Monday 31 December 2018

A turkey is not just for....

Every year these bad boys spring up  around Fakenham and the surrounding area. I've been searching for one that's close enough for another out of the Charanbanc window shot. Found one today....

Norfolk Black natch.

Saturday 29 December 2018

One of those days

Got to the parking spot and discovered I'd left my moon boots at home. If I'd  been fishing close to car and not expecting  a mud bath might have risked the Vans but decided I'd better go back to get them. Passing The Little Bit More Water nearly stopped but someone was in the banker so carried on.

Huffing along the muddy path felt a tug then heard a snap, snap and realised I'd shortened the tip of one of my 12 footers quite a bit.

I have actually turned back before if I've left the camera and or scales at home  "just in case" so it took a bit of self persuasion to soldier on and fish with "just one rod. I know, sad isn't it. Having cast out the  "one" rod reassessed the situation and jammed the short section with the tip ring in the blank and it would do for the session at least  so out went a tiny joey down the near margin.

A couple of bleeps on the upstream rod made me think Ronnie or Reggie might be on the nosh but  my attention soon fixed on the much shorter rod as the bite alarm signalled a more toothy critter was inspecting the joey. The float submerged and began to trundle over to the far bank phragmities. Winding into the fish  the tip section held and after  a couple of reasonable head shakes I was bringing the fish through the strong flow to the outstretched net. Being the Thing of Beauty with it's carbon arms it was hard to sink and the pike kept diving under and eventually the trailing treble caught in the spreader cord. As I dragged net and fish in the second treble was ejected but the pike had beached itself in the reed mat and I chinned it in. Looking at it now think I under estimated it a bit. Blank saver either way

As the wind increased I continued to leapfrog down the long straight and given the successful rod repair  made plans to repair its triplet that had succumbed to the Charabanc boot lid a while back. Did that over and across  smelt  rod  tap?Two sharp dips of the float then nothing. Picking the rod up to reposition in the next gap in the phragmities  it became clear that something had the smelt in it's jaws and as I tightened down the rod slammed over and the fish surged downstream then back up and over. The line made that lovely whine in the wind and the fish sent up boiling vortices's as it bored  down in the margin. I made a more concerted effort to sink the net and in she went, a great moss and primrose flank upping my low doubles estimate. A two handed heave and on to the mat.  The hooks were just in the upper jaw and popped out easily. Not quite saddle  that donkey but the scales banged round to a net deducted 20.08. A lovely clean fish and a joy to behold. Nice way to end 2018's angling.

Friday 28 December 2018

Good to get out

Half a day pass out so headed off first to the Mill. Water coming over the second weir so a nice near bank eddy round to the white water. Set up the 15 foot Greys with an Avanta Ikon pin. 4lb straight through to a #16 in case I decided to try a small worm. Double white suspended under a 5 bb Drennan Big Stick. First run through and the stick buried as a lovely little roach grabbed the grubs just the eddy turned under the first sluice.

With the swirling current loose feeding was a bit hit and miss but if the float hit a sweet patch, held back quite hard a bite usually occurred. Mostly dace, and all put up a good account of themselves in the heavy push.

Some were starting to get pigeon chested too.

Managed a couple of little spotties as well. This one had an electric blue sheen to the head, and almost rainbow magenta flanks.

I lost a much bigger one on a worm bounced round the tail of the flush, a good 3lb which jumped out of the net after  a long  deep fight round the pool. It was a heavily marked fish, again with an almost magenta flank and a deep butter yellow belly. 

Think I will try a much heavier float next time as there were certainly fish in the faster water.

Satisfied I headed down to the lowest end of the beat for the last 90 minutes with some very stinky cheesepaste and  a festive tipple.

Fed liquidised bread in 4 swims then worked down with a decent lump of the stinky paste with one half hearted pull for my efforts. Always a next time

Friday 21 December 2018

Mother Lode

Well, Small Lode actually. On my rounds with a swift stone throw detour (i.e: one bank of the Well Creek to the other) to  return some gift giving pulled the charabanc over to see if the light was just about good enough.  I'd planned a very brief dangle but the night's worth of rain with more forecast meant the 5-15grm 8 footer stayed tucked up nice and warm indoors. This chap was certainly struggling in the wind, in lulls his float stayed still enough to register a bite, with several small perch and a skimmer or two. No roach. We wondered of liquidised white and punch might have tempted one or two. Didn't think he was one to value a pike or a zed so didn't ask about those.  Looks like he's gone on to the inside line whilst he has a rollie. Probably easier than the full 13 m.

Some interesting frontages. 

And this must surely be a front for something what with that name and all that CCTV. Gets kinda lonely out there on those desolate Fens I'd wager. I can here Steve the Outwell Skeleton's bones jangling now.

You know it s rural when the discard is broccoli stalks.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Dace (not) Ace

Complete contrast to yesterday, no wind and no freezing rain. Spent a couple of hours watching the kingfishers and chasing off a cormorant on the Fairly Clear Lagoon before fishing a crease and eddy with liquidised bread feeder on the nearby syndicate beat. Even a 1oz quiver was a bit too stiff with the sharp  bites but had a handful of lovely clean dace all about 5oz.

Thursday 13 December 2018

Fish and chips

The Gaywood River has an urban flirtation as it hurtles towards its demise in the big, grey tidal River Great Ouse. There is a chippy and a lovely walk just right for a lunchtime jaunt. I've seen roach, dace, skimmers and pike in there. Crying out for a whip or a light bomb rod for a couple of casts. Loose feeding would be a nightmare with the ducks. I just hope the Parkie doesn't see me.....

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Stop and look

Not often can I stop given the commute traffic but needs must sometimes. The Gaywood River and the ruins of St. James  (Bawsey) can be viewed  just feet from the incessant tide of traffic heading towards the Hardwick A148/A47/A10 interchange. I feel a regular thing coming on......

Saturday 8 December 2018

Wet and Dry

Significant rain yesterday so not surprising the river was up. Rather windy last night and today so concentrated mainly on the pike. A lot of debris and a lot of pace. Hope raised briefly when the bite alarm went into overdrive but only to signal a rather large mat of reeds was heading seawards with my float in attendance. As is often the case optimism meant I didn't leave before the rain set in again.

Well, there is always a chance....

Monday 3 December 2018

Game cover

Not much of that sometimes brilliant low winter light today but this one sneaked  on a pee stop somewhere near Downham Market wasn't too shabby. Suppose this is still Breckland though the sugar beet chimneys and their plumes of steam at Wissington weren't far away. Stands of game cover and more planted cover in the copses on the brows of rises show that   the landscape is nowhere near natural virtually anywhere.

Some of my current reading pile. Apart from the Olsen which got done staight off  I tend to snatch a few minutes at  a time these days. Bookmarks come in handy.

Sunday 2 December 2018

You blanker.

Rain all day from the off on Saturday but by 3 it had turned to mizzle so spent an hour working a boilie and paste round a large far bank feature. Lots of crap on the bottom and being washed  down but did get one tap tap and slow pull which I missed. Did  have  a sizeable brownie or possible sea troot boshing around below the feature.

Little Un had helped clean off some maggots which I'd hoped to use today to trot along that large bush. Quite a hoolie blowing down Cyanide Straight, too much even for the little fixed spool and 15 foot Greys combo I'd bought along so back in the charabanc and up to the lower beat of the syndicate stretch to present some static and wobble deads. The river is around two foot down and on its bones. The otter runs are everywhere (handy little gaps in the scrub though) but no cormorants or crays today.  A couple of nods and bleeps either side of one feature almost at the same time was as good as it got. Everything dry though as a bonus.

I think a good walk with a bag of crust to see what silvers may betray their presence as the crusts drift over them is in order.

Friday 30 November 2018

David Cameron and that Bullingdon pig

Jay Rayner likes pig. An awful lot. And why not. Eating a lot of of certainly features in his slim but entertaining The Ten (Food ) Commandments.

Having enjoyed watching his recentish Kitchen Cabinet  recording on Comer Pier I thought it only proper to follow up on his somewhat belated  Ten Commandments tour. This meant a trip to that fine city of Norwich by train as  I needed a couple of pints. And that wasn't as easy as it sounds. Seems most places now only serve that grapefruitish "craft" ale that is produced in the most unartisan silos by some fake hipster types who are rubbing their manicured hands with glee and have probably a massive hand in the gin bonanza too. I went some way to just find a pint (or two) of bitter. You know, that brown stuff that tastes like, well,  um, eerr beer.

Given the occasion some pig was called for in the way of this black pudding and pulled pork hash. With some actual beer.

That hanger is our municipal library

The Raynster though was  booked for a rather more gentile joint as below.

I do like the cut of Rayner's quite large jib and he certainly can hold a crowd. Which in the main was 20 years older than me and I'm an old bugger. As he might well say: go and see him. You must.

Cameron, ah, a slide  of him getting outside of some pork was well used, as opposed to one of him getting inside......


Sunday 25 November 2018

Out and about with the Little Uns this morning. Must get  a train time table to see when the steam trains are due to cross the coast road. Think the steam we could see was up track at Weybourne and Holt bound. Next time perhaps.

The Pirate Ship (Juno) is back in at Blakeney for the winter, minus her mast.

Hard ebb. Saw lots of signs along the coast road for a National Sea League fixture. Serious stuff.

Date:                     Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November
Fishing Times:      10:00am to 3:00pm both days
Low Water:           Saturday 1:34 pm Sunday 2:14 pm … 0.7/0.8m
High Water:          Saturday 6:35 am Sunday 7:19 am …   5.1m
Venue:                  North Norfolk … Cley/Salthouse/Kelling
Backup Venue:      Gt. Yarmouth … (Low/High Water 2 hrs later)
Event HQ:              Kelling Heath Holiday Park (NR25 7HW)

      Team Entry       …   £200 (Mandatory)
      Team Pools       …   £100 (Mandatory)
      Super Pool        …   £5/angler/day (Optional, collect at registration)

-    National Sea League Rules & Guidelines (2017) apply.
-    SAMF National Sea League Match Rules (April 2018) apply.
-    Catch and release with SAMF length to weight conversion chart.
-    Minimum size of 18 cm for ALL Fish.
-    All baits allowed except Crab & White Rag.

Got an unexpected quick pass out this arvo. Stopped at the Slightly Higher Very Local Water on impulse, just as well as I'd left my boots at home. The margins are covered now at least. We've some wild wet weather due in this week so hopefully some will go in the SHVLW and the rivers. Spooked something decent (probably a mud pig) as I twitched a lamprey section. That was it.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Scant reward

Off to the Fens yesterday, more grim and grey than Black Friday truth be known.  Fortified  by  a welcome cup of Ringtons  John of Two Terriers fame headed us out into the badlands and on to a new drain he'd been scouting. It was quickly apparent that the drain  was no longer brimful of bait fish and predators, mainly because it wasn't brimful of water and it's near neighbour was being pumped in reverse. Back to nearly square one, indeed within a bone china cup's throw of the resting Terriers.

Nowt on the static fresh lamprey sections and a brief tap tap tap on the second cast with a wobbled micro skimmer. I don't wobble enough these days. I remember our first "proper " rods, 10 footers hand built on Fibatube blanks bought from our metalwork teacher  seemed just right for wobbling with small herrings. Possibly with that Cardinal 155.

As the gloom deepened the roach and rudd began to top and a few came to John's whip.

I'd hoped for some roach from the pounded section at the top of our beat this afternoon but the  roach had other ideas so I headed down  to the second mill beat and a confluence swim. Low, clear but where isn't at the moment and I managed a few expressions of interest but it was  pike roulette as I rushed to get the dace in before they were nabbed. This one was quite brassy and had a drooped snout, most unusual. Almost chub like but not quite.

Whilst looking for unikely chub dace hybrid pictures I found  a link back to one of my blog posts from a much warmer 2012.

Monday 19 November 2018

Somewhere down the cray zy river...

Set out fishing under very heavy manners. Middle of the day, bright, cold and the sort of unfriendly wind the black plague (cormorants) croak in on. You cant turn down a couple of hours out though.

Headed way up into Jasper Farhquart country, mostly because it was near the car park. I'd donned the wrap round Polaroids due to the low sun and I'm not sure if it was a help or a hindrance. What I could see through the polarising lenses, and that you can't is a very low, clear river. With conspicuous lack of fishy activity.

Given the clarity, and the fact that I'm very tight with bait I thought Larry and Larrietta could get their third or fourth swim. Not so much blood filled now but  getting honky from the freeze, immersion, impaled by pike, freeze, immersion and repeat treatment.

I kept as low as I could, obviously to avoid spooking any fish present but also to avoid spending ages looking at  a beautifully presented  (decomposing) lamprey section in splendid isolation on the bed of the gin clear river with increasingly low chances of a green shape ghosting up, having followed the scent trail upstream. Now that would be very exciting to watch but having scanned a long way down any pike hanging around was very adept at camouflage. I did see however  just how a quick twitch of  a static bait might (as it often does) tempt that pike that had ghosted up and has been staring at the bait for an age grab it it before it escaped. And that how good a bait lamprey would be for wobbling, especially once it had got past it's vampire luring blood filled stage.

Standard river set up. which when inspected looked (or rather didn't) ok in situ. I gave up on drilled bullets, partly because they often got damaged unseen in the bore, nicking the line but also for ease of changing or removing the lead.  I tried removable sinkers but they often removed themselves. I regularly raid The Tackle Shop site for the longer John Roberts feeder booms (4 inch) as they bought up all his stock when he closed. I guess I could shrink tube the swivel links for neatness but with the Drennan swivel stops and crimped not twisted traces so rarely tangle that I don't even think about it. I go fairly heavy in the leads so the float can stay in place, even with a fair amount of debris  being washed down. I'd like to find some inch and a half polys as 2 inch is too big really on my waters. Then the Essex Scribbler can paint then for me. Which is a long way round saying I ran out of barren, fishless desert without a touch...

Having about an hour left under heavy manners dropped into the bridge pool and a swirling upstreamer fighting against the increased flow through the bridge and feeling several degrees lower in the shade and wind. I'd just turned to attend  the first rod having tightened up the second and noticed it had swung in a fair bit, even with a 2.5 oz lead. Picked the rod up and wound into a fish, small  feeling on the 3lb tc rod, dashing around then off. Larry was a bit scuffed around the hook free area. A jack or perhaps a brownie that had struggled to get the whole lamprey in? I recast then noticed the second rod tapping slightly. Could only be one thing having a peck on Larrietta. Ronnie or Regina  Cray. Thence followed a procession of the red plague. Sometimes double up. I stopped counting and wound in for the last time on 20. Larry and Larrietta, having done their duties were consigned to the maelstrom of clacking claws down there on the bottom of the pool. Ronnie and his Ronnettes? Carefully placed in the undergrowth a little way back to terrify the native fauna, it being an offence to return them to the water and with a fighting chance of them gettig back in after having ambushed  and savaged a herd of muntjac. I wonder why none were present just yards upstream? Perhaps the wedding guests  have very low food miles  seafood cocktails. On the bigger ones the tails were were a good inch plus.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Nearly man

Fancied a perch or two but  as I went to find the spool of Bayer  to load up the whip to catch the bait it wasn't in my bag. I did have some  small sardines from LIDL though, just a step up from whitebait
size ( and very good on the barbie).

First drop in and the float had hardly settled when it started to bob. I wound down and a perch  yes a perch  zipped into the margin and scooted off before shedding the 1/0 Aberdeen. A swim later and the float moved off far more purposefully and this little  feller  saved the day. It's not a red eyed pike, it's the setting sun reflected.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Boi done good again

Middle BureBoi, not content with a First last year has gone and got himself  a PGCSE from Sheffield Hallam. We have seen 6 graduations and have another 3 to go. The Little Un's will be pushing us round in our wheelchairs when their time comes. Super proud of all of them doesn't even come close.

I don't know why Stuart Lee keeps following us round and getting in the pics... and yes, they're all taller than me (Stuart Lee). Except of course the Little Un's. Who wont be.

Sunday 11 November 2018


I am compiling some more old skool posts, and have been rifling through my albums (what are they dad?) and stopped at this to me anyway Leviathan of a chub. It was an atrocious afternoon with horizontal rain and driving wind. The river was high, and though not carrying branches and dead cows I knew I had to find a decent slack and perhaps have one chance. 

I did explore the downstream area but my eye kept getting drawn back upstream to the left. As the wind was banging downstream I was able to swing the 3 swan link up into the slack, knowing the wind would keep the line clear as the shot and large lump of paste arced in. I slowly tightened the 2oz screw-in tip just enough to maintain the shot holding and held onto my brolly pole.  I saw the line cutting back rather than the tip springing straight. The fish kept travelling down and boring under the floating mat in front of me. As the chub rolled into the outstretched net I really thought it could be a small common. Solid and pristine and a world away from the Colne and Stour chub I'd been used to. Even using 3 swan in a slackish bit of water was heavy guns. Bang on 6lb. And I did test those tubular scales when I got home. That was about 13 years ago. I haven't bettered it quite yet but in that stretch now the fish go 7's. It's much more balanced now as back then you could fish flake and only get chub bites except in small pockets. A good range of silvers (and spotties)  now.

For reasons probably incomprehensible I have only ever seriously fished upstream to a feature when chubbing less than  it would take a handful of fingers to count. Why? 

It's bang to rights boilie and pellet on there now so two rods in a swim one up and one down is probably common place. I can just see that line cutting back though.......