EDP report 31/08/11

Not usually the best or the easiest time to fish the regions beaches, bank holiday weekends are usually reserved for the bucket and spade brigade. There have been a few nice fish caught though and it’s the east of the patch that has shone this week. There have been plenty of smoothounds showing around Yarmouth and particularly in Hopton bay, I’ve heard of a few doubles but most seem to be in the 4 to 7lb bracket, very nice fish to catch all the same. Rob Allen fished Hopton bay and managed nine hard fighting hounds, the best fish a nice one at 7lb 4oz. Weed can be a pain around Yarmouth but it’s worth persevering for fish of that quality, peeler crab at long range is the way forward.

North Norfolk from the shingle round to Sea Palling has been slow, barely a mackerel or a bass reported and few people fishing the busy beaches. I spent last Sunday at Mundesley with the family and visitors and watched a chap trying to fish on a crowded beach, in situations like that you’re better off trying to fish the unsociable hours when you’re likely to have the beach to yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more bass though as this little bit of northwest will encourage them to feed inside and it’s not long now before they’ll be making their way southwards again. Lowestoft continues to produce a few smoothound pups and soles, particularly off the pier and whiting are turning up in most catch reports albeit barely sizeable fish. Corton through to Ness point has produced a few small codling, not necessarily early fish or a good sign as they tend to hang about in the old sea wall but very welcome nonetheless, the best fish I’ve seen reported at 2lb 10oz. South of Lowestoft and it’s a bit quieter with flatfish, whiting and the odd dogfish at Benacre, Dunwich and Minsmere.

As we approach autumn I expect it will be the south of the patch that comes to life first, there are whiting in the reports already and these are likely to increase in size and numbers. In my experience, from Halloween to Christmas is usually the most productive time of the year cod wise, and with Halloween only eight weeks away, it’s time to get your autumn and winter tackle in order.

EDP report 24/08/11

There has been a modest upturn in sport on some of the regions beaches this week. There have been a few more bass and flatfish around the Wash and one or two better smoothounds in the Yarmouth area. Unfortunately that has to balance against a shortage of soles around Lowestoft and no mackerel on the shingle ridge. The southern beaches have been tough with crabs stripping the worm baits intended for soles, Aldeburgh, Orford and the venues up to Lowestoft have been similar. There are still a few sole showing but the conditions want to be right for the best chances, Pakefield bay has a few smoothound pups still also. Paul Carter and Stephen Boyce were fishing the south pier for soles when they spotted what they assumed to be bass breaking the surface. Paul’s quick thinking led to him clipping a float rig on baited with ragworm, his offering snaffled by a Twaite Shad of just under a pound.

The beaches around Yarmouth have produced a few better smoothounds with fish rumoured into double figures, there’s no reason to disbelieve the rumours as I know the area has produced fish of that quality in the recent past. Long range tactics with peeler crab bait will give you a chance, again the sea is better flat. East Norfolk has been generally quiet, though relatively few are fishing for the few barely sizeable whiting and occasional school bass reported. Those fishing from kayaks have had better luck with mixed bags of mackerel, scad, codling and pouts from around the coast. I don’t see anything in the weather to encourage those fish inshore over the coming week so it’s looking like more of the same for the week ahead.

EDP report 17/08/11

The regions beaches have been slow to say the least this last week with reports of sizeable fish notable by their absence. There have been one or two mackerel again off the north Norfolk shingle though boat and kayak anglers are finding them in better numbers out of beach casting range. Anglers fishing for bass with plugs and lures have had mixed fortunes, there are still a few being caught but be prepared to put in some hours. I’ve barely seen a report from the east Norfolk beaches, I’ve walked along and not seen anything caught and the few anglers I’ve posken to have struggled though it should be better this week with high water around dusk and the ebb into darkness.

Small smoothounds and sole have been the mainstay of catches from Caister to Lowestoft, the south pier fishing as consistently for sole as anywhere else. Southwold has produced a few sole too and is less tackle hungry than the south pier; it’s also worth a chuck for sole at Dunwich, Minsmere and Sizewell. I’ve seen reports of whiting from Yarmouth down to Aldeburgh, they’re a herald of the autumn and I’m always glad to see them starting to show u8ntil of course you’re fishing for cod and you can’t get through the whiting! We have light winds and high pressure dominating this week which won’t give any help to the east Norfolk beaches, best chances across the region will be at night though I should think there might well be a few more mackerel from the shingle, also dusk high waters should give those plugging a helping hand too.

EDP report 10/08/11

I could nearly have recycled last week’s report, with the exception of those few larger smoothounds at Hopton disappearing, this week has felt like the previous. The mackerel that were showing seem to be out of casting range on the north Norfolk shingle though kayakers are finding a few still. I fished the shingle with a couple of friends, fishing with bait and artificial lures for bass, nobody told the bass of our efforts and the three of us blanked, it was a lovely night to be out on the beach though. Kayakers seem to have been the only ones catching with consistency; they’ve had the advantage of good sea going conditions to get away from the clear, shallow water at the beaches and are able to find features in deep water. I’ve seen reports with codling, pouts and even wrasse amongst the mackerel and school bass, initially the codling reports looked encouraging although summer stocks on wrecks can give that impression, they are very localised.

East Norfolk has seen precious few reports, the beachesfull of holidaymakers coinciding with mid-afternoon high waters is hardly a recipe for angling success, best chances are on the opposing tide in the early hours. Conditions had looked good for smoothounds until the sea scruffied up, kyboshing those chances though Stephen Boyce found a few pups hanging around at Hopton, unfortunately his mates couldn’t find them. The numbers of whiting reported around Yarmouth and Lowestoft is consistent there seem to be quite a few fish just under or on the measure, I’ve seen them mentioned in reports from Caister to Pakefield along with some more smoothound pups in Pakefield bay.

Lowestoft pier has continued to produce a few sole though I hear it’s getting snaggy with lost tackle, the beaches at Dunwich, Minsmere, Sizewell and Southwold will you give you good chances of a sole in the right conditions and are likely to be less tackle hungry. I’ve seen reports from all those venues and there seems to be whiting about here too along with school bass, eels and a few sole. The wash and its rivers are still producing eels and flounders in good numbers and they may continue to be a reliable option looking forward. With all four points of the compass in the wind this week it’s a devils job to know where might be worth a try. The north and east Norfolk beaches should have a surf but any east could slow the soles for a while, towards the weekend we have some stiffening southerlies which will give things a mix up in the south which could be good as it calms down.

EDP report 03/08/11

It’s been a funny old week with some venues booking trends and others not quite delivering what you might have reasonably hoped for. The rivers have still produced and can be relied upon for a bite or two but it’s the beaches that have bounced back into a bit of form. There have been plenty of mackerel on the north Norfolk shingle and there were quite a few bass feeding on the back of the northerly wind and the resulting surf. The northerly helped out the east Norfolk beaches too with bass from Cromer down to Sea Palling, the sea has flattened off round here now and any colour that was in it has dropped but I think there’s a good chance of a smoothound in it while it stays flat.

Stephen Boyce fished Hopton bay in flat conditions and was rewarded with a smoothound pup of 2.5lb and a cracker of 5lb 10oz, Paul Turrell followed up that form with an almost identical catch with a nice hound at 5lb and three smaller in the 2-2.5lb bracket. Hopton bay and Pakefield bay have produced plenty of smoothound pups in the past so it’s nice to hear of one or two proper ones about. Lowestoft south pier continues to produce a few sole, small hooks on short hook lengths fastened to wire booms is the favoured method. Flounders and school bass, with the occasional better fish around 5lb, have showed from Dunwich, Minsmere and Southwold. There are also plenty of catch reports with whiting figuring strongly, a reminder if it was needed that autumn isn’t too far away. The forecast for the week ahead has some south and west in it which should mean more of the same. I should think there’ll be a few more sole in the south and mackerel in the north, and who knows, maybe a late run of large smoothounds, we live in hope!