Cornwall in June

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Great family week in Cornwall but only managed to squeeze in a couple of short fishing sessions though to be fair the weather didn’t help at times. It never amazes me how one day the seas can be clear, blue and tranquil and the next the polar opposite… more of that later in this post.

As for the fishing it had to be about finding somewhere safe to go with my lad Billy who is certainly showing a keen interest, which I’m of course pleased about, and is something I want to actively  encourage with him. It can be difficult with some activities, as like most kids his age these days he loves his electronic gadgets, but when it comes to fishing he does show a genuine interest which I shall duly nurture. It does help when he catches and in our two short sessions he was the only one to catch so it is he who has the bragging rights in our household at the moment… albeit was only a small pollack!

We were staying near Lamorna in the far west of Cornwall at a place called Burnt Toast Cottage which was located in a cracking spot above Lamorna Cove no more than ten minutes walk down to the coastal path. We were joined for a couple of days by my pal Nobby and his wife who coincidentally were visiting friends in Cornwall so we took the opportunity one of the days to take the rods and a few lures with us to have a go along the coast between Lamorna Cove and Penberth.

The coastline is pretty rugged and you do have to exercise some caution finding the right places to fish from but luckily the first place we tried was an easily accessible boulder strewn cove. It was a bright day with only a little movement in the water but a lot of weed – after about an hour of fishing hard lures and soft plastics around the cove we had nothing to show for it so made our way up the rocks and back to the main path. Here’s the view back across the cove from up high…

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We headed back eastwards and found a decent safe spot for the three of us to fish nearer our start point. It was a fairly deep mark so in between keeping an eye on Billy I tried out the new Lucky Craft Slender Pointer lures I’d recently acquired… good action but no fish to show for my efforts! Neither Billy or Nobby were having much luck either but that changed when Billy, who was fishing with a Grass Minnow softie on a 5g jig head, gave a cry of “fish on Dad”! It was only a small pollack but he was chuffed to bits… and so were Nobby and I come to that! Here he is with the blank saving pollack…

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That was as good as it got on this short sortie despite fishing our way back round to Lamorna Cove itself. Pleasant enough though and great to see my lad catch like that – happy days!

Later in the week, in between a couple of rainier days, Billy and I managed one more session on a trip to the north coast of the far west Cornish peninsula. While Rebs took the dogs on a walk round the coast we had an hour to wet a line. The spot was idyllic with beautiful clear water over rocks and sandy ground. I thought there might even be mackerel around but in the hour we had… not a sniff of a fish. Here’s Billy giving it his best though…

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To give you some idea of the ground here is a shot of the coast from high up as we walked on round the coast…

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And that was pretty much it on the fishing front as on the last two days of our break the storm hit which was spectacular in it’s own right. Here’s a view of Lamorna Cove the day before the wind and rain came lashing in…

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… and here it is from down at the car park as the gales hit…

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The photos don’t really do justice too how big the seas actually were but it certainly was a stark reminder of the awesome power of the sea and the respect it deserves.

So, a great week in Cornwall even though fishing was limited and one of the highlights was definitely Billy catching that small pollack just for the look on his face – magic moment.

It’s back on the work treadmill for me now for a few weeks though I’m hoping to get out fishing in the next week or so… weather permitting that is!

Until next time…

Big kids and little kids

For this post I could almost just say to you to read the previous post as it was pretty much similar in terms of the catching although I did have some willing accomplices on this occasion.

The plan had been to take Billy down to Dorset to fish with my brother and my niece who has also got into her fishing with her Dad. Unfortunately, as anyone who had seen the news yesterday may have seen, there was almost biblical amounts of rain in Dorset the day before and neither my brother or I fancied risking the kids on slippery rocks so we decided on the safer option of the local spot near to me where I’ve had a few fish of late.

Low tide was around 8:15 in the morning so we got down to teh shore two hours after and began to fish the flooding tide all in similar areas I’d caught before and all using similar lures. The sea was pretty flat but was just starting to bubble up a bit with lovely bright conditions over head.We didn’t have to wait long for the fish either when I was lucky enough to get the first take and landed this beautifully conditioned bass of around 2.5lb……

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A nice start and I was then hoping one of the others would catch but within two casts I was lucky enough to be in again and a slightly larger bass came ashore after a feisty little fight, again in tip top condition……

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Embarrassingly, no sooner had this one gone back the very next cast I was in again with what proved to be the best fish of the day at 3.5lb. Again, a nice scrap ensued and a prime conditioned fish came to the shore……

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After that excitement I moved spots to let the others too it but it wasn’t to be and from then on none of us had any luck which was a shame for the kids though it didn’t seem to dampen their spirits in the slightest……

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We had a BBQ lunch on the beach and as the wind stiffened we decided to head for some shelter on the River Hamble to see if we could entice a few schoolies out for the kids. Aside from a couple of crabs on ragworm it wasn’t to be but being kids they didn’t seem to mind at all. My brother did manage to save a blank with possibly the smallest bass I’ve ever seen hooked… so small in fact he was too embarrassed to have his picture taken with it. He also managed to fall in at one point to the amusement of the kids and myself!!

Interestingly, the only fish I took today where the last treble had hooked the fish was the first and smallest of the fish – both of the other two went for the lure head on and hooking themselves on the first set of trebles – coincidence? Maybe, but suggests to me that with the first take the lure was being chased whereas with the other two takes it looks like the lure was ambushed from below…… that could of course be utter rubbish but a theory nonetheless?!

Best part of the day? Seeing the kids take such an interest in their fishing and enjoying being by the sea, sometimes the simple things in life really do give you the most pleasure. Happy days…

Until next time…

Bass-man Billy!

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Buoyed by the recent early morning foray before work which yielded some nice local bass I had one eye on the weather forecast last night. I thought there might be the chance this morning to give the mark another go and also thought it might give my son Billy the opportunity to get a bit more practice in and maybe even break his proper fishing duck… yes he’s caught a couple of tiddlers but nothing that could be deemed all his own work. Today that changed!

His casting has improved significantly and he was getting some good distance with his lure using his 8ft rod – albeit slightly wind assisted. He was also now twitching the lure on the retrieve much more confidently and it proved too much of a temptation for one greedy bass.

It was  a real magical moment when I think about it. We were fishing a groin with our backs to each other when I heard Billy shout a single word to me…

“Fish” he cried, as the reel’s drag kicked in and the fish took a little line. 

Frantically, I pulled my line in and went to assist but really there was no need apart from telling him where to bring the fish in. It was all under control and within the minute Billy had his first lure caught bass on the beach. It was nothing huge, maybe 1.5lb at best but was in perfect condition and most significantly it made for one very happy boy and an equally proud Dad! As I say, a magic moment.

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After a few quick snaps we slipped the fish back in the water and watched it swim off with smiles on our faces. It didn’t matter what followed after to be honest but for the record I nabbed a bass soon after that was barely bigger than the lure that caught it and then I had a better one of around 3lb  which we returned to fight another day…

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The fish of the day though belonged to Billy… it may not have been the biggest but if it gives him the encouragement to get hooked on fishing, excusing the pun, then in times when there are so many other distractions for children, I think that is something of an achievement.

Well done Billy!

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……