Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Following the complete u turn by our inept fisheries minister on the bass mls, please find time if your reading this blog to sign this petition, don't forget its you they want to licence yet don't seem prepared to protect what little sport we have left, click the link and sign please.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Me and Smudge spent the best part of Monday flying round the county trying to get hold of some Ammo sand eels. No joy at Lathams, Gorleston, Floaters or Sam Hooks (despite the freezer being covered in Ammo stickers) so we had to use the Bait Box brand. I think they're ok, they're blast frozen and look a similar quality as Ammo but you know how it is when your confident with a particular brand. Anyway that's all we could get so they'll have to do, I had to drag Smudge round Tesco's too as Mrs Aitch sent me a tex of "can you just gets" while we were out. I would do the shopping every week if it was as easy as it was with Smudge, 10 minutes had us through the tills and away home.

I had just about enough time to get the grass cut, pop a couple of spuds in for tea and have a general tidy round the garden before Pete Costin made the trip up from darkest Essex. I had a built in fridge freezer surplus to requirements and he wanted it to store bait. I never thought but I should have asked him to bring me up some peelers, I bet Ray Powers at Bait and Tackle has got some Ammo sand eels too. Pete pitched up around 7pm, me and Smudge had moved the fridge freezer to the front of the garage to make it easy to load into Pete's motor. Within a few seconds, the seats were down in Pete's Skoda estate and the fridge was all but in. A few minor adjustments to the front passenger seat and the tailgate shut and CRASH!!! Rear windscreen all over the boot. I don't know how he managed it, we'd had the tailgate shut once already, at least the draft would make sure he didn't doze off on the homeward journey. With the fridge freezer loaded, a bit of a babble and a brew sunk, Pete was on his way back southwards. A smashing bloke who I hope to have a chuck with one of these days, he has a caravan at Bacton in the autumn. Now with all my jobs done all I had to do was get my gear fettled for the foray to the Kent coast the following day.

Four of us had planned a trip to the Isle of Sheppey to try and snare an early ray, unfortunately some of the Jolly Boys were at work. The plan was to pick Pete up at 9ish and meet Smudge at Karl's house for around 10 then we'd go in convoy in two cars, via a Little Chief for a breakfast. High water would be around 2030ish and a neap tide of around 4.6m the idea was to take a steady run down, get there for early afternoon, lunch in a pub or cafe then fish 1730 to 2230.

Our man on the inside, Shane Pullen, had sent me some info. Weather conditions weren't perfect, what wind there was jibbed around between East and Northeast, but the sun was warm, and there'd been a few caught on recent tides, I felt confident. Shane was humming and harring whether to fish or not and said if he didn't he'd pop down and give us a look.

I got a text, Shane's mate had a couple the night before despite the easterly wind, I'm a confident sort of bloke anyway and now I was brimming, I knew if they were about one of the lads would have one. Karl, aka "chuckles", is a different matter. He doesn't need much putting off, "Bloody easterlies, we should carry on down to Dungie or Deal and fish for cod, we'll never catch rays in this", you get the picture. In my experience some of the best sessions you have are when your not really looking forward to them but I was still pleased I was travelling with Pete. I'd have been suicidal by the time I hit the M25, poor old Smudge. I felt confident if there were any there one of us would get among them, it was just a matter of time and a smidging of luck I reckoned.


I see no ships, only hardships. Where's the sea? You learn a lot when you do things outside of what your used to and comfortable with. We'd be fishing into a maximum of 5 to 6' of water without a feature, where do you start?

We got to the mark early at around 1330. A beautiful day, warm with a gentle breeze from a generally easterly direction (the only downside) and what to do for hours until the tide came in? I started to feel more confident as the sun warmed the sand, you could see it steaming like a dewy field on a hot morning. We relaxed on the green, had a brew and a sarnie in the local cafe and generally larked about, there was good reason for getting there early, local anglers often get down there after work for a session and the place would soon fill up if recent reports were to be believed.


Pre session banter. Pete, Smudge and Karl before the off. Nice comfy fishing, no sand in your gear or mud to wash off, bloody marvellous.

Karl cast at the first UKSF grand prix of the year at Huntingdon last Sunday, he did extremely well finishing as the top day caster with a chuck over 218m in difficult cross wind conditions. I noticed he started to sound a little more confident once he was on the beach and it was only a matter of time before the nuggett suggested going to try a bait at low water. Shane and his mate Dean had given us the inside edge on the venue, they said it wasn't worth fishing outside of a window 2 to 3 hours either side of high water. Obvious really when you look at the pictures, you'd be fishing in a few inches of water outside of high water, but when you can cast like that you never know and at least it would eat up some time.


Karl loading one up, after a quarter mile walk we finally got to the waters edge. The locals reckoned the water was too rough!

We messed around for about an hour inching back as the water eased in, Pete and Smudge sat back up with the rest of our kit and sunbathed. It was around this time that Shane and Dean turned up. They weren't very confident, what little wind there was had scuffed the surface, they were talking about white horses!!! Jesus christ on a bike it shows you how different things can be within a 100 or so miles of coast, we wouldn't probably have bothered fishing up here in the same conditions, not close to being rough enough! I was still confident we'd catch and what little scruffy sea there was would soon disappear when there was more than 6" of water covering the sand.


The obligatory picture of a northern bloke with his rod in his hand, the sport magazines are full of them. The sea's still too rough, allegedly.

Down to the nitty gritty, rigs for me for the day would be a 2/0 B940 with a 1/0 mustad pennel, long snoods around 2'6" and the bait of choice would be sand eel. We also had rag, squid and herring but when you have top local knowledge your daft if you ignore it, eel was the killer bait at this mark. I fish with pennels all the time, usually with larger hooks and shorter snoods. The idea behind long snoods for ray fishing is that they carry your bait away from your lead. The last thing you want to happen is for a big old flattie to try and settle on your bait only to be spooked when its wings land on the spikes of your lead, the hooks were sized to the medium sand eel bait. Karl goes a step further than just the long snood and turns the last quarter inch of spikes in with a pair of pliers, tide pull wasn't going to be an issue but they still grip well enough anyway.

Now here's something that was the topic of conversation all day and even during the run home, in fact I'm still thinking about it now. We could fish with sand eel and leave it fishing for an hour and still wind it in as neat as it went out! Can you imagine doing that in Norfolk or Sufolk, the poor bait would be mullered by the vermin within minutes, alright I'm exagerating, they'd have stripped the hooks within seconds! At one point in the session I put a bunch of rag worm on and expected them to get nipped about a bit but even they came back good to go again after 30 minutes. Obviously I'm not suggesting leaving baits out for that length of time, it pays to freshen them up regularly to keep fresh scents and juices going into the water, but one pack of sand eels can last a session easily in those conditions.

It was good to see Shane, I hadn't spoken to him since the year before on a session at Pakefield, he wasn't very confident though. We were, the sea was as flat as a witches tit (to us) and we'd seen the sand steaming earlier. No crabs or other vermin nibbling your bait giving you the confidence that you had a bait on and were fishing all the time. We started in earnest around 1700 on a lovely evening, one fired out as far as we could the other dropped shorter. When you have a beach without features you have to move things around a bit and try and locate a few or hope they happen on your bait as they're mooching about. It reminded me a lot of Cleethorpes though there's more tide there and this creates gulleys etc, this was a billiard table of a beach. There were worm casts inside the groins and to about 10/15 yards beyond them then it seemed to be a few cockle and piddock beds and possibly some sand eels, there really wasn't much of a clue as to what was bringing the fish into the shallow water as they couldn't spawn here the purses would be high and dry twice a day for hours.

We sat there for the flood full of anticipation, rod tips motionless until one of mine plucked forward about an inch. Shane had said they catch nothing else here apart from rays, so here I was excitement rising imagining a big female settling on my bait and it would be a matter of a few seconds before she moved off and the rod top craned over. Never happened of course, 10 minutes of studying the rod top, feeling the line and finally winding in a 6oz whiting that was barely bigger than the sand eel bait! Not blanked at least, strangely I found little comfort in knowing that.

There were 20 odd rods that I could see stretching away to our right and I hadn't seen or heard of a fish caught. Darkness had descended and it was high water, if it was going to happen the time was now. A shout from Shane, Dean had a fish on. We walked over just as Dean landed a fine thornback a little over 6lb, a cracking fish and a massive boost for our confidence.


This is what we came for, it would be great if we could all get one but seeing them caught makes it worthwhile. What a load of rubbish, I was green with envy and doubled my efforts to try and get one!

Have I mentioned yet Karl was the top day caster at the UKSF? Well after two crack offs he wants to go home. I could see he was feeling it and there are times even the merciless among us have to show a little restraint, he eventually set up again and fired a bait out. It can't have been in for more than 5 minutes and there's a shout from Karl, he's got a fish on. Smudge went down to the waters edge to beach a small male of around 2.5lb, the Jolly Boys had one at last. Just before the fish beached I was looking at Karl's other rod, "are you crossed with the other rod mate?" I enquired, "no I don't think so, I put that one out left". For the love of god it was turning into a massacre.


You wouldn't believe he'd just won the pools for the first fish would you? Granted it was only worth £1.50 but you'd think he could manage a smile, we came for rays and he'd got one, albeit a baby boy. Theres the beginning of a smile but he still looks more like a bulldog chewing a wasp.

I love him dearly but what a miserable sod at times! Nah only joking, he was well up for it now, so was I. I went over to take a pic all pumped up and obviously excited when he muttered one of his immortal lines. "Look at you with your mad staring eyes and hair that looks like you combed it with a firework", I nearly wept. There he was two fish in as many chucks, no sign for the rest of us, bearing in mind we were all fishing similar distances and there's 12 rods out within 50 yards!


They're getting bigger, this one was getting on for 5lb, still no smile. He says he has an image to uphold, like James Dean except Karl's a rebel without a clue.

He's had a relatively poor winter and like I said in an earlier piece, he's an annoyingly good angler and I was getting the feeling that all my merciless mickey taking after recent trips was coming home to roost tonight. No matter what me, Pete and Smudge did we couldn't buy a bite. Shane and Dean on the end two pegs were finding the same, it looked like peg one was the flyer. He'd returned them or rather poor old smudge had and fired out again. I kid you not within a few minutes he's up playing another.


The model of concentration, this feels like a better one he said, my anglo saxon expletive deleted.

This type of fishing can be like this, they travel in small groups or packs a lot like smoothounds or dogfish and one lucky angler can be on them while the rest of the beach appears barren. After a minute or two a fine male (all the fish caught were males) around the same size as Dean's first one was on the beach.


A stonking fish and still no smile, note the sticky out pinkies, they're posh up north you know.

We'd had a cracking day, laughs from start to finish but by 2230 it was time to leave for the long journey home, broken by a coffee stop at Stansted. Three fish in three casts inside 15 minutes, that was our session summed up, but a day out with your mates is always much more than that. Its a shame we didn't all get one but we set out with a target of getting one and we had three or rather HE had three, did I mention he was top day caster at the UKSF...  

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I wish I hadn't bothered. 3 hours of plucking weed at Cart Gap for 3 mini codling, the biggest about 1lb. The sea looked spot on and what fish are there are obviously feeding in it despite the weed, shame there appear to be very few proper ones about. I wanted to fish by the slip at Trimingham but there were a couple of guys there when I got there, I didn't stop to chat. I then looked in at Bacton and Walcott before finally settling on Cart Gap. The sea was lively but the surf was full of grassy clumpy weed which although not a showstopper was a real pain in the behind, 3 hours of that was enough for anyone.

I think thats me for a little while on my local beaches at least until the crabs start moulting or something drastic happens. I've got an away day with some of the boys next Tuesday, should be good for a laugh if nothing else, i'll write in due course.


The north side of the pier today, a different place than earlier in the week, check out the pic below.

The week had started with flood warnings for large stretches of the coast. Caravans had been evacuated Hunstanton way, Wells and Blakeney had never been off the news. Big Northerly winds had coincided with the vernal equinox creating an extra 0.5m of water on top of the spring tide. Conditions had been unfishable in fact down right dangerous, the first chance we'd get out would be Wednesday night and even then we would've struggled to stay on the beach such was the might of the sea. No option then, 50 worms and Cromer Pier.

Everybody that knows me knows I don't like the pier, I probably like it less than the shingle, but its close. No room, snaggy and a constant stream of "what are you fishing for" etc. Still shifts dictate when I can and can't go so me and Karl met up for a mini social. There were already some guys on the pier, including a mate Tony from the casting club. An early chat to the residents didn't inspire much confidence, plenty of mini codling but nothing bigger than 3/4lb.

Still the sea was nice, 10'+ rollers and plenty of colour, we had a chance I suppose but in my opinion the pier only affords one advantage over the beach, your out past the surf that can wash you up the beach in heavy seas. The beach that your fishing onto isn't great, there's snags off the end and some rough ground well away from the pier on the southward side, its also very shallow. Some people enjoy it, but if the beaches are fishable there are lots better places to try for a codling or two. Its popular in the summer for feathering mackerel and using them to ambush the resident bass, not my cuppa tea. I'm a bit old school in my thinking that a 10lber off the beach is better than a 10lber off a boat or a structure known to hold a few like the pier. To each their own, back to the fishing.

A couple of guys already there were getting mini codling nearly one a chuck close to the pier. Karl and me decided to put big lug baits on and welly it away from the pier, not full pendulum but a gentle side swing or overhead thump. Piers aren't the places for tournament casting. It wasn't long before Karl had a 12oz fish, then a quiet spell then another. I managed a similar sized one and a couple of missed bites. I also lost two sets of end gear as did Karl. We packed up at 2130 and left them to it, you can tell how hard we fished, I'm going again tonight off a beach with what's left of my 50 worms!

Proper rough. This was Cromer on Tuesday, I skimmed it from 's webcam.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I've just heard on the radio that Cromer Pier is closed because of the wind and sea and that the Environment Agnecy are expecting tonights high tide to cause more flooding as the wind and vernal equinox combine to push the sea up. Here's a picture of the wall at Walcott skimmed off the BBC web site, I think if Mrs Aitch wants chips tonight she can fetch them..


If this carries on I'll be able to fish out of my front yard!  

Been a while since I've written so I thought I ought to make an effort. Fishing has been slow to say the least. A couple of weeks back there were a few at Trimingham so me, Pete and Steve decided to get up early dig some worms and have a go. Karl (aka "the bait mump") was to meet us down at Trimingham once we'd got the bait, around 8ish.

A steady dig saw us make enough bait for a few hours on a beautiful morning, not March like at all more like late April. We had to pick some bits up from a mate of Pete's then meet Karl. During this time I got a call from Karl saying the world and his dog were down at Trimingham and that given the weather, the jet skiers wouldn't be far behind. A hasty change of venue saw us all meet up at Heart Attack around 830.

What a gorgeous day, flat sea, blue sky and lots of yummy mummy's walking their dogs. Karl was already fishing with frozen bait and had managed a few whiting by the time we got on the beach. I'd got Pete to do 5 packs of bait, one filled with nicked worms, a few wrigglers and a hand full of sand which I gave to Karl while keeping a straight face. We all watched as he knelt at his box, opened the pack and threw his head back. I swear to god I nearly wept as a loud "f&*% sake" rang out along the beach.

Jollity over and Karl duly presented with some proper bait, it was down to the serious sport of sitting watching the yummy's and drinking tea, if nothing else we'd all catch the sun. Whilst we were sat chatting and supping, Pete noticed one of his rods ping back straight (it was only 30 yards away!) and off he ambled to wind in a 2.5lb codling, duly dispatched he returned to carry on knocking a hole in the contents of his flask. Steve on the end peg was getting a few bits as was the mump, I was fishless bar a little whiting when a pod of porpoises came past, always nice to see the porpoises.

We were then joined by the inshore lifeboat out of Mundesley and this coincided with me getting a slack liner. A few seconds later and a bristling codling of 3lb 9oz was in the bucket. Whilst reeling this one in my other rod was going scatty, Karl asked me if he wanted me to reel it in. I wanted to smile and say yes but my tourettes syndrome got the better of me and I told him to go forth with extreme vigour.

When I finally picked my other rod up it was clear to see that somehow I'd managed to cast under Karl's line, duly unravled I wound in nothing, bait in tact and no sign of the manic bite of a few seconds earlier. I wondered if in mine and Karl's tangling that somehow the bite had been his and transmitted up my line, this turned out to be the case as he wound in a whiting shy of a pound on the tangled rod. It still seemed a bit of a viscious bite for even a big whiting and on inspection of the fish something had taken a bloody great bite out of it (it wasn't me Paul honestly). The porpoises were long gone and we hadn't seen any seals so god knows what it was. Whatever it was it had teeth and a bloody big mouth! Its one of the things I love about sea fishing, you never know whats swimming in front of you at any given time.

Pete had another around the same size as mine and that was basically it. Karl had a few bits as did Steve but it was too nice to fish so we went off to the Ingleside for a stella and the post mortem of the days sport. We made some plans about what we'd do over the coming months and I'm more enthusiastic than normal. We're going to have a bash at some early rays in the Thames and some other out of the ordinary things locally.

I had some of the hard won worms left so I had a go on the following Tuesday down at Trimingham. I saw the porpoises again but never saw a bite. A guy in the bay to the right of me managed a doggie but that was it. I only fished the flood and they may have shown up on the ebb but in all honesty it was 18deg, bright and flat, hardly inspiring conditions for fish to feed in.

There's a tentative plan for a night somewhere in this weeks "perfect storm". I'm not really up for it and think my time would be spent better earning brownie points and getting all my gear fettled for the start of spring, still you know me, it doesn't take a lot of talking me into going.


Great for sunbathing or walking, cack for fishing. The conditions were this on the last two trips.  

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Reports had been shocking. About the only thing you can catch with any certainty "darn sarf" is weed, there'd been only odd fish reported for days so we weren't very confident of slaying 'em when we went last Thursday.

Me, PK and Nobby had a course during the day which we managed to engineer an early finish to and we got down to Trimingham for around 1400. PK had some errands to run and he met us down there around an hour or so after Karl got there, probably around 1600. There was plenty of colour and the start of a bit of lift in the sea which we fully expected to turn rough as the pressure continued to drop and the WNW wind that had blown pretty steadily all day. Its one of those places where it can look fairly easy and calm at low water but as soon as the tide and water volume builds it can turn nasty pretty quickly.

It didn't look too bad really and the place seems to hold a few fish even when there's little in the sea and we hoped the dropping pressure might encourage a few to feed. Nobby drew first blood with the dreaded rockling before I managed one around 2lb. Karl had decided to move past me and fish from behind the revetment rather than the gap as he'd nearly been washed in the last time he got THUMPED by me there, truth is he was chasing my fish. You get desperate like that when you get hammered week in week out.

When PK arrived he found Karl where he wanted to be so set up with Nobby in the gaps, me just over the groin and Karl 30 yards past me towards the next gap. Shortly after PK came I had another a little bigger than the first and Karl had managed a barely sizeable which he put back.


Great picture from Karl, I'm the only bloke I know makes a cod look pretty.

I managed a few undersize codling and whiting with the odd whiting going sizeable and approaching 1lb, they should be gone but there's still a few showing off the shingle too, weird. There wasn't much tide all flood which was good news given the wind would have been roughly with it and made it really awkward to fish. As high water approached Karl and Nobby managed one each of a similar size to the first I'd had, the leg end (PK) was still fishless though we were hardly murdering them, could it be that fresh bait was making the difference?


He's trying to look mean and moody I just reckon he needs some Prozac. The biggest was 3lb 2oz with the others a tad over 2lb. I hope he doesn't mind (actually I don't care if he does) me mentioning these are his first "proper" fish since December. I told you he's fecking useless, I only hang around with him because he makes me look good and doesn't mind buying the beer.

Finally a bit of class showed through and PK snared one between 1.5 and 2lb. By the top the extra volume of water and the constant WNW had made it proper rough. PK and Nobby had got crossed in the gaps and PK's hook got snarled up on some debris the wrong side of the revetment. Not being one to waste a hook (the rumours are true, he does squeak when he walks), he decided to dodge the 6' waves and try to free 2p's worth of terminal tackle. Cut a long one short and he ends up with his arms wrapped round an upright as the tide's pulling on his legs. The blokes like a brother to me and had I been there I'd have bitch slapped him for even trying, especially after Karl got all but washed off the last time. Wether its a fish or your leads stuck, whatever it is DON'T TAKE UNNECESSARY RISKS! For christ sake we've just fished a memorial match after losing an angler at Kessingland. Did I mention I won that one.


Here's a rare photo, Nobby with one he can share with Ursula! Good news he won't have to bash too many spuds to make a meal of it.

Anyway he ended up soaked from the chest down, but thankfully alive. It was shortly after this that the heavens opened and brollyless Karl and me decided enough was enough. In truth we'd murdered Darby n Joan and had decided to retire for a Stella and a babble. PK and Nobby decided to stop on and try and catch us up, deep respect for that. PK's soaked on a feezing night with frozen bait. I said to him "Are you coming for a pint", he said "No I reckon we've a good chance as it drops". The guy is as enthusiastic as a 50 something as he was as a boy, a fecking god I tell you and we all love him dearly.


Darby and Joan pre soaking and all cosy. I wonder whats next for these two? Me and Karl reckon its sheltered housing and rubber boxer shorts.

The final results were Karl 3, me 2 with Nobby and PK 1 apiece. We all had the usual smattering of in and outsize bits including whiting, bass and rockling and given recent results it wasn't a bad little session. PK's out of the loop now for a week and work will see me struggling for a session this coming week, though in honesty we're not missing much.

Steve's popped up today to tidy my roof up a bit, he's dropped in a Zzipi for me and the boys to have a chuck with its an International Tournament or something. I did notice Mrs Aitch went all glassy eyed when she saw how stiff the tip was. The boys are hard at it on the roof, Mrs Aitch has taken Aidan to the cinema and shopping for some new school shoes, all i've got to do is watch the footie and nip to the chippy for the boys dinner. Good luck if your out and about this week, lets hope the fabled spring run pitches up and saves an average season


Get up there boys! Steve and Roy doing the business on me roof.

Its been a busy day at Aitch's, Pedro's just finished down at Happisburgh and popped in for a coffee and a babble. We might try and get a session in next Tuesday (so much for me and work!) but it'll depend what the weather and sea's going to be doing, I dare say my nomark mates will encourage me into a splodge. I'm half wishing I was away skiing like PK, actually scrub that, I'd rather be down at Bacton in the rain catching feck all!