Saturday 14 March 2020

Chase the dace.

Spent  a cold hour on roach straight  for no reward though the silver hair cabal were picking  a few up from theier sheltered area. On to the bridge pool and first trot a wriggling silver dart was swung in.

 A bite most trots and though dace were mostly responsible I had a couple of roach when the float deviated into the slacker spot.

And this gudgeon, seemingly an escapee from a perch as it had been stripped of scales as onky a perch can.

Hemp and maggot doing the business today Several of the dace had that spawning time sandpaper feel to them.

Classic combo.

Well, that's it for the river till June though I do have a strictly fly only option in reserve.

Hear the roker roar

Big man Shane has been back from Canada this week and rather than blank on a shallow arm of an undisclosed Midlands stillwater (and face handfuls of Tiskie empties being crammed in my holdall) we charged the Loafer (aka Essex Scribbler) with putting us on some decent roker action.

He had just the place in mind, having recently shared a 72 fish haul of the spiny backed bottom huggers so Friday saw me heading down to Devil Dog Land to the mouths of the Colne and  Blackwater estuaries. 

Stopped off for victuals on the  A140 and was cheered by this cleverly named port-a-bog by the side of the burger van. Simple burger with onions (natch) and suprisingly for me tommy sauce. In a floury bap. You getting this A47 Angie of the supposedly big baps? A big, floury bap.

As usual the bastard wind was up and with a big tide expected to turn at 2.30pm we set off down the wall then across the saltings and one of two precarious plank crossings we would have to make in the session. 

First job for our ghillie the Loafer was to erect the essential shelter (with lots of cussing ) to get out of that bastard wind then setting about prepping the bait. Which for roker means fish, in ths case good old (actual) Essex herring, sectioned and  wrapped in bait elasitc

and cuningly depolyed in ths contraption, that delivers two baited hooks, at range with no poxy clips or flapping baits. We weren't allowed to cast btw.

So here is the Loafer blasting out the said contraption onto the feeding grounds he assured us would be paved with ray.

Not paved with crabs anyway which the Loafer said was a good sign. I'd made and we'd  drunk the first cup of tea before big man Shane was the first called into action and  a decent roker was  soon in tke edge. 

Not a bad one declared the Loafer and indeed over 8lb on the scales. Yes, I know, no unhooking mat, or weigh sling. Tsk.

Shane is a big chap isnt he? Note the casual footwear. More of which later.

And the roker, a face only another roker could love surely.

Shane was amongst them whilst I seemed destined to be tea boy, adding another two to his tally


I had been called to the rods, thee times, with one very small whiting, even for a whiting then this one a notch up in size. I did say for a whiting and then a roker which inexplicably shed the circle hook.

Lunch called and soon 6 fat sausages were sizzling in the pan served with HP sauce as demanded by the Loafer. After he had cracked off a contraption sending it into near space orbit,being tracked by the nearby Bradwell Nuclear Power Station radar defences and the big guns at Fingringhoe and Shoeburyness ranges being readied.

Pan cleaned and away and the gripwires of my contraption wire out of the sea bed and I was winding down into something substantially bigger than a whiting. 

A lot bigger in fact and landed way down tide from the shelter as you can see.

Another 8lb plus cracker.

Shane's turn next and again no whiting as  the tide began to think abut turning and the wind dropped off.

A double hook up indeed, but not a roker double. Yes you might have guessed, the sea angler's nemesis, a doggie. And that's a male roker with its claspers. Not one for the skater boys. speaking of which, not a Beach Gentleman in sight. Too cold for that perhaps.

Not long after I was into another  male roker which did take a bit of getting in.

Last chance fell to Shane, a greedy buggeress that had taken both baits so we got her back quickly

A cracking spot.

Though the tide was in ebb the saltings behind were full, and definitely not a place for jeans and street  boots so the slippery plank bridge exit was a non-starter. And under water too. And course thick and deep estuarine mud.

All the water from acres of saltIngs was exiting through one breach of the low shingle bank, held back despite the dropping tide and impassable  given the depth and flow.  We were marooned.

The scouting party found a hefty lump of timber and we managed to ford that gap with  myself and rhe Loafer in our tusty wellies and Shane gingerly picking his way across in bare feet and rolled up jeans  It's a long way up to his ear canals and he does tend to get vertigo, once memorably during an horrific 90 minute drive to the Stour in a big white van that should have taken 40 as his internal "roll bars" were misfunctioning big style.

A cracking social allround. Though being faced with that in the dark would have been a different matter. Never take the sea for granted.

Monday 9 March 2020

In the court of the Crimson Claw

Piking up river today but I packed the trotting gear just in case the bastard wind dropped later. Not a millon miles away but at least some different reeds to look at. And a pair of oystercatchers on  the flood plain.Something about that carrot like bill, the "peep" call and the striking black and white v  in flight.

First leap frog and the near bank smelt was taken confidently by this pike of about 6 pounds, give or take a leech or two.

Putting it back I spotted Tarka's left overs neatly placed on a stem, crimson claw and all.

Tell tale plucks on the far rod and in came this neatly disemboweled smelt. Bugger, I need to get some more...

Time for the cup that cheers, containing lovely hot Cream of Tomato, and freshly ground black pepper.

Nothing much doing from then on in, and there was a hint of a softening of the wind so down to roach straight. More silver haired chaps on the golden ticket. You know it's special when a national treasure can be seen scuttling back to the Discovery for his camera. Headed past them on to the nearest those not in the cabal can get. The wind was upstream but often varying direction and still strong hampering trotting but with dilgent searching found 14 of what I was looking for on double red maggot. This, the first on the first trot was near on scale and fin perfect

This one's wound round the vent (common on here, along with beak stabs acros the back) had well healed. Nothing called for the scales but all bar one were netters. The one I lost was bigger but never mind. Hard won fish are always worth more, landed or not.

Tomorrow is forecast miklkd but 45mph+ so it may be hunkering down behind the pike rods, we'll see.

Sunday 8 March 2020

Bastard wind.

More of that cold bastard wind. It's driving me absolutely nuts. I've been out most days this week but it hasn't made it easy. 

Wednesday saw me  trying to find a few bits on the waggler to see whether a more serious effort would be worth considering some time soon. I snared a tiny roach on  a bare hook whilst checking  the shot loading on the float. I found 14 more but nothing worthy of the net once I'd baited up, and 4 swingable  skimmers as well. Oh, and a decent perch that might have troubled mid double figures (ounces).

4 times a down the edge smelt was picked up. Once dropped, once  ejected  after a few head shakes, and twice the trebles stayed in. Double figures (pounds) not far off

 This one was over twice the size of the first and had possibly spawned recently.

Thursday was very windy and I tried two glides and a mil pool for one missed bite on maggot. No  rain.

Friday and I slippped over to the dark side with pva mesh bags and method feeders.

I needn't have bothered. Too early? I did chuckle over the EDP's reaction to Naarich's win over Spurs the previous evening. 16 actual pages.

Today saw me get quite wet on a cold windswept river for one decent feeling pike that fell off somewhat undramatically.

A chicken soup sort of a day. Hotter and nicer than it looks.

And of course, once I'd capitulated the wind died away to lovely trotting conditions.