Life is like a box of chocolates... 29/04/11

…and just recently I’ve been getting a hell of a lot of coffee creams. Surely I must be due a toffee?

I got a text from an old mate last week, “Are there any bass about”? He’d never been sea fishing before. In fact, he’d been fishing twice in his life, as a kid, and caught a Perch and a tiny Pike.

We’ve been going to go for years and not got round to it so I thought I’d better put that right. A quick text to a chap with a parrot on his shoulder, and 30 prime peelers were ordered.

Come the day and a brisk NE wind had put a bit of a lump on. Where to go? I had to set my mate up with a mangle to make his life easier, but I can’t cast one more than about 70-80yds ( H’s range), and that wouldn’t be far enough on a flat sandy beach so I settled for Ye Olde High.
Dodging blokes wearing pringle and bending golf bats on trolleys left right and centre, we hit the beach.

It wasn’t easy. Hefts abounded, and I lost 7 sets. My mate, using 50lb braid straight through, had no such trouble, but after four hours we were blanking. Then A BITE! The mother of all drop backs and soon after a 2.5lber hit the shingle. My first fish over 1.5lb since 2009. I could hardly contain myself.

Thirty minutes later and Chris gets a bite. It’s hard to believe, but a 2.5lb Bass hitting a bait on braid can bend a Zziplex XTR more than I can trying to cast the bloody thing. I’ve never seen a bite like it.


Chris with his first ever Bass. I was as pleased for him as he looks.

Fifteen minutes later and the XTR is bent double again! Chris winds in a slightly smaller Bass, and all of a sudden this fishing thing is a bit more interesting. Another fifteen minutes  and the XTR’s off. Fortunately, this one got away. Then the worst moment of all….

“Those rods of yours are sitting really still”… It was time to go. When a novice is using half the number of rods you are, has had three times as many bites, and then starts taking the piss, you’ve just bitten into another coffee cream…

Fair play tho’, I think he enjoyed himself. The proof of the pudding will be to see if he wants to come again.

Anyway, earlier in the week I was talking to Fritz. He fancied going casting, but I happened to mention the forecast made a trip to some sand a viable proposition on Friday morning.

The forecast was for ‘Royal wedding , with gale force sycophancy from irritating reporters, and heavy waffle”, so we just had to go.

We couldn’t think of any other takers.  H was dusting, PK was at work, and Stumbles won’t leave the house before he’s watched his favourite Michael Douglas film, “Falling Down”, so it was just the two of us.
We hit the beach just after six.

First blood to me was a doggy of about a pound. It was a bit slow and after a couple of hours that was all we had to show for our joint efforts. Then I had a ‘proper’ bite. I suddenly remembered why I go fishing as I played the unseen fish through the still decent surf. We were hoping for Bass, but this came as bit of a surprise this early in the year.


7lb 7oz fighting machine, being held by 17stone of loving machine.

Half an hour later Fritz snares a doggy similar to mine


He wasn’t impressed….

Shortly thereafter I missed a drop back, wound in and recast. Before I’d rebaited the trace I had another drop back…


4lb 7oz of tomorrow night’s tea…

I had another Bass of about 1.5lb and then followed a quiet hour.
A shout from Fritz. He’s In! It looks like a good one as well. As I shuffle towards him his line ploughed up and down behind the breakers. A couple of minutes later this is the culprit.


6lb 6oz of fighting machine held by 16stone of knitting machine.

What a magnificent fish. In an instant Peter decided it was going back ( I wouldn’t have kept it either, too big for me to keep) and after a pic and a quick weigh he slipped it into the surf.

I took the pic, and as I returned to my kit, one of my rods went slack. I was in again and it was another good fish. As I played it I shouted to Peter. His fish had washed up.  What to do?

Well he did something a lot of blokes wouldn’t do. He took the fish into the waves and held it upright (getting wet all the way up to his nadgers in the process) until it recovered and swam off.

He held it for so long, I landed my fish, which was like a pea from the same pod as my first and around 4.5lb, unhooked it, and released it next to him, whilst he was still nursing. Eventually it swam off strongly. Nice one mate.

So that was it. Three nice Bass, a flukey smut, and some small stuff, and all but one returned.

The cherry on the cake (or the last toffee in the box) was nipping round H’s for a cold beer on the way home.


PS - Praise the good lord that the run of luck seems to have changed for the bloke, I was starting to feel like a Samaritan's volunteer! -ED

EDP report 27/04/11

The past week’s heatwave has produced a bass invasion, with the North Norfolk coast proving the place to be. All along the shingle bank from Cley to Weybourne anglers have been taking 20 or so bass in a session, with some reasonable flatfish adding to the fun.

Although many of the bass are still flirting with the size limit, fish up to 6lb have been taken, with lots in the 2-3lb range. Cromer, Overstrand and Trimingham have also been in form, with bass up to 5lb.

Although the rise in sea temperatures is likely to start the crab moult, lugworm and squid baits are also producing some fish. Winds have been picking up, producing a good surf. Bass love the oxygenated water that the waves produce and the bass fishing could get even better.

Offshore the boats are also doing well, with bass to 6lb, some big cod and thornback making life interesting. Prospects for the weekend are excellent, with high tides on the way.


EDP report 20/04/11

Sport has been consistent but not very spectacular from the regions beaches this week, with most beats showing the same form for the last couple of weeks. On the north Norfolk shingle even the winner was the same this week. Mike Watts following up his first accumulator win with another at Kelling. He managed 3lb 6oz to see off John Neave in second with 1lb 12oz and Dene Conway third with 1lb 10oz. I don’t know how the Holt lads are going to get anywhere near Mike, the secret is Waitrose squid apparently, though it didn’t do Sheringham ace Tony Thomas any good, he finished first out of the frame in fourth despite the ‘wonder’ bait!

Cromer down to Yarmouth has seen a few better bass on the beaches this week and a definite upturn in the numbers of school bass, as the crabs get into full moult over the next couple of weeks it’ll be your best chance of a real good one. Anglers using fish baits from Cromer to Sea Palling have found a few dogfish still, night tides have been best as the sea is calm and clear, even chances of a good bass along this stretch too. Yarmouth has still produced a few small codling along with pin whiting and flats, the river fished quite well last summer for lure caught bass, it’ll soon be worth a go with artificials in the Yare.

Yarmouth to Lowestoft has been generally quiet with a few better fish amongst the old sea defences at north beach. East Coast Danglers fished a match at Southwold, unfortunately nobody told the fish, a 28cm whiting claiming top spot. It won’t be many weeks before there’s a few sole from Southwold’s beaches, though occasional codling are still showing from the pier. It’s a similar story down to Aldeburgh and Orford, again fish baits will catch dogfish and give chances of a ray. Dinghy anglers have found a few nice rays in the deep south. Richard Greeves took his daughter, Debbie, out for a few hours fishing in the sun off Orford. Debbie promptly showed dad how to do it landing thornback rays of 4.5lb and 7.5lb and a superb spurdog of 13.5lb whilst all that dad could manage was a dogfish and a codling, better luck next time Richard!

EDP report 13/04/11

Spring seems to have sprung, balmy conditions are never that conducive to sea sport and more people have been on the beaches enjoying the sun than fishing the regions shoreline. A change in the weather may help prospects at this Sunday’s second Help4Heroes match at Dunwich, tickets are still available, and there’s more information at The north still seems the better half at the minute. Holt SAC fished the first of their summer league accumulator matches at Salthouse last Sunday. Coalfish, bass, flounders, dabs and whiting all made their way onto the competitors match cards. Mike Watts finished in top spot with 2lb 5oz a clear pound ahead of Dene Conway in second with 1lb 4oz and Henry Randell only an ounce away in third. Nice to see a healthy variety of species albeit small ones, there is some concern over plans to include the stretch from Cley to Kelling as a marine conservation zone and whether those plans will involve angling bans along that stretch. It would be a great shame and a loss of a consistent match stretch if it happened, nothing has yet been finalised and the Holt club are in consultation over the plans with the net gain project.

Cromer to Mundesley has seen a few codling and more school bass over the last week. My plans to fish over the weekend were scuppered by family commitments but those lucky enough to get out were rewarded with one or two codling and lots of school bass in the 30-35cm bracket. Dogfish are still about these beaches too, anglers using squid or crabs, as they come into season, will find they snare a few doggies whilst fishing for bass. The Yarmouth to Lowestoft beats have seen the continuation of those juvenile codling and a few school bass, further south still and it’s been a bit scratchier. Twenty six anglers fished a memorial match for Robert Palmer at Southwold in the mid-day sun. Brett Fisher won the match with a flounder and a whiting for 15oz, Richard Woodall was second with 10oz and Chris Wilson third with 9oz. Good to see that £300 was raised for Redwings Horse Sanctuary, well done all. On the boat fishing front a few dinghy’s in the south of the patch have managed some rays and odd codling, the best catch I’ve heard of so far this year though is a stunning bass of 15lb 4oz landed by Matty Stopher of Ipswich aboard his own boat, a  superbly conditioned fish and another indication that spring has definitely sprung!

EDP report 06/04/11

The northern half of the patch seems to have been a little better than the south this week. From Cley on the shingle in the far north round to Yarmouth, most beaches have produced a few codling, lots of dogfish and whiting with occasional pouts and flats. Pick of the beats would be Trimingham with several nice codling landed between 3.5lb and 5lb, fish baits will also attract dogfish anywhere from Cley to Yarmouth. Terry Smith fished to the left of the slip at Bacton and had four doggies with a few pin whiting and a flounder; similar catches can be expected down to Sea Palling. Weed has been a problem at Trimingham and Mundesley, though it seems to affect the flooding tide mostly, you’re pretty unlucky if it stays long into the ebb.

Yarmouth has been a little slower with catches dominated by those undersized codling and whiting, though I’d expect a few dogfish here too if you try with fish baits, tipping worm off with squid hedges your bets a bit and should account for codling and doggies. Round to Lowestoft and it’s a similar story with occasional sizeable codling amongst the juvenile fish at Corton and north beach to Ness point. Pakefield and Kessingland have been a little slower, again juvenile codling seem to be the order of the day. A few school bass have shown from Benacre down to Orford, the next few weeks should see a few better ones show; the next new moon tides towards the end of this month usually herald the start of the bass fishing season proper. Some moderate northerly airflow into the start of this weekend should see some nice conditions for north Norfolk again and this will be where I’ll be trying my hand I think.