EDP report 31/03/10

Sport continues to improve with less blanks being reported from the regions beaches. Most venues are producing a few bits with the occasional codling for good measure.

A few anglers fished at the narrows on Orford Ness at the weekend and managed a few codling to 4lb between them, though most of the codling caught were 1lb and smaller. Dunwich is another venue that has thrown one or two better fish up, there also seem to be a few bits to fill in the gaps between better fish with anglers reporting catching flounders, dabs, pouting and school bass.

It’s no coincidence that bait isn’t lasting very long on the hook either, a combination of small fish and the shrimps and crabs getting  inshore is seeing soft baits last only a matter of minutes. It won’t be long before folk are complaining about crab activity but if it wasn’t for those critters there’d be no fish to catch either. The beaches in the Lowestoft and Yarmouth area have shown similar form with mainly small fish and the occasional better fish for some lucky rods.

The east Norfolk beaches through to the shingle are showing similar form with mainly small fish, though it’s worth trying with a fish bait now, you should see some dogfish for your efforts and there’s always a chance of a ray. We may get a little setback weather wise this week, the temperatures are forecast to drop quite sharply, but hopefully spring is well underway now and the last knockings of winter shouldn’t slow things down too much.

EDP report 24/03/10

There’s been a definite shift in the regions fortunes this last week, not of seismic proportions but a sure and steady upturn which will hopefully continue to improve over the next week or two. The pick of the fishing has been in the Yarmouth to Lowestoft area with Hopton yielding a few codling to 5lb to the kayakers and the occasional fish reported by shore anglers. Just as many blanks are still being reported, but there’s a tangible increase in reports of better quality fish over the last week.

The beaches south of Yarmouth and Lowestoft have been a little slower with still only undersize round fish and flatties reported, though school bass are showing a little more consistently also. Distance seems to be the key at the minute, with the fish a fair few yards out of casting range for most, the pier at Southwold yielding 3 cod between 3lb 2oz and 7lb 1oz to one lucky angler while the guys struggle for a few bits off the beach there on the same tide. Boat anglers are reporting a few more also, not huge numbers but a marked increase in catch returns for the boaters off Orford and Southwold. Up the coast a way to Lowestoft and a few spring fish have shown from the beaches at Benacre, Kessingland and Pakefield and I think with some decent conditions it could be good towards the weekend on the building tides. The match angling fraternity will note that Trev Elliot and Avenue Angling are organising a spring open at Dunwich on Sunday the 4th April fishing from 10am to 3pm, to book or for more details contact Avenue Angling, the match could be timed to perfection if the improvement continues.

As already stated, the Yarmouth area has found a little bit of consistency with most anglers managing a few bits and a few lucky rods managing some reasonable codling. Hopefully the spring run will pick up a pace over the next few weeks and we’ll get some variety in our fishing as the codling show with the first of the summer species. The same can’t be said for the east Norfolk beaches though, last weekend’s teams of 5 at Bacton saw only five anglers break the 1lb barrier and a few blank returns. Aforementioned Trev Elliot found a few school bass and flats for a level 2lb to top the 35 strong field. The shingle continues to provide small flats and the occasional school bass and recent reports have mentioned one or two codling showing on the rougher beats, but for the chance of a half decent codling, Yarmouth’s beaches hold the best chances at the minute.

EDP report 17/03/10

At last there’s a feeling of spring in the air and one or two more anglers have been out and about. There’s still a lack of sizeable fish, though one or two have started to show.

You’d probably expect the south of the patch to pick up first, though still undersize round fish and flatfish figure highly in catches. There have been reports of occasional codling to 4lb from the pier at Southwold and reports of small plaice at Southwold, Dunwich and Benacre. Such is the rarity of this species these days in our waters, that most “plaice” are usually found to be flounders with particularly vivid spots, though I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the reports, I know that some of the guys reporting them know the difference. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be starting to appear either, it would be this time of the year that anglers would start to target them, be good to think we may have another target in the early spring.

Further up to Lowestoft and one or two codling have shown, unfortunately there’s still no consistency and again they are tending to be the barely sizeable fish that hang around anyway. The commercial guys are finding the fish closer to shore than they were and this may well bode well for an upturn in the next couple of weeks, add to that there seems to be a few more smaller fish and I think we can be optimistic. Less so further up to the east Norfolk beaches. Catch reports, though few and far between, tell a similar story. Those anglers lucky enough to find fish are only finding our humble flatties and undersize codling and whiting. I notice with interest though that there are one or two more school bass showing, though not much bigger than your palm they’re often a sign that the better ones aren’t too far away. Friends fishing the Kent coast have found one or two good fish including a double off the admiralty , so hopefully they won’t be too long making their way northwards.

The shingle has been patchy too this last week and there have been plenty of blank returns amongst those finding the flatties. Hopefully this warm spell will accelerate a change in our fortunes, heaven knows we’re due it!

EDP report 10/03/10

It’s been a tough couple of months on the regions beaches and the form looks to continue in the same vane for the next week or so. I don’t have a full set of match results, those I have seen would tend to back up the pleasure anglers reports, with few fish caught at all and those that have been caught have tended to be flatfish and undersize codling. Reports from Walberswick, Kessingland, right round the coast to Cley make similar reading with flatfish and undersize round fish caught if anything, though I notice a couple of school bass mentioned too.

Sheringham ace Tony Thomas won Holt’s last match of their winter league fixtures with two flounders at Trimingham, I think I’m right in stating that would be the win that seals the league title for Tony this year in a close run competition. A friendly “Dads v Lads” match at Pakefield over the weekend saw 33 anglers compete in reasonable fishing conditions. Like Holt’s match this match was won with two flatfish, Roger Tipple’s flounder and dab enough to claim individual honours for the Lads team, in fact Roger was the only angler to card more than one fish! It wasn’t enough to see the Lads to a team win though as the Dads filled the next four places, I’m told experience won through on the day. Sorry state of affairs though when only 5 of the 33 fishing caught and then carded less than 1.5m of fish, even with some top local anglers competing.

As you’d expect with a season like this, there’s been a lot of conjecture about when the spring run of codling will start and if we’ll have one at all. I think we will get a few cod back, but I think it’ll be when we’re fishing for bass in the mid to late spring. Commercial fishermen I’ve spoken with tell me there are large shoals of herrings and sprats still and without any signs of low pressure to break up those shoals, the cod will be munching their way through them assuming they’ve finished spawning, I guess the only good news is that they should be packing on the weight. I don’t think we’ll see the mature fish in spring though, I think it’ll be the smaller 2 to 4lb fish if we see any, the larger fish tend to be fish eaters and won’t be grubbing around for crabs, shrimps and worms with their smaller cousins. Hopefully the bigger fish will put in an appearance next Autumn when there should be some real monsters among them. Without the luxury of the gulf stream warming our waters and with the surface temperature currently around 4-5 Celsius, it’s going to be a little while before things start to shift again, some wise old hands reckon the next set of spring tides will mark an upturn, I hope they’re right, personally I think we’ll see some codling back when the bass arrive just as the shore crabs start to moult.

EDP report 03/03/10

The past week has seen a return to unsettled and at times stormy weather around the region. There seems to have been little respite from the freezing temperatures as we move into March though the forecast for the week ahead holds some promise for some brighter weather at least, though we are set to continue with the hard frosts. Extended daylight hours are never a bad thing, and I’m hopeful that we’ll start to see a slow but steady improvement on the beaches over the next few weeks.

Around the region though, the consistently poor returns continue, only the North Norfolk shingle has produced anything in the way of numbers of fish with most anglers managing a few dabs and flounders when conditions are favourable. Down the coast a little between Sheringham and Yarmouth sport has been very slow, the few anglers fishing have caught even fewer fish. These beaches seem to be the worst affected by the cold, there’s more sand exposed to the freezing temperatures with each tide cycle than the rest of the regions beaches and this seems to have had an effect on the natural food sources the fish are looking for. Yarmouth to Lowestoft hasn’t faired much better either, Paul Blyth fished Lowestoft south pier for a couple of flats and a pout despite a concerted effort to get as much bait in the water as he could with his ten hook flappers! Reports from below Lowestoft have been consistent with the rest of the region, with only occasional flats, pouting and pin whiting reported from Walberswick, Dunwich and Southwold.

You might hope to find some sport in the relative warmth and shelter of the regions deep water venues of Aldeburgh and Orford, judging by the reports it’s not to be and these venues are producing small fish in small numbers in line with the rest of the regions beaches. If we are to have a spring run of codling this year, it shouldn’t be long in starting and as the days get a little longer the extra daylight should start to trigger changes on the beaches which can only be for the better.