The Bude Old Gits (B.O.G.) kayak fishing club decided to have their Autumn Big B.O.G. Bass Bash in Mount’s Bay in order to get a bit of shelter from the gusty NE wind which had been forecast. However when we set out from Marazion at 8am the sea was more or less smooth and the sky clear…..excellent. We paddled the long way round St. Michael’s Mount and Richard, a relative novice kayak fisher who none the less had been correctly informed that where there’s a wave there’s probably a bass, found the only breaking wave within miles and paddled right into it. Unfortunately he had overlooked the fact that waves tend to break in shallow water and found himself high and dry on a kelp laden rock as the sea sucked back in preparation for the next breaker.This promptly tipped him out of his very stable Prowler 15, the nautical eqivalent of tipping a large car over after clipping the kerb.
Over the shallow weedy rocks beyond the Mount we caught our first few pollack on a variety of small plugs and artificial sandeels and I paddled round a rocky reef called The Greeb (ridiculous name) and had a nostril flaring contest with a couple of whopping bull Grey seals.
In typical fahion the six of us were scattered over a distance of about a mile within five minutes of setting of- Richard had his impromptu swim, Pokey had foolishly had a chat who said there were loads of bass just over THERE (so there he went), I went around the Greeb, Jeremy stopped for a bowl of muesli and Austen and Derrick were somewhere in the middle.
On the approach to Cudden Point Derrick caught a Wrasse on his plug.
Coffee time beckoned and we looked for a hidden cove for a leg stretch. We found the prfect place and hauled out. Pokey rolled up just as we were launching again and announced that a seal had just popped up beside his kayak with his hooked pollack in its mouth. I’m not sure who was most alarmed but the seal crash-dived and Pokey retrieved his fish which was ‘very dead’.
I notice from the map that the beach is called Piskies cove, the one round the corner is Bessies cove and I had just paddled round the Greeb!. Who thought of these drippy names? Where we usually paddle on the wave lashed wind tossed wreckers coast of North Cornwall we are more used to names like Strangles beach and Rotting Corpse Point.
Between Kenneggy Sands and Praa Sands were some fun rock formations and narrow stacks to sqeeze past and Jeremy found a fishing boat to chat to. He bought a lobster from it-probably a smart move as we weren’t really raking the fish in so we could always wave the lobster at any critics later pretending we had plucked it from the depths (providing we remembered to take the blue elastic bands of its pincers first).
After a brief stop on the nice beach but not very attractive village of Praa Sands we were briefly and inexplicably buzzed by a Lynx helicopter who hovered low directly above our heads.
Over the broken shore at the end of the beach….Bingo….Austen caught the first Bass of the trip followed quickly by Derrick who caught one just big enough to keep. Both on sandeels.
The scenery round Rinsey Head took a turn for the more dramatic and in fact could be classed as stunning. Huge cliffs, caves big enough to paddle in (which always have dark recesses which worryingly seem to gloop NOT in time with the waves) and tin mining pump houses perched absurdly close to the precipitous drop.
Past Trewavas Head we started to hit into a few more fish but it was still pretty paltry. I caught a couple of mackerel and a couple of small pollack. Pollack don’t really have much of a fighting spirit. They give a couple of initial tugs and then if you reel them in fast you can waterski them across the surface. Not so any other fish. Also pollack tend to wolf the sandeels down in an astonishingly greedy manner so removing hooks requires a delicate act of surgery with the forceps.
After five hours of paddling lunch was beckoning so we homed in on a beautiful sandy beach only accessible from the sea, just half a mile short of Porthleven. I soon demolished my bacon butties while listening to Jeremy’s lecture on tin mining and the dark tunnel entrance in the cliff behind us. He said it was a drainage tunnel for a tin mine called an adit and we spent a fascinating quarter of an hour pondering whether adit was spelt with one ‘d’ or two.
It was time to head for home.We had so far covered twelve miles in about six hours so had a long haul back. The fishing so far had been very disappointing-on previous similar trips we would have caught a dozen bass by now plus a few garfish as well as the mackerel and shedful of flabby pollack. The calm conditions and very neapy tides were probably partly to blame.
Anyway I was relieved when something grabbed my ‘Gulp’ sandeel and didn’t give up all hope of survival immediately,so I knew it wasn’t a pollack.I hauled aboard a nice little bass which proceeded to spike and slice my fingers as I dehooked it , as I had lost my forceps overboard earlier.I returned it to the briney a little bood-stained (my own) but otherwise unharmed.
The last few miles were quite tough as we were paddling into a headwind which had irritatingly somehow moved round to the NW.
Fortunately we were all paddling kayaks with ‘long legs’ and well suited big trips.Pokey and Derrick had their Prowler 13s, Richard had my old Prowler 15 (with over 2000 miles on the clock), Austen uses a Perception and I was trying out my Paddleyak Swift that I purchased via E-bay. Austen had kindly sunk a couple of flush mounted rod holders in it so I felt like the kayaking equivalent of an Apache gunship.
However I still felt completely pooped when we eventually rolled ashore at Marazion despite the fact that the Paddleyak should be a lot more efficient to paddle than the others. Er ….could it be that I am the oldest of the pack. Surely not.