A window of opportunity…

Ok, I know…. my last blog entry said I’d be talking about the kayak choices I explored before buying but as I warned you in my ‘Welcome’ spiel my blog could be a bit of a mish mash of articles and so it is! The reason being is a window of opportunity to get myself on the water presented itself on Monday and I grabbed it with both hands. It wasn’t a huge window but certainly enough time for me to make a trip to one of my local Solent haunts.

The venue I went to was Lee-on-Solent and to be more specific launching from the Elmore slipway at the southern end of the main promenade. It’s a good spot to launch with a quiet car park and a short distance to the shore.

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Launch site from the slipway

I was at the launch site at 5:30am and it was absolutely perfect conditions with no wind and the sea almost glass like – ideal for ‘yakking’.

The launch site is very shallow but approximately 300 metres out the seabed starts to drop off and deepens to roughly 6 to 7 metres. The mark I was heading to is just under a kilometre off shore where there are a couple of troughs in the seabed of around 11 metres in depth.

I’ve fished here a couple of times in the last month or so and have had limited success with an abundance of dogfish interspersed with a few smoothound pups which are now showing along this part of the coast. With only squid and mackerel as bait I wasn’t expecting anything other than these two species and neither let me down in this respect.

Soon enough I had my first bait down in idyllic conditions…

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And it wasn’t long before that first bait yielded the first fish of the day either in the form of a starry smoothound pup – no more than about the 3lb mark but a beautifully marked fish all the same. Even the pups put up a decent scrap so when the bigger one’s arrive soon it will be excellent sport on the kayak!

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Despite a couple more smaller smoothounds I’m afraid after that I was plagued with the inevitable dogfish that appear to be carpeting The Solent seabed at the moment. The greedy dogs were all too readily feasting on the mackerel and squid baits I was putting down. Here’s a couple of the offenders…

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After the tide turned even the dogfish bites slackened off to nothing and for a while I found myself just enjoying being on the water watching the world go by in peace and quiet.

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On The Solent you can see no end of different watercraft on the water from windsurfers to cruise liners but today, shattering my peace and quiet, were the army with all their kit on manoeuvres on a very noisy barge!

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This must have awoken the dogfish as well as not long after they were on the feed again and I finished off my bait with a few more. This time I thought I’d take the opportunity to picture one in the water… a small price to pay for their greedy antics!

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A pleasant morning on the water in the best conditions on The Solent I’ve experienced. I was back on dry land by 11:30am de-rigging and ready to head home… to work in the afternoon.

Until next time……

So, why a kayak?

It was about this time two years ago that my good pal Nobby and I were trudging back to our cars along the Dorset coast somewhere between Kimmeridge and Worbarrow Bay after a fruitless attempt for an early season bass. We tried to reason that maybe we were using the wrong tactics, the sea and weather conditions weren’t right and made countless other excuses for our poor early season form.

“I reckon we should get kayaks” were the words that Nobby blurted out.

“What?” I said.

“You know, fishing kayaks, I’ve seen a few of them around” he replied enthusiastically.

I pondered it for a few seconds and concluded,

“That’s actually not a bad shout my friend!”

And so it began… not immediately but make no mistake the seed had been sown and the beginnings of a plan were hatched. It was finally executed early in 2009.

It wasn’t that we weren’t enjoying our shore fishing it was just the catch rates were relatively modest plus we’d already found ourselves doing less and less traditional beach fishing with big rods, reels and a mountain of tackle and concentrating our efforts on light gear, lures and fishing on the move. Even this was hit and miss though and once the wheel was set in motion the idea of kayak fishing became increasingly appealing to get us to inshore waters inaccessible on foot and to allow us to fish in deeper water a little further out.

We toyed with the idea of getting a boat between us and even looked at a couple but neither of us was particularly blown away with what was on offer for our budget, nor did we really have the space at the time to keep it or the time to maintain it properly.

We both liked the idea of being able to throw a kayak on the roof of our cars and head off to wherever the will would take us…… little did we know then that with the combined cost of kitting out the yaks we could probably have bought a semi-decent boat and had change in our pockets but as is said “what’s done is done!”. However, even in retrospect I wouldn’t change that decision – I like the freedom you have with a kayak to take it virtually anywhere you please, launch from a beach and even get to those fishing spots you just couldn’t get to sensibly even with the smallest of boats.

Once we’d made up our minds it was an option we were committed too, the next stage was research and to explore the kayak options available to us on the market…… that will be the subject of my next post.

Welcome to my blog!

Well, where do I start? I’m sat here head in hands pondering how to open my blog and being devoid of any inspirational words I’m guessing, and you’re probably hoping, that my opening gambit will be relatively short. I will try to keep it that way.

As my blog name suggests the purpose of my writing is to provide a journal about my favourite pastime of sea fishing and, largely but not exclusively, my kayak fishing experiences. You see, I am a keen lure fisherman too and when the elements don’t permit the use of the ‘yak’ then I am more than content taking a rod, reel and a few plugs to the shoreline chasing a bass.

However, within this remit I don’t want there to be any boundaries as to what my blog will focus on….. my intention is to have a jumble sale of articles whether it be on fishing reports, useful resources, the occasional tackle and kit reviews, venues, what I’ve learnt and am still learning, and even reasons why I couldn’t go fishing! I make no apology if it turns out to be my predicted ‘mish mash’ of articles but hopefully this will make it interesting, mildly humorous and have the reader coming back for more?!

Right…. that’ll do for now……hopefully that was short enough as an opener?!