Tag a Ray Weekend

Well as the title goes, this past weekend was the annual Tag a Ray weekend run by the Tralee Bay Sea Angling Club. This event is held in May once a year over a two day period for both a competition and most importantly a conservation project. There are many Ray species that frequent the Tralee Bay waters and arrive at certain times of the year. The IFI are interested in tagging two ray species which include the Undulate Ray and the Stingray. Tagging of these rays creates a data log of the species at the particular time it was caught where records of the measured wing span, total length, sex and an estimated weight is logged and should the tagged ray be captured in the future, new measurements and be recorded which provides an insight into its movements and also its growing rate. This is a great initiative and provides a vital source of information to protect and monitor stocks of the ray population.

So the event was to be held over two days with two categories. There was a boat category and a shore fishing category. Me and Dave (Scone) were going to try our hand at the shore fishing category as we are both avid shore anglers and wanted to get involved in something a little different. I think we were both a little excited about the event and Friday couldnt come quick enough for the both of us. Scone had been out during the week and collected a nice amount of prime peeler crabs and we had some of the regular frozen baits which consisted of Sandeels, Mackeral and Squid. With all our packing done we tried to get an early night but by the time leaders were tied and the car was packed we were only a short sleep away to making the trip over to Tralee Bay.

Day 1:

The day started off blustery and with forecasts of showers and an increasing wind we decided on a spot that we hoped would provide some fish. At 10:30am was the time the fist cast was going to go in which gave us time to register, get our tagging kit and of course have a cup of tea. We both rigged up at our chosen spot and made up some baits which we were hoping would entice a roaming Ray moving up the bay with the tide. We both fished a standard pulley rig and enough weight to hopefully hold bottom in the bigger tides that would be running throughout the day. We soon found out that the tides and weed would be so intense during the middle stages of the tide. As the tide was running out, each cast proved to be an endless struggle with the abundance of weed passing by. It was not till the tide was at it lower stages that the weed was reduced but still no bite. The lads fishing close to us had an Undulate Ray each on the fist of the incoming tide as it started to push in. Myself and Dave had nothing.

As the tide started to push in the weed returned until frustration got the better of me and I said to Dave that we should move further in towards a more sheltered area with less of a tidal run. We did and almost immediately Dave got his first Bass. A lovely fish which was put back after a photo. Not long after this he was into another Bass and to be honest I was delighted but at the same time wondering was I doing something different? Well he got the Bass in and at this stage it was almost time to call it a day. I had not had a sniff for the Day and Dave finished off with two Bass. That’s fishing.

Day 2:

A new day and a new game plan. We decided to stay at Fenit Pier to have a more comfortable day as we had little success yesterday. We both agreed this would be fine for us and there was still a chance of getting a Ray. We both Baited up on our Pulley Rigs and sent out our baits. It was no more than 15 minutes and a had a knock and a slack line take. I struck into the fish and knew I had a Ray. After a brief fight Dave went down and landed my first ever Ray from the shore which turned out to be a decent Undulate Ray. After tagging the ray and taking the required measurements I let the Ray swim off to hopefully produce some data in the future.

Dave was next to get a fish and although it was not the greatest fight I would say he has ever had, it still showed up as a small Undulate Ray. He was delighted as he had never caught an Undulate Ray before. It was a little small to tag so we took measurements and Dave released the fish back.

Soon after this Dave was into another fish. Another Ray was on the end of the line and out came a Thornback Ray. This fish was not required to be tagged so after taking measurements and photos the Ray was sent back to the tidal waters of the bay.

I wish I could keep writing that we had fish throughout the day but that was about all the action we saw for the day. Even though the fishing was tough it is always great to get back to the shore fishing with Dave as we spent our youth fishing the shorelines around Cork.

We headed back to the pub that was collecting the score cards and had a lovely dinner before the results were read out. Not expecting anything I finished day 2 in fourth place and Dave came in at 2nd place. Not bad for two guys along for the skit. Anyway, I have to say that it was a pleasure to fish this competition which was well organized and was all about tagging before an actual competition. I do think we will fish it again next year and here’s hoping for more Ray next time.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

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Spurdog time again!

At least once a year I try to make my way over to the general vicinity of Kenmare Bay to tackle some Spurdogs. This seems to be annual outing that me and a couple of friends do at this time of year as the sea fishing is still a little slow at this time. So with me Hobie packed and all my bits and pieces it was over to Scones house to collect him and head down to Kenmare. I have to say I don’t think that I have had him out of bed so early before but he was up and rearing to go. The plan was to meet Pat down at the spot and have a day out trying our luck with the Spurs.

Coffee and snacks picked up from the shop we met Pat down at the launch Spot. The weather was doing exactly as what was predicted and we were delighted to feel a warm sun and flat calm conditions. After setting up we headed out and I had my new Hobie AMA kit which was an amazing addition to my kayak and I was standing up and trying hard to tip the kayak to no avail. What a difference and it should really enhance my fishing.

Rods I bought with included a new Daiwa Saltist 12-20lb rated rod. It is so light and a brilliant piece of kit. A little heavy for the Spurdogs but I was eager to try it out before getting into some bigger fish. This was coupled with my trusted Daiwa sl20sh which is now pushing on to its 14th year of service. If that doesn’t scream quality I don’t know what will. I also bought along a Daiwa Specialist Light Lure Rod with the Daiwa Saltist Spinning 3000 model. Both reels were spooled up with J-Braid.

Traces are kept very simple with a simple running hook ledger with enough weight used to hold bottom in the tide. The hook of choice is my go to hook, the Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra in 4/0 size. I use a short length of light nylon coated wire and don’t use any crimps but use a knotless knot on the hook and two figure 8 knots against each other joining the wire to the 30lb trace line. A single glow bead adds a little something to the trace and a sliding boom hold my weight. Simple and effective.

I guess rather than talking about all the Spurdogs we caught on the day, I think the video outlines the day much better. We had numerous Spurdogs and Scone and myself had two really good sized fish. We had fish all day and Pat was delighted to get one as well. Another successful outing and a really enjoyable day out. Hope you like the video.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

Short Pike Session

I am not a big Pike angler but when the weather at this time of year is not great for getting out on the sea I tend to give the Pike fishing a little go before the sea fishing picks up. I really just go out to have a bit of fun on lures and chasing a crocodile is not on my bucket list. So I have a small lake near enough to my partners place and it holds a decent amount of Pike in it but nothing big. A 7lb fish is a good one on this lake and thus using smaller lures is key on this water.

The middle of the lake is around 20ft in depth with no structure or features to hold fish and so I just stick to the margins where the lilly pads grow in the summer. With the water temperatures down over the winter the lilly pads disappear but leave behind some weed bed beds for the Pike to hide out. the depths around the margins is no more than 10ft at the most with a lot of the areas around the 6-7ft range. Knowing this I use shallow running hard baits and soft plastics rigged on light Jig heads.

Diana UK sent me over two lovely rods I was eager to try out. The two rods come out of the Specialist Light Lure Rod range. The first is the Shad Caster at 5-21g and the second is the lightest in the range, the Drop Shot 1-9g. These rods are so light in the hand and are comfortable to work lures with and not to mention that good looking yellow Finnish on them. On the Drop Shot rod I used my Daiwa Ninja 2500 spooled with 9lb multicolored J-Braid. The second reel on the 5-21g was my Daiwa Saltist Spinning 3000 which is spooled with 20lb multicolored J-Braid. Both cracking reels and I am loving the Saltist Spinning.

Lures varied throughout the day but I took along a Lure from Daiwa called the Grubbin Shad in 10cm lengths. I have the UV chartreuse with gold flake and a UV pearl color. I had various weighted Jig heads and of course some trust Duckfin Shads.

The fishing was a little slow in the morning but picked up later in the day. I managed a decent Pike for the lake and a couple of smaller ones. I think rather than babbling on about how I caught them and on what, the best thing is to watch the video below.

Anyway, that was a good day out and a nice simple way to spend the day when the wind is blowing all over the place.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

A little update before the weekend…

March is here and the weather is playing havoc with getting out on the kayak so far this year. I have decided this year to step back from the whole just getting on the kayak to catch anything approach to picking days that will let me get back into enjoying the day out. Its more about me getting to enjoy the the latest tackle innovations that have been sent out to me and feeling that fish at the end of the line. It sounds simple but that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.

So what are the plans? Well, for a start this weekends weather is not looking great but I have planned a session or two with fellow angler and friend Pat who is looking to travel down to the Kerry region. Where we will fish will be dependent on the winds but with its unpredictable nature at present we may have to decide on location in the morning. 20170226_181218Sure look, it will be good to get out again and I have some lovely rods send out from Daiwa UK that are itching to get a bend in them as well as that beautiful Daiwa Saltist Spinning 3000 that I have just loaded with 300m of 20lb Daiwa J-Braid in my favorite multicolored line lay.

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What about the Salmon on Lough Currane? A frustrating place but the beauty and peace of being out there on my boat and having a laugh with the lads makes up for the hours passed without a run. I have had numerous Kelts since the season has opened but no sign of that fresh spring fish but I am persistent and very confident that my efforts will be rewarded at some stage. Every time we have decided to head out on the lake, Sion, like he always does, fills my head with stories of screaming reels and big spring fish. Its only a matter of time. I have to say though, I don’t think I have ever been so challenged to catch a species of fish in my life. But I am new to the game and soon I feel.

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I have just received my new Hobie Sidekick AMA kit. I think with my Hobie Revolution 16 having the length but a slightly narrower hull the sidekicks will make a huge img-sk-float-stack-001difference to the capabilities of the kayak. I am looking forward to the huge difference in increased stability where I can actually stand up without fear of overturning. The arms on the kit will make great places for rod holders for trolling. I cant wait to fit them and will get a video up to show how they fit and hopefully include the first trip with them.

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So until this weekend I can only hope that the weather plays ball and allows the kayak to be launched but if not then the lake will surely get a rattle for a while and fingers crossed one of the reels makes that sounds that most anglers love.

Until next time,

Tight lines.

When the wind blows – Smash the Huss

What else is there to do on a Saturday afternoon with an incoming tide and a heavy Northerly wind blowing down in the West of the country? Well if I had a better bait selection on the day I would have gone after the Bass but with a few frozen Mackeral and some other bits and pieces I decided to head out with my father to our local Bullhuss haven and get stuck into these aggressive large dogfish.

It really is comfortable fishing at this spot and with the Northerly winds that were blowing the spot would be fishable as it would be from behind us. Usually we fish this mark when things are a little quiet as you are almost certainly guaranteed to get a pull from a Huss at this mark. We hit the mark and rigged up. I was using my all round surf rod with the trusty Daiwa SL20SH. My dad used my new Daiwa Saltist Nero which he seems to like a little to much!

Rigs were simple pulley rigs with 6/0 Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra hooks as the Huss are sometimes a little playful with the bait and will drop it numerous times before taking it properly. With these hooks we increase our hookup rate dramatically which is an added bonus. Before a number of times the Huss would just come off half way in during the fight, not with these hooks.

I bought along a small spinning rod to get some fresh bait and there is nothing more I like to use than a live Coalfish. It seems to pick out the better bullhuss and eliminate pesky dogfish. So I got into some Coalfish and Dad was first to cast one out. Not long after he was into his first huss and getting it to the side it wrapped and touched the braid with its body parting the main line. Oh well, its fishing. Not long after he was into another fish and it was turning into a case of the father showing the son how it is done. I climbed down to lift a lovely Bullhuss up for a photo.

dad-bullhussWell I seemed to be just getting bait for my dad but I did however get a take of my own and with the soft action of my surf rod I had a fine Bullhuss at the side. Once again taken on the live Coalfish. After a quick photo I released the Huss and with the evening drawing to an end and the cold hands setting in we called it quits and headed home to the warm fire and a cup of tea where we argued who’s was bigger. Nothing like father-son competition.

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Until next time,

Tight lines.

Codling with the Irish Kayak Angling Club

Once again the seed was sown in the head of many anglers on the Irish Kayak Angling Club Forum as to a planned trip out to Roches Point in Cork Harbour. That is what makes the Irish kayak angling logoIrish Kayak Angling Club such a good place to meet new faces and learn new things. For all who want to get into the sport of Kayak Angling, this is a great place to get to know essential safety items and also get to know different tactics for different species. For me, the Irish Kayak Angling Club has been a great asset to my kayak angling and still to this day I learn new things from the vast amount of members.

So with this meet arranged it was time to get my gear ready for my first outing of the 2017 year. I know there are codling that can be caught here and a good number of paddle-outother species, I decided to put together three setups. I decided on two 6ft spinning outfits which had a Daiwa Ninja 2500A spinning reel spooled with 9lb Daiwa J-Braid. The second spinning outfit had the Daiwa Emeraldas which was spooled with 20lb Daiwa J-Braid. These two outfits are what I would be using throughout the day for Codling as there really is no need to fish heavy. I took up fishing and for me it is all about the fight between the fish and me. So rigging up with overrated tackle just does not do it for me. I did bring along a Daiwa SL20sh spooled with 30lb Daiwa J-Braid in case I decided to chance a Conger Eel.

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Rigs were kept extremely simple and on one spinning rod I tied up a double hook rig cr-chinu-01_0which I use often over rough ground. I am not sure of the technical term but you can see it in the pictures. I love to use a Cox and Rawle Chinu pattern when using crab baits and I went with a size 1 as I was not sure of the size of Codling that would be present. The second spinning setup was rigged with a soft plastic in the form of a Daiwa Duckfin Shad in UV pearl colour. With the tides being slack and not a massive surge of tide running I was able to get away with using a 20 gram jig head.

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I emptied the freezer before leaving the next morning and I was able to find some frozen Peeler Crab which is a killer bait for Coding off the shore when they are fresh. So I didn’t see why they wouldn’t work out in Cork Harbour. As well as this I had a few peeler-crabRazor fish which really I bought with to empty the freezer to free up space for restocking.

The morning of the meet up in Cork Harbour it was great to meet up with the members from the Irish Kayak Angling Club and catch up after the Christmas season. Of course stories were told and the laughs were had before the kayaks hit the water to try and get a bend in their rods. My Hobie Revolution 16 was rigged up and ready and in no time I was out over some promising looking ground. The Hobies’s mirage drive system coupled with the Turbo fins made short work of the distance to the channel. The depth of water I was fishing in was around the 60ft depth with a rough bottom. There were a few small pinnacles that rose up which were bound to attract fish around them. So I baited up my double hook rig with a half a Peeler Crab on each hook before sending it down to the bottom.

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Within the first 2 minutes I was into my fist fish and with the spinning rod bent into the fish I was sure I was into my first Codling. The solid head pumps progressed as the fish was worked to the surface where a plump little Codling hit the surface. I was delighted and fishing simple like this always catches me fish. I don’t wait hours for something to happen, I try to make things happen. I unhooked the Codling and sent him back down to tell the others about his experience.

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Down I went again with the Peeler crab baits and immediately my spinning rod was doubled over into another Codling. They really do pull for their size on the right setups. This action continued for the next half hour of constant Codling every five minutes or so. I was able to get a few photos of these fish and I knew they would be more than willing to take a Soft Plastic so I changed rod and picked up the other setup to have some fun.

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I dropped the Daiwa Duckfin Shad to the bottom and when there I worked the lure up and down on the bottom. I raised the rod and it was greeted by a solid weight and I was into a Codling on the Soft Plastic. It really put a up good little fight and it engulfed the lure as I saw when lifting him onto the kayak.

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Down again went the Duckfin Shad to the bottom and again within a minute or two I was into another fish. I was really enjoying myself and this is really what it is about for me. I could hear that all the guys that were out had caught fish which made the day even better. I unhooked the Codling and sent him back again. I decided to take a break and went off the rough ground to see what else was about.

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I found the sandy area and started drifting. I was immediately plagued by small Whiting 3-coalfish-2017which were present in large numbers but a fish is a fish and like I said, I would rather be catching than sitting. I tied on a set of tiny Sabiki’s after seeing some baitfish on the Lowrance Fishfinder which turned out to be some Mackeral. Nice to see them around in the colder months. I was also able to catch a tiny little Coalfish. A bit of a change from the solid fighting Codling which made me eager to get onto the Codling again. I headed back out to the rough ground and was once again straight into the Codling again. I had great action throughout the day and so did all who were out on the water.

As the day drew to a close I headed back in to load up and head home. Before heading away we all discussed how we had got on throughout the day and it seemed that all who were there had caught fish and that’s  what being a member of the Irish Kayak Angling Club is all about for me. Making new friends and enjoying the sport.

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Annual Irish Kayak Angling Cork Meet 2016

Irish kayak angling logoWell 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.

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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.

species-1-pollockMy 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.

species-2-ballan-wrasseWith 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.

Wrasse Rig

Moving across the bay out of the snaggy bottom the bay then becomes a sandy bottom
species-11-plaicethat 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.

Flattie Rig

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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

Tight Lines.

Stingray down South..

As the title goes I had planned to go south today in search of a Stingray. Yesterday I had Plaicefished a rock mark with my father and managed to get a few fresh Mackeral that would be perfect for today’s session targeting a Stingray and I also managed a lovely little plaice which was a welcome sight on the end of the line. I have not really paid much attention to this mark for the Stingray this year as its really not got me wanting to go there….if that makes any sense…

I seem to be very occupied by outside distractions which seem to be taking away from my kayak fishing so to get out today and be out on the water with no one around is just what I needed and also with a few Stingray thrown into the mix the day would be all the better. I arrived in the car park for around 6:00am as I wanted to get there early and leave around lunch time. I had to wait a little for the sun to rise but i didn’t mind this.

The plan was to fish two light action boat rods couple with two Daiwa sl20sh multipliers which of course are spooled with none other than the Daiwa J-Braid in 30lb breaking strain should I encounter anything of real size. I also bought along my Daiwa Theory lure rod which is very light but still capable of holding its own. This was coupled with a Daiwa Ninja 2500A, spooled with Daiwa 9lb J-Braid.

Traces were kept simple and as always the trusted single hook ledger rig was all I used with the addition of around 10cm of knotable nylon coated wire just incase there was a sneaky Tope around and this would prevent the Tope from biting me off. Todays tide was very slack so there was no need to fish anything over 3oz of lead as this held bottom perfectly and with an easy tide running there was not much weed to deal with. My hook pattern is the tried and tested Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra in a 6/0 size. It may sound a little big but I don’t really like handling Stingray and with the bigger hook it makes unhooking that bit easier.

Baiting up with a full side of Mackeral and using a small amount of bait elastic to hold the top of the bait above the eye of the hook in the tide, I set both rods out in front of me. As the tide turned to come in I had my first take. A solid run and I lifted into the heavy weight as the fish continued to take line. I was sure I was into a Stingray and I was not wrong as a Stingray came to the surface almost looking at me with their sinister eyes. I managed to lift it up for a quick photo before removing the hook and letting it go. I really try not to handle the stingray to much for obvious reasons.

Stingray on line

Sting Ray

While waiting for takes on my rods fishing the bigger baits I was using my smaller rod to see what was underneath the kayak using small baits. I managed to pick up some fresh Mackeral and had a few small Dab as well. One of the more interesting species to turn up was a little Grey Gurnard. They are an interesting species in the way they seem to walk along the bottom.

Grey Gurnard 2

I had another two more smaller Stingray to the side of the kayak which I unhooked in the water. By this stage it was nearing lunchtime and with that I decided to head back in. Before heading in I used a thin strip of Mackeral on just a size 10 hook , slowly trolled behind me on the way back. I know there are a good number of Garfish here and it wasn’t long before I had two or three of them in no time.

Garfish

I also hooked up into a small seatrout on the way in which came as a surprise but welcome all the same. A great little fight on the light rod and then releasing him back to continue on his journey.

Holding Seatrout

So that just about did it for this outing. I loaded up the car and headed home to unpack, wash down the kayak and dry gear and get it all ready for the next day out.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

Pike session with Allen

I think that myself and Allen knew that even though there was a howling wind across Ireland for the day we were going to get out on the Hobie’s somewhere for a cast. I stopped off at the first lake to have a look as going to sea was completely out of the question. The first lake was like a washing machine with white horses making their way across one side of the lake to the next, not a good sign and on to the next lake.

Thankfully the next lake is very secluded and hidden away behind a good number of trees which sheltered it from the harsh wind. We decided to have a go at some Pike as daiwathere was not much else we could do and being fisherman we were going to try and catch anything. So we met at the lake and rigged up. I was trying my new Daiwa Emeraldas spooled with 20lb Daiwa J-Braid. I have to say that this is one stunning looking reel and with the mag sealed technology it is as smooth as anything. The second rod had my trusty Daiwa Ninja spooled with the ultra thin 9lb J-Braid. Also a value for money reel but quality all the same. When using a braided mainline and lure fishing I always use a fluorocarbon leader. It is just habit and gives me more confidence when fishing lures. I was sent over some Daiwa Tournament Fluorocarbon in varying strengths. This leader is really nice to use as it has an almost stiff feel but still being soft which does not make much sense but it ties really well and has a good feel about it.

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We knew that the lake is mostly populated by smaller Pike and thus the lure of choice was a 6.5cm Duck Fin Shad in UV Chartreuse colour. A great colour variation by Daiwa 20160807_110610as it glows in the dark and is also a vibrant chartreuse colour with gold flake. With the water having a bit of colour this colour would be somewhat visible. The second lure I wanted to try out was the 6.5cm Daiwa Popper Frog in Albino colour. Although not the best conditions I thought I might as well give it a go as it is fishing at the end of the day.
With the rods rigged my plan was to slow troll the soft shad and cover the most amount of water to see where fish may be more congregated. Using the lowrance fishfinder I wanted to try and find varying bottom conditions which might hold Pike waiting to ambush anything that comes past them.

I made my way around the lake which is not a very large one at that and quickly came across my fist take. Not a very big fish but when using such light gear a small fish always puts up a great account of itself. The small pike nailed the soft shad and using a light 10g Daiwa Jig Head with a 4/0 hook was perfect for the hookup. Letting Allen know I had one I let the Pike go after a photo. A nice way to start.

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I carried on around the lake but struggled to find another take until I came to the same area of the lake when instantly I was hooked up again. It seemed the Pike were very concentrated in this area, Another small pike but they were loving the Daiwa soft shad and this time the pike removed the tail off it. By this time Allen had landed a fish of his own and also had a trout take the soft shad but threw the hook at the side of the Hobie.

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Staying in the area I decided to cast and work the soft bait on the bottom which showed to be a weedy area on the edge of a drop off. I cast out and let the bait sink to the bottom before lifting it up off the bottom and dropping it again back towards the kayak. I have to say it is a great feeling to have a fish take the lure on the lifting of the lure. I was in again but this time a slightly better pike. I did however change to another lure in the Daiwa range, Full of life, the pike made a good few runs before letting me get a fist look at him. With the water temperatures up the Pike were very energetic and tail walking. This Pike was a better fish for the lake and I was delighted with it on my lap ready for a photo before releasing it.

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I continued trolling again with the Duckfin Shads and had a few more Pike but the they were all pretty small and very hungry. They were attacking the lure with force and using light gear is so much fun. The light braid really lets you feel every bump on the lure and also how the lure is working.

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Another great way to spend a day when the weather prevents fishing out in the sea. What more could we have asked for. Allen had a few more Pike as well before we decided to call it a day. I really enjoyed these feisty Pike and it was great to see a healthy number of them at the location. Lets hope it stays that way.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.

 

 

 

Cahore with the IKA

Cahore is situated in Co. Wexford on the East Coast of Ireland. Once a year the Irish Kayak Angling Club hold a meet here which is a competition based around catching nominated species plus additional points for any other species of fish that are caught. But, besides the competition it is great way to catch up with friends from the forum and also meet new people that are taking up the sport of kayak angling. It’s a social event and all are welcome which makes it great for sharing information and having some fun.

Cahore View

Cahore has a variety of species but the most notable is the Smooth Hound. Another member of the shark family, this species predates on crustaceans and thus having crab baits is a must. This was one of the nominated species along with Bass, Flatfish, Dogfish and the Joker fish which doubled the final points was a Thornback Ray. All these species are readily available to the kayak angler and there is no need for paddling long distances as the fish can be found in close waters. With a strong tidal flow, fishing off the kayak in Cahore requires the use of the anchor if there is more chance of getting on the Smooth Hounds.

I arrived down in Cahore to meet Pat and his wife on the Friday after work and a huge thanks to Dave (Scone) and Pat for putting their heads together to get all my kayak gear up to Cahore. We met at the local tackle store which was great and after picking up a health supply of peeler crabs we went for a meal in the restaurant next door which served a great plaice dish. We made our way to the launch spot in Cahore and rushed to set up and get a bait in the water. Needless to say this didnt take long and we were heading out with our expectations high of a Smooth Hound. Baiting up with Peeler Crab I soon had a small take which turned out to be the ever present dogfish. Not long after this I was into the first Smooth Hound. These guys fight so hard for their size and it was great fun on the lighter rods.

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Soon after this there was a black sky approaching and we were soon inside a heavy rain shower which really put an end to the evenings fishing. Peddling back in through the rain to get back was a little uncomfortable but getting back to the shore and having a cold brew was a fitting end to the evening.

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The morning of the competition saw lovely sunshine and a flat sea which all were hoping for. Although this weather was set to change it was still great to wake up to sunshine and  know there was going to be some fishing done. The plan was to rig up vlcsnap-6410-04-07-15h40m31s207two rods with  running ledger rigs with a pennell rig hook setup for keeping the bait presentation ideal. The hooks of choice for the two running ledger rigs were Cox and Rawle Uptide Extra 3/0. The size of the hook would be purely based on the size of the baits and Smooth Hounds have a relatively large mouth so a 3/0 sized hook is not a problem with hookups. On the third rod I used my Daiwa Ninja 2500A and my Team Daiwa light drop shotting rod. This would be rigged up as well with a running ledger but this time with a  single size 1 Cox and Rawle Chinu hook pattern. I would use this setup for targeting Flatfish and any other smaller species that were around.

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We all headed out to our preferred location and I chose to target the Smooth Hound fist and found a nice bit of water after a while and with the tide running out and very strong I found I had to leave out a good bit of anchor rope to hold bottom. But once I did I was soon into the Smooth Hounds. I like to peel my crab but leave the legs and claws on as when bound up it gives a more natural look and also reduces the amount of dogfish takes. The Smooth Hound action continued for a while and in among them were a couple of small Dab.

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I decided to move off and try my luck at a Bass. I chose to slow troll a Tackle House Feedshallow. A great lure with a reputation of producing Bass. Although I am not a huge lure fisherman I have has Bass on this lure and I am pretty confident when using it. I trolled around for a while and noticed the Garfish darting across the surface as I approached them. So with this I grabbed my light Daiwa rod and rigged two trebles and a long slither of Mackeral belly. There is no need for weight as a slow troll with just the hooks and bait is plenty as the Garfish are just below the surface. I finally hooked one after a few dropped takes and with amazing tail walking like some tropical game fish I soon had a lovely Garfish on the kayak.

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The Bass were eluding me and I headed over to the rough ground not to far from the shore as it was nearing the end of the day and I wanted to see what was around in the kelp. I used small ragworm baits and fished close to the kayak and according to my Lowrance Fishfinder I was only in 10ft of water but it was very murky so 10ft was ample amount of water to pick out a few smaller fish. I managed a tiny Codling and an even smaller Ballan Wrasse.

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So with that the day was over. We all headed back in and discussed our day out. This was followed by a brilliant meal in the restaurant that I had visited the night before. It was great time up in Cahore and the fishing was very good. Meeting up with the guys from the club is always great and getting to discuss fishing stories with all of them is what it is all about. With a second place finish and a few new species it was time to head home and leave Cahore behind me.

A huge thanks to the Irish Kayak Angling club for holding the event and with the organizing involved it was a great weekend.

Until next time,

Tight Lines.