It was time for the meet that i organise - the Penzance Kayak Fishing Meet. Kayak anglers from all over the country would be descending on West Cornwall to fish its productive waters. Many would be making a holiday of it and staying for several days either side of the Saturday and Sunday meet. I had a good few days off work to join them too!
The swell was reasonable and wind forecast to be 10-15mph. In reality there was hardly a breath of wind! A fair chop was present though and was throwing the kayaks around a bit. I had taken 5 mackerel incase we couldn't catch fresh bait and it was just as well i did because the mackerel were absent. Action was slow but eventually something nailed my bait and headed off at speed....
Gentle but persuasive coaxing was in order and with well balanced gear the fish was being controlled well. It took time but the fish was eventually beside the kayak ready to be hauled aboard. We could now see that the fish had been hooked square in the corner of the mouth on the dexter wedge! First attempt and the fish was on Bens lap.... result!!
Ben, Kev, Stu, Adam and Neil would joining me and on paddling out we were graced with a sight i will remember for a long time. A huge splash alerted our attention to something big moving behind us....the water erupted again as a big fish bust the surface a fully breached before disappearing again.... it was a Bluefin Tuna!! It must have been 200-300lb....wow!! As quickly as it arrived, it had disappeared, swimming past the kayaks much faster than we could ever paddle. Its not everyday you see one from a kayak, especially in UK waters. It certainly put us in great spirits for the rest of the trip!
We headed over to Sharks Fin reef and began to fish.
I headed into the bay to find Steve and Ian who were trying their luck for the Blonde Rays. They were struggling to catch fresh bait and as a result weren't having any luck with the Blondes. I told Steve that i was heading to one of my Ray marks and he duly followed. Despite an absence of mackerel on one side of the bay, half way across my fish finder screen filled with a big shoal of fish. A few minutes later and i had enough bait for the rest of the day! We carried onto the mark.
I usually anchor for Rays but the tide on the far side of the bay was negligible. There was also no wind so even drifting we were hardly moving at all. The baits tickled along the bottom gently. I suggested that Steve turned the drive around in his Hobie Adventure so that he could slowly pedal the kayak backwards to give the baits more action across the bottom and cover more ground. He soon had the method sussed and across the radio he said "oh yes, oh yes" as he hooked into a Ray!
I headed over to him to find his rod locked over in battle with his first Blonde....
A greedy Turbot then took my bait...
Ben and Stu launched early and made their way across the bay. People were arriving and soon enough 30-40 people were gearing up for a day on the water. Within half an hour Ben and Stu were paddling back towards shore. I went down to chat with them and they said that conditions were particularly uncomfortable and the wind made for a difficult paddle back to shore. I made the call to hold people back from launching and consulted with the weather forecasts. Most were not keen on launching anyhow with the wind as it was.
It was gusting a good 20mph across the bay, much more than the forecast was showing. It was looking to remain that way for the morning and then edge of throughout the afternoon. We would have to wait and see. Frustrating as most were set up and ready to launch but it is not worth paddling out in uncomfortable and potentially dangerous conditions. At least the ice cream and pasty shop was open! I was itching to launch and would have if i knew others wouldn't follow into potentially challenging conditions. Wait we would.
The fishing seemed particularly slow for me on the reef. The fish were not really having the lures. Neil was also struggling to catch so suggested to him that we paddle a little way offshore to another mark and one that i haven't fished before. I didn't need to ask twice so off we went. Watching the fish finder the clean bottom 130ft below soon rose sharply to a 50ft plateau reef.... this looked interesting!!
It didn't take long to find the fish. In fact the mark was full of them! Every drift we were nailing Pollack one after the other, mostly between 4-8lb. The action was electric!
We were the last ones to land with everyone else back at the campsite. I arrived back to find that most had launched and caught fish which was great! A few had left early without launching which was a shame as the wind did drop as forecast and even if they got out for a few hours would have caught plenty of fish. Anyhow, moral was high with everyone chatting and the beers flowing around the campsite. The social atmosphere at the campsite is what really makes this meet, as it does with other meets and events. Again a great evening was had with great company.
I have had my RPF Master for a good few months now but a combination of work, fishing and other things have prevented me getting out and giving it a good go. Today would be the day. Richi and Gary had launched early and had returned by the time we arrived at Sennen. Ben would be borrowing Garys RPF Master, and Richi would be joining us later on. Wetsuit on, Helmet on, Waist leash on and i was ready to go. We paddled from harbour beach over the main break and chose our spot away from the crowds. The waves were reasonably clean and around 3-5ft. Time for some fun! After a few waves i was really getting the hang of the take off and beginning to the run along the waves.... it was great fun! The speed on the take off is unreal and certainly addictive! Photos courtesy of Neil...
Back at the campsite, a handful had launched from Newlyn with a few small fish caught. 3 people had launched from Sennen but in a 8-10ft primary swell, conditions were not comfortable for them so were not out for too long. They all still caught some fish though. A bit of a shame that the weather didn't play ball for the whole weekend but we can't control the weather.
Sunday evening marked the end of the main meet but with it being a bank holiday many were also staying for the Monday, and others staying for several days after that again. I had to pack up the tent as it was back to work in the morning. That wouldn't be the last of the fishing for me though...
Richard had found a few Gurnards though. Lets try anchoring. The bites started but not from the desired flatfish or ray... instead the dogfish were mauling the baits. The venue was soon renamed Porthkennal but just as everyone else was moving off anchor to drift again i hooked something different.... my first Plaice of the year, photographed using the HDR setting on my camera to give a pretty cool effect...
Overall a weekend of mixed weather but some great fishing and even some kayak surfing! Those who got out on the water had caught plenty of fish. At least 24 Species were caught including: Bass, Bull Huss to 12lb, Coalfish, Cod, Conger, Dab, Dogfish, Garfish, Red Gurnard, Tub Gurnard, Grey Gurnard, Ling to 10lb, Mackerel, Pilchard, Plaice to 3lb, Pollack to 10lb, Pouting to 2lb, Blonde Ray to 15lb, Scad, Launce, Turbot, Lesser Weever, Ballan Wrasse to 4lb and Cuckoo Wrasse to 1lb+.
Thanks to everyone who turned up, without you guys the meet wouldn't exist! Also a big thank you to Roger at Posandane Campsite for putting up with us and supplying us with a freezer for everyone to keep fish in to take home.