Sunday 29 November 2020

Something to brighten up the murk

Looks like Bo Jo is getting beaten up by his backbenchers and gonna have to magic something up, well at least in their seats to climb down a tier or two. Will we ever know how many billions have been spaffed up the snouts in the trough cronyism wall?

Meanwhile here in deepest North Norfolkcestershire it's been grey and murky. Ventured out for an afternoon piking yesterday but as I had to go back twice, once for an unhooking mat then a pair of wellies so I wasn't expecting much. Perhaps that's why nothing much happened. A bluey halved was sent into several likely spots with only one half hearted take that I missed and a few bangs on the tips from crap coming down in the current.

The oxtail soup was uninspiring and the kingfisher I saw just a dark blur.

Grey, murky old Saturday. Not even any Noddy trains  as it's still Lockdown and no interesting dog walkeresses either.

Still murky today but a trip to Sheringham with the Prodigal and half of the Little Un's for a take away Grey Seal coffee and  walk up to the summit of the highest mountain in the world, Beeston Bump. Well, it's been called that on Google Maps till very recently. Some jobsworth has taken it down. The Google Maps  keypoint, not the Bump. Norfolk nose bleed territory, oxygen required.

Here is the converted toilets Whitehouse and Mortimer stayed in, see what they've done with the name? Wee Retreat if you can't read it.

It was getting dark by the time I'd got my trotting house in order, having forgotten to defrost the whizzed up bread so maggots it was under the trusty Advanta 5 AAA Avon and it didn't take long to get bites, and lovely roach too, really lighting up the murk, even more so in the light of the flash.

Then disaster, netting this one and the net fell off. Glued, not riveted I found out. Shoddy. I can't see why trout anglers use those tiny little short handled tennis racquet things on the bank (ok wading I suppose), almost impossible to net a fish unless on a manicured lawn. The Special  Place is not a manicured lawn, more a muddy gap in the reds which I have to cover up each time I leave. Not having every bugger in there...


Quick lash up job with some tape but not very secure.


Just about secure enough for the best and last fish at a cracking 1lb 9oz that surprised  a passer by. Which makes a mockery of my secret squirrel attempts. Funny blue edging to the dorsal, anal and caudal fins.

This is the closet you're getting to a location Buh.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Maggots got the blues..

Right grey old day Saturday, well mostly anyway. Windy and cold, but dry. Which was nice. Little Un's, me and the Commander in Chief headed the charabanc Blickling way for a pre booked Lockdown 2 walk.

The Bothy.
The sun did make  a brief appearance. I spent a happy year working here out of the West Wing a while back.

More Lockdown 2 shenanigans with some click and collect maize meal for the maggots and some Korum running rigs then off to the Sheltered Reach to catch a few livebaits. 

The bottom end of the Sheltered Reach wasn't that sheltered so it was cold and windy. Plenty of bites on the livebait snatching gear but mostly too big really for the livebait bucket. (1st World Problems). it was was busy down that end, 12 lure chuckers all in a row. A non lure chucker asked if I wanted his left over  maggots, which of course I did but horror of horrors some were ..BLUE. Like those blue worms you some times find blue maggots are for me at least a fish repellent big time. No different  this time round either. Back on those reds and bronzes (Paler than the cancer causing ones we used to use till our hands were stained orange. How on earth was chrysodine allowed for use?) and  a few more perch sized dace were consigned to the livebait bucket. I'd left it too late truth to be told in the quickly gathering gloom and it was quickly to dark see the chubber trotting down though it did lay flat a couple of times.

A lot brighter today so  bright I headed for the Mill first, planning to wait till the sun dipped before heading to the Special Place.

It was a bit a trot, starting off with a few roach before the dace moved onto the maggot mania raining down on them. Reds or bronzes  on the size 16  Kamasan B560 naturally......

I slipped  on a pair of blue maggots just to confirm my theory and was secretly a bit miffed when the 5 AAA Advanta Avon stabbed under. That soon changed when the fish I'd hooked  made a run for the white water and charged around the pool. No acrobatics so surely a chub?  If it was it was one with spots and an extra fin. An out of season brownie in fact.

A sudden chill as the sun dipped behind the poplars so sticks were upped and I headed off to the Special Place, hoping  not to find a white haired Agrarian Boi in the Special Place perched on his blue Shakespeare seat box. He wasn't, or my new twin tipped acquaintance. Flat calm and roach already rolling. This time they were the trot and though the float was going through a bit too fast for my liking with no upstreamer to help hold it back I was getting bites and with the bright evening sky could see the float well into dusk.  A high average stamp with barely any that were swingable.

It was getting darker  now and  just as a pair of kingfishers and a bat just managed to avoid each other the float below dipped and this one did pull back and kite to both margins. One for the scales and it went a very pleasing 1lb 2oz. And no, not on blue maggots.

Bread on the tip next time, well into dark.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Lighting up time

 One way to break up the winter dark commute home: swing by the Christmas lights.

I'm not a fan of take out coffee but needs must and it's not Costa so all good


Monday 16 November 2020

A bad case of the trots.

When you've got a window, be that a weather window and/or a time window take it Buh. Had those frozen casters and some hemp left over plus a near pint of reds and an hour and a half max before dark. To the Sheltered Reach, covering my tracks as I went. It's getting popular on there lately, a couple of "faces" and a few familiar trees starting to put on an appearance on the Gram. Bigger perch than I'm getting but I have yet to master the chebs, neds and carolinas and my perch are most a welcome by catch when trotting reds. As it happened I was mostly bothering the perch whilst leering across the Reach at the Costa Coffee carrying dog walkeresses, conveniently travelling in pairs. Great fun on a pin and  a 15 footer. The  perch, not the Costa carriers. Obvs.

 A hoary old chestnut but there continues to be anything as big as a big perch, even when it's not really a big perch. (*or is there?)

I'd sort of thought of hiding gnome like under a brolly behind two quiver tips on Saturday but  the weather  refused to budge from over my head so having collected two click and collect pints of heat sealed reds (and my replacement Drennan Tench and Specimen tip section) from the Dangling Indirect up the City  I did mosey on past the old red brick bridge to check out the river conditions to see a fellow member sitting gnome like under his brolly behind two quiver tips just  a swim  down from where I'd planned. He was getting bites too so things augured well for the morrow as a brighter afternoon was forecast. Sunday morning saw me riddling me maggots and blitzing a loaf of cheapo bread, separating the crust from the crumb like any good roacher should.

Oh, and getting myself outside quite a lot of this Tom Kerridge umami fest slow cooked  by the Commander in Chief for which I was sent to get the Liffey water Stout in a previous post. Deffo dumpling weather.

Feeder rods and separate crumb at the ready I headed for the red brick bridge to see two white tips nodding in the fresh down streamer. No gnomic brolly required, my fellow member had grasped the nettle a few minutes before me. Pleasantries exchanged I headed for the Lower Mill beat, glad I'd packed a just in case in case trotting rod. I parked up and checking for my key to lock up the charabanc couldn't find it. I  have a system, car keys right picket, phone left pocket. Bu it wasn't there. Nr in my coat, or my bin 'n 'braces. Panic set in, but just before I braved the call to the Commander in Chief to bring the spare set (most cars I've had haven't had a spare set, or a locking boot which is an advantage if you lock thee keys in the car) I checked the hand warmer pocket in my Aldi hoodie and my bacon was

The path to Second Best and the Special Place was very slippery and a rather glamorous dog walkeress did succumb to a palm plant but her gallant companion had the necessary wipes to hand to  save her sullying her very white jeans, black cashmere sweater and camel coat (not that I was taking that much notice of course). I don't think Costa was being carried even though it is so rank it is actually mud in  a cup.

The river was up but not raging through but up enough to rule out Second Best but the Special Place was fishable from so  bit the bullet and set up stall. A near upstreamer down on this beat but so not a lot of time to play with but my second trot way down the run and the 5 AAA Advanta  being held back over depth dipped and that lovely thunk as the #16 Kamasan B560 bit home. A plodding resistance and a decent bend  in the tip section of the 15 footer Greys  and that lovely flash of red and silver. A net job too.

Bites continued but way down the trot. Not to far not to hit  but way below where my maggots must have fallen. A long bat back too when you have missed a bite.  But the Special Place is right on the border of disputed territory and though the float can wander the angler can't. They do come up the trot but not this time.  Some must  of nudged the pound and only one was a  swinger-in er.  Most were immaculate too as in this selection, and no rudd/roach hybrids this time round. 

And this stunning dace .There are more obvious cattle drink spots further up but they do congregate here to spawn later. This went 9oz, and I can hardly begin to imagine what a * 1lb plus dace must look like.

I hoped the wind would have dropped before dusk but it didn't which meant an early finish as I couldn't see the float any longer. Only one roach rolled, but upstream to give me a push to search a bit more.

Sunday 15 November 2020

Rumbles in the Fens and a roadside sausage

Rumbled.  Just about every other chip shop in the Fens and the Brecks is a Rumbles. And Googling it there's loads everywhere. A low rent franchise?  A front trading sham? Anyhoo, faced with a late end to the working day out in the Cambridgeshire bad lands I had to fill a hole and only this would do to fill a hole. Scarfed down on a lonely bench. Gastro porn it wasn't. A simple roadside sausage. Not one that Bourdain would eulogise about, or his brother disconcertingly denounce as a false childhood memory. A partially battered tube of mechanically recovered "pork product" in a Styrofoam container, no condiments or tiny  two pronged wooden fork. Heavenly.

And whisper this. Not from a Rumbles but from The Cod Father.

Found this yesterday in Saino's when I was dispatched to get some Guinness for a slow cooked brisket lunch. McEwan's Champion. I'd thought it might be a sort of substitute for the Liffey water but spotting the 7.3% abv I commandeered it for my late night pleasure.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Thou shall not covet....

Thou shall not covet.... the latest Advanta RVS centre pin. I've been nursing my first centre pin through 4 seasons and have been getting a bit short tempered with it. I love it as it has bought a new dimension to my fishing from that first bite on it's first trot from a plump 14oz roach on a frosty January morning

That autumn it came into its own on short raids on the way home from work before a screw on the reel seat dropped in the mire. A replacement was majicked up from  a dusty draw in Wroxham Angling direct when it was  a proper tackle shop.

The Phillips head screw to undo the drum has always been a pain, and a while ago the whole spindle became fused, whilst it spins sweetly the whole lot comes out, not just the drum and its starting to wobble and the line can get a bit bunched and bedded. Not every trot, but enough to get me right cross. I've see the upgrade, and it seem to have a more civilised drum release and a detachable line guard. And of course, now I've seen it I want it. Badly.

But here's the rub. I do have  a second "original" all loaded up with 6lb line  "just in case".. it's been niggling in my ear for weeks now. Just swap the line over. Go on, do it. You'll  be bound to get some tokens for your  birthday/Covidmas. Go on, you know it's the only thing to do....  

And yes I have done. Swapped the line. And not bought the new kid on the block. And doesn't fresh Drennan Float Fish look and feel nice. It floats too, until it looses it's coating. Like it has on the waggler reel. 

Sunday 8 November 2020

The curse of the new net

A little while back I was lowering a mid double figure pike I'd had on the waggler rod back in the 42 inch thing of beauty net to rest when obviously rested enough it kept on swimming. The hole in the net had become too big to ignore any longer so I bought myself  a replacement head from Go Outdoors for the princely sum of £9.99.  I hadn't intended it for piking as the trebles always catch and need cutting out. I do have one that has it's bigger holes round the net cord so that my piking one. Only I'd packed the wrong one so my lovely new net was bound to put the mockers on

I started at the top of cyanide straight where the acute 90 degree bend bought the flow under my feet. Two lamprey head sections were leap frogged down the stretch whilst I kept an eye out for roach activity. Not once were the truncated (car door accidents) Alvio 3lb tc rod flexed in anger. But fortunately no trouble from Ronnie and Reggie or major weed growth either. The curse if the new net remains to be lifted

I did however see some small roach or dace begin to top  and I figured that I'd have 35-40 minutes trotting light left. I was at the lower limits and the special place was still overgrown and I didn't want to open up an obvious swim so  had to squidge and splash about where the cows had poached the bank and stand to fish so it wasn't pretty or neat but the roach were soon on the red maggots, only one really needing the (different) net and three much better ones that really pulled back but didn't make the net.. The ones you  wish had but that's a known hazard with roach, especially  as they get opposite, having kited across the river and the tiny hook pulls as the angle changes. 

Today was brighter and even warmer out of the breeze so we spent the morning at Sheringham Park, one of Repton's finest houses and parks with lovely views to the coast . Glorious it was.

I made some judicious pruning in the special place and began to trickle in the red grubs, but it wasn't till well after the sun fell behind me in the copse and the rooks had made their noisy minds up were to settle that the light meter switch was tripped and after the umpteenth trot down the sane line the 5 AAA  Avon buried and fish on. 6 ort7 in they'd reached netting size when disaster struck in the gloom. I got line snagged in the tight confines of the slightly opened special place and try as I might I couldn't see to retie the line just above the float as roach began to roll heavily   all through the swim. It's one of the sights only an early or late angler gets to see, and not that often either.

I'd  been running a 2 and a half AAA waggler through earlier and reasoning the roach were active and chasing I sent it down a bit shallower on the shorter waggler rod to minimise false bites in the gathering gloom and picked up several more roach including the last and largest of the session  which perhaps I should have weighed or got something on the mat for scale then it was simply to dark to see, some isotope floats perhaps? Bats weren't needing them though picking off what the roach were switched o to.


Monday 2 November 2020

Freezer burn

With a big wind and rain forecast on Saturday I thought I'd head up to the top pool with a couple of feeder rods and appease the river gods under an umbrella whilst Bozza decided our impending lock down fate. Rods rigged, one for maggots and one for worm and caster, went to the bait fridge and saw a fine white dusting over the worm pots. Mould? Really? No, ice crystals. The worms, a pint of fresh maggots and another pint of fresh, just turned casters all frozen solid. I had to get out, and didn't find the prospect of leapfrog piking (thus no umbrella for practical reasons) down a wind swept, rain lashed river stretch. 

So I found the still banded method rods and some pellets and wafters and headed down the farm pond where I could just get away without a brolly (I hate them) in the swim nearest the car with decent overhead cover (never mind the 40 mph wind). It took several casts to get some response but by then the biblical rain had begin. I did find that my Aldi coat was surprisingly waterproof and snug and though none of the takes were converted the wind after the rain dried me up  nice and good,  and much later than planned Bozza's Lockdown appeared to give the green light for fishing to continue. Even with a Fisherman's Friend. Plastic bags procured to rescue and refreeze the maggot and caster, if only for loose feed if click and collect bait not an option going forwards. The devil will be in the detail.

Wind  remained in force Sunday, and rain cleared early doors so after lunch off to Dangling Indirect for 2 pints of reds and some worms (panic buying or hedging against a crash?) and down to the sheltered village stretch. I'd decided to bring the casters defrosted  and used these as loose feed. The maxim is that you don't start off feeding maggot if you might switch to feeding caster later. I did start on caster hook bait, but even on a fine wire #16 they'd lost their firmness  having be frozen and defrosted so over to reds on the hook. A bite a trot from small roach and the odd slightly  better dace and I did consider keeping a few back for live bait but began to get a few better roach and in a 15 minute purple patch I caught 8 netters, the best this stunning one I did weigh to see if it was brushing the pound mark. Not quite at 15oz but a scale perfect fish and a delight to behold as were it's slightly smaller pod mates, all taken at a sweet spot abut 20 yards down the trot.

They are plumping up for the winter.

Bites surprisingly dried up in the gathering gloom and despite switching to fed red maggot I couldn't interest what I suspected to be a pack of marauding perch to fall victim to twin grubs. If only I'd kept back some livebaits. Listen to that voice in your head. It's the voices you should ignore.