Autumn Variety

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Back before the wind picked up a couple of weeks ago I had another attempt at tussling with sharks. It was a complete failure but I did catch a couple of unexpected non-fishy sea creatures.

Firstly this squid which aimed a water jet directly at me as it broke the surface. Surely just coincidence…they cannot be that clever. But maybe they are, and maybe that is why they give me the creeps. Fortunately I didn’t have to get it onboard to de-hook, it just let go of the mackerel bait.P1060342P1060346

And much to my astonishment, a few minutes later I hauled up my first ever kayak-caught cuttlefish. It shrouded itself in a cloud of bright red ink as it appeared at the surface, then changed its body colour from crimson to a sort of green. Remarkable. Not quite as creepy as a squid, but pretty weird all the same.

Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish

The sea has subsequently become a bit more lively which makes sitting about bottom fishing less appealing so it’s back to trolling lures. And another classic piece of bass action.

I was weaving in and out of all the little coves just round the corner from Mevagissey (good shelter from west wind) trolling a rubber sand eel behind. I paddled over a large kelp-covered rock only a few inches beneath the surface which I was certain would snag the lure. So I paddled flat out in order to make the lure float as close as possible to the surface as it was whipped along behind at a speed of about 6mph. Sure enough the rod bent over and line reeled out as the lure went over the rock, but to my disbelief it was because there was a 3lb bass on the end, not a kelp-covered boulder. Typical bass ambush tactics.

Mevagissey Bass
Mevagissey Bass

This fish was safely returned to the water.

On the paddle back to my launch point at Porthpean I stumbled across a group of four Great-Northern Divers, my first of the autumn. Probably a family group as they kept calling to each other, and probably just arrived in from somewhere like Iceland. That’s pretty remarkable as well. No GPS.P1060520

Porthpean
Porthpean

My next autumnal extraordinary sea creature encounter was under the gaze of Exmoor in North Devon (good shelter from a southerly wind). A really impressive location boasting the highest sea cliffs in mainland Britain.

Exmoor cliffs
Exmoor cliffs

So a suitable spot to meet one of the biggest sunfish I have ever seen. As usual I first saw its dorsal fin ‘corkscrewing’ at the surface. I paddled over gently for a bit of a snoop expecting the fish to dive, but instead it just blattered on and brushed against the bottom of my kayak. So I arced round for another encounter and this time the dustbin lid-shaped fish seemed to deliberately lift its head out of the water so that it could eyeball me more clearly.

Was it my imagination or did it momentarily freeze as our eyes engaged? We didn’t connect however as the next second it had crash-dived and was gone for good.(or maybe we did connect)

 

Exmoor and sunfish
Exmoor and sunfish
Sunfish eyeballing
Sunfish eyeballing

And so it is back to the shelter of the estuaries as the weather deteriorates further. The River Tamar between Saltash and Devonport provides interest if you like your shoreline to be made of metal. P1060537P1060550

I probably prefer the Torridge estuary which provides access a long way upriver towards Torrington on a big Spring tide and it’s not so cluttered up with hardware. And some nice autumnal scenes on a chilly October morning.P1060638_01

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And to reward me for my effort of turfing out of bed when the rest if the world was asleep(apart from the chap in the scull), I had a great prolonged view of an otter hunting in the upper tidal reaches. A very big otter, bigger than any I had seen in Scotland. It spent much of its time ‘porpoising’ in the rapids, a good way of taking a breath without being swept downstream, I suppose.

Big otter
Big otter
more typical view of an otter....just as it dives
more typical view of an otter….just as it dives

At one stage it sped off underwater into the heart of a dense riverside bush (I could see its trail of bubbles) and then started to call with an urgent  ‘chipping’ sound, before returning to fishing.

 

 

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