One thing or another had kept me off the water for the last few weeks; onshore winds, family bereavements and work commitments to name but a few. I returned to County Galway to put that to rights. I intended to go out to fish for ray and tope but as (bad) luck would have it I realised that I had forgotten my anchor when I was out on the water. An anchor is very much needed to to fish for ray who prefer a static bait rather than one that drifts about all over the substrate. Not wanting to head back in after an bit of an absence from the water I decided to make the best of a bad situation.
I had with me a lure rod and a few soft plastic lures so I decided to target a piece of water that had often intrigued me but had never been investigated. A small rocky outcrop that is usually swamped with waves and creates a massive break was surrounded by glassy calm water. I reasoned that the area surrounding this outcrop should be covered with rocks, providing rough ground over which to find pollock. Only one way to find out!
As I drew nearer the echo sounder told me that indeed I was sitting over rough ground so I started to throw lures in the hopes of connecting with fish. I did instantly in the form of a feisty ballan wrasse which bore its way into the weed. Steady pressure saw him out and fighting again and it wasn't long until I had him in the kayak. A quick photograph and hook removal was all that was needed before slipping him back into the water to fight another day. The very next cast saw the rod hoop over as I connected with another ballan wrasse. The tug these fish give the lure feels like an an electrical shock being transmitted up through the line. Their big, paddle like fins tell us that they are a species built for power and their small size belies the spirit that they show when they are hooked.
The session played out like this for the next couple of hours. Nearly every single cast resulted in a sprightly wrasse that did all in their power to shake the hooks. A real red letter day emerging from what was a near disaster following my forgetfulness. Shortly after the turn of the tide I decided to paddle back for shore while I was very much ahead. The glorious September sun beat down on me and the paddle back was thirsty work. This made the addition of a hydration pack to my Kaikoura PFD even more important, a really well thought out idea and invaluable on warm days or for long paddles. Fishing sessions are rarely that hectic and when you come across one like it, it is something to be savoured. That evening I was able to do nothing other than grin from ear to ear!