Thursday, 23 April 2015
Last year I had my first attempt for Bass on the 17th of May, then again five days later.. At that point they seemed to be about in numbers. I even caught a Garfish on this trip, a first for me in Scotland. I’ve not spotted any reports of Smoothies being caught yet but I would imagine that will change over the next week or so, won’t be long now!
Sunday, 19 April 2015
The hard overnight frost made for a fairly cold nights sleep in cabin but I was on the water for 5.30am. I fired up the Lowrance in anger for the first time and was glad to see it was working. I was soon under way zig- zagging around a bit and getting a feel for things. Fishing on Loch Ken for the first time with no engine ticking over in the background was a different experience. As I made way along the shore I could hear Cuckoos, Woodpeckers and the noisy arrival of Geese, what a great time to be on the water.
I was marking fish and structure in detail that I’ve not seen first-hand before. The broadband sounder and downscan really gave me a great view on what was down there. In particular the separation of structure and fish was a real eye opener with the downscan marking fish sitting behind things like sunken trees, the questions was what were they? I worked along various contours and it was clear to see that in anything less than 15ft it was barren, between 15ft-25ft there was more happening. I came across vertical columns of fish 10ft high, most likely Roach and sitting below and behind one or two bigger different looking marks , most likely Pike.
I turned the kayak around in a circle and came back up wind and cast towards where I reckon I had marked baitfish and made a few casts and Das Bite was eventually christened. It took SG double blade/tinsel spinnerbait on a slow retrieve.
As I travelled a little further there seemed to be less sign
of activity but occasionally I would come across a shoal of fish, travelling past one of these the rod arched
over and I had my second fish of the
morning. Not a great example of fish handling but it looks worse than it is due
to angle, just the same I need to be better organised. Even on a spacious rig
like the Outback it was easy to get in a muddle. The guys that fish in more traditional
shaped kayaks must be super organised.
I made it back out for two hours on Saturday afternoon and the only thing I caught was sunburn. The shoals of prey fish were certainly harder to find although I did take a look over a different area.
When I arrived back Lynne opened a bottle of wine, we had a barbecue and that was the fishing over for Saturday.
As a result of the night before I was pretty knackered on Sunday morning getting up about 7am dehydrated, slightly hungover and sunburnt but got underway anyway. My intention was to find likely looking targets and cast some soft plastics at them. I did this off and on for three fishless hours. If I can get this outfit working in a targeted manner when the fish are in the mood I’m sure it will be very effective. I had enough when the breakfast bell rang in my head and it was time for home.
So, not a bundle of fish on my Kayaks first outing but
interesting nevertheless. There are large expanses of void water but I was
surprised at how thick some of the shoals of fish were, Roach, Bream and I’m
pretty sure, here and there the ones I’m after, Perch. I can make some
assumptions on which of these targets might have been Perch but till I start
picking off one or two I won’t know for sure. They might well be spawning at
the minute but that should be over for my next visit. I won’t be able to use
that as an excuse next time. It was like the first day at school for a lot of
this trip but it will get easier.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
The wind dictated where I ended up today with miles of coast just about unfishable. One minute I had too many layers the next my hands were being stung by hail showers. The sky would go black and the next minute I was reaching for my sunglasses, this was repeated regularly. I also witnessed a Jack Russell being blown over, not something you see every day.
I had a few taps on the way in, the first fish took 10ft from my tip
Same again, maybe even closer to the tip when I was wading. This one had an odd two tone tail section on both sides.
Another close quarter take
I'm sure this little fish came back on the next cast after it narrowly missed my lure, funnily enough just as I was lifting out.
It's great to have my favourite rod back. The sensitive tip transmits any subtle knocks and enables me to convert these into fish landed. It’s why it’s such a great rod for SP fishing for Bass. I might get myself the short version for Perch fishing from the kayak. It will now be in a tube at all times except when I'm on the beach. I've eventually got the message.
Friday, 10 April 2015
I got a decent deal on this Kannad Marine Safelink Solo from the Marine Superstore.
This was hopefully the last of many parcels which arrived today, easy to operate; rugged feeling and it should accompany me on most of my solo shore Bass trips as well as out on the water. Not one to be held back if I want to do something myself it’s occurred to me in the past some of the situations I’ve been in. If I’m out at night or in areas where there is no mobile signal I would be in trouble if anything happened. It’s no replacement for common sense but makes good sense for the kayak and other situations.
Monday, 6 April 2015
My camera battery was dead so Jamie kindly took some video footage and from this the following stills.
We launched at Troon which was flat for my first attempt
Taking a bath
The Typhoon drysuit had no leaks which I'm glad to report
My ass has been hauled back in, time to swing around, job done.
Thanks for your help today Jamie, the very least I could do was provide the entertainment.
Saturday, 4 April 2015
It's now named, a slant on one of my favourite films and one of the best anti-war movies ever made.
My mate Jamie at Bad Panda Graphics took my request and put this together for me. I’ll get it put in place after Jamie has it printed shortly. We intend to do some self rescue practice on the water together on Monday, should be fun!
This being the first time I’ve gone through this process I’ve had a number of headaches along the way. Everything from a dive reel to roof bars was new to me and there was some serious internet searching done along the way. The Anglers Afloat forum has been a massive help, everything you need is there, in fact I don't think I've had to ask a question after using the search facility. Also, Saltwater Kayak Fisherman has been really handy given that he's rigged a similar boat and in a fashion that seemed to suit my needs.
I'm in no position to review anything thus far, that is a long way off for the minute. I may need to make a few changes in the future as I work with the gear, maybe somebody will however find this useful if they find themselves in a similar position.
I wasn’t a fan of the anchor trolley kit that I got with my boat and I did in fact nearly bin the lot. I did however end up using the running line and pulleys. I got this as part of the deal but I wouldn’t purchase it if I had to do so today. I’ve added a carabiner, two stainless rings, double piece of knotted bungee and two plastic rope stops. The stainless fittings will be more robust than the plastic ones provided and the rope stops will prevent the knots on the running line jamming in the pulleys. With this set up I will also be able to disconnect the carabiner from the ring and use it to pull the boat through the shallows or utilise it as a tow point.
I removed the screw in holders for the paddle retainer and replaced these with screw in pad eyes. I understand that these used to come with the trolley kit but have been replaced with the well nut eyelets. The supplied instructions suggested that these were to be fitted to the paddle supports, you can’t see these in the picture but drilling two significant holes here made no sense to me. I contacted my supplier; they agreed and sent me the screw in pad eyes FOC, job done. The supplied parts would have allowed the installed kit to be fitted to the bottom running line but I don’t believe this will be an issue in practice. In addition I also fitted a bungee button to prevent the top running line encroaching in to the boat. I found this to be a bit of pain and really awkward for me to reach. I actually bruised my ribs leaning in to the hatch and reaching around to tighten the locking nut. It would have been much easier if someone else was there, also, if I had not had to use a shifter to lock off the nut while screwing the button down.
I went with the low profile GT 175 rails from YakAttack.
These are quality fittings which come with everything you need including the
drill bit and screws. I did however add backing plates to these to spread the
load and give what should be a really robust mounting platform for any gear
that I attach to them in the future. I should also point out that anything which has been drilled has had a liberal coating of Marine Goop as a back up to any potential water ingress in the future.
Scotty gear head track adapters will provide some flexibility for mounting a variety items. These slot in to the rails perfectly and screw down providing a solid mounting point.
In this case a Scotty extender and rod holder.
I chose a RAM mount for my fishfinder. It has two ball joints which provide a range of movement enabling me to adjust this towards me in easy reach when attached to the rails.
The Outback comes
Lowrance ready and has a transducer pocket built in to the hull. You can of
course fit other brands with a few adjustments. I have used Lowrance on my boat in the past as
well as a mobile unit when I’ve been fishing abroad. On the whole I like them
and have found them easy enough to use so went with a 5 HDI plotter combo which
has both downscan and broadband sonar.
I can see this being really useful on my hunt for big Perch
on large waters which was another reason I went with it.
The fact that these were on sale in the Vegas Bass Pro when a friend was on holiday was a big help. I managed to take some cost out of a number of items thanks to this trip. A word of warning though, some of the Lowrance units, namely the HDS range are geo-locked so you won’t be able to use any bought outside of Europe in the UK. The HDI range is fine.
The supplied tackle tub sits neatly on top.
The new Mirage Drive Glide system, the boat also comes with a paddle.