Kayak Fishing the Mull of Galloway – Part 2

This was my second kayak fishing trip to the Mull of Galloway. The first was 3 years ago and it is something I had planned on doing every year over the bank holiday May weekend but bad weather put to rest the last 2 planned trips. However, mother nature looked favourably on Nathan and I this year. We were also keen to get our first tope. Nathan had a hookup on our first trip there which had him getting dragged about all over the bay but he never got it to the surface and ever since then I have been keen to get in on the action. Could this year be the year…..

We set off after work on the Friday and headed straight across to the Sands of Luce holiday park at the base of Luce Bay. This was the first time I had camped here but I will definitely be going back. The park was clean and had been recently refurbished with a fun bar for food and drink in the evenings.

On arrival it was a case of quickly getting the tent up before darkness fell and then a few cheeky pints to help us sleep. The weather was lovely and the wind light which meant one thing – midges! They certainly helped us pick up the pace when putting the tent together.

All set up and ready for a drink:
Camping Sounds of Luce Holiday Park

On Saturday morning we had planned on heading straight out to Luce Bay in a forecast light offshore breeze. However, as per 3 years ago, the weather here seems to have its own micro-climate. The wind was the opposite direction to forecast and 3 times as strong. This called for a trip to Port Logan to fish in shelter under the high cliffs. It was no hardship as the scenery around Port Logan is brilliant.

A nice place to paddle:
Kayak Fishing Port Logan

Plenty of pollock and coalfish were found but nothing of any size:
Kayak Fishing Pollock - Mull of Galloway

We anchored up for a bit and found plenty of the less popular dogfish:
Kayak Fishing Mull of Galloway

After a good 4-5 hours of fishing it was time to head in for some food and to see if we could re-energise to fish Luce Bay in the evening if the wind dropped. We had spent a lot of time searching for mackerel to use as tope bait but couldn’t find any.

By 5pm on the Saturday, the wind dropped to almost nothing. It was sunny and really warm. We almost settled for a few beers and a relaxing evening by the tent but the midges again, gave us extra encouragement to get back out on the water. This time, bait fishing at anchor in Luce Bay was in order.

We paddled out to a spot we had enjoyed success at 3 years ago. Once past the 30ft mark we found plenty of mackerel. It seems they were all in the bay rather than on the west side. I began to think that this was boding well for the tope fishing.

Mackerel Luce Bay

I dropped anchor and Nathan tethered next to me about 20 feet away. I put 2 rods down. One with a mackerel on a barbless circle hook for the tope and one lighter rod with squid for anything else that might be about.

We didn’t have to wait long. The first fish to the side of my kayak was a small thornback:

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray - Scotland

Followed by a bigger one which put up a good fight on a 6lb class rod in the tide:

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray - South West Scotland

Next up were some dogfish followed by my first red gurnard. I had always wanted one of these and find them a stunning fish:

red gurnard - South West Scotland Kayak

Shortly after this, things went a little mental. Nathan’s tope rod started taking line. Initially this was in stops and starts. Something was toying with him. Just as I was about to bring my tope rod in to keep things simple mine starting to take line. As if in on it together, we both had a fish on and chaos ensued. Nathan got dragged one way and me the other. Perhaps tethering was not a good idea!

After plenty of adrenaline, we got both fish to the surface. Mine was not a tope after all but still a first for me. It was a bull huss. I can see why they call them bull’s. This thing had a serious attitude problem. I managed a couple of pictures but it was not very obliging and was returned quickly.

Kayak Fishing Luce Bay - Bull Huss

Kayak Fishing Luce Bay - Angry Bull Huss

Nathan on the other hand had accomplished our mission and had a lovely tope at the side of his kayak. We had read up a lot on how to handle these but there is reading and then there is doing! It was interesting to say the least getting such a large fish across the yak but Nathan did a grand job quickly unhooking it, getting some photo’s and releasing it from where it came.

Well done Nathan:

Kayak Fishing for Tope - Scotland

After this it became a bit of a species session. In the evening I had caught coalfish, pollock, grey gurnard, red gurnard, dog fish, thornbacks, mackerel and huss but no tope. The sun was getting low in the sky and we decided to give it another 30 minutes or so before paddling in.

It was now my turn for some action. Click, click, click went the Abu 7000. The clicks then got progressively quicker and louder and it was fish on! It felt very different to anything I had hooked before and was like an express train. I was grinning ear to ear and my heart was pumping. It surfaced 3 times almost like it just wanted to say hello before diving back down to the depths.

Tope fishing Scotland

After 5 minutes the fight was over and the tope was ready to bring onto the kayak. That is what I thought anyway. Once on the yak it became very lively. Still, I managed to unhook quite quickly, Nathan took a picture and it swam away strongly which was a great site.

Kayak Fishing Tope Scotland

It was then time to head in to a beautiful view of the sun dropping down over Luce Bay:
Luce Bay, South West Scotland, Sunset

Saturday night we were in the mood to celebrate. The pub at the holiday park was suitably lively which was entertaining and once last orders were called a few more were had in the tent.

Sounds of Luce Holiday Park Bar

Relaxing - Sounds of Luce Holiday Park

Sunday came and we were not as quick to get out as we had hoped! We had one more fishing session to get in before we were to head back to the Toon. The weather was glorious once more so we headed back out into Luce Bay to see if we could get back in on the tope action. It didn’t disappoint. Mackerel were caught once more and Nathan was the first one into a fish. This was giving a great account of itself:

Playing a big fish - Luce Bay

It turned out to be the biggest of our trip. Does anyone want to suggest a size? I’m not confident in estimating this type of fish.

Big tope on the kayak - South West Scotland

Big tope on the kayak - South West Scotland

Big Tope - Scotland

Then it was my turn. I was becoming totally hooked on this type of fishing. The sheer power of these fish and the fight was an absolute pleasure. Cod and pollock fishing might never be the same again!

Kayak fishing for Tope

It wasn’t as big as Nathan’s but a lot of fun all the same:

Kayak Fishing Tope Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Tope Mull of Galloway

By this point we had 2 tope in just over an hour and a half and 4 tope in total within 24 hours so figured that was pretty amazing seeing as we were both tope virgins before the trip. Much to my suprise, there was still time for one more rod bender! This was the smallest of the lot but perfectly formed:

Tope fishing - Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Tope

Kayak Fishing Tope Dumfries & Galloway

At this point it was time to head back in to get the tent packed up before the long drive home. I was shattered but on cloud nine.

I’m pretty sure I will have to make my way across again before the summer is up and look forward to the next years bank holiday May weekend.

Video of the weekends tope fishing action:

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Black Middens

When my favourite spots are all blown out or have too much swell hitting them I have a few options in order to get my fix. These are the river mouth at Wansbeck, Cullercoats (if the sea is just about do-able) or Black Middens inside the mouth of the river Tyne. Black Middens is very easy to launch from. There is parking at the top of the beach and the slip is a gentle slope. It is nearly always accessible despite sea conditions. The only exception to this is a big Easterly or North Easterly swell that comes right in through the sea defences.

Once out I stick to the North end to prevent having to cross a rather busy shipping channel. It starts off shallow with a mixed sand and rock bottom. I’ve caught a good number of flatties in this area. Further along the sea wall it gets rocky. Cod can be caught here, especially when the sea has been rough prior to the trip out.

I have launched here a number of times when other spots would have been fine as it gives easy access to the reefs around King Edwards Bay. In addition, the end of the pier has some great pollock fishing if you can stay in position long enough against the strong flow. It is best to fish this area at slack water with no swell as conditions can deteriorate very quickly. On a fast tide run, the water gets very confused.

Just North of the North sea wall there is some nice sandy ground that holds big plaice. A friend of mine caught a lovely 3.5lb plaice from there.

Be careful if there is a match on or if people are fishing from the pier. Give them plenty of space so as not to have any nasty accidents with flying tackle.

Kayak Fishing Black Middens

The road down to Black Middens. Park at the car park at the top or at the side of the road if it isn’t busy.

Kayak Fishing Black Middens

Black Middens offers a lot of shelter when it is too rough else where.


Fish I have caught from this area:

Whiting

Whiting

Pollock

Pollock

Plaice

Plaice

Dab

Dab

Cod

Cod

Coalfish

Coalfish

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Blyth, Northumberland

The regular launch for Blyth is at a place called ‘hole in the wall’. There is a small car park just before you get to the barrier at Blyth Marina which is free of charge and where there is a ‘hole in the wall’ to allow access to the beach. There is a little bit of a lip to get over from the car park to the beach but it isn’t major and very easy if there are two of you. The distance from the car park to the water is very short (especially at high tide) often meaning there is no need for a trolley. From this launch spot you have a lot of choices when it comes to styles of fishing and species to target.

Firstly, you have a lot of sand banks inshore that provide good flatty fishing. I’ve had a lot of plaice and dabs from Blyth. I’ve had a few of the nasty weaver fish too. If this doesn’t take your fancy then there is catfish reef. This is a reef about ¾ of a mile off shore that can hold good cod on the right day. You can also paddle to the reefs just north of Blyth pier (see Cambois for more details on this area). The highlight of this spot for me is the wrecks. They are numerous but do require a bit of experience and good sea state as they are a good distance off shore. These hold the usual cod and Pollock but also provide the odd ling as well. In summer, Blyth is another mackerel hot spot and can be caught just about anywhere previously mentioned. Blyth is one of my favourite locations and one I hope to fish a lot more in the future.

Fish I have caught in this area:

Ling

Ling

Mackerel

Mackerel

Plaice

Plaice

Dab

Dab

Pollock

Pollock

Coalfish

Coalfish

Weaver

Weaver

Cod

Cod

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Whitley Bay

    Kayak Fishing at Whitley Bay – Location Guide

The location:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay Kayak Fishing Location overlooking St Marys Island and Lighthouse

Whitley Bay is a fantastic all round kayak fishing location. It has a lot of varied terrain offering quite a few species in close proximity to each other. It is also relatively sheltered as a lot of the large swell gets blocked by the outer reef allowing for an easy paddle out (particularly at mid tide) when other spots such as Tynemouth would be hard work.

The bay is shallow until you get to the outer reef whereby it drops away quite quickly. Most of the ground is rocky making it an excellent spot for cod fishing. Around the light house area there are large drop off’s and there is always a good chance of a pollock and wrasse. Further North of the Island there is some large kelp beds which are also worth a look at. It is rumoured that bass can be caught here on the inside reef but I’m yet to get one.

Further out towards yellow can (a marker approximately 1 mile out to sea) you will find more rough ground in approximately 60ft of water. This is again, cod country and if you are adventurous, there are a few wrecks not too far from there that are worth checking out.

Whitley Bay is one of my favourite areas to kayak fish from and has produced good size fish for me with cod and pollock both over 10lb fairly close to the shore.

Whitley Bay offers a few different options when it comes to launching the kayak.

Access Point 1:

kayak fishing spot St Marys Island Whitley Bay

Access Point: Ramp to St Marys Island and Lighthouse at Whitley Bay

This is a very easy spot to launch from at high tide. You can wheel the kayak down the road right into the water. At low tide it can be a bit of a pain getting the kayak up over the raised road but it is do-able (especially if there are two of you). The parking is not free though and at time of writing is £1.20 per hour which is a downside.

Access Point 2:

Whitley Bay Boat Station Kayak Fishing

Access Point: Steep ramp from the Golf Course at Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay Boat House Kayak Fishing

Access Point: Steep ramp at the Golf Course looking East at Whitley Bay

This is probably the most popular access point amongst local kayak fisherman. People park opposite the small golf club car park and walk across the dual carriageway. Parking here is free (note: the golf car park is not). The access is OK going down but it is steep. Going back up is a killer. It is only a short walk but the steepness can really test you. Especially if you are carry the extra weight of a good catch!

Access Point 3:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay access point 3

Access Point: Path from the car park at Whitley Bay

View from the road of the foot path that can be used to launch.

View from the road of the foot path that can be used to launch.

This is the spot that I launch from quite frequently as it is close to home. You can park in the large pay and display car park directly above the foot path and walk the kayak down. It is a good spot if you want access to the middle of the bay. The only problem is the last 10m stretch as this is over uneven rocks and pebbles.

Access Point 4:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay - Access point 4

Access Point: Easy ramp down to the middle of Whitley Bay beach

A view from the top of the concrete slip.  This is a very easy launch.

A view from the top of the concrete slip. This is a very easy launch.

This is the easiest access to the middle of the bay and is just slightly south of access point 3. The concrete ramp is wide and runs straight to the beach. It isn’t too steep either and is in quite good condition. The only problem is the distance to get to it as you will most likely still need to park at the large car park.


Fish I have caught in this area:

Coalfish

Coalfish

Cod

Cod

Ling

Ling

Mackerel

Mackerel

Pollock

Pollock

Pouting

Pouting

Wrasse

Wrasse

Lobster

Lobster

Octopus

Octopus

Scorpion

Scorpion

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Short Kayak Fishing Trip – Tynemouth, 06-02-15

Hi All,

I managed to get out for a couple of hours this morning at Tynemouth. I just anchored up over rough ground close in at the North end and had cod a plenty. Approx a dozen overall. Most were small but a couple of better fish were found towards the end.

I’ve gone for a video for a change. This is my first attempt using footage from my Garmin Virb and Olympus Tough. This was also the first time I’d had a go at mounting the garmin behind me (less selfies!). I need to keep working at it so hopefully they will get a bit more interesting over time…..

Cheers,

James