Little paddlers….

It’s been a hectic week for me since I got back from Wales, work has been full on … one of those weeks where you’re burning candles at both ends of the day, plus we picked up our new border terrier pup ‘Woody’ who has required some attention. We already have one border ‘Lizzie’… so there’s been fun and games this last week as I’m sure you can imagine. I don’t mind admitting I’m pretty shattered and all this has added up to absolutely no chance of fishing and not even time to update this blog…… until now!

That said, I did get chance last Saturday on my return from the Welsh coastline to take my son Billy for his first outing on his own kayak. I’ve had the yak for him for sometime now but was keen that he do a day course first just to find his feet which he did early August.

The weather was actually a bit blowy so we decided to head off to Keyhaven near Hurst Castle at the western end of The Solent and more specifically the backwaters behind the shingle bank. To make it a bit more interesting we took along ‘Lizzie’, adorned in her very own dog life jacket, to see if she would take to this kayaking lark. As we set off the signs were she was a little hesitant……


But there was no such hesitancy from Billy, who was soon in the swing of things……



It’s a great little backwater and we were going with the current plus had the wind behind us making for a nice easy paddle for Billy… my concern was coming back it was wind over tide which would make things interesting! Still, I had the foresight to pack a tow line just in case and a good decision it turned out to be in the end.

We ploughed on up the backwater and despite falling in once and jumping in once Lizzie was enjoying herself at the bow of the yak on apparent look out duties……


After about a mile’s paddle Billy’s arms were feeling it so we paddled in to the shore and the tow line was deployed for the paddle back which gave me a good workout pulling him along against the elements!


I don’t mind admitting I was a little apprehensive about taking Billy out, as most parents would be, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well he paddled and manoeuvred the kayak in the water. The Ocean Kayak ‘Frenzy’ he has is more of a surf yak and not the most stream line of yaks making it harder work to paddle, especially for  a nine year old boy.

After a bit of graft against the wind and current we were safely back at the launch point, ready to de-rig and have a well earned rest……



We weren’t out there particularly long, maybe an hour and a half at the most, but they’re magic moments these when you see how excited your offspring, and pets come to that, are on the water. I’ve already heard “when we going kayaking next Dad?” several times this last week and after Lizzie’s successful launch I’m sure it won’t be long before the new pup Woody will be having a trip out! Once again, happy days…

Bringing this whole post back to fishing, these backwaters were teeming with small bass and we saw a couple of bigger one’s launch out of the water as well – would be a good spot to troll a lure behind the yak I reckon. There were also some big mullet cruising around which would be worth a crack at. Hoping to have a bit of fishing on the kayak soon but no definite plan at the minute in this respect. I will hopefully be fishing next Saturday though – weather willing…… have signed up for a boat charter with a bunch of mates, including one over from New Zealand, hopefully after some bass off The Needles.

Until next time…

Something a bit different

Just got back from a couple of days camping in Pembrokeshire, Wales with my nine year old son, Billy. It’s somewhere I’ve never been before and whilst we were there to primarily enjoy the joys of camping we also planned to do some rock fishing and of course I wanted to check out possible kayaking launch venues in the process!.

The campsite I chose was just outside of St. David’s as you head west in a hamlet called Porth Clais. We found a cracking pitch, wonderful view and the weather was superb when we arrived…

View from Campsite

The piece of water in the picture is St. Bride’s Bay with the island of Skomer just visible in the distance. First evening we tried a little float fishing from the rocks near the Porth Clais harbour inlet – the water is crystal clear and we were getting lots of bites from the tiniest of wrasse which were just clinging to the bait rather than the hook! Here’s some more pictures of the coast line and harbour at Porth Clais…

Porth Clais Rocks

Porth Clais Harbour

Porth Clais Harbour Inlet

As the light faded we switched to lures to see if there were any bass around but it was almost too calm with nothing to get excited about. Still, it was a lovely evening and it was good practise for Billy who is just getting into his fishing. His casting has come on leaps and bounds but his patience needs some work! Here he is on the rocks…

Billy Porth Clais Rock Fishing

We spent a pleasant night under the canvass and woke up nicely refreshed – a quick bacon sandwich and cup of tea for breakfast and we were on the road. The plan was to head up the North Pembrokeshire coast and see what and where we could find. The weather was cloudy and actually quite cool for August with a fresh and increasingly strong wind.

The first stop was the fishing village of Porthgain where we took a wander to the old quarry along the coastal path to the left of the harbour as you look to the sea. There looked a couple of good rock fishing spots but the sea state had worsened and it was fairly exposed so we decided against this spot. The harbour itself would be a good spot to launch the yak from though and the local pub nearby – The Sloop Inn – would be an excellent after fishing  watering hole!

We headed up the coast calling in at beauty spots along the way such as Abermawr, Abercastle, and Strumble Head all the way up to Fishguard where we picked up some bait and a spot of lunch. We decided to head back to Abercastle where we had noted calmer water and safer looking rock marks for Billy to fish from. It was another lovely looking spot to launch a kayak from…

Abercastle Harbour

We walked to a rock mark to the left of the harbour and fished there for a couple of hours but it was slow and the only fish to show between us for our efforts was this plump little rockling I landed on a whole sandeel…

Rockling 1

Rockling 2

I was really hoping for Billy to land something but despite his best efforts the bites didn’t come and it wasn’t to be. There will be other days for him I’m sure when his luck will be in!

We headed back to the campsite shortly after that with the weather closing in all the time. Just about managed to get a barbeque in before the first spots of rain were felt – it turned out to be a wet and windy night but the Vango Hurricane 200 tent stood up to the conditions with ease – an excellent piece of kit in my opinion…

The Hurricane 200 Tent

The next morning things hadn’t let up so we begrudgingly decided to call it quits and head home. It rained pretty much all the way home so a decent decision in the end.

A smashing couple of days nonetheless and a little bit of groundwork put in on fishing spots and possible kayak launch venues – really would like to get the yak to some of these spots in the not too distant future and do some more exploring of this stretch of coast. It’s a truly beautiful part of the UK and somewhere I can thoroughly recommend.

Happy days.

Until next time……

A ray of hope…..

Have been off work this week primarily for a camping trip to Wales later today with my son but yesterday morning did present me with a fishing opportunity. The weather looked favourable according to the forecasts so I loaded the car up Monday night ready for an early start on Tuesday at the local haunt at Lee-on-Solent.

The yak was rigged and ready to go by about 5:15am but when I got to the launch point there was a fair old lump to the sea and a bit of a blow coming from the west – certainly not as flat as previous outings but it was do-able.

Got out to my favoured spot and set up with a good sized crab bait on one rod and a lash of mackerel on the other trying to avoid the pin bream that can strip the baits if you’re not careful here. This is a picture of the sea state which probably doesn’t do justice to how bumpy the conditions were.


In addition to my rods I was hand lining for mackerel and almost instantly I was into a couple of them which were despatched to the cool bag.

It didn’t take long either for the first knock on the crab either and I connected…… you can tell pretty much straight away if it’s a smoothie and that’s exactly what surfaced. This one being of the starry flavour and as with all smuts he wasn’t too pleased to be aboard the yak! They really do go berserk when they’re out of the water but eventually he calmed down to have his picture taken before being returned…




A good start I thought but then, save for intermittent mackies on the hand line, things went decidedly quiet with no more sniffs on the crab bait and not a squeak out of the mackerel strips I was putting down. Still, the wind had swung round to a north westerly and the sea flattened off a bit which was nice – nothing worse than trying to have a coffee in a lumpy sea! Here’s a picture of the sun on it’s way up……


After a good hour or so I finally managed another bite on the crab again and was really pleased to see this bass come up – not a keeper but a bass is a bass all the same… they are such beautiful fish.



By now it was 9:30am, the first of the Cowes week yachts were beginning to gather and The Solent was beginning to get busy so I was contemplating calling it a day when I had my one and only bite on the mackerel bait. It was a strange bite and when I struck into it all I could feel was a dead weight but when it got to near the surface I saw why… it was a thornback ray – not big but my first from the yak so pleasing. A couple of pictures and he was put back to fight another day.



Stuck at it for another hour or so but it had gone quiet again which probably wasn’t helped by the hive of activity on the water with yacht after yacht skimming through. It’s an impressive sight even if puts an end to the fishing!

I paddled in and gutted a few of the mackerel ready for the smoker and the rest that were left I kept for bait – probably had a dozen or so in total, not bad for fishing anchored up using a hand line just underneath the yak…


So, another nice little session but I really must try a different venue next time!

As I say, leaving the wife and dog at home and off to Wales later today with my son camping for a few days, and hopefully, there will be a bit of fishing to be had from a couple of rock marks I’ve been told about… we’ll see.

Until next time……