Next up in the kayak fishing events calendar for me is the Ocean Kayak Classic competition held in Plymouth in aid of Heroes on the Water. Last year i had spent a few days fishing the venue prior to the competition but this year i couldn't find the time so i had my fingers crossed i would be able to find some fish on the day....
An early start on Saturday saw me down at Mountbatten Centre prior to the registration to give me plenty of time to get ready and sort my gear out. A few others were also there and were keen for coffee so i headed off to the cafe at the centre with Ben, Mark, Martin, Steve and some others.
Conditions were looking very very good, quite a difference to the strong winds of last years competition....
Time soon passed and everyone was gathering on the slipway ready for the safety briefing.
3 Tempo's led the way out to Mountbatten breakwater. I stopped right off the end of the pier and dropped anchor. That would do for me. A few more anchored around me and others carried on to Plymouth Breakwater approx. 1.5nmi further offshore. Species number 1 came to the kayak as the last of the bunch were still paddling past.... A Corkwing Wrasse. As with other species comps, the OK Classic works on a catch, photo and release basis with any species counting providing they are over 8cm long (with the exception of Mackerel and Sandeels). Each angler gets an entry card with scale on to include in each photo to prove that the fish was caught on the day of the comp and is over minimum length.
10 minutes later and order had been restored in the Wrasse department as i brought my first kayak caught Rock Cook Wrasse and species number 8 onto the kayak!
Half way out to the breakwater and I'm praying i get a few more species out here because its a further paddle than i remember from last year! Eyes on the fish finder looking for shoals of fish....nothing. Paddle around some more near the breakwater.... nothing. Sabikis down anyway.... nothing. Choice words were said and after about 45 minutes of fishing out by the breakwater without a bite i raged back to Mountbatten pier furious at wasting an hour and half. I paddled full pelt all the way back without missing a stroke. The sun was out and the cold water was looking very inviting!
I anchored back near the pier and bites came straight away as before. More of the same though so it wasn't long before i moved to try the other side of the pier. A good move as i found species number 9... a Black Goby - another first from the kayak.
Questionable species points were scored for some as for some reason Greater Sandeels (Launce) were being counted despite Sandeels collectively not counting in the competition!?! I tried to get my head around it but it annoyed me and i was just glad i didn't catch one as i would have returned it without taking a photo. Not sure if it would have altered prize positions but more clarification on non-counting species, down to species level, for next years competition (and other competitions) me thinks before it causes trouble amongst the top positions.
Anyhow, It looked like i had managed to hang onto the 2nd spot!
The sun was shining, i had caught fish and i hadn't lost a single piece of tackle or an anchor either! Everyone stood around chatting whilst waiting for the results. Seaview Angling had brought down their fishing simulator and Mark was soon bent into a massive Tuna.....
Time for the results....
6 species was enough to get amongst the prizes and 9 species was needed for 3rd prize, but as 3rd place was announced as Neil, me and Steve gave each other a look as we both also had 9 species so couldn't both be in 2nd place! A quick word with the organisers and Steve's score had been missed off the list somewhere so everyone was bumped down a position, with Steve taking 3rd place!
A bit more chatting before i said my goodbyes. Next stop is the European Saltwater Championships at Oxwich Bay in July. See you there!