Me and Smudge fish Cromer 30/12/11

Not much to say really. I had bait to use up from Tuesday and it was too rough to fish the beaches so we fished Cromner pier for a couple of hours. A bite a chuck pretty much with a lot of sizeable whiting, some good ones 40cm+, but no proper fish. Roll on May.

EDP report 28/12/11

Unseasonably mild weather as the year draws to an end, it was good to hear of some super fish not too far off for the boat anglers. I heard rumours of some good fish on Orford, but the story that really struck me was the fish not too far off Lowestoft. Friends fished a mile or two off Pakefield and had a lot of fish with some very nice ones. With nearly 40 fish to 12lb on the boat at the beginning of the week and a cracker of around 19lb on a trip a day or two earlier, the guys did brilliantly, quite a few were in the 6-8lb bracket too. It gives us land lovers a bit of hope as I reckon if they’re that close one good rough up could bring them within casting range. The shingle of North Norfolk has continued to produce whiting and flats, again richly coloured and surfing seas could see cod being caught too.

The east Norfolk beaches are carrying a lovely coloured sea right now, the trouble is I think we need a surf with it to encourage the codling in and to break up the whiting a bit. Saying that with the colour chances are improved in daylight hours and with building tides the colour always gives us a chance of a cod. Yarmouth down to Lowestoft has seen a continuation of the form of recent weeks with whiting and flats making up the bulk of catches with occasional bonus codling for some lucky anglers. With those larger fish not too far away I reckon a good easterly or east south easterly should see some better fish get into Hopton bay. Lowestoft down to Orford has to offer the best chances given the boat anglers form, though in fairness there is more activity down that way compared to above Yarmouth, but hope at least and certainly a spur to get out there and have a go. There’s no better way to blow off the Christmas cobwebs than a day’s fishing so get out there and have a go, Happy New Year!

Boxes and Bottles, Walcott 27/12/11

Our regular fun bash, held as usual on the beach at Walcott in Norfolk, the Boxes & Bottles meet turned out to be a bit of a 'fish fest' with every single angler carding sizeable specimens although the vast majority of fish caught were just undersized Whiting in the 25 cms bracket. Almost everyone reported having at least one fish every cast throughout the four hours.

The staff at the Kingfisher Cafe turned out early and as always the breakfast was superb, setting us all up for a good day. A few who had put their names down failed to turn up and EDP angling correspondent Ian Holmes was struck down with the 'lurgi' whilst having breakfast with us. Having collected his bait from me and earmarked his place on the beach, he sadly had to opt to go home. In fairness Holmesy didn't look too well on arrival, but supported the event nonetheless. We hope you are soon recovered.

Steve Smith, fishing near to the northern end of the beach topped the list with a mixture of 7 sizeable specimens for 95 points and with Keith Mountifield second on 89 from the opposite end of the beach and Jayke Plant third with 84 points it was a close result. Just 5 ounces separated the top four anglers.

The best Flattie was a 27 cms Flounder by Carlos and Jayke Plant had a good Whiting of 36 cms to take the biggest Round Fish pool

Everyone stated that they had thoroughly enjoyed the day and with prize presentation & choices in the convivial atmosphere of the Poacher's Pocket going around the table twice because of so many kind donations of goodies, we're all looking forward to the next one.

The Top 10 were:

Steve Smith 95
Keith Mountifield 89
Jayke Plant 84
Shaun Dickson 80
Roger Allerton 54
Cain Plumb 50
Andy Greening 50
Simon Buttery 46
Barry Coulson 39
Shaun McDermott 33

EDP report 21/12/11

I missed a National Sea League result from last week; unfortunately I’d sent the report in before I received the information. It was a cracking match on the shingle with over 160lb of fish carded. Catches were mostly of whiting and dabs and a surprise haddock! Dave Shorthouse took top honours on the day with 24 fish for 11lb 15oz. Paul Fenech came in second with 28 fish for 11lb 5oz with Bill Beeton third with 35 for 9lb 15oz. Teams on the day saw a tie between HSAC Rite Gear and HSAC Morston Creek with 7 points apiece with HSAC Crack Offs third with 11 points. The shingle has produced a few nice whiting and dabs, though recent reports have mentioned weed with the larger swells we’re seeing at the moment.

East Norfolk has produced a few codling when the sea has roughed up, Christian Bulch claiming another nice one during a short session at Cromer. Today could be worth a go around east Norfolk as the north-westerly wind will certainly put a good swell on and there’s a lovely colour in the sea at the moment. Boat anglers have been seeing more of those fish around the 2lb mark and not too far off either, hopefully they’ll show with more consistency off the beaches over the next couple of weeks, things certainly look a little more optimistic than they did a week or two back. A few codling have shown around Yarmouth and Gorleston through Hopton bay and down to Corton, whiting are still making up the bulk of catches though.

Boat anglers have reported a few fish to 3lb off Orford whilst beach anglers have been reporting whiting, dabs and a few small codling. There’s some hefty south westerly winds due over the Christmas weekend, these may put a lift and colour in the sea below Lowestoft, hopefully encouraging those fish not too far off to feed on the beaches. Here’s hoping we do all see a few fish before this winters out, have a safe and merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

EDP report 14/12/11

Things have been poor this week, there is precious little in any report I’ve seen to fire much enthusiasm, big tides and surges may have played a part but it feels a little ominous for our winter sport. There have been occasional codling amongst the pin whiting but these have mostly been those small ones around the 1.5lb mark. Weed has also been a feature from Cromer down to Yarmouth, some stretches around Yarmouth have been all but unfishable because of the stuff. I’m conscious that when we have weeks like this, this fishing report can so easily become a weather forecast, but that’s the only real hope we have to force a change in our fortune. Very strong west south-westerly winds are forecast into the weekend and there is likely to be some colour and movement in the sea in places like Orford and Aldeburgh that may well have a few fish feeding, but it does like bleak for the weedy stretches above Yarmouth. The shingle ridge has produced a few dabs amongst the whiting and can often be a haven from the weed a mile or two south. Even the whiting, which have been pretty much present in numbers since the end of September, seem to be getting smaller. It’s hard to say whether this is good or bad news, they are at least live bait size for any predators that may be following these shoals of smaller fish.

I was told there were a few of the 1.5 to 3lb fish taken a couple of miles offshore, boat anglers have been getting a few more of these small fish and they are of the size that are likely to hang around the beaches until spring if they ever come within casting range. I may well have a go off patch later in the week in the search of a bit of sport. There have been some cracking cod caught down in Kent and a stunning bass only a pound shy of 20lb from Dungeness. The river Humber in Lincolnshire has produced a few nice cod too; Adrian Crane had a couple of 7lbers and a small one in a nice catch, though on Lincolnshire’s open beaches it’s less productive, I saw a report from a long liner of Skegness who was clearly disappointed with only 20 cod after shooting 1200 baited hooks. For us in East Anglia I think the best policy is to have high hopes and low expectations as far as the cod are concerned and hope that the winds later in the week boost the sport in the deep south.

EDP report 07/12/11

With Christmas only days away, the hoped for codling seem to be a long shot. It is as if we’re the piggy in the middle with some good catches north and south of our region off the Yorkshire and Kent coasts. It’s very disappointing but not all bad with whiting a plenty with some halfway decent flats mixed in too. The south of the patch has seen occasional small codling with the whiting, fish have been reported from Orford, Aldeburgh and Southwold but it’s the dabs that are making a bit of a comeback it seems. Lots of them from Dunwich up to Yarmouth and some pretty reasonable fish as dabs go. I’ve seen reports with double and treble shots of small ones which is great for the kids and not bad eating when they’re big enough either!

Weed reappeared on the east Norfolk beaches when the wind went southwest, hopefully that’ll get moved on again as there’s some stiff northwest in the forecast heading into the weekend. There were a few codling on the back of that wind last time so I’m hopeful again, don’t take risks in heavy seas though. The shingle ridge has continued to produce whiting and flats and the very occasional codling from the rough ground marks around Weybourne. We’re running out of time for a proper cod, the best chances are usually before Christmas before they head off to spawn around January and February, it’s not been a typical year by any stretch and anything could happen yet. I think it pays to be optimistic, the fishing this time last year was a struggle too made worse by sub-zero temperatures and thick snow with all the disruption that comes with it. The temperature stays above freezing but a cold week in prospect nonetheless so if you do venture out wrap up warm, the wind is mostly due in the south and west quarter aside the northwest mentioned earlier, building tides with evening high waters will help chances so get out and have a go before the snow comes!