Renderforest Review – video intros

I have been wanting to create a professional intro to my kayakfishing and sup surfing videos for a while now. I came across renderforest.com and it was great! I was able to choose a suitable template, add my text and my logo and then preview the intro video. It was simple and the finished product looks great. There are hundreds of templates to choose from. If you want to find out more visit www.renderforest.com.

Below shows a video of the simple editor:

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 – Newbiggin-By-The-Sea

This is a very popular spot amongst kayak fisherman in the North East. The car park at the north of the town provided very easy access to the beach and is free. Park here and wheel the kayak down the short concrete slip onto the sandy beach. The sand is soft which is a little tiring but you don’t have too far to pull the kayak before reaching the sea, especially at high tide.

Once on the water you have a sandy bay and sand banks straight out which give good flatty fishing. I’ve caught whiting from here as well in the winter. This isn’t the reason to come to Newbiggin though. Newbiggin is in my mind one of the best cod fishing spots in our area. In winter myself and few friends regularly head up to Newbiggin (when the weather allows) to fish church point. This is the rocky headland just North of the launch spot. The ground here is very rough and provides a haven for cod, some of which are real specimens. In winter we anchor up and fish with bait but lures also work really well in the summer months when the water is clearer.

Close in from church point is large areas of kelp. These hold cod and most likely hold good Pollock although I’ve never specifically targeted them. This area won me the Geordie Christmas Comp in 2014 with a lovely 7lb kelp cod.

The tidal flow around church point can be strong. In fact, the flow here is stronger than anywhere else I’ve written about with the exception of the river Tyne. If you get a good day at Newbiggin you will come back on a regular basis. It is a great spot but one to be a little cautious of if you are new to the sport and the art of anchoring.

Fish I have caught in this area:

Cod

Cod

Whiting

Whiting

Dab

Dab

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 – Wansbeck River Mouth

This is an alternative spot to fish when all other options are out of the question due to the weather. Even in the strongest winds and large swells you can fish here. It is very sheltered. This option should be a good spot for fishing for flounder on light tackle although I’ve only tried once and I was not successful. It is shallow but many of my friends have caught fish here. I will be back and hopefully I’ll be able to update this post with more detail.

Simple launch into the river

Simple launch into the river

Fish I hope to catch!

Flounder

Flounder

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 – Cambois

This is another fun spot for kayak fishing. There is a concrete ramp that provides easy access to the beach. There are some concrete blocks at the top to prevent boat launches but there is enough of a gap for a kayak. The launch from Cambois is simple at low and mid tide. You do need to be careful at high tide if there is even a slight swell on as the water comes right over the bottom of the concrete ramp and even a 1-2ft wave can cause problems on re-entry.

Once out at sea you have a lot of rough ground. The windmills are a good place to start. Here you have 30-40ft of water with sharp drop offs all around providing good ground for cod and Pollock. I’ve even caught a dogfish here which was a first for me in the North East. Mackerel are also commonly caught here in the summer. On an incoming tide I often head straight for the windmills and drift right down to Blyth pier. This covers a lot of rough ground and normally produces a good cod or two. Friends of mine have had cod over 10lb from this area and it is certainly worth a shot if you have your cod goggles on 

Cambois kayak fishing

Easy slip to launch from at Cambois

Fish I have caught in this area:

Mackerel

Mackerel

Cod

Cod

Pollock

Pollock

Dogfish

Dogfish

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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Stealth Profisha 475 – at anchor and paddling in swell

Hi All,

This is just a short post to show the Stealth Profisha fishing kayak in action in messy 3-4 ft swell in the North East of England. I often fish at anchor in winter with the anchor running from the stern of the kayak. I’ve seen some comments that the kayak is no good at anchor but this has not been my experience. I find it very comfortable as the video shows.

The Stealth Profisha also excels in the choppy stuff. The secondary stability really kicks in making it a real joy to paddle when the sea has picked up a little.

Fun cod session at Whitley Bay (plus two PB’s!)

Hi All,

I managed 3 hours on Sunday the 25th. The forecast wasn’t great with 10mph, gusting 18mph SE winds and fairly choppy seas but I hadn’t been out in ages so decided to go for it. The worst that would happen is I would paddle out and come back in and just that was good enough for me.

I headed out around lunchtime with slack tide. The water was much clearer than I was expecting so first off was lure fishing with my staple Fiiish minnows and H2O Artic Sandeels.

Paddling out:

First drop in approximately 20-25ft of water and I was into cod amongst the kelp. I had 4 in quick succession but all were small. Still, it was a good start and great fun.

I then headed out to a drop off at 30-35ft of water (but surrounded by 45-50ft) and anchored up. 2 rods bait fishing with lug tipped with squid and I was straight into cod again. These were still small though.

It was time for a bit of ground baiting with diced mackerel I had caught in the summer. Berley bomb getting prepared:

I put bait down little but often and a better stamp of fish began to appear. Now, it could have been the hundred other factors going on down there but I would like to think it was the ground baiting 🙂

At last. Something bending the rod a little. This is the Ugly Stik 12-20lb so quite heavy class.

A lovely coloured 3-4lb kelp cod:

Another good one. Bigger at 8lb. A new PB for me (previous was 7lb). The strange thing about this one was it took the bait on the rise as I was winding in, a good 10-15 ft from the bottom:

Big fish like this go back. I just keep a couple of 3-4lb ones for the table. Good to see him swimming off strongly:

During the action at anchor I lost 2 rigs. Not to snags but to fish. Both felt like great fights. On the first occasion, I was a bit miffed. Second time around I was getting annoyed. This all changed though as the 12-20lb rod lurched over into a good fish (it would have been awesome on the 6-12lb rod sitting to my left…)

The fight was very strong initially. I couldn’t budge him from the bottom and thought I might be stuck. Then it gave up and rose to the surface quickly. There it was. My PB cod record smashed twice in one session :). This one measuring 10 and a half pound (or thereabouts. The scales were wobbling all over the place in the building chop). I was over the moon:

Again, returned safely to get even bigger. A few more cod fell to the hook after that but none anywhere near the last two so it was time to head back in buzzing! I just need to find another weather window soon to get back out amongst them.

Cheers,

James

I put together a video of the session for those interested:

Southwold and Smooth Hounds – 2 firsts for me!

Kayak fishing Southwold and catching smooth hound pups – both first for me. I brought my scupper pro kayak and gear down to a family holiday in Southwold with permission for a couple of early sessions during the week. This morning was the first weather window and it was great. I was on the water for 6am launching right next to Southwold pier and conditions were lovely. There was a slight swell on from a SE blow the day before but other than that it was spot on.

P8020004

Things that were immediately different to up North were the very sandy / cloudy water, the long shallow sand banks, the seriously strong tidal run and the very short slack water (approx 10 minutes!)

I paddled out about half a mile before finding a shelf which dropped to 30ft. I anchored up with the tide on ebb and sat back and enjoyed the scenery.

P8020008

P8020014

I got bites from the off. I was fishing running ledger rigs. One with ragworm and one with lugworm. All the action was from smooth hound pups who almost all took the ragworm. These were all small but I didn’t care. It was a new species for me so I was happy.

P8020010

Untitled-3

Just as tide slackened a small pod of porpoises (3, possibly 4) came out to play which was a real treat. I found it almost impossible to get a good shot.

porpoise

Almost as soon as the tide slackened the kayak swung and I was into the tidal flow. It was spooky how quickly this all happened. Flow was really quick. When not at anchor I was moving at 2.5 knots. I’m glad I brought my 1.5kg anchor rather than the usual 0.7kg one I use at home. Bites stopped at this point so I brought the anchor up and headed back in to about 20ft of water.

I got a few more pups at this spot before calling it a day and heading back in to continue the family holiday.

P8020023

A pretty non eventful fishing session (6 small smooth hounds) but it was great to be out at a new spot and catch a new species. Hopefully next time I’ll find a bass!

Cheers,

James

Update: I since went out a few days later. The fishing was much the same (small smooth hounds) but the sun rise was an absolute corker:

P8060036

Kayak Fishing North East – 7 species, a great morning

I managed a mornings session yesterday (24/7/15) before the weather turned. Forecast was for very light winds and with little swell for a few days clarity was also going to be good. The clarity part was right and for the most part the wind was light although it kicked up quite a bit towards the end. The wind always seems to make an appearance these days.

I couldn’t resist a couple of pictures of the light house before launch given how nice the conditions where.

My plan was to get some paddle fitness in and mix it up a little and go for different species. I’ve not tried this specifically before but I’ve been spurred on by the great pics of the Oxwich species comp. I initially planned to paddle the couple of miles or so straight up the coast to the sand bars at Seaton in search of flatties. I haven’t targeted these at all this year but really enjoy eating them!

On approach to the light house I could hear the barking and roaring of the seals. The island is teeming with them at the moment including a lot of pups. I know some find them a pest but I personally love seeing them (as long as they do not get too close!). It must be a sign of good fish stocks but it cannot help fishing when they are only a few feet away!

This area screams Pollock and temptation of starting fishing before the flatty ground got the better of me. A quick cast out into a favourite spot of mine and bam, straight in! Not a Pollock though but a nice Ballan Wrasse which fell to a 12g Black Fiiish Minnow.

1 species down. I had a couple more casts but then managed to get back to the plan and continued to paddle to Seaton Sluice (but trolling a lure in case a hungry Pollock was about).

On arrival to Seaton Sluice it took me a little while to find a nice sand bar and then I set about drifting spoon rigs. One had black lug tipped with squid, the other a white XL Isome Worm. I was keen to see how they compared. The flatties were very obliging. Nothing big enough for tea but half a dozen caught (mostly dabs with the 2 plaice) before thoughts of rough ground started. 2 fell to Isome worms. 4 to black lug. I also caught a couple of mackerel which took it to 4 species.

I then paddled to some ground near Hollywell Bay that grabbed my attention on the paddle across to Seaton Sluice. First drop with an inline 4” slug go and bang! A good cod of about 4lb came to the surface after a good fight on light gear. This action continued for about half an hour with a cod a drop. Some were pretty small but good fish were amongst them. I also tried the HTO Artic Eel for the first time in rhubarb and custard. This is a weedless lure similar to the Fiiish Black Minnow but slightly cheaper and has a built in rattle. In addition, it is longer and thinner with the hook running further along the body. They worked very well for me for cod and pollock and I look forward to using them again (see vid).

Some cod shots. Lures finding a good stamp:


On the drift back towards the light house I had a couple of surprise hits. Two pouting / scotch haddock fell to my lures. I have caught these around yellow can off Whitley Bay before but not in this area. They were also PB’s for me. One had thick brown bands running down its body. The other was solid brown with no bandings. Are these the same species or can I add another one to my list? Any info appreciated.

Pouting with bands:

Dark / brown Pouting (double hook up with a good cod!):

With 6 species under my belt I wanted a Pollock. These had been a little thin on the ground over the last few sessions with only 1 or 2 being caught after quite a bit of effort so I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out. Fortunately, luck was with me today. I switched to a more natural HTO Artic eel colour (the “Grippan”) and paddled to some thick kelp beds that I have had luck in before. I didn’t have to wait long before I was in with a good size Pollock. I love these fish and cannot get enough of the fight they give.

Pollock action shot:

A good start to the Pollock fishing:

There were a lot. On almost every drop or cast and retrieve you could see one following the lure on the fish finder.

A lot of big smiles and grins from ear to ear followed as 3 more came to the yak but none bigger than the first.


7 species done and it was time to head home. That fix will keep me going for a while. What a great hobby of ours Kayak Fishing is.

A video for those with a spare 5 minutes:

Cheers,
James

Kayak Fishing – Skarnsundet Fjordcentre, Norway

Hi All,

Just returned from 4 days kayak fishing at the Skarnsundet Fjordcenter in Norway. I went with Dean, Jeff and his wife Janet. It was quite an adventure involving 12 hours travel, 2 flights, 2 car journeys and a train journey. Unfortunately the fishing did not live up to expectation but it was a fun trip all the same.

I’ve put together a video to give you an idea of the place and the set up. Hope you like it. Feel free to ask questions if you are thinking of heading over.

Cheers,

James

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

Rigging my Stealth Profisha 475 Kayak

Hi All,

I picked up a Stealth Profisha 475 from Chris a few weeks back. The weather has been pretty poor on the North East coast for fishing so I’ve not even managed to catch a fish on it yet. I’ve had a couple of paddles in the mouth of the Tyne just to get use to her, practice self rescues and test out the rigging / fish finder etc. I haven’t done anything revolutionary. The set up is all pretty standard but thought I would post what I had done as it took me a lot of internet research to find out what mods people had done and most sites were overseas. This might help people who are thinking of purchasing a stealth kayak.

I’m in no means saying this is a good way to do it but I think it will work well for me. If you are interested in the stealth kayaks you might want to read on, if not, just ignore.

Firstly, the kayak:

Now for some of the small mods:

The permanent rudder is going to get some abuse although I’ve heard of no reports of any real issues. Just as a precaution I’ve fitted some SUP paddle blade protector to the rudder. I do quite a bit of stand up paddle boarding in the flat and on the waves and use this on a fairly expensive carbon paddle I have and it has done a great job of protecting it. It is non-obtrusive but I’ll have to see how it fairs on the rudder but it should offer a bit of protection for the odd rock.

The kayak arrives with a ‘battery box’ which when removed gives you access to the outer layer of fibreglass where the transducer will be mounted. I built a foam mount just to keep the glue in and stuck it down with silicone. This shows the space you have available. It is a bit fiddly. I initially had grand designs of a fancy raymarine fish finder but got a really good deal on a Lowrance Elite 4 which I had on my previous kayak so stuck with what I new. They are currently only £140 for the Elite 4 fish finder / GPS combo at Cactusnavigation.

The fish hatch is vast. I needed to figure out a way to secure things down in there otherwise they could drift to the front or under the seating area and be useless to me as I wouldn’t be able to reach them. I normally just take a couple of small dry bags of tackle so fitted some elastic and some hooks to the original mounts that are used to strap down the hatch so no extra drilling was required.  A really simple mod that will hopefully keep things within reach.

I wanted to stop the hatch from fully opening and whacking against the front of the kayak and then being hard to reach to close. The hatch will have a fish finder fitted to it so wanted the hatch to fully open but leave the fish finder slightly off the front of the kayak. I just added a clipped bit of dyneema and some self adhesive velcro to the lid. I added this to just one side initially but have since added it on both as it wasn’t stable enough in the brisk winds I have tested it in so far.

I wanted to have a fish finder on top of the hatch that could easily be removed and stored away in inside the hatch during surf launches and landings. I found a post overseas where someone had raised the hinge attachments slightly so that a chopping board could be squeezed underneath without having to add any further holes. Hopefully this will become clearer when you look at the pictures. I cut 4 square pieces of black chopping board and put the hinge screws through these where the kayak attached to the hatch lid. This raises the hinge up enough. In addition I cut 2 ‘prongs’ into the chopping board that will be used to mount the finder. This will slot firmly underneath the hatch lid between each pair of screws.

I then stuck some heavy duty velcro down to the hatch and the chopping board for the finder.

This is how it looks in place. It is much more secure than it looks. I really cannot yank it off vertically. I have to prize the velcro apart first and then slide it away from the hinge so I’m happy it will not fall off accidentally.

I then drilled through the carbon fibre hatch and added a waterproof gland for the fish finder transducer / power cable.  I’ve also fitted a railblaza mount at the front to use for trolling.  The stealth has 2 45 degree rod holders behind the seat for trolling but I’ve got a re-occurring shoulder injury that flares up quickly when constantly looking over my shoulder when paddling so really like having a rod almost vertical at the front where I can just look at. 

This shows the completed chopping board. I added a few bits of thin elastic to mount a couple of bits I use a lot to save having to always dip into the hatch.

The hatch on the stealth is secured by 2 tie down straps. These are nice and sturdy and allow you to tie down the hatch nice and tight. They are pretty straightforward but I thought they could be a bit of a faff if I’m opening and closing the hatch on a regular basis, say at anchor and re-baiting. As a result I added a much quicker way of sealing the hatch. I wouldn’t use this method in rough seas or when landing / launching but it will work as a quick way of closing the lid. I didn’t need to drill any extra holes for this. I just made use of the existing bolts which secure the steel reel / rod holder bar within the hatch. I also added a couple more clips in case I need them for anything else.

Strips of self adhesive foam were put on either side of the hatch. On my last kayak a bit of foam was really useful just to temporarily but lures and rig hooks through when in a hurry.

A zig zag cleat was riveted to the side of the kayak to work with my anchor trolley.  I had to use rivets as there was no access to this area of the kayak. The kayak was ordered with the anchor mounts at either end of the kayak already attached. This was good as it meant they were already re-enforced in the hard to get to areas of the yak.

In my previous kayaks I’ve used a wet mount for the transducer. In this one I didn’t want the small hassle of filling it with water (and removing the water at the end of a session) so opted for sticking it in. This will also allow me to put the battery box back on, silicone it in and forget about it. The Lowrance Elite 4 is the same finder that I had on my previous kayak. I tested out the fish finder last night and all appeared ok except I cannot remember having the green band at the very top of the screen for the first 1.5-2ft of water. Does anyone know what this might be? I think I can live with it as the depth reading matched that on my Navionics Gold card and it seemed to pick up vegetation and rock structure but wondered if anyone knew what might be causing it in case it is a simple fix.

Now I just need to get out on it a lot so I can report back on whether it all works as intended and hopefully on how great a fishing platform it is. I’m really hoping mother nature gives me a few weather windows next week before I got back to teaching………

Cheers,

James

Loch Long and Port Ellen (Isle of Islay) – Aug 2014

I’ve just come back from a couple of weeks away on the west coast of Scotland. The weather was pretty poor, particularly in the 2nd week with non-stop rain and the wind made it difficult to get out regularly but I did manage a few sessions around loch long and one session on the Isle of Islay at Port Ellen. I was gutted not to get more sessions in on Islay as the place looked fantastic but the weather just didn’t play ball.

In the first week we were staying in a lodge just off holy loch. I wasn’t expecting much from this area having read many reports and being told how the fishing was poor having been over-fished and never recovering. My first outing was just for a couple of hours in the evening at Holy loch. My fish finder battery didn’t charge properly so I felt like I was fishing blind (I was surprised how reliant I’ve become on it). I just got one mackerel but really enjoyed the paddle and the scenery was stunning.

Pics of session 1:

Just the one mackerel on this trip.

The next session was at Ardentinny. This held some nice rock ledges along with a very heavily patrolled submarine exercise area. I felt like I was being watched the entire time! This session was only for a couple of hours but the area was full of small pollock. Bigger fish were there but it took a while to find ways to get through the small stuff.

Pics of session 2:

The rain was heavy but the scenery was great.

The first pollock aboard. This came to a small Minnow Fiiish.

The first of many cod.
20140806_193628 by james.dixon

Different tactics still produced small fish. They were super greedy!

Each drop of the lure showed a frantic number of hits from fish. The fish finder was going mental 🙂

Finally a better sized red cod.

Switching to cast and retrieve on deep diving lures resulted in a better size pollock

Followed by another small pollock. I’m amazed at how big a bait these fish will tackle. This lure is almost the same size!

Only the second wrasse I have ever caught. Is this just a small ballan wrasse or another species? If anyone knows, please let me know as I’m trying to push the number of different species I catch this year.

During another weather window I set out early in the morning from holy loch and paddled back around to the bay at Ardentinny. This was about a 6 mile paddle and probably my longest paddle to date although I hope to improve upon that significantly over time. I loved it. I didn’t do any fishing during the paddle, just deciding to keep a steady pace and take in the views. It took me about an hour and a half and then I had a few hours to fish before my wife and sun came to meet me for a bit of lunch on the beach at Ardentinny.

Pics of session 3:

The launch at 6am

Great conditions for a paddle

About half way there

Now it was time to begin fishing again. The last session I was amazed at how greedy small pollock can be. Now the small cod were getting in on the action!

Nature called but not a bad place for a bit of relief 🙂

I got a number of better pollock this session. They were loving the little pink and black lrf lures I had.

It was then time to leave Holy Loch and head for the Isle of Islay. On arrival the weather was lovely (this was not to last!). This was a picture of Port Ellen whilst munching on some fish and chips on the beach

This was the same beach the following morning. It rained for the entire session

There were a large number of rocky outcrops about half a mile out of the bay. I was sure I was going to get a lot of fish from these areas but the first hour was fruitless. I was being constantly watched by seals. I found this a bit disconcerting at times with up to 7 large seals staring at me at times. I could also see them flying beneath me on the fish finder. Clearly this wasn’t going to help the fishing but they were in large numbers everywhere I paddled. After a further paddle around the headland I found an area that appeared to have no seals. My luck then began to change.

A nice pollock to a jelly worm fished weedless:

A surprise coalfish taken on the pink and black lrf lure I had success with in Ardentinny:

At this point something brilliant happened. The seals were gone but I was joined by an otter. It got fairly close to me at one point, swimming on its back munching on a fish! It is moments like this that make me love this hobby more and more. I tried to get pics but they came out really poorly from my mobile phone but hopefully you can get the idea of how special a moment it was.

Can you spot it? Look for the 2 black dots in the background!

Zoomed in but really pixelated:

Another nice pollock to a deep diving lure which was being trolled. This lure was lost 5 minutes later when I had a really big hit and just couldn’t muscle the fish out of the kelp. It got the best of me and I ended up losing the lot.

A switch to a blue deep diving lure produced a couple more nice pollock:

And that was the first and last session I had on Islay. I was staying off loch indaal which has a great reputation for tope and had grand plans to head out into the bay and target these during my stay but it never happened. The wind and rain was ferocious. On my way home I met Jonathan who purchased my Tarpon 120. He lives in Oban so this worked our really well for him and it meant I traveled back a bit lighter.

I picked up my new kayak the day before we left for Scotland so didn’t have time to get it rigged up properly and didn’t want to rush it. It is a stealth pro fisha 475. It had its maiden voyage on the mouth of the Tyne tonight and I cannot wait to get it all rigged up and catching fish.

If you have made it this far, well done on wading through all my pics and babble. If anyone is heading to these areas and want to know anything more just message me. If the weather was better, I’m sure Islay would have been fantastic. The potential looked huge.

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing – The Mull of Galloway

Nathan and I went to the Mull of Galloway over the bank holiday weekend. We had planned this about 6 months ago and half assumed the weather would be rubbish and it would be cancelled last minute. Things looked really promising on the lead up to the weekend until the day before and then XCWeather forecasts started showing wind and rain. We were busy looking for alternatives and then the morning we were due to leave, the forecast again looked fine except for the day of travel which was showing gusts to 28 mph. We set off thinking that when we arrive we will just set up tent and relax until the following morning when the forecast looked good.

It was a long journey from Newcastle with loads of caravans and lorries. We got there in the end and found that there was hardly any wind! We set up tent quickly at the Clashwhannon caravan site and headed over to Port Logan.

On arrival, conditions looked ok.  A bit of a breeze but we had been out in a lot worse.  We planned on staying close to the cliffs on the North side in the hunt for pollock.  We set up and paddled out.  The conditions seemed to be improving every minute and by the time we got to the point it was lovely.  We were enjoying the trip already.

It was now time to do some fishing.  We began dropping savage gear sandeels.  These immediately got attention 20ft down in the crystal clear kelp beds.  What was great was that I could see my lure on the fish finder (Lowrance elite4) and then see the fish appearing out of the depths hitting the lure….very exciting.  However, most were just hits without hook ups and it was soon clear why.  Almost all the pollock were very small (a typical mackerel size).  Still, it was good fun as there were plenty out there.  I did get one better hit on the paddle back in.

We had been out for a couple of hours and it was getting late so it was time to head back in. We opted for a meal in the Clashwhannon pub.  I can highly recommend the Angus beef burger! 

It rained all night and was pretty windy (it did come in eventually) leading to a pretty sleepless night in the tent.  The next morning it was pretty grey but the wind had eased. This was the view from our tent.  The campsite is very basic with room for about 4 tents but it did the job for the short stay.

 Nathan and I were a bit worse for where but got up early(ish) and paddled out into Luce Bay to a few marks that Dave (dt1) had sent me previously.  Our aim was to catch a few species not common on the North East coast.  I had been doing quite a bit of research on tope fishing prior to the trip and had tied up a couple of rigs to take out with us assuming we could get some mackerel on the way out.

We paddled out about a mile into Luce Bay and achieved the first mission – mackerel.  We then anchored up over a sandy bottom and initially dropped down some running ledger rigs with dirty squid. 

It wasn’t long before we got some dog fish.  This was the second time for me and first for Nathan.  The novelty soon wore off though!  What a pain they can be to unhook!  We soon got in the habit of unhooking them beside the kayak before they had a chance to coil up. We were using circle hooks and luckily they were all lip hooked.

I was really hoping for a ray as I had never had one before.  The next nibble on the squid didn’t feel like a dog fish.  The rod suddenly lurched over and immediately I could tell it was something different.  It fought like hell in the now flowing tide and I was loving every minute of it.  Woohaa!  A thornback ray.  I was really happy with this, except I couldn’t remember how to handle them.  It took me a while to figure out where didn’t have any thorns (one finger still bares the scar). 

This then followed by another 3 thornbacks to me and more dogfish to Nathan. 

It was at this point that Nathan dropped down a whole small mackerel in the hope for a tope.  The bait was down for approximately 10 minutes.  We were dress rehearsing what we would do if we hooked one etc etc when I asked if Nathan has his reel drag set properly and if the ratchet was on.  Nathan quickly checked and we sat for another minute in silence before we heard a subtle click, followed by another click, then click, click, click, click.  Something had taken the bait and was swimming away at some pace.  Nathan wound the handle to lock in the drag and it continued to take line at an incredible rate.  I could feel the adrenaline pumping in me and I wasn’t the one catching the fish!  Nathan looked half panicked, half gob smacked.  Then, as quickly as it had all happened, it went quiet.   Nathan wound in to find just the head of the mackerel left.  We were gutted.  Still, it was more than we were expecting on our first attempt.

Nathan mid action:

Approximately 30 minutes after this I had a strange take on my scratching rod.  I had a 2 hook flapper down on my light rod in the hope for other smaller species etc and something had taken an interest.  It was unlike the rays and LSD previously.  It started off with a solid bend in the rod without being able to shift it.  It then seem to realise something was up and took off at a serious rate reeling line from the abu 6500.  Then, as before with Nathan, it went slack.  On retrieve my hook had bent out.  It certainly wasn’t a rig designed for this stamp of fish.  I’ve no idea what it was but it took a mix of mackerel and mussel and was without doubt, my biggest hook up to date.  Any ideas?

This was the picture Nathan took (disappointing picture quality). I’ll never forget the bend in the rod!

We stayed out for another couple of hours catching mostly LSD with the odd thornback.  Nathan added to the species count with the smallest flatty I think I’ve seen caught by hook:

We then decided to head in for a spot of lunch before choosing the afternoon / evening venue.  I paddled in with some feathers behind for the odd mackerel and got another new species for me.  A little gurnard who was non-stop croaking.  What a character these fish are.  Now, I realise this picture may look a little weird.  My dry suit does not have a built in ball sack, I promise 🙂

In the afternoon, we headed by to Port Logan to tackle the rock marks on the south side.  The weather by now was gorgeous with wall to wall sunshine and not a breath of wind.  Conditions looked perfect.

Despite the conditions, the fishing was poor.  We just got the one coal fish between us, taken to a jointed fladen lure trolled from behind on the way out.

It was now time to get some kip before a cheeky session on the Monday morning before the drive home.  In the morning, conditions were again pretty good (we were really lucky looking back at it) so we headed back out to the mark with the rays in the hope that Nathan could catch one as whilst only being 20 yards away from me the other morning, he didn’t have one.

It all went to plan.  Nathan with his first ray:

It was then time to pack up the tent and head home.  We really enjoyed the weekend and will definitely be returning at some point.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing for Flatties – 22/08/13

Myself, Dave and Brian had a nice little session this morning at the North end of Cambois. Light winds made for pleasant conditions and the sun finally turned up at the end. We all hunted for a few flatties and mission was well and truly accomplished. Brian got a really nice plaice (see the one at the top of the pic with all lined up in the sand) and lost one that was probably bigger ???.  I took a while to get the fish biting but once we got a few nibbles, it became contagious. We were getting bites very regularly between the 3 of us. 

We then went out to rough ground in the search of something different. A few codling and a mackerel but nothing to take home. This was followed by a creep around a very kelpy reef in the hope of some nice pollock but they were a bit shy today.

The water clarity was amazing. I could see my flatty rigs 15-20ft down and when retrieving a plaice I could see another one following it all the way up to the surface. Whilst it is only flatties, it is my biggest number of keepers to date and also my highest number of species in one trip (sandeels on sabikis, a nasty weaver, mackerel, plaice and dab) so I’m really chuffed. Onwards and upwards.

A few pics:


The weaver. It took me a while to get this one unhooked without touching it. I was paranoid I was going to get spiked O_o


A nice Plaice for tea.


The mornings catch. 🙂

Cheers,

James

Holiday in Gairloch (NW Scotland) with some kayak fishing

Hi All,

I’ve just got back from a family holiday to Gairloch. I took my Malibu Mini-x in the hope of getting in the odd mornings kayak fishing. It turned out to be a great week away. The weather wasn’t particularly sunny but I did get some very light winds in the morning which made for some excellent kayaking conditions. I’m still really new to kayak fishing and had no real information on productive marks so it was a bit of trial and error. I also have only really had success on bait up until now and was determined to catch on shads. My 2 missions for the week were to catch with shads and catch a species other than a flattie, a cod or a Pollock. Well, 1 out of 2 isn’t bad…..

Firstly, the view from the Cottage. The location was perfect. The cottage was very basic but was fine for the week. I was able to roll the kayak down the trolley straight to a slip into the loch about 5 minutes away.

The loch was pretty deep. The deepest I had paddled in was around 80 ft at Newbiggin (North East). At Gairloch, I only had to paddle approx. 50 yards from the rocky shores to find myself in approximately 100 ft of water. I know this is pretty shallow by Scottish loch standards but still found it a little eerie.

The deeper parts seemed like a desert on the fish finder. I did try a few spots around 70ft and found I was getting very regular twitches but whatever it was just stripped the bait with no proper takes. Perhaps it was just tiny fish or crabs….There were several rocky outcrops within the loch which I focussed my fishing efforts around. The fish finder would go mental around these areas.

The water was the clearest I have ever seen it. In 20ft of water I could easily see my bright orange shads. This wasn’t 20ft, more like 8-10ft but it gives you a good idea

These areas were rammed full of mackerel. I was finding it impossible to get past them on hokkais and the like. They were also really small in comparison to this seasons mackerel from the North East. All were below size. However, I was on a mission to get my first fish on shads and mission was accomplished quite a few times. Theses spots had a good number of Pollock, all around the 3-4lb mark. I couldn’t find anything bigger but loved the direct feel, feeling them take the shad and avoiding temptation to strike and then wham! I was buzzing. Below are a few picks of the specimens. Nothing big but kept me very entertained.

Only 1 cod in the holiday (3 fishing outings). It was the smallest I’ve had yet, still, a cod is a cod….

The one problem with light winds was the midges. By the time we went out to beaches, tourist attractions etc, the wind was up enough for them to not be a problem but the early rises for the fishing in almost no wind meant I was to become very well acquainted with the little blighters. The midge net was great. I looked a complete tit but the alternative was not pleasant.

Below are not really fish related but show the area. It really is beautiful and if you just want a bit of escapism for a week or two, I would really recommend it.

This one was taken at the camp site at Big Sands beach, just outside Gairloch. It is a really nice campsite with pitches for tents, campers, wig wams and statics (this is my camper in the pic). The facilities all looked in really good conditions.

The rest are scenic shots from my paddles to the few islands. I was often out as the sun was rising and had the whole place to myself. A blank wouldn’t have mattered. The scenery was enough for me.

Not much of a catch report but hopefully my catches will improve. The area has real potential and sightings of Minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks are common. The tourist boats has all shown sighting reports of these in the week I was there. They also had pictures of sightings of Orca’s and even a walrus but these were far less common.

If anyone is thinking of a trip to this area and want to know a little more, just reply or PM me for more info on nice places to eat out, good pubs, etc etc…

Cheers,

James

Sunfish (sighting, not catch!)

Hi All,
I was down in Cornwall on holiday last week. Weather was brilliant with some very calm days so went out fishing close in on the stand up paddle board. Fishing wasn’t up to much (mackerel and small Pollock) but on a beautiful early morning at Crackington Haven I could hear a splashing noise and could see a dorsal fin about 50 yards in front of me. I initially thought it might be a small porpoise or even a dolphin. I got the camera ready and paddled over and it turned out to be a sun fish. It didn’t seem bothered by me in the slightest. I could have touched it, it was that close. I have watched them on TV programs but was really chuffed to see one in the flesh.
Are they a common sighting in Cornwall?

Cheers

James