27th March

I'm too tired to do a proper job so this will have to do. Me, Digger and Quack blanked at Leysdown from 2230 to 0300. Baits used were bluey, herring, mackerel and sand eels. High water was 0100 and conditions were good though it was bloody cold and there had been a few fish at Warden bay (1/2 mile north of us) the night before so expectations were high. Me and Digger got there before Quack so had a quick look in at Warden Bay, there were a few set up waiting for the water and we couldn't see what it would give us over an easy fish out the back of the car on the green.

Reports from the same tide at Warden were all blanks too. I think more so than most fish, fishing for rays is a very hit and miss affair, they're there one tide and gone the next. I think next time though we might try some other spots on the island, I've fished Leysdown several times and blanked each time, though I have seen some crackers caught from there. I did get snagged which felt like it pulled back a couple of times before the line parted at the leader knot, but the more I think about it I reckon it would've been the lead burying on the flood. The thing with Leysdown is you can fish the same bait for ages, if a fish doesn't take it there's nothing else there too either so this means you generally let it soak for longer giving the tide time to bury your kit. Also the beach is snag free, if you see it at low water all you see is a flat sandy/mud billiard table of a beach, so logic says it was a burying lead rather than a snag or a fish.

So another load of effort for nowt, still I always enjoy the day out with my mates, Smudge reckons it's the green reels. I need to remind him tht one good fish on his pukey orange ones doesn't make him a fecking expert! Could just be I'm not very good of course, I wonder if PK will be able to get us a deal if we buy two sets of golf clubs..

Comic Relief match Lowestoft Sth Pier

14th March

Stephen Boyce and Co. organised a charity match on the south pier, unfortunately the fish didn't play ball but a good time was had by all. To top off a cracking day out, the guys managed to raise £240 for comic relief, top bombing guys. Here are a few pictures from the day, won by my old mate Pedro who managed to winkle out a solitary codling, well done mate.

Pedro the winner with a codling 1lb 10oz, bloody bandit! In fairness to my old mate, he donated his winnings to the cause, typical Ped.

He knows something about fish does Capn. Birdseye! Mr Crane second with a doggie of 1lb 5oz.

The prize for the biggest flattie went to Bill Peek.

Perri George was top junior and earned himself a rod, well done buddy.

And finally the motley crew, well done to all.

Thanks to Stephen for the pictures it looks like everybody had a cracking time despite the lack of fish, still it'd be called catching and not fishing if we caught well every time we went.

Cart Gap

2nd March

With a little operation looming large I managed a cheeky little session at Cart Gap with the Quack. Conditions weren't great, what wind there had been was mostly west but had traveled through the southwest quarter through the day. The sea was as flat as a witches tit and I couldn't see if there was any colour in it, there certainly wasn't as much as when Smudge duffed me up last Wednesday.

Quack pitched up around 19:30 and we were fishing by 20:00. There was another guy on the beach who'd been hung up a few times and hadn't had a bite. I wasn't too despondent as I've found this place always fishes better after high water. There's always exceptions to the rule but me and the boys would normally plan to pitch up just before high water to get set up and have the ebb into darkness. Sure enough and true to form, neither of us had a bite before high water. Matt did snare a microscopic whiting on his freshwater rigs, my big hooks and big baits remained untouched.

I had a plan to fish with sandeel and herring on one rod and mump some of Quacks excellent worms to fish on the other. There's an awful lot of sand on the beach, and as we arrived in darkness, I couldn't gauge whether the bank was in or out. Pedro had told me he reckoned it was 150-200 off, out of the range of all but the longest on a good day (has anybody noticed how many think they're fishing at 150?), which would give us a large gulley off the ends of the groins. I like it when the beach is like that, after a week or two of calm that bank will be in just off the groins, I don't like that though if it's a reasonable tide and there's a few bass about a bait on the bank will snare 'em.

The fish baits remained untouched and both my rod tips sat motionless. I did think there might be a doggie about and I'm ever hopeful for a ray locally, seems daft not to try. High water came and went, we both lost a set of gear on what felt like marl ridges. You'd get the lead shifted, but then feel it pull into something sticky rather than solid, I hung up on it a couple of times but managed to get all but the aforementioned set back. Matt came in close with his tiddler rigs and started tipping off with my herring, almost instantly he started to register taps and rattles from whiting. Thankfully he showed his total ineptitude at turning bites into fish, otherwise he'd have given me a proper bloody nose. Still bite less and after the Quack landed a lovely plump dab, one of my match scratchers came out of the wallet and with embarrassment, I set about sliding small worms and cubes of herring on size 1's.

I still haven't seen a bite and we are considering packing up. Matt had started to get a few bites, I consoled myself with the knowledge that 1 bite on my "out" rod would likely wipe the floor with him, after all you never catch codling or bass on fish tipped worm do you? Within a few minutes of that self same conversation between us on the beach, the flukey basket's tip lurches forward, pings back and his line is laying in the surf, seconds later (he was only 30 yards out) a super fit and healthy 2lber is on the beach.

I think they call moments like that epiphany's. It dawned on me that I'd been mugged, that I'd even stooped to freshwater rigs in the effort to buy a bite and that for whatever reason, the fishing gods were "educating" me. I shrugged my shoulders, wound in the size 1's and dropped them back in the bucket. I loaded up the pennel and whacked it as far as I could into the morass of ridges and clay. Thankfully Matt didn't manage another fish either, that probably would've finished me off, so we decided to call it a night. Light at the end of a long dark tunnel, I wound in a sizeable whiting to save my blank but I still never saw a bite.

Fishing is a social thing for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the Quack's company, however I don't like getting duffed up once, let alone twice in two outings. I need a session with Jonah or Digger to boost my confidence. My enforced lay off will at least give me a chance to tidy my gear, service my reels and get my head back in gear, just in time for ray trips, bass and the spring run of codling, bloody marvelous.