Back in March I was asked by Palm if I could attend one of their events that they were supporting to represent Palm Equipment and Wilderness Systems in Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire. The problem was I was on my annual holidays down in Cornwall and thought that I may have to give this a miss, but after a chat with the wife it was agreed that I should go, after all it was my holiday too and I was going to go to a part of the country I have never been to before and always wanted a summer cod.
The time had come and I was off on my holidays down to Cornwall, the rather beautiful village of Polperro overlooking Talland Bay, one of my fishing spots for the two weeks that I am down here for. The Runswick competition was being held on the 5th of July, bang in the middle of my holidays. The plan was to travel up early on the Friday and home on the Sunday so I would still have another week down in Cornwall with the family.
It was soon July 4th, time for the road trip of 423 miles. I wasn't looking forward to this but I had good company, as I was picking one of the South Wales Kayak Anglers members up in Gloucester. I left at 06:00 am to get to Palm HQ by around 08:30 to collect some prizes that needed to be transported up there, got to Palm for 08:20 and was met by Paul. After a quick chat about Oxwich 2014, and meeting the gang I didn't have a chance to meet last time I was there, I was off in the direction of Gloucester to pick up Chicky. I got to Chicky at around 10:00ish, loaded his gear up into my car and then we were off on the longest run I have ever done in my life, 423 miles that should take us six and a half hours (with a stop or two a little more). Then we immediately hit road works on the M5, M1 and the A1, this was turning into the journey from hell with an average speed of around 30 mph, I was getting a little annoyed as we must have hit around 40 miles of road works, anyway we managed to get to the campsite for around 16:30 (yes 4:30 pm), ten and a half hours on the road – that really was a journey from hell. We were met by a few of the usual suspects and one of our own SWKA members, Kieth Ward, and then soon after my Palm team mate Mark Crame. After setting up we headed off for some food in the nearby town of Whitby and discuss tactics as this was new fishing grounds for all of us and I am sure the locals weren't going to let on to many secrets so we were left to our own planning and rig choices.
The morning of the competition had arrived and we had been warned to get there early as there was limited parking and the hill was not something that we want to do if we end up in the top car park. On arrival the hill well more of a mountain was at first thoughts looked like it was going to be hard work as there was a huge hill to contend with even if we had the bottom car park so after parking up we just stayed in the car as the weather wasn't the best with it pouring down and quite cold but this was supposed to change. Once the rain started to ease we started to get ready and sort our tackle out and head down the steep hill to the beach where the launch and safety brief was going to happen. After a nice coffee we listened to the rules and safety brief being read out and then we were off into unfamiliar waters (so we took pot luck on the rigs that we were going to start with).
After a paddle of around 500 m or so through some disturbed waters, as the wind was still blowing a bit, we started our first drift and the rods were in and the jigging commenced. Chicky was in soon after with a lovely fish of around 4 lb and got him to the side of the yak, a quick turn and thrash in the water and the fish was off and gone back to the deeps to fight another day. Soon after I was in with a fish too, which gave a good scrap. I managed to get him on board and it turned out to be the largest mackerel I have ever seen – well pleased with this as I have now got fresh mackrel for my new smoker. Soon after I was into a grey gurnard then another monster mackrel – I was having a good day – but no cod, so I decided to move out about 100 metres and start a new drift as this would take me in the vicinity of the locals. Local knowledge has a lot to be recommended, as soon I started the drift I was into a small cod then about fifteen minutes later another this one was a better specimen of around 2 lb but still a tad too small for the weighing – so I returned him to his kelpy home.
During that last thirty minutes, as I caught the two cod, it was getting a bit hairy out there, as the wind had picked up and the water was getting a bit rough with swells of around six feet. The yak was being chucked around in all directions, so I decided that I had had enough and, with me not knowing the waters, I was heading back into safety of the beach.
After a good slog back in I was met by Chicky and my other sponsor Harry from Raymarine who kindly offered to put our kayaks in the back of the van the get us up the big hill. With the offer quickly accepted we were back at the car park in no time and after a quick change of gear we headed back to the campsite where the prize giving was being held.
The time had come for the weigh-in and seeing some of the fish that were being taken to the scales I thought that the one that I put back was bigger than some, but hey that's me not being used to this style of competition, as it is mainly catch and release with us. Lesson learnt as I now know what I can weigh-in next year. There was a lot of small fish, not under size, just small and the odd nice fish thrown in for good measure with the winner catching a cracking 11 lb cod – not huge for a cod but still a nice fish.
Unfortunately there were no prizes for me, nor for my mates but the weekend was enjoyable and a great day on the water with the lads. With the prize giving over it was time for some beer and in true Welsh style we cracked a few open and began to mingle with the other competitiors. Good banter! The main topic of conversation was our up-coming Oxwich event, which seems to have plenty of interest this year with a great deal of the Northerners giving it some serious thought about tackling the pilgrimage down South to breath some southern air.
After a great evening it was decided an early night was in order, well it was 12:30 and we had to make an early start to get ahead of the Tour de France that was taking place on our route home. We were away by 07:20 am and managed to get ahead of all the traffic, all the roads were clear on the way home. Just eight hours back to Polperro in Cornwall.
A great weekend and I would definitely consider doing this competition again, despite the travel!