I arrived on what seemed like a windless day as I drove to the coast. But on the beach itself, a stiff breeze was gusting and white horses were flecking the horizon. It still looked worth a chance though, as I thought I could make a line of clearer water before the point at which the white horses started, giving me a narrow band to try and find some fish. I launched and quickly realised the sea was a lot "friskier" than I had thought. Decidedly lumpy, as kayakers say! Worse, after a couple of drifts of my initial mark there was no sign of a fish anywhere. With the tide rapidly going out, I decided to head out to some other marks that generally fish best on low tide.
But everywhere I tried, I faced the same thick cloudy water and not a sign of fish or fish-feeding birds anywhere. I always keep an eye out for cormorants and guillemots, as these birds are excellent indicators that fry or sandeel are available. As a rule of thumb, this generally means the bass aren't far behind. However on this particular day, I could only see cormorants sunning themselves on the rocks - never a good sign to see the professionals are not fishing!
I paddled and paddled, and paddled some more. Finally, I thought that's it. There are no fish about. I'll go to my last mark, put an X-Rap on and troll it back. If I get nothing I'll just call it a day. The tide was turning and starting to move at pace as I reached the mark, and I noticed a slight clearing of the water. And a pair of seals. Don't generally mind them being around, as I take their presence much the same way as I like to see diving birds. I stopped and drifted a little while I changed to the X-Rap, and then started to slowly paddle back. Bang! Unbelievable!! My trusty, rusty little X-Rap had found a fish:
|First rule of kayaking is find the fish. Second rule is stay with the fish!|
I also know that once you've found them, and they are in a feeding frenzy, you are going to catch a lot. It really doesn't matter what plug you put on, within reason most plugs will catch. I repeatedly cast the little X-Rap SXR10 and it caught a fish every cast. After reaching double figures, I wondered if I might be able to select for slighter bigger fish using a longer minnow type plug. On went my sponsor's Duo Tide Minnow Slim 120 in J222:
|Fish after fish after fish hit the Daiwa Saltiga Minnow 120.|
|If my pliers can't reach the bottom hook, I knock them on the head immediately.|
|Another fine slab-sided Yorkshire bass.|
|Delalande Agrafe Rapide Inox No. 6, as recommended by Henry Gilbey, and as destroyed after 20 plus bass! Personally I find these clips fiddly and won't be using them again.|
It was a great day, perhaps my best in 5 years of sea kayaking. One thing that reminds you constantly that you're dealing with an efficient, well-armoured predator is that your hands get cut to ribbons. It doesn't help that they are constantly wet from paddling or handling fish, so your skin is soft and more prone to taking the damage that gill spikes and fin spines can cause - but hey, who cares? It was worth it!
|Proof of catching a lot of sea bass!|