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

Taster for later

Tales of derring do in the balmy October sun to come later.  Here's a taster.