By want of a change I took up the offer of an evening on the shingle with Essex's finest, The Loafer (aka Essex Scribbler, Lord Lite etc.) and Cocksy. We'll start at 7 was the instruction. Just so happened this would tie in nicely with my work diary as I was taking a late lunch stop in the Burnhams and then could amble along the coast road after my last slot. Over abundant Grey pounders meant no where to sit so grabbed a very agreeable pork pie and mooched about for my allotted 30 mins unpaid.
Work done headed for the fleshpots of Wells-next-the Sea taking the coastal scenery as I pootled along. A portion of piss poor chips (fried quite dry) meant I needed to wash then down with something and this al fresco Woodfords Wherry supped on the Buttlands was very nice indeed. It's like a leafy part of London on there. The locals gather in groups to sharpen their pitchforks and trim the wicks for their flaming torches from the safe zone of their Facebook posts bemoaning the Covid spreading second home owners..
I got to the car park earlier than planned (spot on directions from the Loafer) and I didn't take enough notice of the Volvo, even though it was clearly not a twitcher's car. Radio silence was broken by a terse demand for victuals which went 2x bags of chips please 1x salt and vinegar 1x without if you want bait. I clearly couldn't meet these ransom demands being in the arse end of nowhere, and the ones I had having been shite, this must of displeased the Loafer as comms. went dead. I had some pretty scenery to look at though. Which was good cos I sat there for a hour waiting for them to arrive. Which they didnt.
Just past 7 a scooter turned up in the car park, and the helmeted pillion pair started to poke round the non-twitcher's Volvo and wafts of barbecued food emanated from their bag. "That's Cocksy's car". Not only had the Loafer been chauffeured up to God's County in untold luxury he'd got his personal chef to produce a meaty feast and some fine onions too. Not letting the Loafer know I'd rumbled him and his hungry get there 2 hours early to bag the early action trick I sent a plaintive "You down there all ready?" message and headed off down the path upwind of the gorgeous aroma wafting my way.
Up on the shingle bank and a millpond sea, crystal clear spread before me. A cracking warm evening, the rain having passed by way out over the wind farm. No location giveaway, the farm spreads round most of this bump out into the North Sea.
Once the Loafer had devoured his banquet, having tossed scraps of left over meat at his Chauffer and offered me a sweet he set me up with a 5oz breakaway and a pennel rig and gave me instructions on how to thread the lug he had sweated blood digging (he doesn't work much, just loafs about living of the fat of the land) and instructed me to lob down tide about 7 wraps out. We had about an hour till the top of the tide. Here is the Loafer mantling over his prize lug, rather like a sparrow hawk over it's kill.
The Chauffer (Cocksy) spent much of the first hour cracking off and drifting devices over the Loafer's uptide rod, his head torch must have been wired into the offshore wind farm the amount of time he needed to shine it over his rig box. The Loafer missed a real jagger of a bite to his uptider then it was my turn. I had to backwind and everything, most exciting when I saw my silver prize in the gentle surf, illuminated in the gin clear water by the Loafer's head torch. Not mine as it was off. Big mistake as I couldn't see that I was winching a 3-4 lb bass up to the tip ring which was not good, and it ripped itself off the hook and back into the briny.
We sat for a while, the Loafer chewing the fat from his banquet and me sucking a sweet. The sky was a mass of stars and galaxies, apparently such sights are rare in light polluted Devil Dog Land though they have the ubiquitous wind farms too. Our Norfolk ones were ablaze along the horizon, and behind the sky was lit by distant lightning. Overhead C130's banked in big turns back towards Sculthorpe for their Thursday night exercises. Not far from where we were hunkered down a Hawk PAVE was downed by a goose strike sadly killing it's crew of four back in 2014. The marsh was closed for a month. Tonight the geese went on their way posing no danger to the C130's. Shame my photography rendered the starlit spectacle to uniform pitch black. My trusty mat black carp rod with no tip strips (cos that wouldn't be carpy) next to the Loafer's state of the art weapons..
The tide had turned and after the initial weed flurry the tips settled back to gentle undulations as the grips bedded in. Two taps, a pause then violent jerks signalled that a bass had lifted the lead and hooked itself. Torch on this time and I expertly beached my prize. What a stunning little creature, like a silver ingot in the beam of the torch against the glistening shingle. My first bass landed though of course I'll count the other one as well! Well, sort of, I'll never forget the fight and the first thrilling sight of it anyway even if it wasn't captured by camera and gutted in the fish bag.
The one that didn't get away.
Surprisingly the Loafer was fishless, his Chauffer Cocksy though had two plump un's in his bucket and had missed a couple too. By 11 we were on our way. A cracking night. Now, who can I get to dig me free lug as it's about 20 quid for a 100?