Sunday, 9 June 2013

St Just Pool Thornback Ray 08-06-13

The majority of the kayak fishing I do is drift fishing however, although a rewarding method of fishing, the constant paddling back to reset the drift can be hard work. 

Sometimes you need a more leisurely way of fishing and to me; the most leisurely way of kayak fishing is to fish with bait at anchor.  All you have to do is paddle out to the desired location, drop the anchor, lower the bait to the bottom, and wait for a bite.  Today, I decided on a leisurely days fishing and to fish with bait at anchor.

Rather than just dropping anchor anywhere, I always try to select a location.  That location is based on past successes or a location that looks like it could hold fish. 
The St Just Pool is one of several pools located in the main channel of the Fal Estuary.  The pool is slightly deeper than the surrounding area therefore, a potential fish holding location.  In the past, this mark has produced Bull Huss, Dogfish, Herring, Mackerel, Thornback Ray, and Whiting.
My plan was to drop anchor at low water, which was at 12:30, and fish the flooding spring tide.
The tackle would be a 12lb to 20lb boat rod with an Abu 6500 multiplier reel loaded with 15lb nylon and a 30lb leader.  The trace is a running ledger with 4 foot of 30lb fluorocarbon and a 5/0 Varivas big mouth hook.  The Bait on this occasion is fillet of Launce.
The sea and weather conditions were excellent and once I had dropped anchor and lowered the bait to the bottom it was very relaxing sitting in the sun and observing the boating activity in the river.
Although the sea condition and the weather were great, the fishing was very slow.  The wind was from the east and there is the saying "when the wind is in the east the fish bite the least".  Experience has taught me that although I do not really understand why this happens; there is definitely some truth in that saying.  I have heard it is something to do with atmospheric pressure.
The first fish was the inevitable Dogfish however, after about three hours into the flooding tide there was a strong pull on the rod tip indicating that this was no Dogfish but more likely to be a Bull Huss or Thornback Ray.  I was pleased to see it was a Thornback Ray.
This fish was a male indicated by the pair of claspers positioned at the base of the tail.  It uses these claspers to help transfer sperm to the female.
Pair of Claspers Indicating a Male
As regards the fishing, it was very slow but good to catch a Ray.  As regards the day, it was what I wanted, very relaxing and the fine sunny weather was a rare pleasure.
I mentioned in a previous post Fal Estuary about the Bass Nursery Areas of the Estuary.  It is worth noting that in those areas fishing with Sandeels or Launce is prohibited for any fish.  The protected area is from a line drawn at 45 degrees from Weir Point to Turnaware Point.  Fortunately, the St Just Pool area falls outside of the protected zone.
I fished this mark again on the following day and using the same methods, managed to catch another Thornback Ray.  This Ray was caught on half a freshly caught Herring.
Update 06-08-13.
I mentioned above that this mark also produces Bull Huss and a recent trip produced the following Bull Huss using fresh Mackerel as bait.
Bull Huss otherwise known as Greater Spotted Dogfish, can grow up to about 5 feet long therefore, this was not a large fish but it makes a change from the more commonly caught Lesser Spotted Dogfish.

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