EDP report 29/06/11

A relatively quiet week on the regions beaches has seen local anglers travelling further afield or trying new venues and methods in an attempt to get some sport. Across the wash in Lincolnshire there are still a few rays and smoothounds showing whilst this side has been tough. Kayakers have found a few bass out from Hunstanton and Brancaster, further round there have been one or two codling they've managed to winkle out of the wreck at Weybourne though the mackerel have been hit and miss.

From Sheringham down to Sea Palling it's been generally quiet, weed has been a nuisance but those fishing through it have only managed a few school bass. It's a similar story around Yarmouth with a few bass reported from Winterton and Caister and flatfish mostly from Gorleston and Hopton. Paul Turrell did something different and found a few small herring on small lures in Lowestoft harbour, it's difficult to imagine a few bass not being too far away from a ready food source like that.

Dunwich, Southwold and Aldeburgh have all produced a few school bass and flatfish, though reports of sole are scant at best. I think best prospetcs for the week ahead lie in the rivers. The Ouse and the Yare mouths have produced bass, eels and flounders for the matchmen and as our beaches fill with holidaymakers for the summer they could well provide the pleasure angler with some sport too. At the time of writing I didn't have the results for the final of the Help for Heroes match fished in the river at Kings Lynn last Sunday, I'll provide a report next week.

IoW trip 13/06/11 to 16/06/11

Day 1

I’m never going to be at my best after a 2:30 start, but that was the time I was up and out to pick Smudge up at 3am. Not a hard or testing drive, but a long one, we met Geno and Fritz at Fleet services then went the last 45 minutes into Southampton in convoy, priority boarding and a big breakie and we’re docking in Cowes as the last of the egg is being moped up.

We couldn’t get in the digs until the afternoon so we went to Fort Vic to try and feather some mackerel. It was ebbing and you’d normally fish here on the flood from about half tide up, it was hossing through with half of the Solent’s marine flora (weed you halfwits) and we didn’t last long. We spoke about it on the ferry, Geno reckoned it couldn’t be any harder than Orford on a spring, truth is Orford doesn’t come close, I couldn’t hold bottom with 7 oz inside the groins, oh and the groins go out about 15 yards! The only other time I’ve seen flow like it is on the Menai, awesome.


Geno took this of me getting changed at Fort Vic, fishing porn. I swear to god, Freud would have his melon twisted analysing that boy.

We got to the digs which were both excellently placed and clean and tidy. We were right on the beach at Brighstone. Brighstone is a famous fossil beach apparently, such a shame then that our fossils, Nobby and PK, had decided to keep the wheels of industry turning as we got some rest and relaxation.


The Digs, this is shot from my bedroom.

As usual when we get away anywhere we all have ideas about what we think we should do for best chances of a fish or two, it’s like a ritual. I call it analysis paralysis because all we do is discuss the relevant merits of each venue without actually going there and fishing! The consensus this time seeing the wind had been into the channel coast, was to try and fish the coloured surfy sea for rays. Opposite conditions to what we look for at Leysdown or other ray venues, the rays here love the colour and the surf, particularly the small eyed rays. It’s similar in Ireland too I think anyway it was a nice looking sea not unlike our cod seas.


The view from the digs, you can see the surfy, coloured sea. A cracking spot and I'd stop there again.

All of us were whacked and running on adrenalin or red bull, we took a look at Whale Chine, Atherfield (Shepherds Chine), Sandown and Yaverland. Plan was either to fish the Solent while the wind eased on the channel side or tough it out at Brighstone or Atherfield with the wind forecast to ease. HW was around 8pm channel side and 10ish in the Solent. We ended up having a split plan, Smudge didn’t fancy a walk, we had been up since 2:30 after all, so he stayed and fished the surf on the beach below the van. Me, Geno and Fritz went and fished Atherfield’s deeper water and we’d stay in touch with Smudge by text.

Between Brighstone and Atherfield ledge is a spot the locals call Dutchmans Hole (don’t google it unless you’re over 18 with a broad mind), this is one of the deepest marks along this coast, we could see the surf and colour from us to a point then nothing but deep blue for a few hundred yards then the colour start again at Atherfield. I regret not giving that spot a chance but you can’t do it all, it was a comfy 20 minute walk from the van door.

I don't know if you can see it clearly, the colour stops after this point in Brighstone Bay and is replaced by lovely deep blue, then starts again as you run round to Atherfield, sure sign the water is deep as the colour is caused by wave action on the sea bed.


The way down to Atherfield, it looks worse than it is, an easy down to relatively deep water.

My first chuck at Atherfield and I pick up a load of weed, not yards like you might get at Yarmouth north beach, but a washing line of loose bits that were in the surf. Geno and Fritz didn’t seem to be getting much and I put it down to my ineptitude as I’d let a bow of slack meet the surf thinking there would be some tide. Next cast and I hold the rod up, tighten up to the lead and then pop it in the rest with the result that I was still weeded up. I was halfway through setting the other rod up so I left it while I did. Bad move, twice as much weed and to add insult to a self inflicted injury I was hefted. I was tired and irritable anyway so I thought I’d pack up and go back to the van, if Smudge was fishing without weed I’d have a go with him, if he had weed I’d get some sleep, its what we call a win win.

A nasty man with a woofer, light was nice for photos.

Geno had a dogfish and a few choice words regarding my staying power, Fritz had a pout and told me not to worry about what that nasty man said and “you do what you need to do mate”. Pete’s words had the desired effect, I didn’t really want to go back so I set up again but this time moved to a higher shingle bank between my two fishing ‘friends’. I decided to one rod it and alternate eel and crab. I missed a bite, a proper bite, none of this tip rattling pout rubbish but proper Rambo style pulling of the tip.


Like I said nice light at sunset, it looks like I’ve been tangoed or had one of those Essex spray tans. Note to the halfwit that took the picture, horizons are level at sea!

That missed bite gave me a second wind so I set the second rod up, game on. Geno had a dogfish, I missed another bite, not of the same quality as the first and probably a woofer but I missed it anyway for a blank. Fritz had a conger and I'd had enough, we packed up at midnight and went back to the van.


Fritz’s baby conger, I’ve never seen one that small, that quote became a recurring theme in the Big Brother caravan.

Smudge had been weeded out and spent half the night in the village pub, so apart from a new species for Fritz, it had been a long and disappointing day all round. A post mortem and a plan for day two was developed over a beer and finally to sleep, around 24 hours since my last sleep, with developing plans for day 2.

Day 2

Day two started lazily. I was living in the lounge so it was always in my mind to wake up, and be showered and dressed first, scary what might happen if they found me in a state of undress, after all they’d been away from their significant others for nearly 48 hours.


Sorting the gear. Note Geno sucking it in. I reckon they are all trying to catch me up on the belly front!

A walk into the village and a breakie at the local café ‘7’ was followed by a sort out of cars and tackle, watering crabs and generally tidying up. Geno and Smudge went for a practice cast just down from the van, I would have joined them but I reckon there aren’t too many good casts in me these days and I didn’t want to waste them without having bait attached.


Bloke’s an animal.

The plan was to have a lazy one followed by a smut attack in the Solent at Burntwood, we’d be meeting our Island contacts there, Russ and Mel. We could have stayed on the channel side, Russ and Mel fished Chale last night for pouts and dogs and a solitary painted ray (small eyed) of 4lb 10oz, not tearing trees up despite great conditions so the plan was changed to the Solent in the hope for a hound or two.


Bloke’s a minimal.

A pleasant ice cream afternoon passed all too quickly, we met Russ and Mel at Porchfield before making the long walk to Burntwood. A half hour later and we are at the waters edge, a reefy mark we’d be fishing between reefs and over low weed covered boulders. My first thoughts were that we would lose kit, we knew that they’d been getting a few here and some nice fish too with 15lbers reported, sometimes you’ve just got to accept that you might lose kit.


The swim downstream of where  me and Fritz fished.

Geno and Smudge fished the point just as we entered the beach, Russ and Mel set up next on a ledge with me and Fritz on the end. We had a spot where the reef in front of us only extended about 10-15 yards from the mid tide line meaning that we’d have a chuck of around 40 yards at high water to clear the reef. There was little flow and no weed on the last half of the flood and I don’t think I’ve ever fished anywhere so quiet and still, it really did look like you could fish a bomb rod or a waggler. Apart from a dredger dropping anchor and a chiffchaff’s non stop zipzapping, the only noise came from us, eerily quiet.


Upstream to Mel and Russ on that point / ledge and beyond to Geno and Smudge on the next point. Eerie sky to add to the ambience.

I don’t often get to fish with Pete alone and I was looking forward to it, we set up so that both tripods were facing each other to mark the narrow part of the reef, all we’d have to do is cast apart and retrieve through the gap in front of the tripods, easier than green vegetables and washing up liquid.


You can see the edge of the reef behind Pete, that line of weed marks the ledge, relatively clean after that and only going to be about 40 yards to clear at high water.

High water was around 10pm and we expected weed as the ebb got going, bait was crab and it was an out and out smut session though we’d have chances of a sting ray as this area produces them every year and the conditions were bob on. A shout from Mel to let us know he’d had a small bream, me and Pete had both had small rattles and taps that we assumed to be pout or bream. No mistaking the bite on Pete’s zippy though, I shouted “I say old chap, I do believe you may have a bite there”, he was messing about with his other rod when I shouted him. He dropped what he was doing and grabbed his rod before the missile that had snaffled his peeler made for old Harry rocks.

The first proper fish of the trip and a cracker at 8lb 8oz.

A spirited fight later and Fritz beached a beauty of a starry hound. We didn’t have time to weigh it or take some pictures straightaway though, as I tailed Pete’s fish one of my rods threw a fit. I grabbed it and felt something I hadn’t for over a year (behave and keep your mind on the fishing please), this thing was pulling back!

Better by a pound, bites were within a minute or two at most, my starry of 9lb 8oz.

They are great fun anytime but in the daylight when you can see and feel the fight it’s awesome, another spirited fight and we are both stood there with a hound on the beach, job done. We weighed and photographed them, Fritz’s went 8lb 8oz while mine was exactly a pound heavier at 9lb 8oz. From nothing to bedlam in a few seconds, they come through in packs and all can be quiet for ages then all hell is let loose, tidy. Pete had a couple of pups too.


Pete with a puppy.

We had another hour or so over high water without incident, Smudge had a small bream like Mel’s whilst all that Russ and Mel had managed were small bream and schoolies. Geno was blanking as the form was reversed, this time I got a bite first and after a harder fight I beached a beauty, Pete had grabbed it and was about to put it in the bag to weigh it when a crash signified his rods had been pulled off the rest.

A level 12lb and the best fish of the break, still got it.

I put my rod down and leapt on Pete’s gear. Unbelievably, the handle on the bag of stones he’d used to weigh down his tripod had snagged his reel handle; it was the only thing stopping the submarine attached to the business end making off with his zippy! I passed him the rod and he dealt with the hound that had tried to relieve him of it.

The 8lb dead Zipplex thief.

Geno and Smudge had made there way along the waters edge dodging branches and tree stumps to see how it was done. They’d been out on a PROMONTORY which had proved a pain weed wise, in fact it was unfishable as the ebb got going. It wasn’t easy where me and Pete were but we did have some shelter from the worst of it and you didn’t need to be at max distance anyway. I’d rang Geno and said that we’d pack up, I had one bait fishing and another ready to go, once they were done that would be it. Pete lost a lead on the last cast so I passed my ready bait and rig to him for a last chuck. We were both glad I did, almost instantly his rod craned over and this time he was on it. Shortly after we beached Pete’s best fish of the break, a cracker at 11lb 4oz. I think we could have had a few more if we’d stayed but we had mates who couldn’t fish and we’d both had nice ones so back to the van for another post mortem.

Two doubles in a session, not too shabby. Pete’s 11lb 4oz starry.

Day Three

Day three in the big brother caravan started scarily for me, we were late to bed, around 3am after we’d had the autopsy and a few beers after last nights cracking session (for half of us). As I was sleeping in the living room, I wanted to be up and showered / dressed before the rest arose, imagine my horror when I was woken by a gritty northern “ ‘ello mate “, thankfully he was in a charitable mood and let me get up and dressed unmolested.

The weather was a C change different from yesterday’s blue skies and sun tans, today we had a stiffish westerly breeze with drizzle and showers and a slate grey sky. We’ve all caught the sun if we haven’t all caught fish and Smudge has a sun glasses mark that make him look like an inverted panda or some new species of owl.

Up and out by 9am, first call was breakfast at the café at Yarmouth pier head before a species hunt competition on the pier. Nice breakfast (ought to be for a ten spot) and we truck up to the end to join the usual danglers, doleys and eastern Europeans feathering mackerel and fishing for bass. Not much to say about this jaunt, I fished my flattie rod, fixed spool and braid for some rattley nibbles which were likely to be wrasse or bream, I don’t know I never saw one and the wind and rain beat me in the end. The rest of the boys fared similar and none of us had a fish. A couple of the regulars had some schoolies, it was amazing to see them come out from under the pier when the white bait passed, like a scene from a trout farm at feeding time, the bass had the whitebait balled up and were ripping them to shreds, the regulars dropping daylights into the maelstrom, good to see those schoolies caught go back though.

Lunch at the New Inn Shalfleet (very nice, eaten here before with Mrs Aitch and son of) then home for an hours doze before the evenings events. Geno and Fritz were going to Hamstead to try and find some smuts, me and Smudge didn’t fancy the walk so opted for the flood at Fort Vic in the hope for the same and a bit of variety perhaps.


Cold, grey and dank, totally different to the windless blue skies of the day before.

There’s not too much to say about this session, me and Smudge had the place to ourselves when we got there and set up almost out of the back of the car. It was easily fishable at first as long as you didn’t try and fish beyond 50 yards (I can hear Geno saying that’s a good cast for me, he’s so predictable). Anyway others turned up, they didn’t have a bite either, so after the weed started to get going it was an easy decision to pick a chinese up in freshwater and back to the van for supper, two well fed blankers. Geno was kind enough to drag his hairy palms over the keyboard and give us a write up on his and Fritz’s exploits at Hamstead..


It’s only twenty minutes walk to get to where you fish and it’s all downhill. The problem with this is that when you finish you’ve got to hump your gear uphill for twenty minutes…

H and Smudge decided to give it a miss. Early mornings, late nights, long walks, and memories of our last trip there (when we had to keep up with the racing snakerry and Russ who travels with the bare minimum kit), put them off. They chose a more accessible venue (Fort Vic followed very closely by the local chinese).
Anyway, onwards and downwards, me and Pete gave it a go. I’ve good memories of the place having had some nice fish there a few years ago, and after a meet with Russ who reminded us of exactly how to get there, and the finer points of fishing the mark, we were off.

It’s a pleasure to know and meet somebody like Russ. He goes out of his way every time we visit the island to try and put us on some fish. He brought with him some pics of the mark from google earth, and then drove us to the car park and pointed us in the right direction. This in itself was important. You drive a long way thro’ a private estate and park therein. The parking is limited to a very small area, and the last thing we wanted to do was park somewhere out of bounds and end up causing aggravation for those local anglers that use the mark.

The walk wasn’t half as bad as I remembered, possibly because it was a cooler day than on my last visit, but also because we walked at a sensible pace.
On arrival I gave Pete the choice of where to fish as there is one hotspot. He chose to let me fish there.

First chuck I had a smut. Ok it wasn’t a proper fish, but I was well pleased to catch anything, having only caught two doggys on the trip so far…


My hands appear to be growing bigger and bigger! Me with a 5lb smoothound…(smile by H’s photoshop software)

This was followed by another three in four chucks, all bigger than the first, and all a similar size.


A scowl even photoshop couldn't fix.

That was it for my part. Peter moved past me to get nearer a bit of flow (as all he had to show for his efforts were two missed bites), and ended up catching a baby smut and the world’s strongest dogfish…


He's got a knack with puppies, allegedly


You hum it and I'll play it, Fritz with a saxodogfish. 17 stone of grisly builder v’s 17oz of angry dogfish. No contest really.

….except the dogfish had other idea’s and refused to have it’s picture taken properly. Fritz tried everything to get it to lay straight and still. Brute strength didn’t work. He tazered it, no joy. Even some of my ‘emergency’ Rohypnol failed to pacify it….(did I say that out loud?), but eventually after a full twelve rounds he won on points…


And the winner is….

That was it. The Solent started to ebb, and it was unfishable. After a plod back to the car which was more than manageable, we headed back to the digs to disturb the cadaver lying asleep in the living room…

EDP report 15/06/11

The dreaded May weed has been the talk right round the coast this last week, it seems to be in full bloom at the minute though there are still a few fish to catch. Just across the wash on the Lincolnshire beaches there have been plenty of thornbacks and smoothounds caught, unfortunately we don’t seem to get the hounds with any consistency or the rays at all. Holt SAC found this to be true as they fished Salthouse last Saturday, while anglers were bagging up in Lincolnshire the Holt lot were struggling. On a difficult day with lettuce from off the marshes and gloopy May weed, Mike Watts showed a bit of class to winkle out four flatties for 2lb 1oz, Henry Randell was the only other competitor to weigh in with a launce for 3oz for second spot. Henry lost his sand eel rig unfortunately otherwise he would have taken some stopping if he’d put a bucket full together!

East Norfolk has been particularly badly affected by the May weed with precious few reports from any of the beaches in the area. I know there are still a few school bass being caught and they’ll be back with a vengeance if we get a north west blow to put a surf on the sea and break up the weed. Friends that fish the Holderness coast regularly don’t start fishing for the hounds in earnest until the May weed starts; it could be worth a go with peeler crab round here while the sea stays flat. There have been some school bass and eels caught in the river at Yarmouth and it’s one place I haven’t heard bad weed reports from so it could well be worth a chuck. A lot of bass are caught on lures here and that’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, bait fishing will still catch you bass, eels and flounders.

Lowestoft has been quiet generally and of all the areas has suffered worst with the May weed. Yards of the thick gloopy liquid have put more anglers off than fish and there have been very few reports. It’s been a little more promising further southwards though and the first sole have started to appear in reports off Southwold. Avenue Angling and Trev Elliot are running a sole match at Southwold in July, I’ll give full details nearer the date, but if conditions are fair then it could be a good match. There doesn’t look to be too much inspiration in the winds for the coming week the north and east coast looks like it will be flat on the backs of westerlies, it might encourage some mackerel inshore on the north coast. The south of the patch and particularly Lowestoft wants a good old tear up to move the weed and encourage a few fish in to feed, though I’ll be surprised if there aren’t a few sole to be caught off the south pier.

EDP report 08/06/11

This past week has been a tale of the wind, the early part dominated by westerly and the later part by northerly. These split conditions have given a mixed bag of catches, particularly in the north of the region. In the westerlies the shingle ridge saw the first real show of mackerel with anglers enjoying 40 and 50 fish a session from Cley through to Weybourne. As the northerlies picked up into the weekend the mackerel all but disappeared from catches by Saturday afternoon being replaced by flounders and bass, both enjoying the surf. Holt SAC’s match last Sunday had to be moved at the eleventh hour from Bacton to Kelling due to the heavy surf at Bacton. The move paid off for John Carter who ran out winner with three fish for 5lb 1.5oz which included a super bass of 3lb 13oz with his flounders, Mike Watts came second with 3lb 2oz and Paul Fenech came third with 2lb 11oz.

The surf on the beaches from Cromer down has seen plenty of schoolies caught for those prepared to fish into the teeth of the wind, the usual haunts of Trimingham, Mundesley, and Cart Gap being as good as anywhere. Alan kettle caught the winds easing and the surf manageable and made the most of those good conditions to break his personal best bass record twice in a session, Alan recorded a brace of stunners at 5lb 9oz and 7lb 12oz from Caister, both fish were returned alive and well. The changing winds didn’t seem to offer much help for those rods fishing around Lowestoft, only occasional school bass and pin whiting showing for those fishing.

The beaches south of Lowestoft have been slow too with a few school bass here and there though I should think some colour has come back into the sea on the back of the northerlies, if it flattens off we may well see some sole. The forecast for the week ahead gives another mixed bag though I don’t think it will help the north too much with building pressure and a lot of south and weed bringing south-westerly, those winds could colour up the southern beaches though and if it does there should be some sole when the sea flattens off.

Northern Monkey service centre 03/06/11

“Some Northern Monkey….
… to service me reels”.  That’ll be me.

My ‘Care in the community’ project is ‘H’. God knows why, but I service his reels for him. If you’ve been reading this drivel for a while, you’ll know he blames a four letter word beginning with ‘w’, and ending in ’k’ for his lack of time to do anything  fishing related. That’ll be too much w**king then…(no, w**king is a 7 letter word mate)

For some reason he’s got more pukey green mag-elites than soft Mick. I serviced them for him last autumn, and got volunteered to do them before our trip to the IOW. My thinking was that, as they’d barely been used, it wouldn’t be too onerous a task.

Perhaps I’m a few tiles short of a roof, but I actually like fiddling with reels, so it’s no great hardship. Anyway, my kits been ready for weeks and I needed something to keep me busy. I was absolutely amazed when I opened the reel bags to see the condition they were in…

geno reel repairs1

Somewhere in there, under all the salt, is a fishing reel…. (I'm not convinced that is salt, it looks like one of your teeth!)

After half an hour of archaeology, the next step was to soak them in warm soapy water for half an hour to remove all the crud.

geno rr2

…followed by a quick rinse….

geno rr3

They were then left to dry overnight…

geno rr4

The next morning found me stripping the line off and taking them apart. It seemed like a crying shame to strip the best part of 300yds of line off when only the top 70yds had seen the light of day…(tut, ha bloody ha, so predictable (thanks Mrs G for the response))

geno rr5

Still enough salt to clear me drive on a cold winters morning...

The bearings were removed, soaked in lighter fuel for half an hour and left to dry.

geno rr6

Everything else was cleaned, greased, and oiled.

geno rr7

The end result…

geno rr8

geno rr9

Confusius say “You can’t polish a turd”. Well I’ve proved the old chap wrong. I could double their value and fill them with line, but I think I’ve gone over and above the call of duty.

Anyway, it’s about time H did the decent thing and retired these. An ebay frenzy should raise enough for him to buy three proper reels, and then we’d let him fish near us in daylight again…

The Genius of Geno, I do enjoy his little write ups. Truth is he loves doing anything fishing and is so hyped up ahead of our away trip this little maintenance was a real bonus for him, like all kids he can get destructive if he's excited with nothing to do....

Thanks ever so much mate, the first half is on me x.

EDP report 01/06/11

Sport got a boost over last weekend with some northerly airflow providing a lovely surf in north and east Norfolk. The helped break up the may weed a little and encouraged a few more bass to feed. Most of the beaches from Cley right round to Sea Palling produced a few though there didn't seem to be too many over 3lb. It's difficult to say what weather we want at the minute. If we get flat calm and clear seas then we have chances of smoothounds and mackerel, if it surfs up and colours then we'll have bass, I guess it's a case of being prepared for either and keeping an eye on the forecasts.

I've seen some nice fish off the Lincolnshire beaches over the last couple of weeks and I know quite a few local rods have been making the short journey to sample the ray and smoothound fishing north of the wash. There's something special about catching those fish on your own beaches, especially when they are a rarity these days. Paul Turrell did just that, and in a repeat of his exploits last year, he managed two super thornbacks from his favourite Suffolk estuary beat. After several fruitless sessions he finally managed fish of 10lb 9oz and 8lb 7oz proving perseverance pays. There have been few reports from the deep south relatively, though I have heard of a few bass from Aldeburgh through to Southwold.

Lowestoft has been particularly badly affected by may weed, anglers fishing Dunwich round to Pakefield have reported it in various quantities at several states of the tide. There are still a few smoothound pups being caught in Pakefield and it's only a matter of time before there's a few sole off the south pier so I still think it's worth sticking it out despite the weed. If the forecast for the week ahead can be believed we have some pretty strong north and easterly airflow coming towards the weekend, this will give things a shuffle and it will be worth a go if you can catch it shortly after, there should certainly be some bass about.