N Norfolk Shingle pt 2

21st September 2008

After the highs of yesterday, Croc was back for another go this morning, this time he was joined by Digger and a fat bloke with a camera..

Another gorgeous autumn morning found the three stooges on the shingle. Croc and Digger were there before me and were already working their "crank baits" along the edges. Barely a breath of wind, we could hear the conversations of the potters a mile off and it really was a privilege to be there.

Croc n Digger

You could see the shingle give way to the sand, clear as it was visibility was a good 10-15 yards I reckon.

We pampled along without so much as a sniff until Digger, who was talking to me at the time, had one nearly take at his toes. That was a wake up, we both nearly jumped out of our skin, looked a good fish too. He feathered the lure out and retrieved with a little more concentration, nothing. Same again, and out goes the little blue number maybe 30 yards.

killer lure

The killer lure pattern for our neck of the woods, common sense really, the bass spend half their lives munching through Norfolk mackerel.

It can't have been more than half way in when wallop! Digger's rod arches and an already creaky reel starts to sing as he takes a step towards the drink. Now decent bass are good sport when you're hauling them in from 100+ with 5oz of lead but when you have a spinning rod and less than 20 yards between you and the fish it really is exhilarating. "It's barely hooked, I can see the hooks, Aitch can you gill it for me?", you bet your life I could. After a few seconds scrapping and panicking about hook holds, I lift a fine bass of 6lb onto the bank.


Well played young man.

I managed to grab another shot after the weigh in, a cracking fish that is probably feeding again by now, none the worse for looking Digger in the mush.

The Strangler

He looks like one of The Stranglers! On a day like today you could've been "Golden Brown" before you knew it. Super conditioned fish soon returned.

And finally one for the purists! I'm not adverse to taking a fish or two, I love eating them, but for me the best eating fish are half this size, those just out of schoolie size at around 2.5-3lb. Fish this size are spawning stock and a pain to deal with compared to smaller fish. Though there's no law to prevent you taking them, you get a huge sense of well being for seeing them swim off.

catch and release

Good eating but better sport.

I left the lads at lunchtime and, apart from a few follows, they never had another fish. A superb morning to be out though and I'm glad I made the effort to see them in action. The forecast has the wind going N then NE from tomorrow, if the high pressure holds it might not colour up too much and there may well be a chance of some sport towards the back end of the week, failing that colour will give us a chance with bait, and who knows maybe the first of the nice codling too.

N Norfolk Shingle pt 1

20th September 2008

Here you go courtesy of Croc:

Against the odds

This plugging lark is damned addictive, I had an early morning session last weekend and conditions were perfect but that was thoroughly ruined by a shed load of heavy red weed right in the likely strike zone. I somehow managed to snare a couple of schoolies but the going was hard.

With a full week ahead of work all I could do was pray for settled conditions and the Gods were on my side. Only problem this time is that the forecast was bright sunshine and a high water in the late morning. Not exactly perfect and in my limited experience as soon as the sun comes up its probably best to pack up.

I started my usual routine of casting and wandering with my Polaroid’s on and was struck by how clear the water was, like crystal, and this is likely to make the quarry even more spooky. On about my forth or fifth cast my lovely £10 lure became detached during the cast and sailed out all on its own, not a good start so a new lure was attached and the session was underway. (check out Grog's knots you numpty!)

After about 2 hours my patience was finally rewarded when a long chuck out was grabbed by a decent fish during the first part of the retrieve. This did not scrap as I expected, more of a slow twisting and turning on the surface. The Bass was quickly unhooked and weighed at 6lb 12oz before being returned. I was chuffed to bits.

Croc 6lb12oz

Minty fish.

Over the next couple of hours things still looked promising with a few follows including one of over 10lbs shying away, but despite my efforts it seemed like it was going to be a one fish day. I was nearing the end of my day with the tide rapidly disappearing and nearly back to the car when another long cast and again early in the retrieve there was an tremendous whack on my lure, the rod arched over and line was spilling of the spool at an alarming rate. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever slow down when it surfaced about 50 yards out and did a good display of head shaking, whipping the water to a foam.

Croc 7lb4oz

Beautiful fish, this one was allowed to keep it's tail by the photographer teehee!

The Bass tired after a good performance and was also quickly weighed at 7lb 4oz then returned.
Another PB and what a session could it get any better? Absolutely, I was back to where I started and there was my lost lure on the shingle freshly washed up. What a lucky boy I am!


Top bombing again matey, well done and thanks a lot.

Orford Ness

16th September 2008

A sad, sorry, almost shameful state of affairs. I showed Mrs Aitch how little piscatorial action I'd seen all through the summer, her answer was "I bet you make up for it this winter". I hope I do, but the trouble when your busy is you're often too busy to miss such things...

Smudge picked me up at 5am, car quickly loaded and we're on our way. I hate getting out of bed at the best of times but at least a bit of jovial company makes the long run bearable. I am getting older (certainly feeling older!), I'm like my old man, always moaning, always got an opinion (that everybody's welcome to), there was a time when I wouldn't have slept the night before a big day out, now I struggle to wake up. Anyway Smudger's driving soon shook off the sleep and we met Geno and Johnny on the quay at 7am. Crouch or Narrows? Pete reckoned the Crouch had been fishing better, fish to 9.5lb at the weekend and most anglers with fish in their buckets. That's fishing at night of course, we were going in bright conditions with the bane of an east coast anglers life, the dreaded easterly and associated high pressure.

We yomped straight across at the crouch and filed along the beach to the right, avoiding the known snaggy area at the head of the footpath. Johnny first, then I tried to sneak in but Geno had his bucket down before I could lift my holdall off, so I dropped in third with Smudge end peg. First chuck and as I'm setting the second rod up the first nods forward nice and positively before dropping back slack, bloody marvelous. A bit of weight too, I let my mind wonder a bit as I made line on the fish and was trying to do the logistics of getting back to the boat with a couple of boxes of codling. I'd have to pack up early and take them or get my mates to help, perhaps I could let them have a few each to ease their blank. I'd probably have run out of bait well before the boat pick up time anyway, I'd just make a couple of trips, with help from Walter Mitty.

Walter Mitty

"Gizza hand with these fish Dan"

I needn't have worried, a few seconds later and a dogfish is returning after a brief gulp of Suffolk air. A fish at least, and I could feel it too so that was an added bonus, next chuck and a codling around 1lb is soon heading off to join the doggie. I'd spoken to Digger the night before, we both reckoned there'd be a few dogs, now I was looking at the sea I didn't think there'd be many if any decent codling. No colour but a little swell, hardly ideal, but a few bits were feeding so there was always a chance of a better one.

Three chucks in and I've had a brace of dogs and the codling and on the fourth a skinny whiting. I looked up and down the beach and it seemed the other lads were fairing at least as well. Geno and Johnny had joked about my casting and whether I would remember how after such a long lay off. They were about right, my casting clearly wasn't. I can barely stand on shingle let alone walk, and nowadays my cast calls for a step turn. It wasn't pretty me starting with my back to the sea, swinging the lead out nicely before turning, losing my footing and nearly going arse over tit into the drink, still it kept the merciless baskets amused. I think I need an hour or two down on the sand to get some sort of cast back, thankfully Orford isn't necessarily a casters beach and I could just about make a 100 yards without risking gravel rash.

High water was around 12ish, the initial action we'd seen would've been the second hour of the flood. There was a barren spell punctuated with a few skinny whiting until high water. The first hour of the ebb was also busy as the fishing picked up again, though interestingly the dogs had gone. We all had at least one in the first spell but none in the second which was dominated by slightly better whiting and a few more 1lb codling. Geno did manage a couple at around 1.5lb and Smudge a 2lber albeit a bit of a slink.

We may have been better trying to fish the last half of the ebb and first half of the flood, but work and commitments dictate when we can go and it's never a wasted day when you're out fishing with your mates. To top it all off we were treated to a close range porpoise display and a sunny afternoon and blue skies, can't be all bad.

I think some of the boys are going again this week, I dare say they'll let me know how they get on, while I'm stuck at work...

Orford Ness

Even on the remote spit of shingle, you're still likely to see the odd vagrant or two.