Lord of the Lings

Brace of Ling

Fired up by my recent bass hat-trick I couldn’t resist a major fishing effort at my favourite venue…..Porthcurno near Land’s End. The scenery alone guarantees a top day’s paddling and with the chance of a basking shark, dolphin, porpoise, seal or sunfish encounter, it’s a happening sort of place.

I had very high hopes for success with my new bass lure, but predictably caught absolutely nothing  during two hours of  non-stop trolling. This is typical bass fishing, you never know when you are going to catch, if you feel confident you will probably fail, and then you catch a fish just when you are sure it’s a waste of time. Today I initially felt confident and later thought it was all a waste of time but I still didn’t catch a bass. All I caught on the lure was a pollack barely bigger than the plug.

pathetic pollack

So I paddled out to the deep water half a mile offshore and opted to fish off the bottom. No joy tied up to a lobster pot so I fished on the drift. Maybe it was because the tide was coming in, but at last I started to catch. First a couple of pollack and then a fish new to me. Big -headed pollacky cod type thing which I was pretty sure was a haddock. And then about ten more of the same including two on the feathers at the same time. They came so often it took me half an hour to eat my five breakfast weetabix.

Haddock…new species for me

The species list extended with a stunning male cuckoo wrasse….

Remarkably colourful cuckoo wrasse

and a couple of small Grey gurnard……

Burnard the gurnard

both taken on feathers spiced up with a mackerel strip (caught a few of those as well). And then I felt guilty when a greater black-backed gull flew down and swallowed the wrasse, which was at the surface and hadn’t recovered,whole.

competition from a fulmar as well

So I stopped fishing for little fish and dropped a whole mackerel down to the bottom on a big hook and just let the coast drift by.

passing fishing smack

Always quite a few boats churning past here on there way to and from Penzance and Newlyn. And I was lucky enough to see a Great Skua or “Bonxie” power past on its way to ruining a gull’s day by making it regurgitate its last meal. Maybe it was the big gull with the wrasse!

Bulky bonxie..not common at Land’s end

Boredom was starting to kick in but I forced myself to sit it out as days this calm down here are a rarity. Then I gagged on my bacon sandwich (lunch) as my rod leapt about in its holder and line was briefly pulled off the reel. Then a slow powerful tugging. No hurry, get it away from the bottom and don’t rush. Finish your sandwich in fact.

A pretty hefty ling appeared at the surface, by far my biggest ever. Nine pounds, so I found out later( I tried my hardest to bodge it above the magical ten pound mark while stood on the bathroom scales). Ling don’t go back down very successfully so it was kept to be served up with some chips at a future date.

Lunking Ling

I finished up in the tide race off the spectacular granite cliffs off Gwennapp head and pulled up another ling,a few pollack and a load of launce.

Gwennap head

After nearly nine hours on the water it was time to head for home. As I lurched out of the kayak and straightaway started up the steep slipway at Porthgwarra hauling the considerable weight of my Tarpon 160 (plus impressive catch, remember), I felt virtually every individual muscle fibre in both legs from buttock to toe either stretch or snap. Plus the odd ligament and tendon. The same sort of thing would happen to Usain Bolt if he did the 100 meters straight after getting out of bed.