The day starts in a subdued way.
Mesi has popped back to see her parents in Transylvania for a few days, plus I have an early shift and about 4 hours sleep... Not the best start. :?
Mesi's fans will be glad to know that she got there fine and will definitely be back for the next installment of 'Perch Hunter'. For the time being, I am a waif and stray...
I've been meaning to get the kayak out on the sea for ages, over a year tbh, but hadn't gotten round to it until now.
I arrive at about 1800, just after high tide, knowing slack water would break about 1900. I am hoping to meet up with some like-minded (batcrap crazy) kayak anglers but they are nowhere to be seen. Conditions are as close to perfect for a first launch as I can hope for. A small but messy shore dump coming off a 1-1.5' swell, topped with a light chop in 15mph winds.
First of all I drag the kayak up and over the massive dune, loaded with; A rod, a reel, impact vest, forceps, pliers, paddle and most importantly... A lure. The lure to be exact, the comp lure in 450 team finery.
I have a quick play in the surf, capsize in chest deep water just beyond the surf line to practice re-entry and scare the heck out of some people on the beach! I explain why to them, they shake their heads then nod slowly and smile at the special person before them.
By 1820, I'm ready to fish. Rod is broken down and secured forward, small box of bits secured behind and I'm off!
Excitement and anticipation, tinged with that frisson of fear that comes with vulnerability. It just made me feel sharper, heightening my senses like a hefty dose of caffeine. Slowly I settle into a rhythm, using my body in co-ordination with the paddle to balance and dampen the rocking as I ride the swell and punch through the chop.
As I get about 100yds out, the water begins to clear and I make my first cast into the North Sea, from my little 11' kayak!
Bobbing around for a few minutes casting, I realise I'm being drawn out further. No problem but something I didn't anticipate. Further out is where I want to be!
You see, I am at an intriguing place called Sea Palling where artificial banks of rock, or reefs, have been placed about 300yds offshore to preserve the beach. I want to see the reefs properly... from about 10' away! P-)
So, I cast out again after making some headway, place the rod in the holder and troll my little heart out! Inside the southern most 2 reefs, one being submerged. Nothing. I'm running with the wind atm and just a touch of tide. Just before 1900, I take a deep breath and venture beyond the reefs, out from the deceptive calm of the virtual lagoons.
Bit choppier here, bit more effort required. Just before I cast I notice the lure is taking on some water making me nervous about it's running depth. I stay away from the rocks. Ignore the rod, peripheral vision will take care of that. Don't get tip fixation! Concentrate on where you're going. 20' seems plenty close enough, thanks!
Then, the rod folds over! Just as I'm nearing the end of the penultimate reef! I swear, fluently, in 2, maybe 3 languages (because I can! ).
Must be snagged! No fish can hit that hard! Then the tip bounces... I'm gobsmacked! The 'rock' is fighting back!
Rod still in the holder, I paddle out of the reefs backwash to the relative safety of the open sea.
Now the fun bit. Playing and unhooking the fish... I remember the 3 trebles and wince... The paddle is hastily stowed and I get my first taste of the fight. Wow! I know it must be fairly small but boy does it kick! I bring it to the side... My First Lure Caught Bass... This fish mattered, and my heart is pounding. More swearing! It's a bad hookhold. Middle treble in the lip, upper treble in the eye socket. I wince again, for myself and the fish. The eye itself isn't damaged but I bet it's uncomfortable!
Right, down to work. Quickly I manhandle the fish into the kayak. No mat here, my legs are baby soft, they'll do! Out comes the phone and I take some terrible but sufficient snaps for posterity and the comp.
Upper treble comes out with a fight, it's like a mini surgery. No real harm done, the eye is saved. Some blood around it, not much. Definitely survivable. The middle treble slips out nicely. You can go back, send your mum I say, as it powers away, soon as it's gills touch water.
I have a 'moment'. I bounce around a bit, grinning uncontrollably then get it together and sort myself out. Nothing lost. Rod leash is a godsend. Reel is submerged. That'll need a damn good rinse!
Shall we do it again? The submerged reef is on the way back anyway. I cast out again and troll the last, invisible reef. As I near the end, BANG! The rod folds again...This time the rod jackhammers like crazy as the fish realises something isn't right and goes ballistic. Smaller this one, but it more than makes up for it with attitude!
Next to the kayak, I sigh a breath of relief. A good hookup! Rear treble, bottom lip. Out comes phone, out comes the hook. Off swims the fish. I'm done.
I'm shattered, running on adrenaline and dopamine now. I know I'll sleep well tonight!
I haven't paddled long or far but the day's events have drained me.
Slower than before, I troll the rest of the way to the shore. Just 300yds but I know the seabed is fairly barren here and don't hold much hope.
50yds out, I stow the rod after unclipping the lure and unleash the paddle from the kayak. I dig in, feeling the waves build. I catch it and surf the last 10yds and stagger clumsily from the kayak in the shallow surf. My legs are jelly. One last burst of energy and I drag myself and the kayak from the water.
Job done. My face hurts. Still grinning.
Then I remember the dune...