Winter has finally arrived here in Ireland and with it Irish Kayak Angling clubs final competition of the year.
This is a fresh water competition consisting of a choice of species, first to catch the choice species wins, pretty simple if your into fresh water fishing and the weather plays ball.
I’m out of my comfort zone while fresh water Angling as I get hung up over what baits do I use on what rigs…. what lures to use for what species…. is my line to heavy….or to light….braid or mono… am I in the right spot…. the list is endless as is the torment of choice and the variables. Most of the time I spend more time messing about than I actually do fishing. Last year I certainly pulled a fluke and won this competition in extremely challenging conditions. Or did I…
This year was no different, I arrived at Lough Muckno the day before the competition, set up my kayak and headed out for a practice session, the weather was perfect and there was plenty of bait fish showing literally everywhere on the Fishfinder. I covered around 4-5 miles and blanked, not even a sniff of a fish, before darkness started to fall and I retreated back to the camp site. Well that knocked whatever confidence I did have clean out of me, to make things worse the weather tomorrow was forecasted with plenty of wind.
To no surprise competition day was very overcast and extremely windy, after a short safety brief that morning the comp kicked off. I hung back and watched everyone head to all the good spots, I decided to head to deep water drop offs and fish bait on the bottom and also work lures nice and slow. After a couple of hours of nothing but getting battered by the wind I headed for shelter, slowly trolling lures and baits along the drop offs and ledges close to a shelter length of the shore. Within an hour I caught a small pike, brilliant as at least I wouldn’t blank. After this I headed to a smaller lake up a river to try for other species, upon arrival I found approx 10-15 kayak anglers with the same tactics and seaking shelter. I found a nice spot with plenty of bait fish showing and anchored up, I then put away the pike rods and brought out a 7-28 gram lrf rod, 6lb line and a size 14 hook…. set up a simple ledger rig tipped with 2 maggots.
Not my first choice of setups but something different, as soon as I dropped the bait I had a bump and a fish on, a Roach followed by another then it went quite. I decided to move location across the lake and when I retrieved my bait I had a knock….. fish on lol the smallest perch Iv seen but it was my 3rd species. I only needed 1 more to complete the challenge and win the comp. Time was running out as we had to be off the water in less than an hour, I tried everything but never had anymore luck before the day ended. The wind was horrendous most of the day, to the point a few anglers called it a day early, also there wasn’t much happening on the catching fish scene so I was happy with 3 species for my efforts and especially with the blank the day before.
Once warmed up and fed the results and prize giving kicked off, and to my surprise I was joint in first place again.
Maybe I’m getting better at this fresh water game or was it a fluke 2 years in a row…… I will have to wait and see can I do it for a 3rd year to see.