Dab and Crab


I have only caught a handful of fish so far this year, all notable for their unbelievably small size and remarkable achievement for managing to attach themselves to hooks almost as big as themselves. This herring, for example.

Another miniscule fish..a Herring

 Life is clearly troublesome as a herring even without impaling yourself on a hook. This one was savaged  by an unseen predator as I was reeling it in, and then swallowed within a few seconds of hitting the bottom as I lowered it down as bait( with the attacker cunningly managing to avoid my hook). Yet the mackerel we were using  in a similar way attracted absolutely nothing.

So Austen and I found ourself  bottom fishing off Stepper point at the mouth of the stunning Camel estuary. We had planned to go further out but a stronger than forecast offshore wind and meaty incoming swell kept us cowering closer in. My purchase of a car park ticket in Rock had proceeded completely without complication much to my relief….just a pity I left the ticket in my pocket and forgot to stick it to my window. Fortunately Austen arrived on the scene just as the attendant was about to churn out a yellow fine, and bought me another. Phew. Surprised he even noticed my car in amongst all the Range Rover Vogues and BMWs.

For an hour, or maybe two, we fished on the bottom using mackerel strips. We were just about to give up and go to where a few gannets were plunging into the water in their spectacular style when I had a bite. Up came my first ever flatty! Top entertainment!….and the afternoon was instantly transformed from cold and depressing to a rod rattling fish-fest.

My first flatty.....it's a Dab ( I think)

 It must have been the incoming tide livening things up because we started to haul up dogfish on the strips while the feathers on our other rods kept producing mackerel. Despite trying not to get rasped by the dogfish’s unbelievably sandpapery skin, I failed, and bled.

Camel dogMack hat-trick

After a brief sunny interlude a black cloud threatened and the wind cranked up a notch or two. We were tied to a lobster pot and the fish kept on coming.The afternoon was brightened up again when I hauled up the smallest Tub Gurnard in history:

Tiny Tub

 And a great heavy lump on my line provided a diversion of the crustacean kind. This spider crab refused to release my bit of mackerel so had to scuttle round the footwell of my kayak before I had the courage to grab its carapace and return it to the depths. Another first!

Spider crab


Austen scooped a succession of dogfish and ended up with three dab:

And to round things off we both caught a few whiting which are always hanging around when there is the whiff of mackerel meat in the water.


 Time to call it a day and the paddle back to Rock into the teeth of the wind was not what Sit-on-top kayaks were designed to do. Water sloshing over the front, spray in the face and making  virtually no headway. Entertaining however and we stopped for a comfort break at Hawker’s cove, one of my favourite beaches.

Evening scene down the Camel estuary

 So after a slow start the 2011 kayak fishing season is underway. Things can only get bigger (hopefully).