EDP report 30/11/11

Things were given a much needed stir up in the east of the region, if only for a few hours over the weekend, unfortunately it was too much in places with the sea over the wall at Walcott. It didn’t stop Chris Bulch managing a couple of codling from Cromer Pier whilst the east Norfolk beaches were unfishable, I think there was a 4lb 8oz bass the day before too showing what a bit of north west can do for the sport in the east of the patch. Up the coast on the shingle and there have been quite a few dabs showing with the whiting, some nice sized ones too, but again it’s the whiting that are the mainstay of catches throughout the region. In summary there are fish to catch off most of our beaches, unfortunately though not the codling we’d hope for, though there’s still time for them to show.

I’ve heard unconfirmed reports of a 14lb cod from Yarmouth way, it wouldn’t surprise me at all, there’s usually one or two good fish each year from the stretch between North beach and Hopton, although aside from the unconfirmed report, I’ll have heard of is whiting and the occasional 1.5lb codling. I’m sure there are small codling with these whiting, there are just so many of them competing for food you need to be lucky to get your bait through to the codling. South of Yarmouth and it’s a similar story, lots and lots of whiting and only a few codling, the winds this week might just help to break the whiting shoals up a bit with some prolonged heavy southerlies in the forecast and cod do love a thick, swelly sea.

Corton through to Ness point has seen a few amongst the snags, whilst Pakefield Bay and the south pier have been relatively quiet; Kessingland too has seen only whiting and flats. Boats out of Lowestoft have been struggling to find any numbers of fish, most resorting to inshore with the whiting shoals and hoping to pick one or two codling up with them. It’s the same with the kayakers; the guys are catching a lot of whiting and flats but not the codling they’d hope the extra distance offshore would give them. Southwold, Aldeburgh and Orford have been quiet cod wise, I’ve heard tell of some larger whiting showing at the deeper water marks, again the wind in the forecast could help these beaches.

EDP report 23/11/11

High pressure dominating has seen little action, whiting aside, off any of the regions beaches. Boat anglers have fared better, the calm seas allowing them out and fish to 18lb have been reported off Orford, though no great numbers of smaller fish. Closer to shore and kayakers have managed a few small codling amongst the whiting, again no great numbers, whilst beach anglers for the most part have had to put up with whiting, pouts and flatfish. A recent knock up “cod cup” match on Orford did see my old mate Bri Heritage snare a couple of codling for a handsome win, most of the competitors again plagued by whiting. I’m sure there are a few codling about, especially when sea conditions are favourable, but as soon as it goes flat and starts to clear it seems to be whiting or bust.

In the north there have been a few better flats and it’s a similar story round to Cromer and below, not much weed has been reported thankfully and the last of it will be hopefully making its way off somewhere else. There have been some cracking flounders out of Trimingham with fish at or just over a pound in reports, there’s always a chance of a cod too and this run up to Christmas usually gives your best chances of a proper one. The southern beats have been the most consistent with Lowestoft north as good as anywhere though I note catches here have tailed off in the windless conditions. The forecast for the week ahead has some hefty southerly winds going into the weekend. This could well liven things up in the south, even then I would prefer more east with the south than the west on offer, though building tides could well change the game and we might just see a few codling in the south this weekend.

EDP report 16/11/11

This side of the wash has been relatively quiet compared to the Lincolnshire side. Particularly as far up the coast as the Humber, there have been quite a few good fish and some nice “standard” sized codling of between 3 and 5lb. I’ve heard a confirmed report of a 12lber and unconfirmed reports of a fish of 19lb from the estuary, it’s a shame I can’t say the same for this side of the border though there’s plenty of time left yet for a fish or two.

The shingle ridge in the north has produced some nice flats and whiting and still a few school bass from Cley down to Sheringham. I haven’t heard of any codling but I should think there’ll be one or two about in the rough stuff at Weybourne, especially if the sea kicks up a bit. East Norfolk has still been plagued with weed though I noted a few friends had managed to fish Mundesley without too much issue and been rewarded with some top quality flounders for their efforts. It’s a good time of the year to fish for flatties and Mundesley does hold some good fish. Night tides tend to be better along this stretch and there’s every chance of a mixed bag along here.

Yarmouth southwards and it’s a similar story to last week, there are a few small codling about but you need a little luck to find them in the whiting. Hopton, Corton and Lowestoft north beach have all produced a few with north beach edging it for consistency. Weed has been reported in Pakefield bay and sporadically down to Aldeburgh. Whiting still make up the bulk of catches but there are a few codling amongst them and I’ve noted some cracking soles in reports too, ironic you fish all summer for them on small hooks and they get caught on the large hook rigs designed for cod in the winter! The wind is forecast to go southerly into the weekend, once we lose this bit of east, there’s every chance the southerly will give the south a nudge and hopefully shift the weed on.

EDP report 09/11/11

Things quietened down a bit this week, the weather settled again and neap tides meant that aside a few codling the beaches mainly produced whiting. No shift in the shoals though and the southern beaches remain the places to fish and give the best chances of a cod or codling. Jamie bale fished Covehithe with his young son and managed a solitary small codling amongst a whiting catch. I tried myself at Hopton but couldn’t get through the whiting and it seems to have been a common theme on most of our beaches. There could well be a shift though as the east Norfolk beaches have had a real battering over the early part of this week, the seas have been all but unfishable though I would bet there will be a few caught by those brave souls that manage to catch it as the wind changes or eases. Cromer pier is often the place to fish when the surrounding beaches are unfishable as it allows you to fish beyond the surf that makes it impossible if not dangerous from the beach.

It’s getting to that time of the year when expectations rise and given the fish caught only a week ago I think we can be optimistic, best chances for a proper lump is the run up to Christmas and the coming springs look to be a good bet. There will be whiting if nothing else so a trip is rarely fruitless this time of the year and those lucky enough to pick and choose their time and venue could well make the most of the conditions this week. An early sortie on the east Norfolk beaches to fish the tail of this storm followed into the weekend with a trip to the Suffolk beaches as the wind swings round south easterly, must give great chances of a few codling on these building tides.

Film Star Looks…

My fourth session in just over a week. So far my season  could be summed up in one word,  ‘Whiting’.  Two at a time on big hooks. I even manage to lasso them!
Today would be different. A nice sea on, loads of bait, and pukka information through the grapevine that there were codling at both Thorpeness and Aldeburgh last night. Hopes were high…

I arranged to meet Fritz and his cousin Mick at seven this morning. The plan was to get a breakfast on the way, and hit the beach about nine, staying until high tide at half six in the evening . Fritz’s cousin Mick. He’s been called more names than Anton Ferdinand.

‘The Colonel’     - all his clothing and luggage was made by Mustad

‘Stumbles’          - due to his remarkable ability to fall over whenever he’s out of the house

‘Shortarse’          -self explanatory

…etc etc. None of them seemed quite right though, and as we set off I couldn’t help but think he reminded me of a film star. Someone short, bald, had probably three or four paper rounds, and obviously a few good hidings. It was on the tip of my tongue, but it just wouldn’t come…

Anyway back to the fishing. The sea had a lovely colour to it and a nice roll on as we set up. The first hour was quiet, and then I saw Fritz and  Mick getting all excited near the waters’ edge. It was Mick playing a fish. A lovely bass came out of the surf. A good start if ever there was one.

I wandered down to see it. “Two pound twelve mate” I said, “just a nice eating size”. Fritz reckoned 2.5lb. We weighed it. 2lb 11oz. A few quick pics and I gave Mick a demonstration in the art of de-scaling and filleting.


Mick with his Bass. 2lb 11oz of silver loveliness…

Unfortunately, that was it. The ever reliable whiting turned up. Occasionally the crabs beat the whiting to the bait and twice a Dab won the race, but no codling for any of us. Nine hours of Whiting… Deep joy.

The only other thing worth mentioning was as we were packing up. Mick had to ask Fritz to help him off with his wellies. The ultimate humiliation. We’d been duffed up by a bloke who can’t even undress himself….

On the way home it came to me. The film star who Mick looks like…


Gollum from Lord of the Rings with a fish of unknown species…

That’s it for me. I’m drained of enthusiasm...
….at least until Tuesday.

Northerly winds sun/Monday will see me hit the beach on Tuesday hoping for my first proper fish of the year.

Fingers crossed…

Hopton 03/11/11

I had a few hours with Geno down at Hopton, the wind was along the beach a bit but not as bad as the forecast would have you believe. Anyway not much to discuss, lots of whiting but probably not in the numbers they have been a few dabs for Geno on his whiting rigs (it must be tipping with fish that does it) and no codling.

I have some bait I may try and use up this weekend, I won't be going far though and won't be gong at all if the weather gets leary!

EDP report 02/11/11

It’s a tale of two halves this week with the southern half of our region out fishing the northern half by a country mile. Loads of whiting a fair few codling and one or two cod have been reported from Orford up to Yarmouth. Above Yarmouth and weed is the dominant factor until you get up to the shingle where flat and clear seas have led to anglers struggling for bites. Matt Lawes fished under the cliffs at Weybourne for a solitary flounder in three and a half hours fishing. Red weed is still the bane of the east Norfolk beaches; it’s particularly bad from Cromer down to Mundesley though recent reports have it easing, you would think with so much of it washed up on the beaches an enterprising farmer would have gathered it up and be ploughing it in for fertiliser!

Things start to get really interesting from Yarmouth. I heard there was some weed on north beach and I also heard of a 12lb cod from there. Below the river heading southwards to Gorleston and Hopton and lots of anglers have reported catching whiting with a sprinkling of small codling amongst them, fish to 5lb have been caught and I’ve had unconfirmed reports of a 15lb beach monster from Hopton. Corton and Lowestoft north beach have been as consistent as anywhere, with another double figure cod reported along north beach. Rob Allen shared a picture of half a dozen lovely plump 2lbers from Ness point, again you have to tough it out with the whiting but there are a few codling amongst them, a decent rough up will encourage the smaller codling to feed and hopefully break the whiting shoals a little.

Below Lowestoft and it’s a very similar story, one or two better fish amongst the whiting and barely sizeable codling. Friends fished Aldeburgh for three or four 1.25-1.5lb codling each amongst the hordes of whiting, these fish are the size that hang about most of the winter and should be a reasonable size come the spring. The wind this week will keep things going on the southern beaches, some strong winds are forecast for today and tomorrow that will hopefully put a swell on with colour in the south. There’s also a glimmer of hope for the north with the wind forecast to go north easterly over the weekend, colour and surf will do the northern beaches the power of good.