EDP report 29/05/13

A lovely, summery, bank holiday saw plenty of anglers out on the local beaches, including me though I think we could realistically have hoped for more in some lovely surf. I had some bait to use up and fished Bacton for three bites, three fish and three different species. I had a bass at 3lbish, a dogfish and a starry smoothound pup. Holt SAC fared little better at Salthouse last Sunday. Tom Gibbs took the honours on the day with 3lb 1oz, Tony Thomas was second with 2lb 10oz, and Henry Randell third with 2lb 9oz, the bulk of the fish caught being dabs.

Rumours of a few more school bass further south, though I’m not seeing it reflected in the catch reports, I still think we are behind the season by a couple of weeks. Bait collectors are just starting to get good numbers of cock crabs out of the traps and these are normally coming to an end about now, so there’s hope yet for the bass and smoothound season to start soon, I’ll be making sure I have bait for the first set of springs in June. Tides starting to fall this week and there’s plenty of north and east in the forecast which will make for some fine surf from the shingle round to Yarmouth, best chances of school bass along here whilst fishing into the dark.

Bacton 26/05/13

A lovely bank holiday Sunday, with an evening high water around 7:30ish and a lovely rolling sea on, it seemed a good time to use the bait up that I had left over from the nothing session with Smudge. I wasn't going far, just literally 5 minutes from my door to the only bit of sand left at high water down by Castaways in Bacton. I'm a bit worried about the lack of sand, we need a nice warm settled spell with the wind off the land to bring the beaches back.

My neighbours for the evning, a proper sea, definitely no chance of hounds...

I had ten crabs that were going to end up frozen if I didn't use them, an out and out bass session as I wasn't likely to come across anything else in this sea, except maybe a stray codling or a flounder. I got started around high water, there was a tiny bit of loose weed which had every right to be there in a still heaving sea, not much run on the tide so I managed to fish two rods in a relatively cramped spot.

The only bit of sand left at high water, the start of the revetments below Castaways.

A good hour and a half into the ebb and I get a classic slack liner, with no resistance until 10 yards of the beach, and a few seconds later and a lovely conditioned fresh run schoolie of around 3lb is on the beach. Aidan had walked down with his Grandma and Mrs Aitch to walk the dogs and see how the old man was doing, he was so impressed he managed to lift his head out of his phone and grunted a "nice one" before returning to the texts, or game, or whatever it is they do.

The perfect eating size in my opinion.

I was running short of bait but I was pleased to have caught, reports earlier were not too encouraging. As I prepared the last crab, the rod nodded a couple of lazy ones before dropping back, not line up the beach, but slack enough. A bit more weight this time and I'm convinced its a codling, before a doggie surfaces out of the surf. Still, nice enough and its great to see the rod tips moving, they havent done a lot of that since Cain spruced them up.

I like these little critters, feisty bites for little fish.

Last crab on and fired out a reasonable distance in the windless warmth, rod in the rest and i set about cleaning the schoolie. Once I've descaled her I take her to the waters edge for a wash, as I approach the waters edge, I slip and throw the fish back in the drink, only this time minus its internal working and sclaes! What a mug, I can only watch as a dead fish swims off, then a miracle happens. As she is drifting away, another roller picks her up, carries her fully 5 yards and drops her at my feet! I believe there is a god, Aidan witnessed it and even he put his phone down and said "bloody hell that was lucky", you don't know the half son, never take the lords name in vain again, I won't.

A settled spell and we should see mummy and daddy.

Feeling relieved and humbled by the kindness of nature, I started to pack up when out of the corner of my eye I see a rod tip lurching seaward, got to be another schoolie, or maybe this is the codling, the sea was right for them after all. After a short haul, and an almost spirited "scrap" in the edge, a starry pup of around a pound was unhooked and returned, staggered to have caught even a pup in that sea, but there you go, 3 bites, 3 fish, 3 species and the good lord moves in mysterious ways!

Definitely not a hound sea!

Paul Turrell's latest ray 20/05/13

Just to keep a record, I'm sure Paul does, his latest Suffolk ray of 9lb 12oz, and proof that we are behind this year as last year Paul had caught in April and earlier in May.

Doggets Lane 18/05/13

Crab on one rod, fish on the other, bait lasting seconds, neaps, no sand on the beach, lovely looking sea, me and Smudge in the pub by 10:30.

EDP report 15/05/13

An interesting week on the regions beaches, the effects of the changeable weather were evident, none more so than Holt SAC’s bass festival over the weekend. 64 anglers fished the two day event, Saturday saw Ian Bowell take the honours with 8 fish for 9lb 4oz, 5 of which were bass. Mike Watts came second with 12 fish for 4lb 9oz and Mark Pinder third with 9 fish 3lb 10oz, the biggest bass on day one was a 1lb 11oz school bass. Overnight and into Sunday saw the wind swing from westerly to west-northwest and the bass duly responded. Ian Bowell completed the double with 11lb 2oz, of which 8 were bass. Dave Cook had 25 fish for 10lb 4oz and Mark Pinder came third again with 9lb 8oz. The best bass on day two was a nice fish of 3lb 13oz snared by Mr Pinder. The total bass caught on Saturday was 22 whilst Sunday and that lovely little bit of Northwest saw 72 beached, a dramatic illustration of the effect wind can have on sport.

Kayak anglers have managed a few small rays from the east Norfolk beaches, these fish only seem to be 3-400 yards offshore but seem reluctant to come over the bank into casting  range, a few small smoothounds have shown too, along with the dogfish, school bass and flats. Yarmouth down to Lowestoft holds the best chance of a late codling from the usual marks at Gorleston and Corton. Pakefield bay has seen some smut pups and the usual odds and ends, no sole reported off the pier yet to my knowledge though temperatures need to get back to seasonal norms before they become a realistic prospect. Below Lowestoft and the deep water marks have produced very occasional rays, small codling and bits and pieces. I’ve heard some rumours of some good cod landed from the boats off Dunwich, maybe they’ll run the beaches if it cuts up a bit. The weekend looks promising with a stiff old Northwesterly due on Saturday, any of the bass beaches should give chances of some sport for those catching it as it eases.

EDP report 08/05/13

Holt were in action at Cley last weekend, on a hot and sunny day there wasn’t expected to be too many bass landed, and the bulk of the catches were dabs. Bill Beeton won the day with 3lb 3oz, John Neave came second with 2lb 14oz and Ivan Allison third with 2lb 11oz. Holt have high hopes for their Bass festival next weekend, and with numbers of bass being caught increasing, the 64 anglers currently booked should find it a competitive match. For more details on the festival contact Tony on 07780793141.

East Norfolk has produced a few school bass, some nicely over the size limit, mostly on evening tides and falling to fresh crab, odd codling have been reported also as anglers target the bass. Yarmouth to Lowestoft has produced a few more codling from the spots they seem to reside, along with dogfish and smoothound pups, it’s only a matter of time before the bigger hounds are in and anglers fishing crab for bass are likely to come across these beasts first. Orford has produced occasional small codling along with dogfish and a few small rays. The wind for the week has plenty of west in it which will see the sea calm towards the weekend’s evening tides, could be this weekend that the first proper hounds show, anywhere from the Wash beaches round to Yarmouth.

Rite Gear Tackle, West Runton

I went to the opening of the Rite Gear tackle shop at West Runton over the bank holiday weekend. I’ve fished matches with the owner Dene before, his bait trays, rigs and tackle box (unlike my own) being a model of good order, just what you’d expect from an obsessive match man. The shop reflects this obsession perfectly, everything in its place and a place for everything, the polar opposite of most rambling tackle shops! Dene explained that he just finds it easier to put his hands on things and can easily point out to the customers where things are and how to get the best from the items.

This is what OCD looks like in a tackle shop, Dene even avoided getting in shot so he didn't break up the lines of shelves etc!

While I was there we discussed what we both agreed to be the most important aspect of sea fishing, and probably angling universally, the quality of bait. Its one thing knowing where to be and what to do when your there, it’s quite another having the right bait of the right quality available to you. This bait obsession is a major key to success, particularly in match angling, but just as importantly for the holiday maker or occasional angler. Dene explained the importance to him of supplying the best quality fresh and frozen bait “it has to be the quality I would use, not second best”.

Dene explained how his lug and rag worm were locally dug, no farmed worms here, his fresh black lug come from the best beds around the North West of England and his peeler crab are shipped up from Devon, just until the local moult starts. It’s easy to see Dene’s enthusiasm for ‘his pets’ as he calls the bait, and the quality will take some beating around this neck of the woods.

The rod room, good job Mrs Aitch was with me!!!

Dene also wants to cater for the holiday angler as well as the local enthusiasts. He’s offering guided trips, supplying bait, tackle and his years of local knowledge, something I don’t think I’ve seen before in local shops and I’m pretty sure will be a success. Dene hopes so as these trips may be the only chance he gets to fish as his time is taken up at the shop. The shop itself is split into two, one side for general tackle, reels, line, terminal tackle etc. the other side is the rod room, where everything from the latest high end match rod down to a holidaymakers bass starter kit can be found, again wonderfully racked out and ordered. It’s this attention to detail and wanting to make available the best tackle, bait and advice that I’m sure will set Dene and Rite Gear tackle on a successful path.

EDP report 01/05/13

There have been some good mixed bags right around the region over the last week. Along with the whiting and flats there have been some dogfish, bass and codling, even some smoothound pups. Things can be expected to be a little late this year given the winter we had, but all in all, things look to be picking up nicely. Holt SAC fished the third round of their summer accumulator at Bacton over the weekend. Henry Randell took top spot with 6lb 15oz, Tony Thomas second with 6lb 3oz and the biggest round a bass of 44cm, with Richard Ellis third with 3lb 12oz. There was quite a mix of fish caught including a gurnard and a sole. Matt Lawes had a turbot from the rough ground on the north Norfolk coast and Brian Heritage had a nice little thornback from Orford Ness, showing the variety on offer at either end of the patch. There are still a few codling showing at Lowestoft and I saw some smoothound pups in catches from along there too, fresh crab seems to be the bait at the minute.

Some great news for the local angling scene, top match angler Dene Conway, is opening a new tackle shop in north Norfolk. Ritegear Angling Centre, 32 Cromer Road, West Runton will be opening its doors on the coming bank holiday weekend and will be stocking fresh and frozen bait along with a full range of coarse and sea angling tackle. Dene has masses of experience and I know he’ll be only too pleased to help anybody with match or pleasure angling questions, hints, and tips. In these days of online shopping and internet forums, it’ll be brilliant to have another local shop where you can get the latest catch news or check out the latest tackle innovations.