Cornwall Trip – days 3, 4 & 5

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Day 3

Sunday morning we woke up to relatively clear skies though the wind was still strong and there were clouds on the horizon threatening the coast. We had a quick fry up then decided we’d take a look at a couple of spots on the Lizard peninsula which we had an inkling might be good for bass. We checked out the first spot near Porthleven and it looked ‘bassy’ but we’d need the westerly wind to drop off to give us a chance of fishing it. We then headed around the peninsula to the shelter of the eastern side looking at Porthoustock and Porthallow but neither looked like the type of ground that would throw up bass. We had a chat with a couple of local kayakers who’d just come in at Porthallow and they had had little success on the water that morning.

It was all a bit frustrating really – the areas we wanted to fish were blown out and the one’s that looked to have a bit of shelter did not look like there would be fish there. We were fast running out of options and after a quick scout around the top of St Ive’s we concluded the only spot realistically we knew would give us a bit of protection from the wind and swell, and which might get us amongst the fish, was near Gurnards Head again….. and so that’s where we headed but this time with waders and cags on to try and keep ourselves dry. When we arrived if anything the swell was bigger than the previous day  with some big waves crashing against the rocks – the pictures don’t do it justice really. The good thing though was that the fish turned up again though not in the same numbers or size.

Nobby was first in with a bass on his faithful Zonk and had a couple more to his name before I managed to break my duck for the day with a small bass on the Xlayer…

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The emergence of a large seal close in to where we were fishing soon meant the fish dried up though so we decided to have a look further round the bay as the tide was still pretty low. It really is a beautiful spot…

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We threw a line in the surf and from some of the prominent rocks here but nothing was taking a lure so we checked the roving seal was nowhere in sight and headed back round to the spot we’d caught at earlier… and sure enough the bass were back if only small ones with most falling to the Xlayer though I also took a couple on the IMA Sasuke…

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That was pretty much it for the day aside from a very small pollack and a launce sand eel caught on a set of feathers at the end of the session.

We headed back to the North Inn and over a couple of pints contemplated what we were going to do on Monday but we both agreed we should move on from the North Inn and head either down to the Lizard area or further up the north coast depending on the weather … the forecast was not great.

Day 4

This was the windiest night to date with the occasional squally shower to boot which rattled the sides of the tents making for a restless night’s sleep at best. Luckily though the strength of the wind meant the canvass was pretty dry come morning and could be packed up easily enough.

After a quick bacon butty we were on the road away from the North Inn and back down to the first spot we’d looked at yesterday on the Lizard near Porthleven. We hoped that the spot would be fishable but when we got there it was clear it was a non-starter. The seas were monstrous with heavy waves dumping on the beach.  A fellow angler turned up to have a go with a heavy lure rod and plug – we watched him have about three casts but each time it nearly blew back in his face so he soon left… as did we. There really was no option today but to get ourselves some shelter on the east coast of the Lizard peninsula.

We had a scout around and eventually found a spot at the end of the River Helford north of a small hamlet  called St Anthony’s where we found some rocky marks with gullies into fairly deep water. It was relatively sheltered but even here the wind was howling down the Helford valley.

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I managed a solitary small pollack and had an unsuccessful take from a bass close in on a grass minnow soft plastic. There were thousands of fry hanging around and some huge mullet cruising around but it was slow fishing and as the squalls became more frequent and heavier we headed back to the car as we needed to sort out where we were going to camp down that night.

As it happened a quick check of the weather forecast again proved wise as the worst of the weather was due to hit that night with gale force winds and driving rain expected – not ideal for camping out! Luckily enough Nobby had good friends Paul and Carol who lived in Newquay who were extremely accommodating when the despairing phone call was made to see if we might have a night with them and a few home comforts! They were legends and we had a great night out and a couple of glasses of plonk as well to see us right… they also have probably have the most comfortable sofa in the world – anyone could fall asleep there you  know!! It was about 3:30 in the morning when I awoke on said sofa and dragged myself to my pit… the wind and rain hammering against the windows… not a night to be in the tents!

Day 5

After the stormy night the outlook for Tuesday morning did not look any better – whilst the rain was more intermittent the wind was still about a force 7 so we needed a sheltered spot again if we were going to have any chance of fishing. Paul pointed us in the right direction and after breakfast we packed up the car and made our thanks to our hosts for their kind hospitality. The car which was packed to the gunnels anyway was now beginning to smell badly from the various bits of wet kit, footwear and not least from us! It looked like a grenade had gone off and positively reeked as we left Newquay…

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We headed up the north coast towards Trevose Head where there was a chance we might be able to get out of the worst of the weather. As we drove up the coast we passed the coast close enough in to see some huge swells coming in…

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Even this picture does not do justice to the size of these waves and which were regularly around the 12-15 foot mark. Anywhere along this part of the coast was going to be a complete no-go fishing wise.

Thankfully, we found a mark behind in the area Paul had recommended around the Trevose headland. This gave us a chance to wet a line but even here there was some big seas hitting the shore. Here’s Nobby casting beyond the breakers before scarpering back up the beach to avoid a proper soaking…

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It was hard going not only with the weather but also with the three resident seals which were happy to chase the lures in at times! Eventually though I managed a take from a small bass on an OSP Rudra plug which was our only success here…

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And that was pretty much it for the fishing today and for the trip. The weather wasn’t really improving and it was near on impossible fishing the marks we wanted to with no let up in the conditions on the horizon. Reluctantly, we decided it was time to cut our losses and head home a day or so earlier than planned. We did stop off in St Merryn at the Art of Fishing shop run by Ben Field  to have a chat with him and salivate over the lures and kit he has in stock. If you’re down that way it’s worth popping in, Ben is a nice chap and in addition to being an experienced lure fisherman he clearly knows the area well… be warned though it may be advisable to leave debit and credit cards well out of reach if you’re inclined to go in the shop!

A quick mid afternoon pub lunch followed and then we were back in the, by now rancid smelling, car for the trip home arriving in Southampton around 7 o’clock in the evening.

So, that was it, trip over. The weather could haven been a lot, lot kinder to us and I’m sure we would have got a lot more fishing in with just slightly better conditions but that said it was a top, top few days with plenty of laughs to compliment the fishing and as always in excellent company. Cheers to Nobby for a cracking few days and thanks again to Paul and Carol for their hospitality when most needed. It’s certainly an area I want to fish again but, as I say, hopefully in better conditions!

Until next time…

Charter trip…..

A few months back when we heard our mad keen fishing mate Ian was coming over from his adopted home in Australia a date was put in the diary for a charter boat session primarily to have a few laughs but hopefully to land a few fish as well. A much needed day off work was booked and yesterday, for once, the weather played ball so six of us – Kee, Ian, Dee Bill, Doc and myself – headed out from Lymington on the good ship Shogun skippered by Rob Thompson.The general plan was to fish a couple of wrecks and sandbanks off the back of the Isle of Wight and see what species we could pick up.

We were shipshape and ready to go around 8:30 in the morning ……well, most of us were shipshape and ready but there was one notable exception!!

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From Lymington marina we headed out into lovely conditions in the The Solent and it did cross my mind it would have been nice out there on the kayak! We passed Hurst Castle and headed on towards The Needles…

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The engines were shut about a mile off the back of The Needles and it was feathers down to bag up on mackerel – it didn’t take long with enough to live bait, dead bait and eat pulled up in no more than 15 minutes tops……

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Tried to get a picture of them in the live tank as well but didn’t come out so good……

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Before long we were over the first wreck mark,  Dee and Ian fishing with mackerel live baits and the rest of us on soft plastics hoping for a pollack. First drift was uneventful but second time round Dee had a hit on the live mackerel and up came this nice pollack…

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A couple more drifts proved fruitless so Rob moved us on to another wreck which again was uneventful so the decision was made to head for some sand banks and try for a few bass. Four rods went down with live baits and two with soft plastics and on the first drift Dee was in again with a bass followed shortly by Bill with a slightly bigger fish…

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That was it for the bass here though Doc did have a decent bite and when the bait come up it was cut cleanly in half…… it was widely suspected a tope had nabbed it. We moved once more to a mark further round the back of the island, again over some sand banks, where we anchored up for some dead baiting using fillets of mackerel. There was a nice tide requiring over a 1lb of lead to hold bottom. With baits down and a couple of beers on the go it wasn’t long before Bill was into something a bit different that was pretty much a dead weight in the tide. A ray was suspected and we weren’t wrong, though maybe it wasn’t the species expected, when up came a rare small eyed variety…

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Kee was next off the mark – mackerel aside – with a dogfish leaving Doc and myself bringing up the rear on the fish front! The tide had slackened off by now so less weight was needed to hold bottom which was pleasing. Dee was probably having the best day so far and it was about to get better when he was in again and this time to something a lot better which was a good test for his 12lb class rod……

IMG_0644After a decent tussle he was rewarded with this beauty of a blonde ray which weighed in at 19lb – a very respectable fish…

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Nice mouth on it too…

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As I say Doc and I were not having much luck but at least Doc was getting the odd bite and for a few seconds he had a run on his mackerel but it soon went dead and on retrieval he was missing both hook and bait – the suspect again being a tope!

Kee was feeling the effects of his antics the previous night but that didn’t stop him catching and whilst he was sat recovering  he had a tentative bite on his mackerel fillet which actually resulted in the best bass of the day…

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Time was getting on and before we knew it, it was time to head back to port …… but with a stop off on the way. Rob had noticed on his trip the day before a lot of school bass activity at the back of the island where they were chasing fry and suggested a bit of fun plugging for them on the way in. Sure enough when we got to the same mark the sea was boiling with bass attacking a bait ball of fry from below and birds working at the surface. With plugs and lures at the ready we fizzed them out and as hoped we were getting hammered by them pretty much immediately and at last I saved a blank with a  steady stream of bass in the 1.5 – 2lb bracket similar to the one below…

IMG_0660It was great sport for an hour in terrific conditions and in the end we literally lost count how many we actually caught but it was a mental hour for sure. 

At near on 8 o’clock though it was finally time to head back round The Needles, through The Solent and back into Lymington harbour……

IMG_0662 A fantastic twelve hours on the water in great company as always and especially good to catch up with Ian on his trip here from Australia. The only thing appropriate to do after such a day was to finish it off with a couple of cheeky beers – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Until next time…

Cornwall reconnaissance….

It’s been a while since I’ve had chance to sit down and update the blog and it’s been even longer since I’ve been out on the kayak. A combination of work, weather (particularly the wind) and family commitments means I haven’t been out on the water for a while but it hasn’t prevented some fishing taking place if only from the shore.

After a hectic previous month at work last Friday I headed down to Mousehole in Cornwall for a much needed long weekend with my good lady. We did plenty of walking with the dogs which as it happened also proved valuable in terms of reconnaissance for a fishing trip planned in September. We walked two sections of the South West coastal path firstly from Penberth Cove to Porthcurno and then closer to our holiday accommodation from Mousehole to Lamorna. It’s a rugged piece of coast and the water clarity is crystal clear in parts. I didn’t have my fishing rod with me for these walks but it would be easy enough to travel light and fish some of the rocky outcrops I reckon if you’re prepared for a bit of hiking up and down. By all accounts there is some good fishing to be had all along this part of the coast so it’s a definitely worth the effort involved  to fish some of these marks in my book.

As I say the first of the walks took us from Penberth Cove to Porthcurno and slightly beyond. Penberth Cove itself is a good looking place to launch a kayak from and there are also plenty of rock marks to fish from. Here it is from above on the coastal path towards Porthcurno…

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As you head on towards Porthcurno you pass Logan’s Rock which gives way to the sandy Pednvounder beach – it’s a bit of a hike down but looks a good candidate for a classic bass fishing surf beach…

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The second walk we did from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove if anything has more fishing opportunities plus you could launch a kayak from Lamorna itself given the right conditions.

Some of the rock marks are fairly easy to access on this stretch and give access to some nice gullies and eddies that look prime fishing spots…

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As you approach Lamorna there is a rocky outcrop called Carn Du which gives access to some deep water and is reportedly good for some decent pollack fishing…

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… and here is the view towards Lamorna Cove from Carn Du…

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So, some nice marks found on two walks which is encouraging.

As for actual fishing I had two lure sessions close to Mousehole from a mark called Port Spaniard. Extremely clear water here…

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Access is about halfway up Raginnis Hill down a footpath aptly named Cave Lane. The first session was unsuccessful apart from pulling in a float rig lost by another angler, the second session resulted in a couple of small pollack but annoyingly I’d left the camera back at the cottage so no proof in the pudding so to speak!

There you have it, although no kayak fishing at the moment some decent groundwork put in for possible future fishing trips.

There’s a more productive shore fishing trip closer to home to report on which I’ll post in the next few days.

Until next time……