I headed out for a solo session at Whitley Bay at dawn this morning (17/12/16). I was feeling a bit jaded after celebrating a friends 40th the night before but I had a precious weather window and a pass so it had to be done. It didn’t disappoint. I only had a couple of hours before I needed to be back to head of to a bouncy castle party. The joys of parenthood.
I drifted for the first hour and had a fish a drop in between trying to keep 3 seals at bay who were looking for an easy meal. The tide was running strongly and all fish caught on the drift were small with the exception of one good Pollock and a chunky scorpion fish.
Later on I opted for a rest at anchor. I did some ground baiting and whilst the fishing slowed, the stamp of fish caught improved. Out of mussel, black lug and squid almost all were caught on the squid. This is not the norm for me but just shows that no two days are the same out there. In the short session I had over 15 fish and enjoyed every minute of it.
Below are some pics and a video:
Lovely day for it:
Plenty of cod about:
A nice scorpion fish:
This shows a couple of seals on the finder just as I returned a small cod. They repeated this strategy for 3 of my returned fish. You can see the cod working its way to the bottom. It looks like it just managed to escape….
I had a mate (Dean) up for the weekend. We were hoping for a surf but with 0-1 ft forecast and gorgeous weather I was keen to take him out on the water for a fish. I got the Stealth and the Scupper Pro ready the night before and we were out on the water for 6:30am on the Saturday morning. Conditions were perfect for a paddle but the fishing was slow. This didn’t matter much. I had 4 species overall. Pouting, Pollock, Cod and Mackerel but all in low numbers and small. The highlight of the trip was Dean catching a good size Octopus! I have only caught one before whilst night fishing and it was small. Dean’s however, was a really good size and put up quite a fight. Initially we thought he was snagged. However, after a bit of paddling back and forth to try to save the rig from the ‘snag’ it came free and then the fight began. At the surface once it looked like it had given up we were about to get the hook out of it’s tentacle and it made a lunge for Dean’s kayak. The octopus was now firmly suckered to the underside of the kayak and there was no budging him. These things have a serious grip! I was still able to remove the hook from the side of the kayak and once unhooked he released his grip and sank beneath the water. After the excitement we went for a paddle to the lighthouse to soak up the gorgeous conditions and crystal clear water and show Dean some of the seals.
All in all, poor fishing but a great paddle and a session I wont forget any time soon.
I went out on the hunt for Pollock on the 18th of August. I set out just as the sun was rising before 6 am. I have found early morning or later evening my most successful times to fish for Pollock here around Whitley Bay.
The sea was still choppy from the SE blow the day before (which was also forecast again later in the day). I love being out early (once I have managed to get out of bed).
I headed straight for the kelp beds that cover most of the bay around the lighthouse area and picked up a small cod very quickly. This fell to a weedless shad.
After that I tried a variety of techniques and struggled to find anything for about 2 hours. Jellyworms, Fiiish Minnows and Artic Eels, jigged, trolled and cast and retrieved. Nothing was happening. The wind was starting to pick up as forecast and things were not looking too hopeful. I had orders to bring home some tea as well!
By this point I had drifted along to Seaton Sluice and decided to work my way back. I trolled most of the way and tried a number of drop offs I have marked and finally got some Pollock action.
This one fell to a jelly worm rigged weedless:
This was a better fish that gave a good account caught on a white HTO Artic Eel cast and retrieved:
This one was the biggest of the session and fell to the same lure as above. It fought very hard and made the session all worth while. This one had tea sorted:
On the way back I lifted up a pot I had put down a couple of days ago. I had a lobster in it but it was undersized so back it went but not before a quick photo:
I’ll hopefully fit in a few more Pollock sessions before the murky waters return and the cod goggles come on.
Dave, myself and Mark headed out at Blyth at 5:30 am on the 23rd. The conditions were lovely. We paddled a mile or so out and Dave got a good fish within minutes. Things were looking up.
Mark then got himself a good cod and a ling (both around the 6lb mark). We also had the pleasure of seeing a pod of dolphins being very active and breaching on regular occasions. Unfortunately they were a good 100 m away so it was hard to get some good footage but I’ve created a very short video to give you an idea. They really are magnificent creatures.
We moved on a few times and I was still unable to make a hook up. My blank was saved by a tiny pouting which took a jellyworm longer than the fish itself. Still, a fish is a fish! Shortly following on from this I hooked into a much better fish and up came a ~ 7 lb cod which gave a good account of itself. This took one of the 90g 160mm Fiiish Minnows. This proved to be my lucky lure as about 30 minutes later the same rod lurched over and a really heavy weight was felt at the end. Initially I thought I was snagged but then the tell tell head shaking signs followed and after quite a while a lunker of a cod came to the surface. This was my biggest cod to date at just over 12 lb. I was over the moon.
Top session in lovely conditions with great company. The fishing was hard going but the fish that were caught were real specimens.
The paddle out:
My first cod of approximately 7lb:
Released to get bigger:
A few of these about:
My PB cod:
Another pic of the 12lb (taken by Dave):
Sea state doesn’t get much better than this. Mark and Dave on the paddle back in:
Short video of the dolphins breaching in the distance:
I got out for just for a very quick fish on Thursday. I only had a couple of hours free but it was the first day of the summer holidays and I was super keen. The wind was a bit of a pain. Nothing major but enough to make the drift faster than I like with light lures. I paddled straight to St Mary’s lighthouse and Whitley Bay and fished from there up to Seaton Sluice. In just a couple of hours I had 8 fish. These were a mixture of cod, pollock and coalfish with pollock making up the bulk of fish.
I had always read to not stop the steady retrieve when fishing for pollock until the lure reaches the surface. Up until this session I’ve never had a super late take but on this occasion I had 2 takes in the last foot of water. This was thrilling! The fish weren’t huge but such a late take followed by the express train dive in 20 ft of water kept me very entertained.
The red tinge of a resident kelp cod (spot the seal cruising underneath me on the finder! Plenty to keep the fish in hiding around here unfortunately):
Followed by a smaller one:
The average stamp of Pollock I caught:
This one taking a slug go:
Hopefully I’ll be out amongst the kelp beds in this area again soon with a few bigger fish to show you 🙂
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:
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:
Plenty of pollock and coalfish were found but nothing of any size:
We anchored up for a bit and found plenty of the less popular dogfish:
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.
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:
Followed by a bigger one which put up a good fight on a 6lb class rod in the tide:
Next up were some dogfish followed by my first red gurnard. I had always wanted one of these and find them a stunning fish:
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.
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:
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.
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.
It was then time to head in to a beautiful view of the sun dropping down over Luce Bay:
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.
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:
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.
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!
It wasn’t as big as Nathan’s but a lot of fun all the same:
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:
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.
This session was a couple of weeks ago now. I’ve just been too busy to get a report up. I had really struggled to get out recently and the times that I did the fishing or conditions or both were really poor. This session was different though. The conditions were lovely and the fishing was good. It took me a while to find them and there was nothing of any real size but once found, I has over a dozen cod in a couple of hours.
Initially I searched on the inside of yellow can at Whitley Bay and fished around the light house but the water was thick with plankton. I then headed out past yellow can when the water finally cleared enough to give me confidence in my lures. Within minutes of being out there I had my first cod. I then proceeded to get take after take until it was time to come in. I also had a nice scorpion fish.
I have had the last week off work but not got out once locally due to the persistent northerlies but hopefully there will be more out there when it settles once again.
Some pics of the session:
Perfect conditions for once:
Getting some action once out past yellow can:
Plenty of cod but almost all were small and lean:
I was surrounded by charter fishing boats at one point. 4 or 5 fisherman fishing either side doesn’t float my boat. I much prefer the solitude of the kayak.
This was a better fish:
I then got a greedy scorpion fish. My second this summer:
The wind got up so the drogue was deployed:
Fishing started to tail off so it was time to head back in.
I’m back to praying to the weather gods to give the North East a bit of a break in the rubbish weather. Surely it will settle soon.
I’m really loving the Vexilar sonarphone T-Box with navionics mobile phone app. My previous threads on the installation and set up can be found at:
This post is more of an update on how things have been going. I initially planned to hold the phone and look at is as and when needed. However, I’ve spent more money and now have a railblaza phone mount which works really well. What I love the most is the live updates. As I paddle over a spot I watch my chart change immediately and get stored for future reference. This really is a nice feature that is going to help me find and re-visit those marks that might hold fish.
Battery life on the phone continues to be adequate for a morning session but you would struggle if out all day. This is the only real disadvantage I can see with the set up.
The new mount for the phone:
Close up of the split screen fish finder and plotter:
The clever bit. Here you can see the area that I have just been over. It shows how much extra detail is actually underneath you compared to the original chart:
Looking forward to more sessions with the vexilar.
DaveP and I headed up to St Abbs on the 29-3-16 arriving late morning. I had fished at Eyemouth before but this was my first trip to St Abbs and I was really keen to try and target some Pollock amongst the kelpy drop offs.
This might be useful for those planning a trip up themselves. The car park is £1 per hour or £7 for the day and there is a £3 charge to launch from the slip in the harbour. It would be worth going up in a group just to cut down some of the costs.
The good news is that the car park is very close to the slip and from the slip you are straight into fishing territory dropping straight down to 30-40 ft as soon as you are passed the harbour walls.
Conditions were great. The sun was shinning (except for a 10 minute hail storm!) and the water was flat although the swell did build throughout the session. Dave and I worked our way North using a range of spinners, jelly worms and plastic lures. The water was crystal clear and the terrain was perfect for our target species but despite this, we struggled to find the fish. It is early in the year and I’m in no doubt that this place has a lot to offer later on when things pick up. Neither of us blanked though catching 4 in total. 3 came from almost the same spot around a smallish rock rising out of the water. We circled this rock and each time we got to a certain spot it was ‘fish on’.
3 of the 4 were a good stamp of fish and gave a really good account of themselves on the light lure rods. I was reminded very quickly why I love fishing for Pollock. It was a real battle to see if we could get them up to the surface before they found cover in the kelp.
Now for some pictures:
The place screams Pollock. Just 20 ft away from the shore and you can be fishing in 40ft of water:
Getting ready in the car park:
The slip from the harbour makes for an easy launch:
Paddling out through the harbour:
A small pollock saves the blank:
A better fish giving a good scrap on the Yuki Rubymar:
A better stamp of Pollock:
Dave getting in on the action:
Bringing up a nice fish:
Conditions got increasingly lumpy which kept us alert:
One last Pollock on the paddle back which fell for a jelly worm:
I got out early morning on Friday. I needed this one after a difficult couple of weeks of work. The plan was ‘the usual’. To head out at Whitley Bay for convenience at bait fish at anchor but I would take a few lures just in case. I wasn’t expecting much from the fishing from the last few reports but just needed to clear my head a bit.
I set out into lovely conditions and immediately noticed how clear the water was. Not just a bit clear but as clear as I’ve seen it even in mid summer. Excellent I thought. My attention turned to getting my lure rod ready. My wife bought me a Yuki Rubymar rod from Moonfleet at Christmas and it has just sat in the garage waiting patiently until today. I wanted to try this rod after watching a few videos of people messing about with them and catching very large fish and for only £20 I thought it would be good fun.
I added a homemade weedless shad (attempting to cut down some of the costs of the Fiiish) and within 5 minutes I had a fish on. Not a big fish but it was a lot of fun on the Rubymar. I then had to wait a while but I was enjoying the slow drift in the sun. I then had a very subtle tap followed by nothing. This happened a good few times before the rod lurched over and a better fish was on. A big grin set upon my face as I reeled it in and it turned out to be a 5 1/2 pound cod.
I then thought I would try bait fishing for a bit given that I’d gone to the effort of defrosting my bait but didn’t even get a knock. A couple of hours had past and it was time for me to head in to help out with the kids. I’d had my fix until the next time.
I’m liking the Rubymar purely for the fun factor. Even the small fish felt like a monster!
Some pics of the short session:
Happy to be back out by the lighthouse. Loads of seals about already though:
First small cod brought in:
Something better this time. The Yuki Rubymar gets a good bend!
The 5 1/2 pounder. That is tea sorted:
The ‘devil ear’ green one had all the interest today. Nothing from the others but glad it looks like I have a cheap alternative for the snaggy stuff:
A very short video for anyone interested in a cheap fun light lure rod. I’m not sure how it will stand up to the abuse of kayak fishing but I’ll enjoy finding out.
I have just finished making up a battery box for my new Raymarine Dragonfly 5 pro. Prior to this I had just been using a dry bag but wanted to switch to something a bit more sturdy.
First up was finding a suitable box. I found the Pelican 1120 to be the perfect size for my 12v 7ah battery. In addition to the size, it comes with foam included that has perforated edges so can be cut to size very easily to make a nice snug fit so that the battery doesn’t move around.
This is the Pelican 1120 fish finder battery box. It is the perfect size for most 12v batteries used for kayak fishing.
These are the dimensions of the Pelican 1120. Check this for size to ensure your battery will fit.
The Peli 1120 case is not cheap. A new case with foam will set you back around £35-40. The good news is that they regularly appear second hand on EBay. I managed to purchase 2 in a week both for lesson than £20. This is still quite expensive but the box feels very sturdy and is completely water tight.
You can remove the perforated edges of the foam to give a really close fit to your battery. This will prevent any movement whilst out paddling your kayak.
Fitting the 12v battery to the Peli 1120 box is very simple by removing the already perforated foam.
Once the battery was in place I fitted some female crimp terminals to some short lengths of cable. I included an in line fuse that can take micro fuse blades. This is recommended by most fish finders in their installation manual and will prevent any spikes in voltage causing any damage to your expensive fish finder.
I connected the live and neutral cable to an index marine bulgin low flange socket (http://www.indexmarine.co.uk/bulgin-connectors.html). These are expensive (approx £10) but they are so simple to install and offer a watertight seal. Combine this with the index marine plug connected to the fish finder power cable and you have an easy way to connect the fish finder to the battery box.
The 2 pin Index Marine Bulgin plug and low flange sockets offer a waterproof connection from the battery box to the fish finder power supply.
The finished result is shown below:
Peli 1120 battery box with Index Marine Bulgin socket fitted
I’ve been really happy with how the battery box ended up and see it lasting longer than I will!
I recently acquired (through Navionics) a T box made by vexilar. This, along with their transducer allows you to convert any smart phone into a fish finder using WiFi. You can also share your signal with other users nearby just as you would a WiFi signal at home. It also works with the Navionics mobile app so you not only have a fish finder but a GPS with full navionics charts. It sounded impressive.
With the Vexilar T Box and transducer you can use any smart phone or tablet as a fish finder. Combine with Navionics and you also have marine charts.
The transducer is a dual-beam transducer with a built in temperature sensor and can go down to 240ft. It states that in hull mounts are fine. I’ve gone through the set up process and my initial impressions are really good.
All you need is to add the T box fairly close to your battery. The T box needs a 12v power supply and once switched on, emits a WiFi signal that you can connect to via your phone. In my case, I then open my navionics app and it detects the T Box and offers both charts and fish finder. You can fully configure the fish finder just as you would any stand alone unit (i.e units, fish alarms, depth alarms).
I intend to use this unit when away on holidays when you might hire a kayak to fish from (or boat for that matter) and also to use on my father in laws sailing boat that I often go out on in the summer. We use this mostly for sailing but normally find time to wet a line. I will be using a temporary method to have the transducer on a form of transducer arm straight into the water. However, my initial impressions make me think that you don’t have to just view this as a temporary device. It could easily replace a number of standard fish finder models if you are happy to use your smart phone on the water (with a waterproof case!).
I stuck the T Box to my battery box using velcro so that it can be easily removed. A lot of cable is provided so I have just use some electric cable ties to wind up that which isn’t needed. You can see from the picture below I have also built a temporary transducer arm mount to fit to the outside of the kayak using dual lock (much stronger than velcro).
T Box mounted to battery box using velcro. Cables tidies with cable ties. A temporary transducer arm made to hold the transducer.
Whilst I know an in hull transducer mount is normally the way forward, I want this to be removable and used in a number of different applications. I don’t like the look of the ram mount transducer arm due to the cost and the bulky size and saw this idea on the Australian forum “yakshed”. This mount seemed popular as it is much more streamlined that manufactured transducer arms and requires no drilling and can be easily removed during launch and landings.
External Transducer Arm mount using velcro – Taken from the forum “YakShed”
Second picture taken from “YakShed”
Once the T Box had a 12v supply I turned it on by pressing the red button on the side. I then went into my smart phones WiFi settings and saw a “T Box” WiFi signal. You can connect to this without any password. Once connected I launched my Navionics mobile chart app (link: http://www.navionics.com/en/mobile-pc-app)
Launching Navionics Mobile App
When loading, Navioncs detects the T Box and prompt you to choose between marine or lake.
On loading, Navionics detects the T Box and asks if you are going inland or into the sea.
You then get the choice to configure the fish finder just as you would a standalone variety.
Configuring Vexilar Sonar app just as you would a stand alone fish finder.
I was beginning to get really impressed with the ease at which this all gets set up. It really is simple. Once configured you get something similar to the below. A split screen showing the Navionics charts along with the sonar results. This screenshot was taken inside my house hence the lack of reading on the transducer!
A screenshot showing the Vexilar Sonar Phone app with Navionics charts.
When you tilt the phone it toggles between full fish finder view (i.e. no chart) and split screen with chart and sonar. Below shows the full sonar view:
Full sonar view
Over the coming weeks I should have a chance to test the sonar out and will report back on how I find it if anyone is interested.
Dave and I got out this morning at Whitley Bay. The forecast 10-20mph offshore winds was for once an over estimate and there was hardly any wind at all (to start with anyway!). We paddled out to a mark fairly close to shore and anchored up in 30ft of water over kelpy ground that has been producing biggish cod for me all winter. We stayed put for approx 45 minutes and I didn’t have a bite. Dave on the other hand had a fish within minutes followed by a couple more. He made sure he was fishing on the inside of me today. Last time I fished on the inside I bagged up and he struggled. Maybe there is something in it…..
We then headed further out into 45 ft of water. Less kelp here but still rocky. I got a great take within a minute of getting bait to the bottom. It felt really good even on my heavier 12lb class rod but came off before I got to see it. This was more promising I thought. Dave and I then proceeded to get bite after bite. We had a bit of a mix here as well. The usual cod (although in very varying sizes, hopefully I’ll get some pics off Dave that explains that one), whiting and pouting.
We headed in after a couple of hours. The wind had picked up a lot in the second half of the session and it became a bit of a workout getting back in. A thoroughly good session with great company and lovely weather for the most part. There are plenty of fish out there at the moment if you can get out amongst them.
Below are some pics of the session. These are all setting up and paddling out. I had another 6 pics of the fish but none would open from my Garmin Virb. I hope that is a one off. I’ll put some of Dave’s pics up if possible.
Eric Davos from Stealth Kayaks Europe gave us a Stealth Profisha 575 to store as a demo and I got to try it out for the first time yesterday. Conditions were pretty poor with 3ft waves crashing on the shore and a bigger swell outside but the wind was light enough and given the conditions recently I had to give it a go.
My first impressions are very good. It feels really stable and paddles well. The glide with each paddle stroke is really noticeable but I want to paddle it in a flat sea before commenting on speed compared to the 475. I took out a couple of rods and fished for about an hour. There are still a good number of fish out there. I’ve found the fishing pretty poor at this time of year previously but this doesn’t seem to be the case this year which is a great sign.
If anyone is interested in trying out the Stealth Profisha 575 just get in touch.
Graeme and I headed kayak fishing out at Whitley Bay at first light on Sunday. We knew the wind was going to get up late morning but were hoping to get a couple of hours fishing in first thing before it came in. We were on the water before 7.30am just as the first light was showing. The wind at this stage was fine. Probably around the 10mph mark but coming from the South rather than the forecast South West making it a little choppy in what should have been a flat sea.
We paddled to a mark fairly close in shore. Graeme dropped anchor over the reef edge in 20-25ft of water and I then anchored up fairly close by on the inside. I decided to fish 2 baited rods. One with a size 5/0 circle hook and a good amount of black lug and squid in search of a nice size cod. The other has a size 1 hook with a small bit of razor tipped with squid to help my cause on the species comp. I had a good cod on the big bait on the first drop. I must have only been fishing for a maximum of 2 minutes. Whilst dealing with the cod I then had a small tap on my other rod and up popped a pouting. Things were looking good. The next 20-30 minutes saw another couple of cod appear and then just as I thought I was going to bag up the wind picked up. It went from 10mph to 20mph+ in no time at all. The sea went from choppy to rough and Graeme and I decided we needed to call it a day. It was a shame we didn’t get another hour or so but any time on the water is enjoyable.
Setting out into relatively calm conditions:
Action from the off:
A canny cod for just 2 minutes fishing:
A small pouting almost immediately after (cod still on my lap!):
Back on dry land after a fun paddle back in amongst the chop and small waves breaking over the inside reef. One for tea 🙂
A short report for an even shorter fishing session. 40 minutes fishing is my new record!
Happy New Year everyone. Hope you have a great 2016.
Dave and I headed out at Whitley Bay at first light this morning just for a couple of hours before the family lunches. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the year 🙂
We headed out to a mark that produced a 10lb and two 8lb cod in the last 3 times I’ve fished it but this was 3 months ago. I hadn’t returned due to the rubbish weather we have had of late.
There were some small waves on the paddle out. I timed these perfectly (not!) and met each at their perfect peak and got waves right in the face. That certainly woke me up and cleared any signs of a hangover. Still, the Stealth ploughed through them without any bother.
We paddled out straight to the mark without any messing on the way. The wind was already strong (forecast to get stronger later) and the sea was choppy but very do-able. I put Dave on the mark and he dropped anchor. I then proceeded to mess up anchoring 3 times (each time getting closer and closer to Dave) before finally settling in to the fishing.
I had a cod within 10 minutes whilst Dave had to wait a little longer. We both had good fish in the session though. We would have had more but these fish were using nasty tactics. The mark had deep kelp and these fish knew exactly how to stay on the rough ground. Shy bites and then a rush for cover meant I lost at least 3 good fish (and traces!). Dave managed to give me one trace back though as he caught the same fish later on 🙂
My biggest was estimated over 7lb. Returned to be caught another day so no definite weight. A really great quick session and hopefully the start of many more in 2016.
Cheers Dave for the good company.
Now for some pics:
The only small cod caught. The stamp of fish was good and encouraging for later on in the year.
Starting to get a better:
Dave at anchor:
I nearly didn’t get this one. It left me snagged for a good few minutes before finally coming out of the kelp:
Happy Days. This gave a really good account of itself:
Roll on the next session. I’m beginning to think a really big one is going to come from Whitley Bay this year 🙂
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
Kayak Fishing Launch Spot – South Slip at Tynemouth Longsands
From Tynemouth you have a wide range of spots to try out
Fish I have caught in this area:
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.
Myself, Dave, Graeme and Mark met at Church Point in Newbiggin for first light on the 12-12-15. This was the first weekend weather window in weeks so we were all excited. We paddled out past the harbour wall and headed North to a ledge that drops off quickly from 30ft to 50ft.
We all anchored up in close proximity and began bait fishing. It was a slow start so I started ground baiting with my berley bomb and slowly but surely the bites started coming. Cod began to feed but no big ones today. I caught half a dozen in a couple of hours and then the weather started to turn so it was time to head back in. It was great being back out and I loved every minute of it. I hope I don’t have to wait as long for the next weather window.
Here are some pics:
The paddle out:
Anchored up and waiting patiently:
This one slipped the hook just as I was about to grab him. Arrgghhh….does it still count? 🙂
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:
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:
Access Point: Steep ramp from the Golf Course at Whitley Bay
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:
Access Point: Path from the car park at Whitley Bay
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:
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.
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:
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.
Early on in the week Friday looked do-able. Not great and most likely raining, but do-able. I started getting excited as the forecast was holding. This was dashed on the Thursday night when xcweather (along with other forecast sites) updated to show strong S winds around midday. What an ar*e I thought.
I woke up Friday to pouring rain and winds. DIY on the house kept me pre-occupied. However, around midday the rain stopped and weirdly the wind did not build. In fact, quite the opposite. It was dead calm. I quickly rigged up and set out at Whitley Bay to the mark that produced my PB 5 days prior except it was a low tide and only 20-25ft. Would it produce again for me?
The swell was 2-3 ft and confused when I started but forecast to build so was one to keep an eye on.
All set up and ready to go:
Fishing was again, very good. All fish were taken on black lug tipped with squid. To start with I was plagued by pouting after pouting. They aren’t shy of taking big baits on big hooks! I then had a 3-4lb cod. That was better I thought. Now can I find any others?
A couple of snaps of at least half a dozen pouting:
The first cod:
I started ground baiting again and the cod kept coming. I then had a massive take on the 12-20lb rod. Violent head shakes taking line from the reel. It had all the hallmarks of a good cod. It lasted all of 5 seconds before the hook pulled out. Gutted!
The short lived fight on the ‘one that got away’. The face and tilting kayak says it all. There was a lot of power there….:
I re-baited and put the rig straight back over the spot. I didn’t have to wait long. Bam! Fish on. It felt of similar proportion and it didn’t get away. In my rush to get out I forgot my scales so no real idea of size.
Its a big one 🙂 :
What a beauty. The fish finder shows you the mark ::)
More cod followed but not as big. I then had take on my 6-12lb rod. This was different though. It kept crash diving to the bottom. It felt like a pollock but I’ve never had one take static bait off the bottom before. On surfacing, my suspicions where confirmed. It was a good pollock of approximately 5-6lb.
I had been out about 2 hours and the swell was building quickly so decided to head back in. The tide had risen and there was quite a shore break which made the paddle in interesting 🙂
I created a 3 minute video of the trip:
Forecast looks mint for tomorrow. I’ve committed to keeping my father in law company on his boat but will be keen to hear how others get on in the area as it seems there is a really good stamp of fish about at the minute.
I’ve been asked a few times what advice would I give someone who is just getting into kayak fishing so thought I would write a post to cover my experience. There may be some difference of opinion on the web and there have been some debates on what is regarded as essential safety equipment so this post is purely based on my findings kayak fishing in the North East of England.
Below is a list of essentials to get started in my opinion. I’ll go through some of these in more detail:
Personal Floatation Device
You will need something to help keep you afloat if you fell in. You don’t want anything too bulky that could restrict re-entry if you fell in. A PFD with a few attachment points is a real bonus as you can then attach your safety equipment to it such as your VHF. Two that I own and would recommend are:
Drysuit and sensible base layers (this is a definite for winter)
When I initially got into kayak fishing I was of the mindset that a wetsuit would be fine. I come from a surfing and kitesurfing background and use a wetsuit all year round for these sports. However, a few things to note are that you are likely to be out on the water much longer kayak fishing. In addition, you are not ‘in’ the water but on top and very susceptible to wind chill. You also aren’t super active all of the time. For these reasons, a drysuit really is a must during the colder months. You might prefer a wetsuit for the summer months but I found it uncomfortable to paddle in for long periods. When wearing your drysuit, also ensure your wear appropriate layers underneath. Cotton is a no go. It won’t wick away perspiration and will make you end up feeling wet. Always wear base layers that will keep you warm in the water, not sitting on top of the kayak. If you fall in, you may be there for some time. When choosing a drysuit, consider one with a pee zip. If you are going out for a morning or even making a day of it, you don’t want to be paddling back to shore when the fish are feeding just to relief yourself.
A knife that can be easily accessed (blunt end)
You need a knife attached to you at all times. If you fall off and get a leash or line wrapped around you this might prevent you getting back on the kayak quickly. In this instance, you would be very glad of having the knife. It also has a load of other uses such as gutting your fish whilst out at sea. Get one with a blunt end and a carrying case that can be clipped or tied on to your PFD. You don’t want to be stabbing yourself accidentally!
You need a method of communicating with land in the event of a real emergency. There are 3 popular options:
– A mobile phone in a waterproof case
– A VHF radio
– A PLB
I carry all three I didn’t start out that way. I initially started with a mobile phone in a waterproof case. This works pretty well although it can be hard to hear people in the wind and in a real emergency when you are in the water this may be made worse.
A VHF is an excellent choice, especially if you get a floating and waterproof one. This can clip straight to your PFD and is very easy to use in the event of an emergency. To use one legally you need to get a VHF licence. I attended a course run by Melvyn Wallhead (web address: http://www.northumbriasailing.co.uk/ ). The VHF I have is a Standard Horizon HX290E which is both floating and waterproof and has 5W of output (link: http://www.standardhorizon.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=178_174&products_id=100034 )
A personal locator beacon (PLB) is yet another option. There are some advantages and disadvantages to these over the standard VHF. Firstly, once activated a PLB will continue to send its signal whilst a VHF has to be manually operated (unless you have a DSC one). Also, a VHF needs line of sight to send its signal. If you fish in secluded bays around high cliffs you may not be able to reach anyone. A PLB would be an advantage here as it is satellite based so the cliffs will not be a problem. A PLB can also be used in land (i.e. mountaineering) whilst a VHF can only be used at sea and you do not need a license to operate one. A disadvantage to a PLB is that once triggered it cannot be used again without replacing the battery. The battery life is normally 2 years without use (other than testing ) and it is expensive to replace them. The PLB that I is the fast find 220. This is small and fits in my PFD pocket and gives good peace of mind (link: http://www.mcmurdomarine.com/personal-locator-beacon/fastfind-220 )
A small first aid kit.
Keep a small first aid kit stowed in the kayak somewhere. It just makes sense. You never know what might happen and hooks can be nasty!
A kayak! Ideally 12ft+ unless you are going to be fishing very close to shore. I started out with a small 9.5ft Malibu Mini-x. Whilst this was good very close in I soon realised the error in my ways. It was slow to paddle and being so short, it veered with each paddle stroke. In a strong wind it made very little progress. In hindsight I should have waited until I could afford a longer kayak that paddled more efficiently as I soon outgrew the Malibu Mini-x and purchased a Tarpon 120. This kayak suited me very well for a good few years. It paddled much better and I started to explore further off shore. As a new person to the sport, I would look for a good second hand deal. You can often get all of the basic gear for around £600 second hand. A good site to find a deal would be Anglers Afloat. Keep an eye out for a Tarpon 120, Ocean Kayak Trident 13, Ocean Kayak Prowler 13, RTM Abaco, Viking Reload, Viking Profish 400 or Perception Triumph. These are all well-known brands that would be a great platform to get started with.
I would start with 1 rod initially and then move to two once more comfortable. There are loads of rods advertised as ‘kayak fishing’ rods that are simply too short. Don’t get the 3-4ft rods. You want a rod that you can move around the bow of the kayak if you need to. I fish with a few different rods but all are around the 7 to 7.5ft length. Try to get one with a short(ish) butt section. They feel much better on the kayak when there isn’t that much room to manoeuvre. I fish with a variety of different strength rods but a personal favourite of mine for almost all the fishing I do is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Kayak rod in the 6/12lb class (http://www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk/catalogue/rods,20778/ugly-stik-gx2-kayak,8862.html ). I love this rod and would highly recommend it from lure fishing to anchored up bait fishing. It has great sensitivity but has no problem pulling up a big cod in a strong tide.
The reels and line
I fish with multipliers when bait fishing and spinning reels when lure fishing. I like multipliers in the 6000 or 6500 size. The abu 6500 feels a good size to me when paired with the Shakespeare Ugly Stik. I buy the old Abu’s off EBay. The older models that were made in Sweden seem to be much better made than the newer ones. Kayak fishing destroys reels as you will find out. These older models seem to last compared with a number of others I’ve gone through that seize up in no time. I use 30lb braid on my abu’s. I swear by braid. Mono just doesn’t give me the feeling I need to detect the subtle bites and also created too much drag for me when anchored up in a good current. The braid allows me to use much less lead to hold the bottom allowing me to fish with a lighter class of rod that gives me much more sport when I hook up with a good fish.
For lure fishing I use a spinning reel. I’ve been through quite a few due to the harsh conditions they have to go through on the kayak. One that is lasting much longer than the others is the Abu Cardinal 174 SWI. This is around the ‘4000’ size which again, feels good with the rods I use. I use this with 20lb braid. Link: http://www.abugarcia-fishing.co.uk/catalogue/reels,767/cardinal-swi,5061.html
– Leashes, leashes and more leashes. Leash everything down so you don’t lose it!
– An anchor with anchor line fitted to the kayak (unless you want to drift fish all the time)
– A kayak trolley. There is only one in my opinion which is the C-Tug.
– Selection of rigs. Keep it simple. A running ledger will do fine for bait fishing and a shad with weighted jig head for lure fishing.
Steps to becoming a proficient kayak fisherman:
1) At the beginning, go out with company without the fishing gear on a flat calm day. Paddle out a short distance and chuck yourself off. Then practice getting back on to the kayak. This skill is essential. You shouldn’t be heading out to sea with loads of gear aboard if you cannot perform a re-entry. It isn’t difficult but does need practice. This video is great at explaining the steps so watch it a few times and then get out there and try it for yourself.
Once you are confident at re-entries ensure you are happy paddling the kayak. A good paddling technique will see you going further with less energy so it would be worth watching some videos online such as this one:
2) You are now confident at kayak re-entries. It is now time to head out and go fishing. Take just one rod with you and stay fairly close to shore. Go with an experienced kayak fisherman. Enjoy yourself and catch fish.
3) Ideally repeat step 2 a good few times until you are feeling really confident. Then take a couple of rods out. Practice anchoring in a slight current. Anchoring carries risks, especially if you get caught side on to the current so practice in good company. This video shows you how it should be done:
4) Wherever possible, kayak fish with company. Over time you will get to figure out your limits. I do kayak fish on my own quite a bit as do quite a few I know but this comes with time. You need to be very confident in your own abilities before you do this and fishing with company is always going to be safer.
Have any questions? Just add a comment below. I’ll be happy to help.
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.
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.
I put together a video of the session for those interested:
A short session today around the back of the lighthouse. I had to work hard for the fish but was rewarded in the end. One thing that struck me more than any other session I’ve had before was the number of fish I lost! It was driving me mad. I was fishing like a doughnut! It was a case of fish on then, half way up, fish off. Two takes felt like potential PB contenders. It was very peaceful on the water up until these moments when I couldn’t help but scream a little. Still, it made for an exciting session.
I struggled to find any decent cod despite a 10lb’er being pulled out of this area earlier in the week. I had a few but all small.
What was enjoyable was the amount of Pollock around. I’ve not caught them around here this late in the year before but with the settled weather the water is so clear they are all still to play for. Long may it last 🙂 I’m really starting to get this location wired but will most likely need to log it to memory for next summer when the weather turns.
Time for some pictures:
The first pollock within about 5 minutes of fishing:
All returned to fight another day:
A few more:
This one went nuts! Not huge (approx 4lb) but it just wouldn’t tire. Even at the surface it was one seriously frantic fish. I didn’t think I’d get it on the yak before it slipped the hook:
I also managed a few mackerel. It is great that these are still around and will do nicely for my lobster pot bait. This one took a large Delalande Swat Shad. Greedy blighter.
I managed an early morning session at Whitley Bay today. Conditions were brilliant with clear blue skies and no wind (until around 11 am anyway). Fishing was generally pretty slow but I did get some nice Pollock which kept me entertained.
First off I headed to a new (to me) wreck mark about 1.5 miles out. On the second drift I got a nice Pollock on jelly worms but then didn’t get another bite.
I then headed back to my old faithful and fished the marks around St Mary’s Lighthouse. The seals were there in numbers again. I picked up a few small cod and another couple of good pollock before returning home.
It was great to just be out on the water in such calm conditions. It would be great to get these more often 🙂
I recently invested in a small creel to try to catch some lobster and brown crab of the North East coast. I visited the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries agency in Blyth to get my 5 pot license. These guys were brilliant. They explained the do’s and don’t and even gave me a tour of their facilities 🙂
After a good mackerel haul the last time I was out I had the bait sorted. I just needed a weather window that would allow me to drop the pot after work one evening and then collect it the next day. A 2 day window was pretty hard to find but finally I saw an opportunity yesterday and today and I managed to catch two lobster! One was small and returned and the other was over the 87mm carapace size and came home for tea and tasted delish! 🙂
I was told they thin out at the end of October and disappear through winter so really hoping I can catch a few more before the season is up.
Andy, Kiwi (Nathan) and I headed out at Whitley Bay around 5.30pm last night with a plan to fish into dark and coming in around 10pm. Conditions were lovely, company great and fish obliging. I struggled to find mackerel in any real numbers this season. That was until last night. They were everywhere! I stocked up on a dozen pretty quickly for winter bait (and some tea) and then firmly put the cod and pollock goggles on. The cod were there pretty much from the off taking a fancy for the fiiish minnow and slug go worms. No real biggie’s. Largest about 4lb. The pollock were harder to find but I did get a good one only to lose it right by the side of the yak. Still, the fight was fun.
The seals around the island are getting more curious each trip. This time around they were being a right pest. I couldn’t fish my usual pollock marks as a result. I could see them on the finder right underneath me taking it in turns to shoot up to the surface!
The night fishing was less productive. Cod were happy to take squid and black lug but no real size. Last night session I had scorpion fish and octopus so always hoping for something a bit different but it was not to be.
Dave and I met at the ‘whole in the wall’ at Blyth at 5am. Our plan was to fish a few spots a mile or so out. Dave led the way (even more so than normal with my broken plotter / fish finder) and what a great guide he was. We paddled out into great conditions but struggled to find fish at the first spot. I had a coaly and a cod and Dave a mackerel but nothing much to shout about.
We moved on. This was a great decision. We had a good stamp of fish from the off. A dozen or so cod with most around the 4lb mark and a couple of nice Pollock plus a pb Ling for me which was weighed on shore and was a touch over 10lb. Happy Days! A very enjoyable morning out and back on shore for 10am.
Video (It would have been much better if it weren’t for the bloomin drop of water on the lens!):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Another quick trip out at Whitley Bay last night. I would have been out late afternoon if it weren’t for the bloomin wind that was stronger than predicted. It was still stronger than I would have liked at 7pm but manageable with a drogue.
Cod fishing was a bit slower than last time although there were still a nice stamp of fish around.
The mackerel shoals were very abundant. They were hammering my weedless 5″ shads set up for cod and tearing them to bits. I ended up rigging one rod for cod and when the shoals appeared, dropping a silver toby lure down with a single hook for some fun with the mackerel. This seemed to get the better specimens and they fought great on the light gear (imagine if they were 5 times the size 🙂 )
I tried and tried for pollock but couldn’t hook any this time. Plenty chasing the lure half way up the water column but only tentative plucks. I have marked a couple of lovely deep kelp shelves so hopefully in the next month or so…..
This little cod thought it was a mackerel
The weedless shad on the bottom of an inline sinker that I wrote about earlier took all the bigger cod today so definitely seems to be working.
One cod and a couple of mackerel back home. That is lunch and tea sorted 🙂
I’ve been experimenting with the best ways for me to target Pollock (and now red kelp cod) from the thickest and extremely snaggy kelp beds found on most shorelines but in my case Whitley Bay, Cambois, Newbiggin, Embleton and most recently Eyemouth in Scotland.
This experimentation started at the beginning of last year after wanting to catch more and more pollock and losing more and more rigs to the kelp forests. With conventional shads and jig heads with exposed hooks it seemed it was only a matter of time before I lost the rig much to my frustration.
In addition, I was having a lot of success trolling deep diving lures. At approx 1.5 – 2 knots paddle speed the lure was diving to around 10ft which got regular hits in 20-25 ft of water with kelp beds. However, a sudden shallowing in terrain would result in one of the 2 sets of trebles getting snagged. A lot of the time these were lost.
Deep Diving Lures:
Firstly I removed the trebles for single hooks. These are in line single hooks so they are presented correctly. The decoy plugin ones work well (https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/decoy-pluggin-singles-3537.html). These have micro barbs and reduce snagging significantly and are so much kinder to the fish. Before, treble hooks could leave the fish in a right mess with front hooks in the mouth and rear in the body. This is far less likely with the single hooks and they are so much easier to remove. I have not noticed less hook ups and the pros far out weight the cons in my opinion.
Secondly I’ve become much better at monitoring the fish finder whilst trolling. With practice I’ve managed to control my speed to bring the lure up closer to the surface whilst travelling over shallower ground.
Thirdly, I’ve found adding a ‘teaser’ fly approximately 2ft before the deep diving lure deadly. More often that not the Pollock have grabed the teaser rather than the larger lure.
Picture of the set up:
Weedless Jelly Worm Rig:
This has become my go to rig for Pollock and it will take the occasional cod. I’e had a lot of success with this rig and I can fish it right through the deepest of kelp beds and rarely get snagged. If it does snag a little it almost always pulls through when tugging from a few different directions. I have a bullet lead on a short sliding trace of about 1-1.5ft. I vary the bullet weight depending on what depth I’m wanting to fish at. I then have a flowing trace of 3-4ft with a weedless hook which I attach to a jelly worm. Normally I just a 5g cone weight near the weedless hook just to help the jelly worm sink with the bullet weight but in the photo below I’m using a savage gear dart hook. This isn’t necessary but I had some lying around.
Weedless shads (Black Fiiish Minnow, Delande Swat Shads, Savage Gear Weedless Sandeel)
These are brilliant but not cheap. However, I’ve invested in quite a few different sizes and weights and really rate them. In addition, loses are small so whilst it is expensive up front you should have them a while. My favourite for waters less than 20ft is the Black Fiiish Minnow 120 (12g). For water between 20-30ft I switch to the 120 25g model. For deeper water the 140 40g works well as does the Delande Swat Shad 50g. The white version of the swat shad has been great for me when hunting the kelpie cod off the bottom. I’ve only just started using the Savage Gear Sandeels on weedless hooks so time will tell.
For Pollock in deeper waters I drop straight to the bottom and then fast retrieve to about 10ft below the kayak and then drop down again. I’ve had hits right up in the shallows which is a real rush so keep winding and don’t assume nothing is chasing it. In shallow waters I opt for a cast, sink and fast retrieve. I sweep the area whilst drifting to find the fish.
For cod, my method is really simple. I drop to the bottom and just bounce and twitch it so it goes approximately 1ft from the bottom and back down again. If there are cod there, it isn’t usually long before you get a tug followed by a nice bend in the rod 🙂
Below shows the mixture of lures I’ve been trying out:
Greedy one this one:
Drop Shot Jigging Cod Rig:
This is a relatively new rig which I’ve been experimenting with after reading about it here: http://seakayakfishing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/weedless-jigging-rigs-for-cod-and.html
In short, it works a treat. I’ve tried this on the last 3 kayak trips and I’m still using the same rig. I bought some 6oz in line weights from EBay and have plastic shad rigged weedlessly attached to the bottom ring with a split ring. About a foot above the in line weight I have a 4″ sandeel imitation rigged up using a drop shot knot. I use this for fishing waters deeper than 40ft and use the method as per the shads for cod (i.e. bouncing off the bottom with small twitches). I’ve yet to have a cod take the bottom shad but had a lot of hits on the sandeel.
Rapala Weedless Shad 80 – The verdict is still out on these
I’ve just bought a couple of these to use on my light 8-25g lure rod. The finish on them is great. I’ve only had a couple of casts with them to date to observe their action and they have a great wobble. I’ll have to update you on how I get on with these.
Well, there you have it. These are my rigs that I use throughout the summer when fishing for Pollock and Cod. I very rarely lose a rig giving me much more time to fish and they work. I’m really keen to hear what works for you or how my rigs can be improved further so please reply with any feedback.