Trigger Happy

One of my favourite things when kayak fishing is targeting new and unusual species.

The opportunity doesn’t arise too often, but a few weeks ago on a kayak fishing meet in Cornwall there were reports of the odd trigger fish having been caught from Portreath. This fish is a rare visitor to our waters being more usual in a warmer climate, so the temptation was too great and soon myself and Liam had made plans for a session targeting them.

Portreath is a known surf beach, so arriving to a flat calm sea was a real bonus. We had been given a few co ordinates to try by some friends and were soon anchored up in 35ft of water over a patch of reef. Hopes were high and small squid baits were quickly lowered into the depths.

It didn’t take long for bites to start, but not from our target species, Mackerel were hitting the bait before it got to the bottom and then the ever present dogfish were hovering it up when it got down.

After about an hour I had a very different bite. I hooked up and the fish immediately felt different. Liam shouted over that it had to be a trigger and I thought he was right. However half way up the line went slack. n retrieving the rig it looked like the fish had bitten me off. Trigger fish have a monster set of teeth, and this one had made short work of my leader. New rigs were tied with heavier line. I was happy that we were in the right area, but gutted that I had lost the fish. Would I get another chance.

As the tide eased it all went quiet. The only activity was from a pod of dolphins who are always a welcome sight as they came to investigate what we were up to.

We opted to move for a while and try for small sharks, but after an hour or so our hearts weren’t in it. It was trigger fish we were here for so we headed back to the mark and started to fish the ebb.

The change of tide had made all the difference. It wasn’t ten minutes before Liam shouted that he had a fish on. He wasn’t sure what it was bit as it appeared in the clear water he shouted excitedly that it was a trigger. He had achieved his target. Now where was mine…. A couple of minutes later my prayers were answered. The right hand rod began to tap away. I waited for the bite to develop and then struck… fish on.

Soon enough my first ever trigger fish was in the net. It was a fairly battered looking specimen, looking like it had been entangled in a net or pot as some stage in its life, but that didn’t matter. It was a trigger. This was the beginning of a hectic hour as they came on the feed. More bites were missed than hooked but I added to my tally, as did Liam.

As the tide picked right up we decided to head in. Both of us were over the moon. Going out with a plan to target something we had never seen before, let alone caught and then succeeding is a great feeling. I’m already planning my next species on the hit list.

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