EDP report 30/04/14

It’s really shaping up to be a good spring, we’re just coming into the best month for me and the sport is kicking off in good style. A ray off the sand of east Norfolk for Adrian Crane, and unconfirmed reports as yet of a monster 16lb thornback off the north Norfolk shingle. I can’t remember reporting so many local rays ever, hopefully not a flash in the pan, it would be great to see them make regular visits to our beaches again. Paul Turrell’s emailed me his annual write up about his ray fishing exploits in the Suffolk estuaries, he’s managed a nice 5lb+ fish from his usual mark. Add into the mix some really nice school bass to 4lb, codling to 3lb and even a few smoothound pups, and you can see where my optimism comes from for this spring. Jamie Bale had a nice smoothound around 5 or 6lb and with pups showing up right round the coast I think May could see some cracking sport with a mix of these hard fighting sharks and some good bass.

Holt SAC fished Bacton last weekend, some superb flounders were caught including a cracking 41cm specimen for John Neave, that’s not far short of 2lb. Kev Green had the only bass at 47cm and it was enough to ease him into third spot. Ivan Allison won the match with 14 fish for 6lb 9oz, Tony Thomas second with 6lb 7oz. The club’s next match is at Cley on the 4th May, with high pressure and no wind in the forecast it could be tough or it could be a match where more rays are caught! Holt are also holding their annual Norfolk Bass Festival on the shingle during the weekend of 17th and 18th of May, which should be worth a look, get your crab ordered and get out there while there’s a few about!

EDP report 23/04/14

Lots of fish this last week, the weather and wind certainly encouraged some bass and codling to feed, and it was the north of the patch that really seemed to benefit. I’ve seen several catches of codling and bass, most of the codling in that 2-3lb bracket whilst the bass have gone up to 6-7lb. No doubles yet but that’s only a matter of time, the first set of springs in May are usually good tides to target the big ones. Holt SAC had a decent match at Kelling on Good Friday, Mike Watts taking the honours with 23 fish for an ounce shy of 6lb. Tony Thomas was second with 4lb 10oz and Pete Loke third with 4lb 1oz. The Norfolk AC fished Kelling Monday evening, the sea had died down following the Easter holidays and the guys struggled in comparison, it highlights the effect conditions can have on our sport.

Further south and there are mixed bags, lots of pin whiting and undersized codling but also some sizeable codling, school bass and dogfish. A few smoothound pups have shown around Pakefield too, the bay does seem to get a few pups in during the early part of the season, again May will see some bigger hounds if the conditions are right. In the far south there have been codling, dogfish and rays from off the Ness, great news and well worth a cast anywhere around our coastline right now. Conditions for the week ahead look OK, there’s a bit of north due Friday which could put a roll on in the north, after that the wind goes southeast which could do the same below Lowestoft, worth a go anywhere!

EDP report 16/04/14

I could almost repeat last week’s report word for word, even the Holt SAC match result has a very familiar feel to it! Their latest match at Salthouse was won by John Neave with 4lb 14oz of flats and bits, Ivan Allison framed again with another second place in as many weeks with 3lb 9oz and John Carter came third with 3lb 1oz. Bass will be on the cards for this week’s matches I’m sure of it, the sea has looked in great shape most of the week and you would have to think there will be some feeding in the surf. The forecast looks like Sunday might just be the best day, if it holds, with the wind finally coming out of the north and east quarter there should be a nice surf on from Lowestoft up.

Below Lowestoft and there are still lots of small codling being caught along with dogfish in the deeper water, occasional better sized codling are being caught though they are competing with their smaller brethren. Orford and Aldeburgh are producing lots of the undersized codling and a few sizeable amongst the dogfish, rays should be a realistic target along here too. I haven’t got the East Anglian Sea League teams of five results yet but I did fancy this would be a good match, only 4 points separated the top 4 individuals going into the match so it should have been a cracker, I’ll catch up with the reports next week. Some good tides over this weekend, high water in darkness and good sized tides, take care though if you’re fishing in the surf.

EDP report 09/04/14

Two rays in as many week of the shingle in North Norfolk, and with dogfish about too, I was surprised that there were none of either species in Holt SAC’s latest match. Mike Watts won the match with a respectable 5lb 5oz, Ivan Allison was second with 4lb 1oz including the biggest round, a Coalie of 35cm, with Keith Morley third with 3lb 9oz. Holt are at Salthouse next week, it will be interesting to see if there are any dogs or rays caught or whether recent catches are pointing to a small window of opportunity for them. East Norfolk has seen some lovely rolling, coloured seas and there have been plenty of small codling and whiting reported, a similar story right round the coast which has to give some optimism for the coming years. The larger codling that had showed at Trimingham seem to have become rarer though that may be more to do with the smaller tides and rolling seas than them leaving.

Yarmouth and down to Suffolk and it’s a very similar story with lots of undersized codling and a few school bass, we are only a few tides away from big bass being the main target, and perhaps only 6-8 weeks from smoothounds being a realistic quarry too. Everything feels a bit earlier than usual to me, local crabs starting to moult, and I honestly think we could be in for a good spring, particularly if the species caught in the last couple of weeks hang around for when the bass get here too. Looking ahead and the building tides should see a nice north westerly into the weekend which should put that roll on again, there’s quite a bit of west in the forecast through the week which should warm things up, I’m waiting for the first large bass report this week, let me know if you get one.

EDP report 02/04/14

Another steady week with catches in the east particularly good with some nice codling showing from Cromer down to Bacton. Ron Mount had a cracker of 4lb at Trimingham and there have been plenty in the 2-2.5lb bracket. I tried myself last Sunday at Mundesley and blanked using crab though my companion managed a few bits and a school bass of around 1.5lb on worm baits. There have been some good dogfish too, not those 12oz fish but some proper ones in excess of 1.5lb. With rays apparently on the increase generally it has to be worth using fish baits on one rod not wishing to sound like a broken record!

I haven’t any match reports to hand at the moment but will catch up on those next week. Below Yarmouth and it is similar to the bother sandy beaches with lots of codlets, whiting and a few dogfish though there do not seem to be as many of the better codling compared to the beats above Bacton. In Suffolk the deeper venues seem to be holding plenty of codlets and I’ve noticed school bass creeping into the reports amongst the dogfish too, certainly Orford and in the river should be worth a try for rays while you’re hoping for a spring run codling. There’s quite a bit of east in the wind this week, and though I don’t expect it to kill sport entirely, I think it could get tougher with neap tides over the weekend.