I met up with Mark, Si and Richi at Ponsandane campsite early doors just as coffee was being made… perfect. We chatted, chatted some more and then loaded the kayaks onto the cars before heading down to Sennen to meet Steve. Steve had been there since the early hours of the morning and told us that the local fisherman had been catching plenty of mackerel… great news given their notable absence of the past month or so. Richi and Si eventually arrived after taking an unplanned visit to Lands End before finding the correct turning to Sennen Cove!
Clear blue skies, hot sunshine, Light winds and a fantastic view meant we were all itching to get out on the water. A short walk down the slipway and we were at the waters edge ready to launch. Mark in his RTM Black Tempo, Si in his Kaskazi Dorado 2, Myself in my RTM Abaco, Steve in his WS Tarpon 140 and Richi in his Stealth. Sennen gives access to a diversity of ground and species – we planned to fish the deeper Lands End side to see what it could produce. Time to see how many species we could get between us.
We paddled out to the end of the Cowloe reef and dropped hookais down over reefy ground. Richi disappeared off into the distance in the Longships direction – trying his luck for a big Pollack or Bass no doubt! Anyhow Si was into the first fish… Mackerel! A welcome sight and a promising start.
Mark was next into a fish and one which gave a good scrap… his first Cornish fish…. A Cuckoo Wrasse! His first of the species too…. Great stuff!
It wasn’t long before his rod was bending again and too my surprise he pulled out a plump little Cod!
A few moments later I hit into a hard fighting fish and after a few minutes of spirited fighting, on my Daiwa Powermesh X 5-30g lure rod, 2 Cod graced the foot well…. Awesome! Although not monsters they are not often seen on my kayak so that was me happy. The larger of the two was kept for tea as I had promised Holly fresh Cod next time I caught one. I went to grab my measuring stick to get a photo for Kayak Wars when I had realised it was still in my shed...typical! Luckily I have a measuring ruler printed onto the Abaco foot well so had to make do with that. Another smaller Cod found the Hookais before we moved off the reefy/rough ground.
I had a Mackerel and Launce before we had a quick look in closer over the kelp reefs for a Pollack. Mark managed one over the rough before I suggested we paddle further out to see what was on the bottom in the deeper water. Huge shoals of sand eels and mackerel were periodically filling the fish finder display – at times I was paddling in 30m and then all of a sudden 2m, looking over the side of the kayak it was easy to see why the fish finder was fooled – huge dense shoals of sand eels were passing underneath in the tide – a great sight to see. Steve stayed in close whilst we paddled out until we hit 38m and dropped baited hookais and strips of Herring or Mackerel on running ledgers to the bottom. Soon enough I had a fish on and after putting up a good account of itself on the light rod I was pleased to see a Tub Gurnard arrive on the surface – one of the most stunning fish in our waters and one of my favourites to catch. Just look at the colours!
I tried drifting a small sliver of herring on the bottom and soon found that the usual dogfish were willing to oblige, one in fact must have been the biggest dogfish I had caught at around the 3lb mark. It wasn’t behaving for a photo but was around 75cm in length. Another beautiful Tub Gurnard found the Herring bait irresistible too.
Mark suddenly shouted that he had seen a Tope follow his bait up so I wound up my bait in the hope that it may take it… I watched the bait below the kayak, a fish shot out of the depths but it wasn’t a Tope… it was a decent sized Garfish, it made one pass at the bait before disappearing again....damn! I dropped it down another 20ft and let it be with the clutch loosened whilst I cut up some new baits. BANG, the rod bent over and line started pulling off… Tope? Nope it was a hard fighting Pollack around the 3lb mark.
With a bait back on the bottom I sat back and enjoyed the sunshine. Out the corner of my eye I spotted a fin, then another….. DOLPHINS! They were Bottlenoses and were heading straight for my kayak, they passed at about 30ft before heading over to Mark. He managed to get a great pic of one breaking the surface.
Back on the baited hookais and I was into another fish… this time a vibrant Red Gurnard – another stunning fish… I was enjoying this!
I rebaited the bottom hook on the hookais and dropped them back down. No sooner had it hit bottom something nailed it…. A different fight left me waiting to see what would emerge from the depths. A flash of colour deep down turned more and more colourful as I reeled it in closer…. It was a Male Cuckoo Wrasse and a decent sized one at that! They are my favourite species so I was well happy. Unfortunately it wouldn’t swim off so I kept it to be weighed into my club and to be used as bait at a later date – Cuckoo wrasse makes great bait so it won’t be wasted. It weighed 1lb 1oz 10dr so a new PB.
Si had pulled up a Grey Gurnard and a few other fish, Mark was desperately trying to catch his first Red Gurnard. We had drifted towards Lands End and decide to paddle right below the famous landmark. Richi had since arrived from his ocean voyage around the Longships with a few Pollack to show for his efforts. I stayed over a patch of reef whilst the others headed further around the headland. I had a stonking bite and hooked into a hard fighting fish followed by another take and even more chaos on the end of the line…. The rod was bent double and after a while two Pollack both around the 2.5lb mark were in the kayak…. That was fun on the light rod!
The others hadn’t found much between them so we regrouped right below Lands End and watched a fantastic practice rescue session between the Sennen and Penlee Lifeboats and an RNAS Culdrose Helipcopter.
We all sat back and watched….. Except for Richi… he was off again! This time he was sat on the edge of the helicopters prop wash, camera in hand taking photos! We all found this hilarious and were waiting (Hoping) to see him get plucked from the water by the winch man! Well he should have got some really epic photos anyway.
We paddled back round to deeper water towards Sennen in the hope of finding a few more fish. Richi spotted a Sunfish and Mark went over to check it out – they got really close and Mark has got some great photos of it next to his kayak. I headed back over to Steve on the inside of the Cowloe to see how he was fairing. He had found plenty of Pollack and a Cod so he was happy. Together with Si we headed to the end of the reef to see if any bigger Pollack were feeding in the ebbing tide. The underwater reefs created an area of confused water and in combination with the ebbing tide and a lumpy swell made for a rocky ride round the end of the reef. We drifted along, hookais down…. BANG… fish? Snag? Either way my rod doubled over and with the pull of the tide and a rising swell my rod shattered in my hands!! Not happy… the rod snapped at two points on the tip section… it was a lovely rod too. I resorted to bait fishing over some cleaner ground further into the bay. Steve followed whilst Si tied off to a buoy. Steve deployed his deadly Dexter wedge whilst I found a couple of dogfish and Pollack on the bottom. A splashing on the surface caught my attention… Mackerel were shoaling on the surface around the kayak and it wasn’t long before Steve was pulling out one after the other.
Mark radioed in and said everyone else had landed back on the beach. We called it a day and joined them back on the beach inside the breakwater.
Mark had found his first ever Red Gurnard… brilliant! We all finished up with a good few species each. I had a great day finishing up with 8 Species – Mackerel, Launce, Cod, Pollack, Dogfish, Red Gurnard, Tub Gurnard and a Cuckoo Wrasse. Mark had 7 only missing out on catching a Tub from the species I caught. Si had 6 and Richi and Steve had a few between them too. Mark missed out on a Tope and I nearly had a Garfish so it could have been more. Not bad considering we hadn’t even tried the sands for the Flatfish, Rays and possibly a Weever. A good bit of fishing in the sun with excellent company… fantastic! Mark, Si, Richi and Steve are all top blokes and it was great to fish alongside them. Its great to have made some new friends amongst the kayak fishing fraternity. We headed back to the campsite; stoked up the barbeque and prepared fish… fresh BBQ Mackerel and pan fried Pollack fed everyone and their families. We had a great evening in the sun chatting around the campfire… a great end to a lovely day on the water.
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