Paul Fennell and Sean Manning go back many years to when they both met in Cyprus over 25 years ago. It wasn’t until deposed northerner Paul left the Army and settled near Winchester that he took up angling in 1995. In the early days Paul could be found on the beaches learning to enjoy the pleasures of cold winter nights, bird nests and Pout sprinkled in with some pretty average fishing. “I wasn’t the greatest shore angler” Paul admits but it was where he cut his fishing teeth and got the bug. Soon he was fishing 4 seasons and could be found hanging off various south coast rock marks searching for Conger and Bass. For 10 years he learnt through the school of hard knocks and some very helpful friends but he was always looking for a bit more adventure. It’s probably an Army thing.
That’s when it happened. In 2005 he was searching the mysterious beast known as the worldwide web when he came across something called a Forum. It was about some crazy activity that was exploding in Australia and the USA. Kayak Fishing hit him right where it hurt, mostly the pocket. Now this was the perfect fit, kayaks (he was an ex military instructor); fishing and an excuse to buy lots of new gear. Perfect!
Since his early days as one of the first few he has become one of only 2 Level 2 Angling instructors specialising in the sport; assisted the RNLI in training and advising on kayak angling safety; run dozens of safety courses; helped establish several of the kayak angling competitions such as Swanage and the national Grand Slam Series, winning a few on the way. He also founded the kayak fishing charity in the UK called Heroes On The Water which helps injured service personnel. As you can see he really is a kayak angler through and through. He has four kayaks, apparently it’s just like rods, you can never have enough.
Paul no longer shouts about his exploits beyond his private Facebook Page but is looking forward to just posting on the Mannings Blog. Once sponsored he has stepped away from the bright lights and has got back to just enjoying his fishing. “Although my sponsors were great and very relaxed its easy to lose the reason, objectivity and passion that drives all anglers when you are obligated to wear a brand. Pro staffing isn’t for me”.
No longer interested in sponsorship he is now free to focus on his passions; Kayak, Mullet, Pike, lure and float fishing. All come together nicely from the kayak. Secretly he still does some rock fishing but if you ask him about shore fishing don’t be surprised if his answer is something like “Do people still do that?” tinged with dry northern humour and a wry smile.
Apart from his own handmade Smiler lures he loves float fishing from the “Yak”. Kayak catches include 23lb Pike, 40lbTope, 45lb Conger (at night!), Cod and Stingray. He has also kayak fished in the Channel Islands, Canada and US where he proved that the float (Bobber) was highly effective at catching specimen Red Fish. His float box is pretty unique. It ranges from 4g Drennan wagglers for the Mullet all the way up to specially adapted 8oz monsters for deepwater Tope and Conger fishing. “Only one thing beats watching a float disappear at night with an angry Conger on the end and that’s using light tackle and being spun round by a 4lb Thick Lipped Mullet that refuses to give up. Tope are OK too.” He says with typical Yorkshire understatement.
Paul will be sharing his freshwater and sea fishing exploits plus also writing pieces on tackle and his techniques used off the kayak. Don’t expect anything without humour or articles that just conform to the norm. ……………..Oh dear, what have we done.
He is always happy to discuss any aspect of kayak fishing so don’t be afraid to get in contact.