Hopes running high, I pointed the car in the direction of County Cork, known in Ireland as the ‘Rebel County’. Two shore anglers and I were going to stay for a few days, fish different areas and then regroup and compare notes.
The weather was not kind for the first couple of days, as you’d expect of an Irish summer, but when an opportunity to launch presented itself it was greeted with enthusiasm.
Pollack were our target and jelly worms and soft plastic sandeels were the weapons of choice. My shore angling buddies were fishing a rock mark at the base of some cliffs, while I intended to paddle over and explore the same area from the kayak. I wanted to fish on the drift, casting and slowly retrieving the lures in the hopes of enticing a hungry pollack to take the bait as it lifted off the sea bed.
My tackle was standard kayak spinning kit – an 8 foot medium action spinning rod, a good fixed spool reel loaded with braid and a fluorocarbon leader.
After a moderate paddle I started to notice an interesting feature on the echo sounder – an underwater shelf that I was sure would harbour a couple of predators. So I sent my lure to the horizon and when it hit the water I gave it ample time to reach the seabed.
Happy that it had, without being intercepted on the way down, I slowly started to reel the plastic bait towards me in an effort to impart life into it. Almost immediately the ruse succeeded and the rod arched over with the first pollack of the day – at about 3lbs, it went back without delay.
A fish on the first cast can be something to be wary about. It can herald the dawning of a ‘red letter day’ or a false dawn. Today’s early capture signalled the latter. Undeterred, I fished on in hope that my luck would change. The pace of the fishing was a lot slower than some of the days I have experienced in this corner of Ireland, but it is a place worth persevering with due to the quality of some of the fish that it can throw up.
Things Look Up
After an irregular run of fish in the 3-4lb bracket, the rod locked over and straight away I knew that this was a better pollack.
I like to fish with a tightly set drag and finally I had connected with a fish that was capable of taking line from me. This was what I had come here for!
After a spirited battle, a fine pollack was laid across my lap. Weighing scales are something that I generally do not carry on the kayak but I did have a ruler with me and it showed the pollack to be an impressive 75 centimetres plus.
Within a half an hour I had caught and released a second, slightly smaller fish.
Soon afterwards, the pollack’s willingness to hit baits dwindled and I felt it was probably time to head back to shore. The paddle home always gives me time to reflect on the day’s incidents and as I made my way in I could not help but think that the sport had been a lot slower than I had anticipated.
I had nowhere near the amount or quality of fish that I have taken form that mark on previous trips.
Then I smiled as the realisation dawned that only in Ireland could a session with a brace of double-figure pollack be described as a slow day!
Back at our rented cottage I could see that the shore anglers had also returned. “Well?” I enquired, eager to see if they had outdone me. They had managed just a couple of fish in the 3-4lb range. Once again, it seemed, this kayak fisherman had come out on top.