Well it was that time of year again when another of the Irish Kayak Angling events was to be held. This time it was the annual Cork meet which was to be held in Redstand which is located in West Cork. A great venue with a good number of species present with prospects of some quality fish being caught. It is however a surf beach and getting the weather to fish this location is a must as the surf can be large at times making launching not possible. Today however we were greeted with crystal clear water and a small surf that would be no issue to the guys heading out for the days fishing.
The species outlined for todays competition included a Flatfish, a Pollock, a Wrasse and a Dogfish. Funny enough, with the Dogfish being part of the challenge I knew from previous outings at this location that this would be the most likely fish to be toughest as their numbers seem to be very low at this spot. The Joker fish was decided to be the Bass. Before the event I had a game plan in my head to get the nominated species which proved to be very effective. We all met at the beach in the morning to have the usual banter and discussions about tactics before the 11:00 am kick off time came around and we were on the water to get the days fishing under way.
My fist target species was the Pollock. This venue has a very good head of pollock and my approach was very simple. Using a small spinning rod coupled with my Daiwa
Emeraldas, I rigged a pearl coloured Slug Go soft plastic with a very light weighted soft plastic bait hook as the water depth varied quickly along the rock faces on the way out to the deeper water. I planned to troll the soft plastic over the rough shoreline out to the deeper water. Every now and then just flicking the rod tip to give some erratic action to the lure to invite a take from the Pollock held up of the kelp that lined the bottom. Within minutes I had my fist Pollock on the kayak and taking my required photo I released it back to move onto the next target species.
With the Pollock now caught I moved to the deeper water which was approximately 50ft and a very rough bottom. This was ideal Wrasse territory. Luckily for me I was given some fresh Lugworm from my Hobie buddy which went onto a double hook trace tied the night before and shown below in the photo. It is a very simple rig tied with Daiwa 30lb Fluorocarbon with two snoods off 3-way swivels above the weight due to the snaggy bottom I was fishing over. The hook choice was a good strong hook by Cox and Rawle. The Chinu in a size 2. There is not really any current out in the deeper water so I was only using 3oz of weight. I dropped down an had the familiar knocking bite of the Wrasse. I was into one almost immediately and a small Ballan Wrasse came to the surface. That was species number 2 of the challenge done. Next up was the flatfish.
Moving across the bay out of the snaggy bottom the bay then becomes a sandy bottom
that holds good numbers of both Plaice and Dabs with the occasional Flounder showing up. I knew that any Flatfish species would do for the challenge and I rigged up a double hook trace I like to tie. Hook of choice for drifting for Flatfish is a great pattern by Cox and Rawle which is the Uptide Extra in size 1. I only use light rods when drifting for Flatfish and my small Daiwa Ninja and Daiwa Theory spinning rod was ample for this task. I did use two rod while drifting with the other rod having a simple single hook ledger rig with a fillet of Mackeral on to see if I could get the Dogfish at the same time but this proved fruitless. I did not have to wait long again for a bite and the rattle take soon developed on the lugworm baits slowly drifted across the bottom. I lifted into the take and up came a Dab I also managed a Plaice which had lovely markings. Species number 3 of the challenge completed and no sign of a Dogfish.
I tried in vain for a Dogfish on the drift but not a touch from one so I headed over to the
reef in the middle of the bay where I anchored up just off the edge of it. I rigged up two single hook ledger rigs and put Mackeral baits on both. It is not often that I can say I actually went out to try and catch a Dogfish but this was proving to be a fun challenge. I did however get one after 20 minutes and this thankfully completed the challenge. My plan for the rest of the day was to get some various species that may be around and try for the Bass in the afternoon when the tide had dropped.
I used a small set of tiny Sabiki feathers baited with small pieces of Mackeral to try tempt any other species around the deep water rough ground. I managed some fresh Mackeral, Whiting, Scad and Herring. I also got a micro Poor Cod but it all counts at the end of the day and I was just really enjoying the nice weather and hearing the banter between all the competitors. There was reports of some unusual species being caught and one of these was a Dragonet. A nice species and I have not seen here before.
As the afternoon drew closer the tide was low and I knew that with the surf being small and a few people on the beach that the Bass were likely to move out to the reef and deeper water chasing the abundance of Sandeels out in the bay. So with this in my I changed over to the Feed Shallow which I had changed the trebles on the night before. The treble I changed to were the Cox and Rawle Treble Hooks in size 4. They are strong and very sharp which hopefully would ensure a good hookup should a Bass decide to take the lure.
I trolled the lure across the kelp around the reef in the bay which was only about 6ft under the water when all of a sudden the rod I was holding in my hand got a heavy take. I immediately thought it was a good Pollock so I put pressure on to keep it up from burying itself in the kelp. What was strong though was the fish came up in the water then and this had me question was it a Bass. My thoughts were confirmed when the unmistakable silver body of the Bass showed itself under the kayak. I immediately eased off on the drag before the Bass took two solid runs. I then was able to land a fine Bass which ticked the Joker fish off the list. I good solid Bass and a great fight.
Another great meet came to a close that evening with a prize giving around the fire pit where the days stories were told. A very big thank you to the Irish Kayak Angling Club for holding the event and all involved in organizing the event. Everyone seemed to have a great time and thats what these meets are about.
Until next time,