From Bank to Shore to Kayak to Boat
I started fishing in 2005 when I was 14 years old. Using some old rods and reels found in my Grandads shed, I sat on the wall of the local harbour with my good friend Sam and caught small wrasse and gobies with ragworm bought at the local tackle shop. That summer we fished down at the harbour every day that we could, and all we wanted to do was go fishing. A lifelong addiction had just begun!
My attention soon turned towards the local fishing lakes. I began coarse fishing at BK Fisheries where renowned angling bookmaker Billy Knott taught me the basics of catching carp and silverfish. Bill and his wife Carrie took me, my brother Kieren and Sam under their wing and taught us a huge amount about coarse and match fishing. I quickly became addicted to match fishing for carp with all my weekends and school holidays spent on the bank. I won the Junior League sponsored by Preston Innovations in my first year of fishing back in 2006 and won myself a Preston match fishing pole along with many other goodies – I was hooked!
I had also joined a local sea angling club – Mounts Bay Angling Society. I started fishing with club junior leader David Cains who took me fishing around the Cornish coast teaching me how to catch a variety of different species, including a spectacular Tub Gurnard on my first trip. I fished the junior competitions and by the end of the year I had accumulated enough points to come 1st overall!
Fishing was soon all I could think about and both sea fishing and coarse fishing took over all of my free time. Kieren had also began fishing around the same time and together we fished as much as we could! We had met Sam Breeze through the angling club too and we were all fishing together regularly.
For the next few years I went coarse and sea fishing every weekend, on summer evenings after school and whenever else I could squeeze a session in!
Over time, I became less interested in coarse fishing and started to focus purely on sea fishing. I was starting to catch a huge variety of fish and a few decent ones too. I introduced my good friend Elliot to sea fishing and we were soon going at every opportunity. I had now turned 18 and had a car... there was no stopping us! We were off all over Cornwall fishing from the shore. There is nothing better than a fishing trip with your mates. We lived to fish!
My love of the sea lead to me studying a Bsc (Hons) in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, and later a MSc in Marine Biology at the Marine Biological Association. I gained knowledge in a wide range of marine sectors, but focussed my reading and research particularly on fish biology, aquaculture and fisheries science. I spent 5 years in Plymouth and spent a lot of my free time exploring the local coastline in South Devon.
My first memory of boat fishing was on a Mackerel fishing trip out from Beer in Devon whilst on a family holiday. I was lucky enough to go on a few boat fishing trips as a junior in the fishing club, aboard Viking Charters skippered by Nicky Morse. I could soon see the benefit of fishing from a boat with more species and bigger fish to be caught... but it was a rare treat. I couldn't afford to go boat fishing all the time and had to settle for one or two trips a year whenever I had some spare money.
In 2012 Elliot asked me if I wanted to go kayaking. He had just bought of couple of kayaks and a plan was hatched to fish from them. We had little idea about what we were doing so just chucked a bit of tackle in the back of the kayaks and went tinseling for a few mackerel. It was a flat calm summery day and we launched from a small beach on the Lizard Peninsula. From the first stroke of the paddle through the glassy surface I knew I was going to be hooked! We paddled around 500 yards off the shore and began fishing. We managed a few mackerel and Elliot even managed a Cod. It was a revelation! After that day we were both addicted to kayak fishing. Needless to say I purchased a fishing kayak a week later and have been kayak fishing whenever I have had the opportunity ever since.
Kayak fishing completely took over from shore fishing. I was catching more and better fish. But it wasn't just about the fishing... I found that there was another level of escapism and sense of achievement that kayak fishing was providing compared to any other type of fishing. I just couldn't get enough of it. I started to document my journey into the world of kayak fishing through a blog - Cornish Kayak Angler - a blog that has been running since 2013.
Forums ruled the internet as the place for meeting like-minded kayak anglers and the Anglers Afloat forum was the place to be. A buzzing hive of information as anglers from across the country started to discover kayak fishing and push the limits of what could be caught from a kayak, and what could be added to a kayak. Nowadays the thousands of Facebook groups that now dilute the angling community have taken over.. for better or for worse!
I started to fish competitions and got to meet a whole host of kayak anglers from around the country. The anticipation and excitement of fishing amongst 100-150+ kayak anglers really got me addicted.. even more so when you're trying to beat your mates!
A few competition wins and prizes have been won over the years but the chance to catch up with friends old and new is the real prize at these events. I have met lifelong friends including Phil, Ben and Kyle through kayak fishing and that alone has been life changing.
I started targeting bigger fish... from Congers to Tope to Blue Sharks, Porbeagle Sharks and Giant Skate. Equally I loved targeting a whole range of smaller species, from the unusual mini species to the rarer species that turn up in the waters off Cornwall.
Kayak Fishing had taken over my life and this went hand in hand with taking up a job at Cornwall Canoes, a kayak fishing specialist store, back in 2015. Over the years I have been lucky enough to play with the coolest kayaks and kayak fishing gear on the market!
Small Boats to Bigger Boats
Over recent years I have found myself fishing regularly from boats alongside my kayak adventures. Kieren has been a charter boat skipper since 2018 and I have fished with Phil aboard his private boat for longer again. Naturally my fishing is now split between both kayaks and boats, but overall I fish almost exclusively afloat! Any fish, any method, any size, lures, bait, deep, shallow, I love it all and really enjoy trying new techniques and catching new species. The draw to fish and cast a line into the unknown has never faded. It is a never-ending adventure into catching fish and there are plenty more to catch...
Follow the my fishing adventures from here on in with Wild Seas!