Derrynane Fishing Meet 2015
Irish Kayak Angling Meet in Derrynane, Co. Kerry, 2015.
I was keeping a close eye on the weather for this meet and it wasn’t looking good. In fact I’d made a deal with the missus that I wouldn’t go to Kerry if I could go to Howth for a few hours last Thursday. We agreed, I’d go to Howth on Thursday (that’s another story) and I’d paint windows on Saturday. Of course Friday evening came round and another check on the weather gave an opening on Saturday so the painting deal went the way of a politician’s promise. The car was loaded Friday night, alarm was set for 3.00am which meant I annoyingly woke at 2.53am and it wasn’t worth going back to sleep for another 7 minutes so up I got. Bit of brekkie and we were on the road for the 5 hour journey to Derrynane.
The good thing about travelling at stupid o’clock is the roads are empty so the journey wasn’t too trying. Arrived at Francis’s fabulous house and deposited the fishing gear before heading over to Waterville to sign in for the weekend challenge. Our generous sponsor, Kevin Brain of KB Fishing had our competition cards ready and I picked up some bait for the day.
So back to Derrynane for the launch at 11.00am. Just to make things interesting, the tide was out which meant we had to paddle along the channel from the house, haul the fully loaded (read heavy) kayak across two miles of sand and launch into 20ft high waves crashing onto the beach. If you don’t believe me, watch the video…….
Ok, I exaggerated slightly about the 2 miles of sand and the waves but it was terrifying!
Our challenge for the day was to land 4 species, Mackerel, Pollock, Thornback Ray and a Flattie and if you got all those the bonus fish was a Trigger Fish. A hundred yards out I dropped my feathers to try for a mackerel and was delighted to pick up a nice size Pollock – good start.
That was followed shortly by some Mackerel – nothing spectacular in terms of size but luckily we have a small frying pan at home so the were all pan size!
Then things became a little trickier. I’ve never landed a Ray and my fishing technique is not the best. I paddled out to the mouth of the bay and met Andrew McIlhone (who incidentally had traveled all the way down from Norn Iron – an epic journey). Andrew hadn’t caught a Ray either but it wasn’t long before I heard his shout of joy as he landed his first one. No joy for me though as I tried unsuccessfully with my Mickey Fish rig baited with sandeel and fresh mackerel.
As I drifted back into the bay I started to get a few nibbles and thought this is it. After a few missed takes I eventually hooked what I hoped was my first Ray. No such luck! A dogfish had taken my bait and to make matters worse he managed to wrap himself around my wrist and scrape the skin raw. Unbelievable how tough and rough their skin is.
At least it was another species to add to my minuscule collection. Fed up with the doggies, I paddled back out to the mouth of the bay where the wind had picked up a fair bit and was making the water very choppy and uncomfortable. Still trying with the Mickey Fish and some Mackerel I started another drift close to Abbey Island. Not long in I felt a solid take and hoping it wasn’t another dogfish I struck and set the hook. This felt heavy and i was still hoping it might be a Ray so imagine my surprise when a fine Cod broke the surface.
My disappointment at not catching my Ray was far outweighed by my delight in landing a beautiful Cod. Not only that but a few minutes later I lost another one as I leaned over to try turn the GoPro on. It was only later on reading another club member’s blog post about this trip that I realised my Ray rig was’t right and it was unlikely to catch one. Ian Burton is a very experienced kayak fisherman and wrote about keeping the bait hard on the bottom. I’ll try that next time.
So at the end of the evening it was a long paddle back to the Ship House where we had our barbecue, told lies, drank beer, told more lies, had a raffle for the prizes, told more lies and eventually went to bed. Nothing like sleeping in the car with the rain lashing down and the wind howling outside.