What does a kayak angler do when they cannot go kayak fishing? They just go fishing! Having left my van into a mechanic and learning that the work would take longer than originally thought, I knew that I could not get the kayak out if I could not transport it.
Help came in the form of an excellent all round angler and friend, Craig Murphy. He told me of a spare place on a boat headed out after smoothhounds and tope and, me being me, I needed no further encouragement at all! We were due to fish from Lisin, a boat skippered by Kit Dunne from Wicklow Boat Charters.
We all met at the harbour in Wicklow and after a short talk on what the plan for the day ahead was we motored out of the harbour and headed south. First up were the smoothhound grounds. Crab bait, both fresh and frozen, were lowered to the bottom with the hopes of connecting with these sleek and agile predators.
Before long we had started to find the fish and a steady enough stream of hounds started to make their way to the boat with no monsters present but a respectable average size was observed. The sport was not hectic but the fishing for this species always starts to slow down at this time of year and after a couple of hours Kit rightly advised us to haul anchor and head further out to sea in search of some tope.
Upon reaching the tope grounds and dropping anchor, it was not long before mackerel baits were lowered to the sea bed. Within minutes we were into our first tope of the day. A special fish that deserves a special mention – its captor Anthony Greene’s first specimen fish at 64in/160.5cms long; a fine fish and a great way to start off a few hours of tope fishing. It was not long before another tope was connected with and landed, not quite as large as the first but still well able to give its captor a good work out.
Things went a little quiet on the tope scene for a short while. The slack in the tide being the reason for this. This did not signal a lull in activity though – bull huss started to make an appearance and we boated eight of them in relatively quick succession, top rod for the bull huss was Craig.
Once the tide started to run again the tope started hitting baits. It was hard work at times to pull them back to the boat against a hard running tide but we all persevered and I think everybody on board at least connected with a fish. Most were boated, some dropped. I had the misfortune of connecting with what felt like a reasonable fish only for a slack line to come back to me a minute later. Severed by tooth or tail – gutted but that’s fishing!
Losing fish never seems as bad when others present are catching them. I like to see fish getting caught. Catching them myself is just a bonus. We had a good few tope into the boat along with the huss and hounds. We had seen plenty of action.
By late afternoon the sea had started to become a bit ‘lumpy’ after winds that had been forecast to die down persisted. With all anglers satisfied, we decided to call it a day and motor back to the harbour.
A day out with Wicklow Boat Charters is highly recommended. Kit knows the area very well, has an excellent idea of where he can put you onto various types of species and even gave a few bait tutorials too. He can cater for novices to experts and everybody in between. We wanted for nothing during our trip and I look forward to the next one. It will not just suit landlocked kayak anglers, anybody interested in the sport of angling should find one of Kit’s excursions an enjoyable day out.