Dave and Verity

Boscastle high street
Boscastle high street

Following my big tope excitement I returned to Boscastle for more action.Every fishermen waits for the moment when his line is torn out and the reel sings into action. However the bites became fewer and further between and I suspect the tope season on this part of the coast is nearly over. In actual fact I really wouldn’t have a clue if this was the case, maybe they just havn’t been biting or I am a crumby fisherman (or both).

I thought that the reason I attracted so much interest as I hauled my kayak back to the car park up Boscastle high street was that I cut a bit of a dashing figure, but then realised it was because I was wearing my daughter’s pink peaked cap that I had grabbed from the shelf as I left home, complete with purple pony emblazoned on it.

P1060436

And the witchcraft museum has got a witch’s van to go with it, the modern day version of a witch’s broom, I suppose.

Although there don’t seem to be a lot of mackerel around this year I caught a nice selection of baits for giving me a chance at a bigger fish:

Pollack, mackerel,launce
Pollack, mackerel,launce

And after an awful lot of sitting around my Penn Pursuit reel buzzzed into action with its ringing metallic tone (which is why I choose it) and after ten minutes up came a 25lb tope. Always a thrill.

25lb Tope
25lb Tope

I have mentioned before that waiting for tope can be mind- crushingly tedious, but there is usually something else to keep you interested.Such as jellyfish ,and if you are keen on jellyfish then this is your year. There have been THOUSANDS of moon jellyfish spookily floating about

Moon jellyfish
Moon jellyfish

loads of blue jellfish and a fewer number of the strikingly marked Compass jellyfish…..

Compass jelly
Compass jelly

and even fewer Lion’s Mane jellies.

Lion's Mane jelly
Lion’s Mane jelly

So it’s a bit surprising I’ve only seen two sunfish (which eat jellyfish) so far this year, and unfortunately no more leatherbacks (which also eat jellyfish) yet.

While dozing a mile out to sea I was rudely disturbed by the fast approach of a piston-engined plane that was like a scene from Pearl Harbour. I searched the clifftops for  a sight and then realised it was scorching along beneath the cliffs about 20 ft above the water! Actually more like Dambusters. It whistled over the top of another couple of kayak fishermen who must have got a bit of an adrenaline boost. But I don’t suppose the Guillemot colony was too impressed.

Tora,tora,tora
Tora,tora,tora

My final visit to Boscastle was windy so not a day for loafing about offshore. It was back to hugging the shore for shelter trolling a plug. One nice little bass:

Bossiney  bass
Bossiney bass

and my first coalfish for a couple of years:

Coalfish
Coalfish

And I’d have a job to think of a beach with a better vista to stop for a tea break than this one tucked in behind Lye Rock at Bossiney. And for the extreme ornithologist Bossiney is one of the very few (maybe the last) places in Cornwall where housemartins still nest on the cliffs, glueing their nests of mud to the rock.

Tarpon 160 'gunship' armed and dangerous
Tarpon 160 ‘gunship’ armed and dangerous

The warmth and the ‘freedom’ (i.e. not having to be wrapped up in a drysuit and not having to worry about falling into cold water) of summer makes me look beyond vegetating out in a bay with a fishing rod. As long as it involves a kayak, I will do it. Wildlife watching:

Guillemot having a stretch
Guillemot having a stretch

Or a bit of relaxed family and friends touring:

milling about at Mevagissey
milling about at Mevagissey

Or maybe just dashing about as fast as possible when I’ve got a couple of hours to spare. With this in mind I have invested in a new kayak that I purchased off e-bay for a snip. A Cobra expedition. A sit-on-top kayak that is about as narrow as it can be, made of plastic, and with a load of seriously big hatches so indeed expedition worthy. A bit of a contrast to a short and fat Malibu 2:P1060395

Don’t ask how many kayaks I now own. I could easily open up a kayak museum with plenty of vintage,or even ancient, exhibits on display (myself included).

The speed of the Cobra Expedition was put to the test when I took it for a brief spin on the sea at Bude when the sea was as flat and glassy as it has ever been. A pair of lads fishing offshore in a Canadian canoe informed me a small school of Common dolphins had swum past five minutes beforehand, so I engaged sport mode and tore off after them in vaguely the correct direction. After twenty minutes I coud see a few gulls showing interest in something at the surface and another fifteen mins brought me amongst the dolphins that were steadily cruising south. They didn’t hang around, and I was pooped after the chase.

Bude Common dolphin
Bude Common dolphin

I wasn’t so quick getting back to Bude.

So it’s back to a bit of leisurely fishing to recover, and maybe a bit of freshwater trolling for a change…..

Perch
Perch

I do like perch, they are extraordinarily similar to bass, only not so feisty or spiky.

So where does Dave fit in? I felt the urge to clock up a few miles in (on) my Cobra Expedition so where better than the thirty mile there-and-back trip between Ilfracombe and Lynmouth? No fishing , just paddling. Hot sunny day, fantastic Exmoor scenery….especially valley of the rocks just before Lynmouth…as good as anywhere in SW England.

Exmoor scene
Exmoor scene

Valley of the rocks

Porpoise sightings are usually guaranted along this bit of North Devon coast but today they were conspicuous by their absence. The wildlife highlight (until later…just be patient) was a stooping peregrine that knocked something into the water far ahead, and then kept circling in an effort to pluck whatever it was from the surface. I slotted the Expedition into top gear and was staggered to sea a Curlew bobbing about on the sea like a duck. As I approached it took off and went on its way,  a little cautiously as the peregine was still around.

Paddling into Lynmouth was a bit of a culture shock. Normally I would be antisocial and eat my lunch at a remote beach around the corner, but having rendered my Weetabix for breakfast inedible by mixing them with salt instead of sugar, I had to have my cheese sandwiches (which were supposed to be lunch) for breakfast, and was left with the awful prospect of fighting my way through the tourists to get a pasty and chips at the award winning take-away on the sea front. Tough.

Lynmouth
Lynmouth

As usual a headwind picked up for the long paddle back and I stopped for a break at the very pleasant beach just east of Combe Martin (which seemed to be popular with nudists). A brief conversation with a couple of newby kayak fishermen (fully clothed) in a beast of a double sit-on-top, revealed that they had just paddled out of Combe Martin and they casually mentioned that they had ‘watched the dolphin’ on the way out.

Blooming typical, they had paddled about half a mile and had a dolphin encounter and I had been on the water for eight hours and seen nothing.

But all was to change as I paddled into the mouth of Combe Martin bay and into a large group of kayaks and small boats. And there it was, the fin of a sizable Bottlenose dolphin breaking the surface. I took up my position and waited with camera poised. I have yet to get a good dolphin pic as they are always reentering the water when you press the shutter.

Leaping Dave
Leaping Dave

Sitting amongst a crowd of boats is hardly my idea of good dolphin watching, but Dave is apparently a bit of a celebrity since he turned up a couple of weeks ago and usually puts on a good show….

He appeared at the surface batting about a sizeable fish:

Dave plays with a fish
Dave plays with a fish

and then spent a long time underwater, building up to his big show stopping move. And blimey, it certainly was worth the wait, and amazingly my camera was poised for action. He knew there were plenty of enthusiastic onlookers to impress.

Boatload of dolphin fans
Boatload of dolphin fans

...and a motley assortment of kayakers

Dave hurled himself skywards to an unreserved gasp of amazement and appreciation from all the onlookers. He is a big dolphin, perhaps twelve feet long so his jump probably cleared 15 foot. Wow.

Dave the dolphin
Dave the dolphin

Pity about the jet ski messing up the pic

perfect re-entry
perfect re-entry

Tom Daly would have been proud of Dave’s re-entry ….hardly a splash. After a bit more lolloping about Dave was a bit more elusive, the boats dispersed and I headed back to Ilfracombe, but not before a quick leg stretch on yet another top quality beach.

Combe Martin beach
Combe Martin beach

Upon arrival back in Ilfracombe my gaze was drawn to the extraordinary (in both size and shape) statue at the end of the pier,sword held aloft.. I’m sure it wasn’t there when I set off, although I suspect it probably was.

In fact it was so engrossing in a grotesque sort of a way that I nearly tipped the kayak over, a kayak that has negotiated many a tide race and sloshy sea without a wobble. Needless to say it was created by Damien Hirst.

Damien Hirst's 'Verity'
Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’

I’m not sure that the name ‘Verity’ does the statue justice, It looks more like a Bertha.

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3 thoughts on “Dave and Verity

  1. Rupert what camera do you use, I need to get a waterproof camera after (stupidly) killing my,non-waterproof,camera.You obviously use yours a lot and get some great shots so would welcome a recommendation from you.

    1. Hi Paul,

      I carry two cameras. A waterproof Panasonic lumix DMC FT1 which is a point and shoot that I keep in my lifejacket. Actually although it claims to be waerproof it is beginning to leak after a couple of years.

      Also I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ 28 with a nice 18X telephoto lens which I keep in a dry bag.

      I symapathise with your comments about wrecking non-waterproof cameras. My record is not good and my insurance company will not insure them any more. And watch out for waterproof cameras, most of which aren’t as watertight as they claim to be. I think I sent three back over the period of a couple of years, all of which were replaced (fortunately)

      regards

      Rupert

      1. Thanks for that Rupert, I shall look into the FZ 28.
        We get out as often as we can from Crackington into the ‘Watery Grave’ ,stunning scenery even if we don’t catch anything. Amazes me how you deal with catches like the Tope and Conger Eel on a Kayak. Might bump into you some time. Cheers Paul

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