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Paddling with Dolphins off the Cornish Coast

Kayaking with Common Dolphins

Sunday saw a rare weather window for January, which made for the perfect opportunity to get the first kayak fishing session of 2017 in! Liam and Andrew of Cornwall Canoes were joined by local kayak angler Gary for a day on the water in West Cornwall.

The plan was to launch at sunrise and find deeper water offshore in the hope of catching some different species to start off 2017. Little did we know what was in store for us and what would be the highlight of the day…



We arrived at our launch point early doors. Although all of us where kitted with Dry Suits and multiple layers of thermals, we were questioning whether they were needed. The conditions were extremely mild given the time of year. We thought it best to dress for the worst and geared up with the Dry Suits.

Launch Point Sunrise - Kayak FishingIt wasn’t long before we were all on the beach and ready to launch. Liam in his RTM Rytmo, Andrew putting the new Ocean Kayak Trident 13 – 2017 through it’s paces and Gary in the ol’faithful that is the RTM Tempo Angler. Conditions were looking perfect and we were itching to get on the water!

Kayaks Rigged and Ready to LaunchWith no time wasted, we launched and started to head out in the search of deeper water. As expected the 2 mile trek offshore was pretty stress free given the conditions and we all made short work of getting out there.

Paddling out for the first kayak fishing of 2017Once we were out in deep enough water it was time to start dropping the lines. We would be fishing on the bottom with a simple running ledger rig with size 2/0 hooks, baited with strips of mackerel. We would then drift along gently with the tide in the hope of running into a few shoals of fish just off the bottom.

It wasn’t long before we started getting bites and we were soon all bent into fish.

Fish on with the new Trident 13 2017Unfortunately it wasn’t a species we were after but a dog fish of around 2lb was the first to see the deck’s of the kayaks. This was swiftly followed by plenty more and it soon became apparent that there wasn’t much more about.

We decided that we were not drifting fast enough or covering enough ground to move away from the doggies, so we opted for a bit more paddling in search of new ground. When we suddenly had some visitors…

Common Dolphins appearedA small pod of common dolphins had managed to spot us and came over to play! They were swimming right alongside and underneath the kayaks regularly breaching off of the bows. It was a truly incredible sight, the dolphins moving from one kayak to the next to show us their skills. It was difficult to capture them on camera whilst trying to paddle but this picture pretty much sums up the entire experience!

Kayaking with Common Dolphins

We quickly forgot about the fishing and continued to play with the dolphins. 15 minutes and a lot of paddling later and the dolphins went off on their way, not before having one final display where the entire pod breached simultaneously, as if they were saying goodbye. A few of them had one final run under the kayaks and they were swiftly on their way.

common dolphins beneath the kayaksWe continued fishing and it seemed to be more of the same with Dog Fish taking the bait. We decided to head in closer to find some rougher ground in the hope of something different. A few drifts of a known reef came up trumps. Dog fish were replaced by Cuckoo Wrasse, Pouting, Whiting and Poor Cod. Nothing of great size but at least some variety and more species to knock of the list for 2017.

Fat Pouting caught off of the RTM RytmoAs a last ditched hope we decided to have a quick anchor off of the reef, again to target something different. Plenty of bites but it soon turned out that these were again dog fish. We just couldn’t get away from them!

Enough was enough and with the fading light we decided to head back in. We could of struck out completely and still had a great day on the water thanks to the visit of the common Dolphins!

Liam paddling the RTM Rytmo Angler

Andrew and LiamĀ  @ Cornwall Canoes