Friday, June 29, 2007

Impromptu session..

I had planned to go but couldn't make up my mind what to do. I thought about going southwards and having a try for a sole or stay round here and have a go for a bass. The sea was quite nice round here, rolling sea rather than surfing and well coloured, probably too much lift and certainly too much colour to expect smoothounds, but there'd be a few bass and maybe a codling in it..

I'd exchanged texts with Pete and Karl trying to formulate a plan for a session Thursday. Pete wasn't too keen, Karl was then wasn't then was again and I just didn't know what to do. In the end I thought I'd just go down to Cart Gap and blow some of my frozen bait, I had a few crabs, eels and blacks and they'd have to do. High water was around 1830 allowing me to fish the ebb into twilight, not perfect, would've been better with HW around 2100 but it'd do.

Smudge had texted me to see if I fancied a session in the river on the Friday, unfortunately I had too much on. It's sad really that I have some of the best coarse fishing in the country and I hardly ever take advantage of it. I did go a couple of times last year with PK and I'll try and get this year for a social followed by a mixed grill and pint.

Back to the fishing. Cart Gap is a strange place, it's one of my favourite spots yet it can be fickle. You can sit there all day without a bite then a switch is flicked and the place goes mad. I didn't feel that confident despite the rather nice looking sea, there was a bright blue sky which occasionally darkened with heavy clouds passing over and I only had frozen bait. I had a few frozen crabs which I'd save until it ebbed so I started with eel and alternated with blacks more in hope than expectation.

Karl pitched up not long after I did, he had some fresh crab which in itself is a minor miracle. He has to buy 100 to have a dozen left for a session three days later! Genocide I call him. Pete once told me about when he was fishing and them losing a boat load of edibles in a thunder storm, perhaps thats what did for Karl's peelers, either way don't let the bloke look after your pets if your going on holiday.

I stopped fishing for a brew and a babble with Genocide. First chuck and within a few minutes his tip was bouncing away and a schoolie was soon beached. Not bad first chuck, thankfully I'd forgotten my camera so I don't have to subject you to more pictures of the scowl. My phone rang, it was Paul "Pedro" Blythe asking me what I was up to. I explained I was wasting my time down at Cart Gap with Karl. He said he was planning to fish up the Happisburgh end and did I want him to drop me some fresh crab off! Is a pig's arse pork? Top stuff, I now had some fresh bait and more enthusiasm.

Within the hour Pedro had dropped me off a little bucketfull of peelers, smashing. I'd use my frozen crabs up and the poppers in the bucket. My first chuck with a frozen crab resulted in a lovely drop back bite, real text book stuff. I wound down to a bit of weight and Karl made his way over to see how it's done. I reckoned it might be a codling, it just hung low without doing too much. I uttered the immortal words to Karl, "I reckon it's a codling or it might just be an eel". Why do we do things like that? A few minutes later a bootlace is on the beach, thankfully it didn't do any damage to my newly tied rigs.


A Cart Gap boot lace, apparently eels are getting rarer these days, something to do with a parasite and liver disease. Even knowing that it doesn't make it nice catching them, even when they're well over 1lb. Photo from Genocide's mobile phone, can you remember when phones just rang?

No cod and chips then, still it was a good eel. I didn't weight it but it was certainly over a lb. Genocide hadn't had a bite since his first chuck and I'd only had the one bite too. I sent a text down to Pedro, I could see his rods away in the distance. He'd had a 1lb codling and a schoolie, nobody was tearing any trees up. We had another hour or so of nothingness, not unusual for here, and with big black clouds looming we decided to make our last casts then head off for a pint. I decided to whack one out, there'd been some weed and a bit of tide earlier which forced us inside though most of the fishing here is in the gulley which is really close, probably 50 yards is far enough to put you in it. The weed had eased with the tide so i hammered one out, always nice when the wind is backing you up and I'm guessing it went around 130 yards. I start to pack my other bits away, Karl's a step ahead of me and is putting his rods away as the one I've just banged out drops back and pulls forward again. Karl reckoned it was a flattie bite, I doubted it, I was a long way out (for me) and I reckoned it was a schoolie. After a short but sweet tussle, I landed the schoolie, packed up and followed Karl to the Poachers. You've guessed it, I had my "other" jeans on and he had to buy the beer, bloody marvellous!


A 3lb 9oz schoolie, I've got a worried look on my face, I'm probably hoping Genocide can stretch to two pints.

I don't know yet how Pedro finished up, he wouldn't have needed to do much to better us, still it was nice to get my fix before work kicks in. I'll go next Wednesday or Thursday evening depending on the weather, if the wind stays west or southwest the sea will flatten and clear and there could well be a few smoothounds. Failing that there should start to be a few sole show round the corner Lowestoft way, we'll see.  

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jolly Boys trip 2007

It finally came. I had intended to write this up a day at a time but it's probably best I summise before I go on, that way the lazy or hard of reading among you can skip to the pictures. We all blanked at least once, the fishing was at best poor at worst piss poor. The weather kicked us about a bit and we missed the big spider crab moult and the fish have probably thinned out a bit anyway. Still we did have some fun and there were a few nice fish and some new species for some of us. I fished 5 sessions which I'll detail below, apologies to the boys if I get the fish count/weights wrong etc. but I only took mental notes and everyone that knows me knows my mental is just that..

5 am Monday morning, I'd got to bed around midnight and 5 am comes quickly then. The bait had been sort of delivered the Friday previous, I say sort of because it was a bit of a disaster. I waited in all day for the delivery and it never came. A friend in the process of moving house had come round to use our phone to sort out some utility, insurance type mundane stuff that goes with the territory. No problem I thought, if anybody needs to get hold of me I have my mobile fully charged and on the mantel piece. Around 2pm our friend has finished with the phone and the honourable Abbott rings me, "JB's been trying to get hold of you the delivery man can't find you". After a few calls I end up racing to Stalham to pick up my box of crabs, fecking mare, my phone didn't get a signal on the mantel, as soon as I moved it 2 foot it went potty with text messages and answer phone messages. Still I had the bait, JB had warned me it was small, he wasn't kidding, but he'd put plenty in so we'd be ok.

Gear loaded into PK's car 7am Monday, left me, Karl and Nobby in Smudger's motor and PK and Johnny in Paul's and off we go. The trip normally takes around 4 hours from Paul's to the ferry terminal it took nearer 6 thanks to hold ups on the M11 and M25. Whilst on the subject of the M25 why the feck don't they build some services. I wanted a pee from where we got stuck on the M11 and couldn't get off the motorway until Fleet services on the M3. That pee lasted a full 10 minutes, too much info probably but I have to tell you that relief was better than any chemical related high, so don't take drugs just hold your pee in.

We got over to the island by around 230pm and at the digs 5 minutes later. Baggage dropped off and we were keen to get going, the forecast wasn't great for the Tuesday so the plan was to hit it hard on the Monday and Wednesday and let Tuesday do its worst. There's a guy on the island that Paul knows from when he could cast, I mean went casting. Russ is a thoroughly nice guy and happy to share his marks with us lot of doughnuts, what he doesn't know about the island's marks and its foibles isn't worth knowing. Russ popped in shortly after our arrival and suggested we head down to Castle Point for the first session just like we did last year. It's a handy mark from where we stay, you can actually see it out of the lounge window, so we'd fish that until dark then either turn in or there was chance of an all nighter for the (fool) hardy among us.


Always plenty of boat traffic on the Solent, session 1 at Castle Point.

This mark had probably been the best of the lot last year. We'd all had smuts, I think Nobby took the day with a half dozen or so, fish to 7lb were common and there was a sprinkling of bass with them too. We were on the weeks later tides this year but I half expected similar results, including the large amounts of weed that seem to reside in the Solent. I was right about the weed.


Karl with a first session Smut, a nice starry around 5lb.

How wrong can you be with the fish. Nobby, Smudge and Johnny blanked, Karl had 3 with nothing bigger than around 5lb, I had one very similar and I think PK and Russ (at the end pegs) had one small one apiece. Last year after our first session the heat was off, we'd all caught and we just went to the club house and had some food and beer, tonight was going to be very different.


Could be the same fish, it isn't, it's typical of the size we had this year.

There'd been a strong SW blowing most of the day which had died to nothing by around 2100, we finished fishing the point at around 2300. Russ was up for a ray session so were me and Karl, the rest went to bed. The conditions were just too good. Despite getting up at 5am and the thought of not getting back into bed until 7ish the next day, we had to go. The way I looked at is we were there for 3 days, the weather was going to deteriorate Tuesday and we'd had a blow that had gone to nothing, no brainer really.


Smudge with the ever present weed. The Solent has some wicked tides but I've not found one unfishable except for the weed it brings, shame really.

We both jumped into Russ's motor and headed for the South side of the island. The plan was to fish Chale for the rest of the night and the first of the light. The only trouble I could see was it was dark now and would be light be around 3am, not ideal I would've liked more dark but we had to take the chances we got. After a relatively easy scrabble down the cliffs, easy by island standards, we made our way along the beach for a hundred yards or so, Karl first, then me then Russ.

First chuck with sand eel and cuttle wrap and I'm shell shocked by a drop back bite. If you'd transported me to Pakefield or something I'd be winding in a 2lb codling or something. I just wasn't expecting a drop back, the last time I fished here they just pulled the tip down and kept going. I picked the rod up and wound down for ages before there was a slow and steady thump and a constant weight, not really heavy but obviously not a dogfish which Karl had managed first chuck. I was well chuffed, that was until it dropped off half way in. The same had happened to Russ, big drop back and bumped it off. He reckoned they were little small eyed rays, the most common shore caught ray on the island.


Karl with the first ray of the night, a nice small eyed a little over 5lb, note the posh pinkies.

It was beginning to look like we'd got something right and despite feeling like a zombie I was confident we were all going to catch. Karl snared the first ray within half an hour of the start, followed by Russ. I was struggling, I'd lost some kit and managed a doggie and a smut. Then we had a mad half hour, I had a bite that I thought might be another dog, Karl had a couple of smuts and a shout from Russ signalled he had fish too. I finally got the "dog" in to find it had turned into a small eyed ray around 4 or 5lb. By this time Russ had made his way over to me saying something like "look at this for a ray". He walked over carrying what looked like my Granny's hearth rug.


A nice small eyed "dogfish".

I was still elated when Russ came up holding the hearth rug, I laid it next to my "doggie" and it made it look like bait! The first painted or undulate ray I'd seen outside of sea life centers. Karl brought up his scales, Russ guessed it at around 14lb, I reckoned 11lb though in truth who has much experience of guessing shore caught double figure fish?


Two stunningly beautiful fish, Russ's painted and my small eyed.

A male too, the females are often the larger specimens, we were all itching to get a bait back out again, but first things first, a weigh in and a proper picture.


11lb 8oz of stunning fish and...


Russ holding up the best fish of the few days, a stunning male painted ray of 11lb 8oz.

Baits were soon banged out again in the hope for more of the same but we never quite managed to reach the highs of the first hour or so. Russ managed two small eyed to go with his undulate, Karl and me managed a small eyed each a couple of smuts and a doggie each. The fishing slowed as daylight broke and around 5am we made our way back up everest and to the car, back at the digs by 6am a quick can of beer and bed by 7.

Tuesday came without the torrential rain forecast but with the strong SE wind, same old thing with winds with east in them, the fishing goes off. After mine and Karl's all nighter the plan was to fish another location in Chale Bay and hope for some of the same. Bed by 7am up at 10am doesn't do me any good and I honestly didn't fancy it. I was also worried about the cliff climbs in the forecast rain. Anyway we all went to Blackgang, down the cliff and spread out along the shoreline. The wind hadn't put a surf on yet but it was strengthening by the minute, no wonder then that Nobby had a bite first chuck that he missed and Johnny managed a smut early on. The chances of catching ebbed with the increasing wind and by the time we left rain and thunder was starting. Only Johnny managed to catch at this mark, I've caught there in the past, in fact it's my favourite mark on the island, but I reckon night time's a must for the rays.


Johnny with his Blackgang starry, see the sea starting to get toppy over his shoulder, by the time we left there was a 3' surf.

There was no way on this earth I was going again Tuesday night. Nobby, Paul and Johnny went off to fish Hamstead for smuts with Russ while me, Karl and Smudge decided on a night in the club house, a steak and stella.


Hamstead river mouth, a massive walk and on this occasion not worth the effort.

The lads struggled and blanked. We didn't, we had a nice steak n chips and a few Stella's. The only down side to our night was the Karaoke. There was an old guy who's mum must've told him he could sing. I swear to god if Sinatra was still alive he would have had the Coza Nostra take the fella for a swim with the fishes. I have never heard so many Sinatra songs murdered in one night. There was a woman who sang "Pearl's a singer" and made it sound like "Pervy swinger", needless to say we spent the evening sat outside. Tuesday turned out to be the the pain that was forecast, with I think only Johnny catching, Wednesday promised to be better.

We planned to have a social knock up during the afternoon on Wednesday and split into two groups for the night session. The afternoon knock up was on Yarmouth Pier and Paul, Nobby and Karl fished Hamstead again on the night with me, Johnny and Smudge fishing Fort Victoria. Yarmouth pier was fun if not a little uncomfortable, its more like a jetty than a pier, apparently its the only all wooden constructed pier in the British Isles still open to the public. Nobby was first in with a miniature bream, scooping the first fish prize.


A pretty little fish, I bet they go like stink on light gear when they get up around 2-3lb.

I was struggling, I'd hooked a racing rib and lost some gear on snags so I decided to mess around in the pier legs. I put a sole rig on, 5oz of plain lead (there's a bit of tide) and a couple of pieces of rag. I was quite happy catching hand sized wrasse when I had one a bit better, somewhere between 2 and 3lb.


A cracking scrap even on my beach gear and some of the most vivid colours on our sea fish, a cracking ballan around 2-3lb.

PK and Smudge were first into smuts, I think Paul ended up with 3 or 4 and Smudge 2. I'd tried proper rigs "out" again without any joy so I persevered with the bits.


The leg end with a nice smut, the pier was ok but not what I'd call proper fishing if you know what I mean, still it was a fun little social.

Johnny then managed one. It was Karl's turn to blank this time. The fun and games weren't over yet though.


Smudge with his first smut, shame the fish is camera shy.

I was still messing around with my sole rig and scraps of rag worm. I had a bite a little different to the rattly tugs of the wrasse, more of a steady tug tug. I struck only to find myself anchored to the sea bed. I pulled and pulled, slacked the line and pulled again, no joy. I walked round to the right where Nobby was fishing and pulled again, this time the sea bed moved. I have never felt power like it, I daren't let it go too far in the tide and I was seriously worried about my kit. I'd tied the rig straight to my 15lb mainline after losing the kit to the rib, there was no way I was going to beach this thing. With my rod doubled over I did at least manage to get it up off the bottom, but just holding it in the tide was difficult. I asked Nobby to try and handline it up, if I got it on the surface I'd have at least a chance. As Nobby hauled the weight to the top, the large diamond shape of a ray loomed from the depths, it was a sandy brown colour and probably a big blonde ray. It was never meant to be and the line parted with it just under the surface, I never had much chance with size 2's and 15lb line. Impossible to guesstimate the size and weight of the thing, it would've been the biggest shore caught fish I'd ever managed for sure. It never made any surging runs, to be honest it didn't know it was hooked, it just slunk back down in the tide.
We had a fry up back at the digs which rejuvenated us for the evening session. Me Smudge and Johnny were going to Fort Victoria on account of the fact we didn't fancy the walk at Hamstead. Johnny had done it the night before and last year when he'd had a little spotted ray.


I make no apologies for putting this pic back up, it's Johnny at Hamstead with a little spotted ray from the 2006 trip and one of my favourite pictures.

Both venues were deep water. We got to Fort Victoria around 2100 to find we had the place to ourselves, surprising given its easy access to deep water. Car parked and the 20 yard walk completed we sat down on the grass verge and started to get tackled up. The place is famous for its bream so I started with a flapper carrying size 2's and baby squid which I bound up first then threaded onto the hooks. First chuck, feather the line as the lead hits the water and count. I reckon it took around 8 seconds for 6 ounces to hit the bottom and I guessed around 50' of water 60/70 yards out, awesome.


First bung and I nab a double of bream, the biggest only around 8oz but firsts for me

First cast I get a tremble then a drop back. I wound down to what I thought was a mackerel, they seem to have that same skitish scrap, a few seconds later and a double shot of black bream are on the bank. Quickly returned and out goes the squid again and another near instant bite and another 8oz bream. As much as they are fun, I didn't think I'd get anything much bigger than I was catching so I switched to crab and had a pout straight away, a big chunky one at that. Next chuck produced another drop back on crab but this time it had some go in it and a minute or so later and I've had a smut around 5lb. Smudge was next with a smut of similar proportions.


Smudge with his Fort Vic smut.

Johnny was just round the bend from me and Smudge and the water was whacking through where he was, it was a maelstrom of boils and eddies, it looked awesome but he was struggling for a bite in it. I had more pouts as did Smudge then Johnny grabbed a smut. I had another monster bite as the tide picked up and had a better feeling smut on that somehow got snarled up with Smudge. Smudge thought he had a bite and leapt on his rod, my line parted and that pretty much did for me. Smudge carried on playing my fish and eventually beached a pout on his rig and my smut. That signalled the end of the session and we packed up around midnight. The other boys were struggling at Hamstead (again), Karl managed a pup and a big eel, Nobby got a proper smut as did Russ along with schoolies up to 2lb. PK struggled but snared one in the end I think. That was it then, an uneventful trip home had us back for tea time, fished out and tired. I don't know whether I'll go back next year, it might be time for a new venue..


As the sun sets on this years trip, I don't know if the Jolly Boys will be back. It may be time for a change of venue in 2008?  

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Taffs v Tommys

I am very very envious. A load of my mates went off to Welsh Wales for a "Home International" match....

Some of the Leader Lines crew had a cracking time in Wales last weekend. The right honourable Abbott and John B, owner of Helwick Angling in Burryport, organised a Taff v Tommy match at Cefn Sidan beach. If anybody is holidaying round that way you’ll find JB most useful for bait, information and tackle etc. The shop number is 0155 4830866.

The fishing wasn’t a great success though socially it was a smash hit. I would’ve loved to fish it though it fell on the worst possible weekend. A year since my father in-law shuffled off his mortal saw me in Lincoln and Grimsby, for a cousins wedding reception on the same weekend. I hope to make the return match in the autumn in a social capacity at least, hopefully the same teams will make the return leg and I’ll get to “run the bank” and do the social thing. Tactics will be different from the Welsh leg that’s for sure.

Thanks to the lads for letting me skim some pictures, the ongoing Taff v Tommy report can be found here: look for the thread on the message board called Anglo-Taff challenge under events, meetings and planning. Well done to the Welsh lads who hold a lead going into the autumn return, should be interesting with hopefully plenty of whiting and maybe some late bass/early codling to look forward to.


Rogues gallery 01. From left, the honourable Abbot, Sandy, Dicko, Andy Lawes, JB, Bri "yourang" Heritage on account of the fact he looks like Lurch.


And continuing from JB, Rog "porntash" Allerton, Yourang demonstrating mans ability to be in two places at once and Paul "where's your maddies Trev" Blyth.

There really are some classic write ups on the leader lines site, check them out when you get chance, the fishing wasn't great but the craic was mighty.

The Jolly Boys trip is looming now, bait is ordered and I can’t wait, though I won't relax until I've taken delivery of my crabs. To be honest I’m just looking forward to a break away, I seem to have done nothing but work lately. Long range forecast is OK I think and I reckon we’ll get the chance for a ray session or two on our trip this year. Karl rang tonight, he's stressing saying he might not go because "I've lost 50 fecking crabs today". He has no idea why they've died and said he didn't want to go and be a bait mump. Muppet, why should it bother him mumping bait, feck knows I've mumped enough beer, rigs, batteries and so on and so forth ad infinitum etc etc....

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Plan 'A' - well almost

I went with Mrs Aitch to pick the boy up from school just to have a look at the sea really. there'd been a steady NE breeze all day and I was beginning to think there would be a surf on. We checked in at Trimingham just before low water and sure enough there was a bit in the edge and a bit on the bank. That's the smoothound fishing knackered then, around here at least, we might be ok further north so the venue was altered to the shingle bank at Kelling.

I'd sent a text to Smudge to see what he was up to, he'd been working in Zeebrugge all week and didn't get back until the morning, he was still keen for a go. I didn't have much in the way of bait, just a few of PK's poppers and 4 frozen crabs i'd had for ages. Karl had some frozen crab and Smudge said he'd go to Tesco's to get some squid and we arranged to meet down there at 1800ish. High water would be around 2130 so we'd basically fish it up a couple and down a couple.

I couldn't believe the weather when we got there. Bright blue skies, hot and not a breath of wind. Karl had left a stiff NE breeze in the city, it had been breezy all day round the corner in Bacton yet here we were, no wind and the sea just "toppy" rather than surfing, we'd have a chance. By the time we'd walked up and set up it was 1900, Smudge was fishing his squid inside hoping for a spikey while me and Karl thumped out crab baits. We hadn't been fishing long before I heard an "Ho", well thats the best way I can describe it, it was more like the gutteral grunting of a Neanderthal having a dump. Karl was on his way to the waters edge tentatively winding as he walked. By the time me and Smudge had got there he'd got it in close enough to see the leader ploughing through the water like he's hooked a u-boat. A couple of seconds later and a sparkling little common around 2.5-3lb is on the beach. I love the way they run up and down the beach, mint it is.


The trade mark scowl almost becoming a grin, only a baby but a good start.

Well thats it then, if there's one there's fecking hundreds! After rebaiting and sending them out, Karl came over for the post catch gloat, its almost law if you don't do it you'll be accused of messing with peoples heads. I'd just put a "jelly" on that I'd had for a while and was about to cast. I said to him "can you smell that crab, that should give a good scent trail". I should've known better, "are you sure its the crab, I thought it was you". He's room to talk, I've been 30 yards upwind of him and still managed to get a whiff, feed the boy onions and he's a demon, that actually gives me an idea for the Isle of Wight trip, he's travelling with PK and Johnny Muahahahaha...

Anyway for all his pee taking about me and smells it did the trick. A couple of minutes after the toxic jelly hit the water, the rod sprang back and I wound down to that satisfying weight with attitude you get with smuts. A short but exciting scrap and what turned out to be the best fish of the night is on the beach.


A nice starry around 5lbish, apologies for the gormless grin, I don't know any other way. By the way thats the photographers shadow on my jeans, I haven't wet myself!

I missed a bite while Karl was there, that hurt. Oh yeah, Smudge has had a flounder teehee. Karl follows up with another 2 quick fire smuts and I manage another and drop one off. I gave Smudge some crab, you can't sit there on squid whilst there's a few torpedos around. They remind me a bit of barbel, if you've ever caught a barbel you'll know what I mean. Bottom hugging scrappers and great fun. It would've been nice to fish for them on light gear but I don't think we would've reached them, they were well out. We had a lot of tide for the whole session and some May weed on and off throughout which was its usual stinky pain in the arse but was easier to cope with thanks to a few fish.


A starry for Karl, he really puts a lot of effort into that scowl. No massive fish but a good session.

The conditions weren't perfect. We had the toppy sea when they like it flat, coloured may weed water, smuts prefer it clearer. Given that it was a good session. Oh yeah Smudge had a slug! In truth we got duffed up by Karl. He finished with 6, I had 3 and a dab and Smudge had the flounder and slug. It may have been Karl's extra bit of distance made a difference on the day, though it would've been 6-5 if I hadn't dropped one off and missed a bite, so its probably just one of those things. A bit like the ray fishing on Sheppey, they are a pack fish. Everytime Karl had one I'd get one within a minute or two, as if they were coming past from Karls direction.

I had my "other" jeans on, the ones with a couple of quid in the pocket, unfortunately we packed up at 2300 and missed last orders, still I'll wear them again sooner or later. A cracking nights fishing that's going to have to keep me going until the back end of next week at the earliest. Work and family commitments have me stymied now until Wednesday of next week at the earliest and with the Jolly Boys trip the Monday after I may just take the time to clean my kit. That May weed makes an awful stinky mess of your reels and line so I'll probably give them a full service, re tie a few rigs, wash my towels etc etc etc......


I love it when a plan comes together.

I've received mail from some sad people that read this drivel, it seems they are tired of the mean and moody scowl. So much so one "reader" was moved to try and help Karl with his scowl, here's a smile for him.


There's more life in that mug than Karl. Is it me or is the persons thumb holding the mug just a little bit freaky, I wonder if their eyebrows meet?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Scum at Cromer..

I had every intention of going tonight after work but was just too tired. The conditions were right for a chance of a smoothound or ray, I just wouldn’t have done myself justice if I had have gone, so I decided to leave it until Monday night..

The forecast had a change in store Monday, the light to non existent ESE were going NE up to around 15mph. If the sea kicked up a bit it would knock the smoothound chances on the head but I reckoned there’d be a chance of a decent bass. Reports from earlier in the weekend indicated the May weed was clearing though a look on the Cromer web cam showed a dodgy looking scum in the mist.


Not the first time I’ve seen dodgy looking scum at Cromer pier.

I’d done nothing but work since my ill fated trip to Lowestoft so scum or no scum I was going to have a go, I just couldn’t get a plan in my head that I was entirely happy with. I wanted to have a go at the fish/crab thing but if the sea kicked up on the back of the forecast NE, then fish baits would probably be a waste of time. I didn’t have enough useable crab for an all out assault. PK had dropped around 50 off for me to look after while he went off to the TT races and said I could use the ones popping. To be honest there were a lot of awfully small crabs and not many popping, it’s getting to that time of the year when all we’ll have is little hens. Pete had said I could pick some up if I wanted some and I could always pick some fish bait up from Cromer or Sheringham on Monday when I picked Aidan up from school.

I don’t know where the apathy has come from. My mates and me are struggling to find enthusiasm to fish. Karl and Johnny are off casting and are doing well; PK is messing about with motorbikes while me, Nobby, Smudge and Pete are working. I think we’ve mostly got our kit in order for the Jolly Boys trip in a fortnight’s time; I hate messing my stuff up when I’ve cleaned it out, serviced reels, tied rigs. Sad isn’t it, bordering on the compulsive I reckon, what’s the point in getting your kit right if you don’t use it?

Hinge and Bracket had been on one of my favourite beaches without tearing any trees up, a 3lb codling the best fish caught. Pedro had been next-door to them and struggled for a few bits, which did at least include a starry pup. I’m convinced the smuts will show on these tides or the next big set if the sea stays flat and I really wanted to have a go at them. Last year they turned up around the end of the first week of June. I remember it well as the father in-law died and we’d just gone down to the Isle of Wight for a smut bash. I was still concerned about the wind though, I’d like to fish Cart Gap or the far end of Walcott and have a go for a proper smut, and I just wouldn’t have any confidence if the sea kicked up.

That’s the plan then, try and rope a mate in and: Plan A, if the sea stays flat use fish and crab and fish the ebb into dark, Plan B fish with crab for bass into dark if the sea kicks up, either way I’d be fishing.