EDP report 26/05/10

Sport has continued in a good vein for North and east Norfolk. There have been lots of bass, the biggest I’ve seen at 14lb, though there seem to be quite a few school bass up to 3lb and a few in the 4-8lb bracket. The shingle from Cley round to Weybourne has given a few nice bass, but the real sport seems to be on the flat beaches of east Norfolk. Bass to 8lb have been reported from Trimingham and Mundesley with several smaller specimens to 5 or 6lb at Bacton and Walcott. Bacton has also produced some of the first smoothounds of the summer. Over the weekend Mark Hudson managed 4 of these hard fighting sharks, the biggest a stunning common smoothound of 19lb 2oz! His others weighed from 6lb to 9lb, a super session by any measure. I fished with Paul Kerry on Sunday evening and managed eight smoothounds on peeler crab, half of which were double figure fish the biggest a nice common of 12lb, in a frantic three hour session, Paul had a very similar catch. The beaches seem alive with school bass at the minute, friends fished Bacton and managed several fish in the 1lb to 3lb bracket, worm being the tope bait for these smaller fish. There have been some good fish too to worm though crab probably offers you a better bet of a large bass and best chances of a smoothound, darkness seems to be the key for the latter. I would urge you to return the larger bass, these are breeding stock, old fish that don’t taste anything like as nice as a fresh run 2.5lber, only take what you can eat too and we may well have some decent sport for a few years yet.

Few reports relatively from Yarmouth area, though I’m told there are plenty of bits and pieces on the beaches and a few bass in the river. These can provide some great sport on lures and give the angler a choice of method, fishing one rod with bait whilst working a lure can maximise your chances there. Further round to Lowestoft and there have been a few sole of the south pier, I think there’d be even more if it wasn’t for pouts and doggies hitting the bait before the sole have a chance. Round to Southwold and there seem to be a few bass about too, I haven’t had any firm reports of sole yet from this famous sole venue, but I don’t think they can be far away now. Calm, muggy nights with a flat and coloured sea will give you the best chances of a nice tasty flatfish. Paul Turrell’s hard work and patience paid off for him again this year. He followed up two cracking shore caught rays in 2009 with his first of 2010 in the shape of a cracking 8lb 6oz specimen, these fish are quite a rarity from our beaches these days and you need a lot of patience to fish for them, well done Paul.

With some north west wind forecast in the week ahead, I would expect the east Norfolk beaches to continue to produce some nice bass and there’ll be a chance of a codling or two amongst them if the sea picks up like it should. All else being even we could see the first soles from Southwold way too, trick is to get out there and enjoy some sport whilst it’s there!

Bacton 24/05/10

Back for another go but the northwest had scruffied the sea up, a few schoolies but nothing else. Lots of quality rods on the beach but only saw them have schoolies despite being right where they should've been, can't have it all ways and still nice to be out, two nights running, feck me could become a habit!

Bacton 23/05/10

Unbelievable 3 hour session with PK. I had originally planned to go with Diggs too, but the pirate had him out on some crusty marsh all day, I went round to pick some bait up, he answered the door looking like a knackered belesha beacon. He gave me a bucket full of crabs and I was off. Met PK down at Bacton, there were a few holidaymakers fishing so we set up to the left of them in a groin to ourselves. Fishing by half seven and second chuck I had a lovely slackliner. After a spirited fight, line running through the edge, clutch slipping stuff I beached a cracking common smut. We both reckoned about 8 or 9lb, I picked it up and thought it might be a bit more, I didn't have any scales, thankfully PK did (don't know why he had scales, he's a golfer now), anyway the beast went 12lb dead. The Leg End is in pretty much straight afterwards and his goes 13lb! I lost count of the number of times we both had fish on at the waters edge.

I can't remember the last time any of us had a double figure fish off the beach, Kag had a cod 11lb last year and there was Jamie's 14lb bass but they're a rarity these days yet here we were with one each inside a half hour! Sport was frantic to say the least, you couldn't fish two rods, there wasn't enough time to prep a crab before the rod would be lurching off the rest or dropping back slack. I packed up at 2230, I'd had 8 hounds 4 of which were doubles, the average size was incredible and strangely all the big fish came in daylight. I also had hooks broken and lost a fish as a rather frayed hooklength parted last cast (no time to bugger about changng hooklengths). I had a couple of schoolies too as did Paul. He had a similar catch to me and was still fishing as I left, I dare say he managed a few more. Unfortunately my old camera had packed up and I certainly wasn't putting my good one in the box so no pictures I'm afraid, but it has to rate as probably the best 3 hours fishing I've had (I reckon about 75lb), sunshine, my old mate and a few fish, bloody marvellous.

PS I genuinely felt sorry for Geno, the poor bastard was stuck at work on nights, I got the feeling he didn't take too kindly to my texts bless him xx. He sent me a txt saying "3 doubles off a beach ffs, one is a bit special" to which I replied "It's 4 now", he asked to be left alone after that...

EDP report 19/05/10

Sport eased slightly through the last week, due in no small part to the cold winds, though there were still plenty of bass about for those braving the winds. Hunstanton yielded a lot of school bass in the week, the wash benefitting from being in the lee of the easterlies that we saw. Along with the bait caught bass there were some lure caught fish too for those fishing from kayaks a little way offshore. The shingle continued with a bit of form and most stretches yielded a few fish. I fished Shernigham myself last Friday and managed a lovely conditioned spring bass of around 3.5lb, though aside from a dab and a pout that was it. It was noticeable also that once the tied eased your line was getting covered in the brown gloop that usually signals the start of the annual May weed bloom. At Cromer large numbers of bass have been taken at the pier, most of these have fallen to lures and anglers using bait have tended to struggle.

The beaches from Cromer round to Yarmouth have been consistent too, with a few bass showing on most venues. Trimingham has again been the pick of the bunch with several nice fish caught between 6lb and 8lb. The beats from Yarmouth through to Lowestoft have produced school bass, pouts and flatfish, there are still a few smoothound pups showing off Lowestoft South pier, but I haven’t seen or heard of any sole coming off there yet. Same goes for Southwold, school bass, pouts and whiting making up most of the catches with some lure caught fish in the river too but no sole yet, though the forecast is right for them. Dunwich, Aldeburgh and Orford have been relatively quiet with only a few school bass, pouts and codling produced.

A group of very happy anglers had a boat trip aboard Goldrush out of Leverington, the skipper did his job well and found the friends some super sport. Smoothounds to 20lb, thornback rays to 11lb and some cod just shy of double figures found their way to the boat with all anglers managing something of a decent size and plenty of dogfish to fill the gaps between the better fish. I would expect to see a few more out boating over the coming week as the wind eases and the sun comes out, for us beach anglers though the best chances are going to be at night as the water is likely to clear out completely. Best chances for a big bass I think are the beaches from Yarmouth to Cromer whilst the best chances for some consistent sport would still be the shingle.

Sheringham 14/05/10

Had a couple of hours of ebb with Digger at Sheringham. Lovely evening, mild with a southerly breeze. Fished crab on a pennel and some crab bits on a flapper down the edge, was slow really, a few rattles from pouts (probably). We both managed nice bass in consecutive casts, first Diggs with a beautifully conditioned 3.5lber then me with what could've been the same fish. I added a dab and a pout on the rod with the flapper, but that was it in 3 hours.

What was really noticeable when the tide eased was the amount of gloopy brown crap dripping off the rod rings as you retrieved. The sea had a funny peaty colour too, like an Irish loch. I think if the forecast is anything like (and it wasn't this weekend!) then we could be in trouble next week. If we get a decent northerly it might hold it off for a week or two, if not it'll be May weed city, and that'll be that until it clears.

EDP report 12/05/10

Despite the northerly airflows’ best efforts, there has been a steady increase in the number of bass showing in catches right around the region. The best of the fish size wise seem to be showing on the north and east Norfolk venues, though there are plenty of school bass it seems on all the regions beaches.

The shingle ridge has produced a lot of bass, mostly in the 8oz to 1lb bracket but there have been some better fish to 4lb amongst them and catches of several fish between 2 and 3lb are not uncommon.  It’s been pretty consistent from Cley round to Weybourne and you probably have even chances on any of the beaches in that area. East Norfolk has seen the larger fish reported without the numbers found on the shingle. Last week Alastair McCaig had a fine specimen of 7lb 14oz from Mundesley on lug worm along with several school bass. In the same area this week, Jamie Bale managed a fine fish of 6lb 5oz with quite a few school bass to keep the interest going too, it would seem this stretch of coast would give you good chances of a large bass, particularly whilst there’s a little bit of life left in the sea following the recent cold winds.

Further round to the Yarmouth area and Stephen Boyce had a nice brace of 40cm+ fish at Caister, unfortunately his fishing companions could only manage school bass, dabs and whiting, that’s how it goes I guess. Lowestoft south pier has been reasonably productive with dabs, whiting, eels, dogfish and smoothound pups. Kessingland, Benacre and Covehithe have all produced a few school bass amongst the bits and pieces. Southwold should start to show a few soles as we warm up, though we’ll need to lose these cold winds. Boat anglers fishing Southwold to Orford have all reported a few cod, unfortunately they seem to be well out of casting range, five or six fish to 7lb isn’t unusual  if the boat anglers can locate them. I think the fishing forecast for the next couple of weeks should be quite good with average luck, particularly in east and north Norfolk, building tides and dusk high waters should give good chances on most venues over the next week.

EDP report 05/05/10

The weather has hampered sport a little, particularly in the north of the region. Heavy seas and strong winds have meant few anglers getting out to fish though I should think there’ll be a few fishing as the wind eases. There were quite a few school bass showing before the winds struck, lots of fish up to 2lbs were reported from the shingle ridge round to Sea Palling. Anglers reported the fish falling to worm and crab though the slightly better fish seemed to come to crab. The beaches around Yarmouth have produced a few school bass too along with flats and pouts. Dogfish and smoothound pups have been reported from Pakefield bay, the bay seems to hold a few pups in this early part of the season yet we don’t get too many proper smoothounds reported in the summer here.

Bits and pieces and the obligatory dogfish are still showing off the southern beats with a sprinkling of school bass too. I heard of the first eels reported at Kessingland, school bass and codlets at Walberswick and Dunwich with dogfish and smoothound pups also. With most beaches seeming to hold a few school bass I don’t think it can be too long before the better fish are showing. The local crab moult is usually the trigger, it may be that this annual event has been delayed slightly by the cold temperatures from over the winter. I still think that those better bass can’t be too far away now and I’m confident of having some good fish to report over the next week or two, it’ll be well worth a chuck after this rough up I reckon.