Saturday, September 30, 2006



August 2006

I really need to learn how to upload pictures properly. Below is my latest offering, its a copy of a feature I'd done for another web site. It was one of those occasions when I wasn't really enthusiastic about going. I'd been at work from 7am to 7pm and my mate had to nearly drag me down the beach, anyway hope you enjoy it...

This month has had me cursing my luck, never has the saying “best laid plans..” been truer. I’d hoped to do a feature on lure fishing with Paul Kerry, like most fishing and probably more so with sea fishing, success is very dependent on weather conditions. This last month has seen us go from the sultry, dry calm days of July to almost autumnal August. Paul and I did manage to chuck some fluff down at Wells next the Sea; the target species were Bass. They’d been showing regularly during July, with some large bags of mostly small fish, with odd ones to 5lb. The day was a disaster, for me at any rate. My camera got soaked in a thunderstorm, we both ended up half drowned and to top it all I got absolutely mullered! I had one take on a Dexter wedge; Paul had 6 or 7 schoolies. None of the fish were very big, and due to the storm there are no pictures, but it made a nice change from hurling 5oz of lead into the blue yonder.

Later that same week I had some correspondence from an old friend from my hometown. Tony Burman needs no introduction for most sea anglers, not least because he’s an ex England international, but he’s also a top Lincolnshire boat angler. I’d read some of his reports of tope showing off the Lincs. coast and wondered what the chances were. He told me he was off to Crete for a family holiday but when he got back if I wanted a trip out after a tope or two I’d be more than welcome. Bloody marvellous I thought; imagine the pictures and the article that would make! I had visions of bright skies and blue seas and me holding 40lb+ of angry shark. Typical of my luck Tony gets back from hols and the bloody sea’s being kicked up by unseasonable Northerly winds. The winds have broken up the shoals of mackerel and dispersed the tope. With the prey go the hunters and that’s probably the end of the tope season for this bit of coast until next summer. We’ll try again next year and hopefully we’ll have better luck, you’ll be the first to know.

Reading back it sounds like its all been bad luck, but those Northerlies did bring some summer bonuses my way. After the storms and heavy seas, the first codling of the season showed up off my local beaches. They’re not big but they’re there and the signs are good for the coming winter. I fished down at Trimingham recently with Karl Gibson, we’d planned a trip to try and coincide with the wind dropping and the sea easing. We got down there and were greeted with a lovely swell, the sea the colour of chocolate and no wind. Karl’s a big lad from the Northeast, and typical of the guys up there, they can come across a little blunt until you know them. There was no mistaking his sentiments when he saw the sea, “F**k me H, we’ll f**king slay ‘em tonight”. We tramped off to our chosen spot full of anticipation, it looked like we’d got things just about perfect. I got set up, first rod out with peeler on a 3/0 pennel, and hammered it out around 140 yards into the ebbing tide. The rod hadn’t been out 5 minutes, when the tip lurched forward before springing back straight. I lifted into what felt like a decent fish; within a couple of minutes a plump codling of around 2.5/3lb lay on the surf line. A shout from just down the beach, “Foot in jammy basket” or at least that’s what it sounded like, hard to tell when the bloke hardly speaks any English. An undersize codling quickly followed this first one and Karl managed an eel, he has the knack with them. Now in full on bagging mode, out go both rods, nothing, and then it starts. Weed, weed, more weed and if that wasn’t enough even more of the stuff. Karl reckoned our only chance of fishing would be to drop it inside of the groins to get out of the main flow of the tide. Good plan, we just had to hope a few fish might venture in looking for an easy feed and that the entire flora of the North Sea didn’t come with them. Karl’s plan was a good one; we found we could just about manage to fish at the groin ends without getting too much hassle from the weed. The fishing though was slow, nothing but raps from small fish, probably boot laces. I was about to walk up to the Northern wonder for a chat when my left hand rod tip nearly took my eye out, “Blimey”, I can’t remember our exact words, but you probably wouldn’t hear them in church, and I pick up my rod to find the line heading up tide! “I bet it’s a seal”, I shouted across to Karl, who by this time was heading down towards where my line entered the surf. It wasn’t a seal, I’d managed to turn it but the thing wasn’t going to be bullied, after a scrap of around 5 minutes, Karl picked a beautiful big bar of silver out of the surf. I’ve had bigger Bass, but this one scrapped all the way in rather than just the last 20 yards. The fish weighed in at 6lb 4oz, a big but lean fish, we reckon it would’ve gone 8lb at least come September / October. That was pretty much the end of the action for that night, Karl got a hiding, but then he hands a fair share out as well and I had some luck for a change. Karl did the honourable thing and descaled the fish for me; in return I cooked him and Mrs Gibson a fish supper, bloody marvellous.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hi this is my first Blog so go easy on me ! My name is Ian Holmes and I live in Norfolk. I've been sea angling for some 30 years now and I'm lucky to count among my personal friends some of the regions and countrys finest sea anglers. Over the coming months I'd like to recount some of my experiences with them, the highs and lows we all encounter in the sport and maybe pass on some of the experience I've gained. I'll start with a recount of a summer sole fishing trip, hope you enjoy it as much as I did....

July 2006

My own fishing has been limited lately. To be honest the weather and sea conditions haven’t been conducive to fishing with bait and with the beaches full of holiday makers it’s been a hard job to know where to go. I managed a few hours with friends recently on Lowestoft South Pier, with sole the target. We got to the pier around 8pm and planned to fish the bulk of the flood and stay on if the fishing was good. We were greeted by a fairly stiff easterly but not too much of a chop on the sea and a nice colour in the water. We had the pier to ourselves except for a couple of guys who were packing up as we arrived, so things were looking promising. Now I love sole, they look almost prehistoric; I get the same feeling when I catch rays. Add to that the fact that sole taste great and they’re pretty feisty for their size and you can see why they’re one of my favourite summer species. So despite the easterly breeze, I thought conditions were good enough to give us all a fair chance of a slip or two.

Anybody that’s fished for sole knows they can be fickle. Some days you’ll have the rod bucking over or dropping back with slack liners other days you’ll hardly see the tip move. One thing I reckon is a must for sole fishing is the boom. French booms, spreaders, call them what you like but you want the bait nailed to the sea bed and booms help you do that. Some say that the sole pick up the electrical impulses created by the metal boom reacting with the salt water, I don’t know if that’s the case but they work for me. Small hooks are vital too; if you’ve ever seen a sole’s mouth you’ll know why. The fish’s mouth is a crescent shape and even a reasonable sized fish will struggle to get anything bigger than a 1/0 in its mouth. It’s tempting when using small, fine wire hooks to pull them straight to get them out of deep hooked fish, DON’T. If you’re returning the fish, cut the hook length as close to the fish’s mouth as possible, the hook will rot out in time. Its easy to replace a hook length on a boom and you could even tie a few up before you go and have them ready to loop onto the booms with a simple double overhand knot.

My rigs for the night were 2 hook boom rigs. Size 4 kamasan fine wire hooks on 6” long; 25lb breaking strain, black amnesia hook lengths. The hook lengths were tied to 6” Gemini booms. I fish one of the booms down by the lead and the other just far enough away from the lead to stop the two hooks tangling. Gemini manufactures a selection of different booms, some you can actually clip the lead to, I use these for my sole fishing. The lead needs to be just heavy enough to hold bottom in whatever tide there is. Bait was lug and rag, I only put enough bait on to cover the hook and I don’t mind one bit if the bait is dead, I reckon sometimes sole like it that way, nice and smelly ! Either way, size your bait to the target fish and don’t overload the hook like you might for round fish. All of my fish were caught casting as far away as I could from the pier and any disturbance.

Back to the fishing, we had a cracking time. I think probably because I’m spoiled with the choice of beaches locally, I don’t normally fish the piers, however given the company I knew it would be a laugh if nothing else. Between the five of us we had 10 soles, 3 eels and a couple of dabs before packing up around midnight. I had 5 soles between 10oz and a pound, Terry Smudger Smith had the biggest at 1lb 3oz and Karl Gibson had all the eels and a couple of slips. Keith Hall and Johnny Everett chipped in with a sole and a dab each. According to my esteemed friends I was on a nest of them, seeing as I had all of them fishing within 20 yards of me, I reckon it was my superior rigs!


Here's a sole Smudger caught at Aldeburgh, this one went 1lb 15oz, they get a "shoulder" on them when they're proper big.