As the next section of my circumnavigation of the south west in a fishing kayak I was very keen to get to Lands End. On the plus side the weather was fair and the winds light;on the minus side I ventured out on one of the biggest spring tides of the year into the jaws of one of the biggest tide races in the south of England.
I paddled out from Mousehole as dawn broke trolling behind me a new Rapala jointed mini plug (3 inches long) which I find is excellent for catching a range of species as its treble hooks aren’t too big. Even before I had got into the swing of paddling my reel buzzed out and I felt a big fish tugging. Big,but also crafty as it crash dived into the kelp and I had lost my new lure within five minutes of its maiden voyage!. I guess the ‘beast’ was a pollack as I caught half a dozen more on a slightly bigger plug,including a couple of about 3lbs.
The coast became steadily more impressive around each successive headland as it was exposed to ever more westerly swell. I passed the shelter of Lamorna Cove but stopped for breakfast on the stone slipway of Penberth cove where the tiny fishing boats are still hauled up the beach with a capstan. I was eagerly anticipating the next part of the trip as I rounded the desperately craggy headland of Logan Rock into the azure waters of Porthcurno Bay.
I landed a couple of decent sized mackerel as I headed towards the Minack theatre perched half way up the rocky cliff. Mackerel always fight impressively when on a free line.
I was wary of more and more ebbing tidal current as I progressed, and as I reached slacker water after one swirly bit my line really sung out. I grabbed the rod and felt some really slow steady powerful tugs-this was one of my biggest fish ever. The reel in was easy so I suspected a bass which wait until they see the kayak before they really turn on their heels and run. This fish was no exception and gave me a bit of sport. At last I got it alongside- 5lbs at least. I got its mouth out of the water and then the hook came free and it just hovered in the water for a few seconds before cruising away,seemingly unconcerned. I uttered some expletives suitable for a late night X-certificate performance at the Minack. Groan.
I took a breather (and a quiet weep) at Porthgwarra and then tentatively ventured out into the tide race of Gwennap head….my GPS recorded almost 4 mph so I bravely decided to head back for calmer waters.
I caught three more bass (one big enough to keep) in fairly quick succession right in front of the Minack then no more-there is no question they like the more disturbed water.
My second plug lure of the day also fell victim to the kelp so I attached my last resort-a toby. This quickly paid dividends in the form of a manicly fighting Garfish.
Embarassingly this lure too was soon lost to the deep forever so I finished off the day with a quick sprint around the coast towards Newlyn Harbour before returning to Mousehole.
I loaded the kayak on to the car and drove along the coast road back to Penzance. I could hardly believe my eyeballs ( and my bad luck) when I stopped to watch a school of bottlenose dolphins cruising past at a leisurely pace past Penlee point EXACTLY where I had been paddling ten minutes before. No other boats about- I could have got a great view from the kayak. There were five or six including one with a whitish tipped dorsal fin and one surprisingly small baby. Oh well, there’s always next time.