Monday 30 December 2019

There goes the sun.

I managed 3 three quarters of an hour on Sunday,  two bleeps on one half of the drowned bluey and no kingfisher to watch but I did get to see this (in common with most of the country if Insta is anything to go by). Spectacular.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Double bugger, double bubble.

Spent most of Saturday waiting in for the white goods delivery  and and it was gone three-fifteen before I could get out so just a scout round, no rods in the car. Big water coming through Buxton Mill with more forecast so no Bure trotting Sunday.

Had to make do with the next best thing from Woodforde's Brewery. How could I resist? Helped me through Naaarich's spineless performance on MOTD though.

Just a scant hour this afternoon as the winter solstice sun slipped behind the poplars up on the ridge.
Out with the current customary halved bluey and settle back to watch the kingfisher. As usual I'm tempted by the marginal cover but overcame the natural urge to drop shot and lobbed past the next drop-off into fairly firm ground left and right.  You would bet your house on just past those reeds wouldn't you?

Almost immediately the left hand float was tearing off and  after a firm resistance the fish was off with a decent swirl. No sure how it  didn't stay on.

Out it went and  again an almost instant  take, but no hook up. Bugger I thought. By now the kingfisher was just a noisy diver on the far bank and I thought I'd blown it.

Two more casts and the right hand hand bluey head was off. No  sooner than I'd set the hooks the left hand rod was off. I set the hooks on that and dealt with the first which thankfully was easy to unhook. Leaving it in the net I then made contact with the other which at first felt like the friendly 20 but it shrunk at the net and together they wouldn't have made a 20 but lovely clean and firm fish anyway and not at all leechy.

Most excellent. Again.

Friday 20 December 2019

Product testing #2

Mr Porky seems to be the main man Scratchings wise. This is his premium fare and I think is in a bigger bag too at 90 grammes. Usually £1.40 in the land of the Discovery (Waitrose) but reduced to £1.05 with a bottle of Greene King IPA at £1.25 was soon being rung through the till with the free weekend lifestyle paper and free to loyalty card holder monthly mag which is cover priced at £3.00.

Longer strips, and as a result probably more surface area for the salt to stick to. A more refined mouth feel but less goo. I wouldn't pay full whack for them. The IPA is good though and more of  a session ABV than it's uncle Abbott.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

No flies on us in Norfolk. Well, not in Attleborough anyway.

Not much to see either. February fill-dyke weather in December. That's the Fens for you.

Probably some flies on this though. Don't suppose an otter dragged it three miles from Great Massingham to Harpley. Two good fillets  taken off that for a disposable BBQ I'd say. Makes a change from a kebab or a KFC and the remains are bio-degradable.

Speaking of Great Massingham no Lord Sugar in the Dabbling Duck today but there was a good doggy menu. I don't have a dog.

Standard Back to the Garden foodie porn

All that glitters.

Which all means I have had three miserable blanks in a row. But I do get to see a fair bit of Norfolk and sometimes Cambridgeshire in my work-a-day week.

Monday 16 December 2019

Product testing #1

First in what will probably be a short run.  I have not really eaten pork scratchings with pints. It used to be dry roast nuts  or scampi fries or moments which were cheesy umami type scamp fries with out the scampi and lemon. Then  I stopped going to pubs. Well, mostly anyway. 

But recently I've fallen under their spell. But only with a pint, or a good 500ml bottled beer. I blame the Horse and Groom in Tunstead. It was these Alf Turner ones that got me. It's on the way to Dangling Indirect and not too far off track for the river and the farm pond. What I hadn't realised was that along with the salt encrusted crackling were  unexpected soft melty nuggets.  Cost? A round fiver with a pint it seems  (that's not that there London or Spoons prices btw). I didn't clock the bag contents by weight. Large pieces and quite noisy but given the reactionary nonsense the racist, misogynist homophobic "good old bors" spout in there the more irritating the better. Haven't seen them on general sale in my limited research to date.

I  don't think scratchings would go with lager, either the necking fizzy stuff or that dreadful grapefruity citra "craft beer" muck. So I won't try. And I think I must limit my product testing to about three times a week. That Barsham in the Lacons glass is a bit golden to be honest.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Early doors

A quick stop off on the timeless beauty of Selbrigg Pond dam before cracking open the laptop and starting work.

Not long till Polling Day.

Monday 2 December 2019


Unwelcome illness and those annoying little things that crop up when you start to prep the surfaces for painting like great swathes of rotten wood have had me house bound except for DIY buying. It was therefore a relief to head off to the river to soak a few halved blueys.

River running off like a train so it was a case of finding some slacks down the edge or in to features. Two takes, two fish. The first belted off  sharpish following a preliminary bang on the rod tip.

The second hummed and hahhed  but gave me a right tear up  in the strong flow.

The forceps momentarily froze to my fingers as I packed up, the net and mat stiff as boards.

Think I'll start on my Japanese whiskey tasting set tonight.

Sunday 24 November 2019

What it is with roach?

Right now all I want to catch are roach. Low light, lighter winds than of late and still a touch of colour in the river. Bang tidy. However first things first and a stop off at the Horse and  Groom. Pint of Barsham in a Lacons glass and some decent scratchings.

Banks a quagmire and I did soak  a halved bluey  for an hour with only one missed run so down to the stile and build up the swim with several pouches of reds whilst I readied myself. Around 5 trots to suss the depths and suddenly the float had gone. There is nothing like the thumping down the long rod and a great silver flank and red fins. Not quite a pound and a half and a good netter the next trot.

Not a bad shot from a dog walkeress. No need to crop.

This one not quite making a pound and a half either.

I trotted till I could no longer see the float  leaving in the Stygian gloom with  fish rolling in the swim. Again a stack of netters, with just a few make weights, and three chunky dace too. The damage must be cormorants but as you can see in the brace shot some are like freshly minted coins.

Friday 15 November 2019

Repetition, repetition

Repetition, repetition as Mark E Smith was wont to opine. Do repeat captures "count"? Should we care?

I've been followed round by Lumpy, Keith and The Nameless on the river often quite some distances apart. I had the same  mahoosive brownie twice in 2 hours  about 200 yards apart on deadbait. One lump of  a pike came out in the snow in spawn at 25 then 23 a month later.

I've a couple of friendly bream and tench on my beloved Golden Pond which also seem to move about its admittedly smaller confines.  The angling circus seems to quite specifically move around to "target" individual fish. (How unless you are sight fishing?)

Anyhoo, look what turned up again, this time on standard pike gear. Still gave a good account of itself. Very pleased that the trebles fell out in the net too. Weighed the same as well.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Just a dozen.

Just had to get an hour in to ward off the heebie-jeebies that have been ganging up on me of late. Passing the river on my way to Dangling Indirect my prior plan of some juicy lobs and meat down the bushes turned to thoughts of roach on that long straight and pinch point. Just as well as Dangling Indirect had no lobs, juicy or otherwise. A pint of reds, and about as much again maize meal and I was  ready to go with perhaps just over half an hour of trotting light left. 3rd trot and I missed the float disappearing and thus the bite. Not so the second time and I'd found my quarry. A net roach pushing the pound.

It's fantastic when the light drops, the wind stops and a big roach rolls. This time it was attached to my B520 and what a beast it was. I just love that thump thump.

A real handful at 1lb 8oz too.

12 netters, a couple of smaller ones and  a plump dace. Happy days.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Success or failure by the tiniest of margins

Dropped in on an occasional water with the intention of checking out the silvers potential in this unseasonal (relative) mildness whilst drowning a bluey and a roach, also on the off chance.  Both of which turned up a pike apiece, the bluey fish being quite a plump 'un.

Found some roach just over the pronounced ledge and worth returning in future with more than a handful of old maggot and manky caster. One cast and it all changed. Just back over the ledge, bang and the roach had been taken by a lurking pike.  A serious pike given the length of back from head to dorsal.  My 13 foot progressive action Drennan Waggler rod, rated for 2-3lb reel lines and the 3.2lb Drennan Float Fish line straight to a Kamasan B520 whisker barb spade in #16 was sorely put to the test with one heart stopping plink and brief slackness as the line pinged over that far slung dorsal.  The feared line slicing headshake never came and into the onion bag she finally went after what must have been nearly 10 wrist bending minutes. This is all that held her. Bent but resolute. And there is a nick in the line an inch above the hook too. Balanced gear Buh. 

20lb bang on the nose.

So of course a drop to celebrate.

Monday 21 October 2019

Been ooop North.

We actually went to Skeggy but you get the drift.

Hours of fun

Not been to the Skyline? You've not lived.

Makes a change from the maggot dispenser.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Male order bride

Rain free widow Saturday afternoon and off to the Very Green Lagoon. Caster or corn over hemp, frustrating missing many bites but the roach and skimmers did keep coming. One solid thump on the strike and tench on. It kited to the left hand pads and I had to get up to get control and bring it back to the  safety zone. 3 lb line and #12 spade end on a balanced Drennan Waggler rod is usually just right provided it's not hit and hold. It dived into the false safety of the outstretched net and he was mine. A lovely conditioned high backed feller.  Well, it told me it identified as  cis male gender. Some debate on FB. The doubter was advised by a wag to be very careful about his  choice of dance partner in Thailand. Its normally the mail order bride who lands in a cold wet UK to be met by a middle aged , balding Gammon who still lives with his mum. Definitely a skaterboi this one.

Had a little snapper on a joey as well. Missed another as the baitrunner was set for the river and the soft joey pulled off  the trace.

Dreadful forecast for tomorrow but I really ought to risk it as no real chance then of getting out till pre-Halloween weekend.

Friday 11 October 2019

Up sticks

Had a couple of hard won hours off , no rain forecast and a couple of choices. Pint of Wherry and a bar snack amongst the well heeled next to my first choice duck pond stop off. Three big white stains of guano on the big willow and three big ghastly pterodactyls drying their wings on the geese shorn grass. A few hopeful handfuls of pellets in the margins. Mobbed by ducks but no hungry runt mudpigs smashing into them. Not worth risking a fiver to find out the place had been decimated by the croaking horde. No time now to pull down the bumpy chalk and flint track to the method madness venue. Time though for the bypass pit.

No tins allowed and I hadn't decanted any corn or meat and didn't fancy the method approach now with time short so the trusty mini Source over Spicy Sausage, float nestling by the pads. Several dips and nudges but nothing to strike at. Over gunned? Off with the boilie and on with two strawberry glugged fake maggots. Bingo, float is away and the strike hits home, no tear off so no tinca or mud pig but not  a bream surely? Long silver flash, have they put chub in? No, it's a roach. A bloody big roach.

As I picked it up it felt rough and light. Mis-shapen with signs of a battering.  Keepnet(s)? Old? Congenital abnormalities? A touch of chub round the big head? It's a much bigger net and  a bigger reel (2500 size) too than the biggest river fish from the other day for scale. Don't think it's an ide.

Definitely less choachy here but the mouth is funny. bit upturned. Either way an old warrior past its prime and maybe pushing mid teens in age. Didn't think removing any more scales to find out would be cricket. 1lb 10oz though. And home in time for tea. Mum's the word...

Sunday 6 October 2019

Make hay...

Sunday's forecast was dire and Saturday dawned dryish, mild and still. A walk before getting bait saw a river up, with a bit of colour left but steady and plenty fish topping. Pint of reds, bag of casters and I had some hemp already.

By the time I had my pass out the sun was out and the wind increasing but an upstreamer. The bridge pool is a go to for roach but not that easy a swing out and today the flow was a bit further again even with the 15 footer.  I'd bought a shorter waggler rod (13 feet) along so that was the second line of attack but it wasn't easy with the amount of debris catching the shots on the way down but the float dipped from the off. Not a bad fish to kick off with.

You can tell when the thump thump is a bit more serious, and when they start to cut up against the flow you hope the small hook holds, especially when they get level with you and the angle changes.
It's a 1000 size real and smallish net so I didn't get the sling and scales out but a nice, thick set roach 

 A session when they are mostly this size is very pleasant and most were.

At times I had quite an audience, one watcher in particular spent a long time deep throating the landing net handle. Cows cough a lot and drink as noisily as they piss.

I did eventually switch back to the pin, more for aesthetic reasons but I just seem to get more control of the line when the swing out goes right and I love that direct feel of the fight. To busy to have any ginger beer today so must have had a few.

I did have a couple of dace and a tiny gudgeon and one small signal cray as well.

I think that I'd get more out of the swim with waders to get a bit closer to the sweet spot, and I'd be more inclined then to go with flake as well. And certainly into dusk and beyond on the tip.