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 – Tynemouth Longsands

I have fished Tynemouth a lot on the kayak but rarely see another kayak fisherman out there. I really rate it as a spot but it did take me a fair while to figure the place out and often came back empty handed in the early days.

The place is very versatile. There are plenty of sand banks that offer good dab and plaice fishing plus the odd grey gurnard. Whiting arrive in their droves over winter and are an easy target as the sun sets. One session resulted in half a dozen large whiting all in the space of 30 minutes. The largest just under 3lb!

There is rocky ground to the North end and South end of Longsands beach which offer good cod fishing, especially after an unsettled period. There are also some reefs in the middle of the bay which can produce the goods on the right day. I’ve fished these on a low tide in only 15-20ft of water and pulled out a number of large cod.

In summer, Longsands is my go to spot for mackerel. Once reports come in that mackerel have arrived I try to get out at Longsands to bag up on them for my lobster pots and for winter bait (plus a few for the BBQ!). They come in very close to the shore once the bait fish are around, particularly as the sun starts to set. I have also targeted mackerel on my Stand Up Paddle Board with an LRF rod…brilliant fun!

Access at Tynemouth is straight forward. There are slips at the North and South end of the bay. You can park on these if you get there early enough although you need to pay for it. In fact, all spots in Tynemouth require a parking ticket which is a downside. In addition, it can get very busy during the peak of summer. On occasion I’ve had trouble weaving my kayak in and out of the sun bathers. Early morning or late afternoon / evening solves this problem. Another thing to be slightly wary of is other people out in the water. It gets busy with swimmers and surfers. The beach picks up plenty of surf making so this is a spot to choose on a very small to flat swell forecast.

Launching from the North Slip at Tynemouth Longsands

Launching from the North Slip at Tynemouth Longsands

Kayak Fishing Launch Spot - South Slip at Tynemouth Longsands

Kayak Fishing Launch Spot – South Slip at Tynemouth Longsands

From Tynemouth you have a wide range of spots to try out

From Tynemouth you have a wide range of spots to try out

Fish I have caught in this area:

Grey Gurnard

Grey Gurnard

Mackerel

Mackerel

Cod

Cod

Plaice

Plaice

Dab

Dab

Whiting

Whiting

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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