Friday, January 26, 2007

The good thing about work is it sometimes gives me time to think about other things. During those lulls my thoughts nearly always drift off to fishing or Uma Thurman. One such time of contemplation happened recently,and I got to thinking about tackle. Everybody has their own favourite rod or reel, but what really makes a good piece of kit?


Hmmmm Uma is a godess!

I'd been reading with interest on some of the fishing forums, the views of different people. On one forum a guy using a Century Kompressor sport said he'd been outfished by somebody using a Fox rock runner therefore the rock runner was the muts and Century were crap. Not the exact words but that's what the message boiled down to. Obviously the example is a bad one, Century rods are great pieces of kit, as I'm sure are Fox rods, what it did illustrate to me was the criteria we use to judge a good or bad piece of tackle. All too often fishing is the last thing we actually think about when we're considering a new rod. How often have you heard somebody say "Its too soft " or "Its too stiff", "Its too heavy", "The build quality isn't what it was" etc etc. We should be considering only three things in my opinion, 1) Will I be able to use it properly (cast with it), 2) Is it suited to the majority of my fishing (ground, species, tides), 3) Can I afford it. The last one is probably the most important for me, I have sleepless nights if I think I've spent more than I have to, PK would be apoplectic.

Karl had a pair of Greys rods when we first started fishing together. Lovely looking sticks, probably not best suited to our bit of coast, but perfectly good functional rods. I very nearly bought a pair of Syntra's off Tony Anderson the marketing director at Greys. I liked the look and feel of them and he offered me a good deal when we were in Ireland. At the time I was having a love affair with a pair of old Daiwa Supercasts, I still miss them occasionally and feel a little bit like I cheated on a girlfriend when I upgraded them for a new model. I loved the fact that if my casting was a little off (quite often then) the supercast was soft enough to compensate. I could see flattie bites well out and in general they were a joy to use. So I declined Tony's kind offer and carried on with the supercasts for about another year or so before finally handing them to a guy on the quayside at Orford.

So why did I sell them and buy a new pair? Well in honesty, they didn't have to compensate my bad casting quite so often by then and they were getting old. Add to that the fact that two or three of my regular fishing partners were going through the same process and you start to get the picture. I wouldn't say I'm a tackle tart becasue I couldn't afford to be, but I could see how people become one.

I could've gone back to Tony and had a pair of Greys, I could've tried a pair of Zziplex or Century, Conoflex etc etc instead I stayed on safe ground and went for Daiwa TDXS's. I love them but whenever people ask me about rods I always mention the supercasts as a great fishing rod.

Soon after I got them Karl changed his for the 13'3" version after having a chuck with mine and seeing the fishability of the rods. Its always a personal thing, a top quality angler would probably catch with any old rod and reel but he feels more confident and at ease with what he knows and the tackle that suits him. That doesn't mean to say I reckon if your a competent angler you could just go and buy any kit. It doesn't matter who you are, you have to go through something like the criteria I mentiond above even if the rods from a sponsor. No point in getting a short stiff thing if what you need is a long soft one etc.

I thought it might be interesting (for some saddos!) if I listed what me and some of my mates use as their front line rods so here goes:

Me: TDXS 129pm's

  1. PK: AW's 122's
  2. Johnny: TDXS 129pm's
  3. Karl: TDXS 133pm's
  4. Smudge: Metalite Flick Tips (Its an Essex thing!)
  5. Nobby: Original Supercasts
  6. Pete: He has so many rods he could open a shop!
  7. Gary: I dunno! He had some Greys when I first met him, I think he has some Zzipi's, I'm not sure I haven't seen him in ages and he changes them more often than I do my kecks.

These are the rods we would use in 99% of our fishing situations. We all have bass or flattie rods for lighter close in work, but as most of our fishing is done at distance in the 4-6oz range over clean to cleanish ground, these are our stock in trade rods. With the exception of Smudge and Gary it looks like an advert for Daiwa, its not. Pete has all manner of rods and models but I guess his stock rods would be his backcasters, though I know he has TDXS's and AW's.

Its strange to think how popular the AWT's and B's are still that Daiwa don't get the mandrels out and rebadge them, they'd sell like hot cakes. There is one thing I don't like about Daiwa rods and thats the coasters. £200+ for a rod and you get the most poxy coasters in the world, of what I've seen and handled Century make the best coasters, when I can bring myself to pay another £8 a pair I'll order some and fit them to my Daiwa's.

I have friends who are vociferous about Zziplex and there's no disputing they are a lovely rod. One of the biggest advantages always quoted for Zzipi's is that they hold their value. I look at it slightly differently to that, they do hold their value but I think your paying for that residual value up front. Whats the point in the rod being worth £100 more secondhand if you had to pay £100 more for the new one against a comparable model? I sometimes think that too much emphasis is placed on casting with Zzipi's too, speaks volumes why they're so popular with tournament casters.

The tackle I use is suited to the areas I fish and I haven't found anywhere from the Humber to the Thames where I needed more than I've got. It'd be a different story if we were fishing 50 yards out from rock ledges into kelp or shallow, gentle estuaries for flatties. Whatever you use, the most important considerations are to be comfortable with it and have confidence in it. You can't underestimate the importance of being confident in the kit and your ability to use it. For me that's what my new rods have given me more than the old supercasts. I feel like I'm going to catch everytime I go, of course I don't but it's important that I feel like that, it keeps me trying.

Fashions a fickle thing, only a year or 18 months ago I'd see a lot of those long "continental" rods on the beach. I don't see so many nowadays? PK gave Nobby one to try, he bust it inside 3 sessions. Thats no reflection on the rod, more of an insight into the two footed tackler! Bless him, lovely bloke but you wouldn't want to hold the nail while he had the hammer.

Right enough waffling, I've bait to order for a session on Tuesday where hopefully I'll be out with Smudge and Karl. I'm going to try and get some of my mates (the litterate ones!) to write some stuff for here I'm sure a change from my inane ramblings wouldn't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We've been gagging for these Northerlies, now that they're here I can't bloody fish! Me and Karl did manage a couple of half arsed sessions yesterday, beaten by the conditions really, but I'm certain there'll be shed loads when this lot starts fineing off.

Plan A was to fish a marathon session. Starting with the last of the ebb and the flood at Mundesley, and finishing with the ebb at Cart Gap assuming we caught at Mundesley. Depending which forecast you looked at the wind varied from 10mph NE to 30 odd, the latter was more like it. We looked at the lifeboat stretch, no chance, you need to lump it here and it was surf as far as the eye could see coupled with the 30mph wind in your mush. At heart attack hill its less of a bung but it was still too much, we deliberated before finally conceding we wouldn't be able to fish it. Plan B was to head off to Pakefield where the wind would be more across us than right down our throats.


Atop Heart Attack, the surf started at the bank and never stopped. Doesn't look much from up here but it was at least 6' high and coupled with the wind pissing in from the NE there was no chance.

With the tide time difference between Cromer and Lowestoft we'd be able to get to Pakefield with a good 3 or 4 hours of the ebb left. We arrived at the CEFAS car park for about 2pm, low water was 6ish. There were already some guys on the beach, but the wind was still a real pain. We set up in front of the Jolly Sailor pub and gave it our best. Wind against tide for the ebb meant there was hardly any tide movement at all, no weed to speak of either so things were looking promising. The sea was kicking up a bit and we both really fancied it, the bad news was that unless the wind dropped considerably it would be unfishable on the flood, wind with tide and there was no way we'd hold out.

Things started badly for me. Somehow I managed to crack off second cast, unwittingly I'd got my magnets right off between the first cast and the second cast. You can't do that in 30mph winds. The lead sailed straight out, the line billowed off to the right, crack and the lead's still going. I hate it when that happens. In general casting was a pain, I doubt we ever cast more than 100yds and I didn't think it would be far enough even with the rough sea maybe bringing them in a bit. I was right. We only managed undersize codling and whiting. Karl did fluke a schoolie on a razorfish he found in his bait, but it was disappointing on the whole.

We often meet characters on the beach and enjoy naming them, we don't mean any harm by it it's just a bit of fun. Like the guy we often see at Hopton, we call him Waxonwaxoff on account of the fact he walks the beach bare chested in winter, doing his karate moves and excersises! Karl chose the name for todays character. Aramis, the aftershave not the muskateer, spoke to Karl first asking him if he'd caught. I'd noticed this figure in an old parka shuffling up the beach, I'd also noticed his dog always made sure it was at least 2 yards up wind of him. I don't know his personal circumstances but the bloke smelled like he bred maggots in his clothes. He may have been a zombie, I don't know, he smelled like he'd been dead for a week or so. His greying yellow blond hair gave him the look of Catweasel, I would probably have chosen Catweasel. Anyway Aramis was probably the nail in the coffin for the session at Pakefield, we packed up and formulated a plan to use the worlds supply of bait we still had left.


Aramis, he looked like this and smelled like a knackers yard in 80° heat.

The only place we'd get to fish nearer home would be Cromer Pier. We hate fishing the pier, the only good thing about it is that it gets you beyond the swell and surf, even then it gets you out beyond the surf onto a crap bit of beach! Some people love it, they're welcome to it, for me other than its bad weather advantage you can keep it. No room, snaggy, continual "have you caught anything" or "what are you fishing for" from the constant stream of walkers. Some of the casting has to be seen to be believed, it'd be dangerous on a beach let alone a pier. "What are we fishing for" for the love of god, we are fishing for FISH you thick currants! We got to the pier for around 1900, I'd called Nobby on the way and he met us up there a little later.

There were some guys already on the end of the pier, we set up on the first corner on the leeward side. This would put us just beyond the ends of the groins and hopefully onto some cleanish ground. For anybody wanting to fish for cod and whiting from the pier, the south side is thought to be the best, we've found it doesn't help you fishing close to the pier. Whether it's the lights or structure or what, we only seem to catch well away from the pier, try to cast out to sea and your likely to lose your kit, cast parallel to the shore, your far enough out.

The sea looked great, but the guys already there hadn't done any good, though in fairness they were using squid and mackerel, not really first line baits up this way. I gave the guys some worms between them, I'd never use all the bait I had as there's no room to fish two rods and we didn't expect it to be frantic fishing. That said, first chuck and a thumping bite an I've got a double shot of codling, an undersize fish on the pennel hook and a plump 2lber on the main hook.

We're going to sack up. Next cast and a tippy tap bite and another undersize codling soon finds itself heading back to the sea after a quick look at Cromer. "Pull your finger out lump, it's a fish a chuck" received a resounding "Feck off" from Karl. Nobby hadn't had anything either. I reckoned we'd get a few as it ebbed, how wrong could I be. Talk about false dawns, that was basically it. Me and Karl both managed more undersize codling and whiting before the decision was made to pack up. Nobby had a slug (always a bad sign in my book) and an undersize codling on the last two casts but that was about it.

In total during the day I probably lost 4 or 5 sets of kit, mostly through my numptiness, Karl a similar amount, again down to numptiness. We gave the last of our bait to a hardy soul from Kings Lynn way, he wanted to fish a full tide cycle so he could see for himself what was what on the pier, good luck to him! In all honesty the beach there's not the best anyway. If the pier was at Mundesley or Trimingham you'd never get on it. Thankfully I'm at work for the rest of the week, so I hope this wind blows a proper hooley and starts to ease next Monday!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm sick of these southwesterlies now. Another Jolly Boys boat trip bit the dust today, another 6ish weeks before we're all in a position to go again and there won't be the number of fish about of the quality that's out there right now. I have 100 top quality worms and i'm going to have a short session before my night shift tomorrow. The wind locally has gone a little bit west northwest so there'll be some lift on the sea, I'll see what Smudge and Nobby are up to, I know they have bait!

Monday will see me out locally with Karl and possibly Nobby. We have a marathon session planned which will be a test of one or two of our theories well it will if the fish play ball, I'll keep you posted.   

Friday, January 12, 2007

Great weather for flying kites. We're very lucky on the east coast that the prevailing weather is from the SW, unless of course you want Northerlies like I do! There'd been a few reports of fish around Lowestoft, I thought it should be fishable even with this 50mph wind. The bulk of the wind should be over my right shoulder, great for fishing the flood, I'd be able to cast for miles in that wind.

So plans were made. Me, Nobby, Johnny and Mark Bessey were going to have a go. It piddled down in the morning, that and the thought of high wind put Bessey off, southern poof that he is. If he thinks that wind is bad, he should fish with Kagger after he's had vegetables and stella artois. Then Johnny cried off but said he'd come and pick his bait up off me later. Me and Nobby decided to brave it, if you could call it that. We got to Pakefield to find a nice coloured sea, lifting a little with the low pressure and the wind over our shoulders as planned, perfect conditions really. We're going to slay 'em.

Before we got the gear out of the car, we took a walk down to a couple of guys already fishing. The conditions on the beach were quite comfortable, occasional gusts would batter the rods a bit but on the whole it was comfy. As we asked the guys how they were getting on, one of them said "aren't you that guy from the website", "which one" said I, hoping he hadn't seen the one with the goat and tub of cream cheese, "The east anglia sea fishing one" he said. Fame at last, how long before bored housewives are throwing their pants at me! Actually Mrs Aitch already does that but its only so I put them in the wash. Mick you really need to get out more often, but thanks for reading this twoddle anyway and for the positive feedback, hope you had a few.


Mick's the guy furthest away, he's a beard like uncle Albert from only fools, his lad is in the foreground with the "energetic" cast. Nice guys well met. Look at that sea, I'm coming over all unnecessary!

By the time we were fishing it was probably about 1600, around an hour after high water, I reckoned it would start to go a bit from 1730 then hopefully a few fish would show afterwards. Boy did it go when it went, I couldn't hold out at my max distance and lost two sets of gear, but it only went like a train for that hour or so. By 1900 it was easing and the loose grassy weed we'd had with it eased too, its probably been blown off the surrounding beaches. Me and Nobby had a few bits when Bri rang me. We'd spoken in the morning and I think my enthusiasm got the better of him, Bri pitched up around 1830.

There are literally loads of undersize codling around at the minute, so many that at times I thought we might not get through them. It didn't seem to matter if you whacked it out or dropped it short, a pristine conditioned chunky monkey would grab it within seconds, if they didn't a whiting would. Great news lets hope they survive until next year. We'd had an hour and half of this steady stream of fish when Bri said he was going to head off, not feeling too well bless him. Lincoln poof basically, he'd spent the night in his portaloo only venturing out now and again for a babble or to cast, get well soon mate.

Bri had just walked back to his portaloo when one of my rods, the new one no less, dropped back and the line laid in the surf. I love Pakefield, the tide and the fishing distance suits me and my rigs. I think we all have beaches like that, I just really like it there and often do ok there. An easy retrieve and within a few minutes a plump 2lber is in the bucket. Very next chuck and a pea from the same 2lb pod joins its mate in the bucket. They're going to have it, they're within my range and I'm going to slay 'em. Nobby was still battling with the bits, he didn't even notice me sneak those two up the beach.


Nobby blending in with his environment. I reckon he could probably cast with one of those cranes in the background. Look at that sea, everytime I do I look at Mrs Aitch in that special way, she's running scared now...

Next chuck, another slackliner and this ones just about sizeable, but I've got two in the bucket and I'm not a commercial fisherman. Back it goes for another day, but I'm on it now. Some of these fish are going to be a lovely size come March or April. I know its nice to catch really big fish, but for eating you can't beat those between 2 and 4lbs, bloody marvellous.

Six casts since the first one and I've had a slackliner and a fish on every one, then the phone rings. Mrs Aitch is beside herself, Aidan had burnt his hand on the fire and she needed to take him to hospital. She couldn't take him on her own as she needed to keep his hand in the bucket of cold water. I wouldn't say I packed up reluctantly, he's my boy and I love him more than life, but feck my luck eh? So that cut short what could've/would've been the best nights fishing this winter for me. In my opinion we were just getting to what would be the good bit, low water and the first couple of the flood. I reckoned I'd have a dozen or more, still c'est la vie.


Weird it doesn't stop him playing on the playstation, eating junk or cheeking mum and dad? Aidan a ghrá mo chroí.

The rearranged Jolly Boys boat trip takes place next Thursday, weather permitting. PK gets back from skiing, Karls had his reels tuned and serviced ready for a beach session, seems ages since we fished all together. Me, Nobby, Smudge and Johnny are chomping at the bit to go. Pete takes Karl's place on the boat as the lump has whimped out, still knowing our luck we'll get blown off again, and not in that nice way. If we don't go we'll be on a beach somewhere, I best get some new batteries for my camera.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cracking service from Gerry's of Morecambe saw my new rod turn up Thursday after ordering Wednesday morning, they even had the decency to throw in some tip tape though I had just spent £200. I was just glad to be back up to strength, I did consider claiming on my house insurance but I've got a £150 excess so I didn't see the point. Next time I'll split out my fishing gear on a seperate insurance without an excess.

Karl and Johnny were going to the Happisburgh end of Cart Gap after the aborted Humber trip, I didn't expect a pass out, Mrs Aitch had been at her SS like best. When she came home from work early with a big grin I tried my luck. "I've asked Karl to pick my bait up and drop it in on his way to fishing, I'll freeze 100 best lug onto hooks", Mrs Aitch "Oh go on, but try and get back before midnight". I must've looked like a 40 something Shire Horse doing an impression of Desert Orchid as I raced upstairs to get changed for fishing, no jokes about geldings thank you.

Karl and Johnny had to wait for Lee to get back with the bait, Karl sent me a text saying he was going to be a little late, I didn't care I was happy to sit and wait. He also said he'd left his fleece and could he borrow one, of course he could, I just had to think of one I didn't mind him stretching and that was machine washable in case he slavered. I phoned Mrs Aitch and told her he'd be popping in and to have a fleece ready for him.

They finally pitched up with the bait, the sea looked great again, probably not as much on as when me and Nobby fished on Tuesday, but enough to make you expect to catch. It started as soon as they got out of Johnny's motor, "How are you getting on with those short rods H?" and "Can I give you a tip...." etc. Schoolyard stuff but I love it, what goes around comes around as they say and I'll have my day. In fairness I do get to write a lot about them without recourse so its only right I get some of my own now and again.

We'd got set up by about 1800, high water was around 1930 and it was hammering in. We wouldn't be on the beach until an hour or more into the ebb and we'd be up the wall for the early part of the session. Karl was first into a fish, I think he had a little whiting first chuck. Johnny followed with a quickfire pair of mini codlings, poor old me in the middle fishless. Then the unthinkable, Karl managed a proper one at the top of the tide. I hate it when that happens. Smudge popped down for a babble and to see how we were getting on. I reckoned Karl's fish was about 3lb.


The big girls blouse needed a fleece, 6'4" Northerner and he needs a fleece for the love of god.

Karl "we're going to effing slay em on the ebb", prophetic words if there ever were any. You can see from the picture it was a cracking looking sea, so it was a disappointment not to get anymore. I managed to sneak three whiting in three chucks and Johnny had 1 or 2 more minis, but we really should've had a few proper fish. I also managed two sets of lost gear, one of which was an 8oz lead tied to mainline of around 20lb. No surprise the kit was lost then, for christ sake if you don't use a shockleader of at least 50lb start now!

Wrong beach at the wrong time? Maybe, but I just think we need some real weather to shift things around a bit. By this time last year we'd been blown off the beach several times and had even had a few good sessions on Cromer pier, I'm sick of this crappy southern wind and high pressure that's dominated this area all winter. The bad news is all the forecasts have the same southerly flow and high pressure for as far as they can see, neither use nor ornament. Lets be 'aving some Northerlies!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We'd had a little bit of WNW wind, I checked on GB wind map and found there was a good old NW blowing well off the Yorkshire coast. I ordered 50 worms and made arrangements to join Nobby Hall down at Cart Gap. I'd have to wait for Mrs Aitch to get back from work, but with HW at around 1800 I'd be there in plenty of time.

I really fancied it, I even sent a text to PK, he'd struggled at Pakefield during the day. I told him the sea was mega and to watch this space. First chuck a slackliner and a mini codling. I then lost some kit on a snag, which is most unusual for here, its usually so clean. Anyway shortly after HW a massive slackliner resulted in a whiting a little over the length of my measure, I reckoned about 47/48cm and probably 1.5lb in weight. No pictures unfortunately, camera needs batteries and doughnut here forgot to put some in.

Nobby was catching odd mini codling as well until mid ebb when he sneaked a couple of nice school bass around 1.5lb each. I only managed odd small whiting and codling after that, the sea was all but flat by the time we left. Amazing when it was a good 4 or 5' surf at the start. I really thought it would've encouraged a few to feed, the sea's been clear and flat for long enough, still not the first time fishing surprised me and it won't be the last. I got well and truly duffed up by Nobby, which though it's happened before, I don't like it! Could've been worse I suppose, it could've been Karl!

So just a brief update of a local session, things didn't go brilliantly but it was a lovely mild night, the moon so bright we hardly needed lamps. Just to round off my trip, I broke the last 3" off the tip of one of my rods whilst putting it back in the car. Thats going to cost me. I've a trip planned down the Humber Bank on Friday, baits ordered but the trip's in doubt for me unless my new rod comes and Mrs Aitch "lets" me go!