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That time of the year again were I pack the van and head down the east coast of Ireland for a few days to one of our Irish kayak Angling clubs competitions.
This is one of my favourite yearly comps as it gives you a chance that target species not found in colder northerly waters, mainly small shark species called Smooth hounds.
These particular shark can grow up to around 20lb in weight but boy can they put up a fight, especially in the strong tides you need to anchor up in to target them.

The day of the competition took off to a poor start for me as I literally could not catch a fish for hours on end. Time was running out when finally I caught a lovely Ray, shortly followed by a dog fish then a Smooth hound within a couple of minutes. As I was anchored in strong tide I was using fairly simple tactics, a sip slider on my main line followed by a swivel, a 4 foot length of 50lb mono tied to a single 4/0 Cox and Rawle uptide extra hook baited with crab or worm baits. On a second rod I had the same set up only I used Mackerel bait with the off chance I might pick up a Tope, the Thorn back ray prefare fish baits and this was the rod I picked one up on, a surprise as they are quite rare in this part.

Now that I had 3 species under my belt I lifted the anchor and headed into a reef just offshore to try for some smaller species (as it’s a species comp) I set up 2 rods one with tiny Sabikies and the other with slightly bigger ones. Straight away with the hooks tipped with prawn and worm baits I was catching small pollock and Wrasse this put me up to 6 species. I needed a flat fish to complete the challenge so up the anchor came again, time was against me as I had less than an 30 minutes to deadline and as the flat fish is usually a fairly easy fish to catch I left it to last. Was I wrong…….I tried everything I could have and plenty of different locations, a little Dab eluded me and as a result dropped me into 5th place, if I managed to catch one I would have took second….. but hey that’s the fun in it.

It was a superb weekend with glorious weather and temperatures in the mid to high 20s, not to mention the crack and banter between the club members over a few beers and barbecues.
Plenty of stories about the one that got away!!!!!!
I’m already looking forward to this meet next year…