Kayak Fisherman Ireland

Fishing Blog

Sunday Sorties

An early start was on the cards. Admittedly, Anthony Byrne from the Irish Kayak Angling Club had beaten me to the harbour and launch site first. I had headed to the wrong harbour!

I made our agreed meeting point maybe fifteen minutes late and got about setting up as fast as I could. Not wishing to keep Anthony waiting for much longer, I told him to head on out and I would be soon following.

I dragged the kayak across the mud in the empty harbour and hopped aboard, paddling out to a reef not far offshore. I tied off to a buoy and rigged up my gear, then dropping a double shot of hooks baited with ragworm to the depths below. Nothing happened. Nothing at all.

a chunky little ballan wrasse to get started a second ballan wrasse puts in an appearance soon followed by a third ballan the ballan wrasse are getting smaller

Ten minutes elapsed without even a touch so if the fish were not going to come to me then I would have to go to them. I cut myself loose and started to drift. The decision proved to be a good one. I drifted slowly over the rough ground and within a hundred metres I could feel fish tapping at the baits.

I suddenly felt what was like an electrical jolt through the rod, unmistakably wrasse like, and I lifted into the first fish of the day. A fine ballan wrasse to get me going. Continuing on the drift, the rod arched over after another short distance and I was sure I was stuck into a monster wrasse this time.

a small but spirited codling

a second, smaller codling

After a short tussle a codling lay beaten at the surface and I boated it, took a photo and returned it. Good cod are more than a rarity in these waters and it is only fair to return any small fish to let them grow a little bigger. The bite and the fight from this fish gave the impression of something far larger.

Drift finished, I paddled back to my starting point and set up drifting on the same line. More fish met my hooks and the session played itself out with a steady stream of fish coming to the kayak which included more wrasse, more codling, a surprise juvenile plaice and a few poor cod.

Anthony started off as I had, tethered to a buoy and wasn’t having much luck until he released himself and started drifting. He also took a steady procession of fish that included wrasse, codling and a solitary pollack.

A fisherman was out collecting his pots as we fished, followed by what was possibly the largest seal I have seen. It looked more like it had the proportions of a walrus rather than a seal and he seemed fearless, following the trawler in anticipation of an easy meal. People feed the seals in this area which has led them to become a bit of a nuisance by stealing fish off lines and nipping at the occasional swimmer.

back to the wrasse wrasse after wrasse! another marbled ballan wrasse the last of the session was a much darker fish

my best ballan wrasse of the session

I certainly had reservations about dropping a bait so close to such an enormous mammal. The seal swimming about the kayak didn’t bother me, I just didn’t fancy hooking a wrasse or codling which would attract it in for a closer look. My line stayed out of the water any time this seal was within a hundred metres. Giant bull seal vs. kayak angler – only one winner there, better safe than sorry. I just wish I had charged the backup camera before heading out but he is territorial; I’ll see him again.

Seal aside, we had been treated to a busy morning. A short session had yielded five species between us. Not a bad return for a water just miles from a European capital city centre. Granted, no monsters were landed but sometimes the simpler pleasures in life are the more enjoyable; getting a couple of hours afloat in good weather and company and just making contact with a few fish. Beats wasting half of the day in bed due to excesses the previous night if you ask me…….

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Posted in: Days Afloat

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