Gary Robinson, the well known kayak angler fishing for Hook1, reports on his latest trip of the Dublin coast with Anthony Byrne from the Irish Kayak Angling Club

I dragged the kayak across the mud in the empty harbour and hopped aboard, paddling out to a reef not far offshore. I tied off to a buoy and rigged up my gear, then dropping a double shot of hooks baited with ragworm to the depths below. Ten minutes elapsed without even a touch so if the fish were not going to come to me then I would have to go to them. I drifted slowly over the rough ground and within a hundred metres I could feel fish tapping at the baits.

one of many ballan wrasse caught
One of many ballan wrasse caught on the drift

I suddenly felt what was like an electrical jolt through the rod, unmistakably wrasse like, and I lifted into the first fish of the day. A fine ballan wrasse to get me going. Continuing on the drift, the rod arched over after another short distance and I was sure I was stuck into a monster wrasse this time.

At first Gary thought he had a big wrasse, but it turned out to be a codling

After a short tussle a codling lay beaten at the surface and I boated it, took a photo and returned it. Good cod are more than a rarity in these waters and it is only fair to return any small fish to let them grow a little bigger. The bite and the fight from this fish gave the impression of something far larger.

Another ballan wrasse
Another ballan wrasse

Drift finished, I paddled back to my starting point and set up drifting on the same line. More fish met my hooks and the session played itself out with a steady stream of fish coming to the kayak which included more wrasse, more codling, a surprise juvenile plaice and a few poor cod.

Anthony started off as I had, tethered to a buoy and wasn’t having much luck until he released himself and started drifting. He also took a steady procession of fish that included wrasse, codling and a solitary pollack.

A fisherman was out collecting his pots as we fished, followed by what was possibly the largest seal I have seen. My line stayed out of the water any time this seal was within a hundred metres. Giant bull seal vs. kayak angler – only one winner there, better safe than sorry. I just wish I had charged the backup camera before heading out but he is territorial; I’ll see him again.

Seal aside, we had been treated to a busy morning. A short session had yielded five species between us. Not a bad return for a water just miles from a European capital city centre. Granted, no monsters were landed but sometimes the simpler pleasures in life are the more enjoyable; getting a couple of hours afloat in good weather and company and just making contact with a few fish. Beats wasting half of the day in bed due to excesses the previous night if you ask me…….

Gary Robinson

For the full report and more photos see

Kayak angling in Ireland

Gary discovered the thrill, freedom and pure joy of kayak fishing almost by accident. After purchasing kayaks with the intention of paddling trips with his long-suffering partner, he started to assess the suitability of such a craft as a fishing platform. Some internet searches showed him that he was not alone in his thoughts. America and Australia already had blossoming populations of kayak anglers. Needing no more encouragement, he set about rigging his first sit on top kayak and transforming it into a fishing platform to gain access to some of the more inaccessible waters. Now into his fifth year of kayak fishing he shows no sign of slowing down.

Find out more about Gary and his adventures at