Tuesday 31 March 2015

Chutney, later

Hooley has yet to strip the blossom off this hedge plum grown tall in the bountifull slice of Norfolk that is Bureboy Villa. Chutney, pie or even crumble, don' t hold back on the ginger.

Monday 30 March 2015

Back on the Pond

Weather forecast gave a window till early afternoon.  Defrosted some hemp and left over mash, and bagged some frozen cheapo prawns. Swirling wind, hope it dosnt wipe out the stages.  Inquisitive swans, mash comes in handy to keep them off the hemp. Wind is constantly changing direction, rig up a rod rest  on the bag to enable enough of an angle to sink the tips. First few bubbles. Float any and back winding, this is no bream. Sends up great clouds of silt, Ashurst 12 footer match rod soaking up the pressure.  Green spot tail, a pike then. Spawned out summer slim already.

Distract the Swan and top up the hemp. Buzzard working the wind over the dam. Lift and dip, feels like a bream but looks very dark, black even. Old tinca? No, bream, with a gnarled tail. No spawning tubercules just yet.

Next bite suspiciously soon after cast, hooked fish dashes up to the surface, gold and red flashing. Hybrid?  Loves the prawn anyway.

Curfew approaches. Float away again.  No mistaking this time, another bream, tail perfect this time.

Plenty of fish down there.  Need to get a bait through the rudd, and be able to msnage any carp that comesaslong. Would like to bait far heavier, would need to have someone else keeping the swans busy elsewhere. Will certainly needed to run this through a few times, weed already getting away. A monster cutter rather than rake, need the boat for it

Found this on the stage,  have a river ticket and lots of free spots on Wensum pools to try properly for some brownies, wild ones at that for the 1st onwards.

Sunday 29 March 2015

River rambling

Followed the A149/A47 across flint and chalk of North Norfolk, the flat, shrinking peats of the Fens, up over the saddleback past Peterborough and the medieval ridge and furrow, rolling down to the Nene and Welland, through Leicester and the red soils of the Soar Valley.

Normal for Norfolk...
 Not deep enough to trouble a Chelsea tractor, the Glaven at Letheringsett

Very good coffee, offered milk, no cream at the sometime haunt of the grey man, fond of peas and cricket.
Still flint and pantile territory where the Mill spans and bifurcates the Wensum at Sculthorpe and past the silent concrete of RAF Sculthorpe,  once home of the B52 in the coldest of  cold war, reputedly the only runway in Europe long enough to take a diverted Space Shuttle.

No time to stop over the wide, wildly driven grey River Great Ouse, along the North Brink and the lurching telegraph poles leaning into the shrinking, black peat of eons and the three towers of Thorney. Through Peterborough and almost immediately up and into the faces of a pair of red kite, hanging on the wind with their forked tails, like the Harrier's that used to up and over out of RAF Wittering.

Dip left off the arterial spine, with it's crawlerlanes and glimpsed spires nestling in the valley floor cut by time immemorial and the yet to be wide Welland.

This needs some investigation. .
 A litle less unexpected

Sunday 15 March 2015

What a difference a day makes

Friday saw me on the long middle beat of the Syndicate stretch. I fished hard along the straight below King's Beck, the Church reach and the big Bungalow bend. Not even a flicker of interest. Laughed off the river by the yaffling green woodpeckers. Roving spoon angler had several fish which showed me. Probably the best time to lure fish before the weed gets a hold again. Next I see this bend will be with a #6 weight and  a box of nymphs and dry flies.

Saturday saw me offered a chance to get out once more so off to the lowest beat on the stretch with a good 5 hour pass out and freshly frozen bait. Looks lovely in the early spring light on those poplars..

but believe me, the biting Easterly was freezing, especially down and across this long straight.

I hunkered down to get as much shelter as possible, and at such close quarters the savage upstream jerk on this poly ball, in marked contrast to the wind induced chop was striking.

I disengaged the anti-reverse as the float made off briskly into the cover and as the bait runner flicked over the 11 foot 2 and a quarter North Western slammed over into a healthy curve. The fish made use of the deeper under bank cut-in and the hooped rod and poly ball would have looked great with the flexibility of a one hand point and shot as oppose to a two hander DSLR, the  green flanks and primrose markings showing clearly in the clear, cold water. Nice fish and last day pressure off. A shade under doubles, with a large fleshy pink tumour in it's jaw.

Move down below the bush and the downstream feature again proving kind to me with a real bait runner/bite alarm screamer. this fish proved even fitter than the last, with several surging runs
and head shakes at the net

Here she is, slightly overexposed against the lurid winter colours of the big dogwood anyone who has fished the stretch would instantly recognise. Certainly has featured in a few back-end photos for me.
Surprised this one didn't go bigger than just under 12 but a lovely clean fish anyway. Took a while to decide to move off from the marginal cover on release, perhaps it felt safe with it's head in the weed?

That really is almost where you want your bait to be.  I am quite confident to quietly lower a bait on a pike's head, or likely lie,  and expect an instant take, as opposed to a chub which would bolt at a foot step, even on a well walked stretch. Sometimes piking really isn't rocket science, which is probably why my ineptness is not always a hindrance. Got you some guest days for next year on the river by the way Essex Scribbler for yourself and TT if he fancies it.  I can provide the tea and of course get my net wet and ripped so you can leave yours nice and dry in the car. Had to hand land a carp on Tuesday by the way after you took unmbridge at getting yours wet on a score sheet shitter of mine...

I am also keen to  twitch a bait a little while after casting, which often provokes a response as with this, the last fish of the afternoon and river season 2014/15. Two views, has a very long and big tail. If it grew into it's tail it could be a big fish.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Nap hand

Mash, flake and paste. Trot a few swims then see what's what. Someone in my first trotting glide.....They didn't look like moving for a while yet. Local old time match organiser pulling on favours for last week guest chubbing. River we agreed was somewhat clear, down to the discarded trainers staring back at me from 5 feet down.

Away with the mash bucket again and out with sardine and a small roach. Said roach quickly decapitated by this ugly fecker.

3rd move and a very tatty sardine was instantly taken followed by the below feature rod. Pike seem in good, plump shape.

Just texting the Essex Scribbler when a rod over to the far shelf was away. Small pike hooked right in the scissors. Sparrowhawk and magpie both hoping over the hedge line in close synchronisation.

Dropped the headless roach (bait supplies running low) just past the trailing branches and quickly away. Best fish of the day weighing in at a healthy 12. 08.


Bait supplies now critical but fish not fussy. Look at the state of that sardine head (there was some flesh on the other side). 5 fish and home in time for tea.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

In search of perch

The Essex Scribbler had secured us a day on a secluded stillwater, in deepest Devil Dog Land on the hunch that some decent perch he had found a couple of years ago may have thrived on neglect amongst the stillwater chub and barbel.

A very welcome bacon sandwich later at Chez Scribbler and we set off on the short haul to the water. Nestled at the bottom of a short track below a solar array and bounded by a busy but hidden rail line was a lovely corner of rural Essex.

Swim choice only in part taken due to obvious cover features, but mostly by the promise of nearly all day sun the Scribbler was soon set up to catch some bait.  I can certainly recommend the predominately fengureek based curry mix used to degrease and remove the ammoniac stench of the maggots.  He favours white, I almost exclusively plump for reds.

It wasn't long before the bait snatching turned to  more serious matters, as a nice mid doubles koi tested the 3 metre whip somewhat. In truth it probably hadn't woken up  and only a hook pull at the net cost Scribbler a stunning looking prize.

I 'd set up camp to the left, covering the island in front, and fishing maggot down the side to my left . In hindsight my role as tea wallah probably hindered serious perchy business but I certainly enjoyed a stream of small roach, rudd, perch and bream/roach hybrids and a string of small carp, tamed well with the steely butt sectioned ancient Kevin Ashurst 12 footer and 3 lb straight through to an 18. I can't normally tie spade ends for toffee, even with a hook tier but not once did the knot fail.

They came in a variety of shapes, sizes and sub species..

and were generally in good shape except for this very  hollow bellied linear mirror.

Scribbler meanwhile was moving around search out the hoped for perch. For the second time he connected with a very decent  Koi, close in on maggot,but this time on running line. and again suffered a hook pull...

He did however tempt a take on dead bait, but not quite the species and size he was hoping for..

I 'd just put  the brew on for the last time when a tiny bite resulted a much more powerful fish, and almost simultaneously a take on the dead bait rod. Result? A missed take and after some time a hook pull in the margins. The other carp had never really had  anything like an upper hand. This fish though never once came any where near surfacing, and had sent up large boil of displaced water.

No target big perch or sneaked barbel but a lovely day in the soring sunshine, with that harsh, bright still low in the sky early year light picking out the still faded reeds and silver birch bark. Yaffling woodpecker and mewing buzzards.

Nice one Scribbler.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Cheesed off?

How often does a carefully formulated plan,  clinically executed come to fruition? Read on.......

Time is counting down to the end of the coarse season on the river. I will be out and about from the 1st with a trout rod but still have so much I want to get gone before Sunday. Saturday saw the now obligatory 2pm start, this time on the lowest Syndicate beat below the iron bridge, armed with a bucket of mash and paste. Dropped into the first swim which is quite a challenge with the main push coming off the riffle right into the near bank. The near back eddy already holding a fair few inch long fry.

A two 3sssg link held better than I thought and interest shown fairly quickly. Spent a fair bit of time taking an opportunity to watch the behaviour of the mash in the varying flow patterns. One unmissable pull unsurprisingly missed and several indications on the drop almost. Spent longer than usual in the swim, partly because the swim I'd been looking m forward to more was visited by a couple of local tyros wielding jigs. Took a couple of casts before signs of fish in the swim but nothing to really strike at. Time pressing on and the deadbaits in the bag were beginning to burn a metaphorical hole in my back. A slight overcast with a large lump of paste on on retrieving it to swing back out. I was startled by a healthy swipe at the paste by something with teeth. Decision made and out with two halves of a sardine. Had just settled down when the bait runner alerted me to a fast moving fish heading into cover. A fair push here which was put to good use before the net proved a more enticing refuge for the pike.

Out again to the spot with the same sardine tail and seemingly a smaller fish had already moved into station. Less of a tussle but a fish  none the less.

Dropped below  the feature, reasoning there may be more fish below the cover. Now, here's the hatched, matched and dispatches plan. Twitch the near rod a couple of turns. Rod back on the rest and bob, bob, bob.. couldn't resist the movement I
guess. Nice when you get it right. Kingfisher flypast as I slipped fish back. Result.

Back up to the first swim as had to be off the river by 5. Above the iconic iron bridge and below the cover over the main push with a big eddy on the far side.

A very large disturbance on the riffle in fast water. Pike striking at the dace in fast water. Everything away except the last rod over to the slack laying on the grass. Bait runner away for the best fish of the day.

Sunday 1 March 2015


Due to The Old Farm Derby at Carrow Road the Sunday League game kicked off early which meant that a planned hour lure fishing could be extended to a longer session. Decided on the Middle Syndicate beat between the two mills. Settled on the bottom of the S bend below Kings Beck down to the church. Glorious bright day compared to yesterday's dour grey, but even windier though right over the shoulder on this bend.

Encroaching reeds on the inside of the bend limiting landing spots without chesties so didn't feel had covered aĺl of the likely areas. Worked down the straight past these alders and willow.

To the boathouse stretch and Norwich reported by The Essex Scribbler to be 2-0 up. Some enthusiastic tidying up on the far bank had removed much of the over head cover so concentrating on the near channel.

Altered by the bait runner to a pike making back upriver with the half-joey. Saved most of it's effort for a couple of head shaking tail walks at the net. Around 3-4 lbs and some healed otter scars to flank and tail.

Next take was less dramatic, several bobs of the poly ball before it moved into the flow. Much more spirited resistance from this fish, probably a pound or so bigger and with the  pug snout quite common on this stretch.