An early start saw me leaving the house at 3 am ! The journey to Wales is a long one, but the weather was good and the scenery stunning. I arrived early, and to my surprise Lozz was already there. We had a good old chin wag about kayak fishing and life in general and then I got the itch to launch.
The conditions were amazing as I paddled down the river and out to sea – complete calmness with the Snowdonia mountains as a backdrop.
I had brought a selection of surface plugs and diving lures with me.
It seemed rude not to have a cast at the entrance to the small river, I was drifting over the boulders of rock with only a foot or two to spare and the water was crystal clear.
On my first cast I had a hit from a bass which I saw as clear as day – I suspect the first saw me too – that is enough to scare any living creature ! As has happened so many times, that was the only bite I had, so after half a dozen casts, I started to paddle out to the reef. I could clearly see the gulls working on the surface, so I paddled over and managed a very small bass – great, at least I had not blanked !
Then on to the reef – soon I was joined by Lozz, Gareth, Alex and Duc.
The heavier Okuma Cortez 6-12lbs class rod was baited with whole frozen joey mackerel.
The lightweight Teklon Concept 702L was armed with a set of small sized 8 homemade feathers.
The big rod was kept busy with dogfish and the occasional bull huss.
Meanwhile Alex, who was hoping for his first tope, was shouting and screaming – “I’ve got a monster !” – I suspect the rest of us were thinking it was his first tope and they always seem bigger. But after a while the shouting got louder, and we all started to look over. I didn’t have my bouy or quick release, so I couldn’t help Alex out, but Lozz duely obliged and shouted over to me, that Alex’s top was indeed a monster… What an amazing fish, even more incredible that it was his first…
Many thanks to Lozz (and Alex) for letting me use the photo.
Fresh bait seemed to be the order of the day, so I put out the feathers and tied to catch some.
Bingo ! A garfish. That went straight on and provided me with my only tope run of the day… which was dropped ! Ahh well, never mind.
A crazy thought entered my head – I wonder if the little spinning rod would cope with a bigger fish ? There was only one way to find out – I baited the homemade feathers with some mackerel and sent the rig down into the clear water. I didn’t have long to wait – the sensitive tip on the lightweight spinning rod arched over and line started peeling from the spool of the Okuma Trio 30S at an alarming rate. I grabbed the rod and loosened the clutch slightly on the reel. Something was boring away with a solid determination, quite slow, but a solid weight none the less. Slowly I started to gain line, only to lose it again as the fish dived back under the kayak. The tip of the rod was being dragged underwater, but the gear seemed to be holding out. Eventually I glimpsed the unmistakeable shape of a bull-huss through the clear water. It was huge – easily a personal best, and I have caught some big ones before ! By the time the huss got to the surface, it was really angry and thrashed around, splashing water everywhere. It made another couple of short dives before I tightened the clutch and hauled it alongside the kayak, best I could. I dragged it aboard – it was not happy – it reminded me of a komodo dragon ! I got some pictures and then released the huss back from whence it came – I could see it swim slowly away into the depths – fantastic !
I managed to get the whole thing on video too (see the bottom of this page).
The tope fishing was quiet – Lozz has one – but he worked hard for it , and it was thoroughly deserved. I decided that I would go inshore and try some more plugging with the surface poppers.
Things were very quiet, but what a fantastic day out on the water with friends – and to witness Alex catch that tope was a very special thing indeed.
I said my goodbyes and started the long journey back home.
Video of the action…