Archive for November, 2013

Many miles, Few Fish

November 28, 2013

The trouble is, any fish is an anticlimax after you’ve heaved a couple of 50lb plus Tope on board. So I’ve hit a bit of a lull in the fishing , but am still clocking up the distance in my very excellent Cobra Expedition kayak. Fast, stable, and of course most important of all, a Sit-on-Top.

Cobra Expedition on a rare flat calm day at Bude

Cobra Expedition on a rare flat calm day at Bude

The big Autumn winds and swell have once again forced me to cower up my local estuary of the River Torridge, but this is none the less attractive when it bedecked in the bright colours of autumn and resounds to the piping of Redshank and Curlew and even the high-pitched squeak of a pair of otters.

Stunning Torridge Estuary

Stunning Torridge Estuary

The only fairly hefty open sea venture I have had recently was across Torbay from Teignmouth to Brixham. I found somewhere to stick a fishing rod behind my kayak seat and proceeded to drag a lure behind me for over 25 miles. I was hoping for something rather more exciting than mackerel as I ventured out into the tide-race round the back of the Ore Stone and…..bingo…..a decent sized bass.

Torquay Bass

Torquay Bass

I was a bit peckish by the time I rolled into Brixham harbour so lurched into the fish-and-chip shop beside the quay. As usual I felt a bit awkward suddenly milling about amongst the crowds when I had just spent the previous four hours out of sight of humanity, so opted to munch my lunch on board, while trying to get my head around how small, and unstable, the Golden Hind looked. 

Golden Hind, Greasy chips

Golden Hind, Greasy chips

And I had another rush of line as I hooked my only garfish of the season on the way back off the end of Hope’s Nose. This one actually leaped clear of the water as I reeled it in, Marlin style. (don’t kid yourself). It was quite a reasonable fish, though.

Garfish

Garfish

The Southwest coast of England is a disappointment if you have trainspotting in your genes. Don’t panic, I havn’t actually written a number down in my loco log book for over 40 years, but as one of my old chums from platform 4 at Reading General once pointed out ‘Once a trainspotter, always a trainspotter’.  I always thought he  issued forth more hot gas than the Flying Scotsman, but when I found myself at Dawlish Warren on a bridge over the railway line having left my kayak on the beach, his fumes maybe had a bit more substance.

Dawlish Warren at its best.

Dawlish Warren at its best.

The only loafing about-type fishing I have done in the last few months was during the family holiday on the Costa del Sol. I broke out of my usual mode of ‘lure only’ and bought some sardines from the local supermarket. I legered them to the bottom in the crystal clear blue water but when I was surrounded by fish at the surface wolfing down the scraps I switched to freelining tiny fragments of sardine, and had top entertainment battling with mackerel at the surface. So did my chum Harv.

Harv vs mackerel

Harv vs mackerel

I also caught a couple of other pelagic fish which I have yet to identify:

mystery fish

mystery fish

I do enjoy this sort of offshore fishing as , just like in the UK, over a mile offshore there is a high chance of an exciting wildlife encounter. Not just fish. This time a Cory’s Shearwater:

Cory's Shearwater

Cory’s Shearwater

And a widely scattered and not very inquisitive and fast moving gang of common dolphins.

costa del sol dolphin

costa del sol dolphin

Unfortunately it also seems you attract the attention of the Guardia Civil who come over to check you out and say they love England because they once visited an aunt in Leicester. I was convinced they were going to confiscate my rods (as you need a licence to sea fih in Spain)  but I think they were more focussed on seeing how fast their brand new powerboat would go.

Spanish marine police

Spanish marine police

My efforts at trolling close to the shore resulted in in a load of lesser weavers which were generally so small you wouldn’t know they were on the line. But then I felt the familiar multiple powerful tug of a nice big bass when I was passing over a reef. In fact it was the first bass I had ever ‘hunted’ down because I had seen a shoal of mullet bursting at the surface and suspected they were being harried by such a predator. Exactly the same as last year…..a big-headed thin bodied fish, seemingly 50% mouth.

7lb bass

7lb bass

And over exactly the same reef using a deep-diving plug I hooked another strong-tugging fish which I think was a type of grouper.

Reef fish that didn't look too edible so was put back.

Reef fish that didn’t look too edible so was put back.

To finish with in Spain I really went wild and tried some fresh squid as bait. And caught a load of extraordinarily small bream. Three different species, in fact.

Black bream

Black bream

Spanish Bream

Spanish Bream

 

....and Red Pogie (or something like that.

….and Red Pogie (or something like that.

Spain is a great place if you want to enthuse your offspring into enjoying the thrills of kayaking. Back in blighty they are forever getting cold.

WARM water...what?

WARM water…what?

But for the time being its back to winter survival mode. Drysuit and gloves and balaclava and trying to avoid the excuse not to go for a paddle. No need when there are views like tis to enjoy. Me plus kayak in the bottom of the pic.

Durlston Bay near Swanage

Durlston Bay near Swanage

And when the sea is too rough there’s always Roadford Lake to provide a bit of calm water.

Roadford Lake

Roadford Lake

Just a pity I didn’t manage to get to Lundy as I had planned this year. Went to have a look a few times  but the kayak didn’t get off the roof!

Kayak sraining at straps to go to Lundy

Kayak sraining at straps to go to Lundy