A better session….

Managed to get myself out on the water on Saturday morning for what proved to be a hectic little session. The venue was once again Lee-on-Solent launching from the Elmore slipway. I like to catch first light which mid-June means a very early start. The alarm was set for 3 a.m. and I was on the road, rigged and ready to fish by 4:15 a.m. just as the sun was coming up. Conditions were near on perfect…


I fished in the same vicinity as my last trip off Browndown and to begin with the results were the same …… dogfish greedily taking any of the baits I was putting down there namely mackerel strips, squid and ragworm.


So I switched bait to the limited crab I had and it brought an instant change in fortune with the more definitive bite of a smoothound – nothing huge, still a pup, but a hound nonetheless.


Another followed shortly after much the same size. One thing about catching smoothound on the yak you really must make sure you have your kit tied down as even these smaller one’s go nuts when they’re on board and it would be easy to loose bait, tackle or worse overboard in the pandemonium of trying to get the hook out!

As I say, I only had limited crab so had to switch back to squid, ragworm and mackerel and inevitably the dogfish returned to readily take my offering. However, I then had the tell-tale bite of something different – fast knocks that were hard to connect with so I scaled down my hooks and that did the trick as I was in to some bream – none particularly big but they’re good sport nonetheless.




These were my first bream of the year and very welcome they were too…… as was the next fish to land on my lap – a nice bass – only a couple of pound but a beautiful fish nonetheless taken a on a ragworm/squid cocktail. This one put up a great scrap before I was able to get it on board…



Very satisfying but shortly after the tide changed and the bites dropped right off with weed becoming more of a problem. It was still lovely out there though……


By 9:30 I decided to call it a day and pulled the rods in and began my paddle back but as I reached about half way point I noticed fish jumping on the surface…… mackerel! I didn’t have time to set the rod up with feathers but luckily I’d brought a hand line along loaded with a 6 hook hokkai rig for just such an eventuality. The minute I lobbed the line in I had one on, then another and another and another all just under the surface…… four in about 2 minutes before they moved on again.



I paddled the rest of the way in very contented with my early morning session. Compared to the fishing a month ago when all I could muster was a couple of pups and a bucket of dogfish it was nice to add the bream, bass and mackerel to the bag – amazing what a difference a bit of warm weather can make.

Until next time……

Gettin’ rigged…..

Well, it’s been a while since my last blog and true to form it has been largely down to one of the ‘W’s mentioned in my last post…. Work. Saying that though although the weather has been dry it has been windy down here on the South Coast so probably limited opportunities to get out on the kayak anyway.

Anyhow, I digress…. This article is all about getting rigged for fishing on the kayak. As I mentioned in a previous article getting the kayak is not even half the story when it comes to kitting out. I haven’t totalled up what I’ve spent on kitting the yak out but I wouldn’t mind betting it’s over doubled the initial outlay for the kayak and the paddle.

For starters there’s safety kit…. I’m not going to give a huge list of what you should and could have – there are other forums and sites on the internet with a wealth of information far more extensive than I can list or am experienced enough to talk about. I reckon with a bit of common sense and talking to experienced yakkers most people will be able to get the basics right. So, what have I gone for? Well, a ‘lifejacket’ or in the yakking world a personal flotation device (PFD) for starters is a must. If you want to stay dry then a dry bag/suit is needed – I went for a two-piece number in the form of a bib and braces with a cag over the top which has served me well to date. However, in retrospect I do see the advantage of an all-in-one suit to reduce the risk of water getting in. In addition I’ve managed to accumulate wet suit boots, gloves, hats, flares, VHF radio, leashes, a towline, dive knife, leashes, a safety light, and a whistle …. all in the name of safety on the water!

Here’s Nobby and my good self in our kit ready to go……


In terms of rigging the yak itself again I’m no expert and again would suggest you hunt out other sites on the internet where you will see no end of ideas on how to rig your yak and believe me there are infinite possibilities. Both Nobby and myself have been extremely fortunate in the early days of out kayak fishing to stumble upon an experienced yak fisherman, Rob Appleby, who has helped us get rigged up and provided much sound advise. Without wishing to embarrass him it really is worth taking a look at Rob’s blog for some cracking and sensible ideas for rigging out your kayak as well as reading through his experiences – it comes highly recommend. As for my trusty Trident I’ve added to it a couple of access hatches, one at the stern and one on the RodPod, an anchor trolley, and two rod tubes as permanent fixtures. In addition to this there is a removable 12v battery that powers a fishfinder, GPS unit and for night fishing a stern light. Other removable items include a seat, a dry box in the small tankwell behind the seat and then either a yak bag or a crate for the main tankwell. I’ve also got an anchor setup which attaches to the anchor trolley and a trolley to wheel the yak around.

Here’s some of my rigging bits…

The fishfinder


Dry box in rear small tankwell


The stern access hatch


All this and I haven’t even mentioned the fishing kit for which you’ll need more leashes to keep it all on the yak! I’ll save that for another blog…. after I’ve got some fishing in.

The WWW effect ….

Now you might think I’m going to talk about kayak fishing resources on the internet here but I’m not. The ‘WWW’ effect to me are the three things that generally stop me fishing…… Work, Wife and Weather – and usually in that order but beware because if one of the ‘W’s doesn’t get you, you can be near as damned sure that one of the others will do their level best to scupper even your best laid of plans.

I’m not trying to stay in the good books here, well, maybe just a little, but the lesser of the three evil ‘W’s when it comes to my fishing time is the ‘Wife’. She’s a good sort and in the majority of cases I think she’s quite happy for me to disappear down the road with fishing and kayak kit almost falling out of the car. The problem is usually when the other two W’s are looking favourable and I have a plan hatched for the upcoming weekend and she mutters those fateful words …… “You have remembered we’re going up to my parents this weekend? It’s on the calendar.”…… Of course I hadn’t, I’m a man, how the hell was I to know or remember to look at the calendar when all I had been so focused on was fishing venue, what the tides were doing, what bait to use and the other two W’s?! It’s frustrating when this happens and sometimes you just have to take it on the chin, plus as I see it, there is a flip side that can be advantageous…… let me explain. The good thing about the ‘Wife’ is that of the the three W’s it’s the only one I find you can at least score some decent Brownie points with for future fishing expeditions. ‘Work’ is less flexible and with the ‘Weather’ you’re in the lap of the Gods or should I say the dodgy weather forecasters – more of them later. The key is to keep yourself in good credit with the ‘Wife’ by entertaining some of her plans, keeping ahead of jobs around the house and generally keeping her sweet. It’s no use lying to yourselves lads, even the most brazen of you yak fishers out there has to tow the line at some point in the proceedings. So, yes, the ‘Wife’ can be a hindrance but played correctly this is usually the easiest, and most likely, the only one you can manipulate!

This brings me to ‘Work’. I am employed on the typical nine to five treadmill that a lot of us find ourselves and I accept that ‘needs must’…… after all it pays for all the kit, bait, etc. I can shrug this off and even accept it when I’m sat in a mind numbingly dull project meeting about moving a couple of equally dull databases from one location to another that ‘Work’ is a necessity. It’s the little things with ‘Work’ that drive me mad – when things come off the rails and once again shoot my plans in the foot. A classic for me is ‘out of hours’ work and being in the exciting world of IT believe me it happens. Picture the scene…… it’s Tuesday evening, the ‘Weather’ forecast for Wednesday evening is set fair, the ‘Wife’ is sweet, so you get all your kit ready so the minute you get home after ‘Work’ on the Wednesday you can scoff your tea down, fuss the dog, kiss the ‘Wife’ and your out the door again. You go to work Wednesday, keep your head down all day and then half an hour before you’re due to leave it happens…… the phone rings and it’s your boss…

“Andy, the clients have found a problem in the XYZ database, can you have a look at it? Oh, it’s a showstopper and can you make sure it’s when all the users are out? They should all be out of the system by 6 o’clock this evening”

…… I never know whether to scream, laugh or cry. What can I do? It’s a necessary evil is this ‘W’ and I need my job to pay for my fishing in addition to other not so important things like a mortgage, food and bills. I find it so maddening and this is just an example of the many ‘Work’ related matters that frustrate the hell out of me. Each and every one of them has the affect of making me late or putting a sledgehammer through my meticulously laid plans.

Finally, we come to the ‘Weather’ and maybe more specifically it should be ‘Weather’ forecasters. The ‘Weather’ is the one thing you don’t have even the slightest influence over and can only plan for based on the information put out there by these so called ‘Weather’ forecasters whether it be on TV, radio or, more likely these days, internet weather channels. Particularly for kayak fishing the wind is all important – both the direction and the speed. Rain and cold you can cope with but the wind is the key. So, why is the ‘Weather’ so frustrating? I’ll tell you why…… again, picture the scene – there have been no murmurings from the ‘Wife’, you’ve escaped from ‘Work’ unscathed and the ‘Weather’ forecast when you checked an hour ago was perfectly do-able. The sun is out, you load your kit on and in the car, say your farewells, drive to your chosen venue, walk down to the shore…… and the sea is cresting with white horses with a nice swell to boot. What happened to the predicted 3 to 5 mph winds Mister ‘Weather’ Forecasterman – tell me that eh!? In my eyes it’s not a forecast at all it’s simply a ‘best guess’ a lot of the time but I suppose the job title of ‘Weather’ guesser doesn’t fit the bill even if it is a more accurate description! It’s not all the forecaster/guessers fault though. Sometimes when you get a combination of ‘Work’ and ‘Weather’ that can really leave you in shreds and it happens…… you’ve been hard at ‘Work’ all week and the ‘Weather’ has been a dream for kayaking, open the curtains Saturday morning and it’s blowing a hoolie with lashings of rain for extra measure to rub salt into your already smarting wound. You can feel almost fated with bad luck at times.

So there you have it – the three W’s that a majority of the time prevent me from getting out there on the yak and fishing. Whether it’s one of them or a subtle combination of two or all three of them believe you me they’re all out there to wreck your plans! Speaking of which I’d better get back to one of the W’s now…… ‘Work’…  and yes, the ‘Weather’ is perfect outside!

Until next time folks……