Tuesday 29 December 2015

Real deal

Following brief interlude normal service returns. Probably the last trip of the year on the Syndicate middle beat. Long straight, Bungalow bend,  Church straight or Beck bends? Up to the Beck. Red kite shows itself, confirmed by walker with bins.

Light going quickly as the spinney shades the low sun, think I will just move the bottom rod a shade down to that spot that has been calling for the last ten minutes. Snagged? No, fish on! It's taken a shine to half a sardine and makes several surges before burying itself in the net . Strange lack of flesh, healed over round the left eye. Hooked just in scissors again. Goes  14.02. Job done and off  the water by 4.15



Norfolkcestertshire Police today took their usual hamfisted approach in lukewarmly releasing this photophat image of a local pike botherer who they wish to interview regarding a recent rash of large headed gentlemen appearing on MOTD. They warned dog walkers, geo-cachers and Hoorrays back down from Oxbridge for vacs only to approach him with large quantiities of salt in case he regale them with sightngs of red kites at Oxnead and daffodils flowering in December in Sheringham (everyone knows they are at Beeston Regis).
Bureboy, 79 and father of 27 retorted "I have not got a large forehead and busted nose like that dyke jumper Van de Gaal, or two huge wasp chewing bulldog jowls like Big Sam Liqorice Allsorts..." He denied owning every known release of The Man Whose Head Expanded by those Mancunian tosspots The Fall. . And that he ever wore Derriboots or has the same hairline as Steve Pastie Faced McDonald from Coronation Chicken Street.
"In my weak, non existent defence", he mumbled,"..,you try keeping still for a 20 second self timer release. I have never before, and will never be photographed again with two eyes open simultaneously."

Sunday 20 December 2015

Quick sticks

Not quite shirtsleeves but certainly no thermals or coat needed for a quick afternoon on the Bure. Steady push, slight tinge, looking spot on. Classic stalemate as member below wanting to fish up back  to the car, me wanting to fish down.  We politely ignored each other in the end..

These are my favourite poplars and a lovely near solstice sky.

Only one show of interest on a halved sardine on the far margin and this little un was the result.

Fiery glow to round off the afternoon as I made the short trip back to the car. Liverpool the latest names to feel the winds of change round the Premier League. Topsy turvy times to be sure.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The postman always knocks

The postman can knock as many times as she/he wants as long as these offerings are coming my way....

A stunning print from Two Terriers  up there in Zanderland, thanks John and Sue. Tangles with Pike and Crooked Lines by Dominic Garrett which deserve a sit down with a lovely Adnams Single Malt No 1 (or three). And some Essex Scribbler soundage to brighten up my journeys in my new Bureboy charabanc. No listing so a little mix of delights to discover.

The envelope from the Scribbler is addressed to Strange man with fat heeed. Which the postie unerringly sent my way. Strange that. Think we should all send all letters addressed with such minimal postal clues.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Storm force

Wind lashed Norfolk living up to the shepherd's warning red dawn. Glass reads 29 and 3/4. Weather App says 47 mph. Dodgy car temp reads 11 C. Been given a pass out so too good to  miss. One problem. Inner turmoil meant that replicating Lineker's shameless arse wiping along the centre circle turf, or Radcliffe's disgraceful mid marathon street shite was a distinct and present danger.

Not one for quackery usually I readily reached out for the Commander in Chief's little helpers and skipped lunch.

Suitably reassured set off for the syndicate stretch, slid down  the track and found the least tree lined spot to park. Short battle across the furrows against Storm Desmond's fury.

First put in with a sardine head right at my feet and the wind rattled tip  gave two distinct pulls down. Bait runner ticking and wind into a long, primrose flank twisting right under the tip.  Out into the main push and high hand hold required.
Up on the grass, leeches on the flanks. Hooked in the scissors.  No need for the tripod and grin for this one.

Reggie Cray showing some interest in the downstream sardine tail so
time to move in to the next glide. Gathering gloom, not even 3pm.

Twich the close in sardine tail into the slack and instant response. Again twisting, turning flash. Smaller this time round and a little less clean, but again scissor hooked.

That was it. Sorry Wak, no pictorial evidence of deep personal shame to share....I will however reveal that I have finally bought some Power Gum for stop knots. Only about 40 years behind the curve. It will be braid next.


Friday 4 December 2015

Hook, line and sinker

Wak, nothing more depressing than the photo album of a single species angler....(who was that by? )

Sunday 29 November 2015

Shad's your lot

Took the new drop shot rod out today for an hour or so leaving the deadbaits behind with the intention of trying it round some of the lock structures at Horstead. It is an 8' 5 to 15grm rod and I have yet to get a smaller reel and braid to go with it so teamed it up  with a medium Shimano and good old fashioned mono.

The water round the lock and mill races was being whipped to a foam by every man and his dog so back up to just below the bridge at Buxton.  Only had a  trio of ready tied  starter rigs and in truth the 5grm pencil leads were not quite man enough but interesting watching how the orange minnow was working. Not really enough structure  to work to and if I could see the bait any fish could see me.

Off with the drop shot rig  and a few exploratory casts with this nice shad to check out the weed situation and cover a bit more water. Has a lovely head down flutter  and also looks good  just bumped back across the bottom. Wind a nightmare but milder again.

The weed has had a good flush out so back next time with the bait rods but the drop shot and jig rod is going to be in  the back in the car for a couple of lunch time forays round  New Mills.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Why do we do it?

First away trip of the year. Meet the boys in an archetypal London boozer for a couple of pints and then a brisk walk  to savour the delights of The New Den. 442 of us hardy souls were penned in to the North Stand to see Col U's defence put up the most inept defensive display I have ever seen. We were tonked  4-1. The  ref must have taken pity cos at about 89 minutes our keeper seemed to clean out the forward who had again mugged the last man. Pen and red? No, just a telling off to the forward and shortly after our misery was over.

Back on to the sardine crush nightmare of Transport for London's  canning factory and the human zoo of the Weatherspoons at Liverpool Steet. Eldest son buys old man a meal and a pint..my role as head of the pack petering out. On to the train back to Norwich and beyond. Things going well until somewhere before Shenfield. Driver had lost communication with the tractor unit pushing the train. Took 35 minutes to fix. Diss,  snow settling. Head count of passengers with onward connection to Sheringham and a decision to hold the connection. A little ray of light in the stygian gloom.

Thursday 12 November 2015

One of those days

The rented Transit drew to a halt at the gates, still locked. Opened a few minutes late(er) and along the slab road into the car park. The reservoir ruffled by the steady sou'wester masking any moving roach. Open the big back doors, kit and boots on: left first (always) and then right. That's funny, won't go on. Because it's a size 6. Not a 10. Fortunately had my canvas Vans type thingies on. Not my work shoes. Grass damp but not wet. Far bank not showing  much gravel bank though, water well up. Nice. Ho hum.

Wak Lite arrives bearing many gifts. Buzz bars. Books. CD's. A Turnbull print. We set up on the car park bank waiting for the arrival of Zanderland's Norfolk bog door blue enthusiast  Two Terriers. Little to report save the delivery of sage roaching advice about groundbait colour, one fruitless drop back on a joey and the strange disappearance of a vital part from both Gardner run clips, the brass tightening nut. That has never happened in thirty plus years.

Squeezing out every last second before the belated arrival of TT who had endured several hours of road hell. Certainly 3 hours more than his sat nav calculated e.t.a.

We took  the longish trudge round to the favoured area, probably and crucially 3 hours past the hot feeding spell. First job was to get the kettle on, always a welcome addition for longer stay fishing.

Swim a little tight for 3 of us but needs must and just enough room to keep my feet dry.

TT more used to the rod hopping approach in the wild fens flicking out a bait into the hot area found like the rest of us that today it was barely warm.

One definite tug on a joey again for me and that was it. Wak, Essex Scribbler that he is will no doubt have a comprehensive  list of topics discussed to share but certainly the delights or otherwise of Wisbech figured heavily  and class war was heartily declared. Oh, and another failed Gardener tensioning nut.

On the way home, driving past a funky new web based wine distribution corporate hub in the fine city of Naarich I saw a group of hipniks brazenly cavorting in the brightly lit foyer or blue sky thinking place, playing wiff waf whilst we proles  trudged back to our Orwellian alcohol and pornography and there in plain site was a hideous chute, of the water slide type to enable these hipsters to come downstairs ...wait for it, without having to use using the stairs! How wacky and zany.

They will be first up against the wall.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Weather warning

Glorious day, ended up in Sheringham.  4 pm, sea flat calm, shirtsleeves and car display says 17C.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Chewing it over

Walking down the poplars stretch stopped for a  chat with one of the syndicate members who said he had a boat ticket for Chew yesterday but it was winded off. Seems to be big pike soup down there in Bristol at the moment. He also said crays were in the stretch now.

I had a pint of turning casters, a lovely autumn afternoon and a nice run below a riffle. The waggler working a treat, most of the casters sinking. Nothing. Never mind. Some very nice Morrisons sardines burning a hole in the freezer pack were soon halved and the day glo polys riding the flow at the head of a sweeping bend.

Noddying about with one of the rods hadn't noticed the bait on the downstream rod had  moved several yards back upstream. No cray could do that. What ever had moved it had fecked off with the bait.

Down below the bend. River here only a couple of rod lengths wide. Bob bob, bobbing on that upstream rod. Not a cray surely?  No,  moving strongly away. Wind down and in. Wonderful, surging runs in the clear fast water. To the net 3 times before sliding over the cord and into the onion bag.   One treble in the scissors,  the other flying and into my thumb. Luckily the pike turned and tore the hook out. Blood and gore yes, tricky self-surgery avoided. Probably 9ish, certainly not February plump.

Dog walker managed some croppable shots.

Stopped off at Cranes for a chat with grass carp Dave who was setting up for the night. Sun sinking giving a Halloween orange glow.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Dad, can we go to McDonald's?

Headed down the coast for a change with little 'uns. Ice cream was the first request. Down to Southwold Harbour. Lots of must not signs everywhere..

Ice creams done wander along the harbour. Mixture of well healed affluence and coastal industry.

This one is registered SH, Scarbrough.

Someone is paying the ferry woman..

Weather on it's way in from the North Sea with rain, later.

Now, must be lunch time. Spoilt for choice I'd say. Nice to see sea fresh fish on ice. Norfolk coastal fish shops seem to stick to safe, prepped stuff and rarely a silver darling,  fresh and red eyed to be seen.

Dad, can we go to McDonald's? Out of the mouths of babes. I made do with two kippers, all smoke and unctious oily flesh before heading back to corporate mass produced shite in a box. So much for artisanal,  hard won fruits of the sea.


Monday 19 October 2015

Lighting up time

Driving home at the moment is like tripping the light fantastic. Autumn colours illuminated by the low setting sun. Stop on the bridge over the Bure.

Haven't seen a fish here for years, tonight though in the sunburst an evening hatch had the surface dimpled in response. Things are much healthier on the system now.


Today saw a rainbow thrown in for good measure,  this copse on the ridge over the straggled potato haulm catches the dipping sun.

Back down into the valley after that crock of gold somewhere behind the Mill

Sunday 18 October 2015

Nearly man

Saturday was dank and mostly wet. Planned perch from the staging, get the rudd going and fish lives round them. Small roach first cast and out, liphooked on a bass hook. Captains is really shallow now, not sure why.  Could see a big kill when it freezes. Rain on and off and rudd not playing  ball. Verge of packing up, threw in a washed out sardine. Bubbles and a puff of disturbed silt. Placed the now moribund roach in the disturbance, bob bob and the small poly ball is shooting off.  Forget I havent got trebles on and wind into the fish, not strike. A mid double twists and turns but is off.. I hate drying everything off when it is wet.

Sunday and out on the syndicate stretch checking permits. Well, would be if anyone was on the water. The upper beat looks prime perching water right now.

So does this bit above the mill.

And lastly the free stretch. A 6+ chub is  calling.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Get the net...

Trudging towards the river with good old seized up lower back, a bit of a kerfuffle ahead. A group of students and some canoes. Seems the Canoe Man/Woman had a bit of watery trouble. Seems someone had managed to turn over a canoe. Just as the first chills of autumn were blowing up the straight. And left their smartphone on  the bottom of the river. Ouch. You think a canoe guide would  have ensured their charges had their phones and keys safely tucked away in a sealed bag or plastic box. Ho hum.

Set up amongst the otter spraints and cray claws whilst the properties of light refraction in water were being earnestly discussed and a poor unfortunate fresher was being dangled in the chilly water.  Eventually they plucked up courage and asked if I had a net. Employed the River Colne I'll just finish this trot technique familiar to Wak Lite and eventually handed over my net. Several trots later and the instantly recognisable fighting style of a decent sergeant led to me calling out for my net back.

And here is the resulting bristling buccaneer harbinger of autumn,  1.06 and recently escaped from an otter.

The phone. Tantalisingly just out of reach and glinting on the river bed. One of the group actually thought they had heard it ringing......... an expensive and salutory lesson. Must remember it when I get on Rutland with Wak Lite for a zander bash.

Saturday 10 October 2015

Every now and then

Felbrigg gave up a gem last weekend, sometimes you get light, composition and settings just right.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Shirtsleeves piking

I looked up as I placed the car park ticket on the dashboard to see a pair of anglers trudging off across the dam to the fabled Point. I can't tell you which Point, and on which water, even though the signature buoy stands out on Google Earth like a homing beacon for the Space Shuttle. They'd done me by 15 minutes. So much for an hour of hitting the snooze button.  Unencumbered by a (mislaid) cooking stove  and the now redundant  4 litres of water glinting balefully alongside the butane refills I strode off purposefully after them, breathing in the crisp October air and wheezing out extra strong Locket fumes by way of return. A pause to view the tableau laid out before me, acres of still, mist wreathed water destined for the as yet unwashed of Tractor Town. Grebes, several  of the resident black death squadron and pockets of roach pocking the mill pond surface. Of along the activity trail (8.2 miles in total I read) and the now as tradition would have it Lucifer defiled Michaelmas blackberries and ever closer to the autumn Nirvana.

Mak Morris ex pat and now naturalised Canuk had returned to his native Devil Dog Land for a couple of weeks so the Essex Scribbler and I were meeting up with him somewhere over our respective county boundaries for several hours of deadbait drowning and tea drinking. Fortunately the Scribbler had bought his West Country survivalist  burner and billycan along so tea drinking was still very much on the list. I was a bit surprised not to see a phalanx of cleverly slightly different rods, set at cleverly slightly differently positioned rods all over the hard won Bureboy hotspot. Scribbler had slightly misjudged the positioning of our usual beach like location, probably because the distinctive buoy had cunningly been repositioned  by the sailing club but soon we were set up for maximum tea drinking and squit and  an array of smelt, joey mackerel and manky sardines were carefully positioned at several depth ranges to intercept our intended quarry.

Local lore has it that the venue is finished as a silvers water, and only good for an injection of mud pigs and the bivvy brigade. The bream have had it and no one sees any skimmers. Well, this morning the still surface on our arm of the big water showed much evidence of good sized roach and bream rolling, and in attendance the afore mentioned grebes and black death merchants, along with a regular fly by kingfisher.

First rod to go, placed just over the first drop off was that of the host, Essex Scribbler. Airborne a couple of times and clearly a good fish. 

It was about now that we realised that our Canuk ghillie had not though it prudent to include a set of chesties in his excess baggage limit. 

Still it wasn't long before the lure of the forceps had him back to his unhooking best. Well, from the pike anyway. Seems the Scribbler's large meshed net is equipped with treble attracting knots in the mesh. I wasn't going to get my net wet to fester in the car in the long journey home and my unhooking mat was just perfect as a seat. This set the precedent for an increasing display of incompetence throughout the day. Assume the position.....

Next to get the incompetence bug was the  Scribbler himself. In an attempt to demonstrate to the massed ranks of the East  Coast Breakaway brigade the correct way to hold a fish to show its actual size by ensuring hands are on show he steadfastly refused to place his  left hand in the gill cover to hold the fish securely for its photo. Rank incompetence man. Pull yourself together. A very plump for early autumn fish of just over 13 (14.08 in the net) and a good early result. Note he has decided not to give the Vince Cable leather homburg a run out. The mahogany tan is gained from a lifestyle that begrudgingly allow about 10 hours work a week to be squeezed into his hedonistic lifestyle and most that "work" is undertaken on his smart phone whilst digging rag or having a nosh up in Manningtree or Dawlish. Or the West Coast of Ireland, etc, etc.

Obviously this fish fancied a cup of tea as it gave us the evil eyes in the clear margins for some time. Well, till I incompetently splashed about a bit anyway in my faux Hunters. Have hung the non -existent Derri boots up to dry.

Two billycans of tea down and a recently recast sardine was the next of our offerings to go, and whilst the fight was not as spectacular as the one put up by the Scribbler's fish the rod did take on a healthy bend and had me backwinding a couple of times. Really should trust the clutch on these Shimanos but old Mitchell habits die hard.

No, that's not piss on the ghillie's keks above, rather camera man Scribbler has decided to let his fat heed shadow photo bomb..and note that the ghillie has now discovered that the net handle extends. In the onion bag first time. Or as Partridge says, "Back of the net."

The hooks came out in the net, with horrendous knot finding results and much gnashing of Morris teeth. In the net at 13.08 but in Scribbler maths that is 10lb when deductions considered. It was a much leaner fish than his but I think that makes it about 11lb? That's how you hold a fish for the camera Scribbler, hand in gill cover and show the breadth across the back and head. And stand on a ladder to take the picture.

Another fish takes a liking to one of the Scribbler's smelt, this time out into the bay and our old dependable ghillie is once again pressed in action. And that's not the giveaway buoy by the way. Just one that looks like it and is about 200yards away.

This one goes around 8 we reckoned. Mak the Ghillie Morris having dispensed with formalities and returning it quite quickly before weighing. Touch of the DI Burnsides there I reckon. 

Another one for the Scribbler and as it happens the last take of the day.

By now the knotty problem of the knotty mesh had led to a more direct intervention by our Trans -Atlantic ghillie who jettisoned the atrocious net and taken matters into his own hands. This fish had been ottered recently.

I stayed on for another couple of hours and despite some chop and lower light the fish did not switch on again.  And the deadbaits had all thawed out  showing just how warm it remains. The Scribbler has been instructed to check out the insurgence of "large Essex herring" ( big roach) in this lovely water as reported very recently and our ghillie  is being lured out on to the wild East Coast for a session before he heads back to Winnipeg and channel cats and carp from the Red River at the end of his back yard. And six months minimum of -30C