Getting on the flats…

Pat Gill is friend of mine and a member of the Irish Kayak Angling Club. When someone is mad about fishing, Pat ticks this box. I received a phone call before the weekend and we discussed a potential day out at a venue that holds some great Flatfish and a variety of other species. Our plan was to meet in the morning at the venue and take out some frozen Mackeral with us and intended on catching some fresh bait while out there.

Sunday morning arrived with a cold chill in the air and a calm sea. The water was still noticeably off colour with a somewhat milky colouration to it. I have found that the fishing is never as good as it can be when this water colour is present but nothing would put us off from heading out and trying our luck. It is fishing and strange things happen. It was not long before our kayaks were rigged up and we were at the water side ready to head out.

Paddle Out

My tactics for the day were primarily Flatfish based and having fished this venue on a few occasions I knew there were some good Plaice to be caught out here. So, I had three rods with me. Two rods were rigged up with simple single hook ledgers and only a 2oz weight was all that was required as the drift was not to fast and the weight held the bottom perfectly. My reels are primarily spooled up with the new Daiwa J-Braid in various strengths. On my light multiplier rods I use the 20lb braid while on my small spinning outfit I use the 9lb J-Braid. I cannot get over how this braid is and the quality. I am yet to have an issue with it and it has proved itself enough to me already. Hooks do not need to be huge and a 1/0 Cox and Rawle Uptide extra is my preferred hook and is a short shank variation which gives a lovely presentation when pinning mackeral once. I like to use various bead colours when drifting for Flatfish. I have compared two rods before, one fishing with beads and the other without and in my personal experience the beads do seem to catch more fish. There is no specific bead colours or patterns I choose. It is pretty much what I like on the day. I prefer to drift when fishing for Flatfish as I can cover vast amounts of area and get more takes. So that is pretty much my set up for catching Flatfish on the drift.

Drifting

I like to watch the water depth on my Lowrance fishfinder while heading out to potential drifting lines. I look for the bottom structure and try to find a gentle sloping sandy bottom. Today I started my drifting in approximately 40ft of water before I went a little shallower into 30ft of water where I found the larger quantities of takes. My bait presentation for flatfish is the key to me catching or not. I refer quite a lot to the topic of confidence and having a decent bait presented on the bottom really does enhance this feeling of confidence. I like to pin a long thin strip of Mackeral just once as this will stop the bait from spinning while being dragged along the bottom which would just cause the trace to tangle eventually. While the two rods are cast away from the kayak and put into their rod holders I watch the rods as the weights bounce along the bottom. It is clear to see the difference between a flatfish take and the bottom and a flatfish produces an erratic bite. I pick the rod up and wait till I have a decent take before setting the hook. When using braid there is no need to strike heavily as there is no stretch in the braid and easing into the fish will set the hook just fine.

Mackeral bait

While drifting I like to keep an eye on the fishfinder for any schools of fish that pass underneath me. I have a rod rigged up with a set of small Sabiki’s which can be lowered on the first sigh of any fish below me. My first bit of action cam e when I saw a ball of fish below me near the bottom. I drooped the Sabiki’s and was immediately into some fish. These were definitely not Mackeral and soon I had a double shot of Coalfish at the side of the kayak. A new species for the year and I got a quick photo and released the two Coalfish. As soon as I had seen the shoal on the fishfinder they were gone in an instant but that did not matter as Pat and myself were soon bringing in strings of fresh Mackeral.

Coalfish

The first flatfish to come to my kayak was a decent Dab. With the telltale rattle bite I was quickly into the dab. He was not what I was after but still fun to catch on a small spinning outfit. Next up was a better flatfish and I was hopeful it was going to be a Plaice. I was delighted to see those orange spots that are so characteristic of the Plaice as it neared the surface. I love catching these flatfish. I do not know what it is about them that makes them so appealing. I got a few photos and was soon baited up and drifting again.

Plaice

I had numerous flatfish interest on the rods and it was great to see that there was a decent amount around. I was soon into another flatfish and this time a small one. Once again the only bait I used for the day was thin strips of Mackeral. It is a great all round bait and is so versatile.

Plaice 2

The afternoon was fast approaching and we decided to call it a day. Another great outing on the Hobie and it really is producing the goods for me. Lets hope this continues and it produces some exciting catches. The kayaks were loaded up and we went our separate ways. I have no doubt that we will be organizing another day out in the near future.

 

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

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