We decided upon a launch from Porthgwarra, a tiny fishing hamlet near Lands End, with the aim to fish the Sands for whatever was biting. We parked up and were ready to launch by 10 after some fun getting the kayaks down the very steep slipway. We paddled off down the coast towards Porthcurno, Richard in his Scupper Pro and myself in the Abaco.
We passed the Minack Theatre and Richard grabbed a few photos before heading further out to start drift fishing.
The Mackerel shoals were everywhere and there seemed to be a constant patch of them on the fish finder display so out went the hookais and first drop we had fresh bait, decent sized too. I managed to get the Hookais down deeper after a few more mackerel and it wasn't long before a small Grey Gurnard was at the surface.
A few minutes later the hookais were hit again, this time by something different.... a Scad, my first from the kayak.
Now that we had fresh bait it was time to drift baits on the bottom. Thin slivers of mackerel mounted on 2/0 Sakuma Stingers on a 5ft trace were lowered to the sandy seabed 30m below. We began to drift. A few Mackerel picked up the baits before something different made an enquiry. A few positive nods on the rod tip and i gave it some line.... the bites returned and i was soon reeling it towards the surface. A good scrap resulted in a nice Plaice.... bringing the species count to 4 at the end of the first half mile drift... not a bad start!
Richard had caught 2 Tub Gurnards, a Launce and more Mackerel on his first drift. We made our way back uptide and started to fish again. The baits were getting a lot of attention and soon enough the usual Dogfish made the species count 5. More Mackerel followed and at times made it difficult to get a bait to the bottom. Anyhow they were giving me plenty of fresh bait. Fresh out of the water Mackerel are a beautiful fish. Richard had found 2 small Plaice by the end of the second drift too.
The tide was starting to pick up so i called it a good time to drop anchor in the hope of a Ray or two feeding in the tide. The anchors went down in 30m and i deployed both my 12-20lb Ugly Stik Braid Rods with a 3/0 Sakauma Manta Extra on 40lb trace, one baited with a large Sand Eel and the other with half a fillet of fresh Mackerel. We waited.... not for very long! The Sandeel bait had been picked up, i gave it some line and waited for some solid pulls. A few strong nods of the rod tip and i hit into solid resistance.... Ray! It didn't feel like a monster as i was able to get it off the bottom pretty quickly but it gave a cracking fight in the tide. 5 minutes later and a Blonde Ray of around 5lb was winged and pulled aboard the kayak.... Excellent, my first Blonde Ray of the year and species number 6 for the day!
Hopes were now running high for more and soon enough Richard was stuck into a hard fighting Ray. I was waiting for a big one to find the mackerel bait and before i had chance to rebait the other rod something had homed in on the bait. Small rattling bites... mackerel?... well its on the hook so i would soon find out. It was fighting like a decent sized Mackerel.... nope, from the turquoise depths appeared one of my favourite fish.... a Greater Weever!! Excitement soon gave way to panic as i needed somewhere to put this venomous fish that wasn't in between my legs! It went straight in the back crate before i could safely move it into my centre hatch. Species number 7 and an awesome one at that... that was me well happy.
I finally managed to get both baits back down to the bottom. A full 2 minutes later and one of the rods wrenched over, a ray was running hard along the bottom....
After a bit of rod bending persuasion it left the bottom and swung up into the tide, they sure do go well! Next thing the bait on the other rod had been nailed... this is crazy! I slackened the line off in the hope it would behave until i dealt with the fish in hand (well soon to be in hand anyway!). Soon enough she was in the kayak.... another Blonde! This time around the 7-8lb mark, i even attempted a selfie... it didn't come out too bad!
Back to the other fish, It was still there but it wasn't a Ray, which had me wondering what it could be as it felt a decent size..... Haddock!!
Richard had quietly hoped he would find himself his first Haddock so was unamused at my latest capture but was pulling in plenty of Ray so was happy enough. He was giving them plenty of stick on his Savage Gear Pike rods which looked like great fun. He was only a few species behind my 8 by now too, after sneakily float fishing and catching a Garfish.
15 minutes later my Sandeel was being munched, i waited for a proper run but it wasn't forthcoming, the fish was there scurrying on top of the bait though so i hit into it. Another Ray powered off along the seabed... great fun! 10 minutes of arm ache and a few spirited runs later a Blonde of around 8lb was in the kayak.
Richard had hooked up at the same time and a few minutes later had one of around 9-10lb in his kayak. We were quite enjoying this!
I soon followed with another around 6lb before something hit the bait so hard it nearly tipped me out of the kayak! It seared off along the seabed as line poured of the reel, i managed to slow it down to a halt. This one felt a bit bigger! It took a little while to persuade it to leave the seabed but eventually it was in open water. A cracking fight and several powerful runs later led to a fine Blonde around the 12lb mark arriving in the kayak... that was me happy again!
The tide began to edge off and so did the bites. 20 minutes of little action and we agreed to head into a small beach to stretch our legs. A family had kayaked around from Porthcurno beach and were amazed by our captures. The kids wanted to catch some fish so Richard quickly knocked up a hand line and kindly gave it to them so they could catch some mackerel... they were quite excited! Im sure they would have caught a few as the mackerel were everywhere! Richard admired the scenery before we headed back out.
I wanted to target a Small Eyed Ray so headed for shallower water and dropped anchor. Richard headed off to some reefs in the hope of a Pollack or Wrasse. It wasn't long before he joined me at anchor, the wrasse and pollack weren't playing ball.
I was getting plenty of bites from the off and it wasn't long before something had devoured my Sandeel bait. I hooked into a fish but it wasn't the desired Small Eyed. It was fighting like a flatfish and i was right, a beautifully marked Turbot of around 2lb appeared from the depths...
Now Richard was cursing! He was hoping to find his first kayak caught Turbot today. He sat there asking what he was doing wrong as i lowered a sliver of mackerel belly strip to the bottom. It was picked up instantly and i was half expecting a Mackerel or Gurnard to be the culprit....nope.... another Greater Weever!! 2 in one day from the kayak.... thats a first for me! I was well chuffed....
Richard must have been thinking i had some secret bait as i hit into a larger fish a few minutes later.... this was a Ray! A solid fight and a few choice words from me after 10 minutes of battling, i saw a lovely Small Eyed Ray appear from the depths, as usual it saw the surface and headed straight back for the bottom, i slowed it to a halt with the braid singing in the wind. I soon got the better of it and pulled aboard a male Small Eyed of around 8lb! This day was turning out to be excellent! I was now on 10 species and had caught some quality fish. I was getting quite good at the Ray selfies too...
Richard eventually found himself a Small Eyed and a Turbot too so he was happy, but that also meant he was level with me on species with 10 a piece! Back out with a fresh bait and we didn't have long left of the session..... one was soon found by a plump Grey Gurnard
I had what i thought was a ray scuffling around on the other bait. I left it but nothing developed. A few rattles and i tightened up, something small was on... another species? It was a Dab! Species 11 just as it was time to paddle back!
We made our way back to the slipway not looking forward to the climb up with all the gear. We made several trips so that the kayaks were unloaded before carrying them back up, quite exhausting after paddling quite a few miles.
We reminisced on a great days fishing. Species totals for the day were:
Liam - 11 -
Mackerel, Scad, Grey Gurnard, Plaice, Dogfish, Blonde Ray, Greater Weever, Haddock, Turbot, Small Eyed Ray and Dab
Richard - 10 -
Mackerel, Launce, Tub Gurnard, Grey Gurnard, Plaice, Dogfish, Garfish, Blonde Ray, Turbot and Small Eyed Ray.
Between us we had managed to catch 14 different species... not bad for 2 kayak anglers considering we hadn't caught a few of the usual fish - Pollack, Whiting, Red Gurnard, Wrasse and the Cod which seem to be around at the moment. It was my best days fishing for species from Porthcurno Sands on the kayak and Richard reckoned it was the most species had had caught in a session. He also managed his first kayak caught Grey Gurnard, Turbot and Blonde Ray too. Hopefully the fishing was some sort of consolation for the long journey to fish the now cancelled fishing competition. Richard is a top bloke and a great kayak angler, hopefully next year the comp will go ahead as planned and it wont be a long journey for nothing!
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