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It’s 7am and I’m on the road making the short 1hr drive north to fish the annual North East Open Kayak Angling Competition based at Blyth on England’s north east coast. This is the second year of the competition and is popular with the kayak anglers based in the north east, with a choice of 3 different launch sites spread over a 14 miles it can be tricky deciding where best to fish!

It was only my second time fishing this area with the first being last year’s competition, my target was Pollock so I checked the O/S maps for shallow scaurs and what I hoped would then lead to kelp beds (Pollock’s favourite home). St Mary’s Island was my choice, a small headland with lighthouse that looked to have some nice scaur and kelp beds.

Kayak loaded and carried down the hill to the beach just in time for the start of the match. It was a windy day so was making good use of my rudder! Arrived at the headland but was a little disappointed by the lack of kelp beds, it dropped off much quicker than I expected leading to clean ground, mmmm, not good. Myself and my fishing buddy Scott fished the area for 2hrs but without a bite.

At this point the wind and died down a little so decided to paddle out 1 mile to fish the deeper water for Cod, that was no better! The water was crystal clear but the sea bed was featureless meaning again for 2hrs we didn’t get a bite! The Sunderland Air Show further down the coast at least provided some entertainment, was great watching the UK’s Red Arrows doing there thing 🙂

Plan A and Plan B didn’t work and we only have an hour of the match remaining! Pressure is on! The tide was running nicely by now and figured I’d go back to Plan A and try and find some kelp covered ground for the Pollock. As luck would have it we stumbled upon some lovely ground, 33ft deep shallowing to 24ft with lots of kelp. That’s more like it!

Straight away we were into the fish and for the last 45mins of the match it went nuts! Takes every cast and landing several fish each drift, however they were mainly smaller fish around the 2-3lb range. With 25mins to go a better fish hit the lure, in true Pollock style it dived for the kelp with the reel screaming with it! Fortunately I managed to force it out of the kelp and it was eventually in the net. Not a big Pollock but would hopefully be big enough to get me placed.

Scott just snagged up so I gave one of my lures telling him we only had 5mins of the match remaining so make it count, with 4 mins to go he hooks into his biggest fish of the day! Talk about cutting it fine!

At the weighin it became apprant that a few struggled and what fish were weighed in were smaller than expected, mmm, might have a good chance here. Well it was close but I just missed out on 1st place by 6oz but I was over the moon with 2nd place 🙂 Fishing buddy Scott managed 5th place so we were both very pleased with the results.

We had a fantastic day, a big thank you to the organisers and local anglers that made us feel very welcome. Thank you 🙂