A surprise turbot in Exmouth

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A surprise turbot in Exmouth

Post by lee1038 »

Its 8pm on Monday evening and work is finally finished for the day. It's not often I work this late into the evening however kayak orders need to be processed and I have promised myself a day's kayak fishing on Tuesday. With a meeting planned on the Tuesday afternoon the only way I'm going to catch the high tide in Exmouth is to get out at first light. Not keen on getting up at 2am for the drive to Exmouth a quick call around and its decided we would drive down Monday evening and get a few hours sleep in the car so we didn't miss the morning high tide.

Within a hour four of us were heading south with kayaks and fishing kit loaded in the Channel kayaks trailer. We arrived and parked up on Queens drive overlooking the beach at 1030pm and settled down for a few hours sleep. It was only then that I realised how bad four fully grown men (or at least two of the group!) could smell. Between the damp gym trainers and the constant wind issues sleeping was going to be an issue. Fortunately it was a mild night and Exmouth being a safe place I was able to hang my head out the window and get an hour's shut eye before the alarm went off and it was time to get up.

4am still dark, and not even the slightest breeze, we unloaded the kayaks. Whilst two of us set the fishing kit and kayaks up on the beach the other two took the car off to collect some sand eels that had been netted and kindly left in the estuary ready for our collection. by 4.30 am we were on the water and ready to go. With high tide at approximately 0630 the group wanted to head down to straight point and try fishing the tidal current that runs around the point for a few bass. Having fished for bass off straight point on a number of occasions last year I knew that it would be a good starting point for the group with some easy fishing for the less experienced members and a chance for me to use the light fishing tackle and have a go at free lining.
With no intention of going any great distance we were all using the Channel Kayaks bass kayaks to give us maximum stability and comfort, and after the lack of sleep I was going to need all the help I could get to stay upright!

after a short paddle taking us past Orcombe rocks and along sandy bay we finally reached straight point and with no sign of movement on the firing range above we anchored directly off the point. It wasn't long before the group were hooking into the school bass , nothing of any great size and I'm proud to add each one unhooked at the side of the kayak and released to fight another day. If you are reading this well done lads!

by 7am the tide had slackened off and the fish had stopped feeding. A glorious day the sun was already out and still no sign of even the slightest breeze. We all gathered in sandy bay for a coffee and a chance to plan the next few hours fishing.


Breakfast over and with the ebbing tide now starting to pick up the group decided to carry on as they were and hope for a run of larger bass on the outgoing tide. I on the other hand had been desperate to land my first turbot on a kayak. After several kayak fishing trips to the shambles had been cancelled due to the weather being too difficult to manage on the kayaks, my chances of catching a turbot this summer were getting less likely. I decided to leave the group and have a go at drifting along the sandy beaches between straight point and the entrance to the Exe. I've never caught a turbot from the beaches at Exmouth or heard of anybody else catching one however having already caught a few bass I didn't care, if I didn't get a bite for the rest of the day it wouldn't matter as I hadn't blanked. As the group paddled the 100 yards back out to straight point it dawned on me that there was a flaw in my plan. The outgoing tide was now in full swing, helped by the river Exe empting its flood water and I now had to paddle against it to get back to Orcombe rocks before I could start my first drift!

It took 30 minutes to reach the far end of Sandy Bay at Orcombe rocks, my focus not helped by the old guy walking his dog on the beach. No matter how hard I paddled across the bay, every time I looked up to check my progress he was still opposite me on the beach. I eventually set my first drift approximately 100 yards off the beach in no more than 6 ft of water. Fishing a simple half ounce ball weight with 5ft of 8lb fluorocarbon and a size 1/0 lightweight Aberdeen hook, I lip hooked a live sand eel and let of 50 yards of braid to help keep the bait on the bottom. Sandy Bay and the rocky points at either end are known for rock slides. I could see evidence of this throughout the bay with a number of small patches of broken down rock on the bottom in an otherwise sand/shingle bay. This made bite detection difficult as the light rattle of the rod felt by a turbot picking up your bait was the same rattle given off as the ball lead pulled across the top of the patches of stone. Each time I followed the same routine of letting off line to see if a bite develops and each time nothing in return leading me to believe it was just a change in seabed I was drifting over.

After drifting all the way back to the group and being told they had not had a bite between them I decided to have one long last drift for my target species. Once again I made Orcombe Rocks my starting point as it would give me another 45 minutes drifting before I reached the rest of the group. This time I took myself a little further out to clear the patches of rock. Now approximately 500 yards from the beach I set my drift, upping my weight to an ounce to hold bottom in the deeper water.


10 minutes into the drift I had my first rattle on the rod tip, I let of 10 yards of line and then as the line tightened I pulled into it and............nothing. I reeled in to check the bait to find it was gone, this time I was sure it was a fish that made the rod nod. New bait and back down again I settled back and watched the rod tip of my medium weight Abu bait casting rod. I must have drifted at least a couple of hundred yards and was happily sat back in my comfy kayak seat soaking up the sun when the rod rattled again. This time I released the clutch and let off approximately 20 yards of line. I reset the clutch and watched in anticipation as the line tightened. As I lifted the rod I could feel a healthy weight on the end and the unmistakable tapping of a fish. With the fish staying low in the water and not making any sudden or dramatic runs it was obvious it was a flat fish however with small ray common along this part of the coastline I was not sure what it was going to be. After a couple of minutes the fish surfaced and in the excitement of it all it was quickly netted and in the kayak. I do not often land fish unless I plan to keep them for the table preferring to release fish at the side of the kayak. However being my first ever kayak caught turbot I had to have a picture and didn't want to risk the fish coming off the hook in the water whilst I fumbled around for the camera. Without a pictured who'd have believed me?


Picture taken, the fish was placed over the side of the kayak with the net untouched by human hands to go back to his business of eating and growing ready to be caught again in a few years time. Over the moon with my achievement I decided to call it a day, paddled back to Exmouth and had an ice cream on the beach whilst I waited for the rest of the group to return.

Back in the office now for my afternoon meeting, however I am sat with my diary planning my next trip. Not caught a black bream from the kayak yet, maybe a trip to Poole? I'll let you know how I get on.

I have tried add the images which did not work, neither did trying to add the pic's as attachments. Any advice welcome! in the meantime I have added the link to my blog if you want to see the pics.

Lee Cocking

http://www.channelkayaks.uk/blog/a-surp ... n-exmouth/

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Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Surrey

Post by Iknowagoodplaice »

Thanks for the report Lee. Looks a decent size too. And good on you for looking after it so well.

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