Finding freshwater locations for kayak fishing has always been an issue in England, up until a couple of years ago you could count the places we had access to on your hand.
Llangorse in Brecon had always been the place where I'd go to pike fish, but Llangorse is four hours away. The Thames was always an option. I fished it once some years ago, with a little bit of success, the fishing wasn't great and there were all the weirs to contend with, great to fish, but a pain to navigate.
The lake district was always accessible, but six hours in the car puts me off, I could be fishing in Holland for monsters quicker than that.
This year has seen some quite big changes to kayak fishing access, mainly down to the hard work of a few who have been negotiating with the owners, hoping they would give us a chance to show how we fish and that we care for their fish, then there's the new revenue stream for the owners..
Since January I've been privileged to fish waters such as the Cotswold Water Park, Wraysbury 1, Pitsford, Rutland, River Avon and more recently a lake just thirty minutes from my home. For now the location is my little secret, until I know whats to be caught in there, let's call it Lake Z.
I've also been fishing on a stretch of the Thames which has thrown up some very nice fish and only fourty-five minutes from home, best of all no need to navigate the weirs.
I'm a happy man.
Lake Z has a very easy launch, parking is ten metres from the slipway. Once away from the slipway I was amazed at how shallow the lake was, my finder was not recording which meant that the water was shallower than 0.4 m below the lowest point on the hull, so around 0.5 m in real terms, peddling around the lake I struggled to find any water much over 0.7 m, was starting to wonder why the annual boat permit was so easy to purchase when only eight are available each year. I was the only boat/kayak on the water. I did have two huge swirls behind the kayak, something had missed my trolled subsurface lure. There were fish here.
On the far side of the lake, where I had been told all the fish would be, were a couple of fishermen, they hadn't had a bite and soon packed up and went home. Oh dear. Water depth 0.7 m.
After three hours and having circumnavigated most of the lake I thought it was time to head home. Just before I did I realised that I hadn't tried around a couple of the islands in the middle of the lake. I stuck on my favourite fish finding lure, a tiny Salmo Hornet in Firetiger, and headed between the islands, blimey I'm in 1.2 m. Cast the lure and after only two turns of the handle I had a fish on, a feisty pike, there are fish!
Unhooked, I drifted along between the islands, within ten minutes a second fish, bigger this time and just as feisty. Oh this is good.
With two fish returned time to get home. For my next trip I'll have a better idea of what to take with me lure wise, I was told there is a pike of 19 lb in there, hopefully with my name on it, not to mention the perch.
Did I mention Lake Z is only thirty minutes from home!