Kayak fishing over…… for now anyway

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Well, the picture says it all really but with a slight air of reluctance I’ve sold up on the kayak fishing front… for now at least! The simple truth is  I just wasn’t getting out on it anywhere near enough to justify having it sat around doing nothing and to be honest it had been on my mind for a  while to cash in on it. Things came to a head recently with the need to raise some funds for some pretty substantial  on-going dental treatment and sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.

If I was making the effort to go out then maybe I would have made a different decision but truth is I wasn’t and found myself more likely to choose the simple pleasure of lure fishing along the shore with minimal kit than taking the kayak out.

I will still be keeping an eye in on the kayak fishing world as there are some seriously good anglers on kayaks doing some awesome stuff all over the globe which is always well worth knowing about!

So there you have it.  I’ll be focussing 100% on the lure fishing for the foreseeable future and hopefully I’ll be posting a few more articles than  of late…. particularly later in the month when I get back from a week’s lure fishing in Cornwall.

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to read and commented on my kayak fishing articles over the last couple of years or so plus I should give a shout out to Rob at www.saltwateryakfisherman.com for his help getting me up and running in the first instance. Finally, good luck to Ian who bought all my kit lock, stock and barrel!!

Until next time…

Back in the good old days…

As anyone in the UK will tell you right now the weather has been pretty shocking for getting out fishing whether from the shore or more adventurously in the kayak. I’m struggling to remember such a poor summer as we’ve had so far with the unseasonal winds and Biblical amounts of rain…. all on the back of a hosepipe ban in many parts – laughable really!

Anyhow, what this has meant is that rather than fishing I’ve had time to catch up on other things I’d been meaning to do but had been putting on the back burner. One such task was getting an invite together for my Dad’s 70th birthday later in the year for which he gave me a bag of old photos to go through to try and magic up something for him.  There were loads of them right back to his childhood days but there were certain one’s that struck a chord with me for obvious reasons.

My father was a carpenter and joiner by trade but honed his skills as a boat builder with an apprenticeship back in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. Obviously inspired by his work he set about building a wooden canoe and amongst the hoards of photos he gave me to go through I found a few great snaps of the craft which I thought I’d share.

Here’s Dad (right) with pal during the construction phase…

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Next is a picture, not of great quality I admit, of the craft completed and in action proving it didn’t sink…

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Finally, this one is possibly my favourite in a way as it was obviously used to entertain younger members of the community but more strikingly is Dad had the foresight to specifically build a trolley for the canoe as well… who needs a C-Tug after all?!

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What I really should do now is establish what wood was used, the construction process and whether he has any drawings for it? Will have to have that conversation with Dad me thinks. Whilst these days plastic is king for most canoes, kayaks and most other small watercraft come to that, I think there is something much more to admire and appreciate in the workmanship involved to create such a wooden vessel as this. The good old days indeed!

Anyway, back to the here and now – let’s hope the weather is a bit kinder in the coming weeks as I’m seriously missing my fishing fix at the moment. It can’t get any worse can it?

Until next time…

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you ‘blank’!

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What a smashing weekend and that includes blanking not once but twice over the period! The venue was the same both days but the methods different. That venue was Kimmeridge and it’s rocky ledged shoreline.

First off, I’d been promising my nine year-old son Billy I’d take him rock fishing again when the weather got a bit better and when he came home for the Easter holidays with a homework project to do on ‘The Coast’ the opportunity was too good to miss. So, with the weather set fair we headed out early on Saturday morning for a fishing and fossil hunt on Dorset’s Jurassic coast. We arrived at Kimmeridge at 6:30 a.m. with the early bird bass fisherman already on their way home for breakfast – the one’s I spoke to hadn’t caught which wasn’t promising but we thought we’d chance our luck all the same.

It really was extremely calm – as calm as I’ve seen it there which really doesn’t help when your quarry is bass especially this early in the year – they like a bit of movement in the water but it was just too still and absolutely gin clear. Nevertheless we hiked along the coast for a few hours and it was good to see Billy honing his fishing skills – his casting has got a lot better since last year.

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We walked round past Broad Bench and as far as Long Ebb, near the impressive Gadd Cliff, fishing with various lures to see whether we could tempt anything but alas it wasn’t to be. Billy did find a lot of ammonite fossils which he took some crayon rubbings from for his project so he was happy enough. They’re quite impressive the fossils down there…

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It’s smashing rock hopping along this part of the Dorset coast and good exercise as well!  When we turned to head back the water had got pretty low and it was useful to mark a few points on the GPS where there were gullies, rock formations and other interesting features that might yield a bass in the future. Even managed some underwater snaps in some of the gullies……

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By 11:30 a.m. we were in the car heading home – no fish but a cracking morning and a useful fishing reconnaissance mission for future trips although I didn’t expect to be back so soon!

The second of my fishing jaunts this weekend was planned from the kayak on Sunday afternoon/early evening with my mate Nobby and with the weather holding firm we decided actually Kimmeridge was the way to go so Sunday afternoon I was in the car back on my way down there again! We weren’t disappointed though……

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We arrived around 3 p.m. in the afternoon and after Nobby had a couple of tyre problems with his C-Tug kayak trolley we were rigged up and ready to head out.

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We were only lure fishing and planned to hug the coast fairly tightly – trolling on the way out and then plugging on the drift when closer inshore. It was the first time either of us had fished this venue form the kayak but something we’d talked about for a long long time. The sun was out, there was a gentle swell and it really was idyllic conditions to be paddling in…… it was certainly jaw dropping against the backdrop of the cliffs.

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We headed on, passing a couple of other kayak fisherman on the way, and giving Broad Bench  plenty of space before turning into the main current. Although conditions were calm the current itself was running pretty hard. We paddled onwards towards Gadd Cliff where we drift fished along the edge no more than 50 yards from shore in 15 – 20 feet of water.

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Again, it was gin clear and you could see the rocks and kelp beds below so maybe not ideal for the bass we were after. It was here that Nobby picked up his first fish of the session – a pollack – nothing huge but a fish nonetheless. I literally ‘plugged’ away fruitlessly but somehow  it really didn’t matter in these surroundings!

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We drifted our way back into Brandy Bay, past Long Ebb and then headed out again to get round Broad Bench where Nobby picked up a couple more pollack – the fishing Gods weren’t shining on me today I tell you! I tried a few soft plastics in close above the kelp and close to one of the GPS waypoints I’d marked the day before I did get one nibble but no firm take. Time was getting on by now and the sun was heading down beyond the now distant Gadd Cliff so we headed back into the slipway after a steady scenic paddle in.

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De-rigging, a couple of chaps in a cuddy type boat came in having been out in deeper water – they’d been into a few mackerel and a couple of bream which was good to see but no bass for them either. It probably is a bit early for the bass which will hopefully start showing in the not too distant future when the mackerel appear in greater numbers. Then the sun gave us a final cracking view of the bay and beyond – I took this shot just as we were about to leave…

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Definitely somewhere I want to fish more of from the kayak and at only just over an hour away from home it’s well worth the effort when the conditions are right. I think next time Nobby will be wanting me to drive though……… on the way home he had his second tyre incident of the day with a suspected puncture to deal with! Not such a happy end to an otherwise fantastic day.

Here are a few more photos from the day – thanks to Nobby for these.

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Until next time……

The upgraded Trident RodPod hatch cover

Overall I have been really pleased with the Ocean Kayak Trident 13 but there has always been one small bug bear and that was the RodPod cover. The original cover, whilst functional, is a bit on the flimsy side and I can’t help but feel only a limited amount of thought went into it’s design at the time. Thankfully, Ocean Kayak has now brought out a new RodPod cover which was definitely needed in my opinion and on the basis it can surely only be an improvement on the original I have recently invested in one.

The cost was circa. £50 which on the face of it seems expensive for a piece moulded plastic but I thought it was worth the punt nonetheless…… only time will tell but my first impressions are that it has a lot more going for it than the one shipped with my yak a couple of years ago.

I should say first off that I believe the new upgraded RodPod cover will fit all older models of the Trident kayaks so there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues. If in any doubt check on the Ocean Kayak website to be sure! The new kit includes the new hatch cover itself, straps and fasteners, the trim lock to keep the hatch waterproof and installation instructions.

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In brief, the cover is infinitely more rigid than the original and has a plethora of pre-drilled holes and mouldings for attaching things such as Scotty rod holders, GPS mounts, and such like. There are also a couple of inserts for small bits of tackle, lures, etc. with a metric and imperial ruler either side of the cover. The underside of the hatch shows the injection mouldings.

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The first job was to remove the old hatch which was a two second job. I didn’t remove the existing straps and buckles – there was no need – they are in good order and exactly the same as those you get in the kit anyway. This way I have spares too!

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Next job was to drill a small hole on the inside rim to thread the existing cord through that attaches the hatch to the yak. Once that’s done the next step was to add the trim lock to the cover – it clips on tightly to the hatch and provides the water tight seal between the RodPod and the cover – you do need to trim it down to the right size though.

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The cover is then ready to fit over the RodPod hatch. The fit is a lot tighter than the original hatch was which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

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Here it is with the straps in place…..

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Just to prove the pre-drilled mouldings work I attached my GPS mount to give an idea of how things can be fixed to the cover.

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I need to have a think now about how best to use the mouldings but I think a bait board will be added for one and maybe a drink holder of some description.

All-in-all it seems a vast improvement on the original cover but as I say the proof will be when I get out there and use it ………. which hopefully will be in the very near future now.

Until next time…..

A spring clean…..

Well, it’s been a while now since I’ve posted anything and that’s basically because there’s been nothing to report! I had good intentions of getting on the water before Christmas but what with one thing or another it just didn’t happen.The yak has been well and truly gathering dust over the past four months underneath the tarpaulin locked up at the side of the house. So, with a couple of hours to spare today I thought it was at least time to get the yak out, give it a clean off and give it the once over in anticipation of better weather, more daylight and better fishing reports in this neck of the woods.

My biggest concern was that  the electric wiring for the light, fishfinder and GPS were all still working and after the initial hose down of the yak I checked these out. With the connections greased and everything hooked up I flicked the switch so to speak. Happily they were all in the same state as when I last used them which was good news (a testament to Rob’s workmanship) – the GPS wiring needs a once over as the power was intermittent but that’s no change to before and I can live with that for now.

Next I checked out my bungee cord, straps and fixings to the yak and all seemed good so I think I’ll be in reasonable shape to get out on the water in the not too distant future when the fishing round here picks up a bit. Just need to check the actual fishing kit out now to make sure it’s all in order and hopefully I’ll be ready to roll.

This year I’m hoping to get a bit more time out on the water than I did last so with a bit of luck there will be a few more reports from different venues and a lot more decent catch reports!

Watch this space and tight lines for now.

Until next time………

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……

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

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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……

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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!

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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……

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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…

More riggin’

Well, I had hoped to get out on Saturday afternoon for a spot of local mackerel fishing but it wasn’t to be…… a combination of domestic duties and more so the increasing strength of the wind put pay to any chance of getting out on the kayak. A shame as I had the kayak and kit all ready to go but there you have it … these things happen. Nevertheless, whilst all the kit was out I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a few more pictures for the blog of my kayak rigged up (in the garden assisted by my son Billy and less so by the dog who you’ll see if you look carefully enough!).

A recent addition you’ll see to the rigging is the dry box in my rear tank well. This is an adaptation of a cracking idea by Rob Appleby ( The Salterwateryakfisherman) where he uses the same water tight container to create a dry box which can be  converted to a live bait tank. I have unashamedly used Rob’s idea to create my dry box but without going as far as the live bait tank. Maybe something for the future but certainly thanks to Rob for sharing his idea for all to see. The big plus with the dry box is anything in their shouldn’t suffer from the affects of salt water and means less kit cleaning on your return…… that’s the thought process anyway!

As for fishing, it looks like next weekend if the weather permits.

Anyhow, here are some of the pictures of the rigging on my Trident as promised:

Firstly, here’s the new dry box in the main tankwell – it has a screw in lid which is attached to the inside of the box to avoid any potential mishap which might see it going overboard:

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Moving forward here’s the Trident’s RodPod. I’ve installed a further hatch to it for easy access for when you just want to grab a small item from inside the yak without un-strapping the whole of the RodPod hatch – I’ve found this very handy. Also you’ll see the GPS unit mounted at the front of the Pod attached to power lead running to a 12v battery situated inside the yak:

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In front of the GPS unit you can see the fishfinder with the Trident’s sonar shield – you may think the position of the GPS obscures your view of the fishfinder but it’s not an issue at all given your line of vision from your seated position:

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At the front of the kayak is the cross-lock hatch where I have the battery housed and is also where I stow away the C-Tug trolley when on the water:

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Here is the battery housing inside the front hatch of the kayak securely fastened inside a watertight container, inserted into a foam housing and held in place with heavy duty Velcro:

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Here is one of the adjustable rod holders I use – there is another mounted in a similar position on the opposite side of the kayak:

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The rudder is invaluable on the water and makes such a difference when the paddling gets a bit tougher:

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For night fishing the navigation light is there for safety and fishing purposes alike – again it’s wired into the 12v battery at the front of the kayak:

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And, finally here are a few of snaps of the kayak rigged out in all it’s glory:

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So, there you have it…… I just hope next time the yak is rigged up it’ll be to get on the water with her.

Until next time….