I had several days put aside for this years meet but the weather was just rubbish! I know that many make this meet into a several day or week-long holiday and usually the forecast allows a few good days fishing to be had over the time but it wasn't looking to be this year. As a result many people dropped out of making the journey down on the run up to the week surrounding the meet.
Persistent winds for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a glimmer of hope for Saturday and then a return to windy weather on Sunday. I took the chance to skipper a friends boat out of Falmouth on the Wednesday and we went out in search of sharks. We caught and released 13 Blues and 1 Porbeagle, and i had the best of the day with a beautiful Blue Shark of 131lb! Luckily that fish made up for the lack of fishing over the next few days.
The next few days were spent twiddling thumbs and keeping an eye on the forecast. Saturday looked to be calm and settled but with strong winds on the days either side of it i wasn't sure if it would hold. Come Friday it looked to be holding so it was announced that Saturday was on! I headed down to the campsite Friday evening to see a stark contrast to last years plethora of kayaks and tents. It didn't matter though, the hardcore that had attended were in for a good day on the water.
Up bright and early on the Saturday and i was pleased to see clear blue skies and little wind! A quick coffee and it was down to Sennen where a few of the local lads were already setting up. The bay was looking superb and the wind was dropping all the time.... perfect!
Everyone stood around chatting for an hour or so before anyone made a move to launch. It is always a relaxed affair here. There is no rush to launch and it's always great to see friends for a chat and catch up, discussing fishing and kayaks and more.
Richi and Flossy put in an appearance and we're gearing up for a day in the waves surfing on their kayaks/waveskis. It was looking to be a great day for everyone.
The first kayak heading for the water was none other than Mark Radcliffe....
He left the shelter of the breakwater headed off out into blue skies and a sea with just a touch of wind chop....
A steady stream of kayak anglers followed suit over the next hour whilst i was chatting away as others were continuing to arrive and set up.
Bloody hell it was 9:30am and i had been standing around chatting for 3 hours! Around 20 kayaks had headed onto the water which was good to see. Time to get on the water. I headed out with Matt on his RTM Rytmo and we decided to look for some bait in the deeper water. The gannets were diving around the bay but the fish finder screens were bare and the mackerel tinsels were untouched. Hmmmm. A paddle around and Charlie and Adrian had found a few but not many.
There was a good drop of swell still lingering from the strong winds in the previous days. We were over some rough ground so decided to drop some lures down to see if the Pollock would play. Matt was first in....
I couldn't buy a bite so headed for a shallower reef to see if any Bass were hunting about. A few casts with nothing then something smashed my Fiiish Minnow 120 lure. It fought hard and deep and was hoping for it to be a Bass as it would be a good one. Nope. Pollock. A nice golden kelp Pollock of around 8lb. A great fight on my Major Craft Skyroad 10-30gr rod and 18lb braid.
A few more Pollock found the lures before it was time to try at anchor in hope of a Ray. Anchors down, baits down. Wait.
Nope. Anchor up and into deeper water.
Mars Ba.... nope Dogfish.
You get the picture. I spent an hour or so twiddling my thumbs in between feeding dogfish with not a ray in sight. It was much the same for the 10 of so anglers now fishing the clean ground. A shame as in previous years the Rays have provided great sport but this year they just weren't present. I'm hoping a trawler hasn't gone through them during their migration from deeper offshore waters to shallower inshore waters. A small group of Porpoises cruising around the kayak lifted spirits.
The tide hit low and was now into the flood with conditions calming all the time. It was time to head further offshore towards Lands End, working with the tide, allowing it to bring us towards the safety of the bay during the drift. Lands End is not a place to be during an ebbing tide and fishing this area must be timed well with the tides and conditions on the day. It becomes hell on earth when the conditions turn against you, with no safe landing spot - the ebb will take you directly offshore away from safety and if you are unable to paddle/pedal against the strong currents then you will almost certainly get into difficulty.
A group of us headed a way out and found a nice little reef to drift over.
30ft down to 150ft at its edges, that'll do. I happened to hit straight into fish and pulled onboard a flurry of Ballan Wrasse which were nailing the lures!
Stu got stuck into a better fish....
He was having a right battle on a small HTO reel which was near breaking point! The quarry gave a number of powerful dives and was looking to be a better Pollock, and indeed a fish just under double figures was soon at the surface. A lovely fish indeed.
I was picking out fish almost every drop with several Pollack around the 5-6lb mark putting a good bend in the rod, and then a better one of around 9lb. Always a great fight on light balanced gear, in fact they nearly rip your arm off on the first run!
The Pollock fun continued and Craig was having equal success with plenty of arm wrenching battles with fish up to 10lb.
Stu then pulled something different out the bag.... a nice Cod!
Plenty of fun was being had with fish smashing Savage Gear Sandeels and Fiiish Minnows. I managed to winkle out something a little different too with a 2lb Pouting on a lure!
We had enjoyed 2 or 3 hours of steady sport and the tide was due to turn. Time to get back to the bay.
Conditions had bettered the whole afternoon into a millpond like sea with gentle rolling swells. It was stunning! The sun was hot too.... summer had returned for us. It all becomes worthwhile when this is the view....
It was a steady 1.5 mile cruise back to the bay, passing a few kayakers on the way that were fishing closer to the cliffs, who had found some Pollock too.
I tried my luck casting around the shallows again in the hope of a Bass but in the bright sunshine i wasn't surprised to go without a bite. Matt was having similar luck but eventually found a small Bass. Swells rolled onto the Cowloe reef with incredible power on the flooding tide. The aerated water turns a beautiful tropical turquoise enhanced by the deep blue sea and blue sky with Cape Cornwall in the distance. You can really feel the power, energy and unpredictability of the Atlantic at Sennen, and every now and then this venue shows you who’s boss and will test your limits (its caught me out on a number of occasions). Even the relatively calm swell/wind conditions brought a challenge to some who are used to flatter seas, with a few suffering the effects of sea sickness on the day, making for a shorter session than expected.
it wasn't long before we headed back in after a long day in the sun. Matt displayed two fine catches from the day, with a new PB Pollock of 10lb!
It had been a great day with some lovely fish caught, including some another Cod of 6-8lb, Ballan Wrasse to 4lb+ and plenty more Pollock to double figures. As we packed away, the bay looked ever more inviting in the evening sun...
It was time to head back to the campsite where the few of us that were camping sat around a roaring campfire chatting away into the small hours about fishing, kayaks and more. Richi's kayaking adventures are always a particular highlight. The evenings at the campsite really make this meet and the campfire is very much the beating heart of what the weekend is all about. If you have been, you will know.
Whilst the 2018 meet was a short-lived one, it was still a very enjoyable one as always. The fishing brought mixed results with the reefs fishing reasonably well, but the clean ground fishing very poor. A big thank you to those who travelled and attended, without you the meet would not exist. Thanks also go to Roger at Ponsandane Campsite for allowing us kayakers to camp at his site - not many sites will accommodate for big groups.
Lets hope for superb weather in 2019 - more information on dates for this soon!
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