Kayaking the Dart estuary-Totnes to Dartmouth

6 MAY 2009- the Bude old gits Spring kayak fishing trip was cancelled due to bad weather (aaargh-not again) but when I awoke with the first peep of the Blackbird outside the bedroom window I was itching to go somewhere  so opted for the sheltered waters of the Dart.

I dragged a mini Rapala plug rather half-heartedly, and completely unsuccessfully, for much of the twelve miles down to the open sea. I do enjoy this type of trip though-from a freshwater inland river with nesting swans and ducklings, down through beautiful sweeping wooded valley with egrets and herons, and then out through the busy coastal town into the open sea.

Smooth paddling at Dittisham
Smooth paddling at Dittisham

My heart squelched when a seal exhaled very loudly inches behind my kayak. This happens alot but it still makes me jump. This particular seal was very friendly and swam on its back just underneath the surface looking up at me, before stopping to sniff something on the nose of my kayak.

Overfriendly seal
Overfriendly seal

Dartmouth is probably the most interesting town I have yet paddled through-bustling and noisy ( I am convinced that every boatyard has a very powerful audio system playing a CD of the whine of a sanding disc while the unseen workers within sit around drinking tea and watching Britain’s got talent) and loads of colourful houses stacked up the hills on both sides.

Dartmouth ferry
Dartmouth ferry

I switched my lure to a rubber sandeel when I emerged into the sea and had soon caught a couple of smallish pollack. Do you never catch anything else,you ask? Mmmmm….its a fare question. Generally not would be the fare answer. But wait! Not all pollack are the same-one of these had miniscule black spots on its back:

Dotty pollack
Dotty pollack

I flogged round a headland towards Stoke Fleming into a howling headwind. Not sure why ‘cos it wasn’t much fun. I got fed up so about turned for the mere fifteen mile homeward journey.

Aha , my first mackerel of the season during a five minute bottom fishing break.P5060442 Nice to be able to have fresh mackerel fillets on toast again. Keeps your brain cells healthy with all that alpha omega oil stuff. (actually they sat in the fridge for a week then went out for the local badger).

The return journey was long. The sun had not come out as had been promised and my Somerfield fruit loaf did not match my total fuel requirement. Also the peace and tranquility of the upper reaches were ruined by a monstrous river cruiser bulging with nouveau riche types with safari jackets and booming voices. Top trip,though.

Dartmouth scene
Dartmouth scene
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Cambeak-first proper fish of the season

17 April and it was flat calm on the North Cornwall coast. Woop-blooming-pee….about time. Anyway the hulking pollack that lurk around the reef off cambeak and had remained unfished for the previous months were about to get a nasty shock.

P4170278

Today’s fishing squad comprised Pokey,Austen,Tim and yours truly,all in different yaks. OK,if you must know they were my Scupper pro,Austens Perception,Pokey’s Prowler and Tim’s smart new Malibu X -factor.

Pokey's pollacking brace
Pokey's pollacking brace

Pokey struck first with a couple of pollack that brought a smirk to his face. Tim’s handline got attached to something BIG….was it a mighty shark that makes Cambeak famous or was it a rock? Austen’s cerebral planning paid dividends when he hauled in some decent fish on his big sandeel paternoster, including fish of the day weighing in at over six pounds.

Austen scoops again
Austen scoops again

I got a sunburnt nose.