Summer traffic meant it was a good hour before we arrived up on the North Coast at the launch. Luckily everything was loaded strategically into the van so that we could set up in double quick time. We didn't have long. The rods were rigged too so within 20 minutes and a stank down to the beach we were ready to hit the water. The tide was on the way in so we started with a drift to see if we could find some fresh bait. Mackerel seemed absent and only a few Launce turned up. Still, a new species for me this year.
The tide was really picking up and we were moving fast, too fast. We had only been drifting for 10 minutes or so but ended up nearly a mile up the coast. We turned to head back towards the ground i wanted to fish but after a few minutes it was apparent we weren't making much ground and i couldn't be bothered wasting 30 minutes to get back to where i wanted to be. Anchors down!
You really feel how much tide there is when you anchor your kayak. I was using 14oz of lead just to hold bottom. A big mackerel bait went down. It didn't take long before the first bites arrived but they weren't the aggressive takes of a Tope.... Dogfish. They were just holding onto the bait too and letting go at the surface. Something bigger finally wedged the bait in its mouth. A Bull Huss with beautiful markings....
Another first of the species for this year. The mackerel bait was getting mauled by the dogs and Andrew was having similar luck. I was going to try something new. I had a second rod set up with a smaller hook and baited this with some old frozen Peeler i had found in the freezer. That bait wasn't getting any attention from the dogs..... good. It was down for about 30 minutes before something was having a good pull at it and it was soon hooked.... this wasn't a dogfish! It was giving a really good fight and as soon as it reached the surface i could see that it was a Smoothhound!! Awesome.... i'd never caught one in Cornwall before! And then all hell broke loose. The Tope rod went off. I managed to pull the Smoothhound into the kayak just in time to grab the Tope rod and hook the fish.
It was a battle to keep the Smoothhound under control and play the Tope. I was in a right mess for a few minutes. The Smoothhound eventually calmed and stayed still allowing me to concentrate on playing the Tope. It was fighting well but i could tell it wasn't a big fish. It appeared below the kayak and then took off again taking line. It was quite fun in the pumping tide! On the second attempt i managed to keep it on a short leash until i could get a firm hold of its pectoral and pull it onto my lap. I had the smoothound pinned with my legs and the tope pinned with my hands.... it was all quite comical! Seeing as the Tope was the dangerous one i dealt with that first. Nicely jaw hooked so out it came and got a few quick photos before i sent it on its way. A fish of around 15-20lb and my first for this year.
Result! But to be honest i was more chuffed with the other fish sat in my tank well. My first Smoothhound from Cornish waters, not a massive one but a sporting fish at around 5lb or so....
I was well happy with that and more happy to know i had found a mark that produces them.... or maybe it was a lone ranger?
Plenty more dogs were hammering the Mackerel which was annoying because i didn't have much bait left. Between them a few Huss managed to get hooked with a better one of around 9lb putting up a decent fight.
The wind was picking up and some seriously black storm clouds were hanging over the land. Luckily they were staying away from us but the wind was picking up and making it pretty choppy. The sun was getting low and the rays were streaming through the clouds casting an impressive light on the water.
Something interesting then happened. As a dogfish arrived at the surface with its mouth clamped onto my bait, something else was chomping down on the tail of the dogfish.... a Tope! A large grey shape had appeared from nowhere and took a swipe at the Tope before swimming straight back down. The dogfish was whipped off the hook and the bait lowered straight back down to the bottom. 30 seconds later and the Tope grabbed the bait and headed off with it! I do love it when they power off stripping line from the reel!
It put up a really good fight but again i could tell it wasn't a big fish. I soon had a Tope of around 15-20lb on my lap. Again cleanly jaw hooked which makes things easy with unhooking.
That was fun. We were running out of time and the Tope seemed to be avoiding Andrews baits. He was pulling in plenty of dogfish and some nice Huss though. With the wind appearing to get worse the light dropping and the tide easing it was about time to head in before it got dark. Not before something had picked up my crab bait that had sat dormant for the last hour though! Another great scrap and a Smoothhound was soon zooming around the kayak. Another fish of around 5lb or so....
It was great to know that i had found a mark that produces these fish. I'll have to dedicate some sessions and try for a biggie! They must be out there somewhere. And that finished the session off nicely. A bit of a slog back to the launch but we made it before darkness set in. We'll be back again soon.....Light evenings rock!
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