The week's swell and wind forecasts looked grim ahead, with the following day the only possibility for kayaking. I decided it had to be done, even though my bass tackle wasn't fully prepared and I could really do with some new line and a decent coolbox for my catch. Anyhow, after a slow start I got down to the sea in time to launch around 9am, just as the sun threatened to ruin the day by opening up a bright blue sky overhead. Fortunately for me, the water wasn't crystal clear and by mid afternoon it began to cloud over, which really helped the fishing.
Sometimes, early in the season, I struggle with big noisy plugs such as Megabass Zonks. They are dynamite later in the year, but this sort of plug can sometimes make fish shy away after following it to the side of the yak, and when that happens I usually try and go down a size and opt for something a bit quieter running, or even to use a soft plastic. One plug I've found to be always reliable early in the year is the tried and trusted Rapala X-Rap SXR10 in Silver Blue Mackerel:
|Battered but much loved X-Raps SXR10 in Silver Blue Mackerel|
Fishing was slow due to the bright sun initially, but after a while I found a very bassy looking patch of ground. My preference when fishing from the kayak is to be in about 10-15ft of water. I like to be able to see the bottom. Partly so I can judge what depth I'm fishing in, but also to be able to see what kind of cover I'm drifting over and how high up those kelp stalks are reaching! Good ground for me is a mixture of bare, flat rock scars or ledges, seaweed and even a little sand. The more varied the better, but sometimes drawing a plug over kelp forests covered by 6 foot or so of water can also bring results. At this point in the article I had planned to post some photos of the various marks I drifted over, unfortunately without a polarised filter for the camera (rare for waterproof models!) you can't see anything but water glare.
After three or four small fish, I started to get one or two of a better size which I kept for the pot. As the X-Rap was catching and I already had some fish to take home, I started to experiment with some of my other smaller plugs. This year I've followed a policy of using two treble hook plugs where possible. This results in a lot less incidental fish damage due to stray trebles hooking their eyes and gills, and also less fish lost due to them diving into heavy weed and hooking a free treble up against a snag. My top baby lure for the day was the new Megabass Zonk 77 SW-HT SAYORI:
|The bite-size Megabass Zonk 77 SW-HT SAYORI. A great colour and really tight action.|
While I always gut my fish at sea, I can never bring myself to cut the head off bass as I do with cod, probably as I like to bake them whole and they look a lot nicer presented like that to the table. Cod just gets filleted before it goes in the freezer, so although it doesn't make for the prettiest photo opportunity at the end of a session, the heads can go to feed the crabs as far as I'm concerned, which in turn feed even more cod for us to catch! Nothing goes to waste when fishing from a kayak, even if the gulls sometimes get the guts before the crabs have chance.
|Yet another fish-between-the-legs shot, must find a different angle to take the photos from!|