12 hours, 10+ miles, 70 degrees, and a happy Dizzy…

October 9, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

It was difficult to believe that it was the beginning of October when I arrived at Portland Harbour one early morning. The sun was already up and I was starting to sweat in my drysuit.

As I was unloading the kayak, several local kayak and spear fishermen were leaving – always a bit un-nerving when you are arriving and everyone else is leaving. I had a chat with the fishermen and they had caught a few bits and pieces – all good stuff…. Although I really don’t know what this obsession is with bass – spearos especially ?

Anyhow, I trollied the Trident down to the sandy beach; the tide was almost up (it was a really big spring tide), and launched into the glittering clear water.

Portland Harbour is an amazing place – it is enclosed by long breakwaters which are made from giant blocks of local Portland stone. This provides a haven for all sorts of marine life. I decided to paddle straight out to the breakwaters – the plan being to paddle along them as far as I could.

I was using 2 rods – the new Conoflex Jedi QT kayak rod with a Shimano fixed spool loaded with braid, and a really light greys spinning rod with a small fixed spool loaded with 6lb line.

PA010392 (2)

The breakwaters have lots of buildings on them, and the sides of the breakwater slope very steeply into over 50 feet of water.



The southernmost breakwater arm was very sheltered – I fished there 20 years ago with one of the Mullet Club fish-ins (we were one of the few clubs allowed to fish the breakwater). At the end of the breakwater closest to Portland, the entrance is blocked by the wreck of HMS Hood. This produces a really good tide race (the tide bubbles through here on the ebb) which I wanted to drift (I timed my arrival to coincide with the ebb)…


Almost straight away, there were fish showing up all over the side imaging fish finder – they were close into the shore and very close to the bottom. A couple of drifts very close to the end of the breakwater and the current, saw me pick up a load of mackerel – much to the puzzlement of some of the other boat anglers who had nothing.

Then back along the breakwater,with the Humminbird SI switched on – I knew that there were quite a few wrecks in the harbour, and I wanted to get some footage of them.


I found 2 wrecks – and after a bit of research I think I know what they were…

The first was the wreck of the Spaniard or the Enecuri  – there are a couple of wrecks in this area, but I am fairly sure this is the right one. It looked quite good on the 987’s side imaging display – it was lying right up against the side of the harbour wall…

Spaniard wreck R41

You can see the stern on the left of the picture above.

Then on to the next arm of the breakwater and the wreck of the Countess of Erne – this was a wreck I wanted to fish – and when I arrived it was looking good…

countess erne wreck  r40

The reason it looks a bit curved is because I was not paddling in a straight line, but you can clearly see the 3 holds in the top of the ship in the image above.

After taking the side imaging footage, I prepared to anchor up… no sooner had I taken my hands off the paddle, and a dive boat turned up ! They stayed there all day too !

So I decided to do some more paddling and drift fishing. I caught some more mackerel…


And a scad, or horse mackerel…


It was now late afternoon, and I was getting tired, so I decided to paddle a bit further and see if I could find a pot bouy close to one of the harbour entrances. Pot bouy located, I decided to deploy my secret weapon… the groundbait sack. I cannot understand why more kayak fishermen do not use this method. I mix up a load of mackerel, and old bait left over from previous trips and add in some cheap white loaves and oat flakes – the nastier, the better – you really want to get a slick going – the idea is to attract the fish, but not over feed them – I have been using this method for years…


The trail of food particles was looking good in the clear water…


Very soon, there were fish everywhere – especially the usual garfish which could clearly be seen all around the kayak. It was time to get out the light spinning rod and freshwater loafer float. I just fish it fixed – about 7 or 8 feet deep, a few swan shot is all that is needed.

The response was instant… a garfish… it jumped out of the water, tailwalked, and almost jumped back in the kayak before I finally got it in – great sport…


Lots more garfish were caught on the light rod and some mackerel too  they don’t half go on light gear – I just wish I had brought my fly fishing gear.


The light was starting to fade now, so I rigged up the navigation light and thought I would give it a go with my squid jigs in the dark.


It would have been a great way to round off the day – but it was not to be.


It had been dark for a few hours by the time I landed on the beach. I realised I had been sat on the kayak for over 12 hours and travelled as many miles. When I got out of the kayak, my legs decided that they did not want to work – so a comedy moment was had where I staggered around for a couple of seconds before they remembered they could walk after all.

A perfect day afloat. And a perfect video to capture the whole event…

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Category: Fishing, Fishing Venues, Kayak Fishing, Portland

Comments (3)

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  1. marc jones says:

    Great report Ian!! 🙂

  2. Tim says:

    Great article and video on youtube. I live in Cambridge at the moment but Kayak fish around Weymouth at every oppotunity and will be moving down there in April. I’m in the process of setting up a business and website for kayak fishing in Weymouth and Portland harbour and wondered, if I put a link to your website with it, would you mind if I put the video on my Website?

    Kind regards Tim

    • Dizzy says:

      Tim – No problem with you putting the video and a link to my website. Let me know when the business is up and running – and good luck 😉


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