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Every year I try and get a trip to Huttoft in Lincolnshire. It has some of the best smooth hound fishing in the UK as well as offering a host of other species to target. The only problem is the surf. The conditions have to be spot on to get a launch and more times than not I have stood on the beach for twenty minutes looking at the waves pounding in before getting back in my car and heading home.

Yesterday on arrival it looked great. There was surf breaking but it didn’t look too bad. I was meeting Karl and Chris but they would be arriving later so I set up to head out on my own. It was only when sitting on the yak looking at the oncoming waves that I realised how big they were. After what felt like an age waiting for the right moment I gritted my teeth and started to paddle. Going through the broken waves was fine, just wet as they washed over me but just after the surf line I met three or four walls of water. The Cuda rode up and then came down with an ear splitting crash, only to rise again as I went over the next wall. This was repeated several times until I eventually came out the other side into flat water. A short paddle out and the anchor was down so I could start fishing.

There is no rocket science to fishing for smooth hounds, just a simple running ledger rig with squid or crab for bait. After about forty minutes the left hand rod bucked right over and my first fish was on, a starry smooth hound of around six pounds. At this point Karl came on the radio to check where I was saying they would be there in ten minutes. Twenty minutes later they appeared, slightly damp, exhilarated from their ride out through the breakers.

We only continued to fish for another hour or so with myself getting a couple more hounds, another starry and a common of around eight pounds. The whole while the swells were increasing and all of our thoughts were of how the landing was going to be. Looking to shore all we could see was the foam of crashing water and it was with apprehension that I started the paddle back.
Everything was stowed. Rods leashed to the side making use of the Cuda’s front rod tip protector. Anything else that could go inside the yak was put inside as I fully expected to come off. Chris went first and did it in style surfing straight up the beach. Karl set off and picking my moment I went shortly after. I saw Karl going in sideways at a 45 degree angle and still don’t know how he stayed on his yak. I got through the breakers and thought I was home and dry before being turned sideways and then inexplicably got tipped in about 2ft of water right on the beach. My first dunking on the yak in six years but no great disaster as everything was retrieved.

It was quickly decided that we would strip the yaks and take them out to play. I was dunked repeatedly, catching some big waves but always crashing out at the end. It was fantastic fun finding out the limits of Cuda 14 and more importantly my own limits. Realistically I am never likely to launch in that kind of surf again but it great to have some experience of it. The Cuda 14 while not designed for this was perfectly adequate but I cann’t wait to see how the Kraken holds up in it.