variety of species and also has the potential to throw up some surprises every now and then. Friday night was spent packing all the kayak gear and getting the rigs ready for the following morning.
Arriving at the launch site the sea was calm. A slight breeze blew across the bay and it felt a bit warmer than the last few days. The tide was near full at the time of launching so we would be fishing the outgoing tide for the entire session. I have found at this mark that it never fishes to its full potential when there is an outgoing tide. The kayaks were rigged up and soon we were out on the water heading for the depths to find anything that would be willing to take a bait.
I decided on taking three rods with me. I like to keep one rod always rigged up with a set of smaller feathers. This allows me to drop them quickly if I come across a shoal of baitfish. I can also bait these up and fish on the bottom and pick up the smaller species. On the other two rods I vary the rigs depending on the ground I am fishing over. Today the rigs were two simple double hook traces for fishing over the rough. It is always my plan to get some fresh bait but at this time of year it can be a little difficult. Frozen baits like Mackeral are always a blank saver and I had some in freezer which I took with me on this day.
On the way out to the deeper water I failed to come across any baitfish so it was to be the frozen Mackeral for the day. I baited the small feathers and sent them down to the bottom which was approximately 120ft down. I had a few taps and I was into the first fish. I got the little fish up to the surface which showed itself as a lovely colored Cuckoo Wrasse. The colors on these fish are just amazing. I took a couple of photos and let the wrasse make his journey back down to the bottom.
It was clear from the beginning of the session that it was going to be tough. There were plenty of small fish which came in the form of Whiting, Poor Cod and the odd small Ling. I was not complaining as I am happy catching anything but I know this mark fishes very well at times. In amongst the small fish I had an all too familiar take on the baited feathers. I lifted into it and I immediately knew what was at the end of the line. No head shakes and almost a dead weight is what it can be described as. I knew I would have my hands full when it came to the surface. A few feet below the surface my suspicions were correct as I saw eight tenticles coming up to the side of the kayak – an Octopus. As it came up tot the side of the kayak he tried to get away by passing a jet of water out which sprayed me in the process.
I find these creatures fascinating, the way they can camouflage themselves and fit into the smallest areas. They do make a nuisance of themselves if they start grabbing onto the kayak. I handle them with care and release them after a photo. This was a nice surprise and made the day that bit more enjoyable.
The day passed quickly and the wind picked up a little which made the deeper water mark a little choppy. We decided to head back into the sheltered bay to pass the last hour or so trying our luck there. On the way in I had a few frozen Sandeel with me which I trolled slowly across the rough ground and structure. I hooked a few small pollock and decided to call it a day after that.
It was great to be out on the water again after such a long time of not being able to launch my kayak. The fishing was not as good as it can be but with the amount of fresh water that has fallen and the outgoing tide I had a feeling the day would be tough. Hopefully I can get out to some other marks over the next few weeks and try target some new species.
This report was originally published by Ireland Fishing Diaries. Check out their site.
Until next time,
Weather seems to be the topic of conversation in most cases these days. Rain, rain and more rain has fallen and with this the wind has been blowing non stop making any trip out on the kayak absolutely a no go. So what do I do in this particular circumstance? Well I always have my shore angling background to fall back on and target some fish around the coast but this time I chose something a little more different and a variation on what my normal fishing outings consist of.
My buddy Allen gave me a call over the holidays and said he had an idea. Intrigued I enquired what he had on his mind and to my relief it was fishing related. He was very keen on fishing for stocked trout on the fly. Needless to say I was already packing my fly gear together. We decided on a day and the location was Laois Angling Centre. Looking through this venues website and recent catches and what exactly I could expect from the place, I was delighted to see some monster trout can be caught at this venue.
Personally stocked trout fisheries would not be on my top priority but I would take any kind of fishing over none. The venue has both trout stocked lakes and coarse fishing lakes to cater for various angling desires. For myself and Allen, we would be fishing the fly only lake where a trout of over 20lb can be caught. So we arrived early enough to be greeted by the owner of the fishery who advised on the fly patterns to use and general information about the venue. Down to the lake we went and we bother fished floating lines and varied the flies throughout the day.
The wind was variable and there were a few gusts but nothing that was to bad. It was only a case of moving around the lake and trying to cover the fish that were showing. Looking for signs of fish is key, or finding features that may hold fish. This is certainly the case when fishing a new venue. I moved around the bottom end of the lake where the water was draining in from an upper lake. I thought that this bit of water entering the lake might draw some trout in. I was fishing a Goldhead Red Montana on the point and an unweighted Green Montana on a dropper. A couple of casts later and I was into a fish.
I have to say that these stocked trout at Laois Angling Centre are in amazing condition and put up a great fight. This lovely Brown Trout was released after a couple of photos. Not long after this I moved towards the corner at the back end of the lake where I thought that with the wind there might be some food blown down into the corner. One or two casts later I was into another fish and two seconds later I was off. Strange but that is fishing. I casted into the same area again and remarkably I was into another fish almost immediately. This time a solid hook set and a great fight again. Another great conditioned brown trout and quickly released again.
Now that I had caught the Brown Trout it was time to see could I get into the Rainbow Trout that were in the lake. For this I changed the flies and fished some Buzzers. The technique used was to fish them as slow as possible and try cover and fish that may show themselves. In the meantime Allen got into the fish and was rewarded with a nice Rainbow Trout. We moved around to the front of the lake and fished the Buzzers. I hooked up and had a great little battle with a lovely Rainbow Trout. Once again the fish was released and we fished on.
After this the fish were taking really well and we had a good few fish between us. I have to say that it was a really enjoyable day and when the weather is as bad as it has been for the last few weeks it is great to get a bend in the rod. Flyfishing seems to bring with it a sense of satisfaction when catching a fishing on material tied on a hook, but putting a plan into action and seeing the fish landed is by far the greatest bit of satisfaction.
Laois Angling Centre was a great place to visit and the fish were of excellent quality. I will be visiting this place again due to the hard fighting trout and as a little treat to myself. A venue well worth a second trip.
Here is a short video I put together of the day.
Until next time,