‘Ere we go……the fishing season starts here

I havn’t really bothered to go sea fishing from the kayak so far this year because it’s pretty unproductive during the early spring unless you are a serious fsherman and like spludging about with smelly baits. I prefer lures and the only joy I have had up to now is a couple of brown trout on my local freshwater patch.

Brian trout caught on trolled mini-rapala

However a  lull during a sequence of cyclone-style depressions (which started the day after it was announced that the UK was officially in drought) with their deluge of rain and howling wind, meant I was not going to miss the opportunity of going for a paddle.

And remarkably the swell pounded west-facing beaches of North Cornwall were wave free so off I went to launch from remote Duckpool valley north of Bude. My steed was once again my Scupper Pro as it is old, light and good for dragging over the rocks at low tide. And it cruises well.

And why not take a rod and lure while I paddle north along the fantastically hostile and remote Hartland heritage coast? Didn’t really expect to catch much as lure fishing is really the domain of the second six months of the year. However I had invested in a mean-looking new plug, an Abu-Garcia jointed Tormentor, which really made the end of my rod lurch about as it swerved around while being trolled behind the kayak.

Big hopes for new lure

A steadily stiffening North-east wind made rounding the headlands of Lower and Higher Sharpnose point hard work, but the constant interest of the huge cliffs, jagged reefs and rocks exposed by the low tide, kept me focused. Good for bass, surely.

All I saw for five miles up the coast was the grey tone of sea, rock and cliff. And the slightest hint of green where some hardy (foolhardy)plant was trying to eek out an existence in a crevice. And the croak of ravens at the nest, a whinny of a peregrine and a few sleeping seals in their nose-up ‘bottling’ position.

Super hostile Hartland heritage coast. Hartland point lighthouse top right. Little me bottom left.

As soon as I turned for home I had a fish on. First sea fish of the year, and first bass!  A tiddler, so back it went.

Baby bass

Then another couple of bites, and a slightly bigger fish, and finally a real fighter which I am reluctant to admit I kept for tea. A beauty of three pounds. OK not that huge but the first bass of the year always look absolutely stunning ,as I havn’t seen one for five months. (and that is precisely why you should have put it back, you creep).

bigger bass

And what is that on the cliff?…a flash of yellow to dilute the day’s greyness. (even the bass are greyish…..well OK silver then).

Kidney vetch gives a few spots of yellow

Three bass at the end of April……maybe it’s shaping up for a good season. Or is it just that this coast is  unfished, due to gnashing reefs and nineteen days out of twenty being unlaunchable due to sea conditions? The shape of the local trees gives a clue to the usual wind speed and direction:

Classic Cornish combover

And Duckpool even has its own freshwater infinity pool:

Duckpool pool